Sunday, October 25, 2009

If I could revist my past...

I would tell this to my 17 year old self, who was very Indian, very mallu.

  1. Stop being so judgmental. Do not judge a person's morality by checking if they smoke, drink alcohol or have been in a physical relationship.While we are at it, relationships are supposed to be physical.

  2. Love at first sight is a lie. Curiosity, attraction, and the feeling of 'I would like some of that' at first sight are all true. Do not confuse them with love.

  3. Even though you look like the ugly duckling now, one day, you will be called beautiful in a regular basis.

  4. Do not think that anyone over 23 is old. You will be older than that day, and feel younger than you were feeling now.

  5. Do not waste your time changing yourself for anyone. Change as change happens to you.

  6. Friends before gents, any time.

  7. Value the honesty of your friends. Have friends who love you enough to be honest with you, not the ones who want to gloss over the truth.

  8. Stand up for yourself. You don't have to make everything better for everyone.

  9. You will never be cool.But you will be well liked and accepted by people who you think are cool.

  10. You will have the satisfaction of obliquely giving the bird to those relatives who piss you off.

If you could time travel back ten years, what are the 10 things that you would tell your younger self?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Forgetting is a heinous crime

Don't you know about 9/11?

Of course you do. If you are technologically savvy to read my blog, you have heard about 9/11.

Given that I am an Indian, chances are that, you might be from India.

Do you remember the day of the Mumbai blasts? Which one, you ask me? Good question. What about any of them? And I am assuming that none of your near or dear ones got directly affected by it.


I don't either.

It is funny, isn't it? Almost 3000 people died in 9/11, in a country where most of us will not eventually end up living. Still, We all remember that. How many Indians died in terrorist attacks in India? Let us take the Kashmir insurgency also into account, if you will.

I have no idea. Neither does Google.I however, found this little gem in wikipedia.

Fifteen attacks in the last nine years. Which averages to a minimum of one attack every year. Has the frequency of the attacks numbed us? Is that why we do not care?

Is that why I do not care?

You can always point out that the US Government retaliated with brute force, striking out at someone. We did not. But that is no reason for us to forget our dead.

And I plead guilty of the gravest crime - forgetting the shock, forgetting the dead and the living, those who had the misfortune to be in the right places, at the wrong time.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

A step at a time...

Walking is the best way to discover Helsinki.

When you walk, you look around you, and see that behind the bush you pass in a tram is a small urban garden that you have never seen. You see the dogs with the soulful eyes inside cars and outside supermarkets waiting for their owners. You even get to pet them, if their owner happens to come by.

You look up, and you see the architecture of Helsinki. Many have complained about the Helsinki buildings looking too sterile, but they have not seen the peacocks, spiders, mermaids and imps that adorn the apartment buildings. They have definitely not seen the micro gardens that hang on their hooks from the balconies, small rebellions against a space limitation which prevents one from having a garden.

You look sideways when crossing the road, and you see a beautiful sunset on one side and magnificent clouds on the other. You look back and straight ahead and see the sea and the ghosts of hills who fell to the power of machinery.

You feel eyes on you, and you look up to meet the big green eyes of a cat staring at you from a window. You look down and a see a blond, blue eyed little face with surprise written all over it, who just realized that humans come in dusky and black too. You stare back in both cases, share a moment, and walk on.

You get waylaid by dogs who feel entitled for affection. You talk in sign language with the driver of the car when there are no signals to cross and you both need to continue your journeys. You catch men people looking at you, and like it, love it, and sometimes feel creeped out by it.

You press your nose to the front windows of the shops which stay closed, and marvel at the beauty, the uniqueness and sometimes the ugliness of things for sale.

And you realize that, the best thing about walking to your destination is the freedom to stop and enjoy the possibilities of the journey, be it walking alone or with a friend.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Once upon a time in a company...

The more virtual means and ways we have to communicate with each other, the more I love story telling.

Stories are powerful. They are emotional. Great stories inspire and spur you to action. Logic helps you to convince your brain, but if your heart is not in it, you are not going to follow through with your decisions or realizations.

Civilizations nurtured stories that talked about their beliefs and ways of living. Religions use stories as examples of what can and may happen. The movies are popular across the world not just because of the stories they create on screen, but the stories that they build around their key players off-screen too. Games, which are stories which we act out or influence, are also another lucrative business.

