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Dec 30, 2007

Resolution of a kind, Anniversary of a Different Kind!!!

Neither was I sober nor inebriated on that last day of December in 2005 when I told my pals that I had smoked my last puff on the tick of midnight.

If you’ve got what I want to write about, Good!
If you haven’t I am now a non-smoker since 2 years. Achievement is definitely not what I would like to term it because the word ‘Achievement’ goes well only when something-worthy-pursuit is being referred to. Smoking isn’t worth it, quitting it is.

I am glad, I feel elated not because I quit smoking, but for having stood by something I’d resolved for a new year... Of course the work-out-lose-weight kind of resolutions will be there forever, but we sure need to have something attainable too, isn’t it?

A sincere call to all my friends, “It’s time you heeded to the statutory warning on the cigi packs.” Hoping you all get a second thought before lighting the rolled tobacco.

Good Luck and Happy New Year !!!

Dec 24, 2007

Of Santa’s and Celebrations...

When working with a young team most of the times thoughts transpire into effervescent ideas. One such idea came from a couple of colleagues (Maha and Shreya) and we held ‘SECRET SANTA’ with a great success.

As the name itself suggests it’s quite a common game during Christmas. In corporate circles this is used as a wonderful way of team bonding and building as I found out myself when it all unfolded.

Ideas are like bubbles, when they materialize they become a sea of bubbles that enchant the horizon showing us the different hues of nature. And when they don’t they burst as if the bubble was so insignificant.

Our event also took shape within similar lines. It just needed a word with our team lead and project lead and the ball was set rolling.

Rules were simple:

  • With 37 members present on the day we made out equal number of slips bearing everyone’s names.
  • Each one had to be a Santa to the person s/he got in their slips.
  • No one got their own names on the slip.
  • The member receives his or her gift furtively from their Santa, hence the name Secret Santa.
  • Making it inquisitive for the gift seekers to get their gifts was left to the discretion of the individual.

After casually planning out the details it was time for the MC in me to take over and do I enjoy it or what?

I had always heard that each day was different but the following day was totally a contrast to the one that had just passed. People were bubbling with energy to make their gift-seekers feel special by gifting them various kinds of Gifts asking them to perform weird, creative tasks.

The game was so well supported by everyone present, that an air of synergy was apparent. People varied between extremes from making a person drink raw egg to organizing a treasure hunt. Some even went ahead and showed their creative streak though it took some time and lots of efforts.

The event came to a nice finale with Anju and Shreya cutting the cake she received as her Christmas Gift. People who guessed their Secret Santa’s were promptly applauded and for those who couldn’t rattle their brains, listening to the MC speak was always an option.

Isn’t it a great feeling when you go out and make someone’s day that tad special...


Nov 20, 2007

No Opposition.... Only Coalition!!!

It all started in that mid winter's day in Bangalore on my way to office. It was absolute ennui out of which this came. Now it’s the season of twenties, so to say. Be it the 20-20 World cup, 20-not so 20 governments etc.

My blog is 20 months old ;-) too. Happy!! You bet I am. Just like a lot can happen over coffee, a lot can change over 20 months. There I was thinking away on my way to work through the tranquility of Lalbagh on cozy afternoons and here I am gasping to catch some breath on the dreadful Hosur Road.
Quite an irony that the pause you take to breathe leaves you with an air of breathlessness. Running stronger is the lone choice available.

Isn't it the case with all our decisions, some leave you with the peace of mind and some tend towards it posing challenges on the way? Ranting too much ... ain’t I?

Talking about other things the state political drama just refuses to die down. It was this topic that formed the central plot of my first entry. And now when similar scenario has prevailed, I thought why not write about it.

The routes I take these days, my work, and personal life have all changed. But the state politics will never change. Stability is something I think the state will never enjoy more so until the kingpin maker HDD is around.

Political drama is selling more than the daily soaps. The way a news channel portrayed old Kannada classics on the episode was absolutely riotous. Imagine classics like “tu tu tu bedappa .. nanna sanga bandu solpa nillapa”, “neene saakida gini” etc., used to echo the state’s political turmoil.

Time can bring in a lot of changes with the common man’s life, but like always some things never change and political prospects in Karnataka is just that.


Aug 28, 2007

Bangalore - Outta sight but never Outta Mind
Been long since I sat down to post something new, blame it to the fact that certain places of livelihood don’t let you be yourself. Away from namma Bengaluru, Gurgaon is one such place.

Posting this after almost a fortnight after being back makes me think about the positives and negatives of spending two prime months in a place away from home.
Don’t get me wrong when I say, “anybody who has always stayed with parents, staying alone is surely going to be an experience”, which I myself realized.

