Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bangalore trip - A personal event

Bangalore has changed, and at the same time, there is not much of a change. The traffic is woeful, the sediments of dust settle from all angles, and as I was standing in the imaginary queue to pick up something for dinner, Chetan nudged me from behind and said "Maga, idhu Bostonalla, this is Bengaluru." Both of us had a grin!

Anyway, this was a very short homecoming trip to Bangalore, and the visit was as pleasing. There are two things about a long duration journey. Firstly, it is very uncomfortable to sit in the crammed up space in Lufthansa. It is as though you have not paid a penny for the flight, and the flight attendant and the crew are doing a service to mankind by loading as many people as possible. The food was not bad, but having stayed at home for a week, I think my taste buds are elevated to the next highest level. So, thankfully, I will be taking some home made food for the return flight. It is well worth the extra effort, even though it is your mother who is putting that extra bit. Secondly, it is pretty interesting to sit on a long duration flight, if you can meet some fascinating people. It is altogether a different matter that I have stopped expecting beautiful girls to take their place next to mine in train, flight and bus journeys. That was never in destiny, and now, never! So, I was not surprised, when an old couple took seats next to mine, en route Chicago to Frankfurt. But, I quickly struck conversation with them, and I realized that, that was the best thing that I had done. They were a Jewish couple from Israel, and we covered a lot of topics ranging from India to Israel, the Palestinian issues, along with science & technology. It was a pleasant conversation, and I was really pleased to see the depth of their knowledge.

Yes, coming back to the real essence of the Bangalore trip. I have to say, with all pleasure and happiness, that I have got engaged to Hema Iyer, who has to put up with all my poor jokes and gibberish talks for life. The marriage is scheduled for September, and I invite all my blogger friends and readers for the September event in Madurai. Madurai is known for its cultural heritage, and a couple of hours drive will take you to the beauty of Kanyakumari. There are also a lot of scenic places around Madurai, which should serve as a good motivation for all of you to make your presence felt for the marriage. Looking forward to meeting you all in person, and will also make sure, that the invitation reaches every one of you by mail.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A typical conversation - Part I

It is rather strange to think about the fact (yeah absolute fact!!) how God created (atheists, read creation of the universe at minus infinity) two entirely different species to co-exist on the same planet. It does not require any serious thinking to note that we (we men) tend to have diametrically opposite behavior as compared to the fairer sex. It is not a post to highlight the superiority of one set of beings over the other or vice versa. It is more about the fact how we are made differently.

A typical conversation, when I get back from work, back in India.

Me: Ennama vishayam? (What's the matter, Ma?)
Ma: Inniki xyz mamava parthen (I saw Mr. xyz today.)

Me: Oh OK, enna sonnar? (What did he say?)
Ma: He said he is going to America. His sons are already settled there, isn't it? So, he is getting bored here. He wants to spend some time with his grandchildren. Don't you see, he is such an active person. He was there at the temple today, and he propitiated the Gods with special offerings.

Me (half heartedly): Oh, mama's son is expecting right?
Ma (rather annoyingly): Dei, you don't even listen to what I say. Why do you think he is going to the US?

Me: Oh, when is he going to the US?
Ma: Forget it, indha kaadhula vaangi, andha kaadhula vidu!! (Take it through one ear and leave the matter through the other)

This would be a routine conversation, where my eyes would be glued to ESPN or Star Sports to get the latest update in the sports world, and my hands would be probing the plate that my mother would have placed in front of me. But, my taste buds would be as finicky as ever. En innike uppu koraiyardhu? (Why is there less salt in the food today?) My mother would immediately retort, You don't even listen to what I say, but you seem to have an absolute idea of what is lacking in food!!! It is altogether a different matter that such days were really rare, since I have been fortunate to be bestowed with amazing (an understatement actually) food, as long as I was at home. Our conversation would continue for a few minutes, with majority of the talk being one way.

Let us reverse the scenario. It would be equally funny had I met Mr. XYZ.

