Monday, September 27, 2010

Rants from a distant land

The last 25 days in my life in a way symbolize in concrete form the title of this blog.Things have happened completely out of the blue,unexpected and the pace of these happenings kind of left me unsettled. And now I find myself alone in a hotel room here in Irving,thinking of how to go about preparing my next meal.For someone who has entirely lived and been brought up in a 'home' environment, this is a remarkable change in settings. Things like groceries,cooking,washing clothes,searching for accomodation and the like were hitherto unbeknownst to yours truly.Not that I am complaining though. This 'onsite' opportunity is my chance to be independent,an experience I am sure will transform me as an individual,professionally and personally in equal measure.


Among the many things I stand to learn, the interesting ones include cooking,shopping for groceries,cutting vegetables,cleaning,washing clothes( the last one ,I tell you its real easy here :) ).And driving of course. As a first step towards the latter,I've learnt how to tie my own seat belt! :P Besides that I have already acquired skills like operating a microwave also,for which I repeatedly pat myself on the back in self congratulatory mode.

Its been one week now that I have landed here and I'm sort of getting used to this new way of life. Work wise it has been okay so far but the next few weeks and months herald a lot of challenges for which I must gear up to face and conquer. Lot to learn and explore for sure.Everything I do from here on will be new which makes it that much more exciting.

As for the place,Dallas/Irving is quite warm and the weather took me by surprise as soon as I came out of the airport. Although I was well warned about this, the similarity with Chennai's weather was prettly much there to be felt,minus the humidity. Things have cooled down a bit over the last few days with the onset of the fall season.But I have been told that Dallas is quite indifferent to those amazing fall colors that the leaves radiate elsewhere in this country.

One more thing that strikes me is the number of Indians in this place. Any store or restaurant you go out,you are invariably bound to bump into your compatriots. And there are these scores of desi grocery stores which try hard to look like an American supermarket selling Indian stuff but inside you cant help getting that distinctly Indian odour which actually amuses me. :)

Perhaps the only thing that I havent really liked about this place is the public transport system. The buses are pretty infrequent and run only at fixed times which makes it difficult for people without cars to commute. Thankfully I have a teammate who has a car and is kind enough to pick me up and drop me off. The number and sheer variety of cars you get to see here on the roads is quite amazing. Almost everybody owns one and that probably eliminates the need for a regular public transport service.

I can keep going on and on I guess, but that,in a nutshell describes my first week in the most powerful nation in this world. They really are blessed with a lot of prosperity.As a footnote,one more thing that I am trying hard to get used to is typing on a laptop. And this is tough! :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Futbol Mundial-A game of beauty is a joy forever!

This is probably my nth attempt at writing a post on the football fever that is currently engulfing the world. I wanted to post this on the eve of the opening ceremony, but words betrayed me like  silence betrays a classroom full of kids sans a teacher.Basically I was( and still am ) brimming with excitement and anticipation of the world’s most watched sporting spectacle-the FIFA world cup. You can name the olympics and the sporting spirit that it brings along and celebrates, but to me all that dulls and fades in comparison to the passion and the fervor that this soccer world cup generates.

I mean which other sporting event creates this hype and frenzy among nations which are not even taking part.Not only that, it lives up to the reputation invariably. 32 teams wriggle it out for the trophy, but the audience cuts across countries,irrespective of nationality. Teams are ‘favorited’ -you even have opposing camps of fans getting into fisticuffs and the like for a team that has nothing to do with them. Especially the latin american teams-Brazil and Argentina have such a fervent fan following that supporters literally fight it out not sparing any effort to play up their favorite teams.What I’m saying here is obviously so obvious-you needn’t have to read Out of the blue to know this :P

Personally I’ve always followed football, though I can’t say I keenly watch the EPLs and the La Ligas. But that has never prevented me from checking out the league standings and stuff in the news and papers. The world cups, however have always been something that I don’t miss. I remember my first one was the ‘94 world cup in the USA when I was just getting initiated into soccer with all those stories about Maradona, Pele, Baggio,Ruud Gullit and others. Maradona of course was my hero by default- my elders used to describe his ‘goal of the century‘ against the Englishmen in the ‘86 world cup.The disappointment when he had to sit out following drug accusations, is still fresh in memory…

This time, FIFA comes to Africa. The proteas are hosting it, but they have rightly described this as something that belongs to the whole of Africa-a continent bruised,battered and ravaged by decades of fighting,suffering,poverty and hunger. For the host nation though, it is a chance for their populace to be united-a chance to forget the racial divide that still makes its uneasy presence felt even after the days of the apartheid-a chance to rally behind their Bafana Bafana. Sport has that unique quality to banish divisions and mistrust and hatred (within a country I must add!)…

