Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My disappointments with Twitter

I was not impressed much with orkut when I was introduced to it years ago. Networking was all very fine, but somehow it appeared to be not my idea of making friends. So I stopped visiting orkut altogether. In the recent years, my interest was caught by blogs (the reading and writing of them). And in most of the blogs I read, I came across the inevitable "Follow me on twitter" link. I refused to be impressed, I told myself "Twitter is like orkut, I am not going to be captivated by it". But there came a day when I decided to give Twitter a try and then decide what to decide about it - it somehow sounded different from orkut and other sites. Thus was born twitter.com/jean_blore. Then came a problem. I did not know many twitterers, so I sat around wondering, what next. I tried posting a few lines on "What I am doing now" but there was no one to read me :-)

My wanderings among the tweets of others (who have 100+, 500+ and 1000+ followers) made me wonder, is anyone really reading all these messages coming from their infinite network of friends? Apparently they do, because I see replies, and if I take the trouble of switching between the tweets of two users, I can manage to comprehend an entire conversation! None of which is my business of course, but since they are in the public domain, I am free to read if I so wish.

What a bore.

The only benefit, if I may say so, that I found in my experiments with Twitter is something called twitterfeed, which scans my blog (RSS) every few hours and feeds my new posts as my tweets, to the benefit of anyone who strays into my tweet-domain by mistake. But since no one reads me on twitter, it's of no use anyway.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

Finally, I managed to catch up with Slumdog Millionaire in its Television Premiere at PIX - after half the world who ever wanted to watch it had already done so, and the other half had neither heard of nor cared about it, so it does not matter. By now I had already collected scene-by-scene descriptions of the movie from several sources as text and audio (not that I wanted to, but at one point the whole of India was talking of nothing else, in all possible angles), so all that was left was adding video to it. The film did not enchant, neither did it disappoint; however, long after it was over, I was left with a feeling that something was missing.

It was several hours later that I could put my finger on what was lacking - there was no happiness anywhere in the film except when Jamal wins Latika (and the million rupee contest) at the end. The entire two and a half hours speaks of ill-treatment, misery and torture (even Anil Kapoor as the devious host of Who wants to be a Millionaire tries to wreck Jamal's chances of getting a happy life). No wonder several people have voiced their disapproval in the way India is portrayed in it - it was as if India is one big piece of Misery, which it isn't. It is not that slums as shown don't exist. It's not that Hindu-Muslim riots don't happen. It's not that children are not used so terrifyingly for begging. It's the way that Jamal says when he was beaten by a cop, "This is the real India!", that gives a sinking feeling to every Indian.

The only justification to this entirely negative storyline could be perhaps found in the last line of the movie, in answer to the question, How did a slumdog know the answers to all the questions in the contest:
D. It is written

Despite all odds against him, he has finally won the lady and the money, because it was his Destiny.

One can watch this film for entertainment's sake. Not for seeing what India is like!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thought for the day

Sleep always gives us a clarity that sometimes waking hours fail to provide. Whenever a situation arises that could end up in a wrong action just because you jumped to a conclusion, put it under your pillow and sleep over it (if you are allowed the luxury of not having to take an immediate decision). Morning will bring the perfect solution.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Search and Followers widgets

I have added a new Search box to my blog. You can see it at the top right. I do not know how useful it is, for me or for the readers of my blog but it sure feels nice to have a search box of my own!

I also have a "Followers" widget, in which as you can see, my lone follower is my ever faithful friend, anupsar. I've been thinking of removing the widget from view, since it does not seem to be doing much rather than occupying space. Before knocking it off completely from my site, I thought of giving it a chance, and brought it up to the limelight - just in case there are any last minute prospective followers interested in following my humble blog. If none make their appearance, the widget can be safely removed from the page.

Trojan attack

My system was infected with a virus - a trojan that is considered quite dangerous, capable of multiplying and affecting files in spite of the best, latest anti-virus program running in the PC. I cannot decide whether I admire or despise the brilliance of the people who write these virus programs. They are always one step ahead of the anti-virus programs. There was a time when viruses used to spread only through .exe (or other executable) files, indeed I used to be extra careful with such files - many a time refusing to open it even when it is from a known source. But now viruses don't need any such medium to get transmitted - they can crawl in through the browser security holes, USB ports, networks etc etc.

