Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy New Year 2008

As the clock chimes 12 on Monday night to set off a frenzy of global celebrations, and as the New Year hype reaches a crescendo, we would have passed off yet another year having touched the "usual" landmarks on the way. Happy New Year mails and phone calls are exchanged to enliven the moment. It's not a moment of a lifetime, but there's a feeling of new found hope and excitement, as you look forward to life with gusto, albeit for those few moments. Though the general lifestyle of people has changed considerably over the last few years, and as technology has shaped our lives dramatically, the sameness in me has ensured that life has moved on at a steady pace in the year 2007. Personally, there is nothing much as far as I am concerned to unravel the timeline of events in the year 2007.

December 2006
The last week of December 2006 was spent with undergraduate classmates at Washington, DC, and we got back to our respective places just a day before the onset of New Year. New Year was never meant to be a charismatic event to us; it was just a time for us to get together. After much deliberation, I agreed to meet them, and that to them, had been a bigger event than the onset of the new year. Come on! I was a student then, I would say, and still say.


January 2007
It was a scary, apprehensive and a confusing start to the new year. Thesis, defense, job and other academic uncertainties loomed large in my life. Life had seemed to come to a standstill, and I was confused; I had no idea whether I was unplanned or my planning was too much. The academic life was taking a toll on me; well that's what I thought!

February 2007
Course work and research; the phase of winding up had just started. The campus was decked with decorations, as Valentine's day approached. Again, there was no difference in my life. Some of my friends were getting away, thanks to internships and Co-Ops; the first phase of branching out had started.

March 2007
Life had never been more stressful. I just had a month to go for my defense. Would March make a difference in my life? Well, thankfully, it did! The job offer had just clicked, and I was beginning to get a grip on my life.

April 2007
"Congratulations Praveen!!!" You are a Master of Science Graduate, said my Advisor, as I waited outside after the thesis defense. That was one of the unforgettable moments in my life. As with such moments, you also have to live life during the dark moments. My grandmother had breathed her last and I was pondering about the futility of foreign existence.

May 2007
Post thesis defense has been the best period of life. I slept during the day and stayed awake all night. A long overdue Seattle trip was made at the end of April. I also joined work in the middle of May to mark my second stint at work. Again, it was apprehensive to start with.

June 2007
Times Square is just great. Well, first time at New York, and it was a great feeling. I also got to see the demigod of Indian music, AR Rahman, perform in NY. Honestly, one of the biggest highlights of the year. An experience of a lifetime!!!

July 2007
Summer in New England is something that should not be wilted away. So, off we went to Rhode Island and Cape Code. Cruise Control mode!!

August 2007
Boston was after all not a bad place to live in. There was a nice group, nice set of people to hang out with, and thought life was monotonous, there was something to look forward to at the end of the day. Well, living in big cities does make a difference!

September 2007
Quick planning and quick getaways! Everything was planned on the fly, and we made an effort to see the places. The creepy winter was fast setting in.

October 2007
Another year had gone by and the birthday song was still the same. Not much had changed in the last many years, and this year was no different.

November 2007
Talk about depression, and November wins the contest hands down. Everywhere I saw, I could see only the white patches of depression in the form of snow eating away all happiness in life. There was absolutely no motivation to go outside. Sitting inside the car for those few moments before it got fully heated up can dampen even the best of spirits. Chilling!!!

December 2007
Another year gone past, and as I sit back to watch the Boxing Day test match, the expectations still rest on Anil Kumble to pick up the wickets. I still expect Rahul Dravid to score those vital overseas runs. The only difference with this Australian tour is that I don't have to get up early in the mornings and watch the matches with a muted set up. Time difference has created a slight difference!!!


As the years roll by and as the New Years' greeting pile up, different facets of life have changed considerably, but like any other thing, the usual aspects of life have moved on accordingly without affecting any real change in personality or related traits. Just like the way things haven't changed, let's move on to welcome A very Happy New Year 2008.
(Pictures used for information purpose only)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Rolla; Graduation walk and Nostalgia

Pic: Graduation ceremony at Recreation Center
Life is rife with little expectations; the little things that can spruce and spice up your life in equal measure. In today's highly global world, it is not unusual to find friends in even the remotest part of the world. United States may be the largest country in the world with vast space, but every state in the US is filled with a known face. It is truly heartening to know that there is nothing to worry when you land up in a new place, because you just can't be devoid of friends. The flip side is that, with so many people in different areas, it has become increasingly difficult to find a common meet-up place. So, when you get a chance to meet up for the right occasion, we just have to make use of it totally. These little expectations may not change your life, but this fleeting passage of a quick time out together leaves you lingering for more.

Pic: Graduates seated!

So, last weekend was a great way to break the norms of life by getting together for a weekend break at Rolla, the place which can be called as the first home for all of us who graduated from UMR. Shubhika and I had booked the tickets a month ago to witness the graduation walk of some of the closest people we had studied with. Graduation ceremony may not mean much for some, but to me and many others, we view it as the highlight of the course completion program. Studying abroad, masking out whatever is happening back home, fighting out those bouts of depression that can leave you with a very troubled feeling without actually knowing the reason; the uncertainty of the future gradually transforms to something really meaningful and these moments leave you with an emotional high when you are proclaimed as a Master of Science graduate in your area of discipline. The final moment is the result of having spent the best part of your stay here with the people who matter the most; in short, friends have become your lifeline as you reach and hope for the best.

Pic: 1300, #7 once upon a time

Pic: Electrical/Computer Engineers

Boston was going through a stormy weather, not that this was infrequent, but the fact was that, this almost coincided with the time of travel. Thursday was rough, with a terrible snow storm doing the rounds, but luckily, Boston was back to normal on Friday with the sun peeping out and so, our flight was perfectly on time. The anticipation was there at both ends, for the travelers as well as for those who were at Rolla. It is easy to plan anything, but the planning from St. Louis to Rolla is something that can drive even the best Project Manager crazy. We hardly slept during the flight journey, thanks to my traveling companion. We reached the airport perfectly on time, and it was good to see the known faces from Rolla, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Chicago and Florida. We would soon catch up with the Kansas City guys later in the evening. Later, off we went in three cars to Rolla. It was the familiar stretch starting from Lambert International airport, connecting 270 and I44 interstate with Rolla. The drive on I44 brought back old memories, and as if there was no change, I helped myself with food from Gokul. It all seemed as usual; a perfect feeling of "I know everything". Exit 186 marked the home stretch to reach 101 West. It was the time to meet everyone; hugs and wishes were exchanged like never before. There were some of them whom I really wanted to meet, and it was just great to spend time with them. Friday night was very much devoid of sleep with talks extending well into the morning; the boys had so much to share.

