An Owl's 2 hoots

Monday, November 28, 2005

Case of being a kid, 500 girl friends and sparing the rod

This thanksgiving weekend was by far the most enjoyable one I have had in my 4 years here in the US. One of my relatives had come down from Atlanta to Orlando and had invited me for the long weekend.

I did not realize how good being a kid (at heart) was until I met my relative's 2 kids - 7 and 3 years old. I am not sure if it was because they were extremely small (in size) or I was way too big for them, they took an instant liking for me, and vice versa.

Of course, we went to the parks - Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios - it did not matter where we went. The first thing which struck me was how many things we (as adults) fail to notice in our day-to-day lives, which the kids so beautifully bring to our notice. The same theme park which I have seen with friends of my age group looked and sounded so different when I was in the company of kids. It was fun to watch them squeal with delight when some of the cartoon characters walked past or when they screamed in primal fear during the Jurassic park ride or when they showed false fear when I went about crushing their bones (not really!) or when they ordered all the food at the restaurant and ended up only eating from my plate!.

No wonder everyone wishes to go back to their childhood, given a chance. It is amazing that we all crossed that age and are now what we are - serious and formal. In my opinion, either be a kid forever (a pipe dream), or be in the company of kids once in a while, which can be very rejuvenating.

That being said, kids can embarrass you to any extent. I had to answer so many questions which I thought I would never be asked by anyone. One of them was how many girl friends I had - I said 500 (yea right!). Not missing a heart beat, the next question was, who among them did I like the most!. I was left gasping for breath, desparately trying to distract them to other topics.

Now, this topic is touchy. Have today's parents completely forgotten about "adi odha udhavura maadhiri annan thambium udhavaamaataan" proverb?. I mean, during my stay, there were atleast 20 situations where the kids ought to have been disciplined. It doesn't have to be beatings, but a firm punishment of some sort was definitely deserved. After all, they are kids and treating them is in many ways akin to re-inforced learning - reward for good behavior (and thereby encourage similar ways of actions) and punishing for bad behavior (thus discouraging them to repeat the same). So the fault is not with the kids - they are just adapting/evolving. But they have to be given some tough love sometimes. Brats are not born, they are created.

All being said, it was very sad to leave them and come back. In fact, I had to lie to them that I would stay the next day too, but woke up early in the morning and silently slinked away into the pre- dawn darkness. I had to use the windshield wiper to remove the dew formed and my fingers to flick some kind of salty discharge formed in my eyes. Funny!. I wonder what that was about.

PS: Off topic - Maybe I should also start a tag - a tag to stop ALL other tags. Whoever gets tagged would be relinquished of tagging duties hereafter!. Say-no-to-tag.
I am tagging:
1. Slashaalvaar
2. Maverick
3. Naikutti
4. Vatsan.
As with all other tags, it is upto the taggee(!) to continue it or leave it. In the future if any of the say-no-to-taggers get tagged by some other blogger, they may very well make their point by referring to this tag!. A rather diplomatic way of declining to tag!. Just my way of abusing the right to freedom of speech!.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tagging பத்தும் செய்யும்

Got tagged by Raju this time. Anbu thollaikku azhavey illai!.

Here goes:

10 favorites:
Favorite Season: Summer
Favorite Sport : Cricket
Favorite Time: Noon
Favorite Month: April
Favorite Actor: Superstar
Favorite Actress: Jothika and Asin
Favorite Icecream: Anything that begins with Chocolate
Favorite Food: Potato curry
Favorite Drink: Water / Gatorade
Favorite Place: Ha!. Madras!

9 Currents:
Current Feeling: Expectant (to go home!)
Current O/S: Linux and XP
Current Windows open: Lotus Notes, VNC, MySQL query browser, couple of web apps I am creating, Windows Word
Current Drink: Water
Current Time: 5:12 PM
Current Mobile(s) used: Nokia 6610
Current show on TV: No TV in Office.
Current Thought: 45 more minutes to 6 PM
Current Cloth: Denim silk shirt (!) and khakis.

8 Firsts:
First nick: Aachari
First kiss: Donno
First crush: Maybe in my 5th standard (early starter, you see!)
First computer: IBM Thinkpad
First vehicle I drove: Wow, let me see... must be a luna in my 8th standard
First job: Usher in an NFL stadium
First movie I watched on Pulse Global's Print: WTF!?
First pet: None
First shave (men)/Hairstyle (women): I was 17

7 Lasts:
Last chai (tea): Not a tea/coffee drinker.
Last movie: Adhu oru kanaa kaalam
Last time I drove: This morning
Last time shaved (men) / Beauty parlor visit (women): Yesterday
Last website visited:
Last software installed: Open Office
Last pill I had: Tylenol (for cold) just now

6 Have you evers:
Have you ever broken the law: Yes.
Have you ever been drunk: Tee-totaler
Have you ever climbed a tree: Yes - a few times
Have you ever kissed someone you didnt know: No
Have You Ever Been in the Middle/Close to Gunfire or Bomb Blast: No.
Have you ever broken anyone's heart: Hmmm. Not sure.

