Friday, January 30, 2009

The Serendipity. B.E. Etrx

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of '99.

If anyone asks, I Did Engineering. Electronics. Further degrees await to adorn the latter half of my name, but so far its just Firstnamespacelastname, B.E. Etrx. Other Alphabets to follow Suit soon. Thats Electronics for you. Not Electrical, not IT, and certainly not Computers. Related to BJT's, FET'S and Microprocessors and the workings of the tiny microscopic little thinga-ma-jigs in your electronic items.

Our curriculum included subjects from a few varied streams, and is common for all branches in the first year. (There are a total of 4). Which is to say, we learnt a bit of Computer programming, Mechanics (not the car fixing type - The how a bridge is built and how many forces act on a point type), Biochemical Reactions (why?) and Math. Everyone needs Math. Apparently we need complex can-only-be-solved-by-scientific-calculators math, which we learnt for 2 semesters.
If you forgot to take your calculator to the exam, consider yourself failed. or KT like we say...ATKT (Allowed to keep term- can repeat the paper next semester without losing a year). Loosely interpreted as After trying keep trying or Aaj thoda, Kal thoda. For a long time, I had no idea what the official full form was.

Coming to the actual Electronics part - 6 semesters of trying to figure out which direction the current and god-darn electrons flow if opposed by battery which is connected to Voltmeter which in turn encounters a resistance and GAHH. One Semester of VLSI - Very Large scale semiconductor design ---layer by layer designing of semiconductors. What are semiconductors? Let me put it this way - Anything that's computerized or uses radio waves depends on semiconductors. The same subject introduced me to Doping. Yeah, the silicon kind. Its the same thing as regular doping, corrupting the body by unnecessary additives. Only here, your changing the behaviour of Silicon by adding impurities (doping). One semester of studying Amplifiers, Another one on wireless communication (which was BY FAR, my favorite), and a few other Gazillion subjects I cant apply in real life. Now or ever.

In short, after all these fancy sounding names, my practically applicable knowledge of said stream can be compiled into a short note, on a mini post-it, if written in Verdana, Bold, Font 16.
So, 4 years of Engineering. 8 semesters. 1460 days of hell later, I was asked by a very hopeful uncle living in Building -

"Beta, Your an Engineer no? Can you fix my fridge. The De-frost is not working"
Of course I replied with necessary and satisfactorily apologetic Wish-I-Could-help accompanied by offer to walk his dog since I couldn't perform said task. Why couldn't I do it?

a) To fix Fridge, You need Mechanic type Engineer.
b) Mumbai University doesn't believe in Practical Knowledge.
c) Had I Sought a job with an Electronics company after Graduation, I'd have been fired soon after due to lack of sufficient interest/knowledge/experience in the field.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Want to do your bit? Here's a chance

A drive for street kids/ old people on the street…anyone and everyone who has almost no belongings of their own.
Let us give them some clothes to wear, some toys to play with, bedsheets to cover themselves …anything you don't need anymore and which can still be of use. Utensils, Old toys, crayons, bed sheets, blankets, clothes, bags, story books….we'll find someone to give it to. Anything is welcome…

If you would like to contribute (Anything at all), mail us at for an address you could have stuff dropped off at.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

P.S..Dont go

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT! If you've read the book, then no worries =)
In between commitments this Saturday, I made a stupid move. Watched P.S. I love you on my computer. It stars Hillary Swank and Gerard Butler as the main leads...neither of them being my favorite actors by far. Had read the book... and was WELL aware of the story line. Why I dared watch was beyond me. I cried myself to puffiness. And the strange part is, the Movie isn't even all that good! (yeah, I suck). Maybe the next few lines will tell you why.

Holly (Hillary Swank ) is a young woman, married out of love to a not so rich Gerry (Gerard Butler), living in a rented apartment which is no dream mansion. The dream bubble bursts with fights and arguments over mundane inconsistencies of life, with Holly and her I'm-not-sure-what-I'm-fighting-for attitude, exasperation over the size and quality of apartment and general lifestyle. However, Love keeps them together...until he dies unexpectedly. Of a brain tumour. This in itself is no surprise in the movie since the book begins with him already being dead.

Gerry leaves behind notes for Holly - one to be read each month...each with a plan, something she needs to do. These vary from cleaning up the house to getting a new job, to meeting her giant fear of karaoke head on, vacationing with girlfriends...all planned out in the last few months of his death. The opening of these notes, execution of their contents and flashbacks of their life constitute the remainder of the film. All very mediocre in terms of screenplay, dialogues, acting and even direction.
It makes you cry. Thinking of the possibility even. Being widowed before having kids, before even feeling like you've spent a big part your life with him, waking up to an empty bed (a heartbreaking scene of Holly instinctively asking Gerry to turn off the lights and patting his side of the bed, only to wake up and remember hes gone), being widowed at all, realizing you'll need to be on your own now...

