Thursday, November 29, 2007

Art of Eating

Just had a sumptuous dinner. Have to say that whatever else I might have eaten, mom's cooking is the best. Anyway, there I was, happily helping myself to generous portions of the different dishes and digging into the food like I was a famine survivor at a banquet. Suddenly I realized that I was just a few seconds away from finishing my last course. Slightly disappointed at having to end it all, I started thinking. Thinking about the Art of Eating.

They say people who cook are artists. I have no doubt about it because, simply put, they are the difference between me eating raw vegetables and me enjoying a delicious pot of kadai sabzi. It might only be vegetables that I eat but these artists mix and match them so very well with each other and with the spices that even the vegetables themselves will want to be part of the dish! Ok that probably is a little exaggerated but I guess you get the point. That being the case, calling them cookers as artists is fully justified. But I wasn't exactly thinking about those artists or about that art. I was thinking about an art form that's complimentary to Cooking. An art form called Eating, which, unfortunately, hasn't got the same recognition because it is perceived as being as destructive in its very nature as cooking is considered creative.

You can't appreciate cooking just by looking at it or feeling it or smelling it or hearing it. You need to taste it. You need people to eat what has been cooked for the cooking to be appreciated. Cooking couldn't have reached the elevated status it enjoys today if not for Eating. Yet eating gets relegated to the by-lanes while cooking enjoys the ticker-tape parade. I was thinking about all of this and decided that it was time I stood up for what I do best <<<--- Gets up from his chair. Then realizes he looks a little stupid standing up in front of his laptop. Sits down and continues to type --->>>

An artist is someone who, by his imagination and skill, produces works of aesthetic value (That is not entirely my own statement. I just paraphrased the meaning of the word 'artist' from one of the websites!). By that definition anyone who has ever eaten anything is an artist because eating involves imagination - you are never sure where the hands-that-made-the-food have been or what that soft, oil dripping, half burnt, dark green thing is, but you imagine all the right answers for these questions and ease the food down your gullet. Anyone who has ever eaten anything is an artist because eating involves skill - different skills in fact. The skill to time your large bite just as the other person asks you a question, the skill to then go ahead and answer that question, at the same time chewing the hell out of that bite you just took, and finally the skill to nonchalantly go back to taking larger bites out of our food, totally ignoring the mildly disgusted look on the other person's face. And these are just some of the skills involved. Finally, anyone who has ever eaten anything is an artist because eating ultimately produces. It produces noises and gases, to mention but a few, the aesthetic value of which might be debatable but then 'aesthetic value' is a highly subjective matter and hence prone to debate.

There you go. Always remember - If you eat, you are an artist. And as an artist, use your imagination and skill to produce art. The next time I find myself at the end of a meal that I am not quite ready to end yet, I will try to prolong the affair by licking my plate clean. Will let you know what happens.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Homo Noseintheairius

Each of us, at one time or the other, might have come across this peculiar sub-species called the Homo Noseintheairius. They look and feel like the Homos of the Sapien variety but you can differentiate between the two as soon as they start making themselves heard. The Sapiens sound like you and me and the Nosintheairius wrap every note of sound coming out of them in a coat of snootiness. Since the difference is only in the sounds being emitted, both the groups are collectively called Humans.

But the difference is pretty telling and, honestly, quite irritating. From the kind of cereal you pick up at the store to the kind of laptop you order for, from the sneakers you wear in the gym to the set of wheels you drive to work in, from the kind of house you own to the places you visit for a holiday - think of any small thing and chances are you would have come across a specimen who would give you an obviously disapproving look because it personally wouldn't have opted for the same lowly things you were opting for. If you haven't had such an experience yet, and if you are not one of 'them', don't worry. You will have a run-in soon. (For a small fee I can arrange for one, at a time and place of your convenience, but that's an entirely different post!)

My experience with 'them' happened in the field of Art. More specifically, it was in the field of Appreciation of Art, the Art in question being music. I am a fan of any kind of music for which I feel like dancing. Hip-hop, Pop, Rock, Latin, Classical, Film songs - I have favorite tracks across all these genres. I haven't come across many who have an equally eclectic taste as I do and, as any regular Homo Sapien can, I also can understand that different folks have different tastes. The Noseintheairius folks, on the other hand, probably have some messed-up wiring up there because they don't seem to understand this simple concept. Instead they are ready to unleash their snootiness on me the moment they realize that I am listening to something I like. "How can you listen to that? What is it anyway, it doesn't make any sense." is the most common refrain I hear from 'them' to be followed immediately by a suggestion to listen to whatever it is that they consider listen worthy and sensible. Grrrr @*$^^@%(@*