Like every time, Argentina  is my favorite team. Lionel Messi of course is the man to watch out for though I’m apprehensive about club superstars because they seldom replicate their club success for their national teams(Christiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Thierry Henry of France also come to mind).The albicelestes,as they are known , are coached by the mercurial Maradona. I somehow have a feeling they will either come crashing down or go all the way. No intermediates I guess.The other teams that I’ll watch out for-Brazil(come on,how can one miss out on them?),the Netherlands,Spain,Italy(I still hate the fact that they’re the defending champs,coz they just didnt deserve to win the semis against a hapless Australia last time in Germany) and England(only because of Wayne Rooney,and nothing else. I sincerely believe they’re an overhyped side).

So for the next one month , every other sporting event can take a backseat. Even cricket. Even the dignity of Wimbledon. The beautiful game is here- in all its splendor and unmatched glory,as a feast to the eyes of millions worldwide. Nothing else is likely to get your adrenalin pumping so fast.The Jabulani has rolled,so here’s to Africa - Waka waka!! :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

So near,yet so far...

These lines were thought out over the past few weeks. Its ironical that things can change so quickly as a result of which the lines dont hold good anymore…or atleast they have become irrelevant now.Irrespective of that I’m posting them here…

So near yet so far,
Yeah,that’s where you are…
Like i gaze into the sky ,at a star
So near yet so far…


My heart churns out hope
Whilst my mind says nope…
With your prolonged silence,unable I’m to cope
Just cant be happy,for there’s no scope…


Of my mind and heart,its a constant battle
Caught in the crossfire,its a war i just cant scuttle
To bear this for too long,I just don’t have the mettle
Emotions within, on the verge of exploding at full throttle…


Descending into sleep,with a mindful of you…
These are words,rooted with feelings so true
Will wake up again,with thoughts of you…
Turning despair into hope anew


Charmed by your smile and smitten by your eyes,
Wings lent by your presence,time just takes off and flies…
Makes my heart skip beats and leaves me heaving sighs
Just cant stop wondering at you,the princess of my skies…


Tough is expressing,
Tougher is waiting,
For my heart that’s longing,
For your love,that’s eluding…

Cardio-Cerebral Valentosis

This poem was posted as an entry to the Valentine's day blogging carnival in our corporate blogging portal. This was originally published there in Feb'2010.There are references to the competition(V Day-Carnival on Channel-One) and I have preferred to retain them here.


When in Rome,do as the Romans do. So when its V-day time and you are on ch-1, you have no other option but to oblige. Its like a virus which has spread like wild fire and I haven’t had any preventive vaccines nor am I made of any fire proof material. Excuse me if the title sounds like a pathetic disease or suffering but it is something that does affect our brains and hearts, positively or negatively. Its a bandwidth hogger. What I have here is a set of couplets that I could come up with over the last few days. Whats interesting is that almost all of these lines popped out while I was busy working at office ;)


Lost in your thought,
In mid air I float…

Randomly taking flight,
Like a feather I feel so light…

Into the heavens I disappear,
Pure bliss is what I discover…

And back to my senses when I crash,
Fantasies they all go awash…

Making me hope so badly,
May these turn into reality…

Am wondering you might not feel the way,
I do about you,night and day…

Is it just a phase,or is it for real,
All I know is ,its a feeling so magical!

Wanna walk along the sea  holding your hand,
Waves  caressing our feet, barefooted on the sand…

Am lonely and grave,
Your company is all I crave…

From January to December, year after year,
Want to be with you forever…


I'm too lazy to insert fancy pics in between those lines...so I have left it bland...

Poignance in poetry

This was a poem I posted on our corporate blogging portal,channel-one an year back.
These are a few lines which popped out of nowhere one fine night and they took this form…

You’re all over my mind,
Nostalgia,this is one of a kind…

You are nowhere near,
How i wish you were here….

Those memories, those moments,
Tears they still foment….

Been some time now that you moved on,
Will you ever fade out of my horizon?

