Sunday, May 31, 2009

Post 616 : Duality encountered

Floating on the battleground,
                Both the adversary and the ally,
Compete with me range-bound,
                No time to count the toll or the tally

Tomorrow is another day,
              So says the mother whale 
The sun kills the silhouette with the ray,
               Question - who will win, and who will fail?

Post 615 : Poetic Justice

The seer was born deaf and dumb. Heightened by the inability to cross the aural boundary,  even as a kid he chose to communicate in verses. As he grew into a seer, he continued to sparkle with couplets.
Years have passed, he is no more, all we are left are his poetic words on paper.

And…we continue to make no headway with the secrets contained within them. The meaning in the words seemed to be locked with a secret un-breakable code.

Post 614 : Racial Slur

I am surprised at the outrage against the Aussie “racial” behaviour with respect to Indian students.

Its not as if racism is an alien concept to us? We deal with it daily.

Would you eat at a local “Rambharose Hindu Hotel”? Will you be ok if your daughter marries across community (green vs. orange)? Don't you suck up to white skin all the time?  Will you share your cafeteria table with your janitor? Why would you greet a mere acquaintance with a broad “good morning” but completely ignore your apartment’s watchman (security guard)? I come from the IT industry. Why do we all push all our antennas up, when we are hiring “gultis”?

Get the drift? Discrimination based on sex, race, creed is fundamental in our DNA. We are living in a glass house, and what is the age old advice about “throwing stones”.

Meanwhile, we will hope Dhoni and his team take revenge on the Aussies in the ICC T20.

Post 613 : We are all just one step away from happiness, all homes are short of just one more room…

Have been through an upheaval in the past 2 months. Whats this “upheaval” been about? Put it simply, I am 33.


“And”, nothing really, its just that 33 gone and my life looks like a mid-summer’s dream – its neither here nor there. Is this what they call a mid-life crisis? Am I bored of my life, either personal or professional?

Facts first
1. I am one among the lucky few, who truly enjoys my job. I like it, and would be incomplete without it. Could I something else? Of course yes, but that does not take away the fact that I have fun during my work day.
2. Somewhere along growing up, I acquired this “truth” – that a life that does not touch the zenith, is not a “life” at all. If you are not a Picasso, or a Beethoven, or a Warren Buffet, or a Buddha – you have not even scraped the sublime mystery of your cells. To live is to elevate – to fly – to go beyond everyday – to connect with the “larger unsaid” which we commonly call as “beauty/art/craft”. In my head meandering along has absolutely no merit, if you walking or running to a destination – well, thats another matter.
3. I am not a “normal” guy. I am (very slightly) disadvantaged in terms of health, slightly advantaged in terms of upbringing (too much freedom – was allowed to float around), and veer towards the weird – A book of poetry, a brilliant rendition of Raag Marwa, a sublime photo of the ripples in water, all of these give me more joy than “normal” things. Am I old-worldly –maybe yes, at least I sound like one.

So where is this conversation headed?

I am 33, and nowhere close to the zenith. It does not appear that my current path is leading me anywhere in that direction. And that, my friends is the root of the beast. I dread to be dying anytime soon…..

(- Title from a couplet by Javed Akthar)

Post 612 : Summertime Rocks by Dhruv, Ashu, Kailash from album Smoke

My third and (hopefully) final post on the same song. Very few songs give you pure undiluted hope. This song invariably makes me want to smile.
(Another song in this category  is “Aa rahan hoon mein by Bombay Vikings”….Its a song full of promise for the future).
Go reach out for both, they are possibly songs full of genius quotient.

Post 611 : Japanese Names…

Have been dealing with a lot of Japanese recently. Must admit, they are an intriguing set of people (romanticised by the likes of “The Last Samurai”).

When you deal with them, you are supposed to address them by their last names e.g. Shimura San equivalent to Iyerji, sharma ji. Most surnames end with vowels, and invariably with an “a” sound. Spousie and I were thinking of Indian surnames which sound Japanese, came up with none….except imaginary ones like

Phataka San (kya phataka hain!!)
Tamata San
Batata San


Post 610 : Summertime Rocks (Dhruv, Ashu, Kailash Kher – Smoke) - Lyrics


(Excuse my transcription errors, had to hear this for over 20 mins before I could come up with this version).

(Kailash in hindi, Dhruv in English)

Har pal jaate hai zindagi se, 
kyun naa jee lein khushi se , oh o oh!!

