Friday, December 05, 2008

Observations of a 5-day gym n00b

It has been a while since I made any decent, relevant update on this little corner. Not that there was a dearth of material to write about and get off my chest. More that such exercises have harmed others more than they have helped me in the past. So I bite back on the impulse for any more soul searching and stick to these "observations", if I might call them that.

An ever expanding waist line and the crushing desperation of not doing anything worthwhile with my life has led me to decide that about an hour manipulating unfriendly equipment inside an air-conditioned room is the way to go about things.

Its been 5 days since I began on this little gig. I mostly do Aerobics only, concentrating almost exclusively on the Elliptical Trainer which is like a treadmill and an exercycle rolled into one. For someone of my size and weakness in the knees, this is probably the best option that will help burn some weight off without busting a kneecap.

I average about 30 minutes a day on the trot and about 3.3 miles at a time. Not bad considering that I am going from 0 minutes a day and about 0 miles at a time.

What have I learnt in these 5 days? For someone who has nothing and no one to care about and take care of, this is the one tiny opportunity to take care of myself. If only for 30 minutes at a time.

However the nihilistic streak in me does not acknowledge this as being something good for myself. I look at them as 30 minute exercises of self destruction and more importantly the subsequent reward of salvation and redemption. Fleeting as it feels, its worth it when you get there.

The French have a poetic choice of words when describing an orgasm. They call it "La Petit Mort" or The Little Death. Without any associated weird sexual imagery let me just say that this comes close.

Having seen this and felt that, I believe its important to push yourself a little bit more and little bit harder the next time because, even as cliched as it sounds, that which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. As a newbie I am calling out to a veteran to share his experiences. "Phobos" I am talking to you...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Swaraj Road - The Freedom Circle

Crib Season - Episode 4

6.30 in the morning. The silver alto looks like a bullet on the relatively free kunnamkulam - thrissur NH47. 80 km/hr, not bad. I've got an appointment with the doctor. Need to rush! There is a gentle fog, which adds to the eerie early morning experience. Double strong Red Label Tea is what keeps me awake. Out of nowhere, an autorickshaw appears on the wrong side, circles on the middle, breaks, moves forward, breaks again... confused driver? drunken driver? out of control? I dont know. Nevertheles, the universe decided to say "NO" to my best efforts to keep away from him. Thud!( Initial Contact), Chlimblimbilim! (Mirrors), Plop! Spfeeeee (Tyres)

My left fender crumpled and dug a dent into the giant (this was not a normal auto, looked like a tractor with autorickshaws bodywork) autorickshaw's rear, left door jammed, mirror lay scattered, plastics reins holding the engine to the body broke, left tyre punctured, front seat passenger aghast, mud flaps twisted and choked... I came to a punctured halt. The road is still quiet. We parked the car immediately and hopped on to the next bus. The Doctor's appointment is too precious to be lost for the petty thousands we could get from the poor auto driver. On his side, half a day's paint and dent work would do fine.

Why ?

Dividers: There are no dividers. So, cyclists, human beings, dogs, cats, cars or anything mobile can CROSS the road anywhere! You need to be extra alert for the ... CROSSINGS (aargh!) crossings happen left to right, right to left, middle to left, left to middle, middle to right, right to middle, at an angle, may take a parabolic path, may suddenly stop , think and then move forward OR may stop , think and turn a U-Turn to go back to where they started. In short, the possibilities are immense... the best you can do is "SOUND HORN OK PLEASE". Which means, use horn no less than once every 10 seconds, announcing your arrival. Cyclists and human beings dont have REAR VIEW MIRRORS, Autos, Cars and Buses dont use them. So, no-one is bothered about the main road user's priviliges, when he or she enters from a pocket road. The rule is "DIVE STRAIGHT IN.. GOD will SAVE US". No driving school teaches you to use mirrors.

Road Width: The breadth of the road varies from 3 feet to 13 feet. Turn a quick turn on a super highway, and dont be surprised to find a BRIDGE where only ONE vehicle can pass at a time! So, if you grew accustomed to say moderatly wide roads for about 30 minutes and decide to Overtake... hold your horses, you dont know what lies ahead! Caution: This width is not guaranteed ahead. Lets take a normal National Highway, NH47 in kerala. Average Width of the road: 13 feet.Width of 1 Tata Bus: 6.4 feet. So, if two buses are moving in the opposite direction, they have 6 centimetres distance, between them. And the buses routinely do 80-90 km/hr. Wait a minute! Are buses the only vehicles ? The smallest car (alto) has a width of 4.8 feet, so cannot pass through the 6 centimetre gap. If the bus ahead stops for something, all vehicles behind stop. There are no footpaths, so human beings and cyclists sometimes occupy 1-2 feet. Motorbikes take 3 feet or drive in the middle. Which means, there is no choice but to Overtake!

Overtaking: The direct consequence of the above mentioned eeny weeny Road Width. Everybody overtakes. Without it there is no go. Even if you are the slowest vehicle on the road, what if the Gujarat Registration Granite Truck decides to stop abruptly on the elevating road, because he's seen a sign ? "TODDY SHOP". Even your Avanti will have to overtake him, or you have 6 centimetres to pass through, or you wait till he has finished and gets back into the truck. Not everybody has the same control in overtaking. So its wrong to believe that, on the wrong side, a bus overtaking a car overtaking a cycle overtaking a dog (All in the same lane), will safely pass through. Following the width rules mentioned above, you have no space to pass through!!! So you wait, until the bus has passed you. Your speed calculation cannot account for things like, what if the tea drinking bypasser decides to bend down to pick up a 10 rupee note? or what if the motor cyclist loses his balance because of the side stand ?

