Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The wacky How-to guides : #2 : How to park your cycle

This was just an experiment... Will make it better next time (if there is one :) )...
I'd been meaning to do this for a while, but ended up delaying it as usual...So here it is...

 Apologies in advance...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My trysts with teaching (a brief rambling account)

Back when I was in Kindergarten, I used to be a great teacher. I was much firm yet gentle (and any other choice adjectives ;) ) with my dolls. But yeah, they were indeed a good lot ;) I never had to say more than one stern word, they'd all do their work...

(Family legend #43: It seems I'd do my allotted homework fifteen times or more in my dolls' notebooks, but it was next to impossible to get me to do it once in my own notebook :) )

My other trysts with teaching were due to my 'tuition students' and cousins. By the time I was in college, I'd become more a 'lucky' teacher than a good one. I used to teach a neighbour of mine, and how proud I felt when I held in my hands money I'd earned. But then, what actually used to happen was that she'd open her book and start working out the problems in it, and I'd just sit with her while she did them, and then put a small tick mark on the page.

With my cousins, I used to mark random problems from their books for them to work out. I'd clear their doubts when they had them (and I knew the answer!), but those weren't very frequent. And it used to turn out that when they got their exam question papers, more than half the paper would comprise the questions I'd asked them to work out...

Why, this even worked out in my college days, when I'd predict the questions on the morning of the exam, and enter the hall, only to find that I'd got more than half of it right, right down to the questions and their choices :) (The sad part was that seeing all the questions I'd predicted would give me a shock, and I'd end up wasting half the duration of the exam wondering at myself and my 'forecasting abilities', and trying to figure out if I had other psychic powers as well...)

Anyway, like Frost said, roads seem to be leading on to roads, and my post seems to be going nowhere, so I realize it's time to take leave of you... :)

Adios folks...

(P.S.: some of the memories came to my mind following a 'long' conversation I had with a certain friend of mine.)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Just wondering

... what do you do when your friend doesn't consider you enough of a friend to even mention what's happening with him, especially if it is something major?
... what do you do when you need another friend, or a third person to tell you what's happening in your friend's life?
... why does someone seem so seski each time you see him, making you wish that some memories weren't this hard to get rid of?
(the remaining questions have been censored...)

More Random thoughts & observations from my Goa trek

- Royal Enfield must be doing good business in Goa - most of the bikes I saw were Bullets :) (Or maybe it was my luck that only those bikes would cross my path!)
- The lifeguards on the beaches wear a Spanish football team type uniform, minus the royal insignia - red jerseys with yellow stripes on the sleeves
- Some of the lifeguards are *sesky* ;)
- Many of them remind me of a certain friend of mine ;)
- There seemed to be a lot of football and football-related stuff happening, so small wonder I loved the place :)

Might be continued...

Friday, January 20, 2012

The wacky How-to guides : #1 : How to find a parking space

Locate the nearest No Parking board, and park your vehicle right beneath it...

Some memories

Reading Manu's post made me think of my school days  and how much I enjoyed them.

I remember taking part in Fancy Dress competitions (and other competitions too, but I'll save that for another day)...

One of my memories is going as 'Phoolan Deavi", the Bandit Queen. I remember practising my dialogue(s) (in Hindi, that too, to make it all the more authentic... learnt from a neighbour), terrorizing my family with my tone and the toy gun I held in my hand... The day of the competition arrived, and upon reaching the mic, I ended up losing what little confidence I had, and instead of roaring "Thakuuuuuuuuuuur", as I'd practised, I ended up meekly asking him "Thakur" (I nearly added a please, so you can imagine...)

But then, I'm not alone in this. One of our family tales is that of my brother going as Superman in his KG days. He claims he'd been suffering from fever, and that was why the 'incident' happened. I don't know the actual reason. But I did hear that my brother, instead of saying "If you need any help, call me", said "If you want, you can help me"

There were other times when I went as a 'Statue of Justice', as a tea-plucker and even as a Manipuri Doll...

Though my stage fear always got the better of me, these are the moments that go into the making of the family legends, and so be it.

It's time to continue reminiscing, but offline, and in another place...

