Thursday, November 27, 2008

Terror Attack

Yet another incident to this already dreadful year!

I wish, that may (at least) the soul of all those kids, women and men who were killed by the terror attacks in Mumbai, rest in peace.

I wish, we as a country did something, anything to prove to those militants that they can't get away with this.

I wish, the politicians for once, will set aside their differences and join hands to pulverize each and every terrorist who did this.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A trip to Villupuram

Yet another action-packed weekend it was. Most of Saturday was spent at home, cleaning and shopping for veggies. The B-I-L arrived late evening as we had to attend a betrothal ceremony in Vizhupuram on Sunday. We got to bed by 10 to rest well so that we can start by 4.30 the next morning. But we just tossed and turned and couldn't sleep much and finally woke up by 4AM. We got ready by 5 or so, had some oatmeal and also stocked up a lot of biscuits, corn-puffs, fryums and other items for snacking and got everything into the car and started by 5.30!

It started raining soon after we started and it was pouring very heavily till Vandalur. It was still quite dark and with the rains lashing down furiously, we were quite skeptical if we could make it to the function on time (the ceremony was to commence by 7.45).

But once we reached the National Highway, there was no sign of rain though it was cloudy. But the sun was rising and with the smooth road ahead it was just perfect! The air was cool, almost chilly and as we were zipping across the highway it was sublime. The highway (NH4) is maintained extremely well. The entire stretch till Tindivanam is as smooth as silk! Listening to some wonderful music, eating, chatting and laughing, we drove along the road merrily.
I can't stop gushing at the wonderful sights that awaited us. Lush green fields, mighty hills with the clouds caressing its tops, little hamlets on the side roads... it was blissful.

The road after Tinidvanam (incidentally the point after the last toll gate) is not very good. It is not too bad either, but we had to reduce our speed drastically to 50-60kmph or so. After some phone calls to the relatives present at the mandapam, we finally reached the place by 8 or so, to be welcomed by so many smiling and excited faces.

C's dad's family is a big one. My F-I-L has 3 brothers and 4 sisters. All are married and have kids. So, you can imagine the number of cousins C has. There was a lot of singing and dancing going on and we had a great time with everyone. Had a nice lunch and spent another 2 hours lazing around the hall. We were the only family left and the cleaners made it obvious that they wanted us to vacate so that they can set right the hall for the next day! So, finally everyone packed their bags and it was decided that we visit Lord Muruga at Mailam. Mailam is the 'Kula Deivam' for us. This was the first time I was visiting it. It is situated on top of a small hill that you can drive up to. Had a very nice darshan and after bidding farewell to all the chithappas, chithis and cousins we began our journey to Chennai by 5 in the evening.

After yet another excellent ride together with some soul-stirring old tamil film music, we reached Tambaram by 6.15 or so. From there it was a crawl due to some heavy traffic. Dropped Fil, Mil and Bil at their house and we drove back to our home.

It was almost 8 by the time we reached home and directly went to my Mom's place for dinner and we went to bed by 10.30 or so. We slept like logs!

Woke up by 9.30 or so and didn't feel like budging out of the bed. I coaxed, cajoled and pleaded C to take the day off. He too agreed and voila! it was a wonderful day to spend with C at home. I connected from home but there was hardly any work to do... so we had a leisurely lunch and were just idling around. C had some work in the afternoon and since we were expecting some guests in the evening, I started thinking about dinner preparations.

I started cooking around 5 or so. Prepared Spicy Mushroom-Peas Gravy, Veg Fried Rice, Raitha and Mom quickly prepared Kesari laden with raisins and almonds! We had our first real guests on Monday. Again, we immensely enjoyed the time we spent with them. They all really liked the food and praised me amply :-)

Again after a thoroughly enjoyable and also exhausting day we hit the bed by 11. So, that was how our extended weekend was spent.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Bus Ride and Car Re-Registration

After almost 6 or 7 years, I travelled by the MTC bus! I mostly work from home (WFH) and drop into office occasionally. Tuesday was one such day. I still don't know many people in this new office and have just one or two people for company. So, I checked with one of the colleagues and she too wanted to leave by 5 in the evening. Took a 'Share auto' from office to reach the bus stop and then boarded a bus to reach home. It cost me less than Rs 10. If I had taken an auto like I usually do, it would have cost me Rs 80. Gulp! Guilt.

