Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rain, Rain, Where are you?

The small kids must have been singing "Rain Rain go away" quite a lot during last one month. For the first time in so many years, I am witnessing a dry month of June. With KRS is having water just enough to last for another 15 days or so, with power enough to supply for next 10 days, situation is gloomy.

Call it global warming, call it nature's fury, but looks to me like hard days ahead in this year for Indians :-( We can expect chain reactions now, with lower crops, increased commodity prices, dispute over cauvery river water sharing etc etc. All these are not new, but if it does not rain NOW, these issues could become really severe :-(

But not everyone is complaining about rains. Take for example BBMP(Bangalore Munciple). Usually they get all the attention for all wrong reasons during these months. Well, for once, BBMP has taken some proactive action in anticipation of rainy season :-) I am not sure if "proactive" is the correct word, as they started cleaning the storm water drains in late June. Luckily for them, it did not rain during or before that. So, when it really rains (hopefully today onwards :-) ), the BBMP work will be put to test.

I am really missing those heavy rains which I enjoy watching from our balcony, reading some nice books with a hot cup of tea and some hot "bhajji/bonda" to go alongwith it. When will I experience it again? Rain, Rain, where are you?
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Colorless Men?

Are men color blind? Or just that men don't appreciate the range of colors?

All these questions came to my mind, when I had a confrontation with Poorvi on one particular color. She was happily painting other day. She had to paint one portion of a drawing with Pink (I guess) :-) But she had painted it black. I was little surprised how can Poorvi be such color blind. When I checked with her, why didn't she paint that portion in Pink, she said, she does not have that color in her color box :-( I was more surprised and checked her color box. Indeed there was pink color.
But Poorvi had her own explanation. First of all, it was supposed to be a maroon color that she had to paint. But that "pinkish" color she has in her box is "magenta". So she decided to go with black. I could not further argue with her and decided to change the subject of discussion :-)

Sometime back, there was a mail that men can understand only 16 colors. I really wonder, if 16 is little bit exaggerated? Leave alone distinguishing the colors, I probably do not know the names of 16 different colors :-( We all know (by name) 7 VIBGYOR colors, add to that black and white. I cannot count more than 9 colors.

White and Black are the most easiest ones, with some effort Green and Blue can be distinguished (relating to Pakistan and Indian cricket uniforms). Anything Grey is black. Any other color should be either red or yellow or orange (thanks to traffic lights). :-) Peach and melon can only ring the bell as fruits than anything else. Violets and Indigos are left for a wild guess. Any other colors?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson: The Dancing King

(A tribute to a great dancer of our times)

As usual, I woke up today around 6:30 AM and switched on the TV. 9X-M or other music channel is a kind of wake-up alarm for Poorvi. So, it is my habit that I switch on the TV and by the time I get ready, Poorvi would have woken up watching the TV. Today was no different, but it was a breaking news to begin the day :-( I was shocked to see the news report on sudden demise of MJ :-(

Just when he was trying to make a mother of all comebacks, with 50 odd stage performances planned in UK next month, this happened :-(

Inarguably he was the best dancer of our times. Moonwalk dance was a craze in those days. There are so many people who imitated him (Prabhudeva for example), but only few people managed to meet his standards in dancing. His videos were a treat to watch, with many futuristic and fairy themes :-)

It is sad that he is no more :-( We are now left with only his memories of great songs and some stupendous dance steps. Although there were many allegations against him at different times of his life, it did not stop any of us admiring him as God of Pop music. Truly a once-a-generation sensation.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

To "B" or not to "b"

"B"elieve me or not, whole of last weekend, I was wondering about "B". No, it was not about Big-B, not even about Bachcha B, nor it was about the "Bee" which had stung Poorvi sometime back. I was in fact helping Poorvi to write her homework !! She was suppose to write both Mummy "B" and baby "b" around 20 times. Uh, I never thought "B" is such a complicated character !!!

First of all, Poorvi had given up all hopes that she can ever write "B". She had a special disliking for this alphabet. So, I really had to motivate that "B" is a very nice character :-) After that, I tried all tactics, putting dots and asking her to join the dots, holding her hands and make her write, try to bribe her with some goodies if she wrote even a single "B" on her own etc. Each of these tactics helped, but not to that extent where she could finish all her homework.