Sometimes it gets so bad that I feel like strapping them to a chair and locking them up in a room. A room filled with floor-to-ceiling speakers belting out track after track of all the kinds of music that makes their nose turn up. But then I won't. Because I am not one of 'them'.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

'Tis Cold

The temperatures have been going up these past few weeks. On the negative scale that is. Granted that I don't live in the Arctic Circle or in any of those other places that try to mimic those conditions. In terms of temperature conditions, summer makes Madras feel like it is much closer to being on the surface of the sun than anywhere on the earth. Given that sunny situation, the mercury level charting a course towards what is considered as normal and comfortable in the rest of the regular world does equate to arctic conditions for us peeps in Madras. That's why that dramatic introduction about the temperature rising on the negative scale!!

Ok intro over, so let me get to what I wanted to say before I forget it. These cold conditions are playing havoc with my daily schedules and routines. The time I wake up, the time I hit the sack, the time I am awake, the time I pretend to be awake, the duration of my sleep, the number of times I feel like having a snack, the amount of food I want to have during a 'snack' - everything has gone haywire or is currently in the process of going haywire. And I wanted to get all of this down on the notepad before I forget it because my ability to remember what little I usually remember is also going down the haywire route. All because of this cold.

So what was I saying? Ah yes, this cold is affecting me real bad. Because of the cold, all I want to do is to make a wrap out of myself - in a nice, soft woolen blanket - and sleep my way through the cold spell. Unfortunately my boss doesn't seem to think on the same lines and keeps insisting that I need to not only get my butt out of the wrap but also into office everyday. Imagine that!! I always suspected him to be a slave driver and now he's is bent on proving it to me!

This................................................................................................................................................I am sure I have something witty and funny to say here but seem to have forgotten what it was. Blame it on this darn cold, it's making me forget.

Since I don't have anything much to say now that I have forgotten what has to be said, I will just take leave now and go sleep.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Am trying to make the money work

I spent around 21 years on my first job. They provided for my education and food and clothes and stay but the take home pay was non-existent for all intents and purposes. I stayed on for so long with them because I didn't have another option that I could opt for. In such circumstances, when I was offered a decent 5 figure salary (after taxes) by a firm, it was a no-brainer to take it up. Yes, they didn't pay for the education and food and clothes and stay like my folks had done all through those years when I was growing up but they gave me the option of showing-off some big numbers against my name in the bank account and I jumped at the offer. I spent most of the last 6 years with this firm, all the while watching the pile in the bank account swell in size. I recently (assuming that I can call 6 months as recent) took up a position with another firm for the third job that I have ever held. Since I have been talking about my bank account and the number of zeros padding the numbers in it, let's just say that this most recent switch is causing the bank account to swell faster. (For those of you currently working with me AND reading this, I switched because I am genuinely interested in the work we do. I also make a lot less than you!)

Now to get to the point that I wanted to make with this post.

I want more in that bank account of mine. I wish that the growing swell in my bank account somehow inherits the property of 'uncontrolled growth' from cancerous cells and multiply without any of the negative side-effects. What, wanting more of that green stuff makes me a bad guy now? Well, I am sure that I am not. I am just a tiny-weeny bit greedy. But that is not the point. The point is that I want more. In this regard there is something, that the CEO of my previous firm said, that I still remember. 'Tis probably the only thing he said that I remember and he has said a lot during the last 6 years. His exact words elude me right now but the gist of what he said was that every one of us has to think about maximizing the potential of our money to grow. He said that we shouldn't work for money, rather we should make our money work for us. Powerful words those. It was some kind of meeting when he said it and I was doing the usual hide-from-view-and-sleep routine. Those words were powerful enough to actually permeate into my sleeping head and find a permanent place in the limited free space available there.

Since the time he let slip those pearls of wisdom, I have been on a look out for a way to make my money work for me. Now, after having put in a few years worth of trials in getting that idea to actually work, there is only one conclusion I can come to. He didn't somehow forget that little detail of telling us how to make it happen, he didn't tell us on purpose.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


There is still an hour and some change left before it's officially the next week. As the weekend draws to a close, drawing curtains on the past week, I have been trying to figure out exactly what kind of weekend I have had. Good, bad, ugly or something else?