5 Things:
Things you can hear right now: Water cooler, myself sniffling and coughing.
Things on your computer table: Too many to write.
Things on your bed: Its a murphy bed, so things won't stay on it.
Things you ate today: "The Herbivore" pizza (large) at The English Pub
Things in mind: When will this cold go?, weekend plans and general fear of life.

4 Places I have been today:
- ONLY 2 -
Restaurant for lunch

3 People I can tell anything to:
C at DBX
K at MSP
V at MAA

2 Choices:
Black or White: Black
Hot or Cold: Hot

1 thing to do before I die:
aah, done this earlier.


Me tagging Slashaalvaar and Maverick.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

India Trip - Photo blog

What on earth!

2 posts in 2 days?. This is just not me!. aana enna panradhu - India return na summa vaa?!.

Although I took around 600 photos, I have selected a small fraction which best represented my trip.

Mazhayaal silai aagivitta twins!. Perpetual rains for the first 1 week.

On the way to the ECR road (near Thiruvanmiyur). Apparently, my camera has pissed off the gentleman with the shoulder bag!. The restaurants on this road has grown 20 fold. I had some nice time with my college-mates in one of the restaurants here.

I attained janma saabalyam after listening to the first installment of Raasa's program on Deepavali day. I was lifted even higher seeing Thalaivar in full form in Padayappa!.

Deepavali!. The first photo has me fearfully lighting a firework (did not want to further damage my great right index finger).

Another get-together with friends. Slashaalvaar is going to kill me for not including his photo. Maverick is in this picture (extreme right).

Which India trip is complete without looking at old photos?.
Indha poonaium paal kudikuma

Met some more friends at Vandaloor zoo!. I was very impressed with the cleanliness, variety of animals and arrangement of the infrastructure there.

Some sunlight atlast and a brutal reminder of my return trip.

Me in my school. Met some of my teachers who still remember me (on account of my handwriting, or lack of it!).

That's all folks!.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Ikkarai and Akkarai

Am Back! - after an enjoyable and eventful 27 days in India!

It was so good to be there and see folks, near and dear, after 3 years. As everyone else would agree, no amount of holidays is enough for an India trip. I think I had made good use of whatever time I had there.

Much as I don't prefer to compare things, I write this post as an exception, just for amusement.

1. In the US, people have their cell phones in their pocket or on their belt. In India, it is difficult to see a hand without a cell phone. Mostly, the right hand carries it. Just so, when a call comes, the right would give it to the left, thusly flashing the model of cell phone one carries!.

School pora pasangalukku yedhuku cell phone?

2. Manual transmissions must be bannned from Indian roads. What is the point in having 4+ gears and not going beyond the 2nd. Correspondingly, automatic transmissions must be banned from the US. Better driving conditions, better drive feel and better fuel economy.

3. Public transport in India is unbeatable, although the autos have completely ceased to use the meter. The new BG electric trains are fantastic. In the US, I would have gone bankrupt if I had taken a cab from Tampa airport to Sarasota.

4. And the food and restaurants in India!. For a thavichcha vaai like me, that is one good enough reason to feel the grass is greener there.

5. REAL temples exist in India. Not the ones like in Tampa, where ALL gods reside under one roof.

6. When I was(!) young, I played TV video games. The next(!!) generation played computer games. Now(!!!), kids wield alien looking PS2s like pencils.

7. Beaches: for the ambience and sheer enjoyment, Elliots beach is the best. For the actual water experience - well, that is a different story.

8. In the US, one is either fat, overweight or obese. In India, if you don't have a tummy, you are thin, and if you have one, you are fat. But seriously, I saw that there are still misconceptions about health consciousness. Prime example: "sambhar kaarama irukka?. Innum konjam ghee pottuko". Kaarama irundhaa thanni kudi.. ghee yedhukku?.

9. If you use a dial-up service for browsing in India, you should consider yourself to be lucky to get a pop-up window.

10. It is funny, but one major thing that I missed in India was a dry bathroom!.

11. Houses in India are always full of life. When I reached my apartment last night, I was greeted with defeaning silence.

Thats it for now. I am beat.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Yes, I am still alive

Apologies for my silence all the while and belated Deepavali wishes.

I am posting from my home at Madras now. It's great to be back (coming home after almost 3 years). I intended to post earlier, if things had gone according to plan, but considering that it concerns a certain ME, fate always takes an exception!. I notice a lot of changes here. Innumerable, in fact. I am trying my level best to suck in as much of India I can!.