Never will I see you again,
Truth it is,simple and plain…

On a day as special as this,
All I pray,is for your well being and bliss…

For wherever you are,you deserve the best,
Because angels like you are a cut above the rest…

With due apologies to all the serious poets out there,this is all I could manage. Don’t know if it sounds silly. But what the heck. I am posting it. Brickbats are welcome. (Bouquets too,of course, but that goes without saying.)Do post your honest opinions...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Guilty Pleasure

Yeah,its that time of the year again.When purists will cringe in embarrassment. Every principle fundamental to the system will be ripped apart.Basics will be scoffed at. Traditions will be flouted like never before. Commercialization will hog the limelight in a manner so unabashed and brazen.Raking in the moolah will be all that will matter,for the stakeholders involved. And those who will witness the so called spectacle will be divided along lines that didn’t exist hitherto.Villains will be cheered and heroes will be booed. A paradox of sorts will unfold. All this will last for a month or so-in an encore of an event that bull-dozes its way into the collective consciousness of a nation of a billion crazy people with an insatiable apetite for what is known as the game of cricket. Yes, the event I’m talking about is the Indian Premier League,or the IPL, which it’s mastermind Lalit Modi ambitiously (I’d say rather quixotic-ally) hopes will one day join the likes of the NBA and the EPL. Sigh!! Enough of a build up for an already built-up and over-hyped tournament.
Ever since T-20 has burst into the cricketing scene, it has had me confused. For a die hard purist like me,it has taken sometime to ‘accept’ this slam-bang-whack-wallop form of cricket.Somehow after we won the 1st world cup, I started taking it seriously. Then came the IPL. And with it, came along things that were witnessed never before in cricket-city-based franchises promoted by filthy rich businessmen and film stars who wanted to splurge and earn. Also not to forget, the skimpily clad cheer girls. The IPL is when my ‘love-to-hate’ or ‘hate-to-love’ relationship with T-20 began…
For those like me who mix cricket with patriotism, the IPL comes across as something that doesn’t quite fit in the whole scheme of things. Somehow,I’m yet to fall for the city-based loyalty concept.This is my 8th year in Chennai, but that hasn’t evoked any feelings of support for its Super Kings. So I really don’t care who wins or loses. It just boils down to having some fun watching some insanely high scoring edge-of-the-seat thrillers where some of my favorite players are involved.Talking of that, the only team I can claim to support or have a soft corner for, is the Mumbai Indians, which of course is attributed to the godly presence of a stalwart called Sachin Tendulkar. So once he gets out,the match can go to hell. :P What I miss is the sense of jubiliation or disappointment I feel on seeing India win or lose,respectively. That, according to me is the real essence of watching cricket.Unlike after every match that ‘India’ plays, I am not really drawn into passionate discussions on what went wrong or right or any such kind of post-match analysis that would ensue.
High octane cricket is fine,but it really is not the form of cricket which can tell the men from the boys. Supporters argue that events like an IPL provide a platform for the young domestic players to rub shoulders with international-class players and in the process gain valuable experience. But it is quite evident that apart from rubbing shoulders and laughing their way to the bank, T20 doesn’t necessarily make them better at the game,holistically speaking.
Having argued against T20, I will now contradict myself. :P At the end of the day, it is all about having some fun.Like say watching a typical masala movie where you leave your brains behind. You can appreciate serious Mani Ratnam flicks,yet find guilty pleasure in watching silly-leave-your-brains-behind movies. Yes,the IPL is all about guilty pleasure,as far as I am concerned. I will speak for the purists,yet not forget to watch or follow it(minus the passion,of course!).
Even as I type this out, Yusuf Pathan of the Rajasthan Royals is giving the Mumbai Indians a run for their money in pursuit of a mammoth score. 5 more overs to go and 70 to get. :P I better go and catch the action now. :D