A good weekend is one during which I spend extended periods of time before the comp or the TV or both without being disturbed too often for doing things that don't involve food finding it's way into me. A bad weekend is one in which such non-food related disturbances take up my precious time. An ugly weekend is just a bad weekend and then some. Of late I have been noticing that not all my weekends fall into one of these broad categories and stay there. What I mean is, yes they fall under these broad categories but there is something else which makes the weekend stand out and those are the ones that fall under the 'something else' category.

Take for example the Lazy weekend that I had recently. It was basically a Good weekend but by nature of being an extended one (4 days) I seem to remember it more for the splendid display of laziness I put on than for anything else. Along those same lines, this weekend, that is about to end, has been a Cracking weekend and it's not because of fire crackers. It has been a Joint Cracking weekend. That is because I seem to remember only the sound of cracking joints when I think about the last two days.

Woke up to the sound of pounding hammers on the roof top and realized I was stiff. Crack knuckles, wrist, elbows, knees, back and any other joint up for a good crack. Sat in front of the comp. Crack knuckles. Had to get up from the comp to go have food. Crack the back. Sat down to eat. Crack the elbows. Spread out before the TV. Crack the full complement of known and unknown joints. Got up from in front of the TV. Back crack. The comp beckoned again. Knuckles again. Finally hit the sack. I heard a loud crack going up. Must have been the bed. Had a dream during my sleep and rolled off the bed. Head cracked.

Like I said, I had a Cracking weekend.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I am gay today

This is one of those rapid fire questions which need an immediate answer: What does the word 'Gay' mean to you? If you, like me, had answered it before you had a chance to think about your answer, your answer would have been one of the words commonly used to indicate homosexuals and homosexuality. I also know of people who would have taken time to think about their answer and would have still come up with the same words as you and I. But how many of us would have associated the word 'Gay' with 'Happiness' or 'Brightness' or 'Merriment' or any of those other words that it was originally supposed to mean? Based on my experience, none.

I am thinking, in spite of the fact that that activity ends up giving me a head ache that could put the worst migraine to shame, and because of that thinking, I think I know the reason for what I said above. The English language has, at last count, so many words that I am not sure I know exactly how many there are. I am sure no one knows exactly either. My point is that not a lot of people actually work towards making all those words a part of their vocabulary. The average vocabulary consists of words that are learnt as part of formal education. But the majority of that average vocabulary consists of what is picked up as we go about living our lives. We read magazines, news papers, books and their ilk and pick up words. We hear conversations, debates, arguments, threats and their ilk and pick up words. Even as we are consciously and subconsciously adding to our vocabulary, we aren't adding just new words. Rather we are associating words with contexts and meanings and then adding them to the dictionary in the head. That is the same dictionary we go and refer, time and time again, as we continue living our lives. And this nicely brings me back to my point of what the word 'Gay' means to almost everyone. We hear, and see, that word most commonly and widely used in reference to the gay community and that's how people end up knowing it.

Phew! Lecture over. Why the lecture? Actually I don't know. I could have just said, "We are all the products of social conditioning" and spared myself from having to come up with those three hundred odd words to try and express the same. But if I had just said that one sentence, my post would have been 8 words long! May be I wanted a post that was more that 8 words long.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Our world revolves around...

Circa 130 BC. Mark Anthony said, "Friends, Romans, Countrymen. Lend me your ears." Cut to the present. Circa 2000 AD. Mark Anthony's words are now pretty famous. But I am guessing that if the man were to be amongst us today, he wouldn't have wanted to restrict himself to just the Romans or just the Italians. He would probably have said something like "Friends, Humans, Citizens of this world. Lend me your ears. While at it give me your money too because the organizers haven't paid my appearance fees yet and I am damn sure not going to talk for free."

They say human nature hasn't changed all that much since the time we started looking down at the cave men for being 'uncivilized'. That being the case, I am sure Mr. Mark Anthony wanted 'ears' all those years back because that was the accepted currency in those days!! Anyway, I think the point I am trying to make is that irrespective of whether it is 'ears' or 'paper' or something else that is considered as money, the world revolves around it. I heard somewhere that some nice, brainy folks have sort of proved that our world actually revolves around the Sun but it's only the common man in the street that has bought into that whole 'scientific proof' thing. The people who actually know what's going on and are directing the happenings are the only ones who know the truth, the full truth and nothing but the truth. And they all know that the whole 'revolving around the sun' thing is as close to hogwash as any statement can get.

