Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Getting into a weekend; brings a great joy. Saturday always comes with a free token of happiness. Lot of plans, lot of places to go, sure you we have a plan. How many time do we call our friends, for a movie and go out to a mall on a Saturday or Sunday. Staying home on a weekend, gives a different feeling for the whole feel.

Starting the free day with music, gives a great kick for the rest of the day. This Saturday, I was listening to my world space radio. Usually I am more into rock, rap, hip hop and traditional music. When I was changing the channels, I came across a channel, which played orchestra music. The likes of italian and american jazz. So majestic setting with climatic crescendo.

It started rather nicely with slow pace; but gathered momentum and turned into something like the back ground score of Adam's family. Something which is usually played in the Hollywood horror movies. My mom listening to this, was taken aback. Born and brought up in a completely traditional kind of taste, she could not digest this kind of music. She was of a the feeling this is Christian's church music. This coming from a south india religious hindu house wife, I just smiled at her comment; changed the channel.

It was bollywood music now!! All latest movie numbers we being endlessly being bombarded. Sometimes when you hear to a super-hit song, many a times, you get bored of it. There were some fast paced songs; some slow ones. Then it was AR Rahman's soul stirring, music like never before. It was the turn for the song "Kwajaji!!" from Jodha Akbar. A song based on qawwali music, which has got a ancient history of singers, who have sung this kind of a style during the mughal empire.

A completely Persian style, with a lot of devotion in it. When the song started, my mom started singing with it. Just to complete the story. A person who is so much against the so called orchestra church music, is singing Persian Muslim style song. Well, and we think Muslim's and Hindu's don't go well with each other.

Why has this happened? The credit goes to AR Rahman, because his music seems to break boundaries. Seems to reach places, where no one can and will. Just getting my mom to sing traditional qawwali style of music, totally astounding. The latest songs of Janne Tu Janne Na, are also gems. I have to say, one more feather on the cap for the maestro. From Roja, to Airtel commercial. The journey as he says, keeps getting better and better. He is also going to feature in the next "The Lord of the Rings" movie, whose back ground score I am sure will be similar to church music ( not exactly). May be that is why, they call him, "Lord of Music".

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Life in a slow lane!!

Today's life has gone into fast-forward, with the amount of the time required for travelling a distance always tends to reduce, as the technology and innovation make it faster and faster. Many of my buddies will disagree with it and say nothing will give heed to Mumbai traffic. The serious bottle-necks eventually impedes the movement of traffic, which by far helps us to have a look at our wrist watch 15,000 times before we reach our destination.

Being in a fast lane, always feels wonderful. Reaching destination in very less time, makes us feel there is nothing to do. Just taking the traffic jams out of the equation, we should say we are still in the faster lane. The electric trains, which are lifeline of Mumbai makes the faster life even faster. People living in a city, when they go back to their native place, feel the life at their there tends towards nothing but slowness. But the slowness of life also shows us things that we would never notice if we would be in the fast lane.

I have a bike, pulsar 220, which makes my travel very easy and of-course faster. I ran into my second servicing. I had to give away my bike for repair works. As long as I was travelling on my bike; I never had the time to look around. I just love riding bikes. The surroundings kind of moves as well in the rate of knots. I was used to the fast lane driving.

When I gave my bike away, I had to travel by bus or walk. I choose to walk for some days. There is were, I came across many late developments near my home. I would have never noticed a new bank, a new showroom and a new ATM. It is now I understood what all round development means. It was marvellous to see so many people choose walking after work.

Water logged areas, how to get around them. I found many cross roads, short cuts. Got to see small temples and places which I had seen during college days. It was great refreshment of fond and vivid memories. New hawkers, new bhel puri stalls, new offices many many more things!! Also to see, some major landmarks diminish to nothing. Roads widened, when you are on the bike; you never notice the width of the road unless you cross it. Some old shops taken over by new ones, remodelled and refurbished.

And finally, I found a brand new Nike showroom. It has been started 2 months back. I never knew it. I got a Federer's Head Tie I was looking, for a long time. After all, being in a slow lane helps us catch up with things that we have missed, in the fast lane!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Eats, shoots and leaves==Kung Fu Panda

I just finished a book called, "Eats, Shoots and Leaves"....a book about today's usage of English punctuations. Well we can never guess that from the title of the book. The explanation of the title goes something like this. It has been explained in the form of a story.

