December 28, 2011

Happy Holidays!

It’s 5.45 in the morning. I’m surrounded by so much noise, action and drama that it feels like it’s mid-day. People checking their seats, trying to get their bags up in the storage space, haggling with coolies, buying magazines in a rush, rushing for a quick coffee/tea…a typical morning at the railway station. Me? I just about made it into the right compartment, hauled my bag up and got my kids seated before the train puffed out of the station!

There are some sights and sounds that amaze me every single time – the Indian family living abroad explaining (at the top of their voices) to their kids why they should speak quietly, the family of 4 that has about 15 smallish bags struggling to squeeze them into the storage bins, the person with one humungous bag bargaining with the coolie at the last minute, small kids wailing, my kids wanting chocolate or any other kind of junk….oh, the list is endless.

What makes me repeat this journey time and time again? The destination, of course – Madras, nalla Madras. I love everything about it. But in addition to this, it’s the joy of the journey itself. The Shatabdi Express’ lovely coaches that make you forget that you’re actually traveling Indian Railways! The clean bathrooms, excellent service and the invariable friends I make on the train thanks to the kids antics…all this and more is what I love.

Happy Holidays everyone!

November 22, 2011

:S (emoticon for being confused)

I wonder...
I wonder what you're thinking right now...
I wonder if you can understand why I'm saying what I'm saying...
I wonder if you can remember anything at all after the moment passes...
I wonder if you will wake up and smile at me...
I wonder what next...
I wonder if you will forgive me...
And most of all, I wonder if you will forget.

November 1, 2011

Halloween for dummies

About 10-15 years ago, the term Halloween was probably unknown in India. Then, the tech-outsourcing revolution happened and it all changed. No, technology and Halloween are not connected in any way, thank God! Else we'll be seeing virtual reality zombie characters flying all over the place! No, tech-outsourcing exposed many Indians to America and vice-versa. Traditions, festivals, recipes and clothing were shared and thus, Halloween was born in India.

To be fair, there are many that still have no idea Halloween is. So here's the gist. In short, kids dress up in different costumes, go by houses and say trick or treat (signifying you either treat me or else I'll play a trick on you), get loads of candy and come back home on a sugar-high!

Bangalore has a vast ex-pat community and many US returns too. Since they like to keep the tradition going for their children, Halloween is now a part of many large communities. I took my kids out trick or treating for the first time ever.

A funny bunny and an evil devil - both fit their parts quite well! It was a lot of fun and I pinched some of their candy, too! Happy Halloween everyone!

October 31, 2011

Ra-One - the review

I have to put in many disclaimers before I start writing this post.
  • I don't watch too many movies, especially Hindi ones.
  • I am a big fan of Superhero movies (apparently, in any language).
  • I don't like the usual song, dance and crying kind of movies.
  • I'm not a geek but I find certain aspects of technology really cool.
  • OK, that's it. Now read on if you're still interested.
Met my expectations
Story line, music, acting - There was just enough of emotion and drama. No one overdid the death scene, there was no bawling etc. Music rocked! Acting - Ra-One's and G-One's expressions were naturally robotic and machine-like :)

Exceeded my expectations
Effects - The picturization of nano particles coming together to form Ra-One was awesome! Also the whole virtual environment that was created for the game was very neat.

Below my expectations
Shakrukh's South Indian imitation was terrible. The accent, the 'curly hair' and the AYYO - really bad. I'm glad that he was killed early on in the film.

The Voila factor
Roping in the big B for his voice and the Superstar for his style was really cool - a great marketing tactic. Showing a little respect to these two definitely doesn't hurt!

An out and out entertainer with great music and effects, Ra-One is a total time-pass movie. Throw your logical mind out and don't try to reason with the going-ons. You'll have a great time!

October 30, 2011

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Just hearing the word 'snow' brings back so many memories...good, bad and ugly :).

When I was a kid, I longed to see it and play in it. When I had the chance to experience it, I loved it, grew tired of it and eventually hated it (thanks to all the shoveling). And now, that I'm so far removed from it, I wish I could experience it just one more time.

Funny how the grass is greener, the lights are brighter and the snow is flakier...

October 18, 2011

The girl who didn't like to dance

Once upon a time, there was a girl. She loved to do many things - read, sing, play, chat and so on....but there was one thing that she didn't like to do...and that was to dance. Try as she might, she just didn't get the hang of it, didn't like to watch when others danced and just never wanted to try it at all.

When she was in college, she got involved in it a bit. No, she didn't perform but helped organize things around the main performance. That, she was good at. But she began to like watching. Still later, when she got a little older, she began to dance. Not all the time. In fact, usually only 'under the influence' and after much persuasion from her friends. She even began to create her own signature steps, as funny as they might be...steps that others began to copy, although only briefly!

