January 27, 2011

Yours Virtually…

Can you really know what farming is like by merely playing FarmVille on FB?
Or what it really feels like to be in involved in the ‘underworld’ – risking your lives, committing crimes day and night - by playing Mafia Wars?
Or building and managing a city playing CityVille?
To run a cafe with a little of Cafe World, perhaps?

An emphatic NO, is it not?

Then WHY, for the love of God, do we have THIS now?!! (More on that.)

January 26, 2011


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

So wrote William Henry Davies in his very famous poem Leisure.

It isn't about standing and staring any more, is it?
It's all about sitting and staring...

At our laptop or desktop screens (at home and at work), at our cellphones/BBs, at the TVs... isn't it?

January 24, 2011

Intonations - Part 2: Write right?

‘Sounding right’ may be easier when voice/speech is involved (of course, at its best along with the visible part - body language). But what of it in written communication? Not too hard to achieve now, is it not?

Gone are the days when only words were used to convey exactly what we wanted; when the choice of words, length of sentences, syntax, punctuations and the like were sufficient to capture and carry our emotions/feelings (“tone”) to the reader. With the advent of internet, instant messengers/chats, SMS, etc. we’ve conveniently added, modified, re-invented and continue to enrich our lexicon.

Intonations - Part 1: Sound Bytes

Human voice is hard to mimic or replace. No surprise then, that digitizing human speech (to near perfection) seems like a dream. Well, perhaps not? 

If you really think about it, it’s the modulation and intonations that are the hardest to grasp and reproduce. I mean - you, I and a million others could be saying the same sentence, but the way we say it (i.e. the tone) makes all the difference. I remember attending a lecture/talk few years ago, where the speaker demonstrated the same with a very simple example. I shall include it, for your benefit.

Jaane Woh Kaise...

Though I'm not the one to usually post lyrics of songs I like (/love), I cannot but help share this one.

Sahir Ludhianvi's poignant and melancholic lyrics set to a simple lilting melody by S. D. Burman, rendered beautifully and honestly by Hemant Kumar from the cult movie Pyaasa. Ever since I got to know of this song (a few years back), I play it every once in a while. Especially when I'm feeling low. One of those songs that can go on a repeat mode in my playlist (will be back with a list of the others, some time).

Jaane woh kaise log the jinke pyaar ko pyaar mila
Humne toh jab kaliyaan maangi kaaton ka haar mila

Khushiyon ki manzil dhoondi toh gham ki gard mili
Chaahat ke nagme chaahe to, aahen sard mili
Dil ke bhoj ko doona (dugna) kar gaya, jo gham haar mila
Humne toh jab kaliyaan maangi kaaton ka haar mila
Jaane woh kaise...

Bichhad gaya... Bichhad gaya...
Bichhad gaya har saathi dekar pal do pal ka saath
Kisko phursat hai jo thaame deewanon ka haath
Humko apna saaya tak aqsar bezaar mila
Humne to jab kaliyaan maangi kaaton ka haar mila
Jaane woh kaise...

Isko hi jeena kehte hain to yunhi jee lenge
Uff na karenge, lab see lenge, aansoo pee lenge
Gham se ab ghabrana kaisa, gham sau baar mila
Humne toh jab kaliyaan maangi kaaton ka haar mila
Jaane woh kaise... 

(I will resist the temptation to say anything further on what I feel about the song or what it means to me. It's simply timeless.)

January 18, 2011

New Look!

(There is nothing exemplary that this post has to convey. )

If you're someone who has been visiting my blog regularly (I know there are very few!), you'd probably have noticed the change in appearance. No, this has nothing to do with the New Year. 

I decided that the 'look' of my blog had to change. Let's be honest, formerly my blog appeared drab, dull, boring and dead! Somehow I always thought that it had to look 'sober'. Enough with the sobriety. Time to bring in some colour (and cheer)!

As I began checking out the Template Designer, I realized one thing - I was spoilt for choices. Seriously... the more choices you have, the more indecisive you become. (Lesson from this season of The Bachelor, anyone?) After deliberating and 'trying on' a few templates, I finally decided that it had to be the sea - something that always draws me to it. And I felt as happily giddy as I was when I began this blog - modifying the details, down to the colours of the links. 

Then I realized that the font settings had not been uniformly applied over all my posts. It just won't do! And so I began the tedious process of modifying all my posts again. If you think that I've lost my mind to bother, I disagree. Sure, it's the 'over-particular' part of me. But in the process, I rediscovered all my earlier posts. Some I'm glad I wrote. Snapshots of life since I began blogging - in some form. Made my night, you see! 

So that's it. My blog is new (and improved, I hope!). 

P.S. Help/Advice required:
  1. I've always had trouble with paragraph breaks in Blogger. WHY is there more gap between some paras?
  2. Does anyone know how I can put a 'Read more...' link for long-ish posts (I do ramble more often than keep it short!).