It was lesser about the movie and more about the thought of it ever happening in real life and the people it must have happened to. I cant imagine it. I cant deal with the deaths of people close to me. Never learnt how.
Anyway, that was P.S. I love you. Also watched Slumdog millionaire.
I thought it was fantastic. The screenplay was wonderful, the editing crisp and neatly done, the direction and understanding of Mumbai's slums and politics thereof was commendable and complete. I don't see this movie being made better by an Indian Director. For the critics who are slamming the movie publicly, they re either sour grapes or want a piece of the pie...since as a movie...this one is a lesson in itself.
My first reaction was 'I want to go home and watch some friends, to get over the mellow feeling' BUT. A said - 'Its the truth, Why're you running from it?' The 'Its the truth' bit me hard.
How an Outsider come to India, brave the heat and sweat, dust and grime, stink and chaos of the slums and the city, and make such a brilliant movie is beyond me. Through the grotesque visuals, heart wrenching scenes Danny Boyle evokes only one feeling - that of Sympathy. All of us in our fancy homes and designer clothes know fully well that this is a side to Mumbai that exists... In fact a lot of us come face to face with it each day... people squatting on the railway tracks, shanties being dangerously close to the train bogie's, kids with disabilities rapping on taxi windows begging, kids selling rubber bands and hair clips in trains...
Why is it then, that if its shown on the big screen, the Director has portrayed only one side of Mumbai, and is slammed for it? Have these critics not seen 'The pursuit of Happyness'? And why is it that we need Movies to show Mumbai or even India in a glorified splendour, when actually it isn't so?

A PIL has been filed against Slumdog Millionaire that alleges that the title is defamatory since it insinuates that we Indians, are (hold your breath) Dogs. Yeah. Please to ask respective people if they've watched the movie and what its about before wasting out already majorly loaded courts with more baseless PIL's and what not.
Well actually, they're right, we're not dogs, we're dumasses. For these pointless PIL's and not having a decent honest government, for making corruption a part of our lives, that's what we are. So go ahead with the PIL I say, change in adjectives is a must.
I loved this movie. It sank in, when I got home...played so many gruesome scenes back, and felt this overwhelming urge to do something. And its coming. Thats a promise I made to myself, 27th January 2009. Thanks Danny Boyle for shaking me up so much, that I cant ignore it, for reminding me of something about my OWN city I shield myself from at signals and trains by looking away.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Weight for me?

I really need to get down to it. Working out again i.e. The question is HOW? The Gym i worked out with for 3 years, has gone and gotten itself a new swanky avatar - a new name (5), a new location, and additional activities (A Plush Swimming pool among others).

Sounds good so far. My gym fee used to be about 15 grand (inclusive of taxes) for the year until the last year. I didn't renew gym when my membership expired cause I would've been getting married and moving. (note - missed the offer of a yr membership @ Rs. 18,000). To further note that I am one of those people who -
  • Is not only a foodie, BUT
  • Puts on weight like its in fashion AND
  • Eats when shes upset/angry etc.

This cant be good.

Moving onto the Renewing Business. I acknowledged my wanting-to-get-back-to-gym-and-get-ass-kicked hence called up gym to inquire about new rates.

Me: "Hi, I'm (Insert Real life name), wanted to inquire about your new gym rates, wanted to renew my membership."

Guy (Major smile beaming through phone voice): "Sure Ma'am - The yearly fee is Rs. 27, 555. Would you like us to come by and pick up your payment?"

Me: (Gulps) "27, 555? Inclusive of tax (12.36%)?"

G: (Less smilingly):" Taxes extra"

Me: (Slow sinking cant-afford-it-feeling coupled with quick 27555*.1236 calculation) "What about off peak hours?"

G: (Shes not gonna join voice):"Ma'am we've discontinued the off peak hour rates. We now have a standard fee. This entitles you to use the swimming pool, steam, sauna all for free (FREE, REALLY? wtf am i paying 30 grand for then?)"

Me: (Desperately): "Ive been a member for three years! Cant i get a discount? Is Shahzad (the Manager last I went). Can you please check"

G: (Stop wasting my time voice), (Two minute pause) :" Ma'am we can give you a five percent discount on the total cost"

Me: (mentally calculating 27,555 - 0.05*27,555 = f*ckloads of money): "All right let me call you back shortly"

By now im quite upset and pretty sure I wont be able to join cos shelling out close to 30 G for gym just wasn't happening. My middle class upbringing forbids me from splurging that money although it sits pretty in account, could be put to better use. Anyway, to further (and then end) the conversation.

G: "Ma'am if you were to ask me, our best scheme and most economical one for you is the three year package. Only 69, 555 for three years."