Initial Gurgaon days of 40-45 degrees made me realize how vast India really is, though it takes only 2 and half hours to traverse between Bangalore to Delhi. Started feeling proud of the fact that I am from Bangalore, which has an enviable weather, no wonder people who come here to stay, remain stay put. I guess many a times it’s weather that’s the most influencing factor about a place.

We traverse to neighboring states on pretext of work and other reasons, but its not very often you are amazed by the actual diversity on display. Its all fine saying India is diverse based on languages, food, movies, traditions, and what not!!! But the real pulse can be felt only if you are part of the action.

Gurgaon, like you all know is a city growing at an unbelievable rate. You can see nice posh office spaces all around the place, numerous shopping malls catering to different strata of people and also the usual parts of the city which are underdeveloped. Transport is a major hassle here, as you will feel cramped by the sheer quality of the public transport system. Come to think of it, transport scene in Delhi isn’t great either. I won’t talk about Bluelines which I think now is turning red for commuters. Except for Delhi metro and the quality roads, Delhi is yet to get worthy things that a capital city needs to have.

Enough said about the environment. Most interesting like anywhere else is people you get to meet and Gurgaon is no different. I came across many kinds, the talkative, aggressive, humorous, beautiful and normal ones.

There is a knack of studying people and I hope I learn it soon, for it’s an interesting thing to do. Let me share something really pleasant that happened with me in Delhi.
I was on this bus to Connaught place along with my friend, and a girl (Ms. M from now on) boarded the bus with maize in her hand. In Delhi unlike Bangalore bus conductors don’t come to your seat and issue tickets, instead it’s the other way round. So no points for guessing I helped her get the tickets as the bus was crowded. Well we began speaking after that, and that’s when I realized that some people are really blessed with an attitude that makes you envy them. We spoke about our whereabouts and the other usual introductory stuff. But just the way we were opening up to each other, not withstanding the fact that both of us were strangers to one another, blew me away. They say good things don’t last long and how true it is? Suddenly a lady vacated her seat to alight at her stop, and our conversation now took a back seat as Ms.M got a seat.

Call it fate or pure indecisiveness on my part I could not get her contact info as my stop came too quickly for my mind to function.

Bowled over!, well you could say so, but I think I was destined to meet her only once. It was a coincidence that a girl was part of this episode, but in general I think I am starting to like meeting new people.

Apart from all these momentary lapses of reason, you also get to do a lot of sight seeing which I relished during my stay at Gurgaon. Hope my manager does not see this; else he would ask me to go again. :-)

Maybe it might sound as if I'm contradicting myself, but experiences can’t be routines and tourists can’t be locals. Feels good to be back to Bangalore again amongst friends, family and chaotic traffic of course!!!


May 28, 2007

Brand marketing, bigger than the product ??

Amidst seeing Indo-Bangla cricket series with Live commentary in Telugu and Tamil due to some stupid TV rights problem, I thought a bit more on the ads I saw during the time.

We have some really cool and innovative ads on display out there. For instance take this chewing gum ad for 'happy dent'.

While Googling for the video on youtube, found few more videos which caught my eye.
One of them being for this 'Camlin' marker.

I mean so much creativity for a chewing gum, a marker, is it worth the whole process??? I am yet to understand the kind of stakes on these ads. What might it bring in to the sellers of the product, is it buyers intrested in these products or just provide some arbit source of entertainment on prime time TV. I dont know what other aspects go into promotion, branding and marketing of the product, but i always felt it was the product that led to the rise of the brand. Clear examples being Colgate or even Airtel and Hutch in the recent times.
Shouldn't brands be showcasing ads in order to evoke or rekindle interest in their buyers or even to educate people like me and you for a nobler cause like this one???

I think its a clear case of advertising not utilised to its potential.
What say ???


May 15, 2007

A passing thought...
I was writing a testimonial for one of my friends when i started thinking about a few of them I had written and the time and effort it took me.
Well, might sound like an occupational hazard that has inculcated this kind of thinking in me. But I guess with so much thought put into each one of them, these might make good blog posts. So friends of mine, don't be surprised if you see something about you on my blog.

Apr 12, 2007

Everything for a Cause!!!

There is this first time experience for everybody sometime or the other. Recently I had mine, of helping out a blind school in preparing Braille books for blind children.

HP has a Social service initiative tie up with many an NGO's of which 'Sahana Charitable trust' is one. Here qualified blind candidates work extensively in preparing Braille text books to poor vision impaired children who cannot afford the text books.

Our task was to read out paragraphs from the textbooks either in Kannada or English to the person who simultaneously types it on a Braille typewriter. I was moved by this experience just seeing the proficiency with which the person could type and more so because the language I was doing it was in Kannada.

All in all I think 4 pages of dictation went a long way in creating a desire in me to do something more for the cause.

