Monday, December 31, 2007


And so its another new year. The usual New Year wishes of "prosperity", "may your dreams come true", "new goals", "new hopes", "happiness", etc gets passed from one to another, to mark the occasion and celebrate and cheer.

But I guess I have become cynical. Whatever's gonna happen is gonna happen anyway, and the above wishes just remain on paper as wishes. India won the 20-20 World Cup in 2007 and I hadnt even dreamt about it and it gave utmost happiness. But in the same year, I lost my maternal grandparents in a tragic car accident which caused a permanent blackhole. There were lots of things which I hoped for in 2007 but didnt happen and there were lots of good things that happened which I hadnt expected.

Goals, hopes, prosperity, achievements, dreams.....yeah, yeah. Heavy words.

Alright, lets turn the page for this new chapter. And see what its going to offer. More importantly, what I am going to do in it!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

An Indian Queue

To a great possible extent, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam authorities have ensured that queue is structured and have maintained steel barricades for miles together. This, in effect, metaphorically speaking, is like having the dog on the leash.

However, at certain places, this structured queue is not constructed, plainly because of the lack of such expected population. Even so, there are times when the human queue extends the constructed structured queue.

I don’t think I will be wrong when I say that we Indians in India are pathetic when it comes to following an unmanned queue. Even though this seems to be a generalized statement, the actual culprit is only roughly about 20% of the actual Indian population. I have spent considerable time in the United States to further generalize that people in US (including Indians) are so well-mannered and well cultured that they really do not need any leash to handle human or vehicular traffic on their own.

I mean, there we are standing in the queue to obtain the darshan of the most coveted Hindu lord. One would think we are standing in the queue out of devotion, of piety, and upholding the much-talked-about “rich Indian tradition and culture.” But when I saw the people jostling, hustling, bustling, knocking people down, stampeding, jumping queues with an impish grin, looking for short-cuts, shouting unnecessarily, it hardly looked as if we in the queue were upholding any of India’s culture or mannerisms. If anything, this has become our culture, of knocking brethren down to one’s own glorification.

But, surely, that is no glorification? Deep within one’s heart, isn’t it clear that jumping queues is a bad thing to do?! And that too in Tirumala?! Aren’t we in Tirumala to cure ourselves of the bad things we did in the first place?! We might be religious, but are we cultured, well-mannered?

The queue seems more like a marathon. With TTD’s agonizing system of bottling and penting up people in boxes of human cage, and also in queues, the whole thing goes even more awry. It is common knowledge that anything which is pent up, like the spray of a soda bottle, surges out like volcanic lava. So, when such a bottled neck is opened, there is nothing but an absolute commotion and stampede. The mass of humanity, the old and the middle-aged, the teens and the babies, all merge together as if we are creating a nuclear fusion! The stinking sweat and the massive rude crowd lessen the iota of devotion, chastity and spirituality that one actually goes to Tirumala for.

But I guess the queue in TTD is just a simile for age-old world-famous Indian traffic woes. The way people honk till you get deaf, the way people make you blind by never dimming on a 2-way road with no median and the way they make you scream at them and show your clenched fists with set teeth! All in the name of rushing ahead, of overtaking, of occupying space before you do, of not waiting, and in short, of uncivilized behavior.

Often I had stood in vehicular queues in US, such as a busy intersection of 4-way crossroad which was unmanned and had no traffic lights. Vehicles are lined up on all the 4 roads to a great extent and there is no one to guide who should go and who should stop. Naturally, the common sense prevails, but more importantly, the culture stands out. Vehicles which have come first, go first. But more significantly, vehicles which haven’t come first, give way for the vehicles which came before them. There is not a single honk. It is an automated system of civilized behavior. It is even a pleasure to be a part of it, of contributing to the naturally man-made synchrony without a maestro. Nobody needs to be taught this nor can this be taught. It should be imbibed and enacted to perfection.

When such a system prevails, when such common sense prevails, when there is no need for a traffic policeman with a baton to leash the neck, that is when a nation can be called "cultured" and "civilized". Probably, even "developed".

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Navaratna's Navaratnas - II

...contd from Part-I.

One must get creative about living.

One must dream about what one wants out of life.

There is nothing wrong to demand more out of life.

It really does not matter what in life brings it to you - if it is what you want.

Our meaning in life is both personal and communal.

Nothing is a waste if the experience is used wisely.

Remember that no one is against you; it is their system that is speaking.

We find great solace in attributing meaning to life's events; Man's obsession for reason.

The departed near and dear ones will always live with you in your thoughts, actions and ideas.

"Must See" - I

I have been getting quite a lot of requests to suggest some "Must See" movies. I have been fortunate enough to have seen some good movies over the last 3 years which I myself brand as "Must See". So I thought I might as well start a chain, and share the names as and when I see. This is the first of the series:

1. These are strictly my personal recommendations and personal choice. Just dont want to encourage any debate on personal likings.
2. Currently very few Hindi movies fall in this category. Hence restricted myself to just list down English ones for now.

Schindler's list
The Italian job
Rat race
To be or not to be
The Shawshank redemption
The Terminal
The English patient
Enemy at the gates
The shape of things
Road to perdition
Requiem of a dream
Pulp fiction
Reservoir dogs
City of god (cidade de deus)
The green mile
Last of the Mohicans
The patriot
Clockwork orange
Cinderella man
Patch Adams
21 grams
A few good men
The constant gardner
Rabbit-proof fence
Good fellas
Gods must be crazy - I
Gods must be crazy - II
Men of honor
The usual suspects
Hotel Rwanda
Before sunset
Before sunrise
Blood Diamonds
October sky
Amores Perros (Love’s a bitch)
Lock, stock and 2 smoking barrels
Glory Road
Courage under fire
The Bourne Identity
The Bourne Supremacy
The Bourne Ultimatum
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Mask of Zorro
An Inconvenient Truth

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


This snap was taken by my uncle in the hotel room he stayed in Riyadh for a short duration. My uncle had a habit to listen to Harikathaamruthasaara (Divine story of God: through chanting) - stored in the laptop - every morning.

Every time he switched on the chanting, a pigeon came and sat near the window (visible in the middle of the snap). It always stayed for the entire duration of the chanting, and as soon as the chanting got done, it flew away.

Fascinating, isnt it?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

60 Tonnes on my name!

~Thanks to Janet (and of course the sponsors), over 500 trees were planted in and around Koramangala this weekend.
~Yours truly contributed to absorption of 60 tonnes of CO2.
~"If we do not take action now, there will be no ice in Arctic by 2013 summer" (TOI Dec 13th)
~Came across these sites to battle global warming. An excellent initiative by a city that is always united in its approach. Be it hours after a terrorist attack. Or to make this world a better place.
~As I read recently in an open source software's readme doc: "If you like this software, I suggest donate generously to the betterment of the society. The world doesn't have to be a bad place." How simply and succinctly put!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No one's fault, yet...

There were 3 seats in the bus when I boarded. First one in the middle of the bus, the empty seat being in between the aisle and the window; Second one being almost at the end, again between the aisle and the window; And the third one at the very last. The second one seemed good because the aisle and window passengers were relatively slim compared to the first. Nothing much to choose between the first and the third in terms of space except that third was bumpier due to its geographical position in the bus but had more leg space.

So when I saw the first empty seat, I rejected it because of the heftiness of the passengers on the aisle and window seats. I proceeded to the second one, which seemed to be the best. But as I neared, I realized that somebody had put a bag there. Which meant the seat was reserved by someone, who had perhaps just gone out to get some air. When I had already come thus far, I decided to forego the first seat and opted for the last seat, and risk the bumps with extended leg space.

Within a few minutes of me having occupied the last seat, 2 members boarded the bus. The first member saw two empty seats now, and, like me, decided for the second one and moved towards it. Meanwhile, the second member who had boarded, seeing that the first person forewent the first seat and was going for the second seat, had no choice but to squash down in the first seat.

Now, when the first member came towards the apparently empty second seat, like me, saw the reserved bag, and realized that there was no seat here. But unlike me, she didn’t have any other seat. And she realized to her horror, that the seat which she had just foregone also was now occupied. Which meant, there were no seats for her to sit on in the entire bus, although there was actually, in effect, one seat when she had initially boarded the bus which ideally should have belonged to her! She was left with no choice but to alight and choose another bus where perhaps she would get a seat.

Considering the situation, and the plight of the victim, one couldn’t blame the victim because the victim was just trying to get the best seat; one couldn’t blame the person who had reserved the seat because such a scenario couldn’t have been foreseen; one couldn’t blame the second person who boarded the bus for having taken the first seat because, for all practical purposes, the first person gave up this seat to go for something else which the second person doesn’t know that its reserved and first person didn’t get it eventually! Clearly, no one’s at fault, and yet, there was a victim in the whole scheme of the things.

Does this imply that the first opportunity you get, you should grab? Does this imply that the person who alighted, got a better opportunity later, going with the axiom of ‘All for good’?

It wasn’t too difficult for me to appreciate the bigger simile in life.

Finding Yourself

When you find yourself
In some far off place,
And it causes you
To rethink some things.
You start to sense
That slowly you’re becoming someone else
And then you find yourself.

When you make new friends
In a brand new town,
And you start to think
About settling down,
The things that would have been lost on you
Are now clear as a bell.
And you find yourself
That’s when you find yourself.

