Sunday, September 26, 2010

Life and everything

After ‘successfully’ completing three months in a corporate environment, I sat down to make the mandatory self assessment for the performance cycle. Despite getting stuck on the first line, I noticed that my outlook on life has markedly changed.

1. Internet will destroy mankind one day. I desist from adding up the hours that I spent before the computer lifeless and jaw slack, flicking through a zillion webcomics and wiki entries for I really don’t want to know and stop doing it.

2. If internet does not complete the job, Facebook will deliver the knock-out blow. I don’t want to start on how easy it becomes to lose track of time stalking random people, seeing photographs of friends’ of friends tickling their dog or making funny faces. It is much more interesting than to simply get the hell away from the computer and pick up a book. The little blue globe emanating the number of updates every 15 minutes does not do any good; Really! How else would I know a status such as “ma frenz’s fren saw a cute lil mouzie in zeir home”, and the other multitude of internet denizens ‘liking’ the same, after I did!

3. It is very easy to develop psychosomatic illness when one works. One just needs to decide that he/she hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before and sit through the day, moaning out to the entire floor, graphic and violent descriptions of how the head feels. Also, it is very easy to keep staring at the knees and sprout a terrible limp at 5.30, just 15 minutes before the aerobics class. This pain magically disappears while walking a kilometer to procure gingelly oil for the day’s dinner.

4. In three months, I have noticed how mindlessness becomes equal to adulthood. Somehow monotony is an acceptable norm. As I said sometime before, pushing oneself off bed every morning actually becomes the most difficult job of the day.

5. It is slightly frightening to see how easily one can lose the will for the bigger picture, the will to read Wodehouse, the will to blog, the will to solve crosswords. Instead it is so much easier to be sucked in to the vortex of Chick-lits and get entertained by all those stuff that needs only a lifeless form to press the play button.

6. Start exclaiming “Dude” when ‘morally’ outraged. One of my friends actually went back to his chat history, to see if I had said “Dude” in the course of a stirring conversation.

7. One starts to know the importance of similar backgrounds, and people who can think on approximately the same lines, share phrases from the same language and appreciate curd rice as much.

8. If there is a slight consolation, it is the fact that I haven’t started consulting Anita the psychic, Paul the Octopus and the other wise oracles of the Facebook about deep dark mysteries of my life . Maybe it means I still have vestiges of sanity left, or maybe it is just because I can’t go about the day after Anita calls me “Uttara, Sweetie”…

9. Filter kaapi and non tea bag chaaya is how coffee and tea should be drunk. Learn fellow humans that no froth is equal to the froth obtained by continuous back and forth transformation of fluid from a tumbler to a dawara and vice-versa.

10. I learnt a few days ago that how I work will slowly start defining me and how important it is to model the way I work on someone I respect. It is good to be inspired by people or maybe other little things. What matters is to stay inspired. It gives hope and makes one wait for the “And then, ...” part of the story from the “Days rolled by…” part.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What is in a name!

I was glancing at all those paintings the kids of my colleagues made when they came to "Bring your Children to work day". What caught my eyes were the names more than the paintings themselves. I think these days parents go to a great extent to be creative in naming their children to arrive at such awesome names like "Aadhvik" or "Amogh" and somemore that I forgot but had meant to note down.

Most of the Tamizhians do not have a family name. Our meek looking initials, when expanded become a nightmare. Infact, I remember shuddering during my ED class on the prospect of writing Uttara Madurai Ananthakrishnan in those 5mm specifications.I am pretty sure that it would have taken the entire A2 sheet.

We should admit that our grandparents were deeply religious and faithful to their grandparents with whom they shared their names. In the annals of my family history I can see the following going on in an infinite loop from times immemorial

My Father's name: Ananthakrishnan Srinivasan

His Father's name: Srinivasan Ananthakrishnan

Thankfully, I put a stop to this loop by just being a girl. My father's brother was cleverly named; after his maternal grandfather. He was called "Bakthavatsalam". Until I was 10, I was under the notion that he was very rich because his name was "Pathu-latcham". The girls were not spared. My maternal aunt was Vengadalakshmi which was a name that ran in the family. I recently found that she managed to change her name to a rather unfrilly, nonexotic " Vidhya".

I think our parents were too busy in planning our IIT-Stanford eductation that trivial things like names did not matter. They pulled up the first name that came up and stuck on to that, without perspiring over Menakha Gandhi's book of Indian baby names. In fact, I am called Sandhya at home because I was born when Sandhya Rajagopal was reading the evening news in DD. Quite a QED, you see.They stopped short of proceeding to put the same in my birth cetificate because of another uncle's intervening at that point to grant my given name.

My friend Bhageshvar, who beheld the name Bageshwar before being numerologically transformed, says that he was named thus, after an apple juice company in Shimla. Or some similar story involving apples and Shimla where his parents had gone on for a tour. Srivatsan prefers not to be bothered how his name originated and but is extremely thankful that they didn't add his Sub-caste's insignia to the end. I bet that his kid might be named Tesla, given the penchant. But let us wait and see, it might be Fourier or someone equally complex,in the real sense of the word!

Oh where has the age of Thirumalai Nambis, Varadharajans and Ramasubramanians vanished? In a few years from now, we will be calling kids in two letters; say "Ta", "Ra", "La", "Nu", "Mi", that sound quite like The Hindu Crossword clues.

Whatever might be the case, all names all equal, but no name is equal to Arul Mozhi Varman. People, go ahead and take it up. Not only it is a challenge by itself, but it willl seperate the Tamizhan from the Indian. Arul Mozhi Varman Ananthakrishnan. What melody, with alliteration and all!


Sunday, September 05, 2010


Often, I wonder at the way circumstances impact a person. If it is not the opportunities inherent in these circumstances, it might be the prejudices that are born out of them. We learn to read people, start thinking about unspoken words in pregnant pauses and also learn to manipulate and deliver what others want. Those prejudices that are born, take shape and grow with every false smile, every polite conversation and meaningless sycophancy, mostly to project ourselves as someone others want to see.It is rather scary to see how our prejudices prevent us in taking a rational decision and believe in people who will in turn act on their prejudices.It is just a probability that our illusory persona had made them lean towards us. Conversely, their mind would have probably learnt to sniff out one false twitch of muscle from another, again by circumstances, that they would start repelling us before we do.

It is actually amusing, how in this age of free thoughts,we let the people in circumstances shape us up rather than the free thoughts themselves, which lie dormant under the buried layers of experiences we have accumulated.

End of the day, if we get to bed knowing that our sense of identity had withstood one more day, we should feel lucky.

Or proud.