Have you ever turned to the cartoons section of a newspaper, expecting the Sunday cartoons, but having the Saturday cartoons stare at you instead?
Its an amazing feeling, to know that its just the beginning of the weekend...and not the beginning of the end of the weekend. :)
Happened to me yesterday ;)
Found on a matchbox (seriously, no kidding):

Judge: Why did you hit your husband with a chair?
Lady: I couldn't life the chair

Wife was asked: Which book do you like the best?
Wife: My husband's cheque book.

There are two kinds of secrets:
One is not worth keeping and the other is too good to keep

In a country where women do 90% of the household cooking, it comes as no wonder that all these jokes are women oriented (No offence meant)
But another thing that came to my mind, in the age of lighters and emergency lights (or UPS), how many english-speaking (which is still largely an urban phenomenon) women use matchsticks (No offence meant, yet again)??

Would love to know from the matchstick company the idea behind the jokes :)
At times when there are reservations for women (or atleast talk of it), felt good to see it explicitly mentioned" "No separate queue for ladies" at the very crowded railway ticketing counter (Bangalore City)
And then some things just dont change...like the petrol bunk attendants and the tactics they use to cheat you of your hard-earned money.
When I went to fill petrol yesterday at this HP petrol bunk in Jayanagar...I handed over the credit card to the attendant and asked him to fill for 200, repeating the amount in both English and Kannada, lest there be any confusion.
And the guy slowly pre-sets the dispenser to 50...I notice it just in time to remind him that it should be 200, for which he smiles sheepishly and says "I thought it was 50"...well, either he is extremely dumb (to think someone would accept a credit card for 50) or he thinks I am dumb (to fall for his explanation)...
And after this, he sets it to 150...at which instance I have to remind him in no uncertain terms that he has to fill for the entire 200, since he did not initially fill for the 50...another sheepish (even a little defensive) grin and in goes 200 worth fuel...I skip the usual "thanks"...and am on my way...

Anyone with any pointers on where to complain about such instances (as complaining with the Manager yields no results) would be highly appreciated :)
Was mighty impressed when an old man refused to take a paper cover at the shop, simply stating that its going to be a waste since once he gets home, he is just going to throw it away...not a scene that I witness often.
What started off as a promising year, with KGudi in Jan, Kemmangundi in Feb, Mysore in March, Mysore yet again in April and a much-looked-forward holiday in Corbett (coupled with Rajasthan-Delhi-Nainital-Binsar) towards April-May, Sirsi-Jog-Agumbe in July, fizzled out mid-year with the only travel outside Bangalore being Raichur (that too on Aug-9)...
Looking forward to the next year and a whole lot more travelling :)
First it was Ashwini with her surprise visit, all the way from Canada, a couple of weeks before Diwali...still not sure what was more surprising, her visit itself or the fact that Boda kept her plans a secret for nearly a week :)
Then it was Sunitha and my nephews coming down from Raichur... :)
Then there was deepawali itself...first time with my nephews here...bursting crackers after a long long time...:)
Then time for Ashwini to leave :(
Also the time for meetu to drop in...with Clemson souvenirs...fun watching everyone being surprised...the best one being Swetha screaming when meetu walked out of the beeping car...
Then came Sheetals godh-bharai...lotsa good food...tired!!!! :D
Then Meetu sisters wedding...amazing food...llllllooooooottttssssssss of fun....
By which time my house had become a kindergarten, with my nieces n nephews...
Then came all the departures...first my nieces, then the nephews followed by Meetu...
And life reluctantly limped back to normalcy...
And then, one fine day, I was deprived of one of the little pleasures of life, that of occupying the bus seats reserved by other folks through the indigenous use of strategically placed bags and word of mouth, through the introduction of the anti-reservation policy.
This policy gives me the right to occupy a seat reserved in one of the above manners, the pleasure of sitting next to a red-faced fellow traveller (whose face owes its red colour to me)...but takes away the fundamental delight of a confrontation :)

Of course, one of the immediate economic impacts of this bill, is borne by the newspaper seller, who finds few takers these days, with no one willing to get down from the bus to grab a newspaper, lest the hard-earned seat is lost. :)
And after a lot of deliberation, I completed my Introduction to Oracle9i: SQL certification today.

World boss day!