Me: (in my mind) "Shut up"

Me: (Out Loud) :" Ok great, ill have to call you back". (open a send-me-to-gym foundation, gather funds and then)

Now, considering I gymmed with them for three years, its a given that my name and number are in the database. No sooner did I hang up with Euphoria-now-5 guy, i get the sms below -

"Members are requested to bring their own swimming pool caps while availing facilities. The new and improved 5 also has something something for your all round fitness regime."


Anway, Coming back to square one. Needing to get down to it. Must start deadlining. And weight losing. Let me start with 3 Kgs. By end Feb? Anyone wanting to be mentor and shouting at me end Feb if this deadline is not met, feel free. To note I will make sad face and get away so please to be hardass. Volunteers?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bring it on...

I know friendship and Love's supposed to be all Rosy and Giving and Selfless. That's what they say.


I will go only a certain length. I promise to be your friend or lover till the point that there still exists Respect. I Promise to understand your moods and tantrums only till the time that they seem reasonable. I will come back to you after you hurt me only till when I can forgive you again. I will not forgive and forget things that dont deserve it, or repeated mistakes. I will hold on only till the time your holding the other end as tight as I am.

I will let go if I feel you dont deserve me. I wont be there always. There is no forever. You cant just come and go. Shutting out is not a solution. If it was, no one would ever let in. Somethings DON'T get undone. And, there's a window - a window for things to get undone, for things to unhurt, for things to be unsaid and a relationship to rebuild. If you miss that Window, you remain on the outside.

The Good news? There's a choice always. Inside or out?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Who have YOU helped today?

And its growing...

Today I got a forward from a friend about Indiahelps ... and I felt a rush of pride, happiness and excitement all at once. "Its growing" I thought to myself with absolute glee.

For me, it started with leaving a comment on The Nomads blog saying I cant sit still, I need to be up and doing, and Parul's reply asking us both to attend a meeting. Neither of us knew what it was really about, or what we were even getting into... went to the wrong venue, reached over an hour late, but, we made it. We were about 12 of us at the meeting ... from all walks of life... some Professionals, homemakers, self employed...but all with the single minded focus of wanting to help heal wounds of the families affected by the gruesome terror attacks by devoting our time, energy, resources...whatever it takes.

We began by assigning a few families to each person, and gave ourselves time for home visits. Parallel and simulatenous reports from everyone were streamlined into a google group, compiled onto the blog and eventually a dossier of all case studies was prepared. Streamlining of operations is an interactive everyday affair with members coming up with suggestions, and majority votes being the deciding factor. (I got back from a 4 day break with 197 mails lying unread in the Indiahelps folder) =)

We then moved ambitiously into getting a logo, a badge and now a registered web domain (will be shared once complete). A few meetings with Taj Trust to put forth a few cases to them, as well as an unrelated meeting regarding an RTI application for Surjan Singh later, Kiran and I realised the need for visiting cards, and interim cards have been handed out to the founder members.

Yesterday hopefully, the final papers for the Indiahelps Bank account have been filled in ... Cant wait to be up and running and officially registered... its a whole new rush. And to think we were all unknown strangers who came together under one cause --- Im in awe of the women who make me want to give off myself more, with their sheer focus and hardwork. Dilnavaz, Prachi, Kiran, Sumita, Rohini, Priyanka, Lavanya, Aparna, Sayantani, Vidya. You guys are awe-spiring.

This is Kirans baby... so all credit to her for having the courage, empathy and determination to even dream it up. We're just partnering in this cause that gets bigger each day...
Come, join us. Feel the Magic of giving. After all, all you need is Faith.

More Happy :)

Thank you Imp's mom. for these... This award is given to a blog that invests and believes in PROXIMITY – nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! .

For this, please take a bow - Sunshine, Nomad, Kiran, Aditya, Jack, and three more in due course of time.
The above one goes to the Indiahelps team - a family Im so proud to be associated with. Pick them up wonderful wonderful people - Kiran, Orangejammies, Nomad, Parul, kbpm, wordjunkie, Rohini and for the non blogger members - Aparna, Sayantani, Nihas...
ee. Hopefully, im deserving.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Oh Boy!!!

Im back (briefly) for a day before I leave for Mahableshwar (tomorrow). Before it sounds all cool and vacation hopping, its not. :) Mahableshwar is office review meet thingy which owing to (a**hole recession) is NOT happening in a foreign location. In case the small unkypunkymood badge on the blog is not visible clearly and telling folks, I was in GOA for the last 5 days. :) got back last morning wayy too early in the morning for my comfort and headed to work.

My voice, will join me in a few days (is still in Goa somewhere I suspect) . Hence until then I shall resort to hoarse whispering and typing on cellphone, since I sound like a MAN.