So tell stories in your organization. Share and tell stories - inspiring stories of how people risked and succeeded. How people took a stand and it worked for the company in the long run. Of how people looked beyond silos to come together. Of how even the CEO is human. Share the passion. Share the humor. Share the love. Share the doubts, the insecurities, the fears - and go ahead and work in spite of them, anyway.

And share them in the form of stories. Stories about the heroes, heroines, adventurers, healers and comedians who work in the cubicle next to you. You would have just inspired someone.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nokia... Nokia...

There are very few times when you feel pure, unadultrated pride about the company where you work for. This week has been one of them.

And no, it is not about the N900. Which does not mean that I am not excited about the phone. An open source phone, made by the biggest supply chain owner in the world. Can you imagine the fun we are going to have now? The applications that are going to be developed. This is going to be a game changing device.

But, I am more excited about Nokia getting into money transactions. This is going to be as game changing as sms was so many years back.

But more importantly, it is going to allow people to send money back home is a safe and easy way, not falling into the trecherous interest rates of your local moneygram guy. It is going to change the way the villages in Asia and Africa sell and buy. It is going to influence the purchasing habits of the young kids who grow up with mobile phones and their grand mothers who learnt how to use a mobile phone so that they can keep in touch with their extended and far away family. It is going to change the way people handle money.

And that is an amazing, gobsmacking thing to do.

I cannot wait to see how this service is going to be rolled out, and how it changes the way we handle money. I just hope everyone think big and think global. Making it affordable for a daily laborer in India and a sharecropper in Namibia.

Monday, July 27, 2009


And this one was written in a jiffy. Psst... when you are too lazy to write, add a lot of video and that too of cute doggies. Works :)

Shifting bases

I shifted homes recently.

When you pack your bags and move on, and settle down at a new place, it is always good to take stock and see how things have changed, or remained the same.

I loved my old apartment. IT had red hallways, green kitchen and a sleeping alcove. It had a huge bathtub and a large bookshelf. It did not have a television or a dishwasher.

I had spent many cold and rainy days curled up in it's red sofa and working from home, thanks to a liberal employer and home office connection.

I had been woken up in the middle of the night to the sounds of my neighbours making love - and read a book or had a midnight snack so that they can finish with the sounds of advice and encouragement so that I can go back to sleep.

I started cooking more often, and had invited friends over and tried my variations of Indian cooking on them. I have had a dog visit me. I have had a kid eat the food I made and ask for seconds. I hope I introduced cool people to each other that will lead to great friendships.

I fell in love many times there. I fell out of time many times too - sometimes crying, sometimes feeling like laughing my ass off and not showing it on my face. I walked into new friendships and walked away from the toxic ones.

I had a library, a great cafe/snack place and a bar/club near by. I had plants nurtured and killed there. I won and gave away a giant stuffed toy dog.

I never had a television, but I read many books. I played games. I opened my window to hear Iron Maiden play their tunes.

And now, moving into another apartment, very different from the last one, but loved all the same, I am all set to make my life here.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

MIR Article

I have been pretty silent here, but I have been active at MIR.

And going on vacation now. But promise to see if I can blog more via my phone.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Five Things I love about Finland...

Is a quiz on Facebook. Rather than clicking on images and posting it to my profile, I thought it would be better to write them down.

How do I love Finland? Let me count the ways... ( up to five .)

#5. Public transport. This is one of the most amazing public transport networks that I have ever seen. ( Amsterdam, London and Copenhagen also have very impressive transportation networks.) The buses, trams and trains are on time to a fault. And they are plenty, at least in Helsinki.

#4. Nature. I love the way Finns take care of nature. I love the micro gardens which peep over the balconies of apartments. I love the fact that they do not dump ice into the sea, but have separate areas for doing that.

#3. Work-life balance. I love it that my managers - past & present - trust me enough for me to work from wherever I want to. I love it that they take delight in the fact that I have a life outside of work. I love it that my colleagues - past and present - are well rounded people, people one can look up to and learn from.

#2. Friends. I love it that I have made new friends here. I love it that any given day, they reach out to me in real life or via interwebs. I love it that I have met kind, generous and smart human beings who dance to their own rythms and are cool in their own ways.

#1. Freedom. I love it that I can walk alone in the middle of the night and live alone in by myself in an apartment. I love it that I can go and buy alcohol on my own. I love it that I can go to a club and dance the night away, and the fact that men take a No as a No.

I think I found my summer love and he is called Helsinki.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Alone, but not lonely

I am on a trip to Copenhagen tomorrow, all alone.