On the World Boss day, I can say I am eternally thankful to three of my bosses in 6 years of work...
1. Prashantha Marathe - my first boss at work...admire him, not only for his word and excel skills, but also for managing a team of 5 just-out-of-college freshers and extracting a zero-defect project out of them :)
2. Suket Gandhi - my idea of an ideal boss...admire him for his complete support and smile-in-the-face-of-adversity attitude. Lots to say but the thought that I might not do justice is what stops me :)
3. Sridhar A - A never-say-die attitude coupled with his tenacity and understanding saw us battle many a storm with panache. As organized and level-headed a boss as you can ever get, he has taught me many a tricks of the trade. And of course, the Ireland days will never be forgotten either :)
I am a little "hindi-capped" :)
Noticed a number of boards on the electronic city expressway on hosur road, reading:
"Wish you a very Happy 62nd year of Independence Day"
Its been a long and arduous week...what with all the codes that I had to review (and do a good job at it too)...plans that I had to not only prepare, but also get approved...appraisal...
I remember the first thing I told the first person I met in office on the first day of the week..."I want to go back home" :)
The only thing that kept me going through all this was the fact that it was going to be a short 4-day week, with a holiday almost in the middle of the week (Thursday, Oct 2, Gandhi Jayanti)...I almost screamed out (yaaaayyyyyy!!!! Today is over and its a holiday tomorrow) when I finished the last of yesterday's meetings at 5 pm...
The whole of today felt like it was a Saturday (getting up late, badminton...). While returning home after a very satisfying game of badminton, I realized that I have to go to office tomorrow. Felt a little cheated, almost like Ayesha Takia must have felt in the movie "Sunday", where her Sunday is missing...
However, dint take me long to realize that I should be happy, after all tomorrow is Friday and theres still a Saturday n Sunday left this week.... :)

31 September?

Yeah...it appears 31-Sep-08 is the date before which I was to use the Dominos Pizza voucher that I won on Radio One.
Am sure, the poor VP who signed it din't see this coming :)
1. Your appraisal has to be completed today, if not, your confirmation may be a casualty.
2. The codes you have to review need a lot more of review than you thought.
3. You run from building to building in the sprawling campus to discover you have a cool 30 minutes to wait before your meeting.
4. Meetings run into lunch-time and your appraisal is pushed to post-lunch.
5. After a hasty lunch, you run back to your desk to check on your emails.
6. After an appraisal meeting, a glitch in the application threatens to leave your appraisal incomplete (and its 3:30 pm already).

What do you do?
Either you give up, bitch over coffee with a sympathetic listener and wait for the 5:30 bus to leave the campus, carrying you with it....
Or...you battle it in True Pradeep style :)
You threaten where required.
You smile where appropriate.
You persuade where possible.
You replace pride with common sense.

And voila, you have the appraisal ironed out, the tough BO certification replaced with the relatively milder Oracle SQL certification
Then you beat a hasty retreat...before anything else can go wrong, you take the first bus back to civilization...
"...in the ashes of every past there are a few cinders of memory that glow with warmth..."
- Deeti, in Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies.

Profound, but just as simple... :)
This one commercial on the radio kept bothering me...its about some builders who offer villas in exchange for apartments and the like (a novel concept)...
The ad goes like this:
The receptionist at the builders receives calls from various folks asking if they can exchange their tiny apartments for the luxurious villas (in various dialects/accents, sounding convincingly pissed with their apartments, which they bought for various reasons like investment, etc) and she consoles them by saying they can.
But the prospective customers names, Ms Sobha, Mr Mantri and Ms Purva, which surprisingly, the receptionist knows even without being told, does ring a bell....doesn't it?

Yet again

A weekend that never was (we worked on Saturday)...followed by a busy Monday at office. What better way to while away the long commute home than by listening to music on radio.
My last win at a radio contest had instilled a new confidence in me. For a couple of days after that eventful Aug 20 morning, I used to enter radio contests like an addict. However, after a few unsuccessful attempts, I gave up. After all, it does not happen again n again, else people would have made it a business venture by now.
While I could not completely de-addict myself, I became choosy...I did not spend my hard-earned 3 rupees entering contests where I could only win myself a stylish watch (am not a watch-wearer) or a slimming coupon (I was sure jogging would take care of it). I would only enter contests that offered food vouchers, store coupons and the like (gift hampers held a special place, due to the sheer unpredictability of their contents).
Coming back to today, listening to radio, the DJ was offering a Dominos Pizza gift voucher worth Rs 500. Ideal, I thought, as I waited in feverish anticipation. She quickly played a prelude, and challenged us to guess the song.
Not much of a challenge, I thought as I guessed it to be "Kabhi Kabhi Aditi" from Jaane Tu...Yaa Jaane Na. But then I dint even think twice, I had to enter the contest!!!!!... ;)
There lay a bigger challenge ahead...typing out the message on my Moto Rokr (using a stylus, no keyboard) in record time and sending it across to the now very familiar number.
As luck favours the brave, I did it in record time....even before she had completed repeating the question a second time.
While she resorted to play "Sajnaji wari wari jaoonji..." from Honeymoon Travels, I listened indifferently, fervently praying for another one of those prizes :)
When just a few seconds into the song, I got a call from an unknown number, I was consciously trying to be cautious. After all, it could be one of those ever-eager credit card sellers.
And then, there she was. The silky voice..."Is it Pradeep?"..."Yes", I replied in carefully composed words...I dint want to sound like a novice on radio this time, after all, it was the second time, I was a veteran...I hardly knew anyone who had been on Radio, much less a second time.
She asked, "Are you speaking through a hands-free?"..."Yes, I am"...I could not end with just a Yes...it was plain rudeness ;)
She asked me to speak through the handset (since she was recording it)...and I obeyed. And then it was all a blur...in less than a few seconds my email id had been taken, I had uttered the answer, been congratulated for the voucher and was off the call.
I hastened (read fumbled) to turn on the radio. I was not going to miss out on the joy of listening to myself on radio this time around (the last time I did miss myself :( ) .
Fortunately the song was still playing. As soon as it ended, I was on air, with amazingly composed words, I answered, was congratulated yet again and seen off with a "take care sweetie" :)
One being named the class leader...she now insists that her school dress is washed well...
One scoring 99% and speaking immaculate kiddo english...
One clearing his exams with flying colours and calling up to proudly/shyly announce it...
Thats my little angels (my 2 nieces and 1 nephew)...

