April 29, 2004 at 7:35 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Really had to blog today- havent bloged at all this whole week! A combination of Time Mismamangement and general listlessness- Did not want to dump rubbish into my blog Just becuase i had to blog!

Anyway. Been reading “An Imperial Progress”. Its an account of the British Empire, starting with its origins. And I get quite shocked every now and then. Usuallyy when the author is talking about India.

I mean, school history always talks about our glorious past, our great emperors and our honorable soldiers and all that.

Now this author is a Briton, who naturally has no compulsion to dress up the truth with adjectives like honor and glory and justice and whatever whatever whatever. Atleast, not Our truth – Truth has become highly subjective! He is highly irreverent about anything thats not British!

We have only read about an honourble Bahadur Shah Zafar, a Brave Ranjith Singh, A loyal Mangal Pandey, and so on and so forth.

SO its quite difficult facing up to Ranjith Singh being described as a “shrewd drunk”, Bahadur Shah being tortured by his screeching harridan-wives, Mangal Pandey acting like a crazed lunatic.

A good friend of mine., Meet, once had a signature for his mailbox- “History is what the historians write”. How true that is! I try to think of what history would be saying if Hitler had won the Second World War, instead of the Allies- Maybe the world at large would be congratulating the Fuhrer on protecting the innocents of the world. whatever.

An extension of this, of course, with George Orwell’s 1984. Winston creates and recreates history each day. Thats one of the best books I’ve read. And one of the few books no one has anything bad to say about. Its more chilling than the best of Roald Dahl’s stories. Because you can identify wiht it so much!

Does the Internet act as a balancer here? The main problem so long, has been the fact that we are so easily guided by media. and these are controlled by select cliques. In case of the internet, the world becomes like a global market place. Everybody’s opinion matters. Similar to the way the stock exchange functions. In this case, the director of traffic on the net will becomge powerful – will google become the king maker, then? :). theres no fact depressing enough, that you cannot add anoter facet to it, to make it worse!! :).

Incidentally, the best book I have read about the holocaust is… “The Holocaust” by graham greene. It beautifully traces the lives of two people- one, a sane, jew-friendly German, the other, an intelligent German Jew; How the former gets converted to the Nazi cause, how the latter becomes increasingly militant, before finally escaping to Israel. Great book. Read it nearly 10 years ago, and still remember most of it!

The greatest book about the creation of the jewish state, IMHO, ofcourse, is “Oh Jerusalem” by Dominique Lapierre and Philip Collins.

Try ’em out, if you havent already!

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April 20, 2004 at 4:02 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There goes. One more week almost over. Whatever happened to time, anyway?

Finally found my book on drawing at the British Council. I must be nuts, to want to try this- the only way I could draw the human kidney in class ten was:

1. Mess the text-book by covering the Kidney out there with neat 1cm squares.

2. Waste my time by taking a fresh sheet and covering it with neat 2 cm squares.

3. Draw the pic onto the fresh sheet “square-by-square”.

4. Trace the pic from the sheet to my Record Book and draw over the trace.

Sounds crazy, but I was amongst the worst “diagrammatists” (I really coudnt say drawer, coud I?? πŸ™‚ )with the best diagrams in any record book. How couldnt ingenuity and stupidity go so well togather? ;). All I needed to do was to be nice to my sister for a week, and I would have gotten my work done much easier!! I keep telling people my life is a study in paradox, but no one really believes me!! :)) Of course I also had one of the worst Zoology text books, a fact that was fortunately not noticed.

Lost Suresh (my husband)’s cell. His cherished Nokia 3310, which, he keeps telling me, he has owned for 3 years now. By default, my Nokia 2100 is with him, and I am back to the world of cell-lessness. :(.

April 16, 2004 at 10:52 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bad week. We’d planned for a demo to the client on thursday. And EVERYTHING that could go wrong, actually did go wrong. First, teh application server crashed. Next, I learnt that the hard disk could not be retrieved. Then I find out that my database was stored on the now defunct hard disk! boy! Plus my entire team was unavailable. Two guys on leave and one lady in a training. All hell broke loose, quite naturally. Wednesday evening, the Delivery Head in the floor below mine asked my WHY I was looking hassled! WHY! crikes. Added to all this was the fact that my back-ups were all old! I was supposed to take, but never got around to doing so. Like Calvin says, theres no problem so bad that you cannot add guilt to make it feel worse.