Patience is the key. "B" patient, I said to myself. It helped to some extent. No point in getting frustrated. Each of those frustration used to demotivate Poorvi further, taking some more story telling, pampering from my side to get her back on track to write. So, I used to waste more time, if I lost patience :-)

Secondly, give enough breaks. At one point, she just had to write four more "B"s to finish her homework, but somehow Poorvi was in no mood to write. I was just pushing her to write those B's, before taking a break. But no, each of those B's used to take hell lot of time and with absolute no resemblance to any of the alphabets I know of. One more lesson learnt. :-) Longer the breaks, faster the writing and it is more accurate.

Uh, at the end of two days, when she wrote all her "B's", I felt like a king, having achieved a great victory. Already the next weekend is approaching, I am getting ready for the war :-) Let me "C" what is in store.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A curious case of Ramanath Iyer

On last Friday evening around 9:30 PM, I was just coming back to my apartment. As I was just walking in, I saw one elderly person (in his late 50's) and a girl standing in front of our apartment with some luggage. I was little puzzled, when that gentleman started calling me. I thought he wanted to know some address, but the case was different.

He introduced himself as "Ramanath Iyer" and narrated a story. It seems, he works in Emirates and settled in Chandigarh. His wife passed away recently and he had gone to Rameshwaram (alongwith his daughter) to perform the last rites of his wife. On the way back, they lost a baggage which had money and all other important belongings. They came in search of a relative in Bangalore to get some help, but unfortunately that relative no longer stayed here. It seems, his daughter had some exam (he was telling something about NASA exam) on Monday, so, he wanted some "financial help" in reaching his hometown - Chandigarh. I don't think this kind of story is new to any of us. We have met many such people on the road, asking for some help. I have always neglected them, but for some reason, looking at the father-daughter duo, I somehow felt bit too moved to ignore them. He was speaking good Hindi, English and Tamil. Looked very decent. Little confused, I called some of my friends in the apartment to join me and talk to Ramanath Iyer to evaluate if he is genuinely in trouble.

Friends came, talked to Ramanath Iyer. Same story was narrated in different languages. It was difficult for us to either neglect him or get convinced. We tried to ask many questions, but sometimes, you feel bad to interrogate so much on a person who is already shattered. :-(

Benefit of doubt, we decided to help him. Collected around 2000 Rs, handed over to him and sent the father-daughter duo in an auto to the railway station. Mr. Ramanath Iyer has taken one of our address and has promised to refund the money as soon as he reaches Chandigarh.

Whole night I was thinking, if we were duped? Was he in a real need? Anyways, we will come to know about this in few days, if Ramanath Iyer contacts us or not.

Having lost our air tickets and other valuables (like camera, bangle) once, I exactly know how it feels to be "money less" in an alien place. Anyway, I consider this Ramanth Iyer case as "closed" now, unless Ramanath Iyer is genuine and contacts us to refund the money :-)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Just a side talk..

Last week, I had gone to a dentist and waiting for the doctor to turn up. Doctor said, he is held up in some traffic and will take 30 minutes to reach the place. There was one more person in the clinic waiting for the doctor. With absolutely nothing else to do till doctor turns up, we started conversing with each other. These places gives a wonderful opportunity to have a side talk on current affairs :-) You will get ample of these kind of talks if you go to Jayanagar 4th block, sitting next to senior citizens' adda (just opposite to Ganesha fruit juice). It is an experience by itself :-)

So, we started discussing (not surprisingly) about traffic problems in Bangalore and how Bangaloreans blame each and everything on traffic :-) You get late to office, blame on traffic. Get late to wedding, blame it on traffic. So, now we have an alibi to justify the delays in our day-to-day life, irrespective of the traffic. How true, am sure you would have experienced the same, sometime or the other.

Our discussions also turned towards "misuse of mobile technology", as people give wrong places while they are in a totally different part of the city. Gentleman was suggesting that mobiles should display the location of the "caller" to know the truth :-) How true !!!

Still there was no sign of doctor. We had to continue with some more discussion on hot topic. What else can be better than "terrorism"? We vented our anger against the government (what else can we do?) that some of the terrorists are just kept in the jail for a long time and the trial goes on forever. It is an utter waste of citizen's money to keep feeding these terrorists in the jail. We were about to kill all those terrorists with our words, but by then the doctor came in. So, we had to stop our conversation there and move on with business.

It was a nice Saturday morning side-talk with a total stranger for about 30 minutes. I just enjoyed it, what other better way to kill time?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nokia - Numero Uno again !!!