Wow...now am missing school... :)


Six is the second smallest composite number, its proper divisors being 1, 2 and 3. Since six equals the sum of these proper divisors, six is a perfect number.

Six is the first discrete biprime (2.3) and the first member of the (2.q) discrete biprime family.

Six is a unitary perfect number, a harmonic divisor number and a highly composite number.

Six similar coins can be arranged around a central coin of the same radius so that each coin makes contact with the central one (and touches both its neighbors without a gap), but seven cannot be so arranged.This makes 6 the answer to the two-dimensional kissing number problem.

There are six basic trigonometric functions.

The number of tastes in traditional Indian Medicine called Ayurveda is six.

God created Man on the sixth day

The number of points on a Star of David is six

The number of strings on a standard guitar is six

In American and Canadian Football, the number of points received for a touchdown

In cricket:
- a "six" or "sixer" is a shot in which the ball clears the boundary without bouncing, scoring six runs
- there are six balls to an over

The number of sides on a cube is six, hence the highest number on a standard dice

Extra-sensory perception is sometimes called the "sixth sense"

and today, six is the number of years I have been working for.
Was pleasantly surprised when the BMTC Volvo I took from office to Richmond Circle, one of the days last week, came equipped with a LCD monitor which besides the run-of-the-mill ads also played Tom and Jerry cartoons...one of those ageless cartoons that tickle your funny bone everytime you watch them...needless to say I took an extra second to get down at Richmond circle, but the driver dint seem to mind :)
Another thing that I would definitely want to mention here is that the Volvo staff (read driver and conductor) are extremely courteous, passing my test of the minimum service criteria :D
What do you do when you are bored on a Sunday morning?
You think of the most irrelevant, illogical and useless questions, like:

Noticing a middle-aged, sad looking lady at a 1 re coin phone booth, fervently dialling one number after another (or was it the same number over and over again), receiving no reply from the other end on any of her attempts, an unusual question came to my unusual mind:
How many telephone calls go unanswered everyday?
Have I been having good weekdays? How could I deny it...when I have a 3-day week (Sep 3 - Ganesh Chaturthi, Sep 4 - Hangover leave), followed by a 4 day week (Sep 12 - Onam)


Certification I

I had to mention this...I managed to clear the first certification...though a long time ago (21-Aug), the scares and cold sweat remains etched in my memory :(

Reached office early that day, after an unsuccessful attempt at studying, the night before and that morning too. Having no other way of whiling away time between 8:30 (when I reached office) and 10 (when my test was to start), I tried to study (yet again!!!), ended up going through only the exercise questions, about 2 at the end of each chapter...a total of about 30, mugged and remugged them and made my way to the exam centre.
The crowd outside the exam centre was the usual exam crowd, one half made up of people who feared the world would end if they flunked and the other half who had already given up and looked wonderfully chilled out (I, of course belonged to the latter half).
After an uneventful wait outside the exam centre, they called us in and generously asked us to seat ourselves at places of our choice.
I confidently let the others (more religious folks) choose their seats and took the last one left. After all, it hardly mattered...by now my usual overconfidence had taken over.
I started off the exam without a second thought.

