A hot cuppa chai

Today was one the rare days that I managed to coax my self to get up early and come in by 9 to office. (Ok not entirely. There is one person am indebted to for this.) This is a feat which has many pitfalls. Some metaphorical and some literal. It starts off with having just 20 minutes to devote to morning ablutions most of which is done in a fast forward mode because of two reasons.

One: am late. Two: am VERY late. It also entails putting on some moisturizer and accessories simultaneously though if asked to repeat the feat at a later point of time would only fetch one a scowl. One would also probably never see a repeat performance, of putting on a dress and combing hair at the same time, either. ‘Why can’t I get up 10 minutes early?’ is a pretty valid question and everyone who knows the ‘morning person’ in me has shot it at me at one time or another. I cannot explain enough to them that the satisfaction of a full nights sleep is in those very last 10 minutes of it. The luxury of ‘five-more-minutes’ is unparalleled in this world. It works wonders for one’s day-long demeanor. Sometimes it also quickly manifests itself into a wonderful dream. Ok, alright, this is not a post to rant about sleep (ohhh so dear!). Somewhere before my exposition on sleep began I did mention that there were certain pitfalls in coming in to office early. The foremost one is the lack of nourishment. There is no time to get rid of my hunger. For breakfast silly! Reach the bus stop and the van is just about to leave. Jump in and right-ho to the driver who just glares back at me since am an ‘id ka chaand’. Even got threatened to be thrown out of the van once since the driver dint recognize me and I dint recognize the term ‘bus pass’. Then starts the literal pitfall. We are taken through one big pot hole which has roads at some places along the way. It’s a constant challenge thrown at me. I defy the verdict and try to sleep through the whole roller coaster ride. Today I even managed to keep my eyes closed the whole way except for two very special spots. And this also only to prevent myself landing in the lap of the guy sitting next to me. After all this I come in to office and find that what I had endured for has got postponed anyway. AAARRGGH I need my hot cuppa chai to get over this crisis. Catch u later!


Tsunami Birthday

A strong breeze
A strong waft of salty water
Bright lights in the distance
Sparks at the corn cart closer still
Popcorn popping a few feet away
Dim lights at the “Molaga Bajji” carts
Fringes of hair on one’s forehead moving around
Dresses flapping gently in the breeze
Waves lapping up at the shore
Blissful calm yet it’s the high tide
Twilight in full swing, beautiful
Darkness rapidly descending but not in anyone’s heart
Exotic cloud formations in the sky
Families near the water’s edge
A whole lot of people getting their feet wet
Some fearful, pulling back their loved ones
Others venturing farther into the inviting sea
Groups of friends lazing around on the sands talking
Couples cozily stuck to each other walking along the water’s edge
Singles stuck to their mobile phones walking a little away from the water
Peals of laughter erupting around
Children running around in gay abandon
Some playing run and catch
Others getting reprimanded for not “behaving” themselves
Some dancing merrily at the edge of the water
Some more getting a bit more adventurous
Some clinging to an adult’s hand
Others just running away from waves
Everyone happy
Everyone celebrating life

Is this the same sea which gulped so many people a year back?
Is this the same monster which destroyed so much of life?
Tough to believe given today's sight...but a hard fact of life for many

At the Marina Beach, Chennai on 25 Dec 2005 :

A hot butta in one’s hand
A warm hand on one’s shoulder
A gentle smiling face in front of one’s eyes
A great conversation at one’s disposal
A wonderful companion in one’s life

On the first anniversary of the deadly
Tsunami :

Sadness and tears for those who are not with us
Courage for those who defied the sea
Love for those who lost their kin
Cheer for those who live on
Success for those who strive to stand up again


Huh....who am I??

Your Career Type: Enterprising

You are engertic, ambitious, and sociable.
Your talents lie in politics, leading people, and selling things or ideas.

You would make an excellent:

Auctioneer - Bank President - Camp Director
City Manager - Judge - Lawyer
Recreation Leader - Real Estate Agent - Sales Person
School Principal - Travel Agent - TV Newscaster

The worst career options for your are investigative careers, like mathematician or architect.


Blog vs Talk

Lets say there are two close friends. Both of them blog...a lot. Blog's like their dairy. Now both of them keep commenting on each other's blogs too. Comment, reply and so on in a loop. Would these people have anything to talk (as in using their mouths) about when they meet?
Whereas consider this situation vice versa..there are two close friends. They talk (yak-yak) a lot. And as is obvious in a verbal conversation there are comments and replies in a loop. These people I am sure could blog about the same thing and get away with it. Wot say?