Well you go through life
So sure of where you’re heading,
And you wind up lost
And it’s the best thing that could happen.
‘Cause sometimes when you lose your way
It’s really just as well.
‘Cause you find yourself;
That when you find yourself.

When you meet the one
You’ve been waiting for,
And she’s everything
That you want and more,
You look at her
And you finally start
To live for someone else.
And then you find yourself;
That’s when you find yourself.

We go through life
So sure of where we’re heading,
And then we wind up lost
And it’s the best thing that could happen.
Sometimes when you lose your way
It’s really just as well.
Because you find yourself;
Yeah that’s when you find yourself.

Such a beautiful lyrics. From the movie Cars.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Remembering "Eyebrows"...



Elaine: What, you don't think she's beautiful?
Jerry: I don't know, what's with the eyebrows?
Elaine: You know, women kill for eyebrows like that. Do you know that? I mean women pluck their real eyebrows out of their head, one by one, until they're bald, Jerry. Bald above the eyes! And then they paint in these eyebrows to look like that.


George: What does she look like?
Jerry: She's good looking.
George: How good looking?
Jerry: Very good looking.
George: Really good looking?
Jerry: Really very good looking.
George: What about the body, what kind of body?
Jerry: Good body, nice body.
George: How nice?
Jerry: Nice.
George: Just nice?
Jerry: Pretty nice.
George: Really good?
Jerry: Really very nice and good.
George: What about personality?
Jerry: Good personality. Funny. Bright.
George: Smarter than me? I don't want anyone smarter than me.
Jerry: How could she be smarter than you?
George: What kind of hair?
Jerry: You know, long dark hair.
George: Flowing?
Jerry: Flowing?
George: Is it flowing? I like flowing, cascading hair. Thick lustrous hair isvery important to me. (scratching his balding hair!)
Jerry: 'Thick lustrous hair is very important to me,' is that what you said?
George: What about the skin? I need a good cheek, I like a good cheek.
Jerry: She's got a fine cheek.
George: Is there a pinkish hue?
Jerry: A pinkish hue?
George: Yes, a rosy glow.
Jerry: There's a hue. She's got great eyebrows, women kill to have her eyebrows.
George: Who cares about eyebrows?


Closing monologue.

Have you ever fixed anybody up? Why do we do it? Why? You thought they would have a good time. And a little power trip for you, isn't it? Now, you're playing god. Of course god was the first person to fix people up. He fixed up Adam and Eve. You know, I'm sure he said to Adam, "She's nice. She's very free about her body, doesn't really wear that much. She was going out with a snake, I think that's over though."


Here is the complete script for all episodes of Seinfeld. As Shady rightly put it, Friends is like Basic Java; Seinfeld is like Advanced Java!!

Remembering "Life backwards"...

"The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A death. What's that, a bonus?!? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you go live in an old age home. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, then, when you start work, you get a gold watch on your first day. You work forty years until you are young enough to enjoy your retirement.You drink alcohol, you party and you get ready for high school. You go to primary school,you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities. You become a little baby. You go back, you spend your last 9 months floating with luxuries like central heating, spa, room service on tap. Then you finish off as an orgasm!! Amen!"

Popularised as George Costanza's take on life in Seinfeld. One of the best unforgettable quotes I have ever read...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Worst Weekend...

The never-ending cough...
The confines of the workspace...
The feeling of being almost on top...
Yet never succeeding...

The blackness in the clouds...
The animosity in the air...
The heaviness in the heart...
The pathless future...

The unfinished food...
The after- (or is it mid-) dinner walk...
The pitying yet never failing Orion and Centaurus...
The sleepness night...

The lost smiles...
The 24x2 silence...

The walk in the noon...
The contemplation amidst the greenery...

And then, the silver lining...
The light at the end of the tunnel...
The lightness of the heart...
The sweet smell of freedom...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Full Moon

There is nothing more beautiful than a full moon...

Photo Courtesy: Swati Pathak, 24th Nov'2007 at Agram army camp

Friday, November 30, 2007

Irony of the day

There I am, thinking about my life, in general.
And then, coincidentally, I get this sms:

Everyone starts out with a full bag of luck and an empty bag of experience.
The trick is to fill the bag of experience before the luck runs out!

I guess that was just God's way of smiling at me...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jan 25-28 1988

A set of hot, spicy Ambodes sold on the footpath made way to my home, courtesy dad, packed in a piece of paper. Although there was nothing to take away from the Ambodes themselves, the piece of paper was far more interesting.

It seemed to belong to a teenaged gal’s diary dated Jan 25-28 1988. The handwriting was beautiful and legible although the grammar was as expected from any teenaged student. The 2 pages were more engrossing than anything I had ever read recently.

It talked of the previous day’s test, current day’s exam and the next day’s apprehension. It spoke of a girl’s fluttering feelings for her boyfriend in the class who hadn’t mysteriously come to school.

It spoke of the Republic Day celebrations and the associated march-past and exercise drills. It spoke of her embarrassing monthly problem and the dreaded white skirt. It spoke of how she was trying to see her boyfriend desperately in the huge group of boys.

When the space for the current day got over, she spilled over the next day’s section and negotiated by writing in a smaller font. The Republic Day holiday section came as a relief for there was nothing much to write. But a one-liner as to how well she studied for the next day.

It then talks about how well she had done her test, but yet depending on her fate for teacher giving good marks. It confesses about her talking bad about her friend’s boyfriend. And the retaliated outburst from her friend to her own boyfriend stating ‘he will get blood cancer, lung cancer, TB, etc’ which makes her worry because her own boyfriend is not in school today too.

It spoke about how she hadn’t spoken to one of her friends for the last 2 weeks and suddenly spoke to her today because it was her birthday. And how nice she felt when her birthday gift was appreciated by all. Followed by the treat to which the birthday gal’s boyfriend didn’t come.

It spoke about how she suddenly felt the closeness with the birthday gal friend. It observed the subtleness as to how the birthday gal’s boyfriend suddenly was sitting far away in the classroom from her and was flirting with ‘that beautiful fatso,’ how desperately the birthday gal was trying to attract attention, laughing at his jokes, etc, and yet the guy kept looking at the fatso.

And there it ended. Just 4 days in 2 pages with so much spice, and the whole gamut of teenage emotions, written in that beautiful school language, shifting from one topic to another, from one friend to another, in back-to-back sentences, complete from being studious, to fearing teenaged embarrassment, to secret pleasure of having a boyfriend, to making opinions about other girls’ boyfriends! Reminded me a little of The Diary of Anne Frank.

But there was one other observation in this single sheet of paper. Wherever she has spoken of her boyfriend and used the words “He”, she has smudged it to a “She” so as to give the impression that she was talking about just another girl, just in case someone happened to read her diary. But this sham is so amateurish that the smudging is done in a completely different pen and also, in a single sentence, some of the “He”s are not even smudged! But this innocent cover-up and mistake added even more charm to the whole thing.

Its a fascinating thought that something like this happened in 1988 and I came to read about it almost 20 years later, of someone whom I do not, nor will I ever know. Although the names of the friends, boyfriends are mentioned, the diary owner's name isnt mentioned anywhere, unlike Anne Frank's.

Overall, an enthralling read, and brought back memories of ‘those good old days’ of both being in school, and writing diaries!

Monday, November 26, 2007

A perfect weekend

This Friday...
…It being Thanksgiving Day at onsite, comparatively less work at offshore. Fridays generally have a festive mood, and today it was even more so, due to the plans for the evening.
Om Shanti Om at PVR. The latest SRK hit. It was an enjoyable movie, and with the right crowd, its really fun. Had a great time! Also, it was my first time at PVR, after a long wait!

This Saturday…
…Vocal class after a very long time, thanks to my sore throat and cough.
…Domestic chores and relaxation with intermittent Indo-Pak cricket First Test updates. Indians always seemed on top!
...Speaking of Indians, saw a nice movie called World's Fastest Indian.
…A wonderful Carnatic vocal concert at Gayana Samaja by TN Seshagopalan.
...Chatted with a number of friends on a variety of interesting topics:
a) Shared a few laughs with Ashwini on 'I-spy' (commonly mistaken for ice-spice) and her new list of goof-ups!
b) Plan A (new company after MBA) and Plan B (Infy after MBA) conversation with Preetham!
c) Marriage, and its intricacies, pros and cons, with Mayur.
d) With the Rich Woman about Andrea!
e) Status update with Harini!
f) 'This is who I am', with Rashmi!
g) US and its likes, dislikes, with Achala.
Of course, a chat always makes life interesting!

This Sunday…
…Nothing can compare to a game of shuttle early morning. November’s chill and clear blue sky added that much more to the beauty of the game.
…A long ride in the Kine to KR Puram in the hope of doing something for the world to combat the global warming. This makes another interesting read on GW. Volunteered to plant some saplings which will grow into fine trees and hopefully save lives in future. Doing good never fails to bring happiness.
…Kadari Gopalnath’s Saxophone concert in Gayana Samaja, accompanied by excellent artistes like Kanyakumari on Violin, Amruth on Khanjira, Hari Kumar on Mridanga and Rajashekhar on Morching. The tempo and pace was unheard of and unbelievable and spectacular.
...The Pink Panther does, as always, a hilarious justice to Inspector Clouseau.