Logged in and looked at the questions. There were 50 objective ones, with an hour to mull over them. And then the first question...I saw a star (the "I am seeing stars" type). But, never one to give up so easily, I attacked the others with renewed resolve. By the time I came to the 20th, there were no nails left on my fingers to chew.
The questions were tricky...not one from the 30 exercise questions that I had mugged. I felt betrayed. Nervousness gave way to nausea...I wanted to finish the jinxed exam and get out. And then, after I had tossed a coin in my mind for about 40 of the 50 questions, I decided to revise them. A few more seemingly obvious tweaks here n there, I decided it was time. No more revising would help. A quick calculation...to get the required 65% that would guarantee redemption from this ordeal, I would need atleast 33 questions right...a tall and unfair order, I believed.
I quickly sent an SOS to all my favourite gods...promised to behave myself...study more sincerely for my next certification...and before God had a chance to validate my past record, clicked on the Submit button.
The score calculation appeared to take ages...but then there it was...72% was what I had scored. And much to my chagrin, not unlike a heartless (disinterested, or was it uninterested) I-have-seen-it-all old matron, the system did not tell me if I had passed or not.
Unable to bear the suspense anymore...I screamed for attention. The invigilator delivered the verdict. 65% was required to pass and I had managed to do it... :)
With a triumphant smile on my face, the first thing I did after coming back was to put up a notice on the BB: "Study Material for PM Elite Lite: Printouts available" :)
Rains to me mean an empty park to jog in :)
An amazing feeling indeed...

Dream destinations

Must see places (mine, of course) :)
1. Jim Corbett National Park (yeah, yet again)
2. Kaziranga National Park
3. Sunderbans
4. Leh-Ladakh
5. Kashmir
6. Manas Sarovar

And this is just in India... :)

PS: The list is by no means complete...there are a whole lot of other places like the hinterlands of Rajasthan, the north-east, temples of Khajuraho, Ajanta-Ellora, Lakshadweep, etc, etc

The week that was...

With the onset of paryushan and the various restrictions on food (no eating outside, no eating certain type of vegetables, etc), the week started off with only food on my mind, to soak in all the junk food that I would have to resist for a week :)

Appears Monday dint have anything special to offer (Monday morning blues offer no novelty these days) because I dont seem to remember much about it.

Tuesday was Shil's treat at SLV Ragigudda...her turn to feed me till I was ready to burst, all the masala papads, masala puris, masala dosas, manchurians, pav bhajis quickly disappeared (there were of course 7 other people too :) )...along with the ice-creams and coffee too :) The rains were there too, but failed to dampen our spirits.

Wednesday, the rains the night before had done their bit for the traffic. Sitting in the stationary bus, I was urixed to no end. Reaching office at 9:45 (a full 2 hrs 15 min after leaving the hallowed environs of Girinagar), I was in no mood to work. Struggled through life at office and my earlier resolve of staying around till 7 15 quickly melted and I was among the first to board the 5:30 bus that evening. Being the last day before Paryushan, even rain could not deter me from having Garlic bread n Pizza (after nearly 2 months!!!) with Boda and Karthik. The heavens cried their hearts out as I relished the pizza. Came back home drenched but contented, all ready for Paryushan...

Come Thursday, the rains the night before had wreaked havoc. I cursed the traffic, roads, government till I reached office, slightly earlier than the previous day. The uppit that I carried to office for lunch, choked me :)

Friday's lunch was home-made puliyogare, marginally better (did not choke me), but every bit as ruthless as the uppit. Made me run home at 3 pm. The real reason was of course the Dinner voucher that I had to collect from the Radio One office. Picked it up (thats another story) and reached home. End of Friday!

Saturday, the first day of a make-believe beautiful weekend. Early to rise (at 6:30), my incentive was my belief that a good servicing of the silver activa would save some of my hard earned money that was literally burning away with the fossil fuels :) And for those who still wonder why I had to get up at 6:30, I had to hand the activa over for servicing by 7:30 am, which is the cut-off to handover bikes for servicing at the Honda (2-wheeler) showroom. Evening was the much delayed get-together of the Baldwin batch of 96 at Casa Del Sol. It was every bit as good as expected. All credits to Ananth :) Dad was none too amused when we came back at the stroke of midnight.

There ends my week. Sunday is the start of another week...which I shall elaborate on later.

Found this one somewhere on the net:

"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though she/he knows that you are slightly cracked" :)

Just happened to notice today, that I seem to have picked up the habit of ending perfectly good sentences with a question mark. Like:

1. "I ll work on the design?" instead of "Shall I work on the design?"

2. "We ll go to someplace close by, so you can drop by for sometime atleast?"

I have heard of some non-english speaking Europeans, mainly the south europeans, end their statements thus (I think it is mainly the South Europeans), but have never done it myself.

Is it something from my previous incarnations (I have been reading Many Masters, Many Lives by Brian Weiss) or am I just too lazy to add a few extra words (like "ok" or "What say") to make a proper question?

Can I file a RTI to know why my answer was not chosen as the best one at some god forsaken contest? ;)

Courier folks...a scam?