Autorickshaws: Autorickshaws have one wheel in the front , which makes them believe they have the same privileges as two wheelers, and can squeeze their nose into any gap between vehicles. Autorickshaws are also the ONLY vehicles which can take an abrupt 90 degree turn, when they are running at 60 kmph. Why ? Thanks again to the SINGLE front wheel. If an auto wants to move from your left to right, what does he do? Put his stinky nose a.k.a front wheel in, you dont want to step over that single innocent wheel. But hey, its not only the wheel, there's a body to follow... so wait!

Swaraj Round (Thrissur): Truly, The freedom circle. A 20 feet wide circular display of human beings mixed modes of transport every conceived in a colourfull (polluted), musical (horns / swearing), circus! No lanes, Two set of signals, atleast 12-14 entry/exit points. No Lanes! No Lanes! No Lanes! Mixed traffic. The best thing to do here is to focus on what you see in the front. Yes, dont think about your sides, or back, just focus on what appears through the front screen. Hey, watch out for people running helker skelter, cars parked on the right, and taking reverse, buses stopping abruptly to pickup people, autorickshaws changing lanes like sperms, and occasionaly, a traffic police officer wondering why you are not wearing seat-belt!

Crazy bikers: Dear brothers at their own risk. Personally, I dont have the time to think about them, if they are cross cutting lanes, recovering from pot-holes, or balancing at the edge of road and about to fall, trying to balance passenger, luggage, helmet, clutch, break, gear and show an hand-signal. Overtake at your own risk.

Should I stop using Commas and Parantheses?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Snail Mail

Crib Season - Episode 3

Other than the launch of a new logo, some more stamps, and stupid services, Indian Postal service has further deteriorated. I compare the time taken to deliver a letter, and the distance it has to travel.

Incident 1:
Sam receives the hall-ticket and invitation to a common entrance test for B.Sc Microbiology at Calicut University. Interestingly, the letter arrives at 11 AM. The exam which has already started at 10 AM would be an unfair deal for Sam to attempt now, considering that 1 hour makes a huge difference for an objective exam, and that Calicut university is 80 kilometers away. When was the letter (ON I.G.S - India Government Service) posted ? A whopping 7 light years (ok, hold it.. 7 days), ago. Why does it take 7 days for an exam notification to travel 80 kilometers ?

I have been thankful earlier for this delay, because "Parent - Teacher's meet" notifications from Engineering College (305 kilometres away) and School (5 kilometers) away, arrive late (approximately a week late, irrespective of the distance), due to which Parent's never attend them! Thanks!

Incident 2:
ICICI banks sends an important notification to M, via Indian Postal Service. 2 weeks and it hasn't arrived. Since, it requires a signature and M cannot travel, upon complaining, ICICI decides to send it again. 2 more weeks, and it still hasn't arrived. ICICI decides to use a local courier and delivers it in 4 hours ( distance travelled - 18 kilometers approximately). A few weeks later, the first letter sent through Indian Post arrives! 28 days for a letter to travel 18 kilometers ? Sure, they put it on a snail!

Incident 3:
Brother's birthday. We decide to send him a post card. Ignoring my wife's suggestion to send it as "Book Post" (meaning anyone can open and read it), I decided to splurge Rs 30 extra, not for the ugly stamps and stinking paste, but for Speed (POST) and privacy. Yes, I wanted it to arrive no later than 7 days. The counter staff re-assured me that the letter's Thrissur to Pune travel would be completed in less than 3 days. I doubted. The update: He never got it! Something sent through Speed Post, how cruel of them to lose it?

"Sir, Is there a solution ? Do you F***ing really sort the letters based on priority? Do you Blind old dumb A**holes even bother to look at the "SPEED POST" or "REGISTERED POST" written in Bold ? Do you read "Gandiji's Talisman' written at every damn post office?".

"Ho ho ho... Whats the big deal? you didnt get a letter ? Go give a complaint."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Don't fall sick!

This is the only piece of advice I have , if you are going to live in Kerala. Don't fall sick! Apart from the physical , mental and financial trauma, sickness could also contribute to bankruptcy, rift amongst relatives, hatred for insincere medical practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, hi-tech scans and numerous blood tests, there is but, the endless waiting... and more waiting.

Kerala has the healthiest population in India. Or is it ? Sickness is also a time you realize the need of a car and parking space. To get an appointment with a good doctor, you stand in the queue at 3 am in the morning. But then , you see sick, old , poor human beings, and feel sad.

The only thing that could boost your morale at that time, is talking. If you are not an avid talker interested in how your neighbour in the queue got a disease, which place he/she is from, occupation, life history, children and so forth, you are doomed. All you would notice is the mosquitoes, the cries from the lobbies, the white walls with verses from holy books, smiling nurses, angry attendants, mumbling sweepers, flickering lights, nauseating smells, burnt out accountants and cashiers, confused relatives and emptiness.... as if all the race has suddenly put a full stop. Forget the nosy parkers, you might develop some genuine friendships or concern for your fellow human being. That is the only good thing about being down.

Before the emptiness sinks down, you get a new bill , with which you rush to the counter, 1 hour for the queue to get the written bill typed, 30 minutes for paying the bill - another queue, and another 30 minutes for getting the medicine or say 1 needle ? Repeat this forever and forever.