(Siri speedily posts this "thing", packs her bags and runs home in a bid to get away from the brickbats being hurled towards her by fellow bloggers)


Of terrible tuesday, gruesome crime and we the people

What prompts a crime? Is it the victim or just the criminal’s mind or both? This is the question that always comes to my mind when I come across any crime especially dealing with assault, rape, murder and many such of the same ilk.
It was the very same question which came to my mind when I first heard the news about HP BPO's employee Pratibha Krishnamoorthy Shrikanth. In my tormented mind I imagined her fear as the sick guy committed the heinous crime. I read about the police’s reaction to it. But my question is “Will checking the background of all cab drivers prevent this”? Nobody is born with an evil mind. It’s developed over a certain period of time or it’s developed in one weak moment. I am also a bit skeptical about the background check itself. There are ways and means known to many about by-passing laws. It’s a universal truth and let’s acknowledge it. We did our bit of living room discussion on the subject when one of us raised the point that sending security guards with every cabbie might be a good idea. But my skeptical mind raised another question “How will you trust the security guard? On what basis?” We have heard of criminal incidents involving security guards as the main culprits. Whom do we trust? What about cases of mugging in broad daylight? Withdrawing money from an ATM or bank doesnt feel secure anymore. What can one do in such a situation where you have an assault weapon in your face and nobody around who will help? How do we change this situation of perpetually being in terror? And they talk about cross border terrorism all the time! I for one don’t feel very safe anymore about moving around alone in Bangalore. I have been in Bangalore for the past 17 years and never before did I shirk from walking back home from a bus stop 10 minutes away from home at 9:45 in the night. Now I will. I will become an obsessive compulsive over-the-shoulder looker. Our society is leading women towards a pepper spray and karate revolution. And it’s not only women. What about men who get mugged at knife point. Safety is fast becoming a myth in Bangalore.
I know there are a lot of questions and it’s an open ended debate. But it’s a debate that has to be discussed and a solution to be reached soon. Like Narayana Murthy said in discussion with Bill Gates and Prannoy Roy on NDTV, Indians are great at debating endlessly but we need to arrive at decisions faster (This quote is of course not verbatim. It’s just a quick gist). This need is of a greater consequence today. So let’s rally together and try to pool in our ideas. Let the solution to the growing problem of safety come from us, people!


Sucess at last

...and I owe it all to a very nice Airtel customer care executive!
I am..sorry...I was(yippie!) one of those unfortunate souls stuck with an airtel feature which I enabled quite by accident. The Hello Tunes (groan). From that fateful day till today I have been trying to disable it to no avail. Maybe its my dumbidity or the complicated IVR. Anyway for all ye people stuck with the same problem here is the solution that I got from this gentleman of an executive who dint harass me with questions like "why?", "why not?" etc..

Go to 678 which is the Hello Tunes number
Press # for Main menu
Press 2 to hear wide range of songs
Press 4 for hello tunes profile
Press 1 to unsubscribe
Press 1 to confirm unsubscription

Voila you are rid of it!


Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Narayan

I was initiated into R.K.N's writings by a very dear friend of mine. Prior to that I was an avid reader of run-of-the-mill fast paced western world novels. The first snippet i got to read of R.K.N was ofcourse "An Astrologer's Day" which is part of our curriculum in 1st PUC. It dint create much of an impression in me for I was not really a big fan of humorous stories back then. But once I embarked on the R.K.N journey I have never looked back. I simply love his works.
I will write in detail about my reading experience some time later (I really have to cater to a work deadline rt now), but below is a list of his books for all ye collectors!

's Published Works

1935: Swami and friends
1937: Bachelor of Arts
1938: The Dark Room
1939: Mysore
1945: The English Teacher
1947: An Astrologer's Day , and other stories
1949: Mr. Sampath - The Printer of Malgudi
1952: The Financial Expert
1953: Grateful to Life and Death
1955: Waiting for the Mahatma
1956: Lawley Road , and other stories
1958: The Guide
1960: Next Sunday : sketches and essays
1961: The Man-Eater of Malgudi
1964: My Dateless Diary : An American Journey
1965: Gods, Demons, and others
1967: The Vendor of Sweets
1970: A Horse and two Goats , stories
1972: The Ramayana; a shortened modern prose version
1974: My Days
1974: Reluctant Guru
1976: The Painter of Signs
1978: The Mahabharata: a shortened modern prose version
1980: The Emerald Route
1982: Malgudi Days
1983: A Tiger for Malgudi
1985: Under the Banyan Tree and other stories
1986: Talkative Man
1988: A Writer's Nightmare : selected essays
1989: A Story-Teller's World : Stories, Essays, Sketches
1990: The World of Nagaraj
1992: Malgudi Landscapes : the best of R.K. Narayan
1993: The Grandmother's Tale : three novellas
1993: Salt & sawdust : stories and table talk

Feel free to add to the list if I might have missed any



Frog Prince

Frog Prince
Originally uploaded by siriroop.
On one of the coldest nights in last Christmas, I found this little guy in a show window. All dressed up and raring to go Party.


