My holiday…

These vacations I tried to take a break from my usual holiday routine. Visited places I wouldnt have usually been to and read up books which I usually dont. Its been a different journey for me. Spiritual to say the least. I vacationed in small villages, eating typical south-Indian cuisine, swam my heart out, tried a new form of dancing and yeah read a lot. It was so nice to take a real break from the tensions of college-life, from projects and deadlines, from grades and averages, from LAN and DC.

I have always been a nature-lover. Nature excites me. The fresh cool breeze, dark clouds,arrays of tall coconut trees, no modernization, the green-rice fields entice me. Sadly all I recounted so far was my painful yet in-the-end blissful visit to Srirangam, there was lots more which happened. Things which made me genuinely feel blessed. It was simply amazing.

For one, I got to see my native village. My mom had recounted stories of her childhood summer-vacations spent there with my great-grandfather. Tales of how they used to swim in the village tank, of chasing young calves and playing with goat-kids, of beautiful airy houses with a verandah where my granny used to plait my mum’s hair every evening, or how the whole agraharam used to sit collectively and listen to the evening news on the valve-radios. Hmm feels so good. I actually got a chance to see all that. The houses were almost in a state of ruin or occupied by someone else but the village tank, the nearby green trees, the old village temple and the post-office. All were intact. Though no one recognized us today, visiting that old village amidst lush green rice fields seemed like a perfect holiday!

Our journey till trichy by road, took us through many villages. Small and beautiful, they seemed so peaceful. Loads of coconut palms, women and children chatting away happily near village wells, lush green fields with sprinklers working overtime. We ate in simple small-town hotels which gave hygenic yet very authentic dishes. It was an overdose of nostalgia for my parents. For me, a new experience.

The choice of my books this time has been varied. Some I have been wanting to read for a long time like “Freakonomics” and “Gone with the wind” (okay..I kno I am late, but the size of the book used to intimidate me in college! ๐Ÿ˜› ). But for the first time, I forayed into the vast world of non-fiction. I had a couple of futile attempts at reading them before but due to lack of understanding, I did not continue. Non-fiction is beautiful. They say, fact is stranger than fiction. Very true.

I read almost all Sudha Murty’s books. Wise and Otherwise, Mahashweta, The Old Man and his God, to name a few. I also read up a couple of auto-biographies and two-three more political books. Very interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed them. The book I am currently reading is on Greek Mythology. ( Maybe a few questions in trivia I can answer now…:P) Non-fiction has a charm of its own. From real characters with absolutely real traits, from real unexpected circumstances to very real dialogues, these books have plots which touch you from inside. They move you even bringing tears to your eyes.

Lastly, I embraced the power of yoga and meditation. I was always a gym-goer and more of a outdoor kinda person who thought that perhaps all this was meant for older people. But turns out that it isnt. Mediatation calms the mind so thoroughly that one feels energized after a session. Yoga is very effective. Infact, my torn ligament feels better already. I plan to continue a small part of the regime known as the quick-yoga (meant for busy people who cant spare 2-3 hours a day) in college. Lets see.

That completes my holiday report. This would be my last blog of 2007. Eventful though it was, it was in many ways one of the years when I grew mentally and philosophically . I learnt so much about life, love, the joys of loving, friendship, experience of staying in new places, being with new people, making newer friends and acquaintances and lastly keeping the old friendships alive.I also learnt to accept defeat, learnt more about people and their ways and lastly a new language. It was also when i entered the next decade of my existence.

It was also the year I started blogging again.
So adios 2007. Welcome 2008.
Hope you(2008) will be even better and more enriching in many ways.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE. HAVE FUN.

PS:New Year resolutions can wait till the 1st . I dont have time before that anyways!

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Nirvana…!

The last few days have been really hectic and taxing. So much work and such a tight schedule finally took a toll on me. Nursing a bruised arm, a torn ligament (thanks to some careless diving), I was in no position to continue my physical work. Moreover, I had to take the car for servicing when midway through I realized it was punctured. So what would have taken me 2 hours ended up taking 5.
To top it all, my dog fell sick. When he falls sick, the whole energy level of the house goes down. If he isnt prancing around all our beds, scratching our hands and licking our toes at 5, wanting to go out for a walk, we feel the day isnt normal. It was precisely what happened. He was lying on his bed, curled up like a furry earthworm and totally devoid of energy. Then came the most difficult task of analyzing the problem. Finally I realized. He got a cold.
So my day was spent in giving him his medicines.( feeding tablets to a dog is an art ๐Ÿ˜› ). Cough syrups and some gripe water. When he was in a better position, feeding him a little glucose and papaya. Finally some hot milk. Ahh! All this had to be spooned. Today finally he is better. Barking and playful. It feels so good. ๐Ÿ˜€

With the new year party just round the corner(I am compereing for it so have some work there) and some remnants of shopping left, my days ahead look no less taxing. Additional trips to tirupati and relative visits remain pending.