Pic: Fun @ Graduation

The morning of the graduation ceremony witnessed a frenzy of activities with ten people clamoring all out for a single bathroom to complete the morning ablutions. Thankfully, Yadu got up early and finished up with his long process; well, I mean really long. The remaining members of the gang were ready; the time taken by Yadu and the rest of us seemed to be close! It snowed badly in Rolla, but that did not deter anyone from reaching the Multipurpose recreation center on time. It was a pleasant sight to see the hall packed, and as the graduates walked into the hall, I could sense the emotions that must be going through them. I was in exactly the same situation about eight months ago. It was great to relive the highly emotional feelings of nostalgia. We cheered loudly as one by one, the known faces went to receive the awards. It was wonderful to see Asif bestowed with the Phd degree; we roared as we saw Dr. Grant hood Asif for his efforts. It was heartening to see Pravin's and Karthik Sadanandam's parents make it to the graduation ceremony. What a proud feeling for them to see their sons walk upto the dias and receive the felicitation. It was great to spend some time with them, and it truly reminded me of my parents. It was a proud feeling for the audience to see their kith and kin, and friends, getting the right recognition for their wonderful efforts. It was also a great feeling for us (Yadu, Pavan Shivaram, Shubhika and I) to relive the graduation walk thanks to our friends.

Friends, Hearty Congratulations!!!!!

Pic: The Sadanandams, family & friends

Pic: The Dhakes

After a terrific session of post ceremony photo shoot, we went back to 101 West enroute Panera; Chai Tea Latte, black bean soup and veggie sandwiches had never tasted better before. The best way to relive Rolla days is to get involved in mass cooking, and that's exactly what we did in the evening. All of us joined in with a helping hand as Rama took up the task of making upma, Shankrannaaoww made bondas, while Chaitanya Emani got involved in making fried rice and gobi manchurian. Like the previous night, we stayed up well into the night, but my eyelids just refused to open after 4 in the morning, and so, we had to call it a day, much to the annoyance of the KCs (Karthik Chandramouli and Krishna Chaitanya Emani). Karthik Sadanandam was more worried about his flight early next morning. As always, it was great to have a heart to heart talk with him.

Pic: Venka and his sister with friends

Next day had more to do with getting ready to leave. As such Sundays are bad, and with the goodbye process in mind, the Sunday couldn't have been worse. All of us headed back to our respective destinations. The return journey was killing and depressing. It is just too tough to accept the fact that at the end of the day, all that remains are memories. Memories are the only things that remain forever, and everything else, is transient.

Photos: Rama and KC's camera

PS: Please upload your photos in Picasa and send me the link so that I can include the links here

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Kannada movie; an afterthought

My knowledge of Kannada movies was strictly limited to the single source of entertainment channel in the mid-nineties. I used to wait for the Saturday evening show (later moved to Sunday evening) eagerly, hoping I could see Annavaru Dr. Rajkumar, "rebel star" Ambareesh, "Kottigobba" Vishnuvardhan, or the Nag brothers in action. Movies were plain and simple, and it always ended in a feel good factor. I was never into watching Kannada movies in cinema halls. But as the years went by, as different channels came into existence, I could not keep up with the pace of Kannada movies; not that it was way ahead, but sadly, it had fallen way behind the standards set by its regional peers. So, I moved away from the solitary source to keep track of other things, but I still made it a point to watch the movies played on DD9, the regional equivalent of DD1, as and when I caught the Kannada movie watching mindset.

Though I am not a big fan of Upendra, he brought some entertainment value to the industry. His movies were supposedly different from the conventional mainstream Kannada cinema. Now, now, that doesn't mean that Upendra was involved in art movies; he was an out and out commercial movie maker. He found an audience cutting across all age barriers that made my friends actually talk about watching his films in the hall. That was a big thing. For some reason, watching Kannada movies in the theater was an embarrassment to many; many did not want to admit that they watched one in the theater. That was not surprising considering the fact that the number of movies that could be watched with family declined considerably with time. Unfortunately, you really had to think more than twice before you spent money on a Kannada movie. Let alone watching in the halls, some of my friends did not appreciate my watching the DD9 movies too, ridiculing me to switch to other channels. The advent of Sudeep, Ramesh Arvind and a few others spiced up the industry. There was a much needed revival of the filmdom to bring back the audience. We had to look beyond the golden era of the seventies and eighties and walk out of the shadow of some of Kannada industry's greatest stalwarts to recreate the magic of the yesteryears.

The Nag brothers - Shankar Nag and Anant Nag were a revelation on the celluloid. I have had immense pleasure watching the complete series of SP Sangliana, a cop, played to perfection by the immensely talented Shankar Nag. His potential is very much evident as he took up the directorial venture of Malgudi Days, and got rave reviews for his efforts. It was a path breaking venture, and the simple episodes were way ahead of its time, as Malgudi was captured in the simple town of Agumbe to perfection. His untimely death was a big loss to the film industry, for he could have easily gone places with his acting and direction. Anant Nag had tremendous acting abilities, just like his brother, and was one, who could leave you mesmerized with his on-screen persona. His movies - Beladingala Bale, Aruna Raaga, Gowri Ganesha and Ganeshana Madhuve are movies that can be talked for a lifetime.

After meandering along, and actually now coming to the point, the Mungaru Male bug hit us big time. Everyone was talking about the movie. Friends, who I could not dream of them watching Kannada movies, told me that it was good. Released last year, the movie was running to packed houses in sophisticated cinema halls. That was something unheard of in Kannada filmdom in recent years. Everyone whom I met, and of course, those who knew Kannada, suggested me to watch the movie. I had listened to the songs, and to say the least, they are exceptional. They left me spellbound, as my player played all the songs on a repeat basis, and more importantly, often. I desperately wanted to see this movie, either online or by procuring a DVD. Kannada DVDs are not really popular in the US, and so I had to settle for an online print. The online print was not of great quality, and so I wanted to wait, till I had the best print. Luckily, here in Boston, thanks to a sizable Kannada population, but nowhere comparable to the Telugu population, the movie was screened sometime in October. Since my fellow Kannada mate was not in Boston at that time, I gave the movie a pass and hoped to view the screening later. Luckily for me, there was a screening of the movie last week, and we (read Chetan and I) couldn't be less excited. The last time I had seen a Kannada movie in the theater felt prehistoric. The theater in Boston resembled a mini Bangalore with everyone conversing in Kannada. It was a nice way to enter the theater with a feeling Wow, so many people speaking in Kannada!