And then, it all stopped...due to many reasons. Explaining those would take away from the randomness of this story. But recently, it seems like the madness might have started up again. All thanks, again, to friends. The girl who didn't like to dance has put on her dancing shoes warned, everyone!

For a story as random as this one, could there be a moral? Yes! Make sure your friends are crazy and goofy! They will make you do silly things. Things that you wouldn't try on your own, things that make you go WTH, things that you can think back of and laugh about.

In keeping with the spirit of the festive season, here's a big loud cheer to good friends and good times! Long may they last!

October 17, 2011

Deepavali 2011

I wrote this last Deepavali. This year, I'm not going cracker shopping...husby and friends will do the honors.

I'm curious to see what kind of discounts they will come back with. I'm looking at it as a socio-psychology experiment to understand why some people get more discounts than others. Some of the reasons I can think of are a person's
  • gender
  • ability to bargain well
  • fluency with the local language
  • ability to smooth talk
  • attitude (bordering on being brash)
  • knowledge of the product
Get ready....this is a guys versus girls test. Who is really the better bargainer? I can't wait to see who wins although I think I know the answer already :).

A happy and safe Deepavali everyone!

October 7, 2011

Of gopurams and towers

I'm sitting in the balcony at our hotel in Pasumalai (Madurai). The view is breathtaking; dotted with houses in different colors and sizes, the five outer gopurams of the Meenakshi Amman temple....and innumerable cell phone towers! I don't think I've seen this many towers in such a small radius! Obviously, the reception here is far better than any that I've had in Madras or Bangalore.

I wonder what the Kings who built this temple (Pandya dynasty?) think of that. :)

September 11, 2011

Magician, artist...but a faltering God?

It feels like eons ago that I wrote this. It's only 2 years almost to the date, really. Federer's semi-final loss to Djokovic has left me and others in a sort of daze...did it really happen that way? It feels similar to when the Red Sox came back to beat the Yankees after being down 0 - 3...not that I like the Sox...or baseball, even. But you get the drift.

Yeah, weird things happen. It could be the law of averages...things have to even out at some point. It could be Murphy's law...a double fault at a crucial time?! It could be plain nerves for one and a 'go for broke' attitude for the other. Whatever it is, you can't really figure it out. It's one of those inexplicable things where all you can do is wonder 'what if'.

What if...I hate that thought.

August 23, 2011


Shades of pink, orange, green, blue...suddenly a dark grey....followed closely by DNA-like strands floating around loosely. Left and right, up and down and then in no particular order. Images of people, places, instances. Thoughts of food, clothes, shoes, the gym...a far-away tweet of some bird, the radio playing somewhere. The sound of breathing...the only constant...

And then, back to reality...Shavaasana is finished...and I've brought my awareness back to myself.

The uncontrollable mind has to wait for a few more days before it can go off on yet another psychedelic journey...

August 3, 2011

The eyes of a child

I see the clock ticking away and you see the snail crawling slowly
I see a traffic jam and you see a big crane blocking the road
I see a mess in the room and you see the new toys underneath it
I see sand on the bathroom floor and you see the water that can wash it away
I see an old phone and you see a new toy
I see grey skies and you see beautiful rain clouds
I see a hot day and you see the bright sun
I see dirty shoes and you see the next muddy puddle
I see chores and you see an adventure

I see you in all your innocence...and I wonder what you see of me...

July 21, 2011


I don't know if this is common practice only in India...or if other countries do it too. Whoever heard of filling out an application form for school admission even before the baby had arrived into this world? What would one even fill?

Name - not sure...we're still fighting over it
Date of birth - not sure...approximately November 10?
Sex - not's illegal to find out in India, don't you know?
Parents name - yes, that we can fill in (yay, finally something to write)


Where do all these applications go? To the 'to be born in 1 month, 2 months, 3 months' drawer? What purpose does it serve? What priority will these children be given? Why can't these schools that follow this process simply issue forms like other schools do? When the child is actually born and about 3 years old and ready to go to school? Is this some sort of ego-inflating process for the school? Or a publicity stunt?

Does anyone else think this is weird?

July 16, 2011


Harry Potter came into my life as 4 free books when I joined Doubleday Book Club in 2001. 10 years later, all 7 have a safe place in my library, the last of which is the British edition (I will buy the American edition too, the set needs to be complete...whole...). I remember buying tickets well in advance for the first film and q'ing up with friends at the movies. I also remember going alone to the next 2 as I didn't have company :). Watched the next 4 at home. Became an owner of Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows Part 1 just 2 weeks ago.