I met a Beauty Queen this weekend.....

‘Twas the Ford from India, Shubra Aiyappa.

I had my own (little world) apprehensions about what to wear and how to present myself to a supermodel. Come to think of it I never imagined I would one day, me being light years away from the “public life” spectrum. I landed at her house in a blue jean and a well worn and favorite Tantra t-shirt. It was more like the t-shirt would instill confidence in me. (It’s that chilled out feeling one gets when one wears one’s old clothes compared to the jitters in a brand new ensemble). I rang the bell which was on a wall covered with beautiful murals. Waited expectantly to meet the and met a very pretty queen mother instead. "I know where she gets her good looks from", I thought. Then was ushered in and seated in a comfortable sofa. It was then that I got a fleeting glimpse of her standing shyly near the kitchen door. “Was that?…Is that tall young girl in a cute short frock the supermodel?” was all I could think of! She looked so different. At the same time stunning was the word to describe her even sans make up and arc lights. Contrary to popular beliefs about pageant winners, she is a down to earth, very congenial and sweet girl who was as much at home with excited neighbours streaming into her house congratulating her, as with celebrities doing the same on a more public platform. Looking at her sitting cross legged on a dining chair behind the sofas in the living room and peering in between shoulders to watch Star Plus, I wondered whether this was the same girl who looked so much at ease walking the ramp and confessing that she belonged there. Another one of my myths broken. I will not judge a model by her “rampishness” anymore.


Let the early bird get the worm, I don’ wanna

I am sure I am not the only person in this world who has a perpetual problem waking up in the morning...every morning! Eternally having to goad myself to wake up is not really a nice feeling. This mixed with self motivation can be a stressful combination in the wee hours (8 AM and later) of the morning. I am a self confessed "late perker-up". I just can’t keep my mind focused in the mornings. I wake up everyday with my energy levels are at an all time low and without any will power to do anything. As the day progresses I get sharper and become a better thinker. Maybe I am like this particular alien in a movie which needs to absorb sun light to "get alive". Only, in my case it’s more of tube light doing the needful. Since I belong to the world of softwaring, forty five minutes after waking up I find myself at my office with the CPU coming to life with a grudging grunt and the monitor blinking through its sleep :). Lots of people tell me lots of stories about sunrise and the sights and sounds of it. To every such person I counter with a vivid description of beautiful sunsets. Truly, one must pass in front of ITPL during twilight to appreciate God. Its an awesome sight with the multi hued sky in the backdrop and ITPL all lit up in the front. I have somehow managed to convince myself and folks that matter to me that the time you start your day matters less than the productivity irrespective of the time. (I know they don’t really buy it but the protests and the advices have become a bare minimum). So far so good. If the early bird wants the worm I won’t hinder it but puhleese let me be....


Back to school...

Its a very strange feeling one gets when one goes back to school after passing out of it years ago. Your teachers treat you as grown ups (something you are totally unused to being the star brat of the pack). The PT masters (once the reason for all your nightmares) treat you like buddies, laughing with you at the nervous jokes you crack (while there is a stain being formed around the armpit part of your dress). The classrooms feel too small (how did we manage to fit our legs into these tiny benches?). You wonder how you had the patience to sit through 7 hours of school everyday for so many years when now you cant imagine sitting in one place for 17 minutes at a stretch. The black board on which you would write the names of all the people who dared to talk in a quiet "teacher-absent" period and you were the monitor. It sounds almost a silly way of threatening now. But it all worked back then and like a charm.Your heart still thuds dangerously as you climb upto your classroom. The anxieties, the li'l world tensions all come washing back in your mind. You had the need to prove yourself back then. Has anything changed now? I dont think so. I still have to prove myself everyday of my life.


Who made the fat chapatis?!!!

Have you noticed how people get curious about the cook only when the food is bad? This is just a metaphorical statement which holds true for a whole lot of situations outside the kitchen as well. People tend to forget about you unless you do something “not meeting requirements” :)

Food is great, family takes you for granted

Work is great, manager thinks you are talented

Create an issue in case you want to be spotted

Solve it to feel the most wanted!