I walked up to the manager's room and said, "I will pay you Rs 15,000 upfront, please dont make me run around, I am required to be with the patient". He said "Most people wont agree with that, you might come back and question. Sorry boy, here the system is like this, live with it".

So my dear friends, whatever you do .. . please don't fall ill!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


System.Reset (An awfully long and typical neo post with no sense or purpose)

Re-starting blogging is not going to be easy. 2 years after bidding Adieu to programming, the best title I could come up with was "System.Reset".

After thinking, re-thinking, analyzing, re-analyzing, calculating, re-prioritizing, there still are no answers. Probably, the escapist way to define it would be 'Its the journey that defines life, not the destination'.

There have been quite a few revelations. I think I have completed a revolution, and am back to square 1. Every time that I felt that I was getting overly attached with a place, I ran away from there. Unlike Alexander, who became sad that there are no more worlds to conquer, I became sad knowing that there are no more places to run away. And then, I decided to stop, turn around and fight. Stupid. Period.

Fight with yourself, and you can fight anyone. ~ FIGHT CLUB.
After fighting for a while, I realized, why fight ? why persist ? why not give up ? ~ AGENT SMITH
Well, failure turned out to be too yummy. Like caffeine, there was a high rise - Hell yeah! and then a sudden crash, like being blown away from the edge of a cliff.

A quick re-union with classmates turned out to be very interesting. While we all pretend to be confused, unsure about the next step, there is something taking us forward. Whats it called ? TIME ? MONEY ? Dear old Ram was the only one I could relate to. While I selfishly and meekly blabbered about my choices and what lies ahead, Ram's thoughts were about travel, photography, poverty, women rights and so forth. That could be why he is at peace :)

While all the self-development/destructive blogs preach the same thing ~ Dont do the obvious job, take an untreaded path, believe in yourself, all woes can be probably summarized as priyan's cataclysmic conclusion - Get out of the room! Get un-plugged from the internet!

'The greatest of sins are committed, when we feel we are beyond questioning'. There could be nothing more tortorous than that statement. I have tried drowning in code, keeping myself busy, keeping myself free, being totally jobless, doing a couple of freelance projects, and so on. The Tax payer / NRI identity crisis continues.

A rather stupid dream. An Internet Cafe (4 comps), DTP, Web designing, Software Development and Training, Computer Repair / Servicing / Sales. No matter how busy, have dinner with family! What's stopping me from doing it ? My B.Tech degree :) My ex-GULF shadow, That look in their eyes, customs and festivities plagued society, and most importantly 1 USD = 50 Rupees (Holy shit!)

I could brag on and on, crib endlessly, but in the end, it feels like looking at a 5 year younger me in the mirror. And I am not that young anymore. Bua ha ha.

Hopefully, tomorrow morning, everything will be clear. Its raining here, and is refreshingly dark! Clubbed to that is the frequent power-cut, and disrupted communication lines. yeeha!

PS: Spelling and grammar was entirely Blogger's responsibility to correct.
This post violates my new year resolution. Bua ha ha ha.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

How to lose friends and alienate people

A quick look back to my last two and a half years coupled with an attempt to make some sense of the things that have happened in this time, would do complete justice to this post's title. I have grown older and not necessarily wiser in the meantime and have had some experiences that were good, some others that were bad and whole lot of others that were plain mediocre.
As always over-philosophizing without the requisite intellectual wherewithal is a recipe for disaster. And an unequivocal one it was...

In an ever more confusing attempt to understand the purpose of my existence, the future I need to work towards and the ideals that I must aspire to...
In other words trying to figure out just what the fuck am I doing here and now...
I believe I have taken the escapist route of finding within that very real realm of imagination I call movies to find characters who mirror my present situation and see where they go with that, by the time the movie ends.

I have not found a single movie that is an accurate reflection of me which might provide a blueprint for my next steps. Instead I have found myself picking the best answer amongst the options available to me.
So who am I?
Patrick Bateman? pissed off with myself but certainly not as hot or as deadly.
Neo? I can quote him and Morpheus to the point of absurdity but the concept of me be being the world's strongest virus program simply is not appealing.
Sidney Young? quirky, crazy and not accepted - Yes. gets the girl in the end - Hell no!
Jack the Narrator? sick of my life, my work and piled up with an urge to pump several rounds into several heads - Yes. Willing to split myself into Tyler Durden to take me past lines drawn by others - Not yet...I think

So basically what all of these dumb solution-evaluation-shite has done is that I assumed persona briefly and judged the reaction from people. And I have come to the conclusion that I have discovered How To Lose Friends And Alienate People successfully. Liked that movie too by the way...

Monday, September 08, 2008

a passing phase (old post)

his eyes were locked on a pair of breasts
his heart thought about love
and his mouth blabbered on to avoid the vaccum
his legs tapped to a stupid tune

thoughts crawled his mushy brain
like slithering snakes, venomless
as in useless, and he thought he would go mad
if the breasts didn't stare back at him

Monday, June 23, 2008

Chaos Theory

Day before yesterday, I saw "Chaos Theory" and laughed at a control freak going out of control.
Today morning someone picked up a fight with me, for being plain lazy.
Tomorrow noon, I think I should seriously update my CV!

Bala once said the most scariest thought, is the feeling that we are becoming the ones we hate the most. I think I've already become one of "them" ! Why should we resist when "The simplest explanation is the best?". Why should we overly complicate things, when billions accept the monster, yup, he's there!