Day in and day out, I keep getting telemarketing calls, not only from the banks where I hold accounts/credit cards, but from every tom, dick and harry, who has credit cards to tempt, insurance plans to offer, tax saving instruments to sell and sometimes even an alternate sim card to make me talk even more (not from my service provider, but from their competitor).
What surprises me is how these guys get our contacts.
My idle brain has been overtiming again and came up with four options...
1. My bank sells this data (isn't there a law against it?)
2. My investment adviser sells data
3. Cell phone operators sell it
4. The courier folks (who deliver bank statements to us)

Since each bank/cell phone service provider/ investment advisers have their own favourite set of courier services, I thought getting this kind of data from the courier folks, if true, is as innovative an idea, as any?
And now, if this is not true, I am elated, I might just have stumbled upon a brilliant business venture :)

Veggie power!!

India's bronze medallist at the Beijing Olympics in the 66kg Freestyle wrestling is a veggie!!!!


I was on Radio!!!!

Slogging it out for my cerrtification exam, but had to write this: "I was on Radio!!!!!".

Yeah...though not an avid contestant in radio contests, I do give in once in a while to the temptation of winning something...

It was exactly one such tempting moment today, when the RJ on radio asked: "Women take 3276 hours during their lifetime to dress up, men take only 1092. What is it that men take longer than women for?”
In a fit of inspiration, I picked up my cellphone and messaged “Men take longer to understand women than women take to understand men”... :)
But that was when I was aimlessly looking out of the window of my bus on the way to office. When no call came my way in the next 10 min (yeah! I thought that is all the time required to judge my entry as the most witty), I forgot this as one more of those 6 rs per min SMS that would show up on my next months bill, a sore reminder of another lost chance.
Reaching office in record time (thanks to the auto-rickshaw strike), I got down to the daily grind with renewed energy (all thanks to spending fewer minutes in the bus). The radio signal on our floor is pathetic (only static is heard), and so the moment I start climbing the stairs to the 2nd Floor, the radio is hastily turned off.
Going through the slew of overnight mails, I was surprised to see a call from some 40******* number. I was sure it was one of those touts offering credit cards for free, but picked up the call nonetheless.
Surprise surprise, it was the RJ, "Hi Pradeep, this is so-and-so from Radio so-and-so, I liked your answer, can I record it?"
You have heard it happen a 100 times on radio, but you are never prepared for this to happen to you.
I replied a hesitant "yes", he asked me if I spoke kannada, I told "Yes", then he hastily reminded me my answer, and yippie!!!! I was being recorded :)
I won a dinner voucher for my bravery... :)
With a smug smile on my face, I called, emailed, messaged people near and far egging them to listen to ME!!!!

But the irony of it all, I could not listen to myself on radio, thanks to the lack of quality signal ;)
Managers, I always thought were, as a rule, suspicious and inquisitive, not to mention hardly ever appreciated privacy.
My earliest memory is that of my pseudo-manager (coz he was a TL then but made us believe he was a Manager), suspiciously looking at us, keeping close tab on the number of hours our IE windows were open and how many (I know this coz, at one of the team meetings, we were told, "There are some who keep their browser windows open for 2 hours!"). That I attributed to his very delayed promotion, the prospects of which din't look too bright this time around either, what with 5 juveniles on his team.
Subsequently, I have run into a considerable number of characters, in comparison to whom, he would have been on the fast track to saint hood.
While I always thought this phenomenon was restricted to office (what with some managers giving a menacing look to weekend-working developers who dare to take a personal call on a Sunday afternoon), I was in for a shock, when I found this manager (must be one, because he had a laptop) sitting beside me and struggling to read messages on MY cellphone, over MY shoulder, in the only thing we share in common, the BUS!

Doordarshan and Olympics

Was watching the live telecast of the athletic events at Olympics 2008 on Doordarshan. The relay is pathetic. No postcard finishes for us, its only blurry, delayed images. The picture quality seems to have hardly changed since the days of Buniyaad in 1987.

The commentary leaves a lot to be desired, to say the least.
When a national anthem was being played and some of the players stood still as a mark of respect, all our bewildered commentator could utter was "That was a prize ceremony!!!"...yeah man...thanks for letting me know, God knows what I would have thought of it otherwise!
And then of course, there was the instance of the Mr. Commentator (Mr. C) who started talking on his cell (on air...must be "my life is an open book" types), most probably to his director. Mr. Director wanted Mr C to commentate a particular sport and after haggling over it for a while, our brilliant Mr. C realized that he was after all commentating the game in question!