My first trip alone was in 2007. I had never traveled to reach a destination where I knew nobody. However, When I was to come to Helsinki for a year ( yeah, right.) I wanted to see as much of Europe as possible. But I was not sure if I would find others whose schedules would match up with me.

Hence, listening to my dormant engineering brain, I did a trial run in Goa. The first three days, I switched off my phone, played PC games on my laptop - finished 1 - read - finished two books - ate when I wanted and slept - in my room. Living my life without the demands of anything or anyone; going where I want and eating what I wanted made me a fan of traveling alone.

My last travel also was by myself. Granted, I did meet up with friends, but I decided on my schedule and what I wanted to see - or not to see. I could sit in a part and read Dorothy L Sayers because it was laid out like an English garden and I was not making anybody late. I went to watch movies alone and became one, even though for a short while, with the people in those theaters.

My first travel in June is with a friend. I am sure that the complete serendipity of traveling alone will not be there - it would be more structured to suit both of us. But I am looking forward to that one too, as traveling with friends help me rediscover them all over again and realize, with a relief, that they have not changed all that much.

But I am looking forward to traveling tomorrow too, as it will help me rediscover the person I love and value the most in the world : me.

And I am really excited to meet her.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Spring is here.

I saw my first spring flower, a tiny dot of bright yellow, on my way back from work last week. I have been able to stay up late and wake up early, all without an alarm clock. I can smell the new buds in the air. Looking closer, the buds are deep red like new born babies, waiting for the perfect cue to surprise us. Bulbs have started sprouting out, and some have even stated budding. Birds keep singing, never mind that is is still around zero degrees here.

Spring is here. The the students of Helsinki have suddenly transformed the city into a more colorful place, wandering around in groups, decked up as peacocks in all their university finery. The deep thunder like rumbling of motor bikes fill the city, and bikers zoom past as small slices of speed and adventure. Cyclists chime their bells, and scurry from one corner of the city to another like impatient grasshoppers.

Spring is here. There are more movies in the theater. There are more couple outside, each pair into their own worlds. Suddenly there are more avenues to explore in the city. The balloon sellers and the clowns can be found wherever the families are.

Spring is here. My apartment is listening to more songs. The orchid is budding, the color of the flowers yet unknown. I switched from boots to shoes. My spring cleaning is still going on.

Spring, is here, like a coy young bride too shy to lift her veil off her face.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Last fight

The morning was like any other monsoon day with the rain waking you up. The roads outside are all flooded, water flowing down in torrents, thanks to drains overgrown with weeds and stuffed with semi dead plants that the houses throw out.

I try walking on the tiny, makeshift brick pathway, with is just about elevated from the flowing water. I have to reach work. I have to log in into my laptop, I have to listen to people tell me about how bad things are, and then talk to their manager who will insist that things are always fine. The flooded roads make taxis and other modes of transportation impossible, so I walk in the rain, balancing an umbrella and a laptop bag for 45 minutes so that I can get to the main road, which hopefully will not be flooded.

I see the queue first. It is pretty much straight, and has at least hundred people in it. Taxis and autorickshaws come to the start of the queue, and people get in. The rain is on a break now, for a few hours before it will start again.

I have been standing in the queue for almost two hours now. Next is my turn. There are three girls standing a bit to the side of me. They have been there for ten minutes or so.

And the taxi come, and as I am about to get inside...

One of the girls give me a shove, and gets inside.

Big mistake. I am rage. I am at my tipping point. I throw my bag into the seat next to the driver and try getting in. I am pushed again, what can I do, a mere mite of a girl against three women, all bigger than me?

I am not sure what entirely happened next, three minute tops, and I am inside the car, alone. I remember asking them to step out as I have to get it, I remember them telling me to go fuck off.

Next thing I know, they are outside and screaming, and I am inside and have little bits of skin under my nails. I am pretty sure I kicked someone in their stomach. My ribs hurt. The girls scream at me like banshees. I ignore them and ask the driver to go forward.

At work, one of my friends come over and said that she had seen me fighting, when she was being dropped. 'Remember me to never mess with you again.' She says, half playfully.

I tell myself to never get that violent again, to keep that in check. I have been doing it so far, but I do know it is in there, somewhere.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New resolutions for spring

So looking back at my To Do lists for the year, here are the status updates. The first one is a list from last year, for this one, and the second one was done sometime in early January this year and scribbled out on a piece of paper.

1.I want to run - started off well, but being sick put frequent dampeners on it. Planning to resume from when the temperature hits 10 degrees or when I work out of office.

