Thursday, June 28, 2007


Am off to Leh and other places in the Ladakh area for our annual vacation. Can't stop jumping around in excitement... can already visualise the monastaries, the blue sky, the mountains around, Indus, Pangong lake, homestays, traditional Ladakhi food, Kargil and the bravery it symbolises, the beauty of Srinagar... Ah! am half there.

Shall be back in time for Mr.Potter. More on my travels later.

As they say, Julley!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!

There is no business like show business

We watched 'Oceans 13' last night. George Clooney is definitely uber-sophisticated. But I don't think Brad Pitt deserved the kind of rave reviews that some critics gave him. The movie is set in Las Vegas and as always, is a perfectly pulled off heist with nary a mis-step.

This morning I checked my mail to find one from my sister from the lovely city of Las Vegas (she is holidaying on the other side of the world for a few weeks with her husband)

Memories of the city flooded my mind. My first memories are to do with the glitz and glamour of the city which blinds you the moment it gets dark and the lights are switched on. The casinos wear their best finery and razzle and dazzle you with the sounds and sights. Its humbling to realize that the city was created out of desert sand. Especially when you stand outside a casino called Bellagio which has a huge man-made lake at its entrance. Yet another example of the Great American Marketing Gimmick! Oh, how they know to markets their smallest attractions. (ps: Vegas tag line - 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas')

Creativity, rather creative plaigarism is the order of the day at each casino. An Egyptian Sphinx rubs shoulders with the Eiffel Tower, next to a rainforest, past the Venetian gondolas, near an ancient Roman palace facing the MGM lions, behind shark infested aquariums that swim close to the Statue of Liberty. Gambling, drinking and the most beautiful women (and men) ever.... all available for what your wallet, conscience and wife permit you! Slot machines, baccarat, dominos etc. etc. - every conceivable way of blowing those greenbacks. You end up celebrity spotting with Paris Hilton buying 10,000 USD chips and Robert Di Niro walking to an exclusive private lounge. Margheritas on the street and adult shows in the foyer of your hotel. Everything is bright, colorful, enticing, exciting, luring you to lose your senses one by one.

We walked around the 'Strip' the entire night. Almost until 4 in the morning. Went back to our room happy and elated and somewhat curious as to why we couldn't replicate this marketing model in India (see what happens when you do two years in a B School!)

We woke up at 10 or so. Hung over with the sights and sounds of the city. Our hearts ached for more. We had a flight to catch at 4 that evening. So decided to do a few more hours of walking, till it was absolutely time to run to the airport. Dressed up, stomachs full, we rushed out... and then encountered the greatest of shocks. Vegas in day time is dirty(by American standards of course!) Visiting cards with phone numbers of 'paid escorts' litter the streets nestling beer bottles. The casino lights are obviously off and the buidlings look ordinary by daylight. Cleaners and repairmen work hard and efficiently to restore the casinos to its best-looking by evening. Vegas is ARTIFICIAL! With the make-up stripped off, Vegas seemed like an old, sagging hag.

Such is life, right? Behind apperances, there is always a reality that lurks somewhere. We believe in what appeals to us. Las Vegas is a dream, its a night-rider, a mind-bender and when morning comes, best left to its hungover, grumpy self by itself. What we think, is not, and what we think not, is.

What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet.
- Woody Allen

Alternate Maxisms

At office, especially today, I was stifled for humour and warmth of any sort. So I fell back upon my tried and tested Mr.Marx, Groucho Marx of course. His quotes are as tart as a lemon pie and as witty as your significant other at the peak of your 'being attracted' phase! Go on, smile away!

I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?

Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others.

He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot.

From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it.

Ice Water? Get some Onions - that'll make your eyes water!

You know I could rent you out as a decoy for duck hunters?

You've got the brain of a four-year-old boy, and I'll bet he was glad to get rid of it.

A man's only as old as the woman he feels.

I must say that I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book.

I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.

If I held you any closer I would be on the other side of you.