A giant Panda, enters a bar, asks for a sandwich, eats it happily. The panda was about to leave, when the bar attender asked it, money for the sandwich. It removed a gun out of no where and fired twice in the air and left. Before it left, the panda tossed a animal book to bar attender. An book with descriptions of all the animals, but with poor punctuations. It read, Giant Panda: Animal found in parts of china, feeds on bamboo. Eats, shoots and Leaves.

I have to say, the author of the book Lynne Truss, has read most probably all the books of English punctuations and also history books wherever the word punctuation appear. So much references on each and every page, it makes the reader feel like, he has missed all the books in the world. It also shows how learned she is. Taking nothing away from the book, it does not make one very curious to read the book. Only a persistent voracious reader can finish this book.

The writer is against the way today's generation of people have turned the punctuation symbols and made their own grammar out of them. She goes on and explains how it should be properly used, by explaining how it is wrongly used in today's bits and pieces English. The author throughly disagrees by the way the today's English has been broken up in emails and smses. Like gr8 for great and 10x for thanks. She feels we have to start a revolt against such things.

A through professional with majestic sentence formations skills, spell-binding descriptions with eloquent and free flowing effluent, expressive English. To be frank, I guess you can give this book a miss, if you are looking for humor. It is not as humorous as her "Talk to the hand". The sarcastic comedy of Truss is missing in this one.

To continue with panda story, I saw a movie just yesterday Kung-Fu Panda. An awesome animation movie. Complete opposite to the above english punctuation crap!! Amazing story line, breath-taking animation, stomach aching comedy. Even the expression on the face of the panda makes one laugh his heart out.

The complete setting in china, with Kung-Fu, and all these animals, this movie is here to stay. A complete contrast to the book I read. You see, there is always a lighter side of things in life!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Rajmachi Trekking

Mumbai being such a busy place, it saps more out of you than you can give!! Working day in and day out, makes one's life monotonous and boring. Thinking about going to the park, or thinking about taking a walk has become some kind of distant dream to us. As of today, we are not thinking about a quiet walk.

Me and some of my friends planned for a terk to one of Shivaji's fortress rajmachi, to beat this hopeless tediously unvarying situation. For reaching the base village, we had to travel to by train to reach Karjat station, outskirts of Mumbai. For reaching Karjat, we had to catch an early morning train. Some of my friends reached the station on time, but we could not get the tickets on time to get into the train.

We had to skip that train. The next train was after one hour, hence we had already lost 1 hour. We boarded the next train and reached Ambernath, from where a friend joined us. Ambernath is on the way to Karjat, so waited an hour for the train at Ambernath. Due to some freak traffic signal malfunction, we had to wait there endlessly, as the next karjat train was one and hour late!! So "Amber"nath was looking like "Red"nath.

Finally we got into the train and got to Karjat, from where we made a Fat-Fat, that is an auto-rickshaw, to the base village. It was almost 10 am by then. We started the climb, with all energy, but did not know what to expect. There were arrow marks painted on the rocks all the way, showing us the correct directions. It did not rain very heavily as expected.

The climb for some distance seemed to be flat, until we reached phase where it was some what steep. Slowly we started loosing energy and also the drive. Suddenly atleast I had to request my feets to move forward. We had not even completed 30% of the climb. All we heard was that, it was a 3 and half hours trek. We were almost 1 and half hours into the trek, we saw people descending. Quietly we had a word with them. There we realized, that the guy who predicted the climb in 3 and half hours time was a buffoon, with a strong body built, but not that much head room.

Just when we thought, we have gone half way, we gasped at the enormity of the climb. We were giving up. We thought we would never make it. I have to say, for once I thought, we will never make it to the top. Then we made it a point that we will climb till a certain time. If by then we could not have reached the top, we would descend.

On the way we came across a beautiful cave. The cave itself, was quiet a marvel, which we never expected. A wonderful waterfall just adjacent to the cave, made our trip a memorable one. After spending some time at the caves, we again started ascending. I was wearing a lousy and slippery shoes, which made my ascend slippery coupled with the monsoon and sliding mud. We some how made it to the top. Hurraaayyy!!

The dal rice that I had for lunch at the village at the top of the hill was the best I have had for quiet some time!! The descend was quiet a slippery experience, as I fell many times. Hurt my back, and ankle. As they say descend is always easier, we made it down in two and half hours. Lost our way, but some how made it to karjat station. When we returned to the station, again it was a long wait as the train we had to catch was after 1 hour. But caught a long distance train, and reached one hour earlier. The 1 hour we lost in the morning was gained at last in the evening!!