2. I want to give away stuff - Success, it has become more of a habit now.

3. I want to jive - doing that, loving that. Dancing makes me drink less as I get my high just from music and hydration from tap water.

4. I will invite more friends home - success, I was requested for invites and requests were made of specific foods. Having one this Sunday, may have another this Saturday.

The paper list:

5. Climb the Parliament steps : did that in the middle of the night and during day time. Night view was much better.

6.Go to a rock festival : Got the tickets, it is in June

7.Go to Greece/Tuscany/Paris/Venice : Not yet. Still searching Expedia for good deals.

8. Write regularly: It has been happening. Averaging about 150 words a day without writers block. Mixing up old stories and making up new ones rather nicely.

9. Give everything to a friendship or relationship without any expectations and see what happens: It was an interesting experience. Got a lot of material for #4.

10. Go on a trip alone: It is something of an annual ritual for me. Not sure where to go this time.

11. Go to a bar alone: I am grateful that I have been unable to do this so far ( big thanks to all those lovely people who have been giving me company). Guess I will cross the road and go to the neighborhood bar one of these days. Or may be to the jazz bar.

12. Make Sushi: Will do, as soon as my Indian meal experiments will end. And planning to experiment on the Indians this time :)

Which brings me to the new list. Assigning one event for a month, including April, I should have a total of nine things in my to start list. And here they are:

  1. Run at least 3 hours a week.
  2. Go to Greece/Tuscany/Paris/Venice
  3. Go on a trip alone
  4. Go to a bar alone
  5. Make Sushi
  6. Play more board games
  7. Take up a new hobby which will exercise my body
  8. Go to Srilanka/Nepal/HongKong
  9. Go trekking/hiking
PS: And I already have two more added to my paper list. Lets check back in three months as to what all have been done.


On a dance floor in Helsinki. Sometime before midnight. Sometime this year.

Ha. ok. So the good looking cutie wants to dance with me? Who am I to deny? Especially when looking like something the cat dragged in ( note to self : always dress up for the possibility to party when you get out ) your ego gets a kick when some young guy wants to dance with you. But once HR then always HR, and my instincts told me that there is something wrong, somewhere.

So somewhere in between getting high on music and taking hydration breaks, I ask him:

How old are you?

I am 21.

How old do you think I am?

My age?

I am tempted to lie. But no. I am pretty much sure that he is not speaking the truth either.

A bit older.

Twenty two?

I do not reply and get back to the dance floor, the music is glorious, the music is beckoning, and it is a crime not to dance a homage to it; a young Nordic God notwithstanding. Towards the end, decide to take my water break on one of the sofas. My friends have already left. I am on an all time high without even a shot of vodka. This has been a good weekend.

And somehow unsurprisingly, I have got company.

And I resume my third degree questioning.

How old are you again?

Dont you believe me?

No, not really. I dont say this, but just shrug my shoulders.

I am seventeen. Are you twenty two?

I have heard people talk about hitting on sixteen or seventeen year olds and having random sex with them. But those were (a) guys, (b) they were actually twenty two (c) and looking for random sex.

All of the above does not apply to me. And I work in HR. I take a deep breath.

I am twenty seven.

I dont really care.

The reply, which came fast, was not really surprising. He had, even at that young age, the easy assurance of those who always got what they wanted.

How did you get in then?

I am more curious to know the know how of subverting the age limit.

I am shown an ID card. I am told that it is a fake one, and that is how he got in. I am asked if I need any drinks. I decline. I am happy with my water. He insists, and I ask for a coke.

We sit down, and we talk about books and music. He dissects music with casual assurance, and talks about books passionately. He even like F1. He talks of technology, the telecom industry and about world politics. He gets my Cartman quotes and Family Guy references. I do not get it when he goes on about video games. And every woman that walks past us glance at him. And he has eyes and ears only for me.

And he is only seventeen.

We go back, and dance some more to the music. The night is finally over and those of us left walk out of the door.

He wants to know if I would be interested in watching Opera later in the week, as he has already got tickets. And may be we can go to Carelia later for dinner, if I do not have other plans.

Give me your name and mobile number.

He thrusts his iPhone at me.


He is seventeen.

Not even your name?


Dont you want to know mine?

I smile, reach up and tussle his hair. He is smart enough to know that I do not want to meet him again. His knows he is being rejected, but is still unfailingly chivalrous.

I can drop you home, my car will be here soon to pick me and my friends up.

No. I am calling the taxi now.

