Things I miss badly

I miss all these:

  1. Trivandrum
  2. My room at our home in Kerala
  3. My cousin, Raji
  4. Reading
  5. School Days
  6. My friend, Anupriya
  7. SunTec
  8. My hostel, MTTC
  9. College days
  10. And what else I don't know

What I feel I must actually do at this point of time - Keep those memories fresh and start building new ones.

A Robot on the Roads of Bangalore

Wondering who this robot is? Well, its me! And want to know why I call myself so? Because I look like one while travelling (don't know about the other times) :-P

I wear a green scarf around my hair, a dark blue helmet on top of it, and finally a greyish silver jacket. Can you imagine it? Well, its ridiculous. But I can't help it. The dust and wind compels me to make a foolish appearance of myself. Anyhow I reach office and home well protected from the polluted, dusty air. There was a time when I thought that I would never wear a helmet because I disliked it. So when there was a rule forcing two-wheeler riders to wear a helmet, I was totally against it. But now being in Bangalore, even if the government repeals the law, I am going to continue wearing the helmet. :-D

And as you all know its safe to wear the helmet also. The last time I fell, I was lucky to have been wearing the helmet because I fell face down on the road. And could hear the helmet banging hardly on the tarred surface. Just can't imagine what would have happened if I hadn't worn it that day!

So if you find a robot on the roads of Bangalore, don't wonder, its me!

Nothing can stop me from blogging

Today morning as usual, after logging into Google Account, I clicked on the Blogger link. But contrary to my expectation, a warning page popped up. I refreshed and tried opening it once again. But alas, blogger has been blocked at office! :-(

I was disappointed. I could only read through the blogs but could not make new posts or edit the existing ones. I really don't know what made them to block this site. Actually they are doing a mistake by blocking blogger. Whenever I have free time, I access my blogs and make new posts. By doing this, I made sure that I didn't waste my time playing games or being idle. I spent my time productively. But now that they are determined to stop me from blogging during office hours, I have no other option than to play solitaire, sudoku, cinco, and all other accessible games during office hours, spend my time idle, and just loaf around.

Do you feel that I am free during my office hours? In a way its true to an extent. My current project doesn't consume much time always. Sometimes I am free for days at a stretch. But when we have deliverables, its just the opposite. So now don't wonder if you don't see new posts coming up regularly! (Only intended for those who enjoy reading my blogs, if any. :-D)

As per the company policy, the sites irrelevant to the business are blocked.
But there is one flaw in the whole process. We work on remote desktops of which the servers are located elsewhere. So there is no blockage for the sites on the remote desktop. So now that they have blocked blogger on my local desktop, I ll surely work from my remote desktop.. :-D In short, nothing can stop me from blogging. Even if doesn't interest the ones reading it, it interests me a lot... ;-)

Thank God!!!

Everyday when I reach home with my body parts intact, I thank God. Such is the traffic and transportation problems in the Garden City. I know most of them would agree when I make this point, but yet there would be a section whose sentimental feelings with the city would not allow them to agree to the statement. But infact, its true and its known to all.

Commuting is a very grave issue in Bangalore, be it a pedestrian or a person driving a vehicle. The number of hours caught up in the traffic is countless. Movement is actually a big problem. People actually try to avoid commuting during the peak hours of traffic, but those who have to take those hours have no other options left. The road works are another major issue. The biggest example is the section of the Hosur Road from Silk Board to the Electronics City. A flyover construction has been going on there since when, I don't know. But I am seeing it from the past six months. I don't say this doesn't happen in other parts of the country, but in such a populated city, I don't think so.

Digging the sub-roads on a frequent basis is another concern. Since the Hosur Road is not fit for quick transportation, I take a shortcut. For the past six months, there was not a day when there was no construction or maintenance work going on at segments of the road. Finally during the rainy season, something more wonderful is happening. Both the sides of the muddy road are being dug. I know not for what reason. I agree it might be for some developmental purpose but does it make sense to dump the mud onto the road? A lot of people depend on that road to reach the main road. But its all ruined in the rains, and the mud dumped which makes it all slippery and congested. People on two wheelers skid and fall down frequently. But nothing is done to solve this.

Pitfalls in the middle of the roads and irregular bumps are something common everywhere. I agree that these problems prevail in all parts of the country, but the number of lives affected must be considered. Thats why I say I thank God when I reach home with my body parts INTACT!!!