For the second time in a row, Nokia has won the "most trusted brand in India" from Brand-Equity of Economic Times. The survey is an independent, nationwide survey conducted for Brand Equity by Nielsen. This is a benchmark for trust and confidence of people in a brand.

As kids, we have grown with some top brands like Colgate, Dettol, Lifebuoy, Lux etc. These brands still stands for the best in their class and I don't think there is any Indian who has not heard about these brands. Well, Nokia has achieved something more than this in last two years and is again tagged as the Most trusted brand for 2009 !!! Wow !!!

Here are the top 10 brands for 2009:

1. Nokia
2. Colgate
3. Lux
4. Lifebuoy
5. Dettol
6. Horlicks
7. Tata Salt
8. Pepsodent
9. Brittania
10. Reliance Mobile

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Father's Day !!!

(Blog dedicated to all fathers out there, trying to find sometime in catching up with this blog in between parenting :-) )

Momma Darling, Pappa Darling
Yes I do, Yes I do
Momma Darling, Pappa Darling
Yes I do, Yes I do
All I want to say is
All I want to say is
"Happy Father's day"
"Happy Father's day"

This is what Poorvi recited to me when I called her soon after she returned back from school on one of the days in last week. Oh, it felt so nice to hear this. Definitely the school knows how to create an impression with parents :-)

As a kid, I never knew about one special day in an year allocated to father. I never wished my father anytime on father's day :-( Since Poorvi wished me with these nice little words, I did some look-up in the internet to find out when exactly is "Father's day" :-) It happens to be on 3rd Sunday of every June and there is a long history behind this day. Initially in early 1900, it was promoted as a "supplement" to "Mother's day". But it took many committees, many years and many US presidents to approve this day as a "legitimate" "Father's day" !!!

There are also some debate on the spelling for this day. Should it be "Fathers' day" OR "Father's Day"? Well, in India, "Father's day" seems to be more apt and logical, not sure about rest of the world.

Anyway, don't forget to wish your father "Happy Father's day" this Sunday, with a nice gift preferably.
After all, this day was the outcome of a lobby from Trader's association to boost the sale of the gifts.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Buffalos and Bangalore

It's been almost 1.5 years that the most talked about "word" in the whole "world" happens to be "recession". There are indications, contra-indications that world is coming out of recession. No one is really sure when recession is going to end and world will again start looking at progressive development.

India inc does not seem to be really bothered about "Buffalos" and its impact, for now. Although some real "buffalos" had to give way for explosive development of India in last few years, the latest Obama "bomb" (yes, this time the bomb is from Obama, not Osama) has promised to bring those "buffalos" back to where it belonged once upon a time. Buffalos must be having a silent laugh and thanking Obama for this fortune that at-least they can be safe in whatever places, pastures they are right now and not be bothered to shooed away for another round of development in Bangalore / India.

Well, "Buffalos" are wrong, going by the amount of investment India Inc is doing in the infrastructure development these days. Just look at a "small" plan for just Bannerghatta road, in next couple of years. There is a 32 storied apartment complex (with 2 flats per floor) alongwith an IT park coming up next to Mantri Elite on Bannerghatta road. And just opposite to that, a Taj 5-star hotel alongwith a big mall comprising of Lifestyle, multiplexes are coming up. The 2 flat per floor apartment is going to cost anything between 1.5 crores to 8 crores (it seems). Mono-rail soil testing is on going for Bannerghatta road. This is just the story of one road. There are very similar stories happening in different parts of Bangalore. Just yesterday I was driving through AnandRao circle to Nrupathunga road via KR circle, oh my God !!!!!! I was amazed to see the whole landscape has changed beyond recognition, KR circle has become signal-free, with so many criss-cross roads that resembles F1 track :-) For a while, I was really lost, if I was going on the right road, in the right direction :-)

So, all you "buffalos", watch out. India Inc is growing strong and stronger day by day. Jai Ho Bangalore !!! Jai Ho India !!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mobile Apps : Next big thing?

I've been using N95 mobile from last 1.5 years and to say the least, "I just Love it". Sometimes my wife wonder if I am married to mobile phone, as I not only spend more time with the mobile, I also keep it closer to the heart (in my pocket) !!!

Anyways, I love trying out different applications for mobile and constantly changing the look/feel of the phone :-) I have come across some really cool apps for N95 (in general for Nokia mobiles). Here are few apps that I've actually "purchased" (yes, I did it :-) ) from "Ovi", the one stop shop for applications on Nokia phones.