So Im off to Aurobindo Ashram tomorrow! I need that peace and quiet. I want to just sit there for a while and rejuvenate myself for the coming hectic and crucial year. Perhaps some auroville would do me good.

Who says holidays are meant for relaxing!
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My tribute to Benazir Bhutto:

She was someone I always admired. Yes, she was corrupt. When she was the prime minister, the relations between our countries was probably at its worst. She has been accused of supporting and developing the Taliban. But despite all that I always liked her. I appreciated her courage, her desire to live life in her own way. She had her way with people, her way with the upbringing of her children. Her courage to walk amidst the muck of islamic politics which is splattered with violence and murder. Her courage to try and fight for the people, her courage to restore democracy when the country is facing its worst possible crisis from the fundamentalists and world pressure. Her courage to come back to Pakistan when she very well knew her life was in imminent danger.

Pakistani politics has always been full of bloodshed and conspiracies. She lived to retain her father’s legacy. Though the first political family of Pakistan has lost their shining star, she will always be someone I admired for her courage and the fact that “Women are no less in this male-dominated society” is proved again by her martyrdom.Though the fact that her life was in danger has been known all along, her assassination came as a real shocker!
Good Bye Ms.Bhutto. I salute you.

V.I.P

I am back after a two-day temple tour. I visited Srirangam, one of the most beautiful and famous temples in Southern India. This month is the margazhi masam . There is unprecedented rush in almost all shrines in south India. Plenty of thiruvizhas and oorkolums are slotted for this time. Srirangam was no different.

Okay,it is a very powerful deity who attacts devotees from far and near. People throng the temple in hundreds and thousands. Parking space is not to be found. We had to park our car almost 2 Kms from the temple to even reach the entrance.
I always wondered, what the fuss about a VIP pass is for. If everyone follows a single queue and keeps moving, wont everyone get a chance to see the idol ? But hell, no. There are a fifty varieties of darshan one can do, obviously with a proportional fee, but if it is regularized, its not a problem. Temple management is an art. I have to congratulate the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams for their splendid job. Sadly in other popular shrines, it is a mega obstacle.

We stood in the line. Long and snaky with sooo many twists and turns. People from all classes, professions were standing with us. We moved steadily right into the heart of the temple through winding queues, pillared mandapams, beautiful statues and small temples. Everything was fine until we saw a huge rush of people suddenly joining us from the left. It was chaos after that, people pushed, were pushed, moved like a bunch of crazy animals, hands were squeezed, hair was pulled and suddenly it felt like the whole of Ganga was trying to flow through a tiny pin-hole. I wanted to kno the reason for the sudden increase in activity. The answer ” Thats the VIP darshan”
I was dreading my turn to pass through the confluence. My fears were right. SMACK! I got punched across my face, suddenly a hundred hands on my shoulders pulling me in almost all directions with a constant push forward and no place to go. I was thrown face-first into the lady before me, and with a place for only one person to pass through, suddenly there was place enough for ten.
I emerged with a cut on my left arm and a bruise on my cheek. I thought angrily, “What the hell!? Do we need to go through all this to even pray? ” I watched with a bemused expression on my face as our queue was stopped and some America-returned chap wearing his company T-shirt accompanied by two policemen went right ahead with his family, had darshan and returned. After some 10 minutes, again the same thing happened, but this time it was some politician. Dressed in his usual white ensemble and accompanied by some 10 policemen, he made his way through the crowd. We had been in the line for about 4 hours now and these people got access in 5 minutes. That too after stopping the usual darshan lines. A VIP pass is not out of reach for us also, but thanks to my strong disapproval we never avail that.
But luckily for us, the ultimate darshan was good. The last fifteen minutes or so were peaceful and our queue proceeded in its usual pace and everyone got a chance to pray. We had just emerged from the sanctum sanctorum, when we saw a policeman roughing up a fellow who tried to try to get in with the VIP’s.
I have always despised these extra arrangements made for these so-called VIP’s. Everytime I hear about the Bacchan family visiting a shrine or Ambanis flying to Tirupati, I always think about the poor man who waited his turn (in Tirupati it goes into days!) but who is halted by these people who flaunt their wealth and get direct access.
I wonder what God must be thinking looking at all this from above.
But I have concluded, no longer is VIP a very important person.