So, here I go in my "usual" way of re-telling:

1. Was watching Wilma's movements every 30 minutes until the plane actually took off from Tampa airport.

2. Did not have to shop a lot this time, so the luggage was extremely light.

3. Major airports in the US are cursed. Let me correct it - they are cursed when I am around. The connection flight to Dubai was delayed by 1 hour and as luck would have it, my transit time in Dubai was 1 hour. Glorious, isn't it?.

4. But thanks to favoUrable tail winds, we reached in time. Almost there!.

5. Another 4 hour flight and I was kissing the grounds of Madras (not really, it was raining and was wet). Was too excited to sleep that day (jet lag would hit me hard later anyway).

7. And boy!, did it rain. Record rains in Madras!. I had to answer embarrasingly cliched questions like "did you bring wilma from Florida". Although I have to admit that I enjoyed this particular aspect of comparing storms in USA and India.

8. Realized how packed agendas are and how true stereotypical situations are in an India trip. Went for shopping the same day in T.Nagar.

9. Experienced the fright of driving in the streets here. Last time when I visited, I had not started driving in the US, so driving in India was easy. This time, I closed my eyes tightly as my brother drove his car. I must have been the only person (passenger or driver) who wore a seat belt. I think Automatic transmissions would be of more use in India than in USA.

10. October 26th, 2005 - indha naal, yen vaazhkaiyil marakamudiyaadha naal. My H1B visa interview date. The interview was at 10:15 AM and it was raining that morning. I reached there 1 hour early and saw that people with appointments at 12 PM were in front of me. Gulping and panting excessively, I somehow managed to get past them all and went inside. Only to see that it was just the beginning. Two more queues later, I was in the "next" building.

H1B applicants are a miserable lot. The order of preference for the counter is B1, B2, L1, L2, H4, 5B, 18K, auto, rickshaw and then H1B. The last possible category. Paridhaabam.

I went through the fingerprinting procedure and was asked to wait for some more time. Time was 11:30 by then. When it was finally my turn, I was supremely confident (after seeing other candidates' situation - ivanukkey kadachithu!). I mentioned my job title, description, kulam, gothram, etc. Insincere plastic smiles were flashed on both sides of the counter. Almost there!. But recall that the subject under study is a certain ME. "Please wait, I will be back in a minute". Maybe she has gone for a glass of water. Paavum.. day fulla yethana peroda pesaraa. Oh no, no sir!. There she came, with a blue form. "aah.. umm. actually, you seem to have some kind of injury in your right index finger. please come back again after it heals, thanks! * insert plastic smile here*.


I guess I was in a state of shock all the way till home - seemingly I had come by an auto by myself and told directions to the driver, but don't recall any of that happening. Worst thing was, initially, my folks refused to believe me and thought I was joking!.

I was staring at the culprit finger which had flipped me off.

Several conspiracy theories sprung to my mind and I was desperately trying to find the cause of the problem. Finally, we decided that this is one situation where treating the symptoms is better than finding and eliminating the cause. Dermatologist - prescription - dosage - 1 week. One silver lining was that the dermatologist said he has seen 2-3 cases (USCIS bulbs on account of finger) previously, so there was a history. The cause? - liquid soap removed the oil layer.

11. I spent the next 6 days like an ascetic - very careful with what I did using my hands (now, now!). I meant, no playing cricket, eating with 3 fingers, minimal crackers for Deepavali, etc. Of course, the medication, creams and the lot. I felt like Sharukh Khan in the lux ad. By the way, SRK has now become a full time ad film actor. No more movies?.

12. Today, I went to the consulate again, and this time, fate favored me. The visa officer said "did'nt you come last week?. Are you sure that the finger would have healed by now?". I think I blabbered yes. "ok, lets try!". And it did!. After a minute or so of questioning, I was through!.

13. It was unearthly when I came out - pouring rain. My documents!. I was stuck for sometime outside the consulate doors due to the rain.

14. Oh, and by the way, the sentries outside the consulate typically earn around 5000 Rs everyday. Successful visa holders are preyed easily on account of the silly grin in their faces. I am not an exception.

15. To top a great day, India wins the ODI series!.

So, that is what I was upto till now. I have been telling myself that this India trip would be a trip of revelations to me. I don't know if that would be the case, but it certainly bolstered my opinion that life is too complex to vainly simplify it.

PS: Met some relatives, a few friends, including my best friend who had come from Dubai.

Last night (before my visa interview), I went to re-live the Indian Movie watching experience.

Udhayam theatre - Sivakasi - housefull - black - 70 is 120 - horrible - i am half deaf now.

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