Blogs - boon or bane for literature?

Blogging gives me the freedom to rant about anything under the sun and above it. It doesn’t have to adhere to the typical start,build up, climax aspects of story telling. I can write as if I am talking with someone.

Is this a boon or a bane??

Does it make more and more people lose the classic charm of story telling?

Does it make more and more people confident enough to tell their stories and not bother about whether it will sell?


Trespassers will be persecuted!

Actually I like most dogs but Pomeranian is one breed I fail to understand. There is a saying in Kannada which aptly fits this breed to the T: “Moorthi chikkadadaru keerthi doddadu” which roughly translated into English means “Even if size is small the fame is large”.

These dogs don’t like anybody apart from the inner circle of their family. They loathe visitors and hate being petted by frequent visitors also. They don’t try to flatter anyone. Stand their own ground in front of any big dog. They don’t wait around to be petted even by family. A very egoistic dog aye? They bark at all and sundry who approach their house. They even bark at passers by and go to the extent of a loud long cacophony if the passerby so much as looks at them in order to find out what offended them. They will establish territory with any passing dog. Don’t lose a chance to show who the boss is.

And don’t forget their bite is as big as their bark. They are not forgiving creatures. They have no moral issues about biting at the least provocation.

I myself have had the misfortune of being bitten by one for no fault of mine. This was way back during my middle school days. I was playing cricket with a group of cousins at one of my cousin’s home. His dog just like Snoopy believed he was part of the game. He basically thought his role was to run with the bowler for every ball. He would sit and wait with the umpire as the bowler would take the run up, then run along with him till he bowled and then move aside as the ball made contact with the bat. A very clever dog. Well, it so happened that I was the umpire for one of the games and the dog was waiting in front of me for the bowler to run astride. The bowler happened to stamp the dog’s tail while running ahead. Immediately the dog spun around saw me standing behind it and bit me on my leg!! No major brainer you would say but I admired the defense mechanism. Of course the admiration came much later. What came first was a huge howl from me which took a long time (and a huge amount of ice cream) to be quelled :)

Meanie in a hotel

The following is the conversation which ensued between me and the “meanie”, actually the receptionist of a well known hotel in Chennai.

Tring tring

Clearing my throat

Tring tring

Ready to speak any minute the receiver is lifted at the other end

The meanie: (In a voice sweeter than honey) Hello X hotel. How may I help you?

Me: Uh-hello….please connect me to the room of Mr.Y

The meanie: Just a minute

Lounge music plays on as I am put on hold for what seems more like five minutes

The meanie: Hello?

Me: Yes hello?

The meanie: There is no Mr.Y in this hotel am afraid.

Me: (worried) Oh it will be the person who checked in after midnight yesterday. Could you please check again?

The meanie: Just a minute

Lounge music….what happened to little courtesies?

The meanie: Hello, I can’t find any Mr.Y who checked in after midnight.

Me: Oh. Oh ok wait I think he would have registered in the name of Mr. Z. Could you please check for that?

The meanie: (A very curt) Just a minute

Tring tring tring tring tring tr..

Line goes dead

I try again

Tring tring

The meanie: (In a voice sweeter than honey) Hello X hotel. How may I help you?

Me: (Temper rising) Hi it’s me again. The last time the call got cut

The meanie: Will connect you again hold on

Rude rude rude

Tring tring

This time it goes to another receptionist

Me: Hello?

Another receptionist: Hello X hotel. How may I help you?

Me: Hi, could you please connect me to the room of Mr.Z?

Another receptionist: Just a minute madam

Lounge music and I am raging

Another receptionist: Hello?

Me: Yes hello?

Another receptionist: Madam I think Mr.Z is not in his room.

Me: Oh in that case could you please take down a message from me for him?

Another receptionist: Just a minute madam while I connect you to the receptionist


In vain the connection had already been made

The meanie: (In a voice sweeter than honey) Hello X hotel. How may I help you?

Me: (Pretty sure she is going to bang the phone down) Ummm hi it’s me again. I just wanted to leave a message for Mr. Z. Could you take it down and pass it on to him when he comes back.

The meanie: (In an angry voice) Just a minute while I connect you

Me: NOOO he’s not in…

Does anyone LISTEN around here?????

Tring tring tring tring tring tr…

Line goes dead

I curse my luck and start all over again

Tring tring

The meanie: (In a voice sweeter than honey) Hello X hotel. How may I help you?