1. Best Profile

Costed me around 200 Rs. This applications lets you to change the "profiles" automatically as per your need and settings. E.g. once you enter a particular location (say, your home), it automatically detects the location (through the BTS cells, you don't need GPS) and changes the profile to "Home Profile". You can also set a time based profile change (e.g. at 10:30 in the night, go to "Silent" mode). Best of all is that, it can synchronize with your calendar and puts the mobile into "meeting" profile, if you are in a meeting (as per the calendar). Once the meeting is over, it can go back to your old profile !!!

I have been using this profile for almost 15 days now and its really cool !!!

2. Digital Alarm Clock

Well, this application costed me around 120 Rs and again, this one I found it very useful. It makes your phone into a digital clock and it is very convenient to have this "clock" next to you in the night. It has display in different colors and the one in Green (shown here) is the best one, according to me. What's more, even the battery consumption is not that much, even if you keep the digital clock on throughout the night.

I never thought that I will buy apps ever, but looking at these useful apps and not-so-high-cost, decided to give it a try !!! As they predict, mobile applications is the next big thing happening and you will hear more about some great applications in the days to come.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Door Darshan - Fond memories

"Rukavat Ke liye Khed hain". If you have not seen this, then I think you are born after 90"s :-)

Well, we grew up "getting interrupted". Those were the good old days of Door Darshan. We had no other option to look at those "Rukavat" messages and ever famous Doordarshan screen saver.

I remember how eagerly we used to wait for the Doordarshan to start the transmission. Till it starts, the screen saver used to entertain us :-)

Once the transmission starts, the announcers used to greet the viewers and give details on the program for the day :-) Well now, there is no start and there is no end for the transmissions :-( Most of the times we don't know what program comes on which channel at what time :-(

I will try to list down here some of my all-time-favorite serials/programs on Doordarshan:

1. Guddada Bhootha : This was just a 13 episode thriller in Kannada. I don't think any of the other "13 episode" serial ever created this much of interest (be in Hindi or in Kannada). This story was about "strange things" happening in a remote village and the "forces" behind such acts.

2. Malgudi Days : Swami and his friends was the best among this. Who can ever forget Master Manjunath playing the character of Swamy and that "Tha na na tha na na na" song. Easily this would have my "top 1", except for the fact that Guddada bootha was so good and created such an impression in 13 episodes, I decided to have Malgudi days in No.2.

3. The World this week : Well, those days, we used to rely on Salma Sultan, Meenu and others to read the news for us. News used to be no different than radio news, just that we were able to see who was reading the news :-) At that time, TWTW created a sensation by bringing the happenings around the world, mostly in videos. Wow, India was slowly getting connected to rest of the world.

4. Ramayana : It was literally self-declared curfew-state throughout India when Ramayana used to be on air every Sunday. For the first time, we saw such special effects on TV. We never expected to see this kind of "special effects" turning into reality in just few years. Thanks (or no-thanks) to CNN, the "special effects and more" of Gulf war was covered Live on TV in 1991.

5. Ye jo hain Zindagi : May be the first "comedy serial" that I watched on TV. At that time, this kind of comedy looked so good and we used to wait weeklong (was it on Friday at 9:20 PM ?) to watch this serial. But recently I saw the repeat of this serial and it looked just so ordinary :-)

6. Sunday afternoon regional language movies: Well, we used to wait for months together to get a "Kannada" movie of the likes "Chomana Dudi", "Kadu", "Tabarana Kathe" etc. :-)

7. Chitrahar, Chitramanjari, Rangoli : Again favorites among all of us. Wednesday and Friday - Chitrahar, Thursdays - Chitramanjari (Kannada film songs). Sunday mornings used to start with Rangoli :-)

8. Jungle Book, Ek-Do-Theen-Char : Ever favorites with us, as kids.

Having listed the best ones on TV, I was also thinking about the most dreaded program on Doordarshan at that time? My vote goes to "Krishi Darshan" at 7 in the evening, everyday !!! What say you? But to be frank, sometimes I used to watch this program as well, if I did not have anything to do.:-)

How about "UGC program" in the afternoons? May be one boring program for me, after Krishi Darshan. Again, just for the heck of it, I used to watch this UGC program sometimes :-)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Marathon - Broken leg and Shattered dreams...

What is it with my legs? Just when I decide to try a marathon run, I seem to be injuring my leg :-(

Last time, it was in 2006, when I wanted to participate in Wipro marathon run. Just before the day when the training started for marathon, I had a bad fall and broke my leg. I was out of action for 2 months. No running and not even walking.