My anti virus program now tells me that the deadly virus has been quarantined. But forums across the globe warn me that the story is not yet over...
It is To Be Continued...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

1 clicks, 1 messages

I am not a perfectionist - no, not even close by. But if something 'better' is possible without trying too hard or breaking too many eggs, I like to do it, or get it done.

I had been browsing, blog-reading and generally surfing around when something caught my eye. It said "1 clicks", regarding the statistics of visitors on some link, on some site (not at all related to mine, I assure you). Elsewhere, I have also seen "1 messages received." Come on. Whatever has happened to the singular-plural concepts of the world? It is all very well to say that as long as the meaning is conveyed, the grammar doesn't matter - because it does matter. We are not talking about some non-English speaking natives trying their hand at communication. This is software, which is as perfect as its developer (and the tester, and the overseer, and the number of people who see it before it hits the end user). A person who has not done any amount of coding would probably forgive the software, thinking that it is unkind to point out such flaws when the world has bigger issues to worry about. After several years of raw software filtering through my fingers, having had the honour to create software that others use, I have tried to pay attention to detail (Granted, I may have missed a few here and there, but certainly not something as conspicuous as this). So, when I see someone else' software not behaving the way I would like it to - especially when I am the end user - I get exasperated.

They could at least have put it as 1 click(s) or 1 message(s) - though I agree, that is also quite dumb. But if you know programming, you know that it is not too memory- or processor-consuming to write a small switch to say "1 click" and "2 clicks". And the same routine can be re-used to satisfy the theories of re-usability and modularity that developers swear by. The minute effort it takes will be compensated by a huge amount of user-satisfaction.

But we tend to adjust easily to these little discrepancies of life - indeed, in the world of texting (SMS) there is no grammar, there is no spelling, there are no clicks or messages, only clks and msgs.

So perhaps I am the only one who is overly concerned about a clicks or a mistakes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Murud Janjira

This is a place I have visited with my family a number of years ago and enjoyed the two-day stay where we did nothing but spend time on the beach from morning to evening.

Murud-Janjira is near Alibaug on the southern tip of Mumbai. We reached there after travelling in almost all kinds of transport - train, cab, boat, auto rickshaw. The tiresome journey was worth it and we all had a great time.

My nephew (who was a year and a half at the time) wanted nothing other than to jump to the sea ('chee' in his language) and wet his clothes!

The beach was a different colour than usual. The sand had beautiful patterns left by the water.

We had an adventurous (and really scary - since none of us could swim) ride in a fishing boat to reach the Janjira fort.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Bhoothnath is a children's movie (at least the first half). And it should be seen as such. It would not do to go about dissecting it and comparing it with some other friendly-neighbourhood-ghost films made in the past (I have been reading reviews in the Net, you see). If we put such analyses out of our mind, then we truly enjoy it. All this is regarding the first half of the film. In the second half, it stops behaving like a children's film. Things go beyond childhood, youth and reaches the verge of foundering in adulthood. In other words, the second half is unbearable even for adults who think they have seen everything. The message is probably significant, but probably to stretch the film to its complete two (or something) hours, someone has unnecessarily pulled in a lot of tear-jerking sequences - quite uncalled for in a film intended for children. Luckily, my three-year-old could not make out much of it, so we were spared the torture of explaining to him that if he does not take care of his parents, both he and his parents will be in deep difficulties in this world and the next.

Amitabh Bachhan (his blog here) is an amazing actor (the whole world knows that, since years ago, so why am I articulating it here?). He takes versatility to a different level.

Speaking of Amitabhji and not mentioning Cheeni Kum is Not Fair (In that case I would need to mention a number of other films as well, but this is a more recent favourite of mine). This is an exceptional movie, exceptional performances by Amitabhji, Tabu, Paresh Rawal and the little girl, Swini Khera. The fact is that, had any other set of actors been assigned the task that these extremely talented people very convincingly did, the film could had been a disaster.

But I digress from the topic. As I was saying, I recommend Bhoothnath- the first half - to children, and the second half to women who like a good weep.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blogger's Block

Ever heard of writer's block?
But of course.
And Blogger's block?
Yes? No? I thought I am the first to think about it - indeed, I am in such a block now, no wonder I am making up nonsense.
However. Such a thing does exist - I just googled.
People have written in abundance on the said block and how to emerge from one of its attacks.
These clever people always think of everything aeons before I do - what a pity.
I would have loved to invent some phrases or discover some planets. All that seems to be taken.