Women should be obscene and not heard.

Why was I with her? She reminds me of you. In fact, she reminds me more of you than you do!

Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife.

As soon as I get through with you, you'll have a clear case for divorce and so will my wife.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.

- Groucho Marx

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Of Rhymes and Resignation

I have been reading up on poetry forms. (Don't ask me why - blame it on lots of time in my last few days here!) And decided to try my hand... results are as good as a child's first attempt at baking. Overdone crust and Undone insides. But well, persistence and shamelessness are traits I was born with - and I give thee a chance to sample my trials.

Is a form of Japanese poetry with a 5 - 7 – 5 syllable pattern (traditionally). Poems are succinct, convey precise information and create a word picture in your head. Japanese haikus also have strict rules on usage of certain words - each word should convey a season, like a cherry blossom connotes spring etc. Basho and Buson are regarded the Haiku geniuses. English Haikus are not so rigid. Poems are three lines in length. The creation of a mental image is the only "rule".

Now I see her face,
the old woman, abandoned,
the moon her only companion
- Basho

More on Basho -

Is another ancient form of Japanese poetry, dating to almost 1200 years ago. All occasions in Japan used to be marked by writing of a 'tanka'. Young men and women used to be judged not by the artistry of the poem alone, but also by the paper used, the syllables chosen, the kind of ink and the choice of symbolic attachment it went with(a flower blossom, a branch etc) The syllabic pattern is 5-7-5-7-7. Tankas are becoming popular in English too, with 5 lines of poetry expressing a thought, a season etc.

all day
rain has come down
drop by drop
the pain of your absence
has penetrated me

-Keith McMahen

Some more American Tankas -

Now that I have given 'gyaan' (!) herez my take on these two... on the topic that is plaguing my mind - my boss refusing to give me a relieving date from here, and anyways, after he does, then what?

Resignation Letter
Request Release Date
Pleading, Cajoling, Threatening
Boss refuses to budge.

Courageously Quit Office
Long Live the Revolution
Freedom, no job?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fight Club

I've always felt that the way a group of people reacts to a fight gives an insight into the "city's" character. And the following are my observations:

Chennai: If a woman is involved in the fight, the crowd is larger than before. Typically crowds are bigger during weekends and holidays, and in non-peak hours! And usually the voice of the toughest-looking person or person with some Govt. authority (Policeman, Postman, Bus Conductor, Watchman) is taken as judgment. Abusive language, mostly in Tamil. And I am biased because it is my hometown.. So no more comments!

Bombay: No one cares. (Scares me, for what if I get involved in a brawl?) Recently a woman screamed at a man for slapping her derriere and what was the shocking result? He pulled out a gun and shot her 18-month-old son (who died from the bullet wound). And it happened not too far off from where I live. A couple of friends and I once had a spat with a taxi driver, there were a few interested onlookers, but not one came to take our side or his and no one cared. Even if any of us had been manhandled, I don't think we'd've had any supporters or 'willing' witnesses.

Delhi: Is probably the worst. (Opinions based on events dated by 3 years) I could scream in Gurgaon about some man trying to pull my handbag and feel parts of my body I'd not want him to even stare at, and no one would respond; even worse, there is no one to respond. Cars whizzing by, people ensconced in their own private security. Who is that girl? My wife, my sister or my mother? No one.

Kolkata: By now you'd've guessed that this city is my favorite! A fight, any fight, is a joy to behold. Especially if you are NOT heading for the hospital or the airport or client meeting. Traffic halts completely. Passengers, Students, Chai wallahs, Bus Drivers, Taxi Drivers, Motorists and any one else, young or old, male or female gather around the warring factions. Light their cigarettes. Buy khullad chais. Chew pan. Discuss it with points and counterpoints for an hour or so, until the fighting parties forget the original reason for the argument. Content with the ‘intellectually stimulating’ discussion, everyone leaves.