To add fuel to the fire,
Yesterday, I watched "Garshom" - The story of an ex-gulf budhi jeevi (One who thinks a lot, does very little), who returns to kerala, to setup a business. And in the end, the message displayed in the beginning of the film turns out to be true
And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land: Exodus 18:3
Whatever that means, honestly, its better to belong nowhere and face the identity crisis ~ be a foreigner in one's own land. That way, you can make yourself believe, that you are no ordinary farmer, born to fear the lightning, call it god and cultivate potatoes; You are here to make a dent in the universe! ouch!!

Sunday's supplement (Sri) had a 4 page article on how a Crorepati businessman now begs for 100/500, thanks to the strike by INTUC and AITUC at his factory. All in god's own country. Its not that I tried to start my own business - Heck! Why should I even try?

I am nearing the end of my 3 month parole, and would soon need to publish my priority list for remote destinations. I think Life too needs the same answer as the God question I gave last year - "Forget it, everything is right, everything is wrong, don't cheat, do your job (keep yourself busy) and shutup!"

Saturday, June 07, 2008

NERD without brains

Hmm...first post in a while.
This could be interesting. Recently a more well qualified NERD (on his way to becoming a muscle laden JOCK as well) introduced me to

Was weird off-beat and inaccessible to a large percentage of the population...But as soon as I got into the mode, I was rolling on the floor laughing (Would my use of ROFL here have made me a NERD with brains?).

Anyway...the point is all the humour mixed with algorithm and physics references that I pick more often than the average guy gives me a self satisfying smug feeling (like when you fart a really smelly one that runs everyone out of the room. You know its gross but it feels deeply gratifying).

Raised by parents who always told me for every 100 people I was better than, there were at least 10 who were better than me...And I should be running away when they fart rather than revel in the mass exodii (Is that a plural for exodus? Neo, I am not too far from you when it comes to inventing new words and grammar...Kaargh thoo!) that happens upon mine...

A self deprecating fart thus evolved...Silent and deadly with a ventriloquistic elegance that used a worm hole in the space time continuum to attach itself to a foreign anus.

I am digressing...

The question of this post is this...Am I intelligent? Does it make sense to take on super-intelligence head on and fall flat on my face? Or do I outsmart (outfart?) them?


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Catapulting into Oblivion

The following terms on sudden occurrence or combined usage catapult me into oblivion....
Read the following carefully and answer the questions below.

Aliyan: Sister's husband or wife's brother
Ammossan / Ammayi Achan: Father-in-law
Nathoon: Husband's sister.
Maama: Mother's brother
Kochapa/Kochupa/Elaapa/Kunjippa/Papapa/Paaapa: Father's Younger brother
Kunjimma/Kunjumma: Mother's younger sister or Father's younger brother's wife
Moothapa: Father's elder brother.
Ammayi: Father's sister
Vellyammayi / Kunjammayi : Adjectives of above noun
Ummumma/Vellimma: Father's mother or Mother's mother
Vellippa: Father's father or mother's father
Itha: Elder Sister-in-law
Thaatha: Elder Sister

Now, quickly (not more than 15 seconds) try to translate the following usage, and relate to the person.

1) Moothaapade naathoonte molde kutti
2) Vellyammayide thaathde perakutti
3) Kunjimmade nathoonte aliyan
4) Kunjippade ammayide ummumade auntyde mon!

15 seconds or less is what you would have in a real life scenario to translate the relation into some meaningful image you store in your brain, for recalling at a future blunkasy time.

The root cause for my present day worries is that I used to address everyone as Uncle and Aunty, and everyone else by name :) Kerala is not very forgiving to guys like me cannot distinguish between maama and kunjippa!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Pompous and ridiculous customs of Malabar

Funny, isn't it, that all these years, I haven't known anything about the customs and rituals in my hometown, simply because I didn't exist there. Now, that I chose to spend 3 months IDLing at home, I have had a first experience of the wrath of Man-made customs and rituals, that plague my society.

Before we begin, lets agree upon the following...

1) Relatives - parents, siblings, uncles and aunts (of both parents), cousins, cousins' spouses, their children, uncle and aunt's brothers and sisters, their parents, grand fathers, grand mothers. 2) Pazha Kola - One bouquet(!) of bananas, comprising of around 50 bananas.
3a) Aluva - A sticky sweet substance, in red, yellow, black colors , prepared with flour and large quantities of sugar.
3b) Ainas - Yellow coloured flaky sweet.
3c) Bonda - Brown baked ball of Potatoes.
3d) Chips - Fried banana pieces.
3e) Chakka varuthathu - Jack fruit fry!
4) Tin biscuit - 1 Tin of biscuit. Usually has around 1 kilogram of biscuit. Brand does not matter (may be made from a local bakery), however the weight and tin carrier matters!
5) 1 sovereign gold - 8 grams of gold
6) Rs - short form of indian rupee. 1 USD in INR
7) Aliyan - Spouse's brother OR your Sister's husband.
8) Palaharam - One name for Achapam, kozhalappam, Neyyappam, Unniappam and all the sweets mentioned above.

Alrighty then! We are all set with the terminology, join me in this fun and awe inspiring tale...

Boy's family presents the girl with 10 to 50 sovereigns of gold, dress worth at least Rs 10,000/-. The ceremony comprises of 20 to 200 people from the boy's family visiting the girl's house. Food provided for the boy's family should be top-notch. Girl's family usually presents a watch or ring to the boy. Photo session / Video will be arranged. Unlike marriages, where gold can be rented for a day or two, engagement is usually performed with own gold. All the aunts of the boy (father's and mother's side), will present a bangle / chain / gold coin to the girl.