All in all, I cannot ask for a better weekend. Less work at office, nice movies, my vocal practice, Indo-Pak cricket match that always somehow tilted favorably, experts’ classical concerts, great chat conversations, a beautiful outdoor game and a gratifying task of planting trees, with the only regret being I couldn’t practice Violin!

Well, I was reminded of this, and I am hoping for more such weekends!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Sweetness in the air
Zephyr in the winds

Blueness in the sky
Freshness of the dew

Chirpiness of the birds
Liveliness of the kid

Smile on the lips
Spright in the gait

Lightness of the heart
Fullness of life

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Happy Diwali!

Thanks to Diwali, it seems more than half of Bangalore is empty.

Compared to this, it took just 25 minutes to office and 25 mintues back to home today.

As Times Of India rightly said, we are not stuck in a traffic jam. We are the traffic jam...

Anyway, Happy Diwali...!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Life is a show

It is but a known fact, and an old phrase, that “this world is a stage and we, the people, are the actors”. While, to an extent, we might be construed somewhat as “puppets on chains”, it still remains true enough that puppets are indeed the main heroes of the show.

To be more metaphorically specific, we are all in this frenzy real-time show that’s occurring as I write this. Each one is playing his part, some to perfection, and some trying to excel, some falter midway, some are just there, as “supporting actors”.

Beginning from our birth, to our first steps, to our first words, to our first two-word sentences, every action is worthy of an applause and a reason to smile. So, while the kids dumbly watch with the expression of “what’s-going-on”, people around are actually all smiles and clapping about on the minute yet significant development!

In schools, we are constantly examined, graded in areas like academics, sports, skills, and, although, each has his own caliber, it is true that each has his own unique niche. And then, from Undergrad to Grad to Bachelors, as each progress in his own domain, the show gets stronger and stronger, with the audience praising one’s “upcoming-in-life”.

And then, some get into respectable professions, some carry on the academic pursuit and do their Masters, PhDs, MBAs, and once done, join even more awing jobs. So, for an imaginary audience, in fact, each one, in his own way, is putting up a brilliant laudable show!

It doesn’t stop there. On the personal front, people get married, and have kids. Job, which was number one priority for last half a decade suddenly, takes a back seat. The lovely kid cuddling in the arm is far more precious than anything ever construed till date! One gets to hear ‘Congratulations’ everywhere. Its “happy time” again, and all smiles around! In effect, it’s actually a “nice show” that we are putting up!

The phase and cycle takes a twist now. While as a parent, it is not just about sustenance of the family that counts, it’s more importantly, the upbringing of the child and making the child competent amongst its peers. When the kid stands on the stage of an auditorium jam packed with audience, and enacts a drama, full of innocent flaws, the parent cannot help but laugh. But when the same audience gives a rupturing ovation, the parent is flooded with pride!

And thus, it goes on and on. Men have come and men have gone, and men will keep coming and keep going, but the show goes on forever! Without actually knowing, we are all, in our own way, creating history, making positive strides towards a life in which we are actually successful, and a life, for which, many others are happy for us, and are internally applauding. For, it is a show that we are in, and making it a grand success!

However, all good things have to come to an end and so does the “time” for each one of us on the “stage.” But, as they say, “the show must go on.”

So, as long as we are on stage, we must always remember that there is an invisible audience watching us and wanting us to make them happy! Of course, we all love Truman, don’t we? So, let’s make the show a huge success, and while we are at it, let’s have a rollicking time!!

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand, strawberries in the other, body all worn and used, screaming “Whoo hooo what a ride!" - Lynds

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Thursday, for me, like for most others, is synonymous to the ‘Raghavendra Swamy’ day. It is said that Raghavendra Swamy, one of the most popular saints in 17th century, with main Brindavan in Manthralaya, entered the Brindavan on a Thursday, and thereon, Thursdays are said to be good days. A day, for me, of visiting the Mutt, if in vicinity.

It’s funny how it began in the first place. Being like most others, I truly believed, and still do, in fact, that one’s interpretation of the Supreme is in one’s mind. With God well and truly within one’s own mind, there really is no need to visit places of religious faith and worship, like temples or Mutts. But there occurred a small yet significant incident in my life which revolutionized my Thursdays.

It was a time when I was in my teens. I was suffering from an illness for quite some time. I used to suffer continuously on and off and no medication seemed to immunize me. My body, in a way, had become extremely sensitive. It was on one such occasion that my mom, exasperated about my health, remarked on one fine Thursday that I should visit the Mutt (which happens to be in the vicinity of my house) every Thursday, like how she does. I dismissed the remark and waved the suggestion away. Told her, God is in one’s mind. It’s not really necessary to visit temple to pray and thank the Lord.

Back then, (sometimes even now, in fact) if I was stuck in a tough spot, and wanted to choose something, I would ask Him, and I expected Him to reply in a way I chose. Like for instance, if I had a choice between A and B, I would associate a current event’s outcome to either A or B, and thus, obtained His response to my quandary. So, when my mom told me about visiting the Mutt every Thursday, it left me in a dilemma. So I had a personal conversation with Him in my own way and asked Him if he really wanted me to visit Him every week. And since, there was India v Sri Lanka ODI series cricket match going on, I associated His response as No if India won the series and Yes if India didn’t. India lost. Hence, I started going to the Raghavendraswamy Mutt every Thursday from thereon!

Although, initially, I used to go more for the sake of it than anything else, it gradually grew onto me, and now I am in a state in which, just like how some look forward to Friday night boozing, I look forward to Thursday morning Mutt visit! The visit to the Mutt brings unto me a serenity and peacefulness and calmness, as if someone putting a Healing Hand on my head. It’s really got nothing specifically with any one God or Saint, but it is more of a weekly status update (and off-loading of heaviest burdens!) with the Creator, and his Healing companionship! I do not stay there for long, it might just be about for about 10-20 minutes and in that span of time, I feel refreshed, rejuvenated and rekindled!

Due to office constraints, the coming-home-time becoming unpredictable, I made it a habit to visit the Mutt early in the morning before heading off to office. At 7 am, the Mutt is pretty much empty. The priest is washing the idol (It somehow gives this metaphorical feeling that everything that is bad is being washed away). The old flowers are being removed, and new ones being put. The decoration invariably is always innovative. The place is clean and tidy. And quiet, the quintessential part of feeling one with Him. There is a low hum of a religious chant which enchants me during the pradikshanas after the theerth and manthrakshath, followed by the genuflections reflecting life’s push-ups, of the effort needed by Man to survive and excel. There is a beautiful smiling photo of the Swamy in front of whom one can sit and enter the realm of the Universe where the land is peaceful and white and above the clouds, filled with utmost silence yet an atmosphere of joviality and frolic, of kids playing around merrily, of innocence flowing from everywhere, of a place where there is no ill-will or negativity. In that state of meditation, it is almost as if you are one with the Universe, and somehow, automatically, you will be left with a smile on your lips!

At times, I am forced to visit in the evening. Although the serenity of the early morning is lost in the evening crowd’s hustle-bustle, the evening has its own charm. The Mutt will be brightly lit. The crowd adds to the geniality of the situation. The instrumentalists add festivity to the day. The standard chanting of the slokas. The idol being taken around the sanctum sanctorum for three times. The idol being kept on the swing, juxtaposed with the singing of my favorite ‘Thoogire Rayara, Thoogire Gurugala…’ And the Aarthis, one after the other, done by the priest in a devout and disciplined manner, replete with respect, amidst the resounding and reverberating bells. It is almost as if one is purified just by one’s presence, in mind and thought! I then proffer a small offering to the Hundi with traditional saying of ‘Kereya neeranu kerege challi…’ The same goodbye of ‘See you, same time, same place, same day, next week’, sometimes added with ‘At least, at a more appropriate time’ if something is amiss! And another small offering to my ‘friend’ on the streets watching my slippers! That ends the Thursday routine!

I missed it as long as I was in US, but a time has come now wherein I just cannot miss the visit if I am in hometown. Whether it is raining, or I am swamped with work. Come to think of it, even if it is my own brother’s wedding! If I happen to come home at 10 pm, dead exhausted, and it is raining, my mom, who was the main driver behind this whole thing, forbids me to go, but I wouldn’t dream of missing.

I still suffer some illness or the other on and off. My body is still sensitive. I still feel there is no real need to visit temples or Mutts because one’s interpretation of God or of Supreme or of Creator is in one’s own mind and subject to individualistic opinion and views. However, for me, Thursdays have added charm and purity to life. Something, I very much to look forward to, every week…

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Write-up published!

There were a lot of edits and lot of cuts and lot of additions and sentence modifications...
Yet, felt nice when what I had written about the project's 5 year completion came up on the Infosys' intranet home page...

Hail India!

India is known for its culture and traditions. While the same culture and traditions have rather taken a back seat in India itself, it is a pleasure to see the big strides Indian culture is growing in other parts of the world, thanks to the young Indians spread all over. Every other day, I get a mail about some of my friends participating in a religious celebration in the respective place one is staying, be it Sweden, be it Switzerland, Australia, UK or US, even though they would not have done anything when they were in India!

Chanting of Vishnusahasranama, Yoga, Ganapathi celebrations, Diwali fire crackers, Independence day, Navarathri Garba, classical music renditions is all done more religiously in US than in India with more participation!

While, India is getting more and more Westernised, West is getting more and more Easternised! A cultural balance, huh?!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Saying of the day

"You are leading a perfectly normal life.....and that is exactly what I do not want to do."


