Little Miss Sunshine!!

A pinch of salt, a spoonful of sugar,a mixture of condiments,a dollop of cream... so are my stories, so are my dreams!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Adieu I had to say to thee

Adieu i had to say to thee,
The one who gave me love beyond all measures!

She crossed the threshold with a heavy heart. She knew that it was the last time she would walk through those empty corridors, An echo seemed to resound from her heart "Don't go!". There was no way she could put an effort to listen to it. All plans had been made, she was going in search of a better world, to gain knowledge, to pursue better things in life, and her mind told her that this sadness was unnecessary on her part. But her heart couldn't think!

It could only recall memories. It’s a funny thing "Life"! , as we get older we want to hang on to our past memories and old friends...When we are young we never feel the need to hold on to anything. When she changed her school from fifth standard to sixth she had not felt this deep sadness enveloping her from all sides, when she left school for college education she had not experienced this....then why NOW? "Am I becoming old?" she thought to herself, "why am I clinging on to everything here when I myself have often said that life couldn't get any worse than working in this place?"....

There have been many a time when she thought she was just going to die breaking her head on the keyboard for the amount of work she was loaded with. She hated the appraisal politics, the work shirkers and worst of all people who just dumped work on you mindlessly and went away for the weekend. But somehow the emotion called "Love" has always had a stronger hand over "Hate". She had been surrounded by people who had been innately good. Of course that realization always hits you late and hard!!

There had been times like those in her father’s days when people used to work together for 35 years then sought retirement from work and still kept in touch but in the current working conditions working together for even 2 years was quite an achievement. Everything is so fast paced where people keep coming and going out of our lives, while very few leave imprints in our hearts. She counted her friends as one of those few…. It is so hard to meet good people, that too to meet people who actually understand you and take good care of you is something very few are destined to get.

As she was about to board that plane, she hugged each one of them so tight that she just did not want to let go. She just wanted to stand there and talk for hours, but a lump formed in her throat and she was unable to utter even a single word. They reassured her by saying that they were only a click away…

Whoever said that human beings have become more like robots running only after money has never been proved more wrong coz when she saw her friends for one last time she knew there existed an intangible bond that could never be broken.

P.S: This blog is dedicated to all my friends at chennai whom i ll miss once i go to Alabama!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

An ode to the city I call HOME

To meet, to know, to love and then to part,
is the saddest tale of many a human heart
- Anonymous

Adieu, Adiós, Sayonara, Alvida, khuda hafiz.....Goodbye!!

This is not a post that talks about how much I hate to say a farewell, since I am leaving for US in a month from now, but this post is about the 10 best things I have always liked about Chennai... a city that has pretty much given me everything!

1. The Beach
Yeah that’s right Asia's longest beach tops my list.... one of the best hangouts at Chennai and its FREE!! No entry fee! Unless of course u wanna have food at planet yum... but the best time to see the beach is under the starry sky, makes you wonder at nature's profound never-ending miracles. Be it marina, Besant Nagar, Mahabalipuram or a private beach at one of the ECR resorts, these sandy shores are just an hours drive from anywhere within the city. Where else would you get this luxury???

2. The Temples

This city has never lost its old world charm. Though we have paved the way for IT revolution we still abide by and coexist with tradition...That’s one of the most charming things about this city. We still have famous temples such as Kapaleeswarar temple, Shri Parathasarathy temple and Vadapalanai temple which are visited on almost all auspicious occasions. Some of the temples are even as old as 1000 years but our everyday lives still revolve around these architectural wonders of the yester years and in a way we are proud of our rich cultural and literary tradition.

3. Shopping

Chennai is truly a shoppers paradise... shoppers stop, Globus, our very own pondy bazaar(where a 500 rs item can be bought for 50 rs if you know how to haggle) and i don even have to mention Spencer Plaza which has been here for over a 100 years now has become quite the nickname of Chennai. Of course if you get into one of these places u really can’t come out but it’s a great hangout anyways and one of Chennai’s specialties ... within a radius of about 2 kms T.Nagar has almost anything and everything you will ever need in your whole life.

4. Multi cuisine food

Be it saravana bhavan or subway, Sangeetha or little get almost any cuisine here and truly the best of them. Although nothing can really beat a Ghee roast or hot hot idlies with sambar.... No wonder Indian food is still considered a delicacy in many countries. Sometimes i get the feeling our kind of cooking involves 100 different ingredients and to make three courses of such food items, each cooked in a different style, truly involves humungous amount of time and effort....Never know how our moms manage it. havent asked her about it coz im afraid she will say "No its not that hard. Why don u give it a shot?"