Guess I better dig out some old films or books and write some reviews on them.

Fathers Day

I am told by innumerable advertisements and articles in the newspaper that today is "Fathers Day".

I borrow the following text from today's Bangalore Times.

Dharmendra started by confessing with the honesty that only a strong and simple man can possess that he didn’t know what Father’s Day was. “As a boy, I feared my father who was a disciplinarian, and was naturally close to my mother. The day my father showed me a little affection, it was Father’s Day for me,” he said simply.

And what was the most important thing Dharmendra had learned as a father? He paused, tears in his eyes now, the pain of a strong man unashamed to show his emotions, then said, “I learned not from my own sons, but from Fardeen Khan recently that you should tell your father you love him before it is too late. I didn’t do that. Now my father is no more. And I know from Sunny and Bobby, what he wanted of me....”

Happy Fathers' Day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thoughts for the weekend

1. Little three-year-olds manage to get their way in spite of our best efforts at coaxing, cajoling, pleading, screaming, shouting.

2. A good leader lets his team make decisions once in a while, as long as it does not thwart their principles.

3. The dreams that I see in my dreams move in slow motion.

4. I have not figured out yet if my dreams are in colour or black and white, though I believe them to be colour.

5. If one gets away with a mistake seemingly easily, he may be tempted to try it again.

6. My son's doc prescribes steam inhalation for the cold, and honey for the cough. My cousin says, smelling crushed leaves of thulasi is equivalent to steam inhalation.

Friday, June 19, 2009


My friend anupsar would say that I always comment at length on films that have been, had their share of fervour and are almost forgotten by everyone. So it seems, for here I am with Ghajini - last year's hit movie starring Aamir Khan and Asin, the remake of the Tamil movie(2005) by the same name, however I doubt it is yet out of the peoples' minds.

I cannot comment fully and with confidence on the movie since I saw it only in bits and pieces when it was played in NDTV Imagine last week - surely the mother of a three-year-old is not allowed the luxury of watching a complete movie, when her son is at home. Between running after his mischiefs and getting my way past his cartoon channels, I almost lost touch with the story, but I did manage to sew together the snippets and make a complete film.

The movie is entertaining without a doubt, but the violence was too much for my weak heart. But the story is based on that violence, the result of which damaged the brain of Sanjay Singhania (Aamir) to make him remember not more than ten minutes into his past. In spite of this short term memory loss, he manages to get to the villain who murdered the woman he loved (Asin) by making use of tattoos all over his body which remind him that "Kalpana was killed", "Find Ghajini", "Kill Ghajini" and so on.

This film is a direct remake of the Tamil film Ghajini starring Surya and Asin, and I am told that the plot is based on the Hollywood film Memento. My nephew who has watched the Tamil version has the opinion that Surya has done a better job - but not having seen it myself, I cannot comment. Aamir the perfectionist, is very convincing as the wealthy CEO of a company, used to posh lifestyles, as the gentle lover, and finally as the tough guy who takes on the baddies in the end. Simply put - the guy is amazing. (No one has yet forgotten his hit film of '07, Taare Zameen Par.) Asin has also done a good job, though I doubt if this has been a very challenging role for her. However, this film has catapulted her into the dizzying summit of Bollywood, and has made her the new heroine everyone is talking about.

This is perhaps the first film (within the ambit of my memory) that has been named after the villain.

Somehow, the film reminded me of Ghulam (1998).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Case of Exploding Mangoes

I have been deferring my review on this book for some time now. It's because I haven't decided what I think about it. Let me try to get my thoughts clear by jotting down what I remember and feel about it.

The novel is based on the assassination of Gen Zia-ul-Haq, the President of Pakistan, in 1988. I do not know if all the facts related to Gen. Haq as described by the author are true, they definitely do not paint a very favourable face of the late President.

The narration is comic, sometimes tragically so. But it keeps one on the edge to know what is going to happen next and how Gen Haq finally meets his end.

A person who is not familiar with the history and current events of India and Pakistan may not be able to fully gauge the references to "Partition", "Nehru", "Indira Gandhi's assassination", "Lata or Asha?" and so on. Let me pause to say I did not enjoy the descriptions of Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle - it was not funny.