VIP = VERY IDIOTIC PERSON

Girl Talk

(Warning: Girl rant. Boys may feel free to skip)

What is it about boys and computer games? What is there in WoW, CS, AoE, FIFA etc etc to drive a perfectly sane human being nuts ? I have often wondered as to what exactly is addictive about all this. Having heard these acronyms repeatedly, I wanted to see for myself. And I tell you, it was not at all pleasant.

I have tried to play Counter Strike. Okay fairly decent amount of skill and multi-tasking is needed. But it evades me as to how anyone can play it for more than 3 rounds :P. (I lasted for one…my temples began to throb!). With people in college who can play it for days on end, so much tactical discussion, strategies and repeated spamming for servers in college, I wonder what is so addictive ?
Today morning, after the third consecutive day when no one turned up in the tennis court, I went to one of my friends place.He was at his comp, playing WoW on some international sever. In college ok, ghar par bhi? No wonder, none of the guys now come to play tennis anymore. For that matter come to the swimming pool or badminton courts or even TT ( you can forget finding them at parties!). Its just these dratted computer games. Oh God! . So much bloodshed, sound of gunshots, hideous looking creatures (read AoE,WoW, AoC etc etc) . Ewww! Games should be like Jbird,Mario, Pcman, Dave or even prince. ( I suck at all but still it was not as taxing as these new ones are!).

Secondly, I wonder what it is about girls and change. Metamorphosis of the highest order has occured in my group of friends. From being chatty, bubbly girls who loved to cycle, challenge the guys over a game of gully-cricket or even climb on trees to eat guavas, my friends are now committed, tremendously made up, extremely figure conscious and talk nothing but about boys, perhaps the latest eating fad ( some new trans-fat containing food item to be obliterated from their diet) or some new dress. Perhaps its the way I am ( unusual for a girl ) I cant take this type of chat. Why cant we discuss some new music (duh, they listen to only hindi film music!) or some new event in chennai ( I can discuss shopping ๐Ÿ˜› ) or even some interesting stuff which happens in college. I start a new topic “Hey have u heard this song..” and then ” Oh yea..my boyfriend loves it..” and boom! back to boyfriends.

I have so many friends here. But still I feel im all alone. Lost in the world of boyfriends,endless discussions about lipsticks, foundations, eye-liners, crash diets, trans-fat, some new hindi song or perhaps a little college rant. Blah. I feel so alone.. like a goalpost after a football match , in parties (given im a big time party animal. I looove parties) that I have stopped going.

Thank you God for the awesome broadband connection! (touch wood for that). I am always in touch with the people who i enjoy being with. Thank you gtalk, thank you orkut and thank you blogspot. Thank you Sudha Murty for writing so many good books, thank you whisky for being with me and loving me so endlessly, thank you mom and dad for giving me my beautiful computer. (aah i must stop else I will be thanking Kellog for breakfast cereal also!)
๐Ÿ˜€

Where? BITS ?

( I thank Vijay Siddharth Pillai for narrating this anecdote so wonderfully in one mass-transfer lab session. It kept us in splits for a long time.)

During the PS 1 this summer, a group of boys were assigned the Kochi Port Trust. On the first day of their summer term, they were instructed to visit the three departments. Mechanical, electrical and electronics. So the boys enter the first department. Mechanical.
Incharge: Where are you from.
Boys: BITS,Pilani.
Incharge: Where is that ?
Boys: Pilani, Rajasthan. (The goa campus is mostly not told).
Incharge( In rapid malayalam): Aree…you had to go and study sooo far off. Why did not get a seat in any Engg college in Kerala ?

They exchanged glances and without further conversation completed the orientation.
The next day they entered the Electrical dept.
Incharge: Where are you from ?
Boys: BITS,It is in Rajasthan
Incharge: ah I see…didnt study in your +1 and +2 eh? You had to study so far away in Rajasthan..tch tch. Looks like even a donation seat was not available for you.

Again, without any response, they completed the day’s work.
Lastly they visited the electronics dept.
Incharge: Where are you from?
Boys: A college in Rajasthan.
Incharge: Oh !! BITS? Omg please please come in…
Hehe.