Ma: Ennada inniki vishayam? (What is the matter today?)
Me: Onnum illai, inniki xyz mamava parthen. (Nothing much, just met Mr. xyz today)

Ma: What did he say?
Me: Onnum Illai, general talk. He is going to the US for a short vacation.

Ma: Vera onnum sollaliya (didn't he say anything else?)
Me: Adhan sonnene, general talk. (I told you right, general talk!)

My mother would make a silent grimace, and point to the fact that I am such a poor listener and a poorer communicator of facts.

Between guys, it is totally different.

Mysore (it is a name): Maga, I spoke to Karthik today.
Me: Oh, what did he say?

Mysore: He is a chappar (wastrel), what will he say? Just the usual crap.
Me: Oh, OK!!!

The conversation would cease to exist at that point, and we would have moved on to further issues. Not that we do not spend time on talks, rather, we spend a lot of time. There is no difference whether it is a weekday or a weekend. Our usual topics would be Indian politics and cricket, among all other topics. The talks would run endlessly, and meander without a conclusion, only to be continued in subsequent conversations.

So, maybe, we(men) tend to talk about the not-so-important things of the world. But again, by no means, meeting Mr. xyz is an important event in anybody's life. At least, I have grown up in such a way that if something is predictable, there is nothing much to convey. If statistics make sense, then this must be one of the cases!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The "regular" check up

A routine check up with your primary physician actually leaves you more in doubt about your health than before. First of all, you have to summon all your reserves to move yourself from the confines of your daily comforts to set up a regular health check up. The "regular" is not actually regular. If it is regular, do you go there daily? There should have been a more appropriate word in English to describe the "regular".

Anyway, as a part of the annual corporate policy, I had to undergo a "regular" health check up. I generally do not prefer these kind of situations. It is as though you are pressurizing your physician to let you know what is wrong with your body. The whole concept of health check up is seriously baffling. You are doing absolutely fine, but at the same time, there might be something wrong in your body without your knowledge, and the protagonists are itching to tell you what is wrong. You have absolutely no doubt that you will live till a hundred without any doubt, with all the outrageous food habits. So, why find out? The equation in terms of the mortality does not change. You will still live a hundred years, but have to survive on daily diets and complicated nutrition schedule. All of us know that if something is nutritious, no way in the world is it going to be tasty.

So, the conversation between me and the physician goes on like this. After some basic calculation of height and weight, she told me "Oh, your weight is optimum, but you can definitely put on more. You should be eating a lot more cheesy food."

That's definitely not hard, I thought. I made a mental note of the fact that I had an unopened pack of Fritos cheesy chili corn chips, and that I should finish it up first thing after work. I felt hungry. I had not eaten anything for the last 12 hours!

Few more tests, the blood oozes out of the needle, and I have that tired look as though all the blood has been drained off my body, when actually it was not more than a drop.

My blood is transferred to different measuring objects to calculate the amount of sugar, cholesterol and all the unwanted details that my not so active brain can comprehend. As soon as she mentioned about sugar, my mind went back to those dreaded biology classes. Oh, how I struggled to learn those terms - Diabetes mellitus and Diabetes insipidus!

She looked at me, as though reading my thoughts, and said "Your sugar is fine. Make it a point to eat a lot of fibres." If my sugar is fine, why can't I continue what I am eating daily, I thought.

We moved on to cholesterol. There are so many different types - HDLs, LDLs, triglycerides, HDL - LDL ratio and what not. Now what? I asked. She made some calculations with the data she had assimilated from the various devices, and said, "You should follow a good exercise regiment with a healthy supplement of fibres and proteins, low fat and good carbohydrates."

What about my cheesy diet? I remarked. She had a grin, "Oh forget the cheese. Your weight is perfect."

Then, what about the body mass index, I queried, absolutely innocently.

Just take care of the diet, she said.

All in all, it means, "God alone knows how you can get to shape. There is no point in telling you anything."

And, I am not going back until the next "regular" checkup.