I may be wrong (for I do not have the book with me here for a final reference, though I re-read the sentences several times to convince myself I am not wrong), but in one place there is a statement describing the American Ambassador (I forget the name) as being forty-five, and will not live to see his forty-third birthday. Did I miss something here?

There are ambiguities in the first chapter where Ali Shigri escorts the President and others to the plane. It would seem that he knew all of them who would board the plane are going to die ("I salute a bunch of dead men"). After finishing the novel, if we come back to read it again, we can see the differences. (Ali Shigri knew one of them was going to die for sure, but not all.) Again I might have missed something, forgive and enlighten me.

The flow of incidents and the suspicion that the author generates in the minds of the reader as to who-what-when-where-how of the assassination (indeed, the President seems to be surrounded by those who want him dead and a crowd of other harmless sequences that could bring about his death) makes it an interesting read. Not a book you can put down easily - you would want to finish it before going to sleep!

For a much better & detailed review, please read this.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


It's frightening how sometimes Fate intervenes in the apparently straight highway of Life and crushes our well-laid plans to dust.

I remember the dusk of '08. There was recession hanging over the US economy threatening to drown businesses, a dark cloud of uncertainty hovering over matters of health, wealth, career and family, but which was far too away for me to start fidgeting about. I had been weaving little (and insignificant, as I look back today) dreams about June-July '09.

The entire landscape has changed now, the mindset of last year is shattered beyond recognition. June-'09 is here, and I do not even recall what I had longed to do. Priorities have changed, situations have changed, the very state of the world has changed. The landslide that apparently has its origin in the US was on me much faster than I imagined. In fact, I did not know it till I found myself being propelled away from where I was! It took me some time to grasp, to believe, that it has happened.

An experienced person would say, looking back years later I (hopefully) will thank Fate for the intervention, for giving me an opportunity to look beyond where I was, without which I may have ended up elsewhere, probably in a less fortunate situation. For the time being, I resort to careful plans, the execution of which makes my knees knock against each other in suspense. A wrong outcome may not derail me but could turn out to be very a discouraging blockade in my path. And right now, discouragement is what I could do without.

Sounds Greek and Sanskrit? Superstition rules even the most scientific of us all ;)
I fear to speak of my plans lest they fail to reach the pinnacle I dream of! But I hope there is a day not much farther into the future that I can share a good conclusion to my dream.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Bangalorean Troubles

If you were to ask, What is the biggest problem plaguing Bangaloreans today? The unanimous answer given by 99% Bangaloreans and those souls who have passed through Bangalore in the recent years would be TRAFFIC.

Bangalore's growth was sudden. The beautifully air-conditioned Garden City had changed drastically in the last ten years with the advent(gold rush) of IT. A trainload (many trainloads) of people pour into Bangalore every week seeking job and money. They either bring with them or acquire later their own four- or two- wheelers. The avenues of Bangalore were unable to bear the weight of these vehicles and became a constant source of grouse, so the logical solution was to bring down the trees that flanked them, to widen the roads. To borrow a phrase I heard in a movie recently, Bangalore's "vanishing landscape owing to the encroachment of man" is threatening to change the beautiful climate as well... which would become the second problem worrying Bangaloreans.

We need the wider roads. We need the metro.

How would one break out of the vicious circle, and balance the traffic and the environment? I haven't the foggiest - do suggest if you have any.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thoughts for a Monday

1. My sons asks me: Does Tom grow new teeth after Jerry knocks them down with a well aimed stone?

2. Yesterday - perhaps for the first time in my life, my queue moved faster than the next one. And it happened twice in two hours!

3. There are situations that we need to face, fight and overcome. Then there are some that we better not resist, and just give in to make life easier. It's important to distinguish the one from the other.

4. Never regret anything done in the past - unless it is to learn from that experience.

5. Open air, blue skies and cool wind can wipe out almost any worry from mind. Take a walk!

6. My teacher once told me, the first thing to do when we get angry is to 'realise' that we are angry. Telling yourself that "I am angry" helps keep in check the explosion that is threatening to bubble out for little or no reason.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Macro View

A painter who stands too close to his canvas to add colour misses the clarity and the wider angle that a long range view provides. Once in a while he should take a few steps back and look at it from another's eyes. And once he has put in all he had and is ready to call it Complete, he should take a break for a week, then come back and take a fresh look at it. He would see a great deal of irregularities that he had missed in his earlier focus to copy the idea from his mind to the canvas.