5. Bustling with life

I have never seen a city more alive and bustling with life as Chennai is( haven’t seen Mumbai though) . Life on the roads starts as early as 4 am when the milk van makes a round of the around 5 am, school students start going for tuitions classes. By 9.30 the traffic reaches such levels that you are forced to drive through the roads inch by inch until you reach the destination....I will miss Chennai’s traffic the most….it kinda wakes u up from sleep on your way to the office :-)

6. Filter coffee

Chennaiites are coffee lovers....We like coffee even in our desserts (Tiramisu :-)). Ever since I was 3 yrs old the first thing I have seen in the morning is my dad having a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper. We have lots of cafes springing up all over the place but nothing can take the place of a well brewed hot hot cup of filter coffee that my mom makes early in the morning.....

7. Cinema

Cinema is very much a part of every chennaite's life....We wait months for the release of a movie and even pay hundreds to catch the first day first show amidst all the fan frenzy atmosphere in the theatre...but gone are the days when going to a movie meant standing in queue for hours to get a ticket. Everything has become simpler with the advent of internet. Theatres have become a lot more customer friendly and multiplexes cater to almost everybody’s taste in entertainment. Though the food items are atrociously expensive, watching a movie has become more of an experience to savor.....

8. Auto

Boon or a bane, they are here to stay. Nothing to beat an auto ride through Chennai’s very own tortuous roads filled with potholes on a rainy day. No one can stop them from asking almost triple the usual cost if they find out you are new to Chennai....but some are very interesting to talk to. Some really have an opinion on almost everything. I have even come across an auto driver who has a light music troupe and goes to Malaysia for singing.... but one thing is for sure, any day, anytime you walk out of your home, you can hail an auto to reach any destination(as long as you are ready to pay them!)

Whether you love them or hate them you just can’t ignore them! :-)

9. Rains

Rains????? In Chennai??? You might wonder if that’s a joke.....Accepted they are very rare and far in-between but we do enjoy rains when it pours down. I still remember my schooldays when they used to let us off early due to rains and we used walk with a schoolbag and a raincoat, play in the puddle, get drenched in the downpour, watch the weather report at home and pray fervently that we should have a cyclone the next day so that all schools will be on leave.... Of course there might be power cuts during rains but then u have electricity everyday, rains come only once in a blue savor it when it comes!

10. People

All through the hustle and bustle of everyday life, if only we take the time to look around us at an autowallah or the flower vendor we can understand what life is truly all about.... most of them I have spoken to have come to Chennai in search of jobs, to earn a living. I think that’s one of the remarkable characteristics about this city. For the past 200 years people have been pouring into this city in search of a better life, in pursuit of happiness and have made this place what it is today. It is truly incredible that these people have still not lost touch with their roots. They have not forgotten to smile and lend a helping hand….

Many still crib about life being difficult in this metropolitan with the crowd, competition and hectic life schedule but I would only say "What’s life without a little challenge? Can we do without a pinch of salt in our food? Then why shirk it when it comes to life as a bigger picture?!!!"

The old chennai (mount road in 1905)

Chennai now (current view of mount road)

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Sweet Poison

I seem to have loved you,
In numberless forms, numberless times,
In life after life, in age after age forever.
My spell-bound heart has made and
re-made the necklace of songs
That you take as a gift,
wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age forever.

-Rabindranath Tagore

Quoted above is an extract from one of my favorite poems. All I have to say is that it can also act as a sweet poison! Read on to find out how?

A Sweet Poison

Monday, June 18, 2007

The defect hoopla

He was just dragging his legs towards the "Gallows"...was he going to be hung for his mistakes or derided in front of his own people or banished forever???!!. The scene described here ironically refers to the emotions felt by Rohit, a software developer whose code had a bug and meeting was called forth to describe how this situation could have been averted. He was musing over all possible lines of defence he could take. His options were "I did not send that mail", "I did not code that function", "someone tampered with my computer", in final desperation he also wanted to shout "Earthquake people run!! run for your lives!"...

He expected the room to be filled with gleeful spectators waiting to see the lion slay the man as in the roman times...He felt indignant and made an oath to himself that he will never help any of those people with their code ever again! This was not even his first choice.He was one of those people caught up in this giant spider web of deceit.

He remembered how huge the corridors had looked when he first stepped into the company. The Business Unit head had personally addressed him and said he was being offered this splendid opportunity of working on such cutting edge high-end technology which will provide him with ample opportunities to broaden his technical skill-set and further explore the managerial abilities buried deep inside him!!(abyss would have been a favorable word)....if someone came up to him and said that dialogue now, he would slap that guy and say "Yeah right!"... but then we are all novices at some point in our lives.