If Eid falls between engagement and marriage, then dress for girl and money (Rs 2000 above) will be given by boy's family. Dress will be bought for girl, girl's parents , siblings and grand father/grand mother.

If Onam falls between engagement and marriage, the 10 pazha kola must be given to girl's family.

If there is any death in either of the families, then the following should be given to the grieving family.
1) Sugar
2) Tea powder
3) Lemon (That will be used to prepare lemon juice for all visiting people to the house, where the death has happened! aargh! Kha thoo!)
4) Pazha kola
5) Aluva

Please note that neighbors and relatives are usually aware and will calculate that the above items have arrived at the respective houses and will expect a share of it to be delivered to their houses!

After engagement the girl visits all of her uncles' and aunts' houses. She will usually stay for a day at each house, or if there are too many of them, visit each one for at least one meal. There will be a tight competition amongst the aunts to treat the girl well, and feed her, because what was given will be a topic of discussion for women, when they get together, next time. The girl usually gains around 5 kilos, due to the extensive feeding session.

Dress (1 each) should be given by the boy's family to the following members in the girl's family.
1) Girl, herself. Apart from dress, cosmetics are also provided.
2) Girl's parents and siblings.
3) Girl's father's sisters and brothers. (Shirt piece for gents and
4) Girl's mother's sisters and brothers.
5) Members of the mosque who will attend the marriage (Usually white clothes and shirt).
6) Girl's father's father and mother.
7) Girl's mother's mother and father.

8) Boy's uncles and aunts (both father's side and mother's side).
9) Boy's grand father and grand mother (both father's side and mother's side).
10) All cousins , their spouses and children.
11) Mosque members at boy's place.
12) Neighbors!

Boy's family will visit the girl's family the day before marriage and present the dress and footwear which the girl will wear the next day. Boy's party will arrive at around 12noon for the nikkah and then have lunch from the girl's house. When the boy arrives, he is usually welcomed by his aliyan, or a male cousin of the girl, with a bouquet. The boy must give some money to the person who welcomes him. After the Nikkah, the will be a garland exchange and photo session with each of the relative's family. The mother-in-law and father-in-law presents sweets to the girl and the boy. Milk or coconut water is also provided. When the mother-in-law gives milk (Rs 7/-) to the boy, the boy must give 1 8gm gold coin to the mother-in-law.
Boy will give Rs 5000/- to servants and cousin's kids at girl's family.
Girl will bring back Rs 2500/- back to boy's house and distribute the same to servants and kid's at the boy's family.
If the boy's sister is married, she must give almirah, pazha kolas, gold and dress to the boy.
On the day of the marriage, girl and boy stay at girl's house.

Next day after marriage:
When the girl and boy returns to the boy's house, girl's family will bring
1) Pazha kolas - at least 5
2) Fruits
3) Aluva
4) Tin biscuits.

After 2 days, the boy and the girl will go back to the girl's home, they will take back the same things. Following which, for the next 1 month, every day's lunch and dinner will be booked at each of the relatives' houses. The food will be exquisite. To escape from Chicken, mutton and beef, I said that "I like fish". fishthakujela!!! Every sea creature was presented before me, bathed in various spices, and frozen at various moments of death. Some of them even had eyes! In the end (i mean the treat's end), i got severe stomach upset, loose motion and was bed-ridden with rice porridge and coconut water for 3 days.

Adukkala kaanal a.k.a Seeing the Kitchen
After a week, girl's family members (Parents, grand parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, cousin's spouses, kids) will come to the boy's house. This function has been deliberately designed so that the girl's women folk can see the boy's house. Since most marriages are conducted at Marriage halls, they dont get an opportunity to see the boy's house? They will bring with them ...
1) Pazha kolas (Numerous)
2) Ainas
3) Aluva
4) Biscuits
5) Various electronic gadgets (Fridge, TV, washing machine, A/C, sofa set, mobile phones, cooking range, gas connection depending on the need at the boy's house). If the boy's house has everything, then ahem! here, take some more money or a plot of land ? or how about some shares ?
6) 80 grams of gold.
There will be a grand feast.

Adukkala kaanal (2) a.k.a Seeing the girl's house
During the 3rd week, the girl's family members (yeah, all of 'em) will visit the boy's house and bring the same sweets and palaharams. However no costly electronic / household items will be bought.

Barat Raavu a.k.a 15 days before start of Ramadan Fasting
Girl's family will bring
1) Aripodi (Rice powder) - 1 humangous tin.
2) Sugar
3) Horlicks
4) Tea powder
5) Boost
6) Neyyappam
7) Kuzhiyappam
8) Pazha kolas
to the boy's house.

Ramadan (Fasting)
During Ramadan, boy's family will give
1) Cash (Rs 5000/- or above) to the girl's house. Also the messenger who takes the money to the girl's house will be paid Rs 500/-.
2) If the girl is staying at the boy's house during Ramadan, girl's family will give zakat (Rs 5000/-) to the girl or the mother-in-law.

Eid-ul-Fitr (The only festival)
Boy should give dress to girl, girl's parents, grand parents, cousins. Girl's family will give dress to boy, boy's father, mother and siblings.

If there is any function for the direct and indirect cousins' of the girl, i.e, marriage, 40th day, birth, then gold must be provided by boy to the concerned family. The same does not apply to the girl, as the girl is treated as a dependent of the boy.

