Saturday, January 30, 2010

Babies make you happy, even if they're …

It was a lovely Saturday morning and winter was still playing around with the calendar sporting the last days of January. Even the Sun God seemed to be shy to fully rise and shine. While the weather was perfect to just cuddle up with my sweet heart on our lovely bed, unfortunately that was not the case to be! It was a working day for us in lieu of a compensatory off for one of the weekdays earlier that week.

As I got ready, leaving my girl to continue her engagement with the early morning dreams I was making some mental math about returning early from office in the evening. As if out of some reaction my better half suddenly decided to make a cup of coffee for me. Happy I was and I helped her with breaking a coconut so that she can make a proper breakfast, the caring husband I am!

I put on the jacket and picked up the book on Jinnah I've been reading off late and started off to the bus stop. Reached the stop and I saw none of the usual gang and then noticed the missed call on my phone. A colleague of mine tried to reach me to inform that the bus was early. I missed it! So much for the lovely winter morning, the shy Sun, the hot cup of coffee & the coconut! I was irritated was the least I could say and walked back home. Need to mention here that it is definitely a pain to miss our office bus since the travel time is almost an hour with close to 25 kilometers of distance to cover.

Reached home and with great restraint I told her that I missed my bus. The sweet little thing could make out the burning furnace behind the serene wallpaper pasted on my face then. I politely denied her offer for breakfast with a smile, the type which you get only when you are mighty pissed. I'd heard earlier that chocolates are really a stress reliever and it proved pretty much true with a Cadbury Crackle which we got the previous day disappearing in no time while I collected my helmet and got my bike to reach office.

I tried playing some songs en route that normally ease my mind in such situations, but didn't help much. A few minutes before reaching office I offered a ride to a hitchhiker who turned out to be a nursing student at a college nearby. Felt good. Reached office, parked the bike and walked towards my building. A couple of good morning wishes from the support staff whom I know made the day better. The 'furnace' didn't get switched off completely though.

Decided to take the elevator instead of the usual stairs and a wonderful sight welcomed me beyond the glass walls. A small family near the bamboo plants in our campus was busy with their breakfast. A couple of them had tiny little babies hanging on to their dad & mom and were trying to have their share of food! I forgot everything else. Watching those babies were nothing but sheer bliss! It was a lovely sight and I wished to be there forever! Acknowledging my wish or otherwise, the elevator took its own sweet time to reach my floor.

I always knew babies make you happy, realized today that it need not be humans always! I messaged my love that watching a couple of baby monkeys made me really happy for which she replied, "So now you know"!

Friday, January 29, 2010


"Oh God! When will someone ever come?!!!" The Public Address System when it aired this heart-rending cry, I was more than sure that if at all someone is gonna help them, it is not the thousands who are ready, but me! There seems to be something so naturally connecting that cry, with my need to provide an answer for the same.

I got myself ready and reported to the Chief! Somehow he seemed to be cynical about my involvement. He cited the reason as ‘unprepared’ and deferred the plan. Impatience started to set in! I for sure, wanted badly to reach the spot and extend help and do whatever I could to ease their pain!

The clock kept on ticking, so did my annoyance… Finally the much awaited order came and I descended through a secured channel of transportation. I was all set to jump right into the scene and kick start the rescue mission. There, I faced my next line of defense! The message was to the tune that I’m not cleared to engage till the field is equipped. True to say, I never got it! Then again, the options were limited.

The progress was pretty slow. Nevertheless I appreciated the tactical preparation they gave me during this phase. The lessons included the various moves, guidance on how to face the harsh realities while being caught in a maze of so unreal a world and to top it all, the sheer fact that there will be no more shield to protect me!

I was geared up and finally was in the stand by mode, for the word ‘Go’! It came during the wee hours and there I was kicking and jutting my head towards the tiny opening which exposed the real world to me and believe me or not, they have a pretty funny name for the D-Day. They call it my Birthday!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

In the company of solitude

I know a lot of people who say they need company for everything. It could be for a movie, a coffee at office cafeteria or even a trip to the loo! These people can neither be anywhere nor do anything, if they don't have the presence of a known face along with them. The need may arise all of a sudden. It could be at times, planned too. That raises the question of who fits the bill for a specific need. Faces of people start doing circles and the short listing process begins. Once the list of candidates is ready, phone calls or messages or pinging on the office communicators take the role of messengers.