Adios, folks...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dudhsagar - Part 1

I've put it off long enough, so let me post a bit about my Goan trek. I wanted to do it in chronological orderm starting from day 0, which was the day I left, but it turned out just like my study time-tables : a grand idea but one which will never be realized. By me, at least. So I decided to do it in the order of the camps I liked. But who knows, the order might change any time :)

It seems customary to begin with a quote, so I'll quote a friend, “Very soon, we’ll be back to our routines. All this will become a memory. And then, it’ll start to feel like a dream.”(I asked the friend if I could quote him, what I got in response was an invitation to visit him when I was in Mumbai :) And that I take to mean that I can quote him. And oh, I shall be quoting him again!)

Anyway, back to the narrative...

We woke up quite early, and after a breakfast (of Pav bhaji, if I remember right) & packed lunch (chapati with cabbage-gobi!), we set off on a brisk walk of 20 minutes on the beach, and then 10 minutes on the road. We finally reached Cansaulim station, and then realized we still had some time to wait before the train to take us to Collem was to arrive. 
I used that time to get myself some biscuits for the train journey. (It was a couple of hours long, so naturally I needed refreshments :P)

 Some of the waiting time, or much of it, actually, I spent walking round and round the platform. And pausing now and then to admire this tree:

The train arrived at last. There were two tracks, and when our train finally arrived, it was on the track further from from the platform. The halt was only for about a minute, so down we jumped from the platform onto the track and climbed in. That was when I felt that the rock climbing we'd tried at the base camp was finally being put to some use.

I spent much of the journey standing near the door - I could not sit still for longer than a couple of minutes at a time. We finally got down at the station, and by the time the group was assembled and the subgroups re-formed, I'd spied a tea-stall, and I did savour a cup of tea as I caught up with my friends who'd gone on ahead.

And then we took a short walk around and re-bought some necessities we'd bought and left behind at the base camp (thanks in no little extent to the whistleblower, err, the guy who kept blowing a whistle and trying to get us to hurry up, as if the world was about to come to an end!). After a bit of just lazing around, we set out for our destination of the day, Dudhsagar camp. (I'd seen the waterfalls from the train, and the camp was 2 kms before the falls.)

We reached the entrance to the "Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary". As we waited to get our tickets to go in, we spotted some wildlife :

We continued on our way, and then we realized we had to cross six streams. Each time we had to remove our shoes and socks, wade through the water and put them on again at the other end. We had to walk through some slippery rocks in the water.

Along the way, we met another group who were on their way to the next camp. We also met someone from another group, who told us we were on the wrong path. That, despite the fact that we were following the marked indications. 
After slipping a couple of times, being rescued and helped by friends (and getting instructions on how to proceed, where to put my foot and how and suchlike), we marched on. When we stopped along the way for a break, someone left behind a plastic bag with the remnants of their meal. I asked around, but nobody claimed it as theirs. (Things belong to people till they become trash, when people just throw them and leave. More on this theme later.) So, I decided to throw it in the dustbin at the camp. I felt bad that someone could just leave a place after throwing rubbish. Moreover, it was such a beautiful place that it did not deserve to be defiled in this way. I asked a couple of friends if they had a spare cover, but they didn't. In the end, I got some newspaper, wrapped the plastic bag in it and put it in my bag for proper disposal. A couple of people tried to detract me. They even asked me to leave it behind where I'd found it. Or just throw it somewhere else along the way, out of sight. But I refused. In fact, one of those was our group's so-called "Environment Leader". I told him that it was his duty to keep the place clean, or at least let me do my bit if he found touching a trashed bag so disgusting. With the result that he offered to carry the bag for me :) And since then they put their chocolate wrappers in their pockets or bags :)

We finally reached the camp. What a sight it was! I fell in love with the cool water flowing from a pipe, taken from the stream (or was it a river? I think I can differentiate between a well and an ocean, the remaining water bodies fall somewhere in between). (I think I drank a lot of water just to enjoy the way it felt and tasted)

Talk of camps, can talk of camp-leaders be far behind? One of the best things about the camp was the camp-leader. He was certainly good-looking, but that's beside the point. (I did speak a couple of lines to him, which is the height of conversation given my reluctance to speak, leave alone initiating a conversation). Something he said still remains in my head - it was music to my ears. He said that he wouldn't be using a whistle to call us, and expected us to co-operate with him. And that as we continued our trek, we would not create unnecessary noise. He said that he appreciated silence. A clincher if there was one :)

(There was a haystack behind one of the tents, which was also one thing I spoke to the CL about :P )

Plus, we heard that the solitary guy who'd told us we were on the wrong route was actually lost, and had been separated from his group.