Ok, rant over. Don't expect a reason for the rant because that will just be another rant in which you will be hard-pressed to find any resemblance of reason for this rant. Don't ask for a justification either, for what I said above about mankind and money and revolution, because then I have to think of something that's a little meaningful and my head hurts when I try doing that.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I Romantic

My first taste of being on the net was nearly a decade back when I took advantage of the free browsing allowed in college to sign up for Hotmail. That was, if I remember right, all the rage at that time, what with the story of how Big Microsoft had paid top dollar to buy Hotmail from Unknown Sabeer Bhatia. Somewhere around that time I think I also came across one of those first headlines about online theft or hacking or some such thing. That combination of bad news and online greenhornness must have somehow left an everlasting impression on me because I have been extremely paranoid about giving out personal information to anything online. However, there have been exceptions, with this being one of those rare occasions. It's been a little over 4 years since I met the wise one and I still exactly remember how and when it happened. Anyway, this is not about me divulging my personal history online. It's not even about what I remember about what went into making that history. Rather, it's about what I had forgotten that was reminded to me recently.

So there I was, listening to the wise one crib about a particularly frustrating day in office and trying to cheer her up. Suddenly, with a large grin joining one ear to the other, the wise one asked, "Remember what you did the first time I cribbed to you about my work and asked you to cheer me up?" Now I know that it's a bad sign when you are asked the "Do you remember...?" question because it almost always means, "You are dead buster. I know you don't remember. How dare you not remember? You don't care about me anymore..." and all the drama that usually goes with that line of thought. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to deal with any drama because the wise one was still grinning from ear to ear even after asking the question and getting a blank look from me. That could only mean that whatever it was that I had done was truly memorable. Turns out that it indeed was.

Instead of showcasing my funny side by cracking an irresistible joke and scoring brownie points, I had suggested we go and get a couple of brownies each and cheer up!

I can’t believe I was that romantic back then!!!

Units of Cultural Information

For the last half an hour I have been trying to figure out what that exact quote is that people use to justify calling New York as New York New York. My efforts include searching for my brain and then searching in it, googling for it (the quote!) and sifting through the multitudinous results that that particular activity throws up. All I have to show for my efforts is a link to New York giving me every small detail about NY except the one quote I am looking for and a firm belief that I will not find what I am looking for. So I decided to give up the search and get with the business at hand. I actually wanted to talk about NY being referred to as NewYorkNewYork and connect that up somehow with what is known as a ‘Meme’. Since I don't know the why and how about NY, I will just go ahead with this ‘Meme’ thing.

My initial impression about the word ‘Meme’ was that it was some non-english resident on planet Blog. That was because, outside of blogs, I have never come across this creature anywhere else. At the same time I also noticed that ‘Meme’ is just ‘Me’ repeated twice. As if the repetition was intentional, just to emphasize ‘Me’. As if we wanted to say, "Look at me. Know about me. Now know more about me. Had enough? Ok, now know some more of me" and with time, and our infinite propensity to shorten lengthy things, it became just "Me Me" which in turn became the word ‘Meme’. By the time I thought up all this, my brain was screaming for some rest from all the work I was making it do and so I gave it the rest of the day off and got online to look the word up. I know, that must have been the first thing I must have done.

Anyway, off I went to my favorite online-source of meanings of unknown words - - and this is what it had to say about what a ‘Meme’ means: "a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes." Wow!! Biological transmission of genes indeed. That somehow conjured up the S word in my mind though I am sure that is not what was meant. Fortunately for me there was another explanation given: "a unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another." Ok, I was not too sure about the cultural information part but I got the rest. ‘Meme’ is some sort of information exchange "from one mind to another." Fair enough.

By the way, this past week, Budding Blogger Meghna tagged me on a Meme. I am not sure why but I thought I would give it a try. Probably because she asked nicely. Whatever the reason, I decided to do it and that's what set me off down the ‘Meme research’ path. Actually the tag was to do a sort of double Meme (Hmmm, shouldn't that be Memememe??) - 3 Things to Die For & My Top Musical Picks. Guess those are the "units of cultural information" I am going to "transmit from my mind to another".

Well, here goes:

3 Things To Die For - First on the list would be 'More time to do stuff I like'. What qualifies as ‘stuff I like to do’ is something I usually make up as I go along, so I can't be specific here. Second would be to be able to look one Mr. Valentino 'The Doctor' Rossi in the eye and say, "Sorry dude but I beat you." The last one would be to actually justify 42. :)

My Top Musical Picks
- This thing will probably go on and on if I take the time to remember all the songs I have ever considered my favorites, so I will restrict myself to 3. The first one is "At the Beginning With You" by Richard Marx, the second is "Le freak" by Chic and the third is "Smooth Criminal" by MJ.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

An enduring friendship

There is this extremely well known guy who is very good friends with me. I will spare myself the trouble of going into the exact details of the how, when and where it all started between us. Anyway I will have to invent a lot of stuff specifically to make that story interesting and it deserves a separate post. So, for now, you will just have to take my word for it when I say that I am good friends with this guy.