And I leave the most perfect person I have ever met in Finland, with a hug and a parting wave.

Because he was only seventeen.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Firing 101 : Aka why HR mad skills are important in your life too

The first thing that many non HR people ask when you tell them that you are working in Human Resources is:

" Can you get me a job in your company? Hahahahaaa! Just joking! But seriously... can you?"

"You work for Human Resources?" *deep silence wondering what the hell the HR person is doing at a barcamp/ devcamp / tweetup /geek meeting /IEEE meeting*

"So can you get me a job?"

But what many people do not realize that the other side of hiring is firing. You need to know how to lead up to a humane firing - there are no good means of firing someone. No one is going to look back and say that it is the best firing they ever had.

And what has that got to do with life actually?

Lets talk about relationships. And breaking up. ( Yeah, 10 points to the discerning ones who figured out that all is not well. Nothing to see here, move on!)

Breaking up with someone is quite similar to firing someone. And as the dumper and dumpee, you can always take a page from the HR.

Aaand.. here goes:

#1. Feedback, feedback, feedback.

This is one of the most overlooked, yet important aspects of breakup you can learn from good HR practices. As a good Manager will give an employee regular, straight forward feedback on how things are going, it makes sense to talk to your girl friend or boy friend about where you want things to be and what your expectations from them are. And men, going silent when the women talk about things do not work. Ladies, changing the subject is not the same as actually talking about it. And once in the process of dumping, can the feedback unless the other party asks for it and dont have any potential weaponry on their immediate vicinity.

#2. Don't do it in public.

As a good manager would never fire an employee in public, you should never dump someone in public expect when the said party is in an orgy of which you are not a part of.Ideally, this should happen in the dumpee's home and face to face, and you get extra points for thoughtfulness if you already bring everything they left at your place and hand it over to them. If it consists of kitchen knives, hockey sticks etc. then its better to send them via post - men, they might look tiny and fragile, but in these situations, you never know how they are going to react. If you are in a long distance relationship, a phone call initiated by the dumper should suffice.

#3. Deliver the message quickly.

A good manager will tell the employee the bad news within 20 seconds of them being in the room. Do not start the breakup out with a list of the stellar qualities of the dumpee. That would only make the other person wonder what if you have bipolar disease. Keep your tone neutral. Do not talk about getting back together after a break unless you really mean it. Women, this is how most stalking start. You are NOT being nice when you say, may be we can meet up later. No, no, no. Let them go. Ambivalence is for wimps and wimpettes.

#4. Don't give them the promotion, the cool assignment, the public awards.

Unless it is a layoff, a good Manager will not - and his HR manager will not allow him to do that anyway - do any of the three. Similarly, if you are planning to dump a person soon, never stay over or allow the person to stay over or allow them to leave their stuff around at your place, dont do favors for them, and do not meet their friends or introduce them to yours. Men, all of these are considered by women as signs that things are going good, you might just want to chat to her friends about getting a job. Women, just beacause a guy does all this does not mean that he is totally committed to you, it might just mean that he likes your friends and is a slob to leave stuff around.

#5.Respect the history

The way a good - okay, great - manager will fire an employee who has been with the company for many years is very different from the way she would do it with someone who has been with them for a few months. Respect the commitment made over time, respect the emotional investment.

#5. Don't cry. Don't beg. Don't blame. Don't look back.

This one is for the dumpee. One of the most unprofessional that you can do when you are fired is to breakdown in front of the person who is firing you. Use the rest rooms or the smoking balconies for that, in the company of your work friends. Dumpees, don't cry. Respect! Don't even think about begging to give it another chance. Don't start blaming just now. Take your time, reflect, and check out the new opportunity that you always wanted to try out. Life is too much full of awesomeness to brood over what is lost.

#6. Don't burn the bridges.

Good managers and smart employees never burn the professional bridges. I am not saying that exes must hang out - it depends on what both parties are comfortable with - but you never know - your ex might know some awesome people whom you haven't met yet. And I am not even talking about the midnight fringe benefits.

So.. what do you think? HR is pretty useful, eh? Would love to hear comments on this :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

open secret letter

There is music in the room. is a laptop where I can type, and there is food and wine in the next room.

And I want to blog now. It is geeky, and easy enough to type these things out than say them to the face of people you care about. So here goes. If you are reading these and feel like one or more of them applies to you, it probably does.

I want you to know that I am happy, and I want you to be happy too. I am sorry that my happiness does not include you in the core, but as a friend you will be there in the vicinity. I hope you find your someone special.