If you want to do something or donate for this cause, here’s whom you need to contact:
Sahana Charitable Trust:
#1031, 1st Floor, 11th Main,
Hampinagar (R.P.C. Layout),
Vijayanagar II Stage,
Bangalore - 560 040
Contact: Narasimhaiah (9343446146), Sharmila (Ph: 23116699), Janarthan (9844756048)
Nearest Land Mark: Take right turn before "Mallikarjuna Sweets", near RPC layout bus stand.

Mar 16, 2007

World Cup Se World cup Tak.

Sounds so much like the guarantee that electronic companies offer for their products.
It does not have to do much apart from the fact that we brought home a Thomson TV sometime just before the 2003 world cup. The vendor had said the guarantee applies until 2007 World cup and believe me you; we got to take their word for consistency. Just in time before the world cup 2007, well beyond the guarantee period of 4 years our TV had its fall which never had a problem otherwise. Leads me to believe more and more in Murphy the great.

Talking about World cup, well I rather feel that I should stop talking about it. But anyways I have this small incident of ours that I would so like to narrate to you guys.

We were in our 5th SEM BCA, amidst living life as seniors for the last time in Degree. We were a bunch of enthusiastic, uninitiated classmates who liked taking part in all the extra curricular events and sports, being the most favorite of it all.
We were also the champs in cricket from the previous year after having defeated our seniors in the college tourney. So on paper we were like the great Indian team, expected to win the tourney in our final year.

The event began with us enjoying a distinct advantage of having a direct entry into the second round on virtue of being the champs the previous year. We had our warm up match against first Year B.Com students which we won totally hands down and thus stepped into the dreadful phase of complacency.
Come the big day when we actually had to take them on, we were confident maybe a little over confident. We fielded first and got them all out for less than a hundred in 12 or something overs. We were happy to chase the score and took on the field, but little did we know that it wasn’t to be our day. Wickets kept tumbling one after another and within no time we were 5 or 6 down and then I walked in with a still to be fit right hand after a wrist stress fracture.

First ball: “Sanju to face Vineet bowling from the Nandini milk parlor end. A well pitched ball on off-stump and safely defended.”

Second ball: “Sanju inspects the fielding all round and gets ready to face. Here comes Vineet and again a good length ball this time, which is glided towards point. Sanju calls for a run, refused by the partner well in advance and no damage done.”

Third ball: “Sanju is thinking if he will be able to get the remaining 20 odd runs, and thinks of the future, the celebrations, etc. Bowler is ready on his run up and starts again. This time the ball is on leg stump and Sanju decides to go for his favorite shot the ‘paddle sweep’ which had got him so many runs in the previous year, but he forgets that it’s the hands that help coordinate the line of the ball and not legs alone. In attempt to place the ball, exposes his leg stump and misses the line of the ball completely.

Guess what… Booooowleddddddddd!!! Yeah no heroics just clean bowled.
We always think that there is someone who is there to complete the job left unfinished, I am no different. But that day nothing had to go our way and we lost the match by some 15 runs. All lost since the tourney was a knock out match, there was just no looking back.

The news makes it to the sports notice board 3rd Yr BCA lost to 1st Yr B.Com through the official neutral umpires.

How well I understand what the Indian team might be going through now? Losing to Bangladesh and getting kicked out of the world cup.

We however did not have so much at stake though. Sitting at the corner end of the ground trying to digest that we had infact lost the match. Cigarettes lit one after another hoping it would help us digest the defeat. But we were coming to terms with the fact that some defeats are hard to digest. With our minds ceasing to work at the moment, in came our peers from other streams who tried to get behind us, in time of our sorrow.

“Bad luck boys, it happens” said one.
“Guys, you were champs previous year. So you’ve had it all. Never mind” said another.

But the seniors wala fire in us was kindled by this statement an other person made.

“Guys, how can you take it down like this just smoking it off? After all you guys are the seniors. You should give it back to them.”

Suggestions started pouring in as to what kind of seniority approach we follow.
After quick brainstorming, we decided that since it was declared a holiday that day unexpectedly, we claim that the match was a warm up game. We took or rather thought we took the umpires, two second year guys into confidence of farcing the whole match. Have a look at this letter that we wrote to our HOD, seeking his help.

Following days turned from good to worse and we were on the verge of getting suspended from all other games, but for the intervention of our HOD. Our fight for a wrong cause was to never bear any success and we got used to the fact of the upset that hit us.

The fact remains, the in India and especially in cricket there is a certain kind of ego that leads to the obsession of the game. Otherwise which single country can boast of a billion fan-following to any sport?

If only this could change to a billion people just following cricket as a sport and not as a religion. Then it would be so easy to move on with it.

So many If and thens, unfortunately works well with a software program and not with a national team who have failed to live up to their country’s expectations.


Feb 23, 2007

Trip to the Dark Side of the moon.
As promised I am back to share my Floyd experience with you all.