Thursday, October 18, 2007

"I miss you"

Lets face it. I knew many friends who happened to be of the opposite gender as mine. And many of those many, have tied the sacred knot. And once such a thing happens, its like a spinner coming onto the crease instead of a paceman, with whom you were used to. Hence, there is a paradigm shift. One needs to change one's stance, one needs to stand within the crease because the wicket-keeper has come up, and you need to re-focus and see how the ball is turning.

In other words, the whole relationship takes a new course. It need not necessarily stop altogether, yet there is a subtle change. And with this change, comes the nostalgia of the good old days, and the immense fun experienced during the yesteryears when a friend was just a friend instead of someone else's wife. And, when a friend is someone else's wife, it is indeed inappropriate to say 'I miss you,' although you indeed feel it.

Well, suffice it to say that when they read this post, they will know that it is meant for them. Every one of them. For old times' sake.

Walked the walk!

Five years of completion in the project.
Almost five years of completion in the company.

The day when we all had awesome fun!
And, of course, the day when I 'walked the walk' for the first time in my life!!
PS: The person with me is Roopa Pai. Event occurred on Oct 11 2007.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Perfect Words

Me and my colleague had just completed a telecon with clients. It was a complicated discussion and seemed to have led nowhere. Plus, some of our questions remained unanswered. But due to time limitation, they had to wind up the meeting. I informed my colleague that we needed to pen down the summary of our understanding (not the minutes, because we were not the meeting organizers nor were we scribes) and highlight the open items in a mail and send it across.

I opened up a blank Outlook mail and started typing. I kept it short and sweet, moved some sentences here and there, edited a few words after review and the mail was ready. It had taken me about 5 minutes to compose the mail, with all the intricate details subtly put and ensuring a speedy response. I looked at my colleague and asked if it was fine, before I could hit the 'Send' button.

My colleague was gaping at me. He said, "I could never have written it so well. How could you manage that?" I felt happily embarrassed. Well, I waved it away as if it was nothing.

Couple of times, my manager comes to me for a write-up on something that he needs, and I will be more than happy to oblige. Of course, if I feel for the topic, there will not be a single review comment. But if I do not like what I am writing, the whole thing ends up in a 'recycle-paper' bin!

But it doesnt mean that I want to be a journalist. Nor do I think I can be a novelist. But I like writing and writing well! Although, I sucked in Verbal section of the GRE. I scored an abysmal 380 out of 800! Yet to come to terms with that!

Not that I am the greatest. When I read some of the blogs, I will be stunned at how well people write, how they play about with the language, the story, the humour and the subtlety. I really feel then that I am no match.

Nor is it that I have a clear cut clarity of thought. I am utterly hopeless when it comes to perspicuous oration. I stutter and stammer, and mix words, tenses, sentences, falter, pick up and, at the end, I am better off being silent. But give me a nice topic and give me a piece of paper and its all glory for me!

To this day, I feel good about what I wrote (impromptu, and with no correction), an essay for the Infosys written test. And I can never forget the 14 page marathon I had written in one shot, small font, with absolutely no mistake (pardon the handwriting though!), on my dear friend Sandhya's farewell diary! I liked it so much so that I requested a xerox of it for myself!!

Recently read somewhere that Ms Sudha Murthy had written a novel on a bride getting leukaemia. This story inspired someone to such an extent that one groom actually went ahead for a marriage with a bride with leukaemia! Truly, this is as good as it can get to a writer! To change someone's life by your words...

Although I cannot change people's lives by writing, it still feels good when I can articulate other people's thoughts into the perfect words and make them say 'Thats exactly what I wanted to say' or 'Thats exactly how I feel about it.' It is nice to see moist eyes when people read some of my touching blogs. It is a warm feeling when someone leaves a comment on the style of writing than the content. For, content is what I feel, and style is all about writing, and writing is an art, and there can be no more happiness for an artist than appreciation of his art...

Let me finish with those Perfect Words...

Monday, October 08, 2007

Lucky to be alive

The aged grandfather is sitting in the middle of the living room. From his vantage point, he can see everybody busy in their own activities. The daughter-in-law cooking in the kitchen. The son talking on the mobile, pacing up and down. The grandson playing with his Diwali cracker gun. The wife going towards the Pooja room. It’s a completely serene, homely atmosphere.

Unfortunately, the grandfather was a victim of a paralytic stroke. The mouth was sagging towards right, the right arm was bent in a crooked angle towards right, and in fact, his whole body was bent towards the right. Such was his condition that he was practically dumb, barely able to mumble. His mind is active and perfectly fine, but his body had betrayed him. The family had accepted his condition and hence, while he sat there, looking at them all, everyone was busy bustling about in their own world.

Presently, the grandfather is looking at his daughter-in-law. He sees her keeping the cooker on the gas stove and switching on the gas knob. She presses the lighter but she is not actually looking at the stove. Because, ten times out of ten, the stove lights up. This time it doesn’t. She thinks the stove is lit and she moves out of the kitchen, her job done.

The grandfather sees the stove not being lit but the gas knob being on. He looks at his son, trying to attract his attention. But the son is busy on the mobile. The daughter-in-law has now gone out of sight. The grandson is playing with Diwali cracker gun but he has run out of the bursting strip of paper. So he is loading the gun. The wife in the Pooja room finds that the diya, small flame of light kept in front of God, has been blown off and she is striking a match stick. With every passing second, the grandfather realizes the horror of the situation, but is helpless. How terrifying it is to see one’s own Death nearing, along with the death of one’s dear ones, but being absolutely helpless about it!

Meanwhile, the liquefied petroleum gas is filling the house, menacingly, unknowingly. Unknowingly, to the physically and mentally sane members of the house but knowingly, to the physically handicapped. The panic builds on the grandfather’s mind. In a few moments, all of them are going to be blown off. And although, he is aware of what was happening, he is in no condition to break this information to others. He could not even scream or move to attract the attention. His immobility was accepted by everyone to be his normal routine. But he was now in a shocked immobility rather than serene immobility.

He again looks at the three members of his dear family within his eyesight. Son is still on the phone. Grandson has now filled the ammunition to his gun. Wife has found the right match strike to light up. He desperately seeks attention but nobody is seeing him. Else, he could have displayed his tension through his eyes and pointed towards the stove. The gas is pouring on, lethally. Panic has built on his mind to the maximum extent. What an irony it is that the only person, who could have saved them all, could not save them due to his handicap.

And then, the grandson pulls the trigger. The wife lights the match stick.

The screen goes blank. And then, the following message comes on the television:

Get ready for the tension.
India Vs Pakistan.
Nov 10th onwards.
Only on Neo Sports.

Phew. What an amazing ad. In just 2-3 minutes, so much is conveyed. The irony of life. The serenity of a middle class family. The family bonding. A simple mistake. The actions of innocent victims. The growing panic. The climax. No conversations. No dialogs, just pure action. Top class stuff!

But on a side note, it reminded me of my narrow escape in life when I was subjected to an almost similar experience some time during engineering. I keep thinking about it often and wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t been lucky.

I had come back from college at about 3, and as was my usual routine, had slept at 4. I would generally wake up by 6 or 6.30 after a fitful siesta. At about the same time, my parents generally close all the house windows to stop the mosquitoes from entering, and lock the house and go for their evening stroll.

This fateful day, I had slept late. My mother, who had gone out in the morning, came back at about 7 and rang the bell. In my groggy state, I found the key with great difficulty, unlocked the main latch, and let my mother enter. She immediately asked what the smell was. We both realized with horror that it was LPG. The whole house was filled with this inflammable gas. Immediately my mother ran and switched the gas stove off and we both opened up all windows possible. The diya in front of the God in the Pooja room was burning and we blew it off.

It wasn’t too difficult to put two and two together. My father had prepared coffee in the evening, forgot to switch the stove gas off, boarded up the windows, locked the door and had gone for evening stroll. And with the diya being on, the rest was just a matter of time. With all due respects to father, it still was a perfect setting for murder, eh?

After sufficient precaution was taken to let the LPG out of the house, I had to sit down to realize how close to Death I was. A simple matter being overlooked had caused such a grave threat to my life.

What if my mother had come home a little late?
What if the diya had set the whole house aflame?

With the main latch being locked and key not in its place, I could never have made it out alive. Perhaps I would be dead even before I had woken up to understand what had happened. The very thought chills me to the bones even to this day…

I am lucky to be alive.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Clouded Mind

It was one of those moments when it seemed the chips were down and the weight of the world was on the shoulders. A scowl-ish frowning face, perplexed eye brows, irritating countenance and defeated strides just about summed me up squarely. The pain points were all around. And pricking at leisure. And having a good laugh about my dancing discomfiture.

As can be extrapolated from the previous post, my vocation is not all that great, what with the conscience hitting me out for justice not being made to either the role or the pay packet. Nor is the job something for which I am cut out for and be proud about. Suddenly, just being a Bachelor doesn’t seem enough.

The threat of marriage looming over my head like a guillotine. “Started searching?” (Pulling Leg), “You are next” (Sneer), “Line clear” (Teethful), “Still single?” (Shocked). Blessed are those who aren’t in this situation.

And then, the “ordinary guy” is having its effects on me. I seem to be stamped with an all-time mediocrity skill level in anything I do. Be it sports or academics or talent or job. My IQ isn’t all that great either. Master of none, is a huge negative point.