This is true for all art. When you write, first put in all that should be put in, in whatever shape they are, presentable or otherwise, so that the skeleton is ready. Now go through each line, linger over them, modify as you deem fit, add flesh and blood and when you are satisfied, call it Complete-Alpha. Stop writing and do something else. Some time later (hours or preferably days later), return and read it again. Glaring ambiguities which were invisible the first time can be smoothed out. Points which were missed can be added. This is Complete-Beta.

At one point, after a great deal of smoothing out, we feel that it is now Complete-Complete. Once that decision is reached, it is recommended not to go back with the critic's eye and make modifications. Otherwise, we may never be able to stop! With each passing day and month and year, our experience and knowledge grows; what we had written a week ago becomes passé, so we would wish to change them to our thoughts of today!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Red Carpet

I chanced on Lavanya Sankaran by accident. A few months ago, I was browsing a Bangalore news site (I do not recall the link, I came to it with a bit of googling) which carried an article called "Bangalore in Books". Naturally I was interested and went on to read about several Bangalore-based authors, some familiar and unfamiliar, among them Lavanya Sankaran and her collection of Short Stories called The Red Carpet.

Again Landmark, Forum provided me with the book.

The best part of the book is that, the places are all very familiar to Bangaloreans and the characters are very often like the people we see next-door. My conventional side did frown rather disapprovingly at some parts of the stories, but then a good story is often made up of everything, whether we like it or not.

On the other hand, the same names keep popping up in every other story: Tara Srinivasan, Ramu, Murthy, Swami, Ashwini... Even though the stories are different and we know it, somehow we carry the residue of a previous story when we go on to the next and the people are so different even though their names are the same. It was difficult to connect to the characters with mixed-up characteristics from different stories. I would have preferred the names to be different. But I believe she had a good reason for using the same.

The titles of the stories, despite being exceptional, are not directly related to the theme of each story.

Many of the authors who write about life in India give descriptions to the minutest detail and explanation of the most commonplace incidents and things that it sometimes sounds like a book written for foreigners.

In all, an interesting read.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Contest - Free gemstone earrings

Enter a simple blog-contest and win gemstone earrings!
Check out Peg Cherre's blog for more details.

Memoirs 11 - Admiration

Ambling across the cyberspace, I came across some blogs and tweets from a few well-known and respected people - CEO of an organization, a Minister in the Indian Govt., and so forth. My first reaction was, wow, I get to read what they think. They even reply to comments from their readers.

A little while later, something else appeared in the horizon of my thoughts.

Sometimes it is better that the people we admire and respect and know from a distance, remain at that distance. If they approach even with a friendly smile, we lose something special that we felt for them. It sounds stupid, but it is a fact! Maybe the enigma surrounding the person, and the polite distance they keep are what we like about them. The moment they make themselves clear through casual talk, and divulge what till then was private territory, our interest fades, or maybe we are unable to digest that they too are humans, they feel and do the same way that we do! Something snaps the moment we realise that they enjoy the same movies we do, watch cricket, get frustrated at frequent power failures and get mad when the Internet connection is down. The mask that we are used to from miles away had kept their emotions hidden, and awed us into believing that they are not ordinary mortals like us. Blogs and tweets make them suddenly open to us, showing how ... vulnerable?... and prone to emotions they too are.

Having said that, I admit that I get annoyed if I sent a mail/message/comment to any of them and do not get a reply.

A confused banter, is it not?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Right and Wrong

How do we know whether we are 'right' or 'wrong'?
Unless our actions go against the well-established etiquette of culture, one can never say.

Ok, so what triggered this thought?

The part-time maid who comes to clean my house and do the washing chores, has been with me for two years. She helps in some other houses as well. Suddenly a couple of weeks ago, she got appointed in an apartment - she has to sweep and mop the floor, the common area, dust and clean the walls, tend to the garden and run errands for anyone if required. That would get her more money than working in different places. Naturally she took it up and dropped a few of her earlier houses. However she continues to assist me. Now comes my problem. The new appointment requires that she stay in the apartment from 8.30AM to 1PM. Even if her tasks get over before 1 o'clock, she has to stay there till her time is up. Before 8 AM, she goes to some other house. So she always comes to my house either after lunch when everyone takes a nap, or in the evening, around 6 o'clock. Sometimes - in fact most of the time - she is tired and prefers to come in the evening. An evening visit means that she has less time to finish the chores and so hurries about it and leaves me dissatisfied. Besides, I would rather not have the cleaning work to be done when there is less light!