Rainy days and nights

Its often said that rain invokes nostalgia, romance, and calm feelings in man. But how about a nasty, windy rain. Well I love rain in all forms. I love it the most when it rains at night. But the hell follows the next day, if its a working day!

From last two days, its raining the whole night. I sleep under my blanket warm and cozy. But my journey to the office on the two-wheeler, in the mornings are terrible. I usually take a shortcut to office which is an untarred, muddy road only because going through the main road would take me an hour caught up in traffic compared to the 15 minutes by the bad road. It was alright till last Friday except for the infrequent, never ending tarring process.

Monday morning, I was on my way after the heavy rains of the last night. The road was completely muddy and slippery. And as I am an expert at riding (for more about my expertise, see here :-D) I took extreme care to ride through. When I reached a turning, I saw that workers were digging horizontally across the road. I paused there for a moment, not knowing what to do. But they simply let me pass through a narrow bridge. Only when I reached further did I know that the road was blocked. I had to turn, go all the way back and take a different route. It was no better, but still ok.

The next day, I purposely didn't take the old route, since the last night also it rained continuously. As I was nearing my office, I thanked God that there were no major hurdles. But no sooner did I see a pool of water which covered around 500 metres of the road. I thought it would be fine and continued riding. When I reached midway I knew that the water was quite deep. I had to lift my legs so that they didn't get wet. In the middle, the vehicle slowed down. I had to maintain balance or I would fall into the knee length water. At times I felt that I was floating. Somehow I finally reached the other end. And when I returned home in the evening, it was raining heavily. I had no option than to ride. The drops felt like needles. I reached home, fully drenched.

But still I love when its rains!

Being a bit creative

My day started like any other holiday. Only difference was that my brother is not here. I was a bit idle in the morning half. But now when the day is about to end, I have done a bit different things today. I read, did a bit of gardening, cooking, and blogging... :-)

Read - I read a few pages of the book Pride and Prejudice. Actually I had read it halfway a few years back, but couldn't complete it. So now I have started it all over again.

Gardening - I visited a neighbour's house after quite a long time. On my previous visit, I had asked the aunty over there for a moneyplant. Today she gave me the plantlings. I brought them home and put one stalk in a bottle of water. Another two with roots, I planted them in a small Kwality Wall's ice cream container. For planting them, I got the required amount of sand from outside the house and set it. Now everyday, I'll check to see how big it grows. Hope it grows! Though I love gardening, I am an utter flop at it.

Cooking - Yes, I have made caramel pudding. Its all done except for two things - cooling and eating.. :-D Its already set apart for cooling. And once that is done, the final part.

Blogging - Made a new post in the new blog - This is actually a joint effort by two other friends and my brother. Started the post on The Da Vinci Code yesterday and completed it today.

Well that's all what I did today. Looking forward to eating the pudding and completing some pending office work... :-(

Missing Life Terribly - Memories

College days were not so remarkable for me because I never attended my classes. Very rarely did I attend classes. Going to college was the thing I was least interested in. But I did really enjoy the three years at the hostel. During the first year, we had a room on the first floor. It was a room for three - Arya, Rejani, and me. We were quite a good gang. From the first day itself we gelled well. All good in bunking classes.

Initially Trivandrum was new to us. Slowly we learnt the places. The first thing we did was to take a membership at the University Library. Every alternate Saturday, we would leave from the hostel with permission to be at the library. Within five minutes of reaching there, we would return the books, issue new ones and leave the place. Rest of the day we would spend in discovering the favourite spots of Trivandrum. Films were another great means of timepass for us. During those three years we had watched almost 70% of the films at the theatres over there. Our other hostelmates used to make fun of us saying that we were the Encyclopedias of the Trivandrum theatres. Good food was another weakness. Zam Zam at Palayam was a favourite pick. Arul Jyothi, Prime, and Azad were a few another hangouts.

During the second year of college, one could find us in the evenings at the Trivandrum Museum. We used to idle our time sitting on the benches, shifting from one to another, as the sun went down. It was a bit later that we discovered the Kanakakkunnu Palace. It was a quiet place as compared to the musuem. It had an open air theatre and widely spread out places to sit. It was less frequented by people. It was one of the places I used to go when bunking classes alone. Sitting idle over there for hours itself was a great feeling. I just loved the ambience. In our final year, when we had to prepare a script for our short film, we chose this place. We were a gang of six girls and two boys. When all were bugged up preparing the script, the boys took out a cigarette to smoke. A few of the girls including me tried. I failed miserably at it.