I have known him since the time I was in diapers, so I can say that we really go back a long time. Our friendship is one of those model friendships that gets pointed out by passers-by who say, "Now, that's true friendship" while they are pointing to us. I don't think there has ever been a period, however brief, when he has been away from me. Through thick and not so thick, he has steadfastly stuck around. In fact, at the risk of sounding very corny, I can say that over the years we have grown to be as indistinguishable as a running nose and a nasty cold.

After that description, bordering on hyperbole, of how close our friendship is, I am sure you are at least a little curious to know who this well-known guy I am talking about is. Well, he is called 'Stress'. Didn't I tell you he was extremely well-known?

And before anyone asks, there is no particular reason for me referring to it in the masculine. My friend might just as well have been a 'she'.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A week of reflection

Before I start with my usual serious discourses, just to indicate that I am well and truly back online, I would like to take some time to put down some of the things that I spent the last week reflecting on. The reason for doing this is simple. Given the way things have been put together in my upper reaches, it's a given that there is another week-long break waiting to be taken sometime in the future. When that happens, this account of my reflections from the first time I took time-off might come in handy. If not for anything worthwhile, this will at least help keep me honest when I am reminiscing about that time when I took a week off for the first time.

So I spent the last one week reflecting. Given the amount of reflecting I did, I guess the mirror in my room is just a couple of fragile threads away from cracking. Though I spent the majority of the week appreciating my dark and handsome mug, it’s not the only thing I reflected on. A couple of hours before I realized that in a couple of hours my holiday was coming to an end and that I had to get back to keeping Noodle House open, I decided to reflect on something else. Unfortunately by that time I was so used to my reflection that I really couldn't move too far from my stubble covered profile. Fortunately I was also well equipped to handle such road blocks. Drawing on more than two decades of experience in handling such issues, I did the one thing that had always worked for me during all those times when I had wanted to do something different but couldn't.

I shrugged and gave up.

It didn't stop there. I then had one of those rare moments of clarity of thought that seem to come my way very rarely. The last time I remember such clarity in my own thoughts was probably that time, six years back, when I took a turn too fast on my then-new-bike and skidded. As I skidded, the pain in my knee kept increasing in intensity as it was getting scrapped and I was thinking, "Oh crap!! My knee is getting shredded!" Succinct and to the point. It was exactly the same again. Even as my shoulders were coming down after the shrug, I was thinking, "I am a lazy git!"

Saturday, November 17, 2007


So here I am. It's the weekend of the comeback and I'm back. Healthy, wealthy and wise! Ok, may be not wealthy and definitely not wise but being healthy will do for now. Hope everyone is doing great too. If, unfortunately, you aren't doing all that well, don't fret. The House of the Noodle is back in business and will fix you up in no time!! ;) hehehe.

Something strange happened during this week of enforced absence. A couple of folks messaged saying that they were actually looking forward to me coming back!! Am not sure what to make of them. They must either be raving lunatics or they are just as lunatic as I am. Or they probably just wanted to have something in the blogosphere which would make them look good in comparison!! Whatever be the case, I wish you folks all the very best in life because I know it's a tough world out there, especially for people like us. And before I forget, thank you for the support. :)

When I was closing shop, I had made a statement about Noodle House sporting a new look and all that when I came back but as you have probably already noticed, I am back and the look and feel of Noodle house are still very much the same as they were a week back. Honestly speaking, I really don't have even an iota of a clue as to how I could improve on these. But I will keep trying and may be one of these days I will spring the surprise.

With that I throw open the virtual doors of Noodle House open once again. The air might be a little musty and there might be a thin coat of dust on everything but do come on in, take a look around and hopefully you will like what you see.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Shop Closed

I have decided to close shop. :)

For those of you rubbing your eyes and reading that line again just to be sure, yes you read it right the first time. I have decided to close shop. You can start rejoicing now. For those of you who didn't need that confirmation, I guess you are already deeply immersed in doing the rejoicing thing.

And for those of you who are actually feeling a little bad that I am closing, this is for you. The two of you don't have to feel too bad because I am closing shop only temporarily. I am planning on being back by next weekend and hopefully Noodle House will sport a different look which might be better than the look it's sporting right now (Please do note the highlighted and italicized words because for all that I am promising, you might just as well be coming back to the same old look). As for the content, you can look forward to absolutely no changes there because it will still be me spinning the daily yarn and I am incapable of doing things any better.