There are so many new buses that have been introduced. My colleague apprised me on the variety. A normal white board, yellow board, Express and Air-conditioned buses with automatic doors! Wow! While we were waiting for our bus, I got to see a brand new A/C bus and it looked very sophisticated. The driver was wearing a khaki uniform with a neat peaked cap! I so wanted to board it, but unfortunately it was not going anywhere near my destination.

But then huddling together with 4 or 5 other people in a medium sized auto, what with the bulky laptop bag and lunch bag, and not to mention the crowded bus, again standing amidst all those jostling men and women... I don't mind the occasional 80 bucks. Unless I figure out the optimal time to take the bus. Maybe after 10 in the morning and return by 5 in the evening and then WFH... need to sort this out.

Now, after a couple of trips to the MCO (Most Corrupt Office)i.e the RTO, we paid the road tax and have obtained the receipt. Yay! Apparently, we can drive around with this, till we get our new number. I was amply warned by ArtNavy's post on re-registration. So we were kind of prepared for the routine. Since my dad knew someone who knew someone in the RTO, who in turn, knew someone else in car registration dept., things happened pretty fast. Of course we had to grease those already dirty hands! Thousands for tax and a few more thousands for the guy who moved the papers. I was seething with rage but C and dad told me that Anniyans and Indians happen only in movies! Sigh.

Anyway, there are 2 plays in Vani mahal this Sunday. Crazy's Chocolate Krishna at 4PM and SV Sekar's Vaal Paiyan at 7. Let us see if we are able to catch the latter. Need the weekend quota of laughter.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Am Ashamed

I was quite irritable whole of last night and woke up this morning feeling a little better. Had some residual grouchiness but it slowly faded away. Thanks to C's persistent efforts to make me smile :-)

I don't know what made me feel so crabby. I only know it started soon after I saw that Law College incident on Sun News channel. What was that? Why were they behaving like barbarians? Why was the police (and media) just standing there without intervening? I don't want to go into this in more detail as I can feel my rage again... But, will these people EVER change? Don't tell me it happens everywhere... if it happens then that has to change as well. And No, I don't have any solution. I can only feel remorseful and cry my heart out. What I try is, to be as compassionate and tolerant as possible. That is all I can do.

That particular piece of violence agitated me so much and I couldn't sleep till 3 AM!! Combined with the fact that I am PMSing I was snappy and C had to bear my brunt. Sorry C, am really sorry.

I was working from home today. C pinged me asking me to go out and feel the pleasant and cool was raining and he knew it would make feel better. And better I felt.

Work was light today, so I prepared Tofu Manchurian Soup and Mushroom-Peas pulao. C darling, it is for you. Hope you will like it. Am sorry for my abominable behaviour last night. But what to do? Blame it on the hormones!

I feel truly ashamed - of myself and of the state my country is degenerating into.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Notes II

While we were in Gurgaon our weekends were like this - Wake up late, lunch outside, laze around at home rest of the day, play badminton in the evening, Dinner, TV till late night. Maybe once in a month or two month we used to drop into a mall, window shop, eat some junk and head out. It was fun too, but after we moved to Chennai, the weekends have so much more activity, laughter, quality time that it is almost as hectic as a weekday but nevertheless, we enjoy it tremendously.

We woke up late Saturday (this trend hasn't changed much from Gurgaon ;-)) and immediately rushed to Pro-musicals to meet with a Guitar master.

Now, C started learning Guitar in Gurgaon and upon the master's insistence traded his Accoustic for a brand new Electric guitar and amplifier. C is musically gifted. He will protest at me for having said this. But I truly believe so. He has talent. The genuine, innate talent. I know he will make a fine guitarist (or for that matter a violinist or a singer as well). Also, having invested a bit heavily on such a nice piece of instrument, I really want him to join a good institute so that he can start his musical venture once again. We are scouring the internet, newspaper and other media on the lookout for a good music school. Came across a few and there is something or the other lacking. If the master is good, he is too busy. If the master is willing, the student doesn't find a rapport with him!