As soon as the news is confirmed, girl's cousins will bring palaharams, pazha kolas, tin biscuits to the boy's house. This process will continue till the 7th month and applies to all direct and indirect cousins of the girl.

Ghee Drinking - 4th Month of Pregnancy
During the 4th month of pregnancy, the girl's family will come to the boy's house and present them with a Uruli (a big aluminium pot for making biriyani) , fruits and some steel plates and pots. The girl will be taken to the girl's house where she will be forced to drink ghee. After that she will be sent back.
Please note that cousins continue to visit with Palaharams, Pazha kolas, and all sorts of sweets. Due to the abundance of palaharams, these have to distributed evenly to the boy's relatives and neighbours. An auto-rickshaw is hired and the task is alloted to the young male members of the family.

Return of the Mummy - 7th Month of Pregnancy
During the 7th month of pregnancy, girl's family will bring 80 grams of gold, food items, pazha kolas, ainas, aluva, tin biscuit, kozhalappam, achappam, neyyappam etc. The gold is not kept at the boy's house, instead, it is worn by the girl and taken back to her house. The girl then stays at her house until 56 or 90 days after delivery.

If the girl is not taken home during the 7th month, it is considered un-auspicious to take her home during the 8th month, it is then only done during the 9th month.

Vayaru Kaanal a.k.a Seeing the Tummy!
Between the 7th and 9th months , the boys' family and relatives (comprising all the chitter chatter aunties), will visit the girl's house and have food there. This activity is called Vayaru Kaanal. This is when aunties and grannies pass comments on the size and shape of the girl's tummy and make wild guesses on the gender of the child. Please note that unlike the cousin's visit, this is a one-time activity. Additionaly, gold, dress might also be delivered.

Once the girl is admitted to hospital for delivery, boy's family takes charge of all the hospital expenses. After the newborn is gifted by god , relatives will visit at hospital with fruits. After the mummy and baby are discharged, they are taken to girl's house where they will stay for
a) 56 days if its a normal delivery.
b) 90 days if its a cesarean.
Home nurse / Maid will arranged by the husband's family.

Relatives must visit the new born within 30 days, and present
1) Dress for baby and mother
2) Baby cosmetics - Powder, Cream, Lotion, Soap (All Jhonson and Jhonson please ...)
3) Rs 50/- or Rs 100/- to the house maid taking care of the newborn and the mummy. If you dont pay this , service quality is affected.

The house maid charges Rs 7000/- for 40 days and is responsible for
1) Bathing the baby, washing baby clothes.
2) Bathing the mummy.
3) Preparing medicines, turmeric, oil etc.

40th day of the newborn
All relatives (boys' and girl's) must bring gold (coins, chains, anklet, bracelet). The sleeping baby is troubled by the relatives who make a show of the gold they have bought and put it on the baby. 40th day marks the license to exit home for the baby's mummy and baby. They are now legally allowed to travel. As usual Food is provided, an extensive photo session is held, and there is a register kept which holds record of who bought gold and who didnt. It is also mandatory that the House maid / servant is gifted appropriately during the ceremony, or else, hey she wont come to any of your families to take care of a new born. Boy's family also provides dress to girl's parents, siblings, grand father, grand mother and cash to the home nurse.

56th / 90th day
Depending on the type of delivery (see clause mentioned above), the new born and mummy is taken back to boy's home. Girl's family must bring everything required by the new born,
1) Dresses for the baby
2) Feeding bottle, Sheets, Walker, Cradle, potti (tiny closet).
3) Small cupboard / almirah for keeping baby items
4) Deposit in the name of the baby!
5) Plastic plates/pots for washing baby clothes etc...

Tharakallu idal a.k.a Foundation stone for home
There is nothing wrong with praying before you lay the foundation stone of your home. However, should you invite your grandfather's brother's son's daughter's husband obligatorily for this function ? It applies to direct/indirect cousins as well. phew....

So, thats it for engagement, marriage and birth.. lets move on to death.

I like the hindu custom that no-one should eat or drink from a household where death has occured. In muslim families , grieving family has to provide cool drinks / chai / lemon juice / food and curry to the visitors! If there is a big feast going on at home, its either engagement or death! (Marriages are conducted at halls and hence feasts are not provided at home).

3rd day of death, there is a group prayer and biriyani is served. This custom has been taken off in some sects. 3rd day , supposedly is when the eye decays !

5th day after death
I think this co-incides with the 16th day in the hindu custom. There is a group gathering prayer which lasts for 2-3 hours. After which, and exquisite feast is held, which is very well attended by the family and relatives (yeah , all of them! sorry i am tired, i cant list all of them again...)

Trying to think about the origin of these customs is difficult.
1) Probably, it was a way for women folk to travel and meet other women folk, because they were living there lives in the kitchen.
2) Probably, such functions promote a togetherness feeling . (I doubt that, i have personally seen a good relation get spoilt, because he was not invited properly to have lunch during a marriage!).
3) May be, it was like a festival, a reason to stay at a relatives house , and talk about the good old times and childhood.
4) May be, people had lot of free time
5) People wanted an occassion to show off new clothes, gold ornaments, and pass on comments and share news about whats happening in other families...

By themselves, the rituals seem innocent and miniscule, however imagine the complexity when you have a total of 10 uncles and 4 aunts at your side and 6 uncles and 8 aunts at your spouse's side, and a total of 120 cousins, their spouses (and their families, brothers, parents, grand parents), and sometimes even cousins children themselves are married have children (4th generation), a heads count should itself reach to 500 people ?!!! Ouch! That means, there will be an average of 2 functions every day!! holy shit! doesnt anyone ever go to work?