I plan to start modelling my life at PSL to Murphy. His laws are best obeyed here!

Noticed one interesting real-time application of the Laffer Effect. The Tamil Nadu Govt has increased the Parking charges for four-wheelers from Rs.5 to Rs.10! This is persumably with the fond hope of increasing revenues. And techinically, this is really good- it targets ONLY the Upper Middleclasses and the upper classes, who actually own cars (Cars are STILL a luxury in India). But what happens is the irate car owner prefers to slip a Rs.5 coin. It should be interesting to note the change in revenues to the Government!

Gotta go. Work to do.

April 8, 2004 at 4:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ever have that feeling that life like a rollercoaster, driven along by everyone on board except yourself? Feels like it, sometimes. Its getting mechanical. And boring. And God knows what can be done about it. Wake up. bath. breakfast. bus (read). office. blog. mail. work. bus (read). home. Chores. dinner. bed. Everyday of the week! I hate this b*&** routine! But there doesnt seem to be anyway to change it! Sudeep once call me “A rebel who follows all rules”. Which is a very painful classification to be in. You can neither accept whats happening nor can you take extreme measures to change what evers happening. Conformance is drilled in.

Finished Capt Corelli’s Mandolin. Or rather, rushed through the last few pages- painful! The last 70-100 pages were even worse than the rest of the book! I never got my masterpiece, after all! 😦 Anyway, the leopard was highly4 acclaimed by my reading group. It cant possibly be bad!

Got two books yesterday. Met Sudeep who gifted me “The Great Indian Novel”. An bought Mark Haddon’s “The Curious Incident of the dog at night-time”.

My earlier intro to Shashi Tharoor was through his “Riot”. While I felt that that was an excellen piece of writing- the style was great, the writing, engrossing- I was disappointed because I felt the ended up playing to the gallery. Its a fact that neither the common muslim nor the common hindu in India wants the communal divide. If Tharoor had brought that out, Riot would have been terrific. But he ended up giving a pciture of the hindu who hates the muslim a) because he is basically from an alien land b)Because his forefathers have oppressed the hindus in their own land c)Because he built mosques where there were temples. and more in the same vein. How much more cliched could you get??

If tharoor’s muslim in Riot is a very sane, balanced scholar (a professor of some sort), why is his hindu a fire-spitting fanatic? Doesnt Tharoor, as a writer, have a responsibility to give a balanced picture to the world? India is fated to be under divide and rule forever, I think. The british played off different petty kings against each other. The current leaders play off different relegions, castes and communities against each other. :(. Sad.

April 7, 2004 at 10:07 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Still ploughing through capt. corelli. The problem with this book is, am not too sure how much of it is factual. Was the Italian High Command as spineless as this book projects it to be? That seems slightly improbable. But the description in the book makes it sound highly probable! Corelli, of course, is larger than life. Hes one of those characters in books who make navie women actually believe that there are guys who are kind, thoughtful, intelligent, decisive, talented, understanding, brave, honorable… ALL AT THE SAME TIME! I dont like these overly good characters- why do I never meet people like that!! Like calvin says, Lifes never unfair in my favor! REad somewhere that this book is one of those work of art, kinds. but why? May I will be able to figure out once I am actually through with it!

Got to go, bye!

April 6, 2004 at 12:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Poem for laughs::

The Purist

I give you now Professor Twist,

A conscientious scientist.

Trustees exclaimed, β€œHe never bungles!”

And sent him off to distant jungles.

Camped on a tropic riverside,

One day he missed his loving bride.

She had, the guide informed him later,

Been eaten by an alligator.

Professor Twist could not but smile.

β€œYou mean,” he said, β€œa crocodile.”

Ogden Nash

:))

April 2, 2004 at 6:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Just finished Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Did not find it all that great. Too gory.Does he really have to graphically explain how the christians tore Fra Dolcino to pieces with hot irons? Yeuck. Barbarians! But Foucault’s Pendulum was great. Mostly because of the variety of subjects he touches up on there. I’ve lent Foucault.. to Appa- lent it about 3 months ago, actually. He still hasnt read it. But poor thing, he keeps telling me everytime that its an excellent book! :).