So on and so forth.

With a clouded mind, I looked out of my room window. I saw neighbour’s maid clearing out some clothes. I reflected on her life. I had been seeing her since almost a decade now. She had no education. To sustain her life and her family’s, she was into being a house-maid at a very early age. To make ends meet, she catered to a number of houses, and sometimes stayed late during special festivals so that she could earn quick money. Before she would know, she would perhaps be married to a man whom she wouldn’t have set eyes on, however brute of a male he might be. To her, IQ hardly mattered nor could she transform her desire of any sports or talent to any reality.

She didn’t have a career. She had to worry about her next meal everyday as there was always a constant threat of getting fired. Her bleak future had little or no hopes as she didn’t have education. She always wore sad-looking attire.

And here I was, sitting on a comfortable foam-filled mattress-cot with a ceiling fan. I had all other comforts right there. A television set, a laptop, a DVD player, some DVDs, some music CDs, some novels, etc. Most of which she wouldn’t have experienced as one of her own. I have never had to struggle and work to earn my next meal. Compared to the environs from where she was born and circumstances which led her to being what she is, I felt I am zillion times luckier than her but yet, here I was, harping on my pain points.

Clouded mind? Chips down? Weight of the world? Pain points?

Who am I kidding.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Saturday through Tuesday

Days prior to Saturday:

It was a really, really long weekend!
Saturday through Tuesday!
After a very long time!
I was happy.

So, plans started revolving around Goa for four full days!
But we were short of people, as each had his own prior commitments.
Out went Trip to Goa.
I was sad.

Still, there were four of us enthusiasts and one more tentative.
Decided to go to Yercaud in Tamil Nadu (and nearby places) for three days.
So, I booked a cab for Sunday through Tuesday.
I was happy.


The cab was not yet confirmed for Sunday.
I couldn’t get any tickets or passes for the Ind V Aus cricket at Bangalore.
Whole world seemed against me for the long weekend.
I was sad.

Fortune favours the brave and luck favours those with pluck.
I went to stadium with no hope, but got tickets in black.
I paid seven times the ticket value but I didnt care.
I was ecstatic.

Atmosphere within stadium was electric!
A nod by a player towards us was sufficient for us to go in uproars!
Electronic display focusing occasionally on a lady created a euphoria!
I was all smiles.

Meanwhile, the cab got confirmed for Sunday.
Perhaps Goa getting cancelled was for good: I got to see match live in stadium!
Whole world seemed to be with me for the long weekend!
I was happy.

After Aussies had piled up 307 and Sachin out for a duck, alas, the rain started.
I had sacrificed a wonderful RKP vocal concert at my Music School, for cricket.
And here I was, seeing rain for three full hours, until match was called off.
I was devastated.

Fortune favours the brave and luck favours those with pluck?
I took back my prayer of thanking the Lord for sending a messiah with ticket.
Then, the Tentative one messaged saying he was backing out of Yercaud.
I was all scowls.

Evening News said Bundh in Tamil Nadu.
With just four of us, it was going to cost us dear.
Whole world seemed against me for the long weekend.
I was sad.


Did a quick search on net and found alternate to Yercaud.
Bandipur national forest seemed encouraging.
Only to find the Bundh postponed by a day.
I was happy.

So, off we went to Yercaud, as per original plans.
As is with all trips, nice conversations and humour rolled.
Even as we reached Yercaud, the threat of Bundh next day prevailed.
I was confused.

Monfort Convent, Lady’s Seat and Pogoda Point were nice places.
But we finished visiting attractions in Yercaud within two hours.
We thought of moving into Karnataka and staying over at BR Hills.
I was neither sad nor happy.

But on our way downhill, we decided to head back to Bangalore.
And so, after even more interesting conversations, we were back.
The days and days of planning for long weekend ending up with a day long trip.
I was neither happy nor sad.


But this opened up new opportunities.
And since I felt like driving, I took my parents to Ghati.
A nice picturesque ride in the country for about an hour and a half.
I was exhilarated.

A nice two-sided idol in the temple.
But a rather crowded road on the journey back.
Snacks at Chalukya.
I was exhausted.


A nice relaxing eight hour good night’s sleep.
Refreshing shuttle badminton.
Violin practice and violin class.
I was satisfied.

A cricket match on which I had absolutely no expectations.
Some monthly domestic activities, and a couple of good blogs.
Thus came to an end, the long, long weekend.
I was content.

Days after Tuesday:

I was miserable.

Indian IT

So. I am a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Communication. I do not know two cents worth of any subject in Electronics and Communication. The Bachelors degree was just a certificate of completion of basic qualification to be worthy of a decent job.

So, I got a job as software professional. Been around for 5 years now and there is nothing professional about it. For all practical purposes, it is just a job to earn bread.

But, I feel, I am not just earning bread but cheese, butter and jam as well, in good quantities. However, ‘good’ is a relative terminology. Whats ‘good’ to me, is not really ‘good’ for most. If revealed to some of my friends, who are in the same industry for the same duration, either overseas or local, ‘good’ is ‘shocking’ to them. Suffice it to say that if I get home one loaf of bread, job-hopping folks, or those overseas, will get three loaves. Well, no job other than Indian IT ever gives a 40% hike, do they? So what then is stopping me from job-hopping or going abroad?

Honestly, I think I am getting more than what I actually deserve. More of a conscience thing, really. I think most Indian IT professionals get more than what they actually deserve. I mean, there are lots of other non-IT people who are experts in their professions, who are passionate about what they do, know in and out of things they work with, who work day in and day out just for the love of it, and earn abysmally low wages. Those, I feel, are the ones who really deserve more than what they are earning.

People who are doing great service to humanity, like doctors, hardly get paid in spite of their 24 hour shifts in their initial years. Teachers, lecturers and professors, who play such an important role to nurture the next generation to compete in the global arena, can hardly make ends meet. A career in teaching is laughed at. Other important professionals like air traffic controllers, who have a nerve-racking job of constant controlling and management of airplanes for 8 continuous hours, in different shifts, seven days a week, are paid a paltry sum. Come to think of it even the road traffic controllers standing in the sun, rain, pollution, just to make life easy for commuters, are hardly paid.

Innumerous such professions exist. The construction workers building mega structures but having nary a good home for themselves. The garbage cleaners working in stench for the hygiene of others. The civil services like army, air force are having dearth of officers as many are willing for good pay IT jobs than a 5 am disciplined wake-up call and constant transfers. IT has had an impact even in villages. And marriages. Girls in villages prefer village grooms who have gone abroad or metro-settled IT guys resulting in pitiable state of those sons of farmers opting to stay back as farmers, paying dowry to get brides! Forget villages. Even city gals prefer high pay packet IT guys with posh cars as opposed to any other profession.

Last week, a government bus driver accidentally hit a car and smashed its windshield. The car owner asked Rs 9000 to avoid making it as a police case which would have suspended the driver. The driver had 18 years of flawless record and had earned a gold medal. But he cried in front of the car owner as he was unable to pay that huge an amount as it was almost his month’s salary. Rs 9000 monthly salary after 18 years of constant driving service. Speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

So how then do we have such huge disparity of wages between IT and non-IT jobs? The answer is pretty simple. Indian IT mainly revolves around international (read US) jobs. Majority of IT jobs in India are fallout of the now-infamous word ‘Outsourcing’. Which really implies that jobs that are really meant for US workforce are being shipped to Indian subcontinent for lower wages and better talent. Lower wages, that is for US, but considerably good wages for Indian employees because an Indian employee is now getting paid in dollars albeit half the amount which he would have received if he were doing the same job in US. Which is a good enough pay packet to sustain in India.

But IT outsourcing was good for a number of reasons. Less unemployment. Rather more demand for jobs than supply from engineering institutes. Better pay meant better standard of living. Literally meaning posh cars, luxury houses, international air travel, etc. Which meant more employment in other industries like vehicle production, apartment construction, airline industries, etc. to quote the same examples. More income tax for Indian Government, more inflow for State infrastructure development, land revenues sky-rocketing. Even the common man has profited out of IT. Rupee value hence appreciates. Its like a chain reaction. Indians are now all across the globe. Come to think of it, now is the right time to start World War III! With Indians all over, India can walk over the opponents and start ruling the World! Well, aren’t we doing that already…

Lure of IT (read money) also had its effects on many. If we had all IT companies working for Indian counterpart jobs (like majority of non IT jobs currently), for example, billing in retail markets, maintaining registration of vehicles and licenses, banking applications, railway ticketing, etc., instead of working for US projects, we wouldn’t really have such huge disparity in wages. Which is what you see in US. There is not much difference in the pay packets of an IT professional or a professor or an army official. Which creates hence an atmosphere to concentrate on a dream career than go for the money. Lure of money is what has made many young Indians sacrifice their dream careers. However dissatisfied they are with it. But no outsourcing would also have resulted in huge unemployment due to India’s next biggest problem of population explosion. So, we have a vicious loop.

Also, IT outsourcing is sometimes seen with a smirk. ‘How is the coolie job going?’ is a common phrase when two people meet up. Come to think of it, when two people meet up, they are generally in IT industry. And might even be working for same company. At least one of your cousins or someone in the same locality will definitely be in the same company as yours. This non disparity in jobs and monotonous area of work rather adds a dull colour to life. With many whom I know, there is no pride in telling what one works on and where on works for. It is almost an insult to reply and it is a constant dread when someone asks ‘Where are you working?’ Reply is next to ‘Unemployed.’