The movie was just too good. The way the screenplay and other nuances of the movie were handled was totally commendable. We had great expectations from the movie, as the word of mouth factor played a big role in its popularity, and honestly, we were not at all disappointed. The movie was certainly not out of the world, as it was handling the good old cliched subject of Indian cinema, but the way the storyline was treated really impressed us. We were struck by the picturesque locations used for filming the movie. The locales were breathtaking. The ending of the movie was what actually impressed us the most. It was absolutely realistic, with no jarry melodrama. It was plain and simple, and it really hit the mark with us. We walked away with a very good feeling - What an ending and what a movie!!!

Just like anything else, I love to bother people after a movie. I quizzed Chetan, "OK, what would you do if you feel you have met the girl of your life just a week before your marriage? Would you stall the marriage and marry the newly met girl?" I knew it was a tough question for him, but obviously, family takes precedence in life, and his answer was obviously not surprising. He asked me "What would you do?" It was not all that difficult for me "Where is that elusive first girl in my life?" Both of us laughed our way back.

As I went home and called up my Kannada speaking friends, it was not surprising that most of them had seen it, since they were the ones who recommended the movie in the first place, one of them asked me "So, what sort of a girl do you want?" I remarked "Being conservative, would obviously expect a conservative girl in my life." "Guys are never conservative; it is the girls who decide how conservative guys can be!" A thought provoking statement indeed, and I did not tax my brain as to find out whether I have to agree to that or not. At the end of the day, I was still basking in the glory of having watched a good Kannada movie in the cinema hall after ages.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Staying in vogue

There are some things which you can live without; there are some things which you just cannot live without after having lived with it for some time. This blog post is coming to you at 12:27 AM (to be absolutely precise) EST, and you can imagine, at this wee hour in the morning, how my mind is clouded with random thoughts. Life has taken a fast track in the last twenty years, and I just can't imagine how quickly our lives have got adapted to it. It is strange, but in the process of making things simpler, how we have lost out on some of the simple aspects of life. In the last many years, I have always fought for simplicity, trying to steer my life away from the norms, since norms are no longer associated with simplicity. Yet, the more I try to get away from it, the more I am interested in the development of today's world.

I clearly remember the day we got the land line phone back in Bangalore. I was in my fifth standard and was getting all excited about the new device at home. It was an important phase in my life; at least that's what I thought. We no longer had to go to the telephone booth located a furlong away to make long distance calls. We no longer had to run to our neighbor's house to receive a call in case of emergency situations. It was the first time the family was walking towards the era of modern development, and to us, the seemingly small device assumed significant proportions in our quest for quick communication. Prior to getting the phone, we were accustomed to life without the talking machine. Life did not change much after we got the phone. Well, that's what we thought initially. Just one day, we had to lose the connection due to network problem, or to put in simple words, the phone fell dead. It seemed that the lifeless phone had sucked our lives from the daily chores. I was in despair. I had to walk past two buildings down the road to ask my friend if he was interested to play, instead of making a quick dial. My father found it difficult to get across to his colleagues to make important decisions. My brother was a toddler and he was thankfully not affected by the deadly outcome of the dead phone. My mother was never too dependent on the mouthing device to carry out her daily household chores. It was not a big thing, but it marked the onset of many more things in the future.

Mobile phones belonged to the elite class initially. Top bureaucrats and important bigwigs ran around with the skimpy little handset. The smaller the handset, greater it was in vogue. Mobile changed the dynamics of coolness factor. All of them who were boasting about the big things in life were now trying their best to prove each other that they had the smallest. It was the beginning of the change of conventional perception. Things were changing dramatically and quickly. Slowly and steadily, the mobile bug caught on with almost everyone who entered the 21st century. School and college goers were creating their own film industry, thanks to tonnes of MMS getting generated in every nook and corner of the country. It was no longer cool to have a phone anymore. The stakes had just increased. The gadget had to be cool and trendy for the world to sit back and take note of you. As the mobile phones made its appearance in the market, I could feel a mysterious gray hair creeping out from behind. Why? I had entered work and I guess I was the only one in my friends' circle not to have a mobile phone. People were aghast, but my life was in no way different from normal.

Desktop computers were getting important as I got into engineering. I considered it impossible to do my daily work without a computer, and so after a lot of pleading with my parents, I got myself a computer with the best configuration at that time. As I type this post from my notebook computer, it is so difficult to imagine how life has changed in a short duration of time. We have moved ahead all along taking everything along the way to make our lives as comfortable as possible. I have to send my laptop to the service center to get a minor problem rectified, and I will be away from it for a few days; the thought itself makes me feel miserable, even though I have tried my level best to channelize my time away from the computer as much as possible. We have adapted to the changes and moved on with time, and it remains to be seen when there will be a time, when we would be laughing at ourselves for using mobiles and laptop computers. Who knows what's on the way!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Staying (dis)connected

One of the greatest wonders of life, according to me, is the ability to communicate with a wide set of people, identify a select few with whom you think will share an unknown closeness, back your instincts and give it all you can to be in touch with them. Many a time, I have pondered how much a new face means to us after some point of time.

How many of us really keep in touch with our old friends? All of us have met so many people since childhood that the number keeps increasing by the day. We lose track of some of them just due to the sheer number of new faces that we meet everyday. Obviously, you give it your best shot to stay in touch with all, but the inevitable slowly seeps in. The good old days of yesteryears is slowly forgotten. The hourly phone calls are replaced by daily phone calls, which soon turns weekly and before your realize, it has already become bi-monthly, until one fine day it dawns on you that you haven't spoken to your friend in a year. You think, by then, it is too late, and the shameless guilt in you prevents you from reaching out to him then on. It's quite a sad story, really! But, why is it really difficult to stay in touch with everyone? Let us consider the statistics. I had about 100 people in school, 150 people in Pre-University college, about a 200 during my Engineering, another 200 during my Masters, and top it off with another 300 away from the academic circle (jobs, neighborhood and common friends). The accumulation process takes the count to close to a thousand people in the last few years, and the addition has just not stopped. Obviously, it goes without saying that I am not close to everyone in the group. It has always been a handful at every stage, where you get to know a few of them really well, and the rest just make up the numbers. Considering that I was close to at least twenty people on an average (the number is really high during Masters and abysmally low when it comes to high school) at every stage, that brings down the figure to about hundred people. Keeping in touch with hundred people too can be a daunting task. That's when the importance of emails and social networking sites are realized. Just to keep in touch, Orkut is phenomenal, but for all other purpose, it is nothing but an absolute time consuming exercise leading nowhere.