Since then I never tried for any marathon and started considering the marathon only from last month onwards. Last week I got a mail from Ceekay on 8 KM marathon run happening in Valley school (The entire route is scenic with lush greenery and beautiful streams lacing the landscape of Valley school). I was tempted to go for this race, which is on 20th of June. Just when this thought came to my mind and when I was all set to register, I now have a broken toe, courtesy a fall I had during a small trek across a rocky hill during our trip to Melukote and Tonnur Kere on 4th June. Now I am out of action for 3 weeks. Doctor has advised me no-run and limited walk this time :-( Luckily for me the injury is not very serious as last time. But still, I cannot run for next 3 weeks and marathon is out of question again :-( Hmm, the marathon jinx continues for me.

Anyways, attaching few pics from our visit to Melukote and Kere-tonnur below:

(View of the route taken to reach MeluKote, as seen from the temple in Melukote)

(Kere Tonnur, a beautiful place. While crossing that small hill in the background, I injured my leg and broke the toe)

(Cooking our own lunch in Kere Tonnur. Lunch was ready only by 5 in the evening :-) )

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

T20 World Cup : Need change in mindset !!

After IPL, it is T-20 world cup. Stage is set for the grand showdown of the Cricket super powers. It is all set to begin from June 5th (Friday) onwards. It is a 15 day non-stop event and unlike IPL, we (as fans) have very very little time to warm up :-) By the time you realize that the tournament has started, it will all be over. That's the power of 20-20.

Well, for me personally, I have to start supporting some of those guys whom I hated most about 15 days back when Royal Challengers Bangalore were beaten in IPL :-( I hated RP Singhs, Suresh Rainas, Rohit Sharmas while vehemently supporting RCB in IPL. Now, I've to change my whole mindset to think of a "bigger picture", as the age-old cliche goes. I really wonder, if those Cricketers also have this kind of similar feelings against each other? Or not?

Anyways, it is time to cheer for India. India has it easy in the league matches (with Ireland and Bangladesh as opponents), so it should be a straight-forward walk into the second round for India. It should also give us an opportunity to start admiring all those Singhs, Rainas and Sharmas.

We can expect some tough competition from Newzealand, South Africa and Australia this time. But I hope that we will retain the T20 world cup. So guys, get ready for an all exciting 15 to 20 days ahead of us now :-) Go India Go !!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The ever delicious Bisi-Bele-Bath

(Dedicated to my mom, who has given an unconditional love, affection, care, help and all the support to me and my family always)

It was a lazy afternoon on last sunday. While the Bangalore was on its feet in the Sunfeast 10K marathon, I decided to just stay back home and relax. Mom was as usual preparing a sumptuous sunday lunch - this time Bisi-Bele-Bath, my all-time favorite food :-) So, all the more reason to be at home and get pampered.

Uh, mom would have prepared BBB for atleast 250 times in last 20 years (I am being very conservative in my estimate, this numbers must be more definitely), but everytime it tasted just the same, as delicious as it tasted the first time. The perfection of BBB preparation that mom has mastered is just unbelievable. Starting from selecting the exact quantity of different ingredients, to the amount of time to boil vegetables and rice to mixing different ingredients at the right time, everything is so perfectly done.

I sometime feel pity on the guys who relishes the BBB served in our canteen or in some hotels. Barring MTR, I am yet to find any place where the taste of BBB can match that of BBB prepared by mom.

There are few fond memories associated with BBB as well. Between 1994 and 1996, during my engineering days, lot of my hostelmates used to visit our home in Mysore to watch cricket matches. Uh, we used to have a big crowd at our place. Each and everytime, mom used to prepare some great food for my friends. Even now, my friends remember the BBBs they used to have at our place watching cricket :-) I especially remember the 1996 world cup quarter finals, India v/s Pakistan. Amir Sohil hitting Venkatesh Prasad to consecutive boundaries and pointing to him to look at the ball. Very next ball, Venky sent Amir Sohil's wicket for a long walk !! Uff... what a moment... what a moment... I even now remember how much we screamed that day and went around Mysore on our Hero-Puch's and bikes waving Indian flag... am sure all of us had our second and third helping of BBB that day, relishing both the taste of BBB and that golden moment.

Even now, every visit to Mysore is not complete without a sumptuous BBB meal at home. Oh, thanks a lot mom for all those wonderful, wonderful moments with BBB.

Long live mom's BBB, Long live its recipe.