So, this master at Pro-musicals, a native of Nagaland(!), seemed nice and I think C also liked him. We decided it is better to start somewhere sooner than later and maybe after a month or two, we can re-evaluate it.

Had a late lunch and by 4 or so B-I-L (let's call him A) joined us. We soon left for our weekend veggie shopping. Also stopped by at Nilgiris and purchased a LOT of stuff. It was a mistake to take C and A along! They wanted to pick almost everything they could lay their hands on. Biscuits, Pasta, Soup Sachets, Beverages (they found Ragotine!), Tofu (B-I-L is a big protein freak!) and what not! So, we lugged everything back and reached home finally by 7 or so. Devoured all the assorted junk and I prepared pasta for dinner. After 10, C, A and I started our goofy session :-) I think no one can beat us at talking non-stop nonsense. Had a riot pulling A's leg and he in turn made us confess some of our pre-wedding secrets. It went on and on and on till 1 AM, after which we were too tired to talk or laugh and so finally hit the bed.

Sunday morning, I prepared lunch for 6 people. I think that's the largest for which I've cooked. Since we stay right next my mom's place, I have almost stopped cooking(!), so it was quite a deal for me ;-) Father-in-law joined us for lunch and I was beaming when the vendaikkai vathak-kozhumbu, onion-brinjal fry and rasam vanished in 15 minutes flat! It was very well liked and I felt sooo proud :-) I don't cook quite often, but when I do, I'd like to think I do it well. (Even if I say so myself ;-))

At 2.30 we four(C, A, F-I-L and I) left to visit C's cousin at the OTA (Officer's Training Academy). She did her Engineering in Mumbai and was selected for the Army (electronics and technical division). But they have a mandatory 1 year training at the OTA. She has already lost 3 kgs! Their routine starts at 4.30 in the morning and they hit the sack by 1 or so! Hardly 4 hrs of sleep a day!! But she seems to be enjoying the whole thing. It is such an inspiration to see her and the other cadets at the academy. Every time we visit her, the next day we religiously get on the exercise bike to get ride off a few calories. The motivation last a day or two before we are back to our routine. I guess seeing her twice a week will be a good idea. (Selfish reason)

Reached home by 5.30. I prepared some pani-puri and again we quickly gobbled up every bit of it. And then came the highlight of the day. We are suckers for S.Ve Sekar and Crazy Mohans' plays and went to Vani Mahal to see 'Chocolate Krishna Crazy's latest drama, it was uproarious! You can read the story gist from the link. It very much appealed to people of all ages. At one point the entire Sabha was laughing so hard that people started coughing! There is a bit where Maadhu's boss does a interview (the boss takes credit for Maadhu's work) and so Lord Krishna decides to help Maadhu. He casts his spell on the boss and so whenever the boss opens his mouth to answer the questions, he says whatever Maadhu speaks! (A bit like Bruce Almighty sequence) When the interviewer asks the boss his name, he says, my name is 'Bathroom-poren' (His name actually is Mathruboodham!!) Try as much as he can, he is unable to control his mouth and for the next 5 minutes the boss is done to bits with some whacky and embarrassing answers.

Some other jokes that had the audience in splits:
Naan British airways-la poren, nee?
Amma, naan alphonso-la poren.
Appa! adhu alphonso illa pa, Lufthansa!

Krishna faints after eating butter and says later: Naan evalavo butter saptirukken, but indha madhiri kandravi butter saptadhe illai!!
Maadhu: Krishna, ippo neeyum adult, butter is also adulterated!

Lord Krishna converts a dog into a man and when Maadhu introduces him and his uncle
Madhu says: Sir, ivaru parkathuku-dhan Man, actually, ivar oru Doberman!

I can't do justice to the jokes by typing them out. The speed with which Crazy and Madahu speak, it is best to see it live. Crazy has very diligently learnt some tricks and performs 'magic' like changing a simple black cloth into a nice screen with god print, retrieving a bouquet from a stick and some simple things like that but it sure captures the children's attention. It is definitely the best of Crazy's plays. Do watch it if you haven't already. Met Crazy after the show to praise the entire team's effort. He was as usual very humble.

So, after almost 2 hours of non-stop laughter, we headed home with a smile on our face and our hearts as light as feather. Of course it is true that, Laughter is the best medicine.