Me: (Trying to put on a nice sweet voice) Hi could you please take down a message for Mr.Z and pass it to him when he returns? I tried telling you he is not in

The meanie: (OMG voice!!) Just a minute

The meanie: (Resigned) You can give your message

Me: “Call me back as soon as you are in”

The meanie: Ok

Me: Right thank…

The meanie: (Express speed) Thank you for calling X hotel.

Line goes dead leaving me wondering if it’s the job or me or her own personal turmoil.


ERP in governance

Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam addressed the people of Karnataka this Sunday on his visit to Bangalore. I was one of the many citizens enthralled by his speech. What captured my heart was the level of detail that was presented to the assembled legislature. Details down to the last GB of fibre optic connections across major cities of Karnataka! I mean, he is a visionary not just the President. There was a variety of topics that he advised the government on ranging from agriculture to IT infrastructure, from decongestion of tier one cities to futuristic town planning. I wondered if making him the head of the government would help our nation and then again that position would not really offer him so much independence to think of next generation governance tactics. Lead kindly light Dr. Kalam!

His speech set me thinking and I strongly believe that what India needs right now is a good ERP system. Running governments of a country is big business. Currently the disjoint sets are too many in number within the same governmental machinery. It is a very simple tree structure with the central government at the node and 28 state governments and 6 union territories (hopefullyIi am right with the numbers) under it at the same level, if you think of it.

  • Unifying all the departments of the states and center under one umbrella system would mean better accountability which I feel is the first thing lacking in our government today.
  • Information retrieval, usage and dissemination would be highly efficient.
  • Limited access would make it more tamper proof.
  • Information keyed in once is available in minutes across the organization.
  • The ROI for the government is very high and long lasting.
  • Finance and operation reports could be generated out of the system.
  • More transparency in governance.
A lot more advantages that is currently not occuring to me but might to you all!


Self respect is the most Elementary Education

I was checking out Azim Premji Foundation's website regarding Universal Elementary Education.
I do have some opinions and beliefs about it and I have written them down as below. It is in no way complete. Will add on to it as and when i can get time out from my work!

When we talk about elementary education, one of my earliest memories in this regard, is of Saroja’s kids. Saroja was our domestic help for sometime at Hyderabad. On Sundays she used to come along with her two kids to help with the cleaning at home. This was the morning prime time slot when a lot of kid programs would be aired on DD1. Both her kids, hardly over 7-8 years old would be glued to the television along with my brother and me who were in the same age group. It used to rather depress me that they would sit on the floor and watch while my brother and I would sit on the comfortable cane chairs. I would invariably ask them to sit up on the other chairs. The kids needed a lot of goading to share even a single chair between themselves for the simple reason that they did not want my charity. I respected this self respect in them and many a times would simply sit on the floors my self. As I knew those kids had not yet started going to school. So it must mean that they had learnt this at home.

For any kind of education to be a success I believe that it should start with inculcating self respect in one self. There are a lot of initiatives being started for elementary education of the urban and rural poor children. But what the initiatives need to emphasise on could be to drive home the point of self importance. The children need to understand that this is not a charity drive for them. They should not start taking for granted the efforts of the innumerable volunteers who are trying to make their lives different. And the volunteers also should not vent their frustrations on the unsuspecting children.

Educating children really begins at home. It is the parents who should start instilling such traits in their children. Today, more and more people are realizing the necessity and outcome of education. This force should be garnered.

I believe it is very difficult to achieve success from any huge effort made on primary education unless it is supplemented by another group working towards issues of the parents as well. A child is a mere pawn in the hands of his/her parents/guardians till such an age where he/she can take his own decisions. Education is a major decision in life which needs to be taken early and hence by the parents.

Children coming from poor families would not have access to knowledge that an urban middle class or rich kid would have with just the click of a mouse. Outdoor programs and educational tours should be made part of the elementary education. Group activities and sports activities would help in inculcating self confidence in children and would also bring out their versatile talents. These are the formative years in one’s character and hence it should abound with a very healthy, competitive and humanitarian atmosphere. The children should learn to look beyond the four walls of their house and imagine beyond the boundaries of their school. Education should not be an endless effort at getting the multiplication tables correctly memorized but should be more of an effort in application of mind with an abacus kind of approach.

Coming back to children not taking the education program for granted. There are a number of schemes through which the basic needs of a child is taken care of by the institution if he/she is willing to come to school. There is a huge drawback that I can see of this. The children get so used to their basic needs being taken care of that there is a fear of stepping out into the world independent. The ‘earn while you learn’ approach would prove very beneficial. The children would learn to be independent at a very early stage. Providing them with a lot of well thought of options apart from just the pot making, doll making, weaving etc would help them in recognizing their interests as well in the long run.