Archive for November, 2005

Random thoughts….

November 30, 2005

we were stuck on a service road in Chennai while a Corporation lorry was sucking out the muck from a manhole…I was irritated until I saw, coming out of the manhole, a sanitary worker covered from head to foot in muck….he physically threw out a lot of the crap before the suction pipe in the lorry got to work.

There are people who do this for a living…and I just read the latest issue of India Today’s offshoot for luxury lovers, which describes, amongst other things, staying in ice hotels, and cars that cost the earth (quite literally, given their petrol consumption)….how can such things co exist?

Just got, by co-incidence, several emails complimenting me on different things. Got to wondering about the days after my death….feeling chirpy as I thought of the number of compliments I would get…but soon came back to earth as I also thought of the number of not-so-good things that many of my acquaintances would think, but not say, so that the old custom of “speak no evil of the dead” could be observed!

In Tamil Nadu, however, it looks as if the motto is “speak no evil”….every Chettiar worth his name has a “chinna Veedu”, and cities have their red-light districts… teenage and unwed pregnancies abound, and female foetuses are aborted….but our Tamil ladies are sisters to the whole world and are SO pure and wonderfully chaste that just HEARING about Khushboo talking about the necessity of safe sex will pollute them.

This reminds me of the wag who was told that Miss X fainted dead away on hearing a cuss word. He quipped, “But how did the pure sweet young lady know what it was?”

The Sin of Pride…

November 24, 2005

Felt wonderful when I saw the pictures of shortingiangirl and chaibacca‘s Deepavali party….all the cooking for 20 people, all the decorations, and all the cleaning up…

Then the thought was tempered by my next-door neighbour flying off to be near her brother, whose 7 year old was critically ill in hospital.

So…instead of pride in my child alone…let me remember also, how lucky I am to have healthy, happy children who are well-adjusted adults. And let me take any chance I can to help someone less fortunate than myself. As the wonderful phrase has it….”There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

The child is out of the ICU and responding to medication….but still very weak. But now the parents are full of hope. It was hepatitis C…or a complicated malarial fever…will wait for my friends to bring back details. Taking care of her children while she has been away has been very easy..

Wonderful to have good families….

November 22, 2005

Just established contact on Skype with my daughter’s mother in law on Skype and had a nice chat….how lovely it is that they are “just like us” and people whom we got along with famously from the first day 5 years ago that we met!

Our relationship, as “Sambandhi”s, is shorn of the usual expectations and I-am-superior-you-are-inferior status things that vitiate such a relationship in Indian culture sometimes. They care about my daughter and I feel very much at home with them.

Long may it last!

Learnt a lesson…

November 21, 2005

Read the LJ post of shortindiangirl…and learnt a lesson. Am deleting a negative post which I had made, and trying to delete it from my mind and heart as well…it is a good lesson, not to give way to negative thoughts….I hope I will keep learning!

Hanuman…

November 17, 2005

Enjoyed the animation movie quite a lot…I did wonder what the dialogue would have been like in English! Great effort to bring mythology to the people, especially children. Alas, the theatre was sparsely populated….

I lost my heart to the poster of Baby Hanuman hung at the PVR Theatre. Want to ask the owners if they can let me have it when the movie goes away….

Going to see a London-troupe production of Measure for Measure, one of Shakespeare’s less-known plays, tomorrow at Ranga Shankara. Sat and read the play just now. The man’s mastery of psychology is amazing. The play is about a man who is to be put to death for sleeping with and impregnating a girl…when his sister goes to plead his cause, the magistrate says that if she sleeps with him he will pardon her brother. Things haven’t changed over the centuries!

Quote from the play that could be written for today’s judiciary, and for Bangalooru Mahanagara Palike:

“Thieves for their robbery have authority

When judges steal themselves.” (Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 175/6, Measure for Measure)

They make life difficult for you…

November 13, 2005

Most of our systems in India operate on tbe British Raj system..that is, we are in positions of some power or advantage, so let us harass the consumer and make things as difficult as possible.
And how wonderful in today’s world…it’s not just true when WE have to collect money from them…it is even true when they are SELLING things.

I went to PVR theatres in Forum Mall today, having ascertained from the paper that a certain movie I was interested in (you want details? OK, it is the animation movie Hanuman, the visuals of which have captivated me.) was listed as running for the entire coming week. I asked for tickets to a show on Wednesday (today being Sunday.) I was told that I would have to come back tomorrow. Why? They would only sell tickets up to Tuesday. Why? No answer. I had to check with a friend of mine if Tuesday was OK with her (our agreement was to go to the movie together on Wednesday) and I had to leave the queue and make a phone call to her. She agreed to Tuesday, and I rejoined the queue and asked for tickets on Tuesday. The guy at the counter (the same one!) said calmly, “Tuesday…sold out, Madam.” I then made a noise and asked WHY, if they had advertised the movie for the coming week, I could not get tickets in advance. The reply to this from the supervisor, to whom I went, was, “We are expecting that some regional language films may get released on Tuesday, in which case this movie will stop running. We will know about this only tomorrow. So we cannot sell you tickets for Wednesday until tomorrow.”
To get to PVR, I must either take an auto or spend on petrol and time and go there and pay the ten rupee parking (They NEVER pick up their phone at the booking counter) and perhaps be turned away again.

God bless our mindsets. Let the customer run around, if not him, there are a million others whom we can sell to.

Why should this happen…

November 10, 2005

When I go to browser preferences and choose English each time, why, when I open LJ, am I faced with things like “Lekh sampaadith karen” and “kootshabd”….I don’t want my LJ in Hindi!!

