Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taking on Dad

Where dad fumbled, daughter is going the whole hog.
Hey, this is no plot of a Mollywood masala but something that is happening in my life.
When I touched the late teens I was hooked on to Bruce Lee films, Enter the Dragon was my favourite. I took up karate and was breathing, dreaming karate all the time. At that time my friend Anoop was also learning the martial art along with me in the same Dojo. Even though he dropped out I continued for about a year. But hours of hard work was wasted when I had to discontinue it as it was affecting my studies.
Now, when I had hit 40, my daughter, who will soon be turning nine, is a green belt in kungu fu.
She got that this afternoon after a test.
My wife warns me that I better be careful around her now.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My friends

On Friday, November 21, I hit 40 years. My blogpost on the day was a thanksgiving note. I wish I had written more about a lot of friends, those who played a significant role in shaping my views on life. Each one differently, of course.
I don't have what you call a thick friendship with a lot of guys or girls. Those can be counted on the fingers of my right hand.
I guess it takes only one or two incidents in life to make out who those friends are. I have to list here whole lot of people. And I sincerely hope that I would not be offending anyone who is listed here and not listed here.

Kannans (Both Ramakrishnan and Narayanan): These guys were by closest childhood playmates in Kanakanagar, the housing area in Trivandrum where grew up. One is in Dubai and the other in Japan, both software professionals I seldom meet now
Sriram: I have lost touch of this friend a long time ago. I wonder where he is now.
Ajith Prasad: My classmate and long time friend. We have not been in touch for the past few years.
Anoop: A close friend who is no more. We often discussed what teenagers should. He died when I was in my first year of undergraduate course.
Induchoodan: Someone with whom I have discussed books and music (girls too).
Ajith Kumar: A classmate from Standard 1. He was also in my BA class. No contact for a long time now.
Sudheer: Another of a close circle of friends I am no longer in contact with.
Vinod: He must be in London. I haven't touched base with him for a long time now
Vinod P Nair and Manoj: Classmates from Mar Ivanious College I have lost touch with but with whom I shared a lot of things in life
Rakesh Jayaram: Another classmate I have lost touch with
Sezlin Salim: He was an editor with Yahoo! when we last met in Chennai almost a year and a half ago.
Anil Radhakrishnan: Very much in touch, he might kill me for that. I have not met him for the past four months since I resigned from The Hindu.
Shyam Shankar: We lost touch about 10 years ago
Radhakrishnan Nair: Met only once in the past 11 years.
Vijayakrishnan: A close friend whom I have not been in touch with for a long time.
Raju: He and his family makes it a point to call us whenever they are in Kerala and occassionally meet up.
Narayanan: He calls and I call. We keep in touch. Discuss problems and seek advice.
Bishwanath Ghosh: Someone I share a lot with. And loves to have a drink with
Shirley: My college classmate and now a close friend. She'd kill me if she sees this. And for moving out of Trivandrum.
Padmakumar: My ex-colleague and friend. Someone who is so genuine.
Smitha Sad: I miss her a lot. Someone I am in regular contact with...
Smitha Pylee: I dunno when and how we became friends.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hitting 40, starting anew