Coming to the trip, Oh boy-oy-oy-oy-oy!!! Never before have I had SO MUCH fun concentrated in a space of 5 days before! The place we stayed at (Hacienda) was 5 mins away from Baga beach, really homely and inviting...considering we were a group of 42 people, we filled up the place, and pretty much took over the house. At any point of time, if you were to walk around the place, you'd find some of us scattered around - on the lawn, in a few open rooms, in the reception. we were everywhere! :)

Partied till 5 each morning, ate prawn curry rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Had there been any meals in the middle, we would've had the same then as well I suspect.

The TAN. Much lesser and quite subdued compared to the Maldives trip, which had everything to do with me acting like Miss Freak-of-nature, applying and reapplying suntan every 30 mins or so, hiding under humongous (and really cool) hat which i bought an hour into reaching Goa. (i also did jet skiiing after sunset, and also jumped into th water only then which would've contributed to a major proportion of the tan had there been one.) O kay, don't judge me, I got bai-like tan the last vacation i went to, and I'm mentally scarred for life.
Meals were eaten at Boscoes (Baga), Zanzibar (Baga), Curlies (Anjuna), Brittos, club Ivy, Totos and breakfasts in Hacienda itself. Yummy french toast and chaai everyday :) Partying happened at Ivy, Nine Bar (Rave type but INSANE house music), Poison and Shiro (must-see full on romantic dinner by the sea type place).

To add to the frenzy of all things that happened, I had a bike accident and got a Tetanus injection too. The bike accident was scary, obviously miss smarta** was riding. And for reasons known to her, lost control on a turn. What ensued was 10 mins of people trying to ascertain damages by cellphone light since it was dark. I'm fine though, a bunch of NASTYY bruises on knees, stomach and thighs aside. A, behind me was fine too, a few scratches here and there... What Ill remember from this fall is falling, not knowing what the f happened for the first 2 mins, and hearing A say 'S, are you OK' repeatedly till I managed a 'I'm fine'. Persistent little brat stands up, even though he was hurt too, stands me up, does a quick recce, and doesn't stop worrying till we reach home and dab undiluted dettol all over. (YARGH).

Anyway, so that was the bike accident. Scared I was, sore and hurt all over the next few days, but the blow to the ego was the biggest. My first reaction (absurdly) was to blame A for my loss of balance. I wish I could pass it off as him having distracted my attention, but as a rider, I am fully accountable for my own as well as my pillions safety, so It was my fault. Though I wish it was his. or someone Else's. But that's the thing, A was so concerned about my safety and the hurts I felt creepy and petty for wanting to blame someone else.

There was a dance...the kinds I always wanted. Beach, stars, music, red dress. And jet skiing in the moonlight, with the moonrays dancing along with us...BUT that's a whole new post.

All in all, this trip was a million thoughts, a trillion memories and a gazillion posts rolled into one.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Mom and Dad files

Happy new year has been wished and all that, but since this is my first post of 2009 its only Apt that I say it again - Happy New year everyone! Lets renew our faith and strength and gear up for this year.
Happy Birthday Mom! Her birthday was on the 4th, and was celebrated with a small Chocolate Hazelnut Cake from Gaylord (Please, get some for yourselves too, its unbelievable *smacks lips*) We did the whole candles (one for each decade + one for the other years) and she still insisted we had too many in there!

On another note, that night, as we sat waiting to leave, to go out for dinner my Dad and I were talking and I happened to mention seeing a set of suitcases he had bought from a friend, in a store on Colaba.
Let me give some background. Dad is a simple person, he understands politics only from the news, and will do anything for his friends, unquestioningly. He tends to believe too easily and hence qualifies to be on the gullible side - anyone sounding slightly in need/genuine, and my dads sold. This obviously means he's been cheated at points of time in his life.. by people he never thought possible. And he's movd past it as though he should've known better.

Anyway, recently he bought a pair of really nice suitcases from a jogging buddy who claimed he bought it from Abroad and is giving my dad a massive discount on it. Daddy, having bought the story, proceeded to buy the suitcases and very proudly came and gave them to me since they were very nice :)
A casual walk down Colaba, Mom and I discovered the same bags, (size, colour, brand) et all in a store, and cheaper than what the uncle had sold it to my dad for... we were stunned. Verified and cross verified when we got home, to confirm our suspicion. it was the same bag, CHEAPER.

I was mentioning this to him the other day as we sat waiting - 'Dad we saw the same bag, same brand etc...Uncle cheated you'. No sooner did I say those words than I saw a shadow go over his face, blanketing it with a softness, a tiredness and reluctant disbelief a look that I hope I never see in his strong, determined face ... and he said 'No I havent been cheated, it mustve been different'.

And there wasnt a bone in my body that wanted him to think otherwise. 'Yes', I said. 'It mustve been a different brand'.