Many a times, friends who suddenly get the call may be in between an important task. Then again friendship is more important in a good majority of cases. Of course, once a while you face a denial that could result in the question moving ahead to the person next in the list. In the eventuality of all the people who got short listed answers in negative, panic sets in. The stage changes, roles get redefined; emotions do a fly by with the sonic boom at the highest possible decibels ever! A sudden rendezvous with solitude is undesirable for them. It is an unwarranted experience and never gets appreciated, as for most of them Solitude and Company can never be brothers-in-arms! It is nothing but fear of being with the self.

I love being in company too and perhaps have one of the widest ranges of friends among my bunch so much to the extent that I get surprised about my own personality once a while! But this does not stop me from appreciating something as beautiful as the other side of being in company, so to say.

I'm not sure when exactly was that I learned to appreciate solitude. Probably, one of those striking one-liners in a newspaper which told me the difference between Solitude and Loneliness or perhaps the knowledge that poets made them a subject of their classic works! I salute them both since I learned something so magical that I could say I fear not, the love of solitude!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Glimpses of Munnar…

"Munnar?! But why?" Nine out of ten people exclaimed almost in a similar fashion when we told them about our honeymoon destination. We must say it was something short of a Herculean task to convey the thought to them that Ruby & I planned it as a trip for knowing each other rather than exploring the place! Not always did our efforts meet success and we're sure a bunch of them still think we made a wrong decision.

The convinced lot then had reservations about the time of year we planned to visit one of the most beautiful terrains in Southern part of India in the state known as God's own country. Mid December as per many was the most ridiculous time to visit Munnar. We heard them, but listening obviously does not come so naturally… :)

Kallada Travels, the transport service provider, promised to take us to Munnar but did a sly act of dropping us at Kattapana, a place two hours from Munnar. They arranged for a smaller vehicle to Munnar town from there. The unloading and loading was undoubtedly troublesome. Ruby being used to comfortable travelling couldn't endure much of the winding Ghats and an ominous picture of a hospital bed was looming large over our honeymoon dreams!

Finally, after a total travel time of twelve hours we reached the town of Munnar. The place we were heading was a resort named Camp Noel which was another forty kms from Munnar. It was in a village named 'Pazhathottam'. The resort people sent a vehicle to pick us up from the town and after an hour long drive we reached the location. Thirty kilometers stretch had proper roads and the remaining ten was virtually like climbing the hills on an SUV. In fact Camp Noel takes pride in advertising this in its website as an attraction. I'm sure it definitely is, to the hoards of foreign tourists who come visiting from a land where they've dictionaries without the word 'pothole' :)

All these and many other worries were totally wiped off, with smiling faces that received us at the entrance of the resort. The very first feeling was that these guys are smiling, not because they are trained, but they are genuine about that lovely gesture. Something unique, something different in the current world of extreme commercialization!

The weather was absolutely wonderful and we took a minute to appreciate the beauty of the entire place. Camp Noel is situated in the middle of a valley surrounded by hills on all sides. You can see layers of hills far and beyond which add to the beauty of the area. There was a club house which had the restaurant, a badminton court, a green house and the office. 8 cottages aesthetically placed with a well calculated distance that separated them made the picture perfect!

We were offered one of the most scenic cottages, which definitely added to our joy. Shortly after that we were escorted to our cottage. A refreshing bath followed by a lunch served in our room and a lovely nap made us feel fresh by evening. The 'hospital bed' was replaced by a warm and cozy bed, thankfully!

We did learn a lot about each other! The learning was so much that by the end of 3 days we learned the power of silence! :)

PS: The second place we visited was Tea Valley Resort. The website and their promise seemed out-of-the-world, but the place was so sad that I don't even feel like jotting down anything about it!

The Pictures

Useful links

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Tiffin Box

As part of a semi-pseudo health consciousness effort, we climb down the stairs of our office cafeteria every day, after breakfast. Usually there will be a bunch of friends who'll walk down together and by the time ground floor got really close to us, many would've said bye for the day. And there I was, after dropping off the last soul, continuing with my climb down. The 'Wildcraft' bag I carried started making a sound that was pretty distinct than usual. It was a day with a difference for, it was my first ever day in the Corporate life when I carried a tiffin box to office! Signs of a married man :)

Funny the way our mind takes us places. It didn't even take a fraction of a second for me to be back in a room with wooden benches and desks. Seated among a bunch of boys clad in white shirt and black trousers we were getting ready to pack our bags at the next possible moment. The atmosphere was a mixture of excitement and anxiety. The former with the thought that the bell was about to go anytime from now and soon we'll be home. The latter for fear of being caught by the teacher for closing the books before permitted! Certain risks were definitely worth taking!