I hit a milestone today. It marks the begining of the 41st winter of my life. Life has not been cruel to me, in fact it has been extremely good.
At the end of 40 years if I take stock of the various roles I have played until today I may give a five on a scale of 10 on an average.
As a child I was a nightmare to my parents and my aunts. 5
As a student I was below average. I flunk in exams through out my student life. It continued even in college that made my dad wonder what I would do with my life: 4
As a normal teenager I was again average. I did all the things I had to do but never developed any interest in any particular sport, eventhough I was crazy about football I never was even in the school team. I have learnt to swim, play badminton, took up karate, I was in the NCC(never attempted C certificate: 3
As a brother I was lousy according to my sister 4
As a nephew I was average as my Uncle would say 5
In college I failed in even having a steady girlfriend. Instances are numorous. They all dumped me. 5 (In the end I did get 10 out of 10 in love)
As a journalist I failed to live up to the expectations of my bosses and my promotions came very late. To begin with I landed a job after a year in the wilderness called New Delhi. Worked in many places for a year and a half before a newspaper editor even consider hiring me. 5
In marriage I may have failed the expectations of my parents when I married. 5
But I believe I did the right thing my marrying whom I married, It would not have worked out with anybody else 8
As a husband I am just okay, I can be better or could have been better. 7
As a dad, I believe I am doing a fairly good job 9
As a friend I am not one someone would give his life for. 6
As an employee I am still average. I am not a dream employee 5
As an employer I am not very strict 6
As a colleague I am not very reliable is what I have felt 6
As a responsible citizen I am okay 8
As an individual I believe I am fine 7
As a writer I am average. Let me give myself a 6
As a human being my wife tells me I am pessimistic 4
So let me live the rest of my life by at least trying to spread some sunshine to others every morning.
As I turn 40, I thank all those who made me what I am today and all those who mean most to me.
My Dad, who is no longer there, my grandmother who is also no more. My mother who drives me crazy at times but loves me a lot, my Uncles and my aunts, (I have a whole lot of them on both sides of my family), my wife and daughter who have to put up with all my drawbacks and still loves me, my cousins who love to tease me and for whom I am the big brother, my two nieces who loves to call me DaddyMama.
Thank you all who called me, emailed me, scarped me to wish me today.
To all my colleagues too.
Thank you all again.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Politics of cartooning

One of India's popular cartoonist recently spoke to the journalists of DNA about the joys and pitfalls of his profession. Ponnappa is a trained architect who has made his fortune in his profession and chose to return to what he believes is his true calling. It was an interesting two hours with the humorous side of a cartoonist on full display.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A case of bad handwriting

The Bombay High Court on Thursday pulled up a doctor for bad handwriting. A handwriting expert, explaining to the court why doctor's write in a bad hand, said: "Their mind works faster than their hand, that's why they have bad handwriting." The court sought an affidavit from the doctor, a radiologist, that she would henceforth write reports in good handwriting.
That doctors generally write prescriptions in a hand that is legible only to themselves and the chemists is quite known. And the risk that poses is not taken seriously neither by the doctors nor the general public is a very alarming issue. It would cost someones life.
Journalists too have the problem of bad hand. Well I should not generalise. I have a bad hand. It poses a problem every time I have to sign a cheque. Four months ago when the newspaper I am working with wanted to open a salary account for every employee with HDFC we found to our horror that each time we sign our sign was slightly different from the one done just a few signs earlier. The agent was at his wits end. The problem I think is our adapting to the computer world and hardly putting anything in black and white.
My daughter can write better than I. I have also faced this problem and my signature tends to look like that of a child's. All those years spend in cursive writing in cpoy books never helped. But now I manage to get away in the banks for I hardly sign a cheque what with ATM making life so easy. I am yet to get used to Internet transactions fearing identity theft, but every day I promise myself I will soon do that too.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

34 Bubblegums and Candies

On October 10 I bought a book written by a blogger friend.

Preeti Shenoy is a popular blogger @
Just a mother of two
I have been following the posts ever since I stumbled on to her blog. Occassionally writing to her as well. She lives in Pune and was in Bangalore for the launch. I was glad I was able to attend it during a busy day. And she served both bubblegums and candies.
It was one the best thing I did in my life. I bought two copies, one for myself, autographed by the author, and the other for my boss.
On reading the book in the evening I felt it was a Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul. I am sure this is one book I will look up every once in a while during my life.
I recommed you this for living life every day.
Thank you Preeti, for this great book.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The simple pleasure of giving