It is just DD's monopoly on the telecast of the ongoing Olympic events in India that makes me rest my remote on channel no 24 for a few minutes.
It is the same DD, that opened up the world for us, gave us "Mile Sur Mera Tumhara...", Ramayan, Surabhi and Buniyaad, made our Sundays "SUNDAY's" with Grimms Fairy Tales, made Salma Sultan my favourite news reader and made Rangoli and Chitrahaar my window to Bollywood

With amazing reach deep into the rural hinterlands and its singular monopoly till the 90's, it has done little (or nothing) to keep up with the changing times :(

What with all the hype about India bidding to host the Olympics in 2016, were they to host it, I sure hope they are not planning to telecast it on DD!
1. My favourite packet of biscuits is now 90 grams instead of the earlier 100grams (and 225g instead of 250g). Not to mention they have become a couple of millimetres leaner to maintain their numbers
2. Tea leaves now come in packs of 450g instead of the 500g that we are used to (people still refer to them as "ardha kg")
3. Shampoos now come in 90ml packs instead of the earlier 100ml. The bottles have become sexier though.

Little surprise then, that even with the rising inflation, the cost of all these bare necessities have remained the same, bringing some superficial cheer into the lives of the ever-so-price-conscious consumers :)
On the way back from office today, Radio One was playing Himesh Reshammiya's "Jhalak Dikhalaja".
And being as alert as ever, I noticed a very pronounced lisp when he sings "deedar ko tarse akhiyan"...then again subtle ones in " tere ehsaason mein" and "zare zare se". But the one that takes the cake is the "deedar ko tarse akhiyan" in the last stanza :)
Did no one ever notice it? Or am I imagining the whole episode....gotta listen to it again and confirm..;)

8 people...

Took the Udyan Express from Raichur to Bangalore on a rainy Saturday night. No, its not a horror story am gonna narrate, just din't know how else to start off... :)
My co-passengers were an amazing lot, each one stoking my ever-so-hyperactive imagination.
1. The 1 girl (1 upper berth), was a fair and short one. She was travelling alone, slept with a towel wrapped over her eyes and nose, and had the "I am oh-so-cool. All men here are trying to act fresh with me. All men are SCUM" look.
2. The 4 guys (2 middle berths) who were going to Bangalore from Pune/Kanpur to start off their careers. They sounded fresh-out-of-college with typical college talk. Trying to sound cool, but without any attitude. The little-town-boys for whom Bangalore was a dream-come-true. They came with 2 confirmed and 2 waitlisted tickets and had to unfortunately take turns lying down
3. The 3 middle-aged men (2 lower berths and 1 side-lower) with their receding hairlines bordered by the black lines of an ill-applied hair dye, the generous kinds who take up the role of guardian angels with panache. They were self-proclaimed guardians, cracking jokes/offering advice and all that without being overly intrusive or getting on our nerves.
4. The 1 aunty in her early 50's (1 side-upper berth). A conservative lady, who probably has to bribe the TC to allot the empty side-upper berth to her. The look on her face was that of a conservative old lady who thinks that the new-generation "kids" are all a good-for-nothing murderous lot. She thinks they talk of nothing but the "forbidden" things, dont know how to talk to others and were definitely on the way to hell. Shutting her eyes tight, she believed would ensure that god knows she was an innocent bystander.
5. The 1 and only me (1 upper berth), looking at the whole show and forming opinions and letting my imagination run wild :)


A couple of weeks ago (or was it a couple of months ago), I took an auto, early in the morning (about 7 am) to get to the Majestic bus stand. I was on my way to KGF to meet sis, and the 2.5 hours of bus travel to KGF was definitely one that I would happily avoid. Nonetheless, whenever absolutely necessary, my philosophy was to leave early and come back early.
The autodriver was fairly decent, unlike the ones that I normally (dont know if it happens to everyone) run into....
When we got to the bus stand, the fare was Rs 70 and unfortunately I had a hundred rupee note. Me being his first customer for the day, he had no change too. Scraping together all the change that I had, I could only manage Rs 63.
The auto driver for his part, did run around trying to get change for a 100, asking fellow autodrivers, nearby shops, vendors, but was plain unlucky. Though reluctant, he agreed to accept the Rs. 63 that I had. I could very well understand his apprehensions, being the first fare for the day, he was unhappy at the prospect of accepting lesser than the fare.
I realized that the 7 rupees (70-63) definitely meant more to him than the 30 rupees (100-70) meant to me.
That was when I did something very uncharacteristic, I asked him to take to Rs. 100, and if we ever run into each other again, give me the 30 rupees that he owed. The gratitude evident in his eyes, was worth far more than the 30 rupees any day. Since the guy was from Girinagar (I took the auto there), he took my address (I asked him to give it to Dad in the shop itself) and promised to return it.
Doesn't really matter if people are worth the trust or not, but I definitely felt happy, that I could still trust people the old-fashioned way (something that I had believed was lost in this world).
Neither did I try to find out from Dad, if the guy actually returned the 30 rupees, I am happy with the knowledge that I trusted someone (since I dont think I'll be doing it too often), without wanting to know if that trust was maintained or misused :)
One of the toughest decisions I have had to take of late, is to decide the date for the first of my two mandatory certifications. After a lot of deliberations, I came up with Aug-21.
My reasoning does me proud.