Imagine the prospect of meeting all these people sometime in the future. That would be phenomenal, but will I really have the chance to meet them is the big question. It is a scary prospect to realize that I will never meet some of them again in my life. There are many with whom I have spent all my time talking loads and loads on issues that mean nothing to others, waging little wars that have no economic impact, trying to gain an upper hand in trivialities, boasting about nothing, when finally you realize that whatever is happening is so momentary and on-the-spot. The sad part is, you have no idea how all those wonderful moments translate to nothing but memories for the future. I am sure I have used this quote many a time in my blog, but some sentences can be repeated time and again. Your guess is as good as mine; the quote is from R K Narayan, who in Bachelor of Arts says, People pretended that they were friends, but the fact is they are brought together by forces of circumstances. How much more can a sentence be plain and hard hitting!

Everybody is on the run, all of us wanting to be something in life. So, on the way, you meet some and bid goodbye to some, and in the process, you realize that you might never be meeting the person whom you bid farewell. In plain words, the farewell is as good for life. I know I have to stay in touch with many, but in the quagmire of daily chores, I am sometimes lost in the absurdity of life where short term relief masks everlasting happiness, giving me a chance to reflect on these uncertainties, bringing me to reality with a question that pounds my mind often Why?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Washing away your "echchal"

The habit of maintaining a foot long distance between the mouth and spoon dates back to early stages of childhood when my mother had a stern eye on the proceedings in the kitchen. The typical conservative South Indian touch that I inculcated at such a young age under the watchful eyes of my mother has actually made life difficult for me several years later. They are simple set of rules, but when I see the general population bypass them, I have an unexplainable sense of exasperation seething through me. The first feeling I get when I see such things happen is Oh! What would my mother say if she sees this!

The concept of echchal was made clear to me at home when I had just crossed the stage of crawling I guess. It remains distinct in memory to me because at every stage it was explained to me the consequence of not following the general protocols of life. I remember as a toddler, I would follow my mother into the kitchen holding the pallu of her saree, and demanding some offerings from the daily food cooked at home. My mother would ask me to take a small plate, sit in the corner without making any noise and place a small amount of curry or rice on the little plate. She would never be bothered about the mess that I make with that small plate, but my subsequent actions fell under immense scrutiny. She would make it absolutely clear to me that I was not supposed to touch anything until I have washed my hands perfectly. At that stage, I never understood why I was doing what she said. But, I followed without a question. From then on, it became a sort of habit for me to wash my hands as soon as they found contact with my mouth.

A few years later, the habit of going into the kitchen for freshly cooked food to be eaten instantly never ceased. My father, brother and I would find the confines of the kitchen very comforting; the warmth generated from the gas masking the winter of Bangalore. Stealthily, one of us used to take something from the pan on the stove, and put it in our mouth. There would be absolutely no contact between the hand and the mouth, but there she was, ready to confront us, not that we were in a mood to confront her knowing her well over the years. All of us would immediately head to the sink to cleanse the expanse of nothingness sitting in our hands; the nothingness that was looming large in my mother's eyes as if there was sin written all over it. For all our questions, she had a simple explanation, Imagine, if your paati (grandma) or thatha (grandpa) saw you doing this, they would never again eat in our house. She would then start off about how things were different when she grew up. I would love to hear what she would say about the present!

I was lucky enough to be associated with perfect roommates when I came here to do my Masters. All of them took great care to follow the practices taught back at home. No wonder, our house in Rolla was referred to as the House of Protocols. But, none of us really cared. There was no fear of worrying whether the other person has washed his hands or not after tasting something, simply because all of us came from highly similar backgrounds and took great care to live just like the way we lived back in India. At home, we could eat in peace. So, when I eat outside, I just close my mind to the way it is cooked. It is too scary to think about it. That's the sign of having become liberal over the years. It is also amusing to see the reaction of my friends when we head to a hotel and have to eat something from the common plate. Allow this fellow to eat first, otherwise he would not eat!!!

I have also realized that it is very difficult to explain the concept of echchal to a person who has never understood the importance of it. A typical response is, "So, what if you do not wash your hands?" That statement generally is as big a question to me as for him. I have stopped responding to the question and head back with a deep sigh pondering about the times when such things were followed without a question. Times have changed, but you just wish some things do not change ever.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Five minutes...please...!!!

Get up. It is time to get ready.

Ma, 5 minutes, please!

I have no idea how many times I would have played out this situation in my life. It all started during my school days, when I had to get up early in the morning. My school started at 7:30 in the morning, and my mother would start her wake-me-up process from 6:00, which would easily go on till 6:30. The struggle would continue relentlessly every morning, shuttling between the room and the kitchen every five minutes. She would coax and cajole, give a stern call at times, and finally, would consider that the best option would be to drag me off the bed. I would react as if my mother had committed a sin by treating me so "violently". I would never help her cause by reacting too slowly in the morning, contrary to the way she pulled herself up every morning, never flinching even once in her daily chores. How could I explain to her the bliss of early morning sleep? The day began by deriding the cold Bangalore weather, which never helped my cause of an early morning wake up. In spite of all that, the next forty five minutes saw a frenzy of activities, with some amazing management skills, that helped me reach school perfectly on time. Not once have I reached late in my primary school, thanks to my mother.

Luckily, the shift system helped me get an afternoon slot for the next five years. I never really had to worry about getting up early till my high school. Not that my high school had early school hours, but the fact was, I had this habit of putting up a show, an act of study at dawn. Just before going to bed, I would let out a statement of utmost sincerity, which was actually devoid of even the smallest quantity of it, Ma, please wake me up at five in the morning. I have to study quite a lot. Exams are fast approaching. I would sleep as if my whole life had been forgotten for the next few hours. My mother would get up, wake me up, wake me up again, and again, and again. But there I used to lie on the bed with absolutely no idea, that somebody is shaking me so violently, and that I had made a commitment a few hours ago about the early morning saga. She would let out a sigh, mutter (well, actually, shout) a few words, and then get back to catch a few winks herself for the next few minutes. After approximately two to three hours, I would wake up, with dread and fear; I had so much to study, but more importantly with a fear of what my mother would say. She would let me know that she is never going to take up the task of waking me up again. If I was responsible enough, I should get up with the help of an old alarm clock. She would make it clear in the next twenty minutes, as I sipped a cup of Boost or Bournvita, with my eyes fixed intently on the sports column of the Deccan Herald. My father, who would be watching this from close quarters, would let out a sigh at my mother's misery and scold her for taking up such an arduous task of waking me up. But my mother would continue the next day on my insistence.

