Friday, December 15, 2006


Train journeys are times for introspection and contemplation. New resolutions. Catching up on lost sleep. Refreshing and rejuvenating. Time to come to terms with yourself as you watch India rush by through the windows. Chequered fields and lazy streams. Acres of water that make India’s rivers the Godesses they are. Miles and miles of uninhabited space. Crowded and dirty towns. Sleepy villages.

What is it about the suspended reality in a compartment that encourages intimate conversations with perfect strangers? That encourages people to share deep dark secrets that they wouldn’t reveal to their family much less strangers they have known for little over an hour? That makes life outside seems unreal and far away.

Eating, sleeping, talking, reading, staring out of the window, thinking, dreaming, planning. A train offers so many avenues. Why do people still feel there’s nothing to do? Maybe I belong to a strange breed that actually enjoys long train journeys. Alone.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Yesterday was a momentous occasion in my life. The first election I have ever faced. I went prepared to make a fool of myself, and surprised myself. Being 13th in line didn’t really do anything to boost my sagging morale, but two last minute points from two of my friends saved me at the last minute. And surprise surprise, I returned to my seat with thunderous applause. What was this suggestion I had made? That we have online elections from the next year onwards and eliminate manual elections which are really a waste of time!!

Even more surprising was the fact that I actually got 82 votes, something totally unexpected to me. Of course I didn’t get into Xsys which is what the election had been for, but who cares about trivial issues like that! ;))

What did I learn? That my networking is next to nothing. That i can soemtimes speak in front of a crowd. That I am very uncomfortable talking about myself. I prefer blunt honesty to grandoise phrases. That there are actually soem people willing to vote for me inspite of all these drawbacks :))

Monday, November 06, 2006

Stereotypes Go Out of the Window

There are so many firsts in life and I have just experienced one of them. A real life rock concert which to my surprise I really enjoyed. Rock to me has always signified men with long dirty hair wearing really dirty tshirts, singing incomprehensible songs at the top of their voices, played at full volume by people who use fuck as every second word in any sentence.

So when my friend dragged me to attend this final concert of xpressions, which by the way is our college fest, currently going on, I reluctantly agreed. And I was pleasantly surprised that I really enjoyed the music (which I had never really thought of in that sense before). The band was Pentagram, an obscure Indian rock band to me at least. But soemthign about the music caught and held me. It was an indescribable feeling, the way I felt listening to the music. Who knows maybe I might end up as a die-hard fan of hard rock

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My Best Friend's Wedding

Today my best friend is getting married and I’m not there. Four years of our lives we spent together. The four best years of my life. Engineering College.
We entered college together with dreams in our eyes, we were disappointed together, we rediscovered what college is really about, together. Living just four houses away from each other, we went to college together, missed buses together. Studied together, presented papers, had accidents, went shopping, did projects, placecom duties, hoarded books in the library, wore sarees, watched movies, played with London and shreya. Ate, slept, talked and entered Wipro. Went late everywhere, confused and frustrated everyone around us. Had accidents, got shouted at- by professors, policemen, All together. People said we even looked the same.
And then college was over. Wipro beckoned and we split. Me in cochin and she in Chennai and then Bangalore. We still managed to keep in touch, irregularly though.
Bhubaneshwar next. Even further away. And then she tells me her wedding is fixed.
Suddenly she’s in a different league.
Time changes everything. Just one year has passed and already those 4 seem far far away.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

10 things I learnt from my trip to Germany

  1. Doing things at the last minute does not always work.
  2. Anything is possible. Always prepare for possibilities like the taxi wheel rolling away or missing suitcases on the flight
  3. Never never ever make the mistake of flying with Air Deccan
  4. Always always check things with at least two people before deciding on a course of action. Mistakes can be costly (almost 90 euros :( )
  5. How to survive in a foreign land with almost no money and only marie biscuits and one small pack of nutella for two meals
  6. The miracle of how Germans survive eating German food. They only eat bread for breakfast, lunch or dinner (Even 300 different kinds don’t really make for much variety). They do not drink water – only wine, beer or soda.
  7. People are basically the same everywhere. Some nice and some idiots
  8. Germany has the best cars in the world
  9. Losing a tooth is not the end of the world
  10. Chocolates are very expensive, especially when you are counting pennies and have a long list of people back home waiting for you.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sad Times