To be continued...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


"Oh yesterday...."

I was supposed to be playing that on my guitar, but it was not meant to be. I spent some time watching this little girl in the classroom, as she ran around between her dad and brother, pausing in between to look at the fish in the aquarium, then running back to her dad squealing.

And then, wonder of wonders, the drum kit was free as I finished my class. There was hardly anyone around, so I just went up and asked if I could try the drums. I did, and how I did enjoy it... I tried the various sounds (I hadn't tried an electronic drum kit before). I tried to see what I could playI found that I could still maintain some semblance of a rhythm, even after trying out variations in between. Which pleased me no end, as it was something I'd never been able to do all that well before. I ended up wishing I could go back to drumming - I'd been really missing 'the feeling that I get'. And I heard that there would soon be another drum kit at my music class. I just hope I can somehow find the time to fit it into my schedule.

What with the drumming, and getting my program working (with some help, of course!), I was in quite a good mood. Plus, I'd finally finished reading "The Information" (my friend nearly had a heart attack on seeing the condition of the book - what can I do if it has a pristine white cover, but is so gripping that I had to carry it home and back, and read on the bus...), and had started with a murder mystery in French. Not to mention the Udipi coffee. And so, I came back from my class with a song on my lips.

Which was promptly misinterpreted by my friends.

We went for dinner, and it was there that I became a victim, when my friends started their games. Like, "Kaun banega Sam ka pati?". With helplines like 'phone a friend'. The 'audience' helpline was a bit biased, but what to do? Asi es la vida. After a brief break, just when I was breathing in relief that I'd been spared at last, along came HG and started the Inquisition again.

And the one brief moment where SS got to be the victim, Mr.Sincere turned the tables on me by saying I'd stolen her one fan from her. Unfair accusation, I say. It isn't my fault that we have a mutual friend and speak the same language!!!

Anyway, we then took a long walk to "drop HG off", which meant that four of us walk to the gate so that he can get an auto and go home, while we back all the way from where we went. And since walking consumes energy, we paused to refuel with cups of chai...

It was a lovely feeling, walking back in the cool night. Though I'd have loved it more if I hadn't been carrying my bag with a laptop and books, and pushing a cycle with another book in the basket :)

And, you know, I'd won the position of "resident ghost" (even before the opening came up & I'd applied for it!) at a certain friend's place. (Come on, he has plans of adding a drum kit to his place soon, what more can you ask for? ;) )

It's time to get back to work. And hope that my friends don't get it into their heads to do a "Sam ka swayamvar'...

(P.S.: Oh, the responsibilities that come with being a senior!)
(P.P.S. : Where do the knights in shining armour go when poor damsels like me (yeah, me!; why my friend even called me 'a lady' last night ;) ) are in distress (read, being mercilessly teased by friends)???)
(P.P.P.S. : I seem to be obsessed with pairing brackets wherever  I use them... even on a blogpost! - the effect of programming...)

Thursday, January 12, 2012



I think I should go back to learning addition! What I thought was my 100th post was not actually the hundredth... I still have posts and posts to write before that milestone comes into sight!

I'd just blindly followed the count on my Blogger dashboard, and there seem to be plenty of drafts and half-written posts lying in there, contributing to the tally.
My mistake, folks.

Sorry. I sincerely apologize.

And to show you that my apology is genuine, here are a couple of links...

I used to blog here once upon a time. (My brother still teases me about some of my posts there. And sometimes I can't believe I actually wrote something like I did. But still, it's who I was back then...)

And I got started with this new blog, but of late I seem to be doing only brief book reviews there.