I want you, you, you and you to know that I take your advice to heart. That you are right and that is why, I will always listen to you guys n gals, even if you do always tell me what I need to hear.

I want you to know that I like how things are going, and yes, going with the flow and enjoying the moments is a great idea.

I want you to know I heard what happened to you and know that you don't want to talk about it. But in the middle of a drunken night, if you want to talk, you can always wake me up despite the time difference. We are friends, and relationships are not going to change that.

I want you to know - meh, I really don't care if you know or not.

I want you to know that I hate what you have become when I last met you, I wish you would live up to your dreams and not disappoint yourself.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Can we talk?

I read a lot. Online, off line.

When I used to read books, it was a two way conversation. The authors talked to me, and we were in no hurry.

Now, I read online mostly, and it is a shout out rather than a conversation.

If offline media was intimate conversations over a bottle of red wine when the light is slowly fading, online media is more like speed dating.

What are you saying?

Can I link/retweet/add to FF?

Nice meeting you - lets keep in touch via RSS.

This is the most laid back place I have ever lived. This place offers me refuge from the everyday annoyances which ate up my time in other places.

Why then, am I having the least number of conversations in this city?

By conversation, I do not mean talking and listening. I do that - I love to talk and to listen - and have been lucky enough to meet many people who indulge in that whim of mine.

By conversation, I want us to explore, in the span of few minutes or few hours, about things we have never thought of, experiences we never had, worlds which we never knew existed. I want us to debate and ask questions, to each other and to ourselves. Not all questions need to be answered though, nor we need to design a question for every answer.

I was us, not to care about the food and the drink, not get distracted by the music or the pretty sights around us. Or rather, I want us to get distracted, but only to the extent that it would lead to more conversation.

Now, the nature of such conversations have shifted. It depends on twitter's word count, and on whether you can access Jaiku. The silences which add texture to the conversations have all but disappeared.

And that is why, whenever people produce an invite for casual meetings, I always take it up even if it means having to stress out a bit with the logistics of juggling different conversations. That is exactly why, I get into CIA interrogation mode with many people. I am curious. I want to know. Tell me more.

And that is the reason for me going mute and getting lost inside my head in mid conversation. I am savoring the conversation we had, feeling it, understanding it.

So I thank you; those of you out there, who were kind enough to sit down with me and across me and have a conversation. I thank those of you who blog and are kind enough to share your blogs and thoughts with me about your country and culture. Thank you, to those who disregard the 140 character limit of Twitter and make me feel as if we are sipping hot beverages on a cool spring evening. Thank you to those who tell me their stories, opening my eyes to perspectives and thoughts I never realized existed.

I live in hope, of more interesting conversations to happen.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wimpette speakth: Erm, about you calling him ugly? Ah. about that...

One of the reasons why I blog so intermittently is because I do not like picking on what others have done or said, and even if I want to, 'Shut the fuck up, you dumbass!' isn't much of a blog post, anyway. And frankly, I am a little (as in short) wimpette, so I use my blog for passive aggressive rants which I'm sure the other person wont read, anyway.

I am a very visual person. It is funny given that I am technically blind without my glasses - may be it is the blindness which had made me appreciate beauty in all its majesty and forms.

Speaking of beauty, how can I not speak of humans? Coming to Helsinki has exposed me to a whole new side of human beauty. The men and women I meet here - from babies to the old, they have broadened my definition regarding beauty. On the roads, I stare at people, at moments of great intensity when a particular tilt or curve of mouth would have made a great picture, told an amazing story, but then was lost. ( Some people I know called it eye raping. I disagree. Its appreciation.)

What is beauty anyway? It is perfect symmetry? If so, then we humans are doomed, as not one of us is born symmetrical. And then again, what is the uniqueness in a perfectly proportioned face? For me, it is just boring.

And that is why, I hate it when people call others ugly. Excuse me? If you are talking about beauty, you have to take in all the details. Instead of telling that her eyes have crows feet around them, look into them and see how they sparkle when she smiles. Instead of telling that he is short, focus please, on that killer smile. Instead of calling another one overly made up, look at her face and see how transparent it is when it comes to her emotions.

Human bodies can be very imperfect. I confess that I like the lean n mean torso on men myself. But human faces, I love them, all of them but with various levels of fascination, each uniquely interesting to me, each a reflection of the life that is being lived - you can call a face cunning, angry, evil, boring, wicked, charming, elegant, piquant, sad, happy, crazy, tired, frightened, brave, phony, disgusting - but ugly?