January 13, 2011


What do you generally do with these – bus tickets, movie tickets (any ticket, in fact), receipts, bills, ATM receipts? Those small pieces of paper that are ‘useless’. Chances are:

  • Bus tickets – You won’t even wait for the conductor to hand it to you. And even if he did, you just toss them aside, or crumple them and throw them out the window, or what’s more often seen – just leave it in the bus and it’ll be floating/flying like confetti.
  • Movie tickets - You save it till the end of the show. Once the movie is done, you throw them there for the sweepers to clean.
  • Receipts/Bills – You absent-mindedly take them from the cashier and stuff it somewhere in the shopping bags or in your purse. If you do keep it carefully it’s because – you need it as proof for reimbursement; it’s a ‘group purchase’ and you need to settle the ‘accounts’; if you did a debit/credit card purchase you keep it for a while to ensure that the transaction was error-free.
  • ATM Receipts – You look at the Balance, heave a sigh and toss it (after crumpling/tearing) in the basket provided. Some just don’t bother with the basket or the crumpling.
Now, what do I do? 

January 6, 2011


Do all relationships have a name? Can all feelings be compartmentalized? Are there no relations that move into one another, blurring the so-called ‘boundaries’?

As Shobha tried hard to grapple with her emotions, the feelings she once harboured surfaced again. Ashu was never her boyfriend. He was her friend. But just a friend? No, definitely something more. She’d even tried considering if she had any ‘brotherly’ feelings for him. Far from it. She felt she was very close to him, probably more than any of her relatives. Then what was this all about?

January 5, 2011

Have(n't) you noticed? - #2

Mallu Christians in (Mallu) Movies

A thought just crossed my mind the other day – regarding how achayans and achayathis are portrayed on celluloid in Malayalam movies. Sure, there are the quintessential elements - rubber plantations (or rubber estates, as they're popularly called), affluence (as a result of those estates), a successfully-running family enterprise, joint family setting (replete with the son-in-laws, atleast three or four generations, and a few family members in the US who are home on vacation), a Father (pallile Achan) and church-related activities (which can include X’mas celebrations/Palli Perunnals), the merry-making and jolly times. Speaking of which - any such celebration is incomplete without the… yes…‘cheers’! It is a scene that will invariably be there, we’ve seen ‘em many no. of times, in many forms, but it is entertaining nevertheless!

Grandfathers, sons, sons-of-sons, the ungles (family friends) and sometimes even the kaaryasthan (a person who looks after the affairs of the family) sit around in the verandah/courtyard/living room during evenings/nights (usually before dinner) and lose all their inhibitions (well, almost). A setting in which the patriarch in the family steps down from the Ivory Tower, loses some of his willful authoritarian and disciplinarian nature and allows jokes about himself (of course, you dare not misunderstand and over-step the limits!). Other things that complete the ensemble are:
  • Men who are slightly embarrassed to drink in front of their father/elders (may even include one younger member of the family who has been initiated into drinking lately and has not ‘had it’ with his family yet). He’s gently prodded (or even violently encouraged!) to go ahead sans discomfort. Beverages can range from patta chaarayam to scotch and whisky.
  •  Discussions regarding business, enemies, and family members are a given (this bit depends a lot on the story of the movie and where this scene is placed in the narrative). Business discussions are more of ‘status updates’ and future ventures (because generally each member of the family owns/is responsible for a certain area of business); enemies are linked to business or (past) family feuds; family member discussions involve marriage proposals for those in the “marriageable age bracket”, discussions on kids – their education/achievements, some ‘secrets’ or leg-pulling – all this is usually the part that’s meant as lighter moments in this scene/movie.
  • Singing and/or dancing is optional. 
If you’re wondering what the rest of the family is doing…

Have(n't) you noticed? - #1

Mallus and the 'Vo'!
Mallu sterotypes include people who say “YEM BEEE YAY” (instead of “EM-BE-AY”, the way it’s supposed to be pronounced). But there’s something else I’ve noticed too. Well, I don’t know if it’s only a Mallu phenomenon (others can substantiate). Anyways, as far as I know we have a problem with ‘vo’. And by that, I mean English words that start with a ‘v’ followed by an ‘o’.

It’s as good as the ‘v’ not being there (or rather, it ‘remaining silent’).
Have(n’t) you noticed how it’s always ‘Odafone Comedy Stars’ ; or come election time candidates are literally begging for ‘otes’ (ottu…as in a popular song from the movie Classmates – Veeshana party-kk-ottilla; tholkkana party-kk-ottila…!); or how bad the power situation is, that most of the times there is no ‘oltage’???

Other V’s are fine, though – we have no qualms in saying Vicks or Video, the way it’s meant to be said!

The paradox, though, is that we start adding the ‘v’ sound to words that begin with a ‘o’ sound. It’s wokay, and wolright (alright), and not to forget a certain Biology teacher: GONOPHORE - Gee-Woh-Yen-Woh-Pee-Hech-Woh-Aar-Eee! ;-)