I feel that she should give me priority as I am her employer for a longer period of time.
But she wants to show more justice to the new job where she earns more money.
Am I right, or is she?

If I let her go and find someone new, it would not be fair on her.
If she drops me, it would not be fair on me.

So we continue life in a dissatisfied deadlock.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bangalore by any other name...

Is it Bangalore, Bengaluru, Bengalooru, Bangaluru or Bangalooru?

Agreed, Bangalore is out - it was the old English name given by the British Babus who could not pronounce the regional name; the city was recently rechristened to the original Kannada name "Bengaluru". Almost every Indian city thus has a local version and an English version of its name. And each one of them, after fifty years of Independence, is slowly reverting back to its original name that locals know it by. (Bombay-Mumbai, Madras-Chennai, Calcutta-Kolkata, Trivandrum-Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin-Kochi).

Which is all very good.

As long as there is no ambiguity involved in the way one spells it. Because there is only one way to write each name in the regional language (for example, ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು in Kannada) - whereas there are a thousand (well, almost!) ways to write it in English! (Look at the different ways Bengaluru is spelt in the first sentence of this post.) I am sure one of these is the "official" spelling.

However, the City Railway Station is still called the "Bangalore City", the other surrounding stations in the track are "Bangalore East", "Bangalore Cantonment" etc. instead of "Bengaluru ..." Elsewhere in other government offices, the location is spelled as "Bengaluru". In other establishments not related to govt., we find the remaining versions of the name.

I still have not fully switched my mind to the Kannada name yet, it's still Bangalore in my thoughts. Not that I consider it important to change the name, when we have a million other things to worry about. Still, if it makes someone feel better, let them. I don't mind either way.

A city by any other name, we would say, would still have its share of traffic, pollution, and water woes. Speaking of traffic... I should speak of Bangalore's traffic and vanishing greenery some other time. It is a much-much-spoken-of topic, but surely has enough space for my small contribution.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Missing Rani Mukherjee

I miss Rani Mukherjee. I wonder where she is!! I haven't heard her name for several months now.
Has she quit acting??

I don't think any of the new actresses have talent enough to nudge her from her undisputed position as the Queen of Bollywood.

If anyone has the latest on her, do let me know!

The Magic of ToDo

ToDo lists are an amazing invention!

I have been relying on them for years - so I should know. When I am overwhelmed with numerous miscellaneous tasks, at a risk of forgetting some of them, the first thing I do is get hold of a post-it note, list them out, add to them whenever I remember a new task, and strike each off whenever it gets done. Sometimes it feels good to reduce the enormity of chores to a few words in a paper and it is liberating when each one is removed off the list and the list reduces to zero (which is theoretical and optimistic because by that time ten new items would have been added).

Many a time I have observed that the best managers of time are the ones who maintain their to-do list well. Each one has his own method of managing his tasks - not necessarily using post-it notes. Some flag their emails (even set reminder alarms on them) so that they know which items need to be followed up, and when. Some paste Turbo notes on their computer desktops(Turbo notes also can have alarms).

I have also known people who never keep track of their pending tasks (at work or home) and always complain that they do not have enough time. They always need someone else to nudge them to do their work, which is quite irritating. I may be wrong, but I think listing out the tasks and prioritizing them would help a great deal, almost "half the job done", but convincing these people about the efficiency of todo lists and making them follow it is a herculean task in itself!

In addition to listing out tasks, even the smallest ones, and prioritizing them, we need to plan how much time to spend on each. If it doesn't finish by then, move on to the next. Otherwise, an entire day would be wasted by attending to one job, which would not get completed, and the remaining ten would get postponed to the next day.

All this would sound wonderful theory for those who haven't tried it.
I have, and I know it works.
If you like to be convinced professionally, check out this site.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Children Of Men

PD James has been writing books for about 50 years now. But I first heard of her a few months back (I read a review about an Adam Dalgliesh story). The comments I read about the author were quite encouraging, so in my subsequent visit to Landmark, Forum, I asked for The Children Of Men. (They also recommended to me her latest - The Private Patient which I am yet to put my hands on.)