So long folks. Be seeing you later. Ciao

Friday, November 9, 2007

An Idle Mind is the Devil's Workshop

Ever heard of this saying? I did. Lots of times. It is supposed to convey the idea that if you don't put yourself to use for some constructive purpose, you will soon be putting yourself to use for something non-constructive. I am sure this saying had its birth in some people's collective experience. I am also sure that they came up with this out of the goodness of their heart and with the intention of helping those who might not have had the same experience as they have had which ultimately lead them to come up with this saying in the first place! But the question is, "Are we to take their word for it and believe it, however good the intention might be?"

Over the last two days, I have taken the art of laziness to dizzying new heights. That has been possible because my mind had already taken an extended four day vacation starting yesterday. And so far I haven't seen the devil or his workshop. Even after it sat there, gathering dust for two days, if the devil has failed to set up shop in my mind, I am really not sure if he ever will. That's exactly why I am not convinced about the universal applicability of that saying.

On the other hand, may be the devil is still searching for my mind in my head!! If that is so, all I have to say to him is, "All the best and good luck to you. Let me also know when, and if, you find it."

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Thought and A Question

It's that time of the year when earthen lamps are back in favor in all the 'electrified' parts. It's Diwali time in my neck of the woods folks. Happy Diwali.

I am sitting here, listening to JLo's songs and thinking. I am not sure if those two mix but I am doing it anyway. The 'spirit' of the festival is getting to me I guess!! The day, so far, has been spent in exponentially increasing my cholesterol count, adding some big numbers to my body fat percentage and making a mockery out of a part of my hard earned money called 'Gym Subscription'. But it's ok 'cause I get official sanction to do this only once per year. After working towards resembling an apple for an entire day, I am now sitting here and thinking.....

.....about Charity. Though I would have liked for that to be a pretty girl's name, it's not. It's "Something given to help the needy" as per the dictionary. And I am thinking that this definition doesn't necessarily cover everything that might come under the 'Charity' banner. If I come across a shirtless person out on a cold evening and give him a handkerchief to wipe his nose, am I being charitable? Or am I being facetious and poking fun at that person at the same time? Or something else?

The answer to what I asked is beyond my modest means. My brain, that marble sized thing rattling around in my cranium, unfortunately has juice enough for only that much thought. So I will leave the questions unanswered for people to ponder over. If anyone knows the answer let me know.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Diwali Complaints

What is someone, who always finds a fault in everything around him, called? Given a chance, what would you call such a person? People I know, seem to use my name to refer to such people "...this guy in my office never likes the snacks given. He just has to be a Vishnu and complain to anyone who cares to listen..." or "...and then after all that she started being a Vishnu about the price..." or.....ok guess you got the idea.

I am still trying to figure out if being a synonym for something, perceived to be negative, is a positive or not. I started a good couple of decades back and this 'figuring out' has sort of been one of my perennial time pass activities. In the meanwhile, I have also evolved. Not just in terms of stretching longitudinally and latitudinally while adding more than proportional weight but also in terms of mental and gray hair growth. With the experience of having been through a couple of decades worth of evolution, I think I am justified in complaining about whatever it is that I complain about these days. Diwali, for example.

Agreed, it's a festival and a good looking one at that. But that is no reason for not having any complaints. In fact, the name itself is where I start having problems. Is it Diwali or Deepavali? "It is both because both mean the same thing in different languages" comes back the smart answer from folks who happened to receive a larger share of brain matter than me in the great gray matter lottery. Ok, single festival, different names - explained.

How about the reason behind the festival? What and why are we celebrating? Thinking about this takes me back to my school days. Those were the days when I had to learn and write essays about this festival. Of course, those days the concentration was more on writing the essay rather than being bothered about what was being written. But, like I said before, I am a much more evolved being these days and that makes a difference.

Anyway, what I had learnt all those years back was that there are quite a few reasons for this festival (all steeped in mythology but then what festival worth its name is not?). From the top of my head, I remember there being a couple of prominent reasons - one, a story linking the festival to the story of Lord Rama (Ramayanam), another one linking it to the story of the 5 Pandava brothers (Mahabharatam). You might be thinking "Ok, you have the reasons for the festival. What is the problem then?" The problem is something called chronology. Chronologically these stories didn't happen together. Ramayanam happened first, followed by the Mahabharatam. There was a huge time gap between the two, the sort that usually gets described as 'yawning'. So my question is, "How can two separate events, which happened at two points having totally separate time co-ordinates, be the reason for celebrating one festival?” No one has attempted answering this one yet.