Favourite Books: Re-Upgraded List::

1. Wuthering Heights

2. Razor’s Edge (Maughaum)

3. Foucault’s Pendulum (Umberto Eco)

4. Peter the Great: His Life and his times (Robert Massie)

5. Love Story (Erich Segal)

6. Jonathan Livinston Seagull (Bach)

7. Mind’s I: Fantasies & Reflections on Self & Soul (Hofstadter and Dennett)

8. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

9. The Count of Montecristo (I Almost forgot that one!!) – Dumas

10. The Three Musketeers (Naturally!!)- Dumas

11. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

12. The Life of Pi – Yann Martel

13. The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde

15. Catcher in the Rye (J D Salinger)

Books I like (But wouldnt qualify for entry to the “favourites” list)

1. Roots – Alex Haley

2. All’s Well that ends well – Shakespeare

3. Barchester Towers – Anthony Trollope

4. Illusions – Richard Bach

5. The Lord of the Rings

6. The Hitch-hikers guide to the Galxy (Will have to add it atleast for “Babel Fish” if nothing else! A super example of a self-referencing/self-destructive analogy!)

7. Surely You’re joking, Mr Feynman – Richard Philip Feynman

8. Pride and Prejudice (How could I have missed that one!)

9. Pretty much every one of Oscar Wilde’s plays

“Popular” books (Books a lot of PPl would die for, but which havent particulary affected me):

1. Gone with the wind (Margaret Mitchell)

2. A thousand years of solitude – (Gabriel Garcia Marquez- and that would be one books I have ever read and actually disliked! Got sick of a 1000 Jose Arcadios and what not!)

3. Bridges of Madison County (Throw in a bored housewife and an itinerant photographer for protagonists, The National Geographic for respectability, lots of s*x for a story, two kids and a husband for the “other side” and voila! you get a “masterpiece”!)

April 1, 2004 at 10:19 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

whew! Just back from the US Consulate. Yours truly is now the proud holder of a visa to the land of opportunities.

Took me about two hours in all. But the process is really streamlined. wait outside the consulate of 20 minutes. Checking of passport with web appointment. Payment of 400 – some fee, god knows what. Hand over of first DD. Checking of Documentation, and visa application form. Visa interview. branches out to rejection (Depression/sorrow/whatever) or approval (relief, relief and more relief). Fortunately for me, I fell into the latter category.

I was interview by David (He introduced himself to all and sundry as just “david”. His second name remains a mystery). David et al look really young. Dont know how they decide whether or not to send some one or not. The girl ahead of me in the queue was rejected. as were the two guys in the adjoining queue. the girl wanted to do a course in “Illuminary Arts”, whatever that means. Apparently, David was not “illumined” and hence she remained dis”illusioned”, to use some really bad puns!

There was this couple, too- a guy who was almost as tall as suresh (Suresh is 6′ 3” tall), his wife who is much shorter than my 5’6.5”. and two really cute kids. both boys. reminded me of Juni and Abhi (my nephews). Especially the second kid. was a lot like Abhi. No idea what happened to theirs, though. they were after me.

Anyway, post all this tension, am totally wrung out, which is my excuse for blogging and not doing any work during the day. :))

April 1, 2004 at 4:27 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THats one year of my life over! :(. Now at the Grand ol’ age of 25! Thats a quart of a century, and a perfect square. I happen to like perfect squares- they are very interesting numbers- but 25 suddenly seems terribly old!

I’ve always liked numbers, dont know why. Each number has a character, you know. 4, for instance, is a pleasant easy going number. Numbers divisible by 4 are very easily identfiable. 2 is boring. I view it as one of those goody-goody numbers. Every other number (literally!) is divisible by it! Three is okay. 5 is nice, too, but again, not very interesting. 11 is really cool. Its got a really nice pattern associated with it. Its extremely symmetrical, for one. For obvious reasons, associate 11 with the pyramidal structre. 7 is terrific, too. Its kinda mysterious. theres really no set pattern associated with it. It keeps popping up every now and then. Okay, am blabbering, I know. But if you really start observing numbers, you get a feel for them. and thats really interesting.

Yesterday was pretty nice. Suresh had bought this huge, sinfully rich chocolate cake. and candles. I cant remember the last time I had candles on my birthday cake! In fact, for the last ten or so of my birthdays, the cake has followed a standard pattern- I would bake one on the evening of the 30th (yes, me myself!). by 11:00 PM, 30th march, it would be nice adn warm. Everyone would then attack the poor thing, and by 12:00, we would have finished most of it. suddenly some one would remember- and say, “hey, Aishu, Happy Birthday”:. :). But it used to be good fun. Yesterday was fun, too. just different.

Gotta go.

Bye!

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