By the end of the second year, I took a membership at the British Library. For the next three years, I used to spend hours over there. But now I guess its closed down. It was around the same time that we had to do our internships in the Print Media. I was lucky enough to get in the Trivandrum bureau of the Indian Express. My roomates were doing their intership at another bureau at a different place. So for the one whole month I was alone in my room. I discovered a lot of things during this time. The internship at the bureau was interesting. I would work till noon and then roam about the city. When I was shifted into the editorial section, it was more interesting. I would sleep till 10 am. Then have a look at the newspapers, read a book, have lunch, take a nap, and leave for the bureau. The editorial desk started functioning only in the evening. I actually had very little work. Once that was over I would leave the place. But it would be dark then. It was interesting to walk through the streets, the wind blowing briskly, and all alone. Wow! I miss that. And yes, I had special permission granted at the hostel... ;-)

The final year was quite difficult. We realized very soon that everything would be coming to a still. The final video project was the only entertaining thing left. As mentioned earlier, we were quite bugged up in making the script. The group spent a lot of time together. But we were actually looking forward to this assignment from the first year of college itself. Not because of our interest in filmography, but out of the interest in the monetary gain involved. We could extract quite huge amounts from our parents in this name. After all its an academic project! We conducted the shoot for two days. Editing was what followed next. The editing would get over only at midnight. Only three girls and two boys would be there at the studio. We had no transport means of our own. We would walk through the roads till we found an autorickshaw. Those were the carefree days!

Now its all over! 10 - 6 at office. To bed at 12. And then the same routine. Nothing else. Perhaps thats why I say "I'm missing LIFE"!

61 years of Indian Independence

Tomorrow India celebrates its 61st year of Independence from the British. Well I wouldn't detail anything about how much each Indian suffered to get freedom, but yes now we are truly a proud nation. Atleast Abhinav Bindra is a new reason for the pride of each Indian. Advanced Independence Day wishes!

And yes, we celebrated our Independence Day celebrations today (a day in advance) because we are not working tomorrow. Well many made fun of us for celebrating the Independence Day of Pakistan... :-) So as I said we celebrated Independence today. The whole cubicles with the tricolor flags, pictures, maps - it was nice. Even the people looked nice. Especially the ones in white... ;-) The celebrations were good with each team presenting plays, skits, or presentations based on a theme. And finally the judges gave away the prizes. No, we didn't get any ;-)

Today's celebration reminded me about the ones we celebrated during the school days. Perhaps after that we never celebrated any - neither in schools nor in my previous office. It was marked by a holiday and a few forwarded emails. While I was in my boarding school, unlike the day scholars, we would be in the school campus only. Our Manager would come in the morning itself and hoist the tricolor flag. We loved watching it though I remember none saluting it or singing the National Anthem. But yes, we watched eagerly as it went up and started flowing with the wind. For the first few hours we would come out and see how the flag remained there. But in due course of time we would forget that and never knew who removed it finally by the end of the day. We never had any parades or any patriotic activities. Now when I see the children participating in Independence day programs, I understand how much I have missed.

Well, nowadays it has become one of the holidays we look forward to and sit at home watching patriotic films in the various television channels.

A sunny day

Today morning when I woke up, it was very sunny, which was something new within the past two months. And I was lazy to go to office :-). Thought of working from home. This is one good thing about our company policy. But too many procedures behind it - calling up the lead, answering too many questions, informing project mates, sending in mails, and so on. Well, anyway I had decided - I won't be going today!

I worked for about three hours when suddenly the power went off. Bad luck. I had lots to finish, but without electricity what can be done? I wandered in and outside the house for some time. Then it suddenly came to my mind - its quite long since our Mittu took a bath. I went near his cage. He was warm, cozy, and sleeping. However hard I tried, he didn't care to come out. Finally somehow I took him out and took him to the shower with his towel and shampoo.

He didn't really like it today - though sunny, the water was COLD. Mittu kept on grunting and growling till I took him in the towel. All wet and shivering, with his eyes wide open. I rubbed his feathers, wings, and beak and placed him on a stand to dry. He sat there for half an hour without making any noise. Now look at his picture when he was half dry. Look at the wet patch on his head. Cute right? ;-)

By evening it was cloudy. My mom made some crunchy, hot 'murukku' (snacks). Then we decided to cook something special. And what? I saw my father helping my mom in the kitchen after a gap of some 10 years. They made 'porotta, fish fry, salad, and mutton curry'. By 6 pm it had started raining. It was cool and windy outside. The rains continued till 9 pm. We had our 'special' dinner early and it was tasty too... ;-) Thus ended the day which started bright and sunny.