Rishta hai mera bandagi se,
kehta huun har kisi se, toh sunoh

Its summertime and rocks
Its summetime and rolls

Kisne hai jaana kal kya hoga zindagi mein
Kya kya judega pal jo beeta is kahani mein

Dil ki sunta hoon, khush rahta hoon
Man hi man yeh kehta hoon, Toh sunoh

Its summertime and rocks
Its summertime and rolls

A morning dance, because it is the summertime
I’ll take my chance, because the world is all mine
I need romance, on the sunny strokes

Its summertime and rocks
Its summetime and rolls

(Lovely music interlude)

We got a good thing going just take it from me,
Lets stretch this moment to infinity
Without any  grand plans, without any goals….

Its summertime and rocks
Its summetime and rolls

Kisko bataoon mere dil mein kya kya hota hain,
Mein jhoomo gaawoon gham se tho mera samjautha hain

Its summertime and rocks
Its summertime and rolls

A morning dance, because it is the summertime
I’ll take my chance, because the world is all mine
I need romance, on the sunny stroke

Its summertime and rocks
Its summertime and rolls

Will you take a little trip through peasely pots and traffic lights that glow
An oriental wonderland with sand instead of snow
This little playground is a doctor for my soul

Its summertime and rocks
Its summertime and rolls

A morning dance, because it is the summertime
I’ll take my chance, because the world is all mine
I need romance, on the sunny stroke

(note the guitar riffs)

A morning dance, because it is the summertime
I’ll take my chance, because the world is all mine
I need romance, on the sunny stroke

Yeh joh lamhe pyar ke hain,
yehi zindagi hamari
Isme joh pyar miley bas (followed by incomprehensible line….)

Yeh joh lamhe pyar ke hain,
yehi zindagi hamari
Isme joh pyar miley bas (followed by incomprehensible line….)

Yeh joh lamhe pyar ke hain,
yehi zindagi hamari
Isme joh pyar miley bas (followed by incomprehensible line….)

Post 609 : Life is a lesson, you’ve learnt (it) when you are dead…

My strategy of going onto cash murdered me. My erstwhile portfolio has surged another 50% from the point I exited, pre-election.

Its a whipsaw, you lose most of the times and win when it least matters :-)

I hope to make it all back. I am down, but not out!!

(Feel like a complete jackass!!)

Post 608 : You know you have strayed too far when….

Not been posting regularly due to some legacy health issues and an idiotic work schedule….hope to be back at my sporadic posting spree in the next few days.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Post 607 : Cash is king (and possibly dumb!!)

Four days ago, moved out of the markets and into cash. Its rare, if never that I hold cash in my hand. I believe markets fall-rise-oscillate-gyrate, stay invested…that is the smartest way to be.

I am now 90% cash, 10% stock. Why this “proselytion” to a newer faith? In my 15 years of being invested, never even in post dotcom bust(y) days have I ever held cash over the market.

Devina Mehra puts in in this interview, we are all ignoring the elephant in the room, assuming it will go away – I think I could not sum up my own apprehension better.

Elections are not just an elephant, it represents a herd on a rampage. How long before they make their presence felt in the room.

My reading 3rd front might be a good possibility (dont look at me like that, I did not vote, and I am not responsible for it!!). If that assumption is correct, a 40% shave off the market does not seem too far-fetched. Mr. Karat’s gang is capable of all this and more.

Like any other bet, this bet of mine can go all horribly wrong. How horrible, with the sensex at 15PE, and gloomy shadows for the next 3 qtrs, is your guess vs. mine…..

Post 606 : Beauty Contest with a difference

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (May 6) - Sukaina al-Zayer is an unlikely beauty queen hopeful. She covers her face and body in black robes and an Islamic veil, so no one can tell what she looks like. She also admits she's a little on the plump side.

But at Saudi Arabia's only beauty pageant, the judges don't care about a perfect figure or face. What they're looking for in the quest for "Miss Beautiful Morals" is the contestant who shows the most devotion and respect for her parents.

More here

I am wondering, will it be judgmental on my part, if I mention that I found this “amusing”?

Post 605 : Silence by Sirpi Balasubramaniam

Wide world am I
Said the lamp

Beautiful am I
Said the wick

Pulsating life am I
Said the flame

The oil
Born of toil
Filling the lamp
With sweat and blood
Uttered no word.

(From Pg 54, Tamil new poetry, translated by Dr. KS Subramanian)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Post 604 : Writer’s block

A poem, a haiku or a collection
                 A few words in my head are taking shape,
Search the mirror, nothing but my own reflection
               Maybe…. just another bootleg collage  that wants to escape.