The Children of Men was a very interesting read - that is an understatement. It is definitely not a light read, you cannot cruise through the pages at one go. You need to read each sentence, hover over it, and appreciate the thought and research that has gone into the entire work. It is thought-provoking, it is scary (not as in "horror" scary but as in "a world without a future" scary). The truth is that such a future-without-a-future is not impossible. It could be likely, though (if it ever happens), it would take some time.

I understand that a movie has been made on this story, but I am wary of movies made from books as they steer us away from the movie we have directed in our mind during the reading, starring the characters our mind has created using the raw material available to us from our past and present.

My rating of the book: Very Good.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Month Later

It's been exactly a month and a week.

On Apr 30th, I was afraid that I would greet June with boredom, depression and a set of other negative emotions.

However, May had been a busy month. It seemed, I saw my house for the first time in years - all the curtains and the sheets and the settee covers that needed washing, the floors that needed scrubbing, the furniture that needed dusting, the walls and ceiling that needed de-webbing, all despite my handing money to the maid every month.
I attended to every detail. There was no hurry. I made a list of tasks to do and ticked them off one by one.
Then the visitors and the school vacations took away the rest of my time.
All these kept me busy throughout the month.

Now June has arrived. And I gear myself to implement my plans.
I have a long way to travel.
The path is unknown.
And I travel alone.
I need courage, health, support, and a great deal of patience.

All that happens, happens for the best.
I hope.

"Care" givers

A day before her grandmother passed away, my friend mailed to me, Ammachy was quite healthy and capable of looking after herself... a couple of months ago, since she led a lonely life and away from her children, a caregiver was arranged to assist her. Then began her decline.
Now she is in hospital, totally unwell, and the doctors have requested to inform all her relatives, that her days are running out.

She went on to describe the difficulties her Grandma had to endure at the hands of the so-called 'care' giver, who they suspect, refused to give her food, terrorized the poor hapless Ammachy and tormented her. It was a very depressing story. The next morning, I got an SMS from her that Ammachy has left this world.

This is not an isolated incident. I hear similar stories from many sources. Can one always blame the children for not looking after the parents and leaving them to the mercy of a woman who does not give a damn about them? Juggling between careers and homes and parents who are not ready to relocate, they may be forced to make decisions.

And the caregiver woman? Shouldn't she be doing a minimum justice to the money she gets? A little kindness, if not sincerity, to the people in their care?

It makes me quite frightened to think about the possibility of my ever leaving my parents with such a caregiver, or ever finding myself at the mercy of one... God Forbid!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Abhishek still missing

This is very distressing news.

6-year-old Abhishek was washed away following the rains on Sunday and even his body is not found. I can't imagine what his family must be going through.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Monsoon - is it or is it not?

The Indian Meteorological Department is a very trustworthy source. People turn to their little window at the corner of the Times Of India to know what the Met Department has to say. Will it rain, shine or snow?

In my grandfather's time, the voice of the Met Dep on the radio was a constant source of entertainment. It was said that they forecast things like, "it may or may not rain today". Things are quite different today. If Met Dep announces "rainfall for the next three days", fear not - there will not be a single drop from the sky, nor would there be any sign of a solitary cloud.

A week or ten days ago, monsoon was sighted over parts of Kerala. It lashed the state for a couple of days. Unlike Bangalore, Kerala always maintains an average temperature throughout the year. The fall of mercury during rain is compensated an hour so later and the temp bounces back to 30deg C or thereabouts. Last week, monsoon hit Bangalore. For three days, the important-looking rains with a don't-disturb-we're-busy attitude, accompanied by thunder and lightning, did their expected duty, true to their name.
"Yes, we told you so", said the Met Dep. "Expect a month of torrents."
After the 3rd day, monsoons vanished without a trace.

The beauty of monsoon is when the dark clouds are done with pouring. A glimpse into last year's Monsoon Sky here. The tragedy lies in the power failures every time the wind blows or thunder rolls, the flooded roads, and the blocked drains.

When it rained in March, we called it summer rains. In April, we said those are the remnants of the summer rains, split over by a few weeks. In May, we chose not to name them. Finally in the last week of May, we called them Monsoons.

"Monsoon?" says Met Dep. "Yes it is still around. Just gone visiting."

Monday, June 1, 2009

Of Loneliness and Solitude

I read somewhere that...
There is a very thin line between loneliness and solitude.
Between being alone and being lonely.

But the difference in what they mean is as huge as an ocean.
As thick as a jungle.

As only one who experienced both would know.