My sister, My FRIEND

Raji is my cousin sister - my mom's brother's daughter. She spent her childhood in Rajasthan. It was only during the vacations that we met. But I really don't remember those vacations. There are a couple of photos of us together. That's how I know we did meet frequently. I remember seeing her for the first time only when we met for our Standard IV vacation. To me she appeared as a north Indian girl who spoke in Hindi, talked about Bollywood films and actors, and was always restless. During that vacation all the cousins were there. So I really never took much note of her, and she of me.

For the next vacation, we went to Rajasthan. That was when our bonding started. We gelled together so quickly that parting after the vacation was the worst part. I still remember how she cried infront of the railway station while we were leaving. And as fate was, two years later, we were together. She had come to Kerala to continue her studies. The previous year, I had also come down to Kerala to continue my studies. We stayed at our grandmom's place along with Radha Maami (Raji's mom). Vinu is her younger brother. Perhaps he was too young for us then. Whenever we plotted any mischief, he would hide somewhere and spy on us, finally getting the matter to the elders.

We stayed together from standard VI to X. For the first two years I was in my boarding school. So we met only once a month. From VIII standard onwards we stayed together. Life turned out special for both of us then onwards. We ate, slept, studied, and did every mischief together. We made cards for each other on occassions. Rented out video cassettes and watched movies. But fights were unavoidable. We fought like wild cats when angry. But as it goes, fights happen where love is.

After our X standard, our parents took us. She went back to Rajasthan and me to Muscat. But few months later, we were together again. I went to Rajasthan. We were together for the next two years also. But after that we went separate ways for our higher studies. Now also we share a special bond, but are not together. We plan to meet during the next vacation.

My Grandma's Dentures

My grandmom, Janaki, had been the victim of our pranks. We - Raji and me, we were the pranksters then. Everyday we would be caught up for something or the other. But the scoldings never stopped us.

And here goes one of the stories that was very interesting to us. Whenever we all get together, we still laugh at this incident. To say about my grandmom, she has dentures from very long, even before we were born. And till date she is shy to come in front of anybody without her dentures. We had actually tried a lot to see her dentures, when not intact. Even when she brushed, she never allowed us anywhere near us. So just imagine hw much our curiosity would be.

One night, after watching the 10 pm movie on Doordarshan, we developed a plan - to steal grandma's dentures... :-D. It was already something around midnight. All were asleep except we two. We briefly charted out the plan. First move was to remove our anklets. We tried hard but it didn't come out. So we pulled it up and tied it well so that no noise would be produced. One by one we tiptoed into grandma's room through the dark. I had already got a tickly feeling in my stomach as I suppressed my laughter imagining her face the next day without the dentures. We reached by her side. Raji leaned over and took the container in which the dentures were put. We tiptoed back into our room, bolted the door, switched on the lights, and gave a vent to our feelings. We laughed to our hearts' content. I placed the container safely in the cupboard, instructed Raji on how innocent we would behave the next day, unbolted the door, and slept.

Next morning, I woke up to the voice of my grandmom. She was calling to my aunt sleeping in the next room. When aunt (Radha Maami) answered, she said that her dentures were missing. Maami was all confused. She didn't respond for some time. A few moments later she called out, "Raji". Raji was fast asleep. I didn't respond. Next was my turn. After being called for two or three times, I answered in a very sleepy tone, "Yeeess, Maami". She asked me where the dentures were. I didn't respond. I didn't want to give it away so quickly. Even Raji was asleep. I didn't know what to do. Finally I said, "Its here in the cupboard". I saw my grandmom rushing into the room and taking away the dentures without uttering a word. I felt sad. All our efforts gone in waste.

A few moments later, Raji opened her eyes. I told her very sadly that the container was gone. To my surprise she said,"I know, I was awake". Thus we both were sad. What followed was a few scoldings for both of us from aunt and grandmom, and in secret Raji also received a few beatings from Maami. I was saved, my mom was not with us that time.. ;-)

Now what our effort has left us with is a sweet memory to cherish on forever... :-) And this is a picture of my grandmom. Look at her smile... :-)

And well, if you are really wondering who Raji is, read my posts categorised under the label 'Raji'. She is a wonderful and interesting character.