Someone help this poor techignoramus…

All about K

November 9, 2005

Hey, this K is a 22-K …

The K stands for kalyan. We had originally met him when he had just joined as a naturalist at B R Hills, with Jungle Lodges and Resorts, one of the best wildlife safari-venue operations that I have seen…amazing that it is a Govt. of Kanrataka venture.

Madhu Kurup was with him at the startup of Yahoo! India and had pointed us in his direction, so much so that we impulsively decided on BR Hills because he was there. It was, for all practical purposes, shortindiangirl and chaibacca‘s honeymoon, but we were tagging along as we all wanted to spend time together. Kalyan was sick at the time and was running a temperature, but we could not mistake his enthusiasm for wildlife and we had a great time. I was quite impressed that he had chosen to leave the beaten path for a time at least, when he could afford to do so, rather than “get ahead” in the rat race.

Over a period of time, I have been following his LJ entries and his great talents as a wildlife photographer were appreciated by hundreds of other readers too. He has taken the only known picture of the Oriental Bay Owl, right here in Karnataka….go to his LJ and go through his pictures, I don’t need to tell you how breathtaking they are. I wish I knew how to post the link to some of his pictures…but I guess all you need to do is to go to his LJ and see them.

I suppose I also always knew that his IT skills were also above the ordinary…but just how much so they were, was revealed to me when he came over to meet us today. The guy won a “superstar” award in Yahoo….with 2 business class tickets to the US (with stay in a fancy hotel and chauffeur-driver limousine to boot…OK, after the allotted no. of days he decided to stay on and the boot was, he says, literally applied…the carriage disappeared like the pumpkin of Cinderella’s did at midnight, and he and his mother, who had gone with him, were back to multiply-each-dollar-by-45 reality.)

He brought his laptop over and I had a wonderful time looking at a lot of his photographs, including some that are posted on his LJ. He seems to have absorbed an amazing amount during his time as a naturalist….and a lot of it is documented in those fabulous photographs. Kalyan..I wish you would post many, many more of your pics on your LJ.

He has also had the courage to set up on his own and the enterprise seems to be doing reasonably well too. He still finds time to answer the call of nature a little differently from the way most Indians answer it…off he slips into the jungle, whenever time permits.

He is as fascinated by a spider in a REAL website as he is by his various encounters with tigers and leopards. His pictures of the delicate tints of wild impatiens flowers are as much a treat to see as his snaps of snakes and gaur. I couldn’t appreciate the technical details of camera,lens,flash and zoom…I was just reacting to the snaps themselves, and the fascinating stories that came with each photo.

He looked at my spouse’s camera and its latest look-like-Apollo-11-lunar-module lenses, and really appreciated them. They happily talked camerese for a while, and then other gizmese…he talked about buying an MP3 player and then breaking it open for the 5 gb card inside ( I hope I have the details correct!)

Later on in the visit, he talked about more general things, the general hypocrisy, over-expectation, and prudery that governs the Indian social scene, and we compared our opinions on several things…I like the way he is matter-of-fact about himself and his various abilities…he almost makes me forget how unusual a guy he is!

If he is representative of the new Indian generation…well..I am really glad. But I still think that his kind is not very common here, alas.

More power to your efforts, Kalyan, and to your camera…and looking forward to the next trip to the forests that we can make with you and the knowledge you have gained about wildlife. I had a great day…thank you! Your parents must be so proud of you….and so must Noella!

friends’ blogs…

November 7, 2005

reading friends’ blogs is such a great, non-intrusive way of updating myself on what’s happening in their lives….but this is assuming that they are regular with their updates!

It’s STILL raining in Blr…the govt says it will take up its alleged road repairs only after the rains…have the powers that be thought of how countries like Britain keep their roads in shape?

Surreal quality to the festival….

November 2, 2005

How different is reality from what we plan….The day before Deepavali we spent downstairs bursting crackers with my neighbours’ family and the newlywed couple, who traditionally spend the festival with the bride’s parents. We went to sleep at 11.30 pm and an hour later got a call that one of our friends in the family quiz group that we belong to, had died of a sudden and massive heart attack, at the age of 51. We went there and did a lot of arrangements as a tremendously shocked wife and daughter just could not cope. We returned home at 5 am and slept till 8.30, when I lit the lamps without feeling in the least festive.

I called my sis in law to speak to her before she left for Mumbai to visit her family; she told me that my childhood friends’ father (both the parents and the son and daughter live in Bangalore) had passed away the previous night and that since they got the answering machine at our place they thought we were still in the US.

My friends’ father was over 70 and his death didn’t strike me as tragic in the way that the younger man’s did, with teenaged children and the mother, and aged parents, left to fend for themselves. The guy refused to take care of himself after he had a heart attack several years ago and lived, ate,smoked and drank to the hilt. He had a quick exit…but his duties to his family remain unfulfilled.

It is strange situation, in that since these are friends and not relatives one has to carry on with one’s festival and receive visitors as usual when one is not feeling at all in the mood for it…

Well, by now I am reconciling to the fact that such opposite things do co-exist in the real world and we have to deal with it. We decided not to visit either family in the evening but visited other friends who were celebrating. Tomorrow we will visit the bereaved families.

Weird how I could spend a festive evening while my mind was still running on the time when my husband had his heart attack and how easily things could have turned out very differently if we had not been lucky….

I am in such a funny frame of mind. I cannot articulate how I feel right now; it’s all mixed-up and strange….one of the weirdest festival days of my life.