As I grew up and walked through the different phases of my life in college, engineering and work, I depended more and more on my mother for the early morning call. She responded at every stage, egging me on to get up and do what I should for the rest of the day, listening to several five minute requests, and waiting patiently with a cup of hot milk or whatever that could infuse a sense of awakening (no pun intended), and making sure that I was fully awake before she could carry on with her daily chores. I could never get myself to wake up using an alarm clock, as I always knew that my mother would come to me early in the morning. I never could gain that sense of responsibility as long as I was at home. Even as I started work, I knew whom to look up to for a wake up call. My brother who grew up turned out to be the same. I narrate this incident to friends, and they second me by saying that they have been through the same things in life. It is no doubt that with mothers, we take things for granted.

To sum it up nicely, I remember an incident sometime back. My cousin was telling us about his boss. He always sleeps with his laptop by his side. Whenever he gets a message, he hears an alert from Outlook. So, he immediately gets up, responds to the message and continues with his work. My mother just looked at us and told, "You fellows will not get up even if a temple bell is sounded, let alone an Outlook alert"!!! We were laughing the whole day with that statement. But the truth is, that statement never turned out to be a joke.

Today, as I help myself with mobile alarms, snoozing it twenty times in an hour, I realize how difficult it must have been for my mother to do the same things day in and day out without a hint of frustration even once in those many years. As I complete this blog and get some sleep, I realize that I have to get up early tomorrow to finish up some work. How I wish you could see that glint in my eye!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Boston, MA

Pic: In front of MIT
Blogging is a strange thing; there is so much to be written, and it depends on you to pick the right topic to be written about. I thought I was bored of writing travelogues, but then after a rather eventful weekend, I just could not think of writing anything more important. It was planned weeks earlier that Yadu and Karthik would be joining us for the weekend here at Boston. Boston is one of the cities on the east coast which can make you feel absolutely pleasant. There is a feel good factor associated with this city, so famous for education and sports, among many other things; a touch of class that can be experienced by staying in this beautiful city. Truly English!

Pic: In front of Harvard

The best part about friends visiting you from far off places has more to do with staying together than just touring the city. You look forward to meeting them with a sense of longing to catch up with the good old times. All of us hailing from the same school, we generate tonnes of gossip, talking about totally trivial things that can leave outsiders stupefied. Every small talk is magnified, extracting information from wafer thin connections, coming up with out of the world conclusions, exploring the tiniest bit of clues to frame the unwanted and still feeling unsatisfied with the amount of talk. Every second is utilized to unravel as much information as possible to get the feeling of completeness.

Yadu and Karthik joined us on Friday night, and off we headed to the dance club. I had never been to a dance club before and the other three wanted to make sure I did not come up with dumb excuses to avoid the proposal of going to the club. I had no choice but to join them to shake my legs to some foot tapping music. Shubhika had a reservation at one of the clubs in downtown Boston. I felt it to be a different kind of an experience. The fun lies in seeing how the crowd behaved to few glasses of alcohol. Luckily, I had my share of soda and obviously, the other three were not surprised. We reached home well past midnight dropping Shubhika on the way back. The three of us retired to the warmth of the comforters with some amusing talk. Not exactly some, since it was early morning before we actually slept. Karthik was trying his level best to put on an act of drunkenness, failing miserably.

The next day, we got up late, save for Yadu, who had got up early as if he was supposed to burst crackers early in the morning of Diwali. We were up quickly, and two of non-Rolla members joined the party. We were to make a quick tour of Cambridge, the heart of education in MA, well actually, USA. Every visitor to Boston would want to see MIT and Harvard. Shubhika and I have been to these places many times in the past with many different people. This was my fifth trip to the Mecca of world class education. Every time I go there, I am filled with a sense of positive energy pepping me to great heights. It is great to just stand in the campus, and know that you are at a place which is considered to be the best. The cameras just clicked away. The walk from Harvard to MIT on Massachusetts Avenue is simply superb, and we always make it a point to walk on this road rather than take a T (Boston metro transport). The evening was just as great, as we helped ourselves to some good Ethiopian food. Saturday night was long with talks till early in the morning.

Pic: Boston Public Library

Sunday it was, and we made sure that we went to a posh restaurant for lunch. It is not everyday that Karthik agrees to treat us, and so, we went to a good Italian restaurant for lunch. We then spent some good moments in downtown at Copley Square, one of the oldest parts of Boston. The Trinity church facing the Boston Public Library was a sight to behold. As always, it was beautiful. We entered the library and we were just too happy to see the structure inside. We saw a nice corridor connecting the library to a central fountain. This is where Karthik and I decided that we will film a small video enacting the South Indian super star Rajini. The director in me and the actor in him produced a video of absolute entertainment leaving us in splits. In the evening (night show), we decided to watch the latest Hindi movie, Jab we met, and contrary to the reviews, we did not appreciate it much. We reached home close to midnight, and ended up watching the videos and pictures, chatting till 3. A couple of hours of sleep, and off we went to the airport, and two hours later, with eyes full of sleep, got back to yet another day full of work.

A superb trip having all the ingredients of fun was finally over. We were already discussing about where we should be meeting next. Time flies so fast that it would be a matter of time before we realize that the next meet is around the corner.

In general, when it comes to travelogues, a right balance should be achieved between the description of the place and the group, and invariably my writing tends to shift towards the latter.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Inspiration at 200 continues...

The dreaded years of English language in school began with short essays, compositions and paragraph writing in your own words. I had to adapt to the language through a series of mind conversions from the local tongue, before it actually took some time to think in English and write in English. When I wrote my first essay in my own words, there was a startling revelation of how hard it is to write something without by-hearting what the teacher enforced upon us. That was class fifth and the beginning of a whole series of problems with grammar and other small nuances. The English text books were fun to read, which gradually got complicated with Shakespeare entering the fray along with a whole lot of Russian writers. As you like it was a brilliant read, and short stories like God sees the truth but waits by Leo Tolstoy, The bet by Anton Chekov, Gateman's gift by RK Narayan, The last leaf by O' Henry just elevated me to an unexplainable trance by getting me introduced to the choiciest of words in the language. Innumerable phrases of admiration for these authors serves as a major source of inspiration to be on constant improvement.