Learning to Ride!!!

I commute to office on my two-wheeler. But its a nightmare when I still remember those days when I started learning to ride one. For riding one, the basic lesson is to learn to ride a bicycle, which was the worst part for me. From early childhood itself, I dreaded riding a bicycle. Guess I had fallen once and developed a phobia to it. However hard my parents tried, I would not sit on a bicycle. During our vacations, when we came down to Kerala, I was amazed to see all my cousins (including girls) riding the bicycle and enjoying a ride. Honestly I wished to ride one effortlessly, but was scared.

Years passed, and I reached my high school. Raji (my cousin sister) and I stayed together. She had a bicycle, which she rode like an expert. For one of those vacations, my brother was also with us. He was adamant that I was to learn to ride the bicycle and I had to agree. We had a rubber estate behind our house. There was a narrow path along it for the people to cross through. He would make me sit on the cycle and give it a hard push. I would not dare to move and sit on it like a statue. The cycle goes someway and finally slids and falls, I also go along. I would make no efforts to save myself. It was so ridiculous that my aunt makes fun of me on that fall now also. That option didn't work out. What happened was that I had a few scars here and there.

In school, when I saw my friends coming to school on their cycles, I also had a desire to ride one. Finally I decided to learn. Every evening after reaching home, I would take Raji's cycle and try to ride it. I would balance it bit by bit within our compound itself and ride. Injuries were a part and parcel of that. Atlast I could balance myself on the cycle and ride straight, but not the curves and turns.

Now though I ride my kinetic well, riding a bicycle is not my cup of coffee. I still find it difficult and I don't attempt those stunts nowadays.

My SunTec - my first job

While making this post, I am having a chat with an old colleague from SunTec (my first company). Well surely this invokes a lot of memories and nostalgia. I still remember the first day I reached SunTec's corporate office for the initial round of interview. The office was located at a place Kuravankonam (Trivandrum). We were actually going for an interview from the institute where we underwent our Certificate course in Technical Writing. We had a little difficulty in finding the place. But when we were in front of the office all apprehensions were gone. It was more of a big house with a big lawn and lot of woodwork.

We were taken inside the building. This was the first time I was attending an interview, but I was not tensed or nervous. Because I had no expectations. I didn't even know the company profile. We were taken to one of the conference rooms. I still admire the buildings and paintings inside SunTec's corporate office, with all those yellow dim lights, and wooden staircases with lots of carvings on it. While we were all getting set, a lady from HR (she left SunTec the day we joined) came and distributed the written test question papers. We all took it so lightly and happily completed it. It was a bit quizzy. Once that was over, she left with the papers and we were all chatting and loafing around the place. But after the first round, when a few were eliminated and asked to go home, we became a bit serious. That was when we realized that this was no silly affair. And somehow, Narayan, Arun, and me were taken as Technical Writers at SunTec. And yes, that was my first job, my first step into the corporate world.

For one month we had to undergo a training on the product. It was at the Knowledge Solutions Centre at Vazhuthacaud. The training rooms were quite large and nice. Sitting and listening to 'God knows what product' for 4-5 hours and then a 'hands-on' session. Literally speaking, they were boring. Thanks to the others in the batch, that I cleared the final presentation. My favourite hobby was playing Soltaire. Though the trainings were boring, we were a good batch. I enjoyed the lunch breaks when we went out for lunch. Our tea-breaks were more enjoyable. The pantry was on the roof-top. Somedays when it was cloudy or raining, having a hot cup of coffee over there was perhaps more than what we could ask for.

A month later, the training was over and all were allocated into different teams. We, the technical writers, were to move to the Technopark. In the beginnings, the place and people seemed quite alien to me (infact, to them I seemed more odd.. ;-)). But over a period of time, everything was normal. I felt myself a part of the team. Work went on well. Aswathy and me, we always had confusions during our lunch time, over what to choose. Perhaps, we gelled well in terms of food :-) Celebrations, meetings, trainings, all went on well till I decided to leave the place. Now I realize how much I miss everything. Though I have lots of opportunities and freedom now, I miss SunTec. I don't know whether I would ever choose to go back. But still - 'first job is always special'. And SunTec is really special to me.