Monday, 25 January 2010

The 22nd 24th

A year older and a lot wiser, the phonophobic that I am, I still wasn't able to receive calls on my birthday. But then genuises are allowed to be whimsical at times :)

Happy birthday to me!

Quote for the day: "As far as I'm concerned, I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue." Albert Einstein

Question of the day:
Why do doctors leave the room when you change? They're going to see you naked anyway.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Happy Pongal

I'm not quite sure as to why Pongal is celebrated. Different people give me different reasons. But Wiki says that it is the beginning of the harvest festival. And Wiki is never wrong. There is a festive atmosphere all around. The usually grim and serious neighbours of mine actually do know how to laugh. But I am not smiling. No sir. Pongal signifies the start of days getting longer than nights. And in Chennai that is scary. It means that the droplets of sweat on my forehead will be replaced by bucketloads of sweat all over. I won't be able to wear the same shirt twice to work without washing it. I will have to bathe daily. Probably even buy myself a deodrant. Scary prospects.

I finally got myself an internet connection. So I promise to be more regular. I never knew it would take so long. But getting an internet and cable connection in Chennai is harder than getting a green card. The cable operators here don't understand a word of English or Hindi. That is strange considering that half the channels they sell are in those languages. And to anyone who doesn't speak in Tamil they quote twice the rates.

One month in Chennai and I have learnt just one Tamil word. Nanri, which means Thank you. But yesterday I learnt my very first lesson, which will go a long way in making my stay in Chennai a little more peaceful.

Lesson #1: You shouldn't keep your windows open at night.

I always wondered why none of the locals kept their windows open. I thought it was because of the fear of robbers. None of the buildings here have watchmen. The street dogs double up as security guards. Anyways coming back to my open window story, by the time I woke up in the morning I had mosquito bites all over. Even my face wasn't spared. I thought I'd need blood transfusion considering the amount of blood I had lost. I thought I would join a gym here to keep fit, but swatting the mosquitoes everyday before I go to sleep is exercise enough.

Quote for the day: "The only man who behaved sensibly was my tailor; he took my measurement anew every time he saw me, while all the rest went on with their old measurements and expected them to fit me." -- George Bernard Shaw.

By the way here are some rangoli pics from my neighbourhood. Hope you like them.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Enhanced - Part 2

She: Isn't it strange that men and women come together, and try to live together, when they can't even speak the same language?

Me: Huh?

She: Exactly! That's exactly what I mean!

Me: I don't get it.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Christmas on the Streets of Chennai

~ My dad works in the airline industry, which is why I have traveled to many parts of the world. And thanks to globalisation, technology and everything else, I've never felt like a tourist barring a few exceptions like Italy and China. However, Chennai made me feel like one. Chennai could very well have been part of Sri Lanka or Burkina Faso for all I care. I couldn't identify with the people there. Nor could I relate to their styles of dressing, talking or for that matter, eating. They don't even speak the same language as me. But the people there are really sweet and genuine. And that somehow makes up for the rest.

~ Initially the plan was to learn to speak a few basic sentences. But that proved tough. So I thought I'd learn to write instead as Tamil and Sanskrit have some similarities. However, the Tamil script is even more confusing. It looks like an assorted set of jalebis gone wrong. Don't you think so? So I have finally resorted to sign language. Little did I know that the long hours of dumb charades that I played when I was little would come of such great use.

~ When it comes to reservation, Tamil Nadu is a step ahead of even our own educational institutes. In buses, half of the seats are reserved for women. Another four seats for elderly people. Two seats for expectant mothers. And one seat for the conductor! I'm still waiting for the day when I can put my butt prints on one of Chennai's local bus seats. Which is why traveling to work is the most challenging part of my job. Shell scripting and working on non graphical user interface based operating systems seem mundane in comparison.

~ The people in Chennai take their education very seriously. And are mighty proud of it too. On the name plate of each house is displayed a mini resume. This contains the degrees the person has acquired, the company he/she has worked in and other noteworthy achievements. Which is why the name plates seem more like tiny hoardings. Something like,

Chandrashekar Balakrishnan,
IIT Madras, Civil Engineer (B. Tech),
University of Washington (M. Tech),
Deloitte Consultancy.

is not uncommon to see on the nameplate of a house.

Post Script: Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year, dear blog readers :)

Question of the day: How do 'Do not walk on grass' signs get there?

Christmas Quote for the day: Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year.