Thats all that I have attended, will surely update this blog, as and when I come to know about more customs. What are the customs that you have seen ? Do let us know in the comments section!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

truly jobless

So, what's the plan ?

RK pulled the ceramic bowl towards him and scooped a spoon full of rice water, blissfully ignoring RR's question. "So, what's the plan". He dare not say that his usually busy brain, had slowed down in the past few months, and had not presented with any new plans. RR had sensed this, and RK had stopped using the phrase "The universe conspires, when you set your mind on something". What if the mind decided to be unset, ruffled and floating about freely ? How
long would that persist? What would be its after effects? Like writer's blocks, does the mind too have "Void" spaces ? After all, the universe is full of vaccum, how can we be so full then ?

RK is you, me and almost everyone around us (spare the ultra rich and the very poor). Destined to continue with the mundane activities that constitute life, RK had little or no time to think about, "where are we headed?", or "why cant we do this differently?". Unfortunately on one dark night with no stars, the devil himself decended on a rope unto RK's medula oblongata, poked it with a tooth pick and said "Wake up, bugger!". The devil is a pirate, he keeps an eye on the horizon for innocent and lonely ships like RK, wandering and loitering about in the empty space. To uphold to "An empty mind is a devil's workshop", Mr Devil, will try to implant a new random thought. Thats an amazing capacity, to generate thoughts out of nothing.

To generate a thought which is associated to something we are doing is easy, you do a google search through the memory associating all the input variables(what you are reading, memory, environmental conditions and sensory inputs), and voila, there is a new thought. You must have experienced this, when studying for an exam, how many great ideas pop up into our mind. But, all of them are associated in some sort of way, an immediate after effect of our experiences being stored as associate memory.

However, when the mind is an empty state (is there really one ?), to pop up a devilish thought, or say a Universe denting one, now ,that is something!. Because, nothing can be associated to emptiness. That initial ignition is all that is needed, following which associative memory takes over and continues the process. So, as a thought creator (albeit, an evil one), devil is blessed with some of god's powers (creation). So, its not right to argue that devil merely manipulates stuff created by god.

Why am I refering to this 'light bulb thought in emptiness' as devlish, and not associating it with divine intervention ? Because, the majority of human beings I know, speak of this 'thought' as self destructive. And according to Scott Adams, any "self-destructive" thought will be eradicated in the next cycle and rinsed, because the ultimate purpose of all of us is to get organized into one being, and henceforth, try and remove any self-destructive stuff, which is learned based on experience !

This essay explains, how weak a trail of thought in an empty mind is, it tries to logically associate with whatever information available (blogs, studies, books, movies, experiences) and so forth, however, the trail of thought is weak because there is no conclusion to this , no "moral of the story" or anything, and so this piece will be forgotten very soon, and never recollected for any further thoughts, except ofcourse the devil desceding on the rope part, i associated that with a snake slithering down a rope, i liked that dramatization.

This is the end of my 'hypnotized time span', my cool seven minutes when words literally flow out of my mind. Anything I write beyond this will be deliberate, and hence cooked. Therefore, I conclude.

If you think I need some help, well, kujela, you are not alone!
I am beginning to dislike my use of Parentheses. Aargh!
This blog makes me wonder, am I going to de-celebrate my 27th birthday or 17th ?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Babe...I'm gonna leave you

"peddler on the pier, sell me some pain"
she pleaded to unyeilding ears in vain
A tug to the shirtsleeves and another one again

He kept his guitar tuned to the twilight
he sings an unremembered song tonight
that lingers in your dreams and vanishes at daylight

Babe, baby, baby, Im gonna leave you.
I said baby, you know Im gonna leave you.
Ill leave you when the summertime,
Leave you when the summer comes arollin
Leave you when the summer comes along.

Baby, baby, I dont wanna leave you,
I aint jokin woman, I got to ramble.
Oh, yeah, baby, baby, I wont be there,
Really got to ramble.
I can hear it callin me the way it used to do,
I can hear it callin me back home.

I know, I never leave you, baby.
But I got to go away from this place, Ive got to quit you.
Ooh, baby,
Baby, ooh dont you hear it callin?
Woman, woman, I know, I know its good to have you back again
And I know that one day baby, its really gonna grow, yes it is.
We gonna go walkin through the park every day.
Hear what I say, every day.
Baby, its really growin, you made me happy when the skies were grey.
But now Ive got to go away
Baby, baby, baby, baby
Thats when its callin me
Thats when its callin me back home...

Get your Led out!
Led Zeppelin forever!

Saturday, April 19, 2008


sitting on the edge
staring into the abyss
looking within
wondering what else did i miss

dog day afternoons
and balmy nights
silly notions of romance
by fluorescent lights

Drives at dusk
through winding lanes
holding on to past
thoughts insane

its time to move on
its time to dive
the heart is just a clock
if you don't feel alive

Friday, April 18, 2008

Castle of Thousand Words

High up in my ivory tower
Behind large words of courage, I cower.
A facade of careful rationality
Never betraying the torrents of emotions, as I indulge in banality.
A little lost in the by lanes between yesterday and tomorrow
I move through this world with a rictus masking my undefined sorrow.

A hundred times I rehearse my bravado
It gets me through about ninety nine times though
Just that once in about a every so often
I crack and yield in moments most inopportune
Among people I couldn't care about less
My darkest secrets I do confess.