This has been a rather sad trip home for me. I just got two days of my puja vacation to spend at home and I discovered a lot of things had changed.
My grandparents showed signs of growing old, something I really didn't like to see. My grandmother seemed to have shrunk into herself. She seems to be getting smaller and smaller by the day. I still got a chance to enjoy her great filter coffee though. And my grandfather, the centre of my life for 4 years, the person holding the entire family together, always full of life and love and good advice seems to have become old and tired. It almost brought tears to my eyes to see him like that.
I spent four years of my life in my grandfather’s house. Four years while in engineering college. In retrospect they seem to be the best years of my life so far. An unforgettable time. I learnt more in that time than anywhere else. I was lucky, much more than I realized then.
We had a get together too during those short two days, my class from engineering college. A lot of conversations and memories relived. For the guys it was one more chance to be at college, away from mundane lives as software professionals. I spoke more to my class mates then than I ever did during 4 years of engineering college.
And then the saddest part. Two of my closest friends are getting married. And things have changed so much. They talk about wedding plans and in-laws and new houses. And I suddenly realized that this would be the last time I saw them before they were married. Marriage somehow seems to turn young carefree girls into mature care laden responsible adults. And I didn’t want that to happen to them. I wanted them to be the same people I had known in college. But I realized that it would be impossible. And that soon I would have to turn into one too. And that was the saddest part.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Possibilities and Probabilities... Dreams and Dreary Facts...

To see the World in a grain of sand
And Heaven in a wild flower
To hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour...

- William Wordsworth

Friday, July 21, 2006

My Favourite Place

The library is the best place on campus. It’s got something that nothing else here can ever hope to match. No not even the campus of the 21st century or “wi-fi” or laptops . Not air-conditioned classrooms or the much touted x-cafe(don’t know what people actually see in it) or even the lawns that make you feel like sitting there and watch everyone else rush by.
It's got that undefinable something called charachter. A sense of time standing still, of having seen so much, a sense of permanence, of being still being here, after everyone and everything else has gone. A mute spectator to so many people. So many different kinds. Last minute readers who stay up all night, project groups who insist on discussing everything at the top of their voices, tuition groups- with an ‘expert’ taking classes, people who come to read the journals and the paper, people who want to do some research… all kinds…
And then there are those crazy kinds who love the library for being just the way it is. For its warm welcoming silence that stretches out and reaches you as soon as you enter the reading rooms. For those huge airy rooms and open windows from where you can look out and think and dream and wish and imagine. For those rows and rows of books that seem to hold so many unfathomable mysteries that we cannot even hope to understand. For those small pleasant surprises, like finding an actual real life non management book, with stories on Delhi, mysteriously lying in the reading room. For the guilty pleasure of reading it for a while instead of studying. For those moments of contentment when you suddenly look up and see that it’s raining and the world looks so beautiful today. For those few minutes when the page starts swimming before your eyes and you can sink into blissful oblivion, right on top of your books. For that sense of contentment while reading with a friend and just looking up and reading on. For those so many things that I cant begin to describe.
The library is the best place to be on campus.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Southie in Northie Land