Moving on from one lousy and supposedly high-end project to another he had finally hit upon a project where the skills obtained could actually be put down on his resume(apart from Microsoft word, excel and powerpoint)...but he had ruined this for himself. The mistake not exactly being only his, still cost him his self-dignity, something that he still possessed or atleast thought he did. And then it hit him, a brainwave, could it work??

It was only him and the manager.... apparently not everyone was invited to this defect hoopla. He told the manager "Sharath, I'm quitting!".The expression on his manager's face "PRICELESS!".

Sharath(now almost falling from his chair): Oh what caused this sudden decision on your part?
Rohit: Well the working ethics of this project coupled with the stress of forestalling defects and managing time constrained deliveries do not confirm with what I expect from a project"

(Rohit gave a self satisfied smug look that seemed to say "Yeah I have learnt to say such stuff too").

Sharath: Er...Ehem...(say something!anything!) But you are one of our most enterprising employees... we cannot afford to lose you.
Rohit: But the consequences of this particular defect has shown me that may not be a the case.(He hazarded this statement not knowing what it might provoke!)

Sharath: I'm extremely impressed at your being such a responsible person. you are the cog that holds this team together
Rohit: It has come to my hearing that Clientele were misinformed about my work and are not happy about it?

Sharath: You shouldn't believe all that you hear. On the contrary I'm just sending them a mail informing about your latest responsibilities and discussing about your onsite opportunities
Rohit: Well will this mistake be taken up during my appraisal?(gaining confidence with every question!)

Sharath: Say no more...these things happen in a project.I give you my word it will not affect your appraisal. I have personally done bigger mistakes and escaped scott free(with a sheepish grin!)
Rohit: (Of course you did n you still do!) Well my personal life has taken a toll since I started working on this project

Sharath: Oh I totally understand...take a week off!! go for a vacation and lets not hear about this resignation any more.Keep up your good work....
Rohit: Sure!!!(he had formulated a new all-in-all strategy! Success sure is sweet!)

Monday, June 11, 2007

A story left unsaid...

The sands of time had long since passed
Some inexplicable loss, her heart still possessed
that verses of music and drops of rain could not lessen..
As she wondered when would he ever return?

Every nation was at the knifes edge
It was a flame that no one could assuage
Soldiers had left home to defend their country
sadly aware that coming back may never be a fortuity

She said to herself that she will not weep
There were still great many promises to keep
which they had made with a tear and a smile
some 20 years back, as they had walked down the aisle

Her two beautiful angels were her only solace
a pillar of strength in whom she sought peace
The days went on and Seasons had passed
Will he ever come home? to herself, she oft asked

One day a miracle had taken place,the war had ceased
array of proud soldiers marched towards their crease
there was festivity in the air
coupled with all the Christmas cheer!

when his voice chanted "To all a Merry Christmas!"
The house reverberated full of life with joy and happiness...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

LIFE!! is it worthwhile?

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."
- Martin Luther jr

As she looked out of her window, she saw children playing in the garden, some anxious faces talking to each other, some elderly people taking brisk walks...she thought to herself "Life... so ironic, the more it challenges to frustrate and trouble us, the more we try to hold on to it!". It has its own pits and falls, stretches of smooth roads, yet the journey is worthwhile...or is it???

She had been a Software Engineer, as each one of her friends....She had trudged upon the road most frequently traveled. It had been days before she had called up her college friends with whom she had spent the happiest days of her life yet not one day did she complain about it because she believed she was doing something worthwhile with her life...

"Worthwhile!!! Humbug!!"- Uncle scrooge would have said...

And then one day she met with an accident, an accident that changed her perspective on life, its beauty and purpose. All along what lakhs of money had not taught her, an accident because of which she had lost almost everything (including her job) did. The first time she sat in that wheelchair, nothing seemed more monstrous an idea. However, gradually as it became her best friend, she started to stroll along, meet people and probably for the first time in her life she started to look at what surrounded her.... each dawn of a day, each Sunset, each ray of Moonlight and each raindrop seemed to touch her and say "Life is indeed beautiful!!! Hope is just around the corner"

The nurses who took care of her day and night, the ward boy who brought flowers for her every single day with a beaming smile seemed to have more fulfilling lives than she ever did…

She felt enlivened, energized, invigorated at the thought that someday she will be able to run in the sands of the beach, run as if wind was chasing her or jump out in ecstatic joy… things that she had never done when she was sitting before the Computer almost 16hrs a day was then she made a decision that she will bring a smile upon every face she sees and help in the betterment of atleast one life a day. Then "Life will be truly worthwhile!!!"