It had to be after the Independence day long weekend (any other date was too soon).

Aug-18 (the Monday immediately after the long weekend) was ruled out for the below reasons:
1. If I had not studied, I would have to study over the long weekend, thus spoiling it.
2. If I had already studied (the chances of which were as remote as me being kidnapped by Martians), it would still bother me all through the weekend, thus spoiling it.

The other logical extremity was Aug-22 (the Friday of the same week), but who the hell wants to spoil a Friday by worrying about a certification exam? Fridays are exclusively to look forward to the weekend and spoil yourself silly.

So decided on Aug-21 (Thursday), not too close to the 23-Aug weekend, but yet far away from the long weekend :)
What better way to start the day than urixing the grumpy bus driver by making sure your ID in slyly hidden in the folds of your jacket?
As expectant mother is one person, with whom everyone, right from the inevitable nosy neighbour to the farthest of relatives have an opinion to share.
One of the most exciting opinion of course, is the sex of the yet-to-be-born. But then, I have never ever heard anyone suggesting to the expectant mother (or her in-laws or her poor husband for that matter) that she might be carrying a baby girl...its always the cliched "I am sure its a boy!!!!", so why bother??

Petrol at 57/litre or 61/litre?

Even though the official price of Petrol in Bangalore is Rs 57, cant really remember when was the last time I actually filled my bike with petrol@ 57/litre.
Every petrol bunk seems to be eternally out of regular unleaded petrol and stocked only with the premium variant, which is over Rs. 61/litre.
So, while on paper the price of petrol is Rs 57/litre, in effect it is Rs. 61/litre?

Friday off...

It all started with our regular lunch at Casa on Thursday...Jaggi told he would take tommorrow (Friday, 1-Aug) off, since it was a Solar eclipse, he dint want to travel during the eclipse, n this n that. I caught onto the idea soon, and was wondering what reason I had, to come to office on Friday. Work was lean, I would definitely not delay a rocket launch by my taking off.
The pros of a four day working week were many, I could sleep till late, generally laze, file my return (yeah, I had not done it :( )...the cons, hmmm...never mind :D
and in less than 30 seconds, my mind was made... I would take Friday off too....after that it was just a matter of letting people know and with an extra spring in my step, left office promptly at 5:15 pm...
and now, here I am, blogging in the middle of the day, just before the much talked about solar eclipse begins :)

Saving earth...

A friend sent this across...interesting one...
"Where there's a will, there's a way"....I willed myself to sleep in the bus today :)

Writers block!

I have never been an avid writer, but have been trying to blog regularly...and I got my first dose of Writers Block, when I had to write captions for Parkes n Meetus snaps...it was as though all my sarcasm had disappeared into a chasm (:)). When I tried to write words abandoned me and thoughts stagnated.
Thankfully a couple of days break was all that was needed, am back :)


The other day my 4 year old nephew Harsh picked up a coconut that had fallen onto our terrace from the neighbours tree and delightedly handed it over to Mom. When Mom tried to explain to him that "It is not ours, we should return it", the only answer he could give is, "but it was on our terrace, I found it", not with nonchalence, but with a sweet innocence, the kind that only kids are capable of.
Brings a smile on your face, when you see this kind of an innocence, not governed by societal norms of good and bad, unspoilt by the the ways of the world that we live in and the complex values that we are led to believe in. Such a simple life :)


Just read an article in the July edition of RD on how people in the South prepare for the monsoons. And realized that while we all squirm at the thought of a rainy day throwing our mechanical lives off gear, there is something inherent that makes us look forward to the rains, and remain edgy when it doesnt rain...Is it the:
1. fresh smell, not only of the wet sand, but of the greenery all around?
2. green green green that you see all around?
3. right to remain lazily in bed a while longer?
4. pitter-patter of the rain drops on windows?
5. respite that it brings from the sweltering heat?
6. hot ginger tea that we can enjoy on a rainy afternoon?
7. hope that suddenly springs into your heart?

Love the rains...their child-like innocence...the joy they bring... :)

Two fares?

Not sure if it was the media religiously preaching the effects of global warming or the fact that we, at Infy are constantly reminded to "Keep Doors closed" and "Use natural resources judiciously" or the madness of hosur road traffic on a Friday evening or just temporary insanity...I decided to take public transport (BMTC's regular blue buses, in this case Bus route 410) from Silk Board to BTM Layout (Udupi Garden)...
The conductor who had generously smiled at me and asked me to board the bus, quickly pocketed the 3/- that I paid for the ticket. After about a minute, when no ticket was forthcoming, I demanded one...
To my surprise, Mr Conductor gave me the same benevolent smile (though it looked shady this time around) but still the ticket remained strangely elusive.
On my insistence a second time, he told me matter-of-factly, "Saar, ticket 5 rupayee aaguthe"...stunned, but not revealing it, I handed him another 2 bucks (surprised that he dint deny any knowledge of me having given him 3 rs earlier), collected my ticket and watched out of the window in feigned indifference....


