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.