None of these compared to what I saw in a different city in a different country (Trenton, NJ & NYC, NY) Fights never last past the fifth minute and usually end with a few bullet wounds/deaths and/or knives and policemen. Why do we want to compare Mumbai to Manhattan, I wonder? Why this apathy towars others? Why this "I've gotto get to someplace and I don't care if I have to trample someone to do that" attitude? What are we running for? Why this mad rush?
Give me my abuses and traffic jams anyday. Give me my discussions and interested bystanders. At least I live to see another day, another fight!

"Louis: I have to say, this is my first trip to New York...not for me. The garbage, the noise, I don't know how you put up with it.
Carrie: Thanks. I had a great time.
Louis: Wait, you're going home alone? It's rough out there.
Carrie: Nah. It isn't so bad.
Carrie (voiceover): If Louis was right, and you only get one great love, then New York may just be mine...and I can't have nobody talkin' shit about my boyfriend. "
- from "Sex and the City"

Monday, June 11, 2007

Grumpy Mee.

Five reasons am feeling out-of-sorts and confused. Writing helps. So here I go....

a) Am just being invaded by the cold virus. Feel like Iraq, Afghanistan and PoK combined. My throat hurts and I feel feverish. I need a warm blanket, hot soup and tonnes of cuddles and sympathy. A cold/fever is a hotshot way to miss mom, ain't it?

b) I miss my partner. He is traveling on work. So am a work-widow until friday. So much for my I-don't-need-anyone stance before I got into this relationship. Wonder how quickly we adapt, right?

c) I have put in my papers at work. I know I don't enjoy the work here. I also know that this organization doesn't have any career path charted out for me. I have tried to rectify it and failed. I have taken a bold decision to resign because I am not happy. I don't have an alternative right away. I want to move to a different industry. I don't know if I'd get a chance to, immediately. I know I have some frustrating days ahead.... but I took this call, and it is my choice.

d) I have been waiting for the 'dreaded' monsoon to break out for 10 days now. Have been carrying a heavy umbrella, an extra salwar, wearing old clothes and asking my maid to hang clothes to dry inside the guest bathroom.. all in vain! Am convinced that Mr.Monsoon decided to go-go-gooaah and take a vacation there! Hate the unease. Hate waiting for unpleasant situations. Much rather go thro' it and get it over with.

e) A close (younger) friend of mine is not listening to what I deem 'sensible advice'. She naively wants to do something that am convinced would not lead to long-term financial independence. Simply put, I want her to write her GMAT and apply for an MBA, she is convinced that she should get her husband to do that, and that she'd continue to work to support him. What's wrong you may ask, the deal is that her husband is not sure if he wants to do his MBA! She is. Sigh! Such is life.

I hate being cranky and cantankerous, but am sure this too shalst pass.

Trivia for you.

Origin of the phrase "Saved by the Bell"

When our ancestors realized that they were burying a great deal of people before their time had actually come, they came up with a solution. They tied a string onto the "dead" person's hand, buried them, and tied the other end of the string to a bell and then tied it to nearby tree branch. If the person revived enough to ring the bell, their survivors would rush out and dig them up. Hence... "saved by the bell"


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Surprise! Surprise?

"Surprise, ssuurrpprriiisseeee", we all screamed.

She was shocked. Pleasantly so. Thrilled. Turned red in her face trying to control the multitude of emotions that ran through her - joy, excitement, love, delight... and all of us smiled/laughed approvingly, feeling thrilled ourselves for having been part of a 'surprise' b'day party. The party rocked.

Happy B'day CP! May today bring you lots of joy, fun times, good wine and lovely moments the entire year.

Why do we love surprises? Because we didn't know of it, and it is new ground? Because it is an offering of love? Because we are being given the spotlight, the hot seat? Because we know we are going to enjoy it? WHY?

"The moment two bubbles

are united, they both vanish.

A lotus blooms."

- Murakami, Kijo

Ps: There is a place called Surprise in Arizona. (

Ps2: My darling Wiki has the following to say of “Surprise”