Writing has always been fun and an integral part of my life from a certain point of time. I started with book, music and movie reviews, then went on to travelogues, finally hitting on general topics. There was a continuous stream of thought process running in my head as to what I could write about. I have always believed in simple themes to come out with easy to write topics that can make a difference in your everyday life. The language had to be simple, and that's because, I have never had it in me to come up with extravagant words resulting in hard to write sentences. As I have mentioned numerous times in my blog, my biggest inspiration in the literary world goes to RK Narayan. Reading his writings can induce a feeling of Writing is simple; anybody can write. Simple day to day activities rendered in heart warming style with a set of easily identifiable characters from day to day life sets an example for brilliant simple writing. Passion for the country, for anything that is Indian, touch of Indianness, how certain things have affected my life, fiction, poetry, politics, sports, personality, love, life, religion, philanthropy, Bangalore, Malleswaram, media, movies, books, travel and inspiration brought out the emotions in me and automatically got translated into words.

Inspiration need not come from a single source; for a person like me, inspiration is a cumulative process. They add up from different places, thanks to many different people who are good at so many things. I just have to go to the blog world and see a wonderful talented bunch of bloggers writing some fantastic stuff which has so much of appeal. Everyone has a style of his own; it is impossible to compare different sets of writing and lay a benchmark. Each sentence is rendered in different style, and that to me is one of the most wonderful things. It just gives you the opportunity to admire so many different people. I have been to many blogs, some of which leave me speechless, as the writing is just out of the world and more importantly simple. So, I thank the many different bloggers who I visit for this important source of inspiration. Thanks a lot!

Interface is another important factor for bloggers. Being a racy character, I just want to do things as fast as possible. Most of my friends would associate the word restless to me instead of racy. Waiting even for a split second more irks me to no end. As soon as I open a page, I just want to load it as soon as possible. So, I try my level best to keep the page as bland as possible. The white background, of course, has to come from the Google homepage. Google has just integrated my web life in such a way that I find browsing disconnected from my life if I do not find it associated with google. So, you just have to put up with this page, without any heavy gadgets in the background. So, Ninaivugal would remain the way it is; the page has to be loaded with the minimum of fuss.

OK! It all started two years back, when I used to write certain things and mail it only to a selected set of people. People, with whom I shared the best of rapport and even today, who make it a point to visit my blog regularly for updates. Comments and viewpoints were exchanged with agreements and in equal measure, disagreements. All these things were exchanged through mails. It was only after one of my ex-roommates Yadu asked me to transfer all my contents to a blog did I realise that blogging after all was fun. To be honest, initially it was an obsession. I used to write atleast two posts a week, ask some of my close friends to have a look at it and give their views. As with anything else, there are periods of crests and troughs, and slowly and steadily, I have reached a point where I write no more than one post a week. Comments are written now and then, from people whom I know, and from anonymous readers, who linger in now and then to post their views. It is all fun and at the end of the day, it gives me great pleasure to go back to the past and see how my views have changed over a period of time about certain things in life. Though the blog is personal, I have to tread carefully not to disrespect any section of the society, and that to me has always been the biggest challenge.

So, as the sojourn goes on, I think, I figure out and I write what I feel is most appropriate, that, which touches my emotional chord, reeling a bout of emotions, sensitive and effective, capturing the important and not so important moments of my life, taking me to a literary, fictitious, and non-fictitious world, encapsulating me in a warm embrace, as I cuddle up and realize that I have just written the 200th blog post in the two years of my blog career.

Monday, October 15, 2007

HP-NH-HG-EW-HD

Well, well, well, before I break your head with acronyms, three out of the five refer to the same topic. I am referring to the Harry Potter (HP) series, which had readers hooked all over the world, thanks to JK Rowling. What really pleased me was the fact that there was so much anticipation, that kids and adults alike had lined up stores at midnight to procure the first copy of the book. That really is a good step and it was good to see people give so much importance to literature instead of other trivialities.

I read the books after a long time, actually, really long. After the final edition of the series had come out, I took up to Harry Potter reading. I just wanted to know what was there in the book that people were going crazy about. I read the six books in about two or three weeks time, in between office and household chores. I don't know why, but I could never take out time to read it over the weekends. There was a point when I was reading the fourth book that I felt really bored. That's when I realized that I shouldn't be reading it for the sake of reading, and so, took a break. The break did some good to me, as I came back to finish up the remaining three in a jiffy. I now have moved on to the seventh one of the series, and have just taken a break, since I have not liked it much till now. The break will hopefully help me read the book in a better frame of mind next week.

Being in Boston is just too good, in the sense that access to books and movies have never been easier. We have the Woburn Public Library and the Burlington Public Library which has a huge collection of books and movies. It is just wonderful to go to these libraries and spend time borrowing what you want. That's where I could get the first four parts of the movie collection pertaining to Harry Potter. To be honest, the movies have done commendable justice to the books. I just don't understand when people tell me that the movies are not as good as the books. I just have to tell these people that movies last only for two hours, while on an average, you read a Harry Potter book for close to 8 hours. So, that makes a big difference. I could really identify the book through the movie. It was a pleasant experience to watch the movies. It was as well depicted as it could be. Obviously, there were certain scenes that were edited, but then as I said earlier, it is not an easy task to compress eight hours of matter into two hours.

OK! I loved the movie and in particular, I loved Emma Watson (EW), who plays the role of Hermione Granger (HG). HG impressed me in the book as well, and in the movie, it was fittingly played out by a charming young lady. One of the moments that will remain with me for a long time - EW coming out with Victor Krum to the Yule Ball to me is the highlight of the series. She was stunning, an adjective that can be magnified to unexplainable proportions to describe her beauty on screen. The cute innocence combined with absolute grace and charm led me and Sameer to rewind that scene again and again and again (well it can go on!). Maybe that goes to show why I got up in the middle of the night and was hoping to find EW(HG) somewhere within my proximity. Don't ask me what I was dreaming about! EW, if you ever happen to hit upon this page, please let me know (that's optimism!!!)!!!!

Coming away from Emma Watson, the next two days were spent in the Muggle world. Saturday was a great day with sunshine all around. A perfect day to go out, and out we (Sameer, Siddharth, Shubhika and I) went to New Hampshire (NH) to see the fall colors. The drive was perfect (ask everyone who was driving), in particular the drive on Highway 112 was brilliant. We stopped at various points to capture many different shots on different trails.