A hot Sunday afternoon in Mumbai totally devoid of trees made all of us traveling in a Maruti-Suzuki Alto sweat as if we were playing football in the sun. Fortunately we reached the venue MMRDA grounds, quickly and parked our vehicle.

Time of first assessment… We went around seeing if at all any tickets were still being sold as my friend wanted his special friend not to miss the spectacle. There weren’t any being sold, so we started contemplating about other possible ways in the hot sun.

Now I know why Bangalore is fun even with hot sun. “Save trees to keep the feeling for long”!

But this sunny feeling wasn’t there to stay for long as my friends got cans of fermented brew. Yea Kingfisher… what else?? And that’s the end of the uncomfortable hot feeling we had.

It’s not simply that T shirts have quotes on them saying ‘Save water drink beer’!
Some 3 cans of beer later when it was 5.30 the gates opened. For the uninitiated like me it was just being on beer and waiting for 7 amidst seeing nice Bombay chiquititas and listening to Floyd being played by the organizers in the background. Of course there are some Floydians who belong to a school of thought that listening to Floyd without being on joints was like watching Godfather without Marlon Brando.

By the way, let me tell you Bombay chicks are truly worth a second look!!!

7.20 and there was a display on the big screen. A radio, an ashtray, a whisky bottle, a pistol and a man with his arm operating the setup. We got to know that the things were these, only after 5 mins when the man started tuning the radio for different frequencies skipping tunes from ‘Dancing queen’ to some Beatles numbers etc until he hit the first Floyd number. This was the central theme of the show where the man kept pistol down and tuned and tuned.

It was one hell of a beginning to the show which started with the song Mother and ended after some 10 songs with comfortably numb. I really got comfortably numb. The first half of the show was totally message driven; Roger played an assorted collection of his repertoire. The fist half ended with one his new songs condemning the American attack on Iraq ‘Leaving Beirut’ which he beautifully camouflaged it with his childhood tales.

Mr. Bush was impeached here from Bombay thru a mercenary that happens to be customary in Floyd music. Pig!!! Yea the pig’s tail wagged on the wordings “Impeach Bush” much to the delight of thousands of fans.

Fifteen minutes from then, it was truly like being on the “dark side of the moon” listening to time, money, us and them so on and so forth. I don’t remember how time passed until 9.45 when he said adieu. Don’t know about others but I for sure was left wanting for more.

But in all I opine that it was trip well traveled.
Hope for more….
Some videos I shot from my cellphone

Jan 23, 2007

Waiting for the Gods....

Ooooh, you cannot reach me now
Ooooh, no matter how you try
Goodbye, cruel world, it's over
Walk on by.
Sitting in a bunker here behind my wall
Waiting for the worms to come.
In perfect isolation here behind my wall
Waiting for the worms to come.
Can someone else apart from the Gods themselves write lyrics like these ?
The more I hear of them the more i scratch my head thinking why I wasn't born earlier?
Who cares... we are in the technology age and have access to everything, good or bad!!!
Let me get a bit nostalgic here when i first heard Floyd. Oh! Those classes of my 2nd sem when not many people but for a few, in my class knew about Floyd. There would be no stopping us chatting in the class about the sheer impact it made on bright not so young minds.
Late 2001 and early 2002, my tenant then doing his BE from UVCE introduced me to Floyd with songs like Coming back to life, Comfortably numb, Learning to fly and Money.
I just went gaga over Learning to fly and Coming back to life. The magic that david Gilmour weaved on the strings is unthinkable. I for one, was truly learning the high's of Psychedelic music.

2002 - Wud keep Listening to all shows on radio city while completing some practical records and endlessly hope they play some Floyd songs. Man those were days of desperation when there were not much resources and also the gizmo friends who would have music you think of.
How can I ever forget those days when I would be waiting to answer questions to win tickets to the Floyd show in Bangalore? Its a different thing that I never managed to win one, but attempts are something greater than results ... aren't they???
The silky soothening voice of Priya Ganapathi on the 10'o clock show, I think that went a long way to plant the psychedelic bug in my mind. A certain enigma oozed out of her voice when she spoke about Floydian music and i don't think she put it up. You can never bring out the best in you until you love what you are doing, and priya was creating magic on the radio waves. Did she love Floyd... or what??
2003 - My cuz gave me the most precious b'day gift that she could have given me at that point in time. A cd full of Floyd songs and i felt instantly connected to my soul music.
David Gilmour, Bob Dylan, Syd Barret, Roger Waters.... Surely, there is something about Rockstars that amazes you by their lives like their music.
Come to think of it, four years since then, 2007 and now its finally happening.
I am going to Mumbai to attend a live Floyd concert.
I think there is going to be an other post following the concert, as i will know what Floydian music really means to me.Till then .... like my friend says,
meet you on the dark side of the moon.