Post 603 : Lost cause…these times will never return


One sentence of Gulzar's which still evokes the poet in me is……
“Mein Kya Batau, Ke behta darya (tha), jab (mein) aa raha tha, tho( mein) jaa rahan tha…..”

translated would be…
What do I describe (about myself),
(I was) the gushing river,
(While you fancied that I was) streaming in,
(I was actually) on the course out…..

Post 602 : EVM’s off network hence hack proof

This is from TOI, link here. “Unlike in the US, the EVM used here is a standalone machine that cannot be connected to any network, making it impossible to hack in.”

Guys, I suggest we move our PCs off the internet (that could be part of Mulayam’s or Advani’s agenda) – that we can claim “India does not have (software) virus attacks. we are always off the network.”

I can see the future, and its asinine.


I dont think the IISC professors have heard of flashing the memory/EVM machine. Look a simple Lamington road electronic store can hardware mod an iphone or WII, do we think the EVM is more sopho than that.

post 601 : Redux (I surrender my right to vote)

Refer to

Quite a few zealots are writing into me – panning me for my post.

A few observations :

1. With the 10-20 odd conversations I have had with people on this topic, I am not surprised almost all the counterparties invariably said “We must vote”. It is fashionable & politically correct to say that. (Its very akin to having a debate on honesty vs. fibbing, invariably all will say “honesty” is the way to go….who wants to sound ethically bankrupt).

2. Taking point 1 ahead, its important to distinguish between what is politically correct and what is pragmatic. We all bribe pandus (at least I always do) – in my 16 years of driving, I have been caught 8 times (5 on the bike, 3 on the car) and have always paid 50-100 rupees and escaped the red tape. Do I think it is “correct”, of course not, will I still practice it, “of course yes”. Why? because I am more worried about the 1 day of productivity I will lose at office. Yes, I will have to spend 1 day at the RTO. Had it been a 15 minute process and having 5-6 service points across the city, I would always prefer to take the “correct” route. Anyone who has been to the RTO office will tell you, that without “grease” its difficult to even reach the right counter.

3. Its fashionable for zealots to say “You are part of the problem, do your bit”, and then another zealot added “you think 33% taxes are enough to exempt you from your duties””. Look buddies, I don’t/can’t scream histrionics like you do, but hear me patiently, if you will. I believe in capitalism, in the innate virtue of selfishness, and the necessity of each cog to function properly.
I work in the software industry, do I continue to tolerate an inefficient coder in my team beyond a point, no I don’t. Do I take shit from my manager long enough, no I don’t. In both the cases, I dont step into their shoes, I either move on, or I replace.
Just because my house-cleaner does not clean my house well, do I start cleaning up, without rejecting her completely.Of course not, I give her/him sufficient warnings and then the boot.

4. Last zealot argument, “vote for the lesser evil”, yeah right, “and bees and birds deliver babies!!”.
Come on, buddies, what is to choose between a Jaya Prada and Azam Azmi, or between a Sadhu Yadav and Mukthar Ahmed, or between Manmohan and Advani. Will any of them work for me, will my voice (anti-reservation) be heard at all, will my life be any more secure, will POK issues be resolved, will Kasab be hanged…..

You folks are deluding yourself. Its time we accept things we can fight, and things we cannot. Just as, we cannot change our heights, or our parents – we cannot change the environment. I repeat my favourite question, look around you on the floor “How many people do you think have the same issues as you?”. If the answer is “many”, you are lucky, you are part of the lumpen, then you must vote. Me….an earthbound misfit, I.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Post 600 : Drive to a village and back….(Mumbai – Chiplun – Goa – Mumbai drive)

Prologue : Wifey and me decided it would be good to drive around. We almost zoomed in on Hotel Hillock, Mount Abu or Orange County, Coorg as the places to be driving to….but then for some reason both fizzled out. We were supposed to drive out on Friday (24th April), but right until 22rd night, it was almost a “no”.
On 23rd, on a whim, we decided to drive down to good old Goa. It did help that close friends and colleagues were moving base there as well (for vacation, I mean).
Our first long trip on the Honda City, now 5 months old.

Travelogue : 25th April 2009 (Saturday 8am) to 29th April 2009 Wednesday (11pm)
Cast : Sri, Smi, Kavin aka Suresh and Kavya

Odometer for the trip : 1194 kms door to door, costing exactly 70 litres of petrol. An average of around 17kmpl, not as good as the Santro’s 20 on long drives, but thats the price you pay for comfort.