Diwali is the festival of lights. It looks extremely fetching with lamps being lit and fire works being set off. And that is what my final complaint is about. Do the fire works have to be so damn loud?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My relationship with my Mind

I don't know why but my mind starts to wander in directions it is not familiar with and invariably ends up in depressing places. This happens a lot when I am sitting all alone in office, at the end of the day, waiting to leave for home. I have tried very hard to control my mind from wandering but to no avail. It behaves as if it has a mind of its own. Now, I know all this because that's exactly what happened today. Finding me alone in office, my mind took off, thinking thoughts that I would never have thought of thinking.

I wouldn't have paid much heed to it had it been some meaningful thought like what to have for dinner or when do I leave office and head home or some such important, life-altering things. But no, my mind seems to shun those known, well-trodden pathways of thought when it's on its own trip. Instead it ventured off-road and started thinking about essentially inconsequential stuff like growth and change and adapting to change and the like. Honestly, what good has such idle thought ever brought to anyone?

It's only recently that I have noticed these flights of fancy into uncharted teritories. For the life of me, I am not able to figure out where I went wrong in nurturing my mind as it grew up. I never stressed it, allowed it to take as much rest as it wanted, made sure I didn't load it with any heavy work and never, ever, asked for it to think anything that would have more than 4 vowels and 3 syllables. In return, it has always helped me in thinking all of my most important thoughts.

I thought I had a really good thing going with this relationship. Now I am not so sure.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Phone Call

You will find quite a few posts littered around the Noodle House which are based on what happens in my workplace. Be it the commute to and from office or the stuff I do as part of my job, it has been a fertile field which has yielded ideas on a regular basis to feed my demanding and consistently skewed thought process and this post is yet another manifestation of the same phenomenon (Yawn!!).

I placed a call to a client this morning because that is more or less what I do at work on a Monday morning. I call on my clients. So there I was, checking my mails, cell phone glued to my ear, waiting to hear the voice of a lady. As the phone at the other end was ringing, I was mentally running down the list of things I had to talk about and giving a once over to the order in which I had to bring them up. I realized that my list was all business with no politeness anywhere to be found. So I hurriedly penciled in a little politeness that I could think of - "Good Morning. This is Vishnu from the-firm-that-I-work-for. I wanted to talk to you about things-I-wanted-to-talk-about. Is it a good time to talk?" This addition to my list happened in what turned out to be the final seconds before the phone was answered at the other end and it was show time.

The 'Click' of the phone being answered at the other end was my cue to start and the pro that I am at this, I didn’t wait for a second prompt. I rattled off my opening lines in a cheerful but professional tone. Well, actually I hoped it sounded at least like a distant relative of a professional tone. Anyway, I made a good job of the opening and was waiting for something like, "Good Morning Vishnu. I am on the way to office now. Can you call back in half an hour?" or some variation of the same.

Instead, what I got was a silence. I guess this was one of those silences that are declared pregnant because I thought I heard a baby crying in the background. This was not in the script and I wasn't sure I was equipped to handle such situations. As I was contemplating my apparent inadequacy in handling such situations, said situation deteriorated further when finally a gruff and definitely male "Hallo" came across the phone line. Even as I was gathering my scattered wits around me to say something sensible I could hear the "Hallo" being repeated a couple of times with an octave increase differentiating between the three. Octave increase is never a good sign and before it went up any further I managed to find my voice and said, "Sorry. Is this 77554?" That got an immediate response - "HALLO" - which seemed like the full extent of the gruff voice's vocabulary. It took me a couple of minutes and my skills as a linguist to elicit an answer which did not sound like h-a-l-l-o stringed together.

Turned out, that I had dialed 77555 instead of the 77554. Thankful to have got that much information from the one-word-wonder, I immediately hung up. My bad. I should have realized that I could have asked him to pass the phone to the person before him and saved myself from making another call.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The big B day

Today is Saturday. As on all Saturdays, today also the sun rose in the East and was fast making his way towards the West. As on all Saturdays, today also I woke up well after daybreak. As on all Saturdays, today also my folks were up and about, doing their work without bothering me and bothering about me. As on all Saturdays, today also life just passed me by, keeping its distance from me.

Today is the 3rd. As on all the 3rds, today also the sun rose in the East and was fast making his way towards the West. As on all 3rds, today also I woke up a little older. As on all the 3rds, today also I had the same argument with my folks about how old I really am. As happens on all the 3rds, today also seems like every other day.