Johny, the school attendant had the weird destiny of being revered & hated by the students at the same time. It is nothing but the fact that the school bell that was a big round shaped iron piece was struck using a large wooden hammer both signaling time to either enter or leave the class! Obviously we loved him when it was latter :)

When it was latter, all the while thanking Johny, it was truly unbelievable the speed with which we packed our school bags with the notebooks, instrument box and whatever stuff that were on the desk and we were out of the room in a flash! The Great Sprint followed! The faster one got out of the class the earlier he reached home. For the guys who stayed in the hostel, the rush was to reach the canteen and lay hands on the evening snacks and coffee! That 'sprint', with the bag hung on the shoulders used to create the same sound with the tiffin box and water bottle fighting for space along with the rest of the possessions inside.

The simple world of a student or the big bad corporate jungle, tiffin boxes continue to make sound. Sound that reminds you that you need to run faster to reach wherever you intend to reach, earlier the better!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Where do I fit this...!

Ruby & I have been pretty busy off late setting up our home. Taking heed from a bunch of my married friends I'd got only very few stuff for the house before the wedding. The 1BHK we hired was almost empty when we walked into our home, together for the first time! We did take our baby steps and started getting the basic gear necessary to get things going.

We kept furniture shopping towards the end. With appliances and various paraphernalia related to kitchen getting removed from the mile long list we prepared, it was time for us to get into the business of making our home guest-worthy! Thus we started our visits to the street closer to our place which was sprinkled with furniture stores. We zeroed in on a dining table and a computer table from one of the shops. We found ourselves lucky at a larger store when we came across a piece of furniture which the Indians happily call sofa-cum-bed, as naughty as it sounds!

The first store defaulted at least six times in terms of delivering the items whereas the latter was too diligent in updating us about the delivery. This was in fact a pleasant surprise for us since the first store was a specialty one whereas the second was generic. While we were thoroughly disappointed with the service of the store one, the sheer customer delight with the second compensated for that. Our sofa-cum-bed was delivered as promised. They informed that the assembling will happen the next day. We were informed the next day that, unfortunately the technician who was supposed to help us, fell sick and hence there will be a delay of one more day. While we were sad for the technician, we felt happy again about the initiative they took to keep the customer informed about the change in schedule, unlike the store one where we'd to call them each time to know that there would be additional delay!

Jalandar, the technician arrived as informed and unpacked his tool kit. He looked really professional with all the required equipments being fished out of his bag. He took a look at the packed furniture box and we missed the slight concern that flashed over his face! His question, "Is it a sofa-cum-bed?" also did not sound odd then. The pack contained multiple pieces of wood, mattress, wheels and screws which soon started occupying our living room. We watched the expert getting to the seemingly simple task of assembling the furniture. We were sure that it must be a cake walk for him; after all he was a technician from a professional organization!

The first couple of pieces were assembled with much ease and we were thrilled to see our home soon becoming even more beautiful a place to live in! Jalandar started with the next set of pieces. A small question cloud suddenly popped up above our head when he continued to gaze at the remaining pieces. The typical blank stare that appear when you are lost, was painted all over his face! He suddenly started to search for something. When asked, he said he was looking for the assembling manual but unfortunately that never came along with the furniture pack. He tried to figure out the rest of the pieces and our question cloud got bigger.

We asked what the trouble was and he gave us an incredible answer which swept off the whole professional experience about which we were really proud till a few minutes back! He said, "Sir, I joined only a week back and I've no clue how to assemble this thing"! Being dumbstruck was the least we could say. Nevertheless, we started looking at the pieces together. All the jigsaw puzzles we played when we were young and the truly awesome experience of assembling an IKEA furniture for my boss while onsite helped big time!

We did manage to solve the jigsaw together and the lovely sofa-cum-bed was ready in no time! We were indeed happy about ourselves and took our time to stand back and appreciate the new addition to our home that is all ready to receive the guests. All the thoughts about team work and motivation crossed our minds and our joy was endless! We were contented and thanked the guy for all the help. This was nothing but a true case study and we even thought of publishing it to the store as the benefits of customer and the supplier getting to work together.

Jalandar packed his tool kit and was about to leave when we noticed a medium sized piece of wood and a bunch of screws lying behind! They seemed to be giving us a wicked smile and we'll probably need to learn multiple languages to express the mixed emotions that crossed our minds! So much for the instant customer-supplier partnership funda!

Footnote: The fellow agreed to check back with the store and fix the furniture at the earliest :)

Political Signs

The recent Assembly election in the state of Karnataka was labelled as a major political drama. When election result got announced, the pa...