One part of me couldn't wait to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. The other, didn't want to go to the theater at all because that would mean that it would all be finished. With a friend for company and sporting 3D glasses for the first time, I watched the movie. And as I thought, I just didn't want it to end. It was so bloody good! Not much deviation from the book either. Simply superb effects and excellent soundtrack.

True magic...will miss it.

July 5, 2011

Highway to hell

The Madras-Bangalore highway has excellent roads, decent loos, ok places to eat and simply amazing and super corny warning signs! Read at your own risk :)

  • Don't learn safety by accident.
  • If you want to stay married, divorce speed.
  • Fast drive, last drive.
  • Safety never takes a holiday.
  • Don't mix drinking and driving.
  • Lane discipline gives you long life.
  • Safe driving is like breathing. Don't stop it.
  • Cautious drive ensures longevity.
  • Drive like hell, you will be there.
I warned you...!

June 27, 2011

10 things I don't like about Nadal

I've been watching tennis for ages now. Seen all the rivalries over time. My favourites have changed...Lendl to Sampras and now Federer. While Lendl and Sampras lost regularly to many players, I've never ever detested (hated, abhored etc...) any of the players that they lost to. Maybe that's because they never lost to anyone as consistently as Federer has lost to Nadal. Even then, I just can't understand why I have such a strong feeling of dislike towards him. I need to clear this out of my here goes....10 things that I hate about Nadal...

  1. His constant constipated expression
  2. His "habit"
  3. His time wasting tactics
  4. His game (and I'm sure this will be a point of contention with many)
  5. His constant looking at his box, especially when he wants to challenge a call
  6. Getting coached in the middle of matches
I can't think of any more. Can you?

PS: (The only thing I like about him is his mental toughness)


A song called Felicidad

Even after a year in Bangalore, my ties to Telugu-land still continue...imagine my surprise when I was asked by someone at the Heritage store (owned by former CM Chandrababu Naidu) whether I watched Telugu films when all I was doing was humming Felicidad. Hmmmm......weird? No, it's quite normal. The music maestros of Tollywood have copied yet another classic.

Mama, O Mama O Mama come tell me that you wanna, you wanna O Mama ... is now
Mama O Mama Sathyabama Sathyabama something something...(can't find youtube link)

Get ready Mamma Mia, I think you're up next.

June 21, 2011

Brush, brush, brush your teeth...with what?

Toothpaste advertisements are hilarious. They either show someone in a ridiculous amount of pain, which vanishes upon using the said paste. Or they show someone with ridiculously bad breath, which makes the better half turn away in disgust only to come running back when they see sparkly, coloured 'things' freshen up the air around the planet!

Do you want to prevent toothache and be pain-free or do you want your mouth to be germ-free for 24 hours straight and have your girlfriend/boyfriend cozy up to you? That's the question that Colgate is asking these days.

Take your pick - Colgate Active Salt or Colgate Total. If you think you can use a bit of both on your brush and beat the system, think again.

That's the next ad campaign. Colgate Totally Salty. The paste of the future.

Say cheese!

June 6, 2011

Mini goodbye

She was nervous. Very nervous. She knew this day would come but hadn't expected it to happen so soon. And she was surprised about her reaction. She had always thought of herself as being chilled out. Au contraire, she even went through a mildly sleepless night and a very early morning wake-up.

So many emotions went through her while she waited...and waited. Finally, there it was. And without much drama, she went. Her little one. Proud, confident and full of smiles! First day at the big school, first time in the bus.

Bye bye little aren't little any longer.

April 14, 2011

Growing (up) pains

Growing up and being a grown-up are two different things altogether. One means you're older, maybe a tad wiser. The other means that you're in a position where you must do a few things to merit that title. Like teaching your kids, setting an example (a good one, obviously), passing on tradition and customs and so on.

Today, we celebrated Tamil New Years day like we always do. We ate. Period. But like I always do on festival days, I dressed up my children in Indian clothes. My tomboy daughter didn't want to wear a 'paavadai' but I insisted and said "I'm going to wear a salwar". And she said, "That's not fair, amma. You anyway wear salwars. If you want me to wear a paavadai, then you wear a sari"!


And so we celebrated, wearing paavadai, kurta-pyjama, dhoti and sari!

My first lesson in this new year is the realization and acceptance that I have a lot of growing up to do to in order to call myself a grown-up.

And all thanks to my 'little grown-up'.

April 12, 2011

Junkie and loving it!

I've always been a sports junkie...for most of my adult life. Following different sports, different leagues, different players and so on. If you think that's easy, think again. So much tension, so much heartbreak, so many anxious moments and sooooooo much drama! There is constant action throughout the year with hardly any time to recover from victory or loss. Aussie Open, Superbowl, IPL, NBA playoffs, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open, year-end tennis masters and the numerous cricket tours that happen these days.