This is mainly because, more often than not, the IT jobs outsourced is considered as low-end. Every Tom, Dick and Harry graduating now are in IT industry, irrespective of Tom's field of study or Dick’s grades or Harry's institute. Which in effect makes just a Bachelor’s degree absolutely ineffective. A survey conducted showed India being in late twentieth position for jobs on cutting-edge IT technology. Needless to say, research in IT is more encouraged in US and other developed countries than India. Another survey conducted showed that IT professionals in India contributed very less for open source development (software developed for free usage by any one), whereas the same Indian professionals, after shifting abroad, were very much into open source development. Which clearly shows the nature of Indian IT industry.

Having said that, I must admit, things are getting better. There is a lot of push by software giants to publish technical papers on IT. There is encouragement to work on the field of study in parallel with IT (IT goes hand-in-hand with all other industries anyway!) Research departments are sprouting and IT marketing professionals are tending towards IT consultancy. Innovation and Tool development is being mandated to enthuse life. Of course, all this goes well for getting more US projects! But more importantly, this is to outscore the innumerous software 'shops' that are cropping up on every road! On an exaggerated humourous note, the day is not far off when we can see software vendors (like vegetable vendors) on the streets shouting 'Softwareeeeeeeeee'!!

Well, that’s how a software life is all about in Indian IT right now. It definitely is a topic to talk about in a social gathering. And, as they say, a perfect “blog-material”.

Monday, September 24, 2007

India win Twenty 20 Cricket World Cup!

Screaming throats!
Soaring adrenaline!

Fists pumping!
Uncontrolled jumping!

Once in a lifetime match!
India Vs Pakistan World Cup Final!

Match alive till the very last over!
India winning a humdinger!

One of the greatest days in Indian Cricket history!
Never imagined such happiness!

Cricket is more than a religion!
Its a die-hard passion!

Well, if I dont stop myself now, I can keep on writing all night!
So, let me stop myself, by signing off with a simple, yet heart-felt:


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Thought for the day

Why does it start?
Why does it end?
Why do I come in the way?

Perhaps one of the five will tell me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

"Line clear for your marriage now!"

Boy. Am I tired of hearing this.

8 to 8

Left home at 8.00 am.
Reached office at 11.30 am.

Left office at 5.00 pm.
Reached home at 8.00 pm.

Home is Jayanagar, Bangalore.
Office is Electronic City, Bangalore.

Home to Office is 14 kms.
Office to Home is 8.7 miles.

Thanks to heavy downpour.
And the Hosur Road water clogging.

5.5 hours of work.
6.5 hours of commute.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lure of the America

Brother’s wedding. The time was about 3 pm. We had just finished lunch. But the rituals were still going on. It had been exhausting. Activities all through the day and previous day as well. I was sitting by myself. I felt I needed time for myself.

Suddenly the person sitting in front looked back at me. She was an old, frail woman in her late fifties. By her countenance, she seemed to be employed in the role of a governess or a maid-servant by one of the bride’s relatives. She asked me a question in Kannada:

“Are you the groom’s brother?”
“Yes,” I replied with a smile. The same smile that one has to employ when speaking to the multitude of unknown populace at a function. The same smile which one has when one says “Nidhaanavaagi koothikolli” when lunch is being served (literal translation leading to “Sit down slowly” but actually means “Have lunch comfortably”). Plastic smile, as it is called.

Wanting to be by myself, I didn’t follow up with a question of my own to enquire of her relation, if any. I just didn’t like having a conversation then. But the old woman was sitting by herself and I figured she felt like having a conversation. So she started explaining her relation to the bride herself. It was a long monologue, half of which I didn’t bother hearing but I got the gist of it and my guess was right. I just kept on the plastic smile and constant nod. That works for most conversations.

“So, where does the groom work?” she asked
“In America,” I replied shortly. One tends to learn to what extent an answer has to be given at functions like this, solely based on with whom one is talking, and to what extent the recipient would like the question answered. I remembered how I spoke about my brother’s occupation for about 5 minutes to a friend of mine who had asked me the same question just an hour ago. However, this answer was magnanimous in its own way for the old woman.

“Will he take the bride with him?”
“Yes.” She seemed happy. A fortunate thing to have happened to someone you know since a kid.

Just then, someone called and I got up to leave with a respectful nod, conveying end of conversation. But she said something that struck a chord in me. “Nimgu chance sikkidre hogbidi.” (“If you get a chance, you should go off to US too”).

Now, here is someone whom I hardly know and who hardly knows me. She is frail, old, and by her appearance and occupation, did not seem to have left India nor seemed to be the type to ever visit USA. And yet, here she is, wishing me the best of the World, wishing me to settle down in the Great Land of Opportunities and Luxury. USA, as it is for many, is for her too, like the Heavenly Paradise sent to Earth where only the Lucky Few get to live in a constant state of Wonderment and Happiness.

But I wasn’t sure which was more fascinating.

The lure of the America which has spread its widespread net over even on mediocre bourgeois thousands of miles away?

Or an anonymous woman wishing me apparently ‘The Best of the Worlds’?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Thought for the day

In the past, I was known for my patience and decorum.
But, off late, I am experiencing a mercurial temper.

Is it good to speak out frankly and prove a point?
Or is it better to swallow the stinging thought and accept the situation?

Perhaps there is a way to speak out without actually stinging...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Navaratna's Navaratnas

There is no true meaning of life. Jeevanadalli artha kalpiskobeku.

Nobody is a saint… and all saints have a history.

Paramatma is whimsical. Sigbekagirodu sigalla...innello yeneno sigatte. Life is like that.

Not all friendships are marriage worthy. And some relationships and friendships are as best left there but are all so clouded by our emotions that we rarely see it and it is possible to love someone without wanting to marry him.

One’s life partner should be everything that one is and many things that one wanted to be.

For everything, desha kaala varthamana yella koodi barbeku.

What a needle can do, a sword cannot.

You just have to make that blind leap in faith and believe you can do it. Bhanda dhairya irbeku lifenalli…Appa amma maTa ooru keri nodidare agalla…adakke satyada haadi yavattu kasta.

The satisfaction that one gets for having designed a life for oneself - thats the kill. The thrill is in the journey. The destination is inconsequential.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

I want to...

I want to learn Carnatic Music.
I want to play Carnatic on my violin.
I want to sing Carnatic.

I want to learn Mathematics.
I want to learn Applied Sciences.
I want to learn Aeronautics.

I want to read different types of novels.
I want to read books that instigate a thought.
I want to see movies that touch lives.

I want to be a motivating orator.
I want to be a professional writer.
I want to teach kids.

I want to donate.
I want to do meaningful work.
I want to change people’s lives.

I want to learn swimming.
I want to play badminton.
I want to practice yoga.

I want to roam around the world.
I want to see all of Nature’s beauty.
I want to reduce global warming.

I want to break free.

There is no end.

Thought for the day

Lost Dreams....

Monday, August 13, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

I remember the joy when Bend it like Beckham was telecasted as part of our training program when I joined Dell to enable us with UK accent. Apart from the ‘enabling’ part, it was everything else! I mean, to be shown a movie and to be paid for it as part of your salary, was, for me, one of the greatest things that can ever happen!

Imagine my joy when I was told that Infosys was telecasting An Inconvenient Truth! Not only was it just a movie, it was one of the most sought-after DVDs that I had ever wanted to see. I had failed in my attempts to get it in US and here I was, being invited to see it, at the royal, corporate, MC Hall in Infosys with all its grandeur and splendour!

But the documentary itself was what I expected it to be and more. An inconvenient truth is a truly amazing documentary which has to be seen by one and all. As quickly as possible. It throws shocking statistics about Global Warming and how miniscule our awareness and effort is to reduce it. How catastrophic the disaster we are causing to ourselves and to mankind. How shockingly everything on this earth is related to Global warming and how little we are doing about it.

From weather inconsistencies to new diseases propping up in Medical Science. From new dangerous species of animals to old ones’ extinction. From calm and soothing to unsettling and disturbed. From life to death.

Ironically, before I saw the documentary, I had just attended a meeting from a higher-up who was speaking gravely of how individual project teams were not adhering to logging actual time worked in the system. He went on length and discussed how critical it is to log time and track it. As if it was a matter of life and death. And then I saw this movie. How miniscule it is, our thought, when we have such actual, real issues facing us, our lives, our very existence, which science has proved beyond any doubt that we are nearing Doomsday and that should be our focused attention, and everything else is minor.

Is there any grave talk of telling project teams to switch the monitor, lights and fan off when they are leaving for the day? Is there any meetings organized to audit/appreciate/feedback one’s overall contribution of carbon-di-oxide to environment? I mean, these are actual issues of the world which are indeed matter of life and death.

Someone else dies at the other end of the world if we are ethically incorrect human beings. If the sea water rises, we will have about a million refugees. I read in the paper that thickness of cornea is decreasing because of global warming. Mosquitoes and flies are now seen on mountain tops as the weather on mountain tops is warmer. Ecological system is getting damaged. Penguins are not finding ice glaciers to rest.