Sunday, January 31, 2010

News…that isn’t news anymore…

One more weekend comes to an end. Roger Federer wins yet another slam, this time ramming into a hopeful Andy Murray who at the end of the day must have felt rather hopeless. Pakistan got thrashed once again by the Aussies who by means of the win lashed out their final few brushes of distemper on the former to complete a whitewash,3-0 in the tests+5-0 in the ODIs.Pity the Pakistanis.Time for a few lessons from us on how to give it back to the Aussies in their own backyard,what say?The Padma awards were announced and as is the custom it has left its share of disgruntled aspirants left in the lurch as also a substantial number of undeserving folks getting the honors(Saif Ali Khan is a padmashree-BION*). Ditto with the national awards…Arjun Rampal wins best supporting actor(I loved Rock on and Arjun’s performance too-probably his all time best) but a national award??The time is 8.13 PM to be precise and I am feeling slightly hungry. ‘Ibn-e-batuta’ from Ishqiya is playing on my computer. In fact it just finished and I need to enqueue a few more songs to keep me humming along. Don’t quite know what is for dinner tonight. Guess its chapati and subzi.As I scratch myself (on the head, mind you) to continue this orgy of meaningless rambling, I remember I need to pay for my declared investments and save myself some money from the tax net.Watched Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday on a Sunday,which happens to be today. Thought it was bloody brilliant. Hard hitting indeed. A pity such movies don’t get good enough publicity.Way to go Anurag Kashyap.It seems Shahid Afridi has earned a 2-match ban for ball tampering. Apparently he was caught chewing them!That reminds me, is he still 18 years old?I remember they kept showing his age as 18 for more than 3-4 years prompting Sunny Gavaskar to comment that “Shahid Afridi is an experienced 18-year old campaigner”. :D Had been to Bangalore last weekend and it felt so good there. Guess I am bored being in Chennai . Been 7 years now.One more friend of mine is getting married next month, following a bunch of others who have been surrendering their respective bachelors’ lives. Every friend who comes home with a wedding invite invariably ends up in me becoming the target of “when-will-you-get-married-blah-blah-blah” taunts from the elder ladies at home. My pleasure, let me get my girl, I say! ;) Sania Mirza called her engagement off last week. The week before her grand plans of quitting tennis post marriage ‘to-be-wtih her-husband-otherwise-why-would-she-marry-followed-by-a- silly-laugh’ were announced after yet another 1st round loss at a grand slam. All in that stupid fake accent of hers of course. Which means there’s no end in sight to her now-legendary 2nd round (dis)appearances in all the slams. Way to go Sania. Hope I eat my words at the next one. May you win the Wimbledon. Err… does it sound a bit like Virender Sehwag taking two days to get a 100? Never mind. We’ll still watch out for her.BalThakeray has suggested SRK be awarded with Nishan-e-Pakistan for his politically incorrect statement on Pakistani cricketers getting IPL 3 berths. Take a bow, Balasahib, you deserve a Nobel,no less. We’ll ask them to give the citation in Marathi, scripted by none other than your de-facto heir-apparent and now estranged nephew Raj. And the category? A life time achievement award for inciting mobs,causing public nuisance,making insane remarks and for his tirade against innocent love-struck couples celebrating Valentine’s Day. A legend in true flesh and blood. In the meanwhile, I get a confirmation about tonight’s dinner- it is Chapati indeed. :D Heard Meghalaya now has 2 chief ministers. Apparently the deputy CM was not really happy being deputy.It happens only in India.Vidya Balan looks stunning in Ishqiya. She was gorgeous in Paa too.Rann released this weekend. Evidently,it takes a critical view on the way today’s news channels run and ‘manufacture’ news. Hard to miss the irony in the fact that the makers used the very same news channels for their pre-release publicity. That said I remain a big time Ram Gopal Varma fan( that excludes his Aag and other duds). Like him, hate him but you cant ignore him.Will definitely watch Rann irrespective of the reviews.The time now is 9.08 PM and dinner is still not ready though the sounds and smells of a delicious one are obvious. I had ‘revived’ my jogging routine a few weeks back which were interrupted by a morning shift yet again. Plan to get back on track tomorrow onwards. I never give up, you see! :D It seems there are only 1411 tigers left in India. Atrocious I say, for a nation which considers it as the national animal. Hope that number goes up in a hurry. With this I decide its time to spare the innocuous followers and readers of this blog from further agony. The sole aim of this write-up was to spew out non sense, just for the heck of posting something before 31 days have passed since the new decade dawned upon us.
* BION- Believe It Or Not . In case you are wondering why on Earth I mention this, just scroll to the 9th line from top and you’ll get the answer. :)

It would be a cardinal sin not to give credits where it is due. I wouldn’t want this blog to be a Vidhu Vinod Chopra-Chetan Bhagat type slugfest. Not that this will receive media attention,but what the heck.So here goes…
This blog wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the invaluable inputs derived from the following media groups:

1. TV18 for IBN Live
2. The Times group for ToI and Times Now
3.NDTV
4. The Hindu
5. Rediff.com
6.Aaj Tak
7. Star Sports and Star Cricket. :D

Breaking News: I just finished my dinner, and its 9.44 PM now. On that note, we’ll take a quick break and on the other side,we’ll have an expert panel consisting of eminent personalities like Amar Singh, Rahul Mahajan, Rakhi Sawant, Lalit Modi and Santhakumaran Sreesanth pulling their collective hairs out on the issue of the melting glaciers and global warming. Stay tuned. :P