Don't think for a second that following all of this and dealing with the heartbreak, especially, is easy. Sleepless nights follow many a victory and defeat alike. Hard to explain why I feel the way I feel. But I'm glad that my spirit hasn't changed and I'm still addicted...passionately, even.

For the moment, it's all laughter, smiles and trash talking. I've bled blue and have now moved on to yellow! Yellow IS the new blue...bring it on everyone!

April 2, 2011


2 teams, both blue.
2 teams, both tough.
2 teams, both champions.
What a great, clean, awesome match!
Bleeeeeeeeeed Blueeeeeeeeeee!

March 30, 2011

Loyalty and love...for sport

In today’s ever-changing ‘flat’ world, people from different parts of the globe live in other parts of it. They call it ‘home’ either for the moment or forever. But are they truly displaced in their feelings as well? Where is their heart? Who will they side with if their present and past ‘homes’ are on a collision course?

‘The Cup’ will make the sub-continent its home by the end of the week. An outsider to this event will think that this is achievement in itself. Alas, the truth is far from it. The magnitude of this, is known only to the billion plus whose hearts beat to the sound of every ball played.

A billion hearts will be praying, singing, screaming and urging you on today.

Bleed Blue India, Bleed Blue.

March 9, 2011

Radio Ga Ga!

Radio in India has come a long, long way since the time I was a kid. From old Hindi songs and classical music, it moved on to 'English' songs for one hour every evening. And they even played requests and took dedications! I haven't tuned in to the radio in a really long time (ever since I moved back to India, I think) so I was pleasantly surprised to find that Bangalore has its own 24 hour 'hit' music station Radio Indigo. They have a couple of 'foreign' DJs and the music they play is a combination of rock, pop, hip hop and everything else that is considered 'hit' least for the moment.

But the advertisements they feature are as bad as any other are a couple that I hear everyday...

"A recent survey showed that 40% of people that are heart patients are in the age of 25 - 35. Did that wake you up?" - When I first heard that, I thought it was an ad for a health club of some sort promoting the value of staying fit. Um,'s for health insurance! It's ok if you're not fit and have a bad lifestyle, make sure you don't get screwed on hospital bills!

A lady with a very strong American accent talks about the benefits of studying at one particular design school in the city...and ends it all by saying she's from SCOTLAND! Come on, get your 'accent' together!

Lastly, an ad featuring Bangalore's hippest French/Italian restaurant Medici! French/ Indian/Chinese? That's adaptation if you ask me.

February 27, 2011


A traffic jam at the end of my street on a weekday morning. Irritation, annoyance and everything else showed on my face. And then, I saw two people run by my car...huffing and puffing with their bags in tow. The traffic jam had brought everything to a standstill, including the bus that they wanted to get on to. And so they ran and climbed into the bus...a big smile on their face.

They weren't the only ones smiling at the end of it.

January 30, 2011

Right Choice Baby, aha!

50 paise for the small one and 1 rupee for the big one. That's how much I used to pay for Pepsi Cola. And this was many years, maybe even a decade, before Lehar re-introduced it in India. So where did I get it from and that too for such a piddly sum? My school canteen!

It did not come in a glass bottle but in a plastic tube. It was not brownish-black but multi-coloured. It didn't need an opener, just one's teeth. 'It' was not a drink but a Godsend-divine- crushed-ice thingy that made everyone long for recess! And the dirt and grime in the ice box that it was stored in added to the flavour, of course! What a hit it was especially during sports time and awfully hot summer days, which were aplenty in Madras! But by the time I was done with school, it was gone. Replaced by cooler drinks and fancy ice creams that became a part of every child's life, therefore every school's canteen.

And now, it's back...'Chillicks' is its new avtaar. It's packaged differently, stored in a cleaner way and costs a whopping 10 rupees. But I can't get myself to try it. It feels weird.

Pepsi Cola in a clean tube for 10 bucks? Nah. I'll just hang onto my memories of the old one...the original.

January 8, 2011

Stocking up

She was a collector, there was no doubt about that. Not art or expensive things or even stamps. Just sentiments. No, not mentally but in the form of cards, letters, little get the gist. Over the years, her 'collection' grew, moved with her across continents and cities and finally found its resting place in a huge red plastic tub. A tub so big that it couldn't hide anywhere. Sometimes, things need to be jarring, loud...almost an eye-sore to be taken note of. Either by oneself or else, a significant other.

After much debating, she decided that it was time. To sort through, clean up and maybe just let go. And so she began reading through years of laughter, joy, sadness, fun....memories. One last time before she said goodbye. But she just couldn't get herself to say bye to all of them! Important dates, important moments and important people, especially those that were no longer with could she? So the pile became smaller...much smaller. But it was still there, tucked away in a little bag.

The rest? Tucked away in her heart.