Interestingly, according to a result released, US is the highest contributor of Carbon di oxide and one of the least bothered about global warming while India is vice versa. Yet, global warming is something that has to be dealt with irrespective of cast, creed and country. For if we don’t, we all are destined to suffer.

It is, as it is rightly named, An Inconvenient Truth.

A perfect weekend

This Friday…
…Our work unit celebrations in the evening. Not to mention the gifts and ethnic dress. The customary song, dance, skit, awards, snacks, dinner and DJ. While everything was good, it was spellbinding experience to see the throng shaking to the tunes of the DJ. Such liveliness, such happiness, such joviality, everyone on the dance floor being as if on a high, groups forming their own choreography, some dancing for none but themselves in great consternation and dedication, some pairing up intimately. This was true celebration.
…Such celebration existed when I joined Infosys 5 years ago and it will exist 5 years hence. It would have existed 5 years before I joined and will exist 10 years hence. But then, while I am sure it will still be a captivating sight just to see, I guess, I will be just a tad too old even to derive pleasure out of simply seeing.
…But something that touched a chord was the sight of people taking awards for various sports, quiz and games category. While I used to participate at least in some events during college life, in my professional life, I just stopped. Not sure why, but somewhere I lost it all. All participation mails are ignored and I am content to be a clapper. Am I already “tad too old”?

This Saturday…
…The usual Violin class and practice.
…Domestic chores and relaxation.
…A wonderful Carnatic vocal concert at Gayana Samaja by Sanjay Subrahmaniam.

This Sunday…
…The monthly offerings to late grandparents followed by the feast at Mutt.
…A game of Scrabble with cousins. One of my favourites. I scored the least, but I enjoyed helping them all!
…Movie theatre with family, for the first time since my return to India. Thoroughly enjoyed.

All in all, a perfect weekend. Others’ dance, my violin, an expert’s concert, a religious feast, a mind tingling game and a hilarious movie! Sometimes, its just as good as it gets!

Thought for the day

How would the world be if there were no colours?
How would the world be if there was no paint?


It was a Maruti
It is still a Maruti

It almost looks same
Yet it is better

11 long years it was
With unblemished record

And memories of good trips
As well as embarrassing experiences

Yet it’s sad to let something go
That which somehow feels as if it is one of us

But flowers fall and flowers bloom
And so we shower the warm welcome

With traditional Pooja to make it sacred
And hopes of continued stainless record

For the good of one and all
For years and years together

For the first time
I can now proudly say

It is indeed my own
Down to the last hard-earned penny

After the trendy cell
Comes this another change

It’s a small change

Yet it’s still a change

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Thought for the day

Everybody is great in their own way...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Thought for the day

Sometimes I know that what I am doing has no bearing whatsoever.

Its got nothing to do with my past.
It doesnt bring me happiness or satisfaction in the present.
It wont change my future.

And yet I do it.
And I have no idea why.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Thought for the day

Well, its always about others' happiness, isnt it?

Friday, August 03, 2007


Up at 4.30. Not sure when I did that last. Perhaps on my last trip in US when we went to Mount Greylock. Remembered those umpteen trips in US which necessitated such early-morning wake-ups!

Birds were chirping. Awakening. Telling World that Sun was rising. Air was full of pure ozonised oxygen. The drive was refreshing. Traffic was meager. Road was very good. The demise of my grandparents recently due to car accident has made me more conscious of speed. Maintained a steady 65-75 kmph. Remembered the 65-75 mph speed I used to maintain in US - much to the chagrin of my fellow-mates - after I got caught by cops at 87 mph and had paid $465!!

A good, pleasant drive. Bangalore-Mysore road now is two-lane. Most people follow lane discipline. Honking is a rarity. So, if we had good roads, with sufficient lanes, all provided by the Government, of course, would the citizenry stop honking? So, is it then, that the Government is to be blamed and not citizen for driving without discipline in the country? Remembered a board that the Traffic police had put up: When ants follow lane-discipline, why cant we humans?! Ants follow ants and all have same purpose and they don’t have horns! We have cars, autos, buses, trucks, motorcycles, cycles, scooters, vans, SUVs, tractors, bullock-carts, vegetable-vendors-on-carts, etc. Each has their own sense of urgency. Perhaps we humans follow lane discipline if we didn’t have a plethora of different-shaped vehicles. Or if our vehicles didn’t have horns. Or if we had enormous laned roads. And if pedestrians walked on walkable pavements. But then again, perhaps not, too!

Took a turn at Mandya. Next stretch of 50 odd kms was horrible! Sometimes mud, sometimes asphalted, humps, potholes, sometimes just stones! Bridges which could accommodate only one vehicle at a time. Crossing villages having dilapidated mud houses. If we saw 5-star hotels an hour ago, we could now see people in rags, yet content with their agricultural life. Am sure most wouldn’t know what a computer is. Half-dressed kids staring at vehicles as how we stare at spaceships in museums. Remembered something which I had read recently: Rich and poor live side by side in India. Like a man in rags with earphones from his cell-phone, listening to radio. That was a strange scene!

Villages upon villages scampered by as we bumped across the road, if you can call it that, at about 20 kmph. Lush greenery everywhere, rich due to the Cauvery river basin. Cow, pig, chicken – all running across the road. A herd of goats sitting idly in the middle of road; not even budging for a big bus; all drivers unwilling to disrupt the idle pleasantness, gracefully drove around them! As one of my US friend once remarked, its fascinating to see the varied culture in other countries, especially countries like India, China, South America, etc. Unlike in US, where villages, towns, cities are all stereotyped with standard chains of MacDonald, Subway, Burger King, Dunkin Donut and the same class of roads, buildings and what-not. Much too predictable, one could say.

Reached the place of destination after 3.5 hours of journey. Tiramkundlu Narasipura. A small quaint little village. Temples everywhere across the bank of two rivers – Kapila and Cauvery. The two rivers converging at this village and making a Y-shaped delta. Heavy rains over the season made the river seem full. Less than the previous week, though, when it was 6-7 feet higher. When it had washed away a local urchin by mere current. Whose body was not yet found till date. The local urchin who was liked by one and all in the temple premises.

A bath in a flowing river, to me, is always refreshing. Its like becoming pure all over again. With the temple, attached though to the river, being detached from rest of the village, hardly any vehicular noise could be heard. Under the big tree, on the platform, we sat for hours. A beautiful breeze played over us. It was the only thing we could hear while the river made its silent journey. Such places always, to me, bring tranquility to life. Remembered an almost similar setting at the temple of Tirukoillur.

Visited another temple nearby with Lord Shiva’s idol seemingly cut at the top. From which came a steady slow flow of water. Which is considered as a sacred offering and distributed amongst the devotees as theerth. With its own standardized religious and mythological story.

Temple activities being completed, we had lunch at 1. It was a long time since I had a direct lunch skipping breakfast. Once done, we then proceeded to Bannur. A nearby town which supposedly is the place where our centuries-old ancestor was born. A quick genuflection and we were on our way again. This time to Shivanasamudram. Although, actually it is Gaganachukki Falls where the scenery lies. A nice view of the water falls. Hundreds of vendors with their yummy eateries and the total lack of dustbins, I guess, contributed to the general unhygienic conditions all around. Well, this is the way we are! And of course, monkeys! My 2 year old cousin being fascinated by the herd of monkeys all around than the enormous waterfalls! Water, of course, can be seen in home. But not monkeys!

Proceeded from there on to Barachukki Falls. Even more splendid. A steep 100 step walk down to the base of the water falls to be splashed by the mist. Rapidly flowing water where a number of them enjoyed to their hearts content. Some could even go behind the falls and see through the natural curtain of water! We didn’t have that much time to enjoy but it certainly deserved a day’s trip.

Almost 5 sets of water falls, all almost of equal of width, it was heartening to see such beauty. Instinctively, a person who has been to US, remembers the Niagara. Although magnificent and too-good-to-see, it hardly offers the wholesome pleasure of actually standing beneath the water. Nor, did any waterfalls that I visited in US, as a matter of fact. Still, I must admit, Cave of the Winds at Niagara comes very close. Water there inherently is much too cold to perceive such enjoyment as what I now saw before me! People splashing about, some directly below the falls, enjoying the full force of hydrotherapy and kids yelping in joy! Remembered having read a study that said kids in India were the happiest in the whole world. I felt that it was a great and significant survey.

Alas. Time to go. Steep climb back up the steps. I generally don’t prefer to drive in the night in India. Inexperience of driving facing the oncoming traffic’s headlights on a road which doesn’t have a median makes me want to reach home by dusk. I haven’t driven at night in India for a very long time. But today was an exception. When the Cauvery displays its natural beauty in all its splendour, how can one refuse to stay for ‘a little more time.’ Finally bid adieu to the nice scenery comprising of mountains, river, bridges, hydro electric stations, etc.

Drive back on the same Mysore-Bangalore highway was just as good. Clocked a constant 70-75 kmph. A pleasant, non-competitive, non-adrenaline-rushing, speed. A speed of enjoyment. A speed of safety.

Reached home at 11. Had driven about 350 kms in all. Never had I driven so much before on a single day in India. And I wasn’t even tired…

As I snuggled in my bed, all that remained on my mind was the splendour of the Cauvery…

Sunday, July 15, 2007


It is generally at about 10 that mom comes over to my room and starts talking. Mostly it will be a monologue about hundreds of things, which for me, will be more like daily News. My part of the conversation, whilst I am engrossed either in a novel or internet, will mostly be a one-word, seemingly disinterested interjection of ‘How?’, ‘When?’, ‘Then?’, ‘Why?’ and the likes, which is why, she wishes she had a daughter who would have reciprocated with a vibrant volubility! A wish which has now turned into a crave. A crave for daughter-in-law. Well, a painful topic! So lets stop at that!