At least, please do not use that word again. It shows a deep lack of imagination on your part. So, either use the right words to tell me exactly what you feel about a person's face, or Shut the fuck up, you dumbass!

Sigh. I said it, didn't I?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

I just blogged, to say, I miss you...

I miss my friends.

Let me put it in context.

I had a great evening, and I miss my friends.

Of course, I have been meeting new people and making some friends here in Finland. Some nice ones. Some great ones even.

But man, I still miss my friends.

I miss my speed crazy companions who think nothing of going at 120Kmph in peak traffic in Blore. I miss my bike crazy friend who took me to watch the planes land from the highway, and then took me to one of the best bars in Delhi.

I miss my friend who always picked fights with me, matching me insult for insult, scream for scream. We are better friends now that we both passed out of that petri dish called MBA school.

I miss the idiots who would oversleep and forget to pick me up from the railway station. I miss the ones who cancel the predetermined meeting, and then pout when my plans do not turn around theirs. I miss my hug buddies. I miss the cribbers with their deep sighs and ' we are all going to die in the end anyway' attitude. I miss the friends who can and will polish off my food whatever much is left ( sometimes even before I am done). I miss my friends with whom I would get into impromptu wrestling matches.

I miss my friends who can match me drink for drink and take care of me once I am so drunk that I start seeing double. I miss the smokes. I miss the randy jokes that I crack with my friends. I miss being called out on my emotions by people who do not mince words. I miss being able to gossip over food and drink and then go and dance the night away like a gang of dervishes.

I miss going to movies and crying, laughing, heckling and sleeping through them with my friends. I miss going on trips with them, my head out of the car window . I miss reading Mills and Boons aloud in a group and dissolving into peals of laughter and adding exaggerated sounds effects to accompany the text.

I miss my friends who tell me to just have fun and embrace my inner Samantha. I miss my friends who can read my every emotion and casually talk me out of my moodiness. I miss my friends who give me drunk calls in the middle of the night so than we can talk about everything and nothing and whom I drunk dial back. I miss my friends who get scandalized of the things I do, but still, love me with their whole heart. I miss cribbing about Mallu culture and getting knowing, sympathetic nods from friends who have been through similar experiences. I miss going out with my friends, making up plans on the fly, never knowing where and how things are going to end.

Girls and boys, loves of my life, this one is for you.

Did I tell you how much I miss you?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

25 things about me 'meme'

When Jina had her list up, I had an inkling that my name would be there. Now, 25 things about me which people have not known is difficult. I usually talk a lot, and in that process, share a bit too much about my life too. Anyways, let me try now...

25. I don't know how to flirt. If a guy is flirting with me, I can not make that out either.
24. I love cooking. But I prefer innovating in the kitchen than trying the traditional/same old stuff
23. I have extreme anger. But I always keep it under check.
22. Often when people are mean/bitchy to me, I do not react as the first things that come to my mind are very much unprintable.
21. I had my first soft toy when I was 22. And my first story book when i was 3.
20. I love Kerala but I dont miss the people there.
19. I get high on the feeling of freedom.
18. I have bathophobia - and no silly, its not the fear of taking baths!
17. I miss the monsoon the most.
16. When I was a child, I was possessive of the sun as I thought it was named after me ( yeah, I am very humble.)
15. I love comics.
14. I get hyper afraid when I watch horror movies.
13. I am a creative liar. I once made a roommate belive that I was a mallu princess adopted by Christians. Making her realize the truth was more difficult.
12. I am very cynical of Disney cartoons. I blame it on an overdose of Terry Pratchett.
11. I have a pretty good memory about things that people tell me.
10. I dont like being cold at all.
09. I have a huuuge crush on Edward Norton.
08. I love playing mind games.
07. I go awww... more often when I see dogs than when I see kids. Them I see as little individuals.
06. My first pet was a cat her name was Pussy after the cat in the nursery song about Pussy cat going to London to meet the Queen. I was one then.
05. I learnt to read at three. I used to read the children's books at that age.
04. My favorite drinks in the world are neembu paani, morum vellam and tequila shots.
03. I only get drunk with people whom I am comfortable with.
02. Growing up, I was a communist/socialist. Now I am a hardcore individualist.
01. I open up about many things in my life so that I can turn your attention away from what I want to to hide from you. Till now, the success rate has been 100%.

And I tag...


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I will tell you one, and you tell me another...