The snakes and crabs on the way was a treat and fascinating to watch. But the mosquitoes and the humid conditions aggravated our problems both during ascend and descend. The time permitted us to make it only to the village. The fort was still half an hour away, which we could not make it. Next time we will try and make it to the top. The saying holds true-"When the going gets tough, the tough get going"..........

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Oscar Pistorius gets a double thumbs up!!

Oscar Pistorius, was born with congenital absence of fibula in both legs. The bones Fibula and Tibia are the bones which are just below the knee. The fibula is the bone which balances the weight of the body. No fibula means, the person cannot stand on his legs.

At 11 months as a child, Oscar got both his legs amputated halfway between the knee and ankle. At the age of 11-13, he played rugby, water polo and tennis, with artificial legs. After a serious injury during on of the rugby games, he was introduced to running by Jan 2004, during the rehabilitation. The famous line he always says is- "You're not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have.", which has been his motto.

Known as the "Blade Runner" and "the fastest man on no legs", took part in the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens and came third overall in the T44 (one leg amputated below the knee) 100-metre event. Despite falling in the preliminary round for the 200 metres, he qualified for the final. He went on to win the final with a world record time of 21.97 seconds, beating single amputee American runners Marlon Shirley and Brian Frasure.

Phew! quiet some information. I was quiet blown away by the way Oscar came back in an event at Roma on 13th July, 2007. It was a 400 m race with able bodied athletes. He started the race and soon he was the last one running. I cannot believe the last 100 m which he covered. He finished 2nd in the event. Mind blowing feat!! Have a look at this video from youtube. Even you will be swept away.

Double amputee Oscar Pistorius won an appeal and will compete to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.
The 400m runner was barred from all competitions involving able-bodied athletes because of claims that the artificial legs he uses give him an unfair advantage. The 21-year-old, who runs on specially adapted carbon fibre blades, saw the ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) overturned by the Court of Arbitration for sport (CAS).

“Today, I can pursue my dream of competing in the Olympic Games. If it’s not for Beijing, it will be for London in 2012,” said the South African, nicknamed ‘Bladerunner’.

The South African runner still has an uphill battle. His personal best time for the 400 meter is 46.46 seconds. To qualify for the Olympic team, he must beat 45.95 seconds.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Management skills of house wives!!

Today, the world turned on its head. Even a paan wala wants to be an MBA post graduate. Laloo Prasad Yadav gives management lessons at the IIMs. Things have changed, and the people's mindset regarding management also is changing. They tend to learn management lessons from everyone. Even a small lesson learnt from someone like a boss of a minuscule hotel, which when implemented at a higher level in our scheme of things can prove to be handy.

Learning never stops, it is not a be all and end all. It is the path to be followed to attain higher excellence in life. Just by ignoring someone because he is so inconspicuous, we are just underestimating the lesser unknown potential of the management guru inside him. Where is all this going.

Today when you join an organization, at our young age, we just join as a trainee, or some very small position. As years go by, we hop jobs, we go places and after a great period of time, we eventually become bosses. We have a group of young trainee's under our guidance. This is as per our rankings, job skills and also through the rating, which is eventually given by your boss. Similarly, today's house wives, get married stay with their mother-in-law, work very hard to reach some position. Have to struggle on their own, and as the time goes on eventually get a maid servant or a daughter-in-law, on whom they can show their command.

Just some days back, I saw my mom beating the hell out of our house maid. Listening comprehension may give you good marks at GRE and other competitive exams, listening management gives you just the skill and exposure, of how to handle certain situations which can be mapped to the current scenario. The way my mom was being tough on the maid, made me pity the maid. I even commented, "If you are so hard on her, she might leave!!"

But mom being the management guru she is, has seen more than a dozen maids like her. She is more than just experienced to handle the situation with such elan. She made the maid sweat it out and made her a cup of coffee and some light talk at the end of it. She talked about some personal issues, like "how is your son?"; "what is he doing now?" just to make the maid feel comfortable.

I surely felt that the maid will leave, because of the way my mom manhandled her. But to my surprise she did not. She got a pay hike the, next month because of her neat job. I thought may be the maid did not have any other place to go and had to rely on us. Even thought went kaput, as she worked for more than 3 places excluding our place.

The maid lived in a slum, which was demolished for road widening and land development. She was given a home far away from our place. So she had to leave us. When she eventually left, she came home, hugged my mom and cried. (very emotional farewell) She bid good bye. I never in my wildest of dreams, expected this, after the first episode. I have to accept that my mom has better management skills than I do. Again, I learnt some lessons of how to handle people, how to manhandle them to get better results, from the woman handler==my mom!!