When I started this blog sometime back, I was surprised to hear from a lot of friends that it’s a typical B-School thing. Anybody who gets into a B-School has to start a blog to talk about their experiences. I vowed then that I would not be so boring, but I realize now how absolutely impossible that is. I have been here for two weeks and there is nothing else I can actually think about. Assignments, quizzes, lectures, ragging, committees, presentations that start at 10:30 in the night, meetings that start at twelve. Everything seems to be happening all at once I haven’t had the time to get my bearings. Yet. With ragging officially over my dreams of some sleep vanished into thin air when the professors started theirs, handing out assignments by the dozens.
I learnt lessons in Time management, with every meeting starting strictly on time and latecomers being pulled up. I gained new insights into team work while doing assignments especially with an Economics assignment which had to be submitted at 5 sharp in the evening. We wasted the entire afternoon doing nothing and then with fifteen minutes left, three of us started frantically scribbling and drawing diagrams, a true example of team effort. We submitted the assignments in pieces, with each of us completing different portions and then combining it all together while running after the CR’s to take ours too. We realized we were not as bad as another group which had with people literally drawing that one last diagram as though their life depended on it, even as they rushed to submit it.
My biggest learning has been Hindi with most conversations around here taking place in that language so detested by politicians in Tamilnadu, that land which seems to grow more perfect in my dreams each day. Still, living in the North is an eye opener (though my friends are quick to tell me that ‘Bhubaneshwar’ is not exactly North but East India. These finer points of distinction are incomprehensible to my tiny brain. Anything north of Andhra is classified as “North India”. A land of thievery, dacoits and kidnappings, of Laloos and Phoolan Devis, of adventure and romance, of total disregard for the law. Anybody who heard that I was going to a college in the ‘North’ warned me to be very very careful. ‘It is a totally indisciplined place’(with much emphasis on the ‘in’discipline). I have not found any of these things so far but I am still hopeful.
The stereotypes are here too and more ‘stereotypical’, if there is such a word, than I have ever seen. Any place south of the vindhyas is classified as Chennai. One person actually asked me “ You know there are 4 types of South Indians – some Tamil, Telugu something.. and you are?? “. I had never actually thought of myself as a “type” before, and this was a big eye opener.
The south is a very “conservative” place, steeped in tradition, afraid to step out of established boundaries (Conservative gets this special treatment because I have heard it most often). And I would agree on most counts. Except that there is so much more to it than just these adjectives that I couldn’t even begin to describe. Just as “not really North, more like East” India is proving to be very different from my imagination. Of course living within the secure confines of a B-School , disconnected from reality, is not a good place to judge things. But I still have two years ahead of me.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Home is Where The Heart is

Swathes of dark green velvet sliced through by streaks of shimmering silver. Paddy fields of jade stretching towards the horizon, interspersed by thick coconut groves. The most beautiful houses I have seen anywhere. Bougainvillea running riot on every wall it can find. Backwaters where time seems to stand still. Picture Postcard perfect. Gods Own country. Seen through a bus window.
Reality intrudes. Rudely. Living in Kerala is a little difficult for anyone from Tamilnadu. The most difficult thing to get used to is the food which is the really important part for most of us. Eight in the night means shutter time for most shops and the whole town is probably asleep by nine. The one and only exception to this general rule is the wine shops which do a brisk business even at the unearthly hour of ten pm. Most buses stop running by nine thirty, and women stepping outside the house as late as seven in the evening is considered scandalous. Which makes life difficult, especially in an IT company, where late working hours are a general norm. Not that there are many of them here as yet. The supposed IT capital of Kerala, Kochi, proudly boasts of two buildings in its ‘InfoPark’. But we are still emerging so everybody is on their way here. The rain is a way of life here, to be battled with time trusted weaponry – the black umbrella and rubber slippers. ( I already have the black umbrella, will probably succumb soon, to the temptations offered by the rubber slippers).
I find a lot of surprising similarities to my hometown here. Both are highly touted tourist hotspots. There too all shops (except obviously the wine shops) close by eight during off-season times because nobody in their right minds could possibly want to wander about in the cold, doing of all things, shopping. Except crazy tourists. Most of them shivering in the cold and yet insistently in shorts. It has always amazed me to see normally sane people, lose their minds once they come on a ‘holiday’ to a place where nobody knows them. Most of the local population prefer to walk, so we have exactly two buses for the entire town, which is not much in terms of size, to begin with. Obviously these two don’t really run very late at night. The last bus from Coimbatore is at 7:30 pm because the Ghat roads are difficult to drive on late at night. ( Late night driving does offer some very interesting experiences though. Will describe those in my forthcoming posts). The rain I have already described ad nauseam in my previous post. Only here sweater and socks replace rubber slippers. Life without either of them is unthinkable. The weather outside is irrelevant. It has been said, and rightly I think, that if any person is spotted walking around in Coimbatore, in the hot sunshine, wearing a sweater, that person would definitely be from Ooty.
Home is never far away, I guess, no matter where I travel.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Cochin Diary