Has this happened to you
I started my career as a journalist in India's capital city in the 1990s. I fell in love with this city, even though the extreme weather would often find me cursing myself for landing there.
I was in between jobs in 1997. I had walked out of a Senior Sub Editor's job in a top business magazine.
I often drop my wife to her office and sometimes even get ber back, since I had lots of free time and the library at PIB was so cool a place to take a nap during the hot days.
It was during one such journeys that I noticed a smart young lady walking aimlessly on the roads. I had also seen her near PIB once or twice. Later my wife told me that she had a job but she had tripped when her boyfriend ditched her. Many a time I had felt like stopping my bike and talking to her. But something held me back. After a month or so I never saw her again. When I mentioned this to a close friend he said that I should I have helped her. I had felt that too. And I had regretted that I could never help her. I was afraid of a lot of things but still I feel I should I have taken her to my place and helped her.
And in 2002 I had an experience which left me humbled and baffled at the same time. But that is another post.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Silver lining

Every cloud has a silver lining, so the saying goes. I never took this seriously until a recent incident made me sit up.
My family was away and I had to spend a few days on my own. On the day they returned I made the mistake of having my dinner at a local restaurant near my office and the next morning I had trouble. I do not know if it was the food or the water I possibly drank there, I was hit by Madras belly in Trivandrum. On the first day, fortunately my day off work, I had to be away buying timber for the whole day. On returning in the afternoon, my daughter insisted that I take her to the park and I did. But I was getting up through out the night to relieve my bowls. It got worse by morning. I was going to the bathroom by the hour till afternoon.
I like my morning tea with the right amount of sugar and milk added (Only my mom and wife can judge the right amount, and, occasionally, my aunt). But on this particular day, I was given a lime tea to stabilise my system and I had just bread in the morning and a little rice in the afternoon.
My wife insisted that I call up my office and ask for leave. But given that it was holiday season in the office I had to get there on the dot. I managed to suffer the five-and-a-half hours at work but had to visit the loo in the end. I had had two tablets to control bowel movement during the day.
That night was rather peaceful. In the morning when I got my morning cuppa, I found it distasteful. And I asked for the lime tea instead. I discovered that I can easily go without my energy boosting shot of sugary, milky tea now. And this was something I have been trying to give up for so many years, for health benefits.
I should now develop such will power to do other important things in life.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Get a Rs.1 lakh insurance for Rs.50.

It is amazing but true. Kerala has many dicourt stores in many of its towns and cities.
The state-run Triveni is quite popular and brings gorceries for much lower than the maximum retail price.
The other, popular bargain store is the Margin-Free shops run by Margin Free Market Pvt. Ltd. There are any number of the these stores with the tag margin-free. They claim that their prices are much lower than that of the market. Your local kirana shop would also give you a discount and if you know the shopkeeper very well you could get a lower price.
The one I shop has given me an insurance for Rs.1 lakh in case of death. I call that buying the confidence of the customer. And the insurance is by United India Insurance Co Ltd., state-run company.
I urge all Malaylis to shop at Margin free and benefit.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Old books (Old is gold)

Rumaging wayside bookshops or the Sunday Bazaars in Darya Ganj in Old Delhi was a favourite past time during the early days of my life in Delhi. The fact that my girl friend worked in a magazine being brought out from a lane in Darya Ganj made it one of my favourite haunts. The early years there was a time that one had few bucks to spare and one could land bargains added to the charm of buying from pavements. People have been lucky to get encylopedias from these pavement shops for a bargain. You may also be lucky to find rare books in those shops. The world famaous Chandini Chowk have many small shops tucked away is its nooks and corners. I have seen many a shopkeeper making a pitch from near a hole in the wall full of books.
Books are windows of opportunity. Love them, read them, if you can't buy one, lend one from a library near your house. The nuggets of informantion that goes to build your subconsious mind will come good somewhere, sometime. If you land a rare, handwritten print of a famous author with his autograph, sell it on ebay. You will land a fortune!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Value for money

This is one film that delivers a strong message in a simple way.
Aamir Khan's 'Taare Zamin Par' is a must-see movie for all teacher and parents. Even kids would fall in love with litte Ishan Awasti.
Do find time to see this film.