In their dispassionate tolerance
I vicariously act out your acceptance.
I regret not being able to be as honest with you
As with utter indifferent strangers I manage to.
Fearful petty little loser with eyes lowered
Behind my mighty words, in an ivory tower, I cowered.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Mother's day

On the way to meet Oracle,

Neo: And she knows what? Everything?
Morpheus: She would say she knows enough.
Neo: And she's never wrong?
Morpheus: [sighs] Try not to think in terms of right or wrong. She is a guide, Neo. She can help you to find the path.
--Matrix, The 1999

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Attention Span

After 2 and half years, I tried to read, understand and mug up something technical. I am happy to say that I have an attention span of approximately 7 minutes, after which I get distracted to the many other things in life.

I also am thinking seriously, why should I go back to all that Enterprise Programming stuff, when I am happy with the hypocritical excel, outlook and powerpoint....

Nimbus, Cumulous, Stratus

The clouds move away, skies clear up, dew drops evaporate. words echo in the mountains "Do everything it takes to keep them happy". The breeze is now a hot gush of air, quickly hitting on the feet, time for your feat!There it is, a new sun, a new goal. The brightness is blinding. Why not lose yourself in it for a while. Keep your face towards the sun so that ye dont see the shadows ? Nimbus, cumulous, stratus they are no longer there. Abstract, Polymorphism, Concurrent, The global interpreter lock? No plan, but query plan! My sacrifice, his creed! Yeah, the Hero! Mein Aisa Kyun hoon ? - Abstract Unrealistic Escapist. Left lobe is severely overloaded! Abrupt ending.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Into the Wild

"Happiness real only when shared"
"Call everything by its right name..."

- Christopher Johnson McCandless
Into the wild (2007)

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Its never good when you start seeing twitter buddy on gtalk as your closest friend.

#1 I keep telling you how much of an idiot i am, but when you say it why do i call it cruel.
#2 Sometimes i love this so much, when self loathing is at its nastiest and all the world around looks like a rose garden.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What do you fear?

tidbits of a body/mind conversation.

Body: "What do you fear ?"
Mind: "Being jobless..."

Body: "What are doing now?"
Mind: "Quitting and not searching for another..."

Body: "Why the hell would you do that?"
Mind: "To chase away my fear..."

Body: "You are gone mad!"
Mind: "Yeah, you possibly cannot."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

back to the classroom

The bunch walked noisily towards the gate of the school. They have all resigned their jobs and have went back to their high school class as students. I remembered the old days that we were now trying to reenact. One fond memory is about walking down the road from school to tuition center during the monsoons. The roads had large potholes and we would splash the muddy water till everyone is wet.

The clock has just struck 10 and the three others in the group dashed to the classroom. I couldn't understand what the fuss was about and maintained my usual speed. As soon as my friends disappeared into the main corridor the headmistress appeared at the lobby entrance. Oops, no time to hide, i am caught. She came close to me and lifted her right hand.

"You wanna go back or?"

I silently turn my face to the right. All of her hand falls on my cheek and there is a tingling feeling followed by one of numbness. I walk on to my class room. The corridor is very windy as its other end opens to the sea. As I reach my class I take a peek inside through the window. The class room has changed a lot in the years. The wooden benches and desks have been replaced by metal benches with sloping back rests. I feel the eyes of 80 students on my face as i enter the class and feel a bit self concious. The teacher is standing at one side with a remote and the black board has been replaced by a large movie screen. A Tsai Ming-liang movie is playing on the screen. I find a seat in the first row of benches.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

what exactly is mediocre ?

Precariously pouncing with irresponsible irrelevant thoughts , consistently finding a new goal for the morning yearning, something to get up from the bed and goto work, reanalyzing rethinking reliving each decision, nothing is mediocre, even if that means just doing whatever is required to live and let live. Fumbling through the tumblers like Alice, once in a while a magic potion, reveals the beauty of the wonderland called life, even for the seriously psyched and cocooned sleeping introverts. Nasty, but nevertheless, it makes no sense to edit ones thoughts, before papered it is, i mean written on, digitized, preserved for the like minded souls, to ponder on; why on earth did he write that? This para is meant to make absolutely no sense; like a slingshot, it is just a meandering enterprise, words wasted, one that is not supposed to persist for any amount of time. wandering back and forth between how and why tediously, putting all the equations to work ever learned for the best forecast, decision or prediction; it is, but, a cage, and the tangent of normalcy only adds flavour, just to return back to the orbit of thought, the one and zero, the dyer colorer whose job is but to paint, paint whence given a chance...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Musings on a February 14th

To all you lovers out there...Happy Valentine's Day.
To all you stupid lovers out there...Happy VD :P

Funny cracks aside, there was nothing that really prompted me to come back here and put something to paper (?)

Just the original wisecrack made me feel like a wiseass. So here I am lording it over all you poor readers who have to pay the price of this insufferable guy if you come here expecting some pearls from Neo or Trinity...

It is what it is, my friend and you do not have a choice. Thats it I am bored now...maybe I will come back later...maybe not...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I have toyed/have been toying with the idea of writing the GMAT. It has been over 3 months since I first bought an exercise book to attempt my study. Now that I have opened it I find these scribbled on the first (only) page that I have written all these 3 months.

- Numbers And Their Physical Significance
- All number except 0 can have a tangible co-relational existence
- one man = 1
no man not equal to 0
- "nothingness" falls woefully short of defining ZERO completely
- Is zero god?

Honest to good...this was just supposed to be the start of the Math Review section. I successfully over-philosophisized my ass out of contention for a reasonable GMAT score.