Route :
25th - Day 1 –> Panvel Chiplun (250 through NH17 – 4 hours 30 mins including breaks)
26th - Day2 –> Chiplun Panaji Candolim (330 through NH17 7 hours including breaks)
29th – Day 5 –>Candolim Panaji Chiplun Panvel Mumbai (590 via NH17 13 hours including breaks)

25th  - Day 1 – @ QualityInn Riverview Chiplun – 4.7k for the night including meals. What I like about this place (second time I am living here) “outstanding food” probably the best food @ a restaurant attached to a hotel. Rating 5 on a 5. Meets all my expectations from a good hotel.
26,27,28,29 (morning) – 3 nights 4 days @ Taj Holiday Village – 24k including all meals. I was slightly disappointed by the place. Breath-taking rooms and “below average” everything else. On a rating of 5, I would rate this as 3. Very so-so place. Not Taj like at all.

Life in a village:

Day 1
- Left early (by our standards) at 8am
- Halted at Kamat’s Panvel for breakfast (once you enter NH17 20kms into it)
- Straight drive from there (930) to Chiplun at 1pm
- Chiplun @ 255kms
- Bought Rajapuri Mangoes at Roha
- Stay @ QualityInn Riverview Chiplun
- Lunch consisted of arahar kokum dal, Lal Mat chi subji (red spinach), bhakar vadi chaat (bhakar vadis spiced up with onions, chillies and masala), masala bhath, poha papad, sol kadi and fresh lime soda
- In the evening we had a walk on that property – it has orange shrubs(really tiny ripe oranges), water apples, pine apples and a garden which has a great overlook into the Vaishista river (The last image is a tiny snail)

DSCN1747 DSCN1749 DSCN1761 DSCN1763 DSCN1766 DSCN1773 DSCN1784 DSCN1753
- Dinner was Alu Paratha, Ajwain Paratha with rice and raita

Day 2
Breakfast was eggs for me and thali pith and medhu wada for wifey
- Left hotel at 830am, except for a rest break – drove straight until Sawantwadi – where we ate at Kamat’s (another favorite of ours) – batata wada with awesome sweet raita and mirchi dipped in sugar-garlic water, misal pav
- Bought wooden toys from a store we like on the Sawantwadi circle. This is a shop we visit everytime we pass through the place.
- 4.30pm we reached Taj Holiday Village having driven 335 kms. This is on Candolim beach – very shady approach roads and absolutely no signage from Taj along the way to help you. (Sadly, this place was not recognized by Vinod’s garmin, which we had borrowed for the trip, whereas it recognizes QualityInn perfectly as a destination).
- Rooms at Taj Holiday Village are way above usual. It is the attention to detail that is completely missing from this experience.
- Food at Holiday Village was way below Taj quality and I wont waste too many words on it – my keyword “avoid”. (I love Taj Land’s end at Mumbai, Taj Banjara @ Hyd, Taj Calicut….so believe me I am not biased at all).

Day 3, Day 4
- Great supermarket called Newton near Candolim, 3kms before you hit Taj Village and 4 from Fort Aguada. Its probably at par with a place in Mumbai.
- Visit to Fort Aguada, a sad slur on what is supposed to be a heritage monument (with a Sintex Water Tank)
- Our room had a garden which had a mango tree – brought about 4 mangoes down using a iron rod.


Day 5
- Drive out from Goa at 9am, headed to Chiplun.
- Reach Chiplun @ 4pm, decide to drive straight through instead of a halting at Chiplun.
- Halt at Sawantwadi (70 from Goa), Raigad (400 from goa), Panvel (500 from goa) – all at Kamat’s. We also halted at Madhuban at Ratnagiri and Abhiruchi @ Chiplun.
- Reached home at 11pm.
- Mangoes @ Ratnagiri – we bought 4 dozen at 600

Highlights of the trip
- Beboo and his cutesy life, Nona and her race against food :-)
- Quality time with dear friends (not to mention a bumbling “sister” and her avenging son…)
- Wifey and me bonding big time during driving (imagine sitting in 5 sq ft with a person for 14 hrs straight)
- Good food at Chiplun
- Beboo’s final day revenge on me (because I had passed a slur on his mom :-) (also maybe I had re-christened him to “Suresh”)

Lows of the trip
- Without cribbing much, Taj Holiday Village is a sad excuse for a Taj. Go to Club Mahindra or Mariott at Goa.
- Fort Aguada – what a sad historical monument
- Heat @ Goa
- (Not really a low but worth a mention….) a big marine liner dotting the Taj Village shore (photo below). Supposedly abandoned by Salgaonkar’s for years. I wonder (if that is true) how come there is no move to clean it up…..My point is such a large thing cannot be an orphan. There must be quite a few licenses, ownership details available….but then, this is the magic of a land called India.