It was one tiring day...at the bus terminus, I noticed a couple of people clutching what looked like a small news paper...
Din't give it much thought, but when the scene kept repeating itself for another day or two...I stood up and noticed (not literally of course!)...some guys were distributing the "news paper" for free...
as as with all things free, it did pique my curiosity.
The news paper in question was a perfect tabloid.
The headlines were sensational...
one day it was how cops in the city jail kept a round the clock vigilance over a prisoner...in the process violating his right of privacy (since they kept a watch over him when he went to the loo as well)
the other day it was about how cops watched a porn movie and then raided the movie hall and hauled the owner for obscenity...
Of course the death of a legislators better half and the murder of a teen in Delhi got their fair share.

"Moose and Molly" and "Calvin and Hobbes" were a huge draw too...but for a person who has grown with them...and I guess I have read most of the C&H strips, this is hardly an incentive.

But the crosswords are something else...and given the fact that there are two of them...the classic one and the bollywood one, din't take long for me to get addicted to the news paper...the fact that it is discounted for us (the free days are long gone), was just another excuse...

End up besting the Classic crossword on most days...the bollywood one though, is a nasty one...try as I might have not been able to crack more than half of it..but then, as they say, I'm getting there :)


There was once a time when January's were all about getting up early (as early as 5 am), just to catch a couple of matches at the Australian Open before being packed off to school...September's were all about staying up late (sometimes as late as 2 am) to catch up on the last Grand Slam of the year...
It wasn't just about watching Andre Agassi/Jim Courier/Pete Sampras or Steffi Graf/Monica Seles/Martina Navratilova...it was just about tennis :)

And then seasons changed...and suddenly I had grown out of the habit of watching tennis...lost touch...

But then, seasons changed yet again and here I am watching the Federed and Nadal battle it out for at the most coveted of all grand slam titles, the all-white Wimbledon... :)

My bus travelogue - I

When you spend close to 14 hours a week on a bus, in the company of bored looking strangers, the only passion you share being the dispassion with which you go to work...you tend to indulge yourself into new hobbies (habits?) or re-discover the long lost ones....
Well...with this background I rediscovered the simple joys of reading and indulge myself into radio...
More about reading books later...but for now the radio...
Started off with Radio City (91.1)...they used to play all the good songs and the RJ's were tolerable...
Then overnight (in true filmi style)..they got a new RJ....changed the slogan to "Sikkapatte Kannada, Solpa Hindi, total Bengaluru"...the songs stopped grabbing my attention....and I had to move on....exploring the hitherto unexplored territory of other radio stations...and finally zeroed in on Radio One (94.3)...
Everything about Radio One bugged me...the non-stop-nonsense RJ Prithvi, with all his tring-tring, fill-in-the-blanks, birthday bakra...Chamrajpet Charles with his corny jokes...Prof Ulfat Sultan with his "Sultan School of Speech"...RJ Pallavi (or was it RJ Pavitra) with her 2-English-words 2-Hindi-words 2-Kannada-words sentences...
The only saving grace were the songs...all the new ones...all the good ones...even the not-so-nice ones that you start liking after a couple of times...

Its amazing how the very inane RJ and his jokes take the blues out of your Monday morning...you actually look forward to laughing with Chamrajpet Charles when he talks about the Magic Box umpteen times within an hour...learn the same english words n times from Prof Sultan and inadvertently smile every time he says THE sentence...and of course RJ Shilpa with the usual "darling....", "sweetie"....
The piece of cake, of course is:
In the background, a sexy voice: "Solpa time helthira?"
RJ Shilpa: "Solpa yaake purti ne heltheeni..."...corny, but nonetheless something I look forward to every evening at 6:30... :D

Lifes like that...

Rediscovering the joy of reading

The 2.5 hours that I spend commuting to and from work each weekday, give me lotsa time to read...
Manged to finish 3 books (Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh, The fist of God by Fredrick Forsyth and Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer) in 3 weeks...
a contented feeling....:)
There are few things more irritating than people(vehicles) slowing/stopping in the middle of the road, because they are passing a temple and feel it is mandatory to pray to the gods, even at the expense of being run over or cursed by a thousand others...

Adios ITS/Caritor/Keane

After 5 years and 8 months at Keane, being a part of its journey from IT Solutions to Caritor to Keane, from 1000 people to 14000 strong....I called it a day today....

Having worked with some of the best people I have known...I will miss them all :(

The farewell dinner at Barons was amazing. The cards (loved both of them...the one from the KIDS and the Good luck one :) and the clock....:)

Will miss my team :(