Anyway, it was on one such occasion that mom came and told about how common it has become in Bangalore these days to see guys and gals being cozy in public. Coochie-cooing openly has become order of the day. Although, pretty common in US, I must admit it still came as a mild shock for me to see the cupid passions for display at hometown. It has been on such a rise that a new law has come into force in co-ed schools to stop boys and girls from holding hands!

While it is a mild shock for me, a Bangalorean for 24 years, I can imagine how it would feel for the 60 plus. From an era in which the girls never saw the guy before marriage to an era when a girl openly asks to be kissed on a busy pavement by a guy whom surely she will not marry, its been one huge sea of a change.

The reason why I used ‘girls’ above as a point of reference is because the mothers generally tend to target them. As my mom said, it’s upto the girl to uphold her dignity and honour. Guys are anyhow branded with a ‘Rowdy’ and ‘Eve-teaser’ image which wont be erased for ages. So, a guy is ‘expected’ to sin. Blaming ‘him’ is useless, for ‘he’ shall always be worthless.

I was mute all through my mom’s tirade of the current generation, until she had her say and went to sleep. However, it set me thinking. She was talking about a common phenomenon, which is quite popularly now called as PDA, acronym for Public Display of Affection. I am neither in favour of it nor against it (which is how I tend to be in most cases, by the way!)

Affection, or a token of love, is something that is actually construed on positive lines. I mean, its good to see two people holding hands, as compared to them in the middle of a verbal abuse. Its good to see two people hugging one another than to see them physically fighting. Why else would people term ‘happy ending’ to a movie if the hero and the hero-ine get together after a three hour epic?! So, PDA should be ideally construed as a positive development and a growth towards betterment of the society.

On the same lines, just for instance, there are hundreds of men defecating on the roads and answering the nature’s call at free will over the compounds of the general public, caring none to the nearby walking pedestrians. Why is it that no one ever speaks badly of such a scene? Urinating is public is clearly something that has to be construed on negative lines, something which a kid’s eyes have to be shielded from lest he takes it for granted and starts imitating the dastardly act. And yet, life goes on, without anyone complaining about the actual scene, but silently cursing that the Government offers far less urinals for the universally-short-bladdered-man.

So, is the case with people spitting, throwing banana peels, wastages, etc, openly on the road or pavement, be it due to the lack of dustbins or, simply due to laziness, even in the presence of dustbins. Blame it on the way we have been brought up, on the civilization, on the education. Blame, adjust, and ignore. Which is what is happening to PDA too, but the whole point is, the hue and cry is misplaced on something which is actually positive but not on the innumerous things which are being carried out negatively in public.

As a parting thought, I shall reproduce below an edited version from The Times of India, Valentines Day edition of 1999, on ‘Touching’, although not directly related to PDA:

Though in a society like ours where an overt expression of affection in terms of physical closeness is often frowned upon, a loving touch is crucial for our well-being. Touch, say, behavioural scientists, often acts as an anti-depressant or relaxant. Researchers have found out that physical touch increases the body’s oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is said to promote feelings of affection and care-taking behavior. Synthetic oxytocin is in fact used to treat depression and obsessive-compulsive behavior. And so, holding each other, hugging, petting, snuggling, stroking is all good for your relationships, heart and health. Experts agree that the benefits of opening our hearts go beyond curing our bodies of disease. It’s the first step towards healing our lives.

Which is what the hugely successful film Munna Bhai MBBS tried to convey partly in its cliché Jaadu-ki-Chappi. An afterthought. Here is a fictitious article that I had written on a similar context in December 2003. It was an article inspired by an ambulance scene in the famous movie Run, Lola, Run.

Time to change...

The car broke down.
The Kinetic Honda doesn’t start.

The cellphone is not getting charged.
The watch strap went for a toss.

The TV screen is showing only red.
The washing machine is not working properly.

As one person told me,
One has to live, and one has to live well.’

That’s when I decided.
Its time for a new Me.

I got brochures for a new car. (Enough of buying used cars)
I will get a new two-wheeler. (Pre-conditions to be satisfied)

I got a new cellphone (which isn’t really my type, yet I like it)
New strap, but not yet a new watch. (Its too dear to me!)

TV is sent for repair. (Family didn’t approve for a new one, although I was ready!)
Washing machine is being replaced. (Damn salesman never came over the weekend)

Perhaps, not yet,
But I feel like George Costanza of Seinfeld.

When doing things the way one has been doing all one’s life doesn’t seem to be working, then, its time to be the exact opposite of what one actually is.
I haven’t yet been able to transform myself into the exact opposite of what I have been, but changes are on its way.

Athithi Satkara

I disembarked from the Kinetic and looked at the house. It seemed remarkable. Spacious front patio with a swing. The twisting granite steps at the left front corner to the first floor gave the overall house a good look. I went up the stairs, wondering what lay ahead.

There was more spacious patio on the first floor too and then a big main door. I went near the door which was open. My attendance was noticed and there was a shuffle of feet. The Father was on cordless phone, gave a quick nod, indicating I was welcome. The living room was exquisite. Clean and tidy all around, it was decorated suitably well and was very pleasing. The Mother asked me to take a seat on the couch in the living room, and she would join soon. She was just finishing her breakfast. She was kind enough to ask if I had had my breakfast, which I replied in affirmative. The Father went out to the front balcony to finish the call. I then sat on the couch, in awe.

Awe is an inadequate word. Stunned, was much more like it. Staggering, too. The reason lie just beside me. The entire wall beside the couch was made into a show-case consisting of innumerous, awards, medallions, certificates of excellence and recognition and unbelievable achievement. On top of the whole show-case was a medium-sized, beautifully smiling picture of the person to whom it all belonged. Till date, I had just heard of extraordinarily talented people, at the most, had met them, but had never envisoned how their house would be! Such an impressive collection of medals and certificates, on top of the equally innumerous monetary awards, would make any parent proud. If one has to live, one should live like this, I felt.

The Mother joined me a few minutes later and I came out of the reverie. She was a pleasant looking woman with a pair of eyes that seemed remarkably young and vibrant and soothing, all at the same time. We spoke briefly on the purpose of my visit.

Just then the Father joined us. To be on ‘same page’, I felt it adequate to introduce myself, with a little bit of my academic background and my subsequent professional life (both in India and US), and how I ended up coming to their house. This took a good ten minutes.

Back to the topic, the Mother gave a brief response of the question that I had raised. She seemed acutely intelligent and was very precise and clear-cut in her thought process. With clinical precision, she laid out the step-by-step process that was involved and the juxtaposing red-tape. Apart from that, there were the different avenues that were open with their share of crests and troughs. For every question of mine, she had a reassuring and fulfilling answer. She invited questions with an open and welcoming attitude coupled with a pleasant countenance which made it all the more easy.

The Father too gave important bits of information at necessary intervals and the various ‘How-to-go-about’s which only an experienced person can delve in details. Being in such a great position professionally, he was remarkably soft-spoken and charming. On a more personal note, the first word that comes to me when I think about him is ‘Geniality.’ He was affability personified and put in a good measure of humour as and when required.

What struck me most was the way each of them complimented one another. There was clearly immense respect between them and they were mentally on the same frequency. While a joke from the Mother invoked a hearty laughter in the Father, a serious line of thought from the Father was vehemently consented by the Mother. While the Mother was explaining in detail about the intricacies and how life to the forefathers was far easier compared to current policies, the Father brought me a cup of coffee. The ability to reverse roles as and when required without the slightest ado nor communication is something which I hadnt seen often in families. They were both so down-to-earth and it was such an ease to be with the two and strike a conversation!

Without my knowing, the time had jumped by an hour! After a couple of digressing topics, like on the medals on show-case (which wasn’t so hard to digest, now that I knew the caliber of the Family!), and their owner, and about my own future and professional life, the conversation seemed to have come to a logical end.

It isn’t always that one feels so much at ease in a strange house. I only felt it once before when I had gone to a junior’s house. The hospitality extended in that house affected me for days together (the how-can-anyone-be-so-good? feeling) and I am sure it’s the same case with the hospitality extended today in this house.

I felt thoroughly satisfied in visiting and most of my questions were answered. Although the situation didn’t seem to be in my favour, at least now I knew lots of stuff that I heretofore never even thought existed.

As I departed, I informed what a nice time I had had and termed it ‘Enchanting and enthralling.’ It was even inspiring and exhilirating, but I swallowed the adjectives. I begged the Mother to involve me in any grand enterprise she ever ventured into. We exchanged numbers and, with a gratifying smile, I bid adieu to both of them. Although it took me some time on the Kinetic to get the bearings, the Father waited on the front balcony to wave me a goodbye. I have always felt, that that final wave of goodbye, waiting till the guest truly goes out of sight, firmly belongs to a supreme class of etiquette in treating a guest (Athithi satkara). It is an exquisite gesture on the part of the host.

We don’t generally mean it when we say ‘It was a pleasure meeting you,’ but this time, I really felt it was indeed a true pleasure. Wow! What a family!!