I stay in a flat with four of my friends, in Cochin. This account of our morning schedule was written a long time ago ,soon after we moved in.
It's six in the morning and the alarm rings. I wake up swich it off, feel really lazy and think i'll sleep for five more minutes. Merlin's alram rings and i realize that my five minutes has as usual turned into half an hour and as usual, again, Nithya is already in the kitchen. Regretfully, tearing myself away from my warm bed, i get up and waking Merlin, go and help Nithya in the kitchen. The coconut that we bought last night in a fit of culinary extravangce has to be broken and there's nothing around remotely capable of doing the job. I try the iduki for a long itme but it dosent seem to even make a dent . Each of us takes a turn but nothing seems to shake the unbreakable coconut. We then try the marble slab in the kithchen and obviously i am the one who ends up breaking off piece of the marble. We finally decide to do what we should have done long ago - take it up to the terrace and break it on a stone there. So merlin and me set out to the seventh floor to break our coconut. The job is done in less than a minute. We come back triumphant, its already seven and we have to rush.
Merlin and Nithya have a bath while i scrape the cocnut and gowri cooks the brinjals. Before we realize, it's eight and we run out of the house, scattering all things in our path. We rush to the bus stop and wait- we are just in time for heaven... "Heaven??" u ask? actually thats the name of our bus, proudly sporting a sticker that says "Welcome to Heaven". What kind of a bus could this possibly be you wonder? Renaming it "Hell" is a well-worn joke by now. Resembling a tin can on wheels we wait in perennial anticipation of the time when it will fall apart. In fact its a wonder that it still hasn't, considering the way its driven. The bus arrives, bursting at the seams,and we somehow manage to squeeze in and try holding on soemwhere tightly. In less than a minute we are off on our ten minute roller coaster ride. The driver dosen't know the meaning of the word 'slow'. He either drives at breakneck speeds or brakes to a bone jarring halt, with us holding on in fear of our lives and wondering when we will head out of the windscreenand hoping at the same time that we will not be squeezed to death. All men are equal to him, he tries his maximum to kill them all. A few lucky souls get space to sit in between, but soon info park nears. We fly around the last curve and we get down, happy that we have survived today.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Monsoon Magic ?

Ooty to most people conjures up images of rolling hills, deep dark forests, gurgling streams, not to mention the ubiquitous botanical gardens and the lake , all bathed in glorious sunlight, or at the most a romantic mist. But then, a vast majority stays here only for a few days as tourists. Very few people actually have the privilege to live in the queen of hills for most of their lives and therefore know that its not quite the same at all times of the year. We have the unique distinction of being one of the very few places to receive both the south west and the north east monsoon in full spate. That simply means that it rains most days of the year.
I have often been surprised by people in the plains longing for the rains. For me it has always been something that has to be borne stoically. Going to school everyday in the seemingly endless, ice-cold, rain with the wind howling in your ears is not really something to be longed for. Most of the times there is no electricity for days on end because some tree has fallen on the electric lines somewhere, the clothes take weeks to dry and everywhere there is the smell of dampness. Ooty during the monsoons is a morass of mud and water.
The most beautiful fragrance on earth, when the first rains hit the dry, parched earth, to give it life, was something I had never experienced in ooty.
The term ‘Magical Monsoon’ has never made sense to me before until now. I am in Cochin where the monsoons have burst forth in all their glory. It rains and rains and rains all day and all night. There are very frequent power cuts. Clothes don't dry, buses dont come on time. I don’t feel home-sick anymore. I’ve just realized that the rain can actually be beautiful. Especially while standing under an umbrella with a friend, eating ice cream and watching it pouring down on a gray choppy sea.
Im waiting to go and rediscover the magic back home in Ooty.