“Very soon, we’ll be back to our routines. All this will become a memory. And then, it’ll start to feel like a dream.” These were the words my friend uttered as we were nearing the end of our trekking expedition. 

 I know I still haven't blogged about it, despite telling people that I would. I did start writing it, but then stopped halfway through. Which was when I decided that I'd chuck chronology and try writing by the order of liking... So, Dudhsagar coming first. Not least because of the location. But because...

Ah, no more spoilers. Stay put to know more :) (Meanwhile prayers won't hurt. And incentives to write welcome, chocolates accepted!)

The 'Dirty' Post

I'd just started reading a novel I bought recently, when I came across a line which said :
"I then realized I was out of toilet paper. And then I did the Hindu and used a bucket of water to wash myself..." (I think I got it almost right, but as I quote from memory, I might not have written it word for word, but it retains the (err...) essence of the author's writing.)

I still cannot fathom what religion has to do with using water or paper after answering Nature's call. If the author had written "Eastern" or even "Indian" or "uncivilized", or "savages" or some such thing, I can at least try to understand that he is under the illusion that we still live in the Stone Age, and, actually use water for such cleaning purposes. I can believe that people are misinformed, and we often do make assumptions about people and places based on what we've heard or read. But even so, this was a first on me.

Oh, and this opens up a new line of thought for classification of people. Maybe when people look for accommodation, they'll be asked whether they are water-users or paper-users. This makes me think of asking people to state their gender. Maybe, in the author's world, forms would have two boxes, of which you have to tick one. The options would be "the Hindu (water), others(paper)"...

Gosh! I better stop now...

I wanted to do this post earlier, but didn't want to make my 100th post about sh*t... I remembered one of my earliest posts and reading this too makes me feel I'm getting a dirty mind :)

And today, as I was programming, I just realized what I'd been doing :

Sorry if you don't get the reference...

I better leave now before things get dirtier!

Monday, January 9, 2012


Maiden century :)

At last. 100th post! Wow, now that is something. A milestone I wanted to reach before 2011 ended. But still, better late than never, as they say. 

I pondered upon what to write in this post. Many thoughts came into my mind, but unfortunately for me, my mind seems to be a sieve and the thoughts have left it. Alas...

And so, since I do not have anything particular to write about (not that that matters, as I end up rambling anyway), I think I'll just write about today. 

I woke up at, hold your breath, 4:30. Yes, A.M.!!! And made coffee, and woke my mother up with it! And being my clumsy self, ended up waking my aunt up as well, though not with coffee, but with the noise of a banging kitchen door :P As if that weren't miraculous enough, I even cooked. I made beans & vazhaikkai (it doesn't sound as good in English, sorry :) ), and a kuzhambu. (it was only when I reached the bus-stop that it struck me that I could have put some onions in it!) To cut a long story short, I did all this and got ready and managed to catch the first bus. I reached my lab at 8:40 A.M.!!! And did the most important job of the day - have my breakfast.

What's happening to this girl (yes, girl!), you may wonder. In fact, when I spoke to my brother, I asked him to guess when I'd woken up. Which he did almost right. He asked if I'd gone walking (or trekking, as I call it), and when I said no, he asked me if I'd actually vaasal-perukified & kolam-pottufied. Which refers to the rangoli at the doorstep. When I told him that even I could not imagine myself like one of those TV women, who wake up early and go around tulsi plants with their hair wrapped in a towel & in short, portray themselves as being the ideal women and ideal wives. Eeks. The mere idea of it! 

Anyway, my brother's theory is that I seem to be getting into "marriage mode". (He used some other term. But this is the essence.) Gosh!!! My mind boggles at the very idea. You see, I'm dreaming of being woken up with bed coffee (even bed tea would do ;) ), then being pampered with breakfast, lunch and dinner. And more. And yeah, there are quite a few eligible candidates out there. The rest can be trained :P 

And now, to let you in on the real reason behind all this : I'd woken up early to study. S-t-u-d-y. As I'd been putting it off for a very long time. And did this morning as well :) I ended up trying to do anything, including cooking, to get away from my books. I really wish I get the mood to study - they seem to come by about once an year, which isn't really for the best, given the course of study I'm in now.