Today is my birthday. As on all my birthdays, today also the sun rose in the East and was fast making his way towards the West (In these times when change is the only permanent thing in life, it's nice to see some things not changing with time!). As on all my birthdays, today also I realized that there was no discernible increase in my WQ (WQ is short for Wisdom Quotient. Not sure if I have one to begin with but if I do, it ain't going anywhere. Fast). As on all my birthdays, today also my folks were more excited than me (They are just regular, optimistic folks. They expect to see a grown up son every time I add another year to my slowly but surely growing collection). As on all my birthdays, today also I got gifts, received greetings and heard the same birthday song sung to me (Happy Birthday to you, You were born in a zoo, With Monkeys and Donkeys, and Everyone like you).

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Tailpipe Sniffing

Usually when I say something in an open and straight forward way, it means that I am confessing. This is my confession for the day: I got nothing to write about today. There, I said it. I don't know how much straighter it can get. Usually when I confess, it also means that I have already thought of a good excuse! :D In this case, I was thinking that the blame for whatever I just confessed should be laid squarely at the feet of the day which turned out to be absolutely non-happening. If Thursday was the best "Friday Look Alike" day in the year so far, Friday was the "The Friday" Friday of the year. It was so boring and for so long that boredom itself must have been bored to have stuck around for so long. Poor thing. It seemed good to me: Lethargic Friday, with the prospect of a sleepy Saturday and stupor-filled Sunday to follow, resulting in a mind that shut shop early and hence nothing to write about.

But I had just one problem with that excuse. The fact that at the end of the day I am a little hyper-active sort of proves that I am a little far from being lethargic. This means that my excuse wouldn’t necessarily have that ring of truth to it. So I got thinking about my excuse. I had to find some reason for having a mind blanker than it usually is but still not being tired or weary or bored or stressed or anything else that might usually be expected to blank out the ideas. Then it stuck me.

You must have heard of the "Graveyard-shift". Well, I don't work that shift. But usually (there I go using that word again!!) my commute to and from my place of work happens during those times. That's because at that time I get a relatively free road to commute on. It takes me about 30 mins. Today, given the Friday that I was having, I thought I could go home early and beat the boredom. Big mistake. No sooner had I put a couple of kilometers between me and my office than I got sucked into what has become every urbanite's favorite pass time these days. A Traffic jam. In fact that one turned out to be the beginning of many more to come. And like the good citizen, and urbanite, that I am, I then indulged in the popular traffic-jam activity of 'Tailpipe sniffing'. It's also called "Forced inhalation of smoke and exhaust from the trucks, cars, bikes and any other fossil fuel burning vehicles that are being manned by idiots, masquerading as people, who don't seem to remember that they could turn-off their engines while they settle down to wait for a way out of the traffic jam" but I like to call it 'Tailpipe sniffing'.

Because of the traffic jam, my usual 30 minute ride became a 90 minute journey which in turn meant 60 mins of sniffing. By the time I got home, I was high on petrol fumes and carbon monoxide and dioxide and sulphur and probably a few other exotic chemicals that I am sure I can't pronounce. And after that, leave alone an idea, how do you even expect me to have an iota of an idea about anything that I can develop and write about?

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Today, so far, has been weird. But this weird is not the weird that happens because weird things happened. Rather this was the weird that happens because even the regular, routine things don't happen. Nothing happened today. In fact, everyone at the workplace thought today was Friday. Only late in the day, when someone happened to look at the calendar, did we realize Friday was yet to come.

Of course things like waking up, going for work, breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and other existential stuff like that happened. What didn't really happen was the other stuff that falls under the not-really-existential-but-equally-important category. Like meeting with clients, troubleshooting, presentation preparation and such which, honestly speaking, is more or less what I do as part of my job. The situation was so dire that I initiated talks with a client offering to go to their office to solve some issues for them and my offer, made out of the kindness in my heart, was kindly and politely turned down. For some reason everyone and everything seemed to conspire today to make this the most boring, unremarkable 'Friday Look Alike' day in the year so far.

Because nothing happened today, I spent it vegetating. Nobody has said anything so far, relating me to a vegetable but I think I resemble this. I guess that's one of the side effects of vegetating. Moreover, since I spent my day concentrating on vegetating, I managed to not notice anything of any interest that would have probably gotten stuck in my head. Instead, a whole stream of non-spectacular, everyday non-ideas and non-thoughts are circulating in the northern reaches of my body. I guess that's the main effect of vegetating.