Soon, Sunday it was and I went with Kumar to a Telugu (one of my favorite Indian languages) movie, Happy Days (HD), a movie that was a stark contrast to the one we had seen a couple of weeks back. A pleasant college love story, and it just gave me some time to introspect. Could this really be a college, and where had I been during my Engineering days? A question, which I was quick to dismiss before I even could allot some time to it. Some things are best left forgotten! But, the movie was really pleasant with good music and a sense of feel good factor. I just came out of the theater thinking about the good days in Engineering and of course, the fun moments at Rolla (obviously it has to be mentioned!).

So, am just managing to squeeze out time for various things over the week. Let's see how long I can carry this with me.

(Images in this post are used for information purpose only)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Turning up(on!) with a bindi

I had to check the title twice so that I did not end up adding an 'h' somewhere that could result in a vegetable. The whole meaning of the post would have been lost. But, Google has always helped my cause to verify things instantaneously, and here goes the post to convey the right meaning.

Bindi is a symbol anyone from India would be familiar with. In South India, it is referred to as Pottu or Bottu, and since I am from the South, my first reaction would be to associate that tiny dot on a woman's forehead as Pottu. I do not want to write about the religious significance of a bindi since a significant lot has been written about that. I have always wondered how that tiny addition to the forehead of women serves as a nice decorative item. A bindi comes in different sizes and shapes associated with a myriad of decorative features thus answering a big question Why do girls spend hours and hours of their time selecting a bindi?

But today it is different. It is no more cool to sport a bindi, at least, that's what many of them say. Maybe there are hundreds of reasons as to why a girl doesn't like to wear a bindi, but for traditionalists like me, it is unimaginable to see an Indian girl walk around without that tiny piece of sticker adorning her forehead. Be it the most fashionable dress that she wears, it generates a not so good feeling to see her bare forehead. There are some people with whom you cannot cross the line, and so tend to ignore them. But, if you have seen someone sporting a bindi all along, and suddenly, one fine day, you see her devoid of it, you point that out to her. Of course, as I said earlier, you just cannot cross the line.

It is not the question of what exactly a bindi symbolizes, but it is just a feel good factor to see a girl with it. It may not mean anything to anyone around, but the fact that we have grown accustomed to it tells a lot about it. Last week in a restaurant, my friend was quick to point this out to me, "Oh man!! She looks really good with a bindi. It adds so much of a difference to the appearance. Good to see a typical Indian girl here." Naturally, I couldn't agree more. The touch of tradition that the bindi adds to the girl has to be seen to be explained. I remember the times when I used to end up watching television shows with my mother by my side, "Ma, this girl is so beautiful. Isn't she?" She would immediately retort, "Oh! What's the point! She doesn't even wear a pottu. She would look like a doll if she wore one." I would immediately say "What's wrong if she doesn't wear the pottu?" Without conceding defeat, she would say Indians are supposed to wear a pottu, dwelling into the religious significane of the pottu, by which time, I would have changed a hundred different channels hoping that my mother would change the topic quickly. Invariably, she was left with no choice with a muted listener. But, now, it clearly makes sense!

T-shirts, Jeans and a pottu is definitely appealing (according to me, in my opinion; before somebody argues with me on this point!). Change that to a traditional Indian wear like a saree or Churidhar with a pottu; Man, that is quite a deadly combination!!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Simple things in life

Simplicity is certainly the norm of life, and sometimes, when you look back in time, you just wonder how in the world, the world has changed drastically over a period of time. There are so many people with whom I can easily share this view How I wish I can go back in time. Life was simple, with all the little things having the greatest of significance and extravaganza was limited to just over the top luxuries, luxuries which do not even qualify as basic necessities in today's ever changing world. Life was all about doing the simple things in a simple way to get simple results and more importantly getting satisfied in a simple way. Simple, isn't it?

Pratap and I go a long way in sharing some of the good and bad times together. Today, at lunch time, we had a brief conversation over phone, and invariably, the talks centered on Bangalore and the simplicity of the early nineties. He told me Praveen, I want to go back to Bangalore and experience the thrill of life as Bangalore was during our growing up process. My father wants the Bangalore of the sixties, but I know I can't wish for something which I have not seen. Atleast I want the way it was when we grew up. I don't have to say that similar sentiments are echoed by another passionate Bangalorean Prasad, with whom telephonic conversations have never been complete without a reference to our beloved city. All of us have the fear of getting alienated within the confines of our region, thanks to the rapidity of the changes.

Class I to IV
Let's just revisit the good old years. My school had two shifts, the morning shift was from 7:30 in the morning till 12:30 in the afternoon for the primary classes, while the high school students had to attend from 12:30 in the afternoon till 5:30 in the evening. Being a nocturnal creature, even then, getting up at 6:30 in the morning to get ready for school was the worst nightmare for me. I used to conjure different kinds of tricks to get that extra minute's sleep that never went well with my mother. She literally used to pull me out of the bed and push me to the bathroom forcing me to do my morning ablutions. There were no two ways about it. I had to take a bath and then go to school. This has inculcated within me a strong practice to never leave the house without a shower in the morning. The whole process of getting ready to go to school would be complete within fifteen minutes (to all my friends who have wondered how in the world I get ready so fast today!!!). The seven or ten minute walk from home to school with fellow toddlers, all of us carrying books as if on a space mission, were the best moments of my life. The discussions that were carried out were the simplest topics having a touch of high importance and confidentiality. Psst...Psst...There is a haunted house behind the school. Whoever goes in never comes out alive. Why do you think the black magic man was there in that house yesterday? Every word of the high profile talk was lapped up in absolute concentration.

Enter school, and the early morning jitters is not exactly washed away. In spite of having all the fascinating discussions, the desk serves as an ideal place to cushion your head with the minimum of fuss. All that changes, when you see your neighbor all smiling. What happened? Did you buy something new? Obviously, that smile can mean that he has got something new. Out from the bag, he flashes out a beautiful pencil box made of plastic, with a two layered holder. There is a small gathering to admire his new acquisition. He proudly explains the various features of the box, as to how cleverly the box is designed so as to hold the extra pencils and rubbers (that's how I call them even though people attribute a completely different meaning to it today) apart from the usual set of two. It is always better to carry extra pencils. You always need them what with the amount of classwork and homework to be done, he says. The other guys just stand there and wonder, "What a brilliant guy he is!! He has thought so much about it!!!" If anyone in the group comes up with a counter argument, our friend here is quick to point out the advantages and convince everyone around that he is not a fool to buy the pencil box without considering all that. Now, he is virtually idolized. If he ever buys anything new on the day of the test or exam, there is no point in flaunting his new found possession as you see, his classmates are in a state of tension. They are more worried about the test score than about his new pencil box, and rightly so! One more important aspect of pencil box skips my mind; if the box had a magnet, the guy would turn hero!