So, now the cat's out of the bag. 

And my friend must be out of Bong-land. Sigh! Still, as he said he'd be bringing me a Bong Boy, I shall leave to prepare for tomorrow. 

P.S. : My trekking experiences coming up.
P.P.S. : There will be some guest posts here. Well, at least one, hopefully...
P.P.S. : I-man, beware. Post on you coming up. Maybe. And maybe something more to do with PM. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy birthday, I-man

Here's wishing I-man a very happy birthday (though the day, and maybe the cake, are almost gone :) ). 

P.S. : I don't know if you like the song or the band, but still ...
P.P.S.: Note to self : Should probably do a longer post on this friend of mine ;)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

War of the lights

War of the lights. Yes, that's what happens at home every morning. And sometimes, in the evenings as well.

This morning was it happened again.

I am someone who hates switching on the tubelight, especially when there's bright sunlight streaming in. With the rest of the household, the day, or rather, the morning is incomplete sans the tubelight. Be it 7A.M., noon, 3P.M., the hand just goes automatically to the switch anytime they're near the switchboard. 

So, what happens is that someone would have turned the lights on. And then yours truly comes along, turns off the lights, opens the windows and goes. Someone else woureturn, turns the lights on and goes in on an errand. And I'd be back, turning them off again. The cycle continues. It repeats itself every day.

I don't know what, but there is something about having tubelights on during the day that just gives me a headache and makes me sick. (maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration,but you get my drift). Every time I go somewhere like that, my hand itches to turn off the lights. I really don't know the need for them in broad daylight. You need the lights on at midnight, yes, I understand. But at noon??? And in summer? Maybe I'm too dense to understand it. But it seriously pisses me off when people turn on switches just because they are there. But, wait, that's another rant which I'll save for later.

My folks have been speculating for some time that I'm a vampire, the kind that shies away from light. I'd have gone with the theory, only unfortunately (for me), vampires are now associated,not with Count Dracula (as I'd have liked), but with Edward Cullen.(Eeks! - apologies, but I just can't stand the sight or Pattinson, especially in the Twilight movies). Plus, there's the fact that I actually happen to love sunlight. It's only artificial lights  during the day that bothers me. But I love the sun and its light so much that I've sometimes gone for walks at noon (maybe craziness, rather than love for the sun, is the reason behind my noonwalks :) )

I thought I'd found kindred souls in a couple of my friends, but sadly, that wasn't the case... Maybe I'm an extreme case. Maybe I was born in the wrong era. Or whatever. 

It's time to go - I can see the light from the tubelight in the next room, and my fingers are itching to turn it off. So, adios, folks.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Random thoughts & observations from my Goa trek

- Hearing a whistle being blown at 4 A.M. or 5 A.M. every day for a week left me with a whistle hangover - I ended up hearing a whistle and waking up at the ungodly hour of 4A.M. even when I was back home. Thankfully, the effects weren't long-lasting, and I managed to return to my routine of sleep-till-7A.M.-or-even-longer-till-there-is-no-option-but-to-wake-up...
- It seems I managed to push this lady who was sleeping next to me out of the tent, into the cold air of the open, in the middle of the night. (The next night I took a "corner" position, so that even if i rolled in my sleep, I'd be the one out, not someone else!)
- Silence is one of the hardest things to find - be it on the beach or in the forest, day or night, there is always some chatter. I ended up desperately craving a silence, at least a lack of human noise. But no, it was just too hard to find. I did manage to enjoy a few moments of solitude while taking in the sound of the waves on the shore, but that wasn't what I needed...
- And for those who do not know it yet, kolaveri is pronounced ko-la-very. not ko-laaaaaaaaa-very. Or ku-laa-very. 
- Keeping a cool head is very important, especially in the face of people blowing whistles and shouting at you to "hurry up". And at times, it's better to go by your first instinct. Otherwise, like me, you'll end up leaving behind good cotton clothes, halves of pairs of socks, torches, medicines, toothpaste - in short, everything that I bought just for the trek, and ended up leaving behind at the base camp. And as if that wasn't enough, lack of choice forced me to wear flannel during the heat of the days...

More later...