Many of my friends do not read fiction. They are exclusively non-fiction readers, who read to know, to think and to understand. They take a look at my book collection and change the subject. Archie comics are not great conversation starters except with 20 something females.

But they love to hear stories. Whenever I bond with my friends, it is over a story. It could be from their lives, from mine, or the stories from the life of a friend of a friend or a story that they have seen or heard, in turn.

Meeting with old friends always turn into story telling sessions. We ask about the major characters, do not forget the minor ones and listen to the introduction of newer characters. Some stories are left unfinished - or rather, they find their endings in limbo. And together we weave our stories of what was, what is and what will be.These are relationships that keep us strong, these are the stories that make us who we are. Sometimes we walk away from those stories, disowning the other characters, but we do remember the stories, and use them for our own How-To, and more often How-Not-To maps.

Meeting new friends is different, very much so. Each story that they do tell is like a tiny step that a very vary and very injured bunny take towards you. You never know how to react, you curb the instinct to reach out and touch it,as you will scare it away. You want to help, you want to be there, but trust has to be earned, stories have to be told, and all the time you have to keep in mind that the bunny may eventually go back into the wild. And you share your stories too, wondering if there is a common thread, and then realizing that a common thread, while bonding the stories together, is not necessary in itself. Transient relationships have a peculiar beauty of their own, something that you can never find in the comforting blanket of enduring friendships.And you will never know; until many months and many years have passed as to which of the new ones will metamorph into a beautiful butterfly and fly away, and which of them will be the bold squirrels who stick around and follow when you walk through the park.

And that brings us into unfinished stories. Some relationships are left halfway through. You never know why that friend never called again or why the other one wanted to end it all. You can never understand why this one changed so completely and why another one did not.Often, the unfinished stories are the ones you think of in completely random moments in your life, and slowly give up trying to figure out. You stop wondering if they were butterflies whom you thought were squirrels or squirrels who eventually moved away because you did not extend a hand.

So friends of old and new, friends to be and former friends; let us sit down once in a while, and just tell stories for a few laughs, shocks and tears.

It will be fun, I promise.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I have been...

Making good progress on my new year resolutions.

Watching some good movies.

Making some new friends, and rediscovered old ones.

Falling in love with snow. The bright white, the light flecks, the taste of winter on your tongue and tickling on your feet.

Snow also brings with itself slippery slopes which make you fall in the most undignified way possible. Snow wets your feet when it is even half degree above zero. Snow looks dirty and ugly when it is swept to the sidewalk and when peed on by dogs and drunk people. It sticks to your shoes and creeps inside the apartment, bringing dirt and grime with it.

It kills any green shoots that try to brave it. It works with viruses to confine me inside my apartment.

But when you wake up one morning and find snow falling quietly, covering everything under a cosy white blanket, you fall in love with snow all over again.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Being practical v/s. Being environmentally minded.

When people talk about recycling and using less resources...

I think back about my childhood.

Where we diverted the water from the bathroom and the wash basins to the garden.

Where clothes were handed around the extended family.

Were books were - story books, text books - handed across families and friendships.

Where old magazines, old milk covers and newspapers were regularly brought by the 'akrikkadakkaran' ( meaning junk buyer in English)

Where pickle and jam jars were used to store spices, where extra jars were given away to neighbors in need.

Were most of the cooking was done on stoves using paper and deadwood as fuel. Where the dried coconut rinds were used to heat water, cook rice and make curry. The ash was used to wash utensils and shine brass and as a fertilizer.

Were plates were either made of clay or steel. Broken clay-pot pieces were used as boundary for the garden, dented steel utensils were exchanged with the shopkeeper when we brought new ones.

Where plastic covers were reused.

Where jute thread used to tie the grocery wrappings were reused.

Where when traveling, a plantain leaf was cut, lightly boiled over a fire and used as a taste retaining food wrap which can be thrown away anywhere.

Were cats would eat the leftover pieces of fish and meat.

Where the kitchen waste went to the compost heap.

Where my dogs provided the nitrogen and ammonia elements needed for the garden - we never used any chemicals in the kitchen garden.

Where broken pieces of glass were collected and used by people as wall decoration.

And broken bangles and random beads were used for craft sessions.

Yes, my parents generation did recycle and were environmentally minded.

But they called it being economical and practical.

May be, just may be, in the so called third world countries instead of starlets urging people to go green and high priced organic produce on the stores,

Someone ought to go to the people and teach them how to be practical.

Just a thought.