Homeworks and classwork were always a fun part of studies. If ever you completed your homework on time, and realized that the person next to you has not got his homework note book, the excitement levels in the gang builds up slowly. Hey...you know what, he has not done his home work...Conveying the news has never been faster. In the middle of all this, favoritism also stems. Why do you think he got one mark more than me? Miss(that's how we used to address our teachers in school) is partial towards him. It was always interesting to know what the other fellow wrote in his test papers. As he sensed that you were looking in his direction, he would give out a stare that can give a complex even to the teachers. He used to be as protective of his paper as a lioness is to her cub.

Class V to VII
Discussions used to be on mature lines, well that's what we thought then. More stress on sports and extracurricular activities was laid upon. Did you see the match yesterday? Sachin Tendulkar was brilliant. On an equal footing some other day, He should be dropped man. He is a waste. You also understood the importance of being competitive. I have to outscore him in the exams. Apart from that, little things used to add up to a lot of excitement. My dad took me to this newly built restaurant yesterday. It was too good. Enid Blyton became a part of your daily life. A group of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew fans formed the sidelines. Your eyes used to light up on seeing the bhel puri gaadi wala. But, restraint from home prevented you from taking that plunge of buying outside stuff. Hygiene was top priority. This was the time when you started picking up the big words, but scared to use them in the open. Miss! He is using bad waards!!!

Class VIII to X
Now, a high school student with big ambitions. You want to play the fun and at the same, you don't want to take it too far. Come on, you will be facing board exams in two years is the mantra of parents and teachers alike. Two years is as good as eternity for a high school student. You silently laughed at their forewarnings and at the same time, irritation and frustration slowly crept it. This was the time when you started seeing the girls in the next class with a slightly different feeling and for obvious reasons, you could never tell it out. It would be a scandal, you thought. But, you never let go of the chance to mock at a fellow student looking at girls. You have firmly secured a grip on the most often used terms in school. C'mon you are a big boy now!!! The juniors look upon you as a demigod and you were always ready with your advice. The evening walk back from school now comprised of a whole range of topics. Girls, movies, books, marks, exams, preparations and what not filled your mind, and who better to share all these things with than a good friend.

So, as we were heading back from lunch to office today, Chetan and I were discussing the good effects of school life, and it was just a great way of rekindling the happiness of good old times. Simple happiness filled us big time and today I cannot imagine the prospect of sitting in a class without the irritating ringtone of a mobile phone. MMS services are being used at an all time high with forgettable pictures. Today, not many would like to walk to school. Cars and personal chauffeurs play vital roles in a kid's life. It is time we forget this madness and bask in the glory of those days!

PS: With due respect to my fellow blogger friends, I will be removing the blogrolling page element. Google Reader more than serves my purpose, and I realised that I am hardly clicking on the links from my page. Thanks!!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The week that was...

Obviously the biggest news of the week is the Indian team's superlative victory against arch rivals Pakistan in the inaugural edition of the Twenty 20 International Tournament comprising all the test playing nations. I don't think I can add anything more than what is already said in all the websites. Basically, everyone has run out of cliches. The feel good factor for an average Indian cricket fan is at an all time high, thanks to the out of the world victory in a big tournament after almost 25 years. No wonder, we are so excited about this wonderful victory. Dhoni and his boys have got us a great pre-Navarathri gift.

All said and done, I was just wondering when the Indian media is going to look beyond the actual euphoria of the win. Well, what is that, you may wonder. Shoaib Malik, the Pakistani captain, came out with one of the most atrocious comments. Let us quote him verbatim, so that we can clearly understand what he says

First of all, I want to say something over here. I want to thank you back home Pakistan and where the Muslim lives all over the world.

To be honest, I went back to that phrase many a time when watching the video. What is he saying? Am I hearing it right? The actual message left me stunned. I just could not come to terms with what he had said. It was too shocking and totally disgusting to say the least. Nobody cares about his communication skills. We all respect sportsmen who play the game, let him be from any nation. We are not in a English class, where you expect the student to come up with perfect sentence formation. The whole point is to convey the right message across. As long as the message is conveyed, nobody cares as to how it was conveyed. Luckily, the point was put across today in IBNLive and Times of India, and of course, it was nice to see the blogosphere take note of this. I just hope Malik comes up with a proper explanation of what exactly he meant. Just a hope, you see!!!

Well, what can be said about the Indian media. They were the same guys who ripped the team just about four months back, when we lost miserably in the World Cup. Why to raise them on the pedestal and then bring them crashing back to earth. Both are extremities and we should realize that it is after all a game. Today, they are literally treated like Gods of the planet. I totally understand what Dhoni's parents are going through. Four months back, their home was stoned by unruly fans and the media went berserk with its comments. Today, when just the opposite is happening, it is easy to realize why they are shunning the media. It is not easy for us to take a loss and at the same time, we cannot keep a win in place. It's all gone overboard.

Wow, Shahrukh Khan visited the final match. Wonderful! Great! No doubt about it. He took his son to South Africa to watch the finals. As one of the readers in IBNLive pointed out, what was he doing wearing a Om Shanti Om T-shirt. It was too clear to see what he was doing, promoting his latest movie, getting the best possible mileage. Taking the Indian public for a ride in the name of patriotism! Patriotism should come with no strings attached, Shahrukh!!!

What else is happening apart from cricket? Oh yes! How can I forget not writing about that "wonderful" person in Tamil Nadu. He will call Him(Ram) a drunkard, a liar, a myth and what not. Oh, how wonderful it is to see the atheist make derogatory comments on the most fundamental fact of religion. Faith is the binding factor for every religion and when he goes to question the basic premise of a religion, you just wonder why the media has not shred him to pieces. Faith is something you fall back on when science fails to explain the reason. The media has taken it in a very light manner. The government is too keen to maintain its power at the center. So, obviously, they do not want to take the risk of questioning him and lose power at the center. Definitely, fair enough!!!

Media plays such an important role in Democracy. It is a big letdown sometimes, when media views things from a biased perspective. Get the message across to the people, and let the people decide what is correct and what is wrong. We need to raise a hue and cry for the right reasons, if there is something wrong in the country (Paradoxical!!).