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Thursday, September 04, 2008

It's on love....

Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth "you owe me".
Look what happens with a Love like that!
It lights the whole Sky.

It's from the Persian poet Hafez who lived in the 14th century. I was surfing through internet and suddenly stopped seeing this quote. It's amazing and thought of putting it here....

Sunday, February 03, 2008

We miss you

When I saw such an email alert, I thought it would have been an e-card sent by my cousins or friends. It's an e-mail from the credit card bank. The bank is missing me as I have not used credit card for the previous month.

I have been using credit card since 2005 and every month I will have atleast 1 transaction (I pay my monthly mobile bill through credit card). But last time, I have made that too in cash. Anyway, it was one of my New Year resolution - to manage money better - And I think, it works out now!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

My experiments with English grammar!!!

My mind went back to my school days for a second, while I was drafting an e-mail in Outlook. Now to do a spelling or grammar check while drafting a mail, you just need to right click the mouse and this is quite easy. During my school days, I had a tough time learning English grammar. The tenses were the most complex one for me. And for questions related to those in exams, I just used to keep on distributing “has”, “have” or “had” alternatively in order to bring about a balance between them.

The real tough time was during weekends and holidays when my Dad used to give me exercises in grammar. Just before he leaves to office, he will call and ask me to bring my English text book. Then he will give me some exercises to do the same day. The first thing that he will ask on his return to home is the book in which I have done the exercises. Then the real fun starts…. pinching, beating, flapping and it goes on endlessly. The worst part of it was that I had to justify each and every answer that I have written to him. The whole drama will come to an end only when my Mom comes in between or when she calls me for dinner.

Later on I tried not to come in front of my Dad whenever he gets ready to go to office. I will go to toilet (the separate one, outside my house) and will keep on watching through the windowpane to check whether he has left home or not. Another idea was to go to our neighbour’s house. From both the places I will come back only when I am sure that he had left to office.

One of the memorable incidents that happened during my English learning was when my Dad had found out a mistake in my notebook. I have given wrong answer for a particular question (kind of a 3 marks question). Actually this answer was dictated and given from my school itself. So he wrote a letter and asked me to hand it over to my teacher. In that he had also mentioned the correct answer for that question. The teacher did admit the mistake and corrected it. I was asked to convey her thanks to my Dad. But I found that the new answer (the one given by my Dad) is a bit longer than the previous one and is difficult to learn also. Finally for the examination, the same question was asked. And of course I wrote the old answer which was short and simple :-). I didn’t take the pain to learn the answer given by my Dad as it was longer and complex. I still remember the moment when I got my answer sheet after evaluation. My teacher asked me “why did you write it wrong”. Most of the people in my class has written the wrong answer as I did. And among the boys, I became the sheep with the black fleece.

For High School English-2 examinations, outline-story is a usual 5 marks question in which the outline of a story will be given. You have to expand and frame it as a good story. But it was pretty easy for me as I used to put prepositions in between and complete the whole story in few minutes. Now I really feel like missing my Dad… :-)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fined for $134

We were fined for $134 due to speed violation during our trip to Great Ocean. After 2 months of the trip, we got the penalty notice sent at our Indian address. This had been detected by an automatic device and camera installed somewhere on the road.

A xerox copy of the passport and license were given while hiring the car. Hence it is easy to track anyone and send the notice to the valid address. May be this is first time I am seeing such as notice for traffic violation. Because in India, it is common that you give bribe whenever any policeman stops you, thereby you will escape. Anyway I was really impressed seeing this notice. How cannot you pay the amount if you get all the particulars about the offence? You can find below the scanned copy of the notice (address etc. have been removed). Also if you visit the Civic Compliance office, you are eligible to view the image relating to the detection of the offence. You can obtain the image by paying $7.5 so that you can keep a memoir to the offence. Quite interesting….

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ona sadya served in banana leaf - from Melbourne

The planning for an Onam feast has started much earlier this time. This is my second Onam in Melbourne and last year I had only ‘Bread Omlette’ to stave off my hunger pangs. However, this time we had come up with plans to make a good Onam feast – each one has taken the ownership to take responsibilites. Hence the menu got finalized.

Kaalan, Aviyal, Sambar, Parippu curry, Cabbage Thoran, Koottucurry, Rasam, Pappadam & Payasam. And Kayu varuthathu (banana chips) we thought of buying it, pickles as well.

We took the ownership seriously, had started surfing Onam recipes and that’s the time I really knew that a google search for an ‘Onam recipe’ will retrieve you thousands of pages. I did save all the recipes as html pages, which has got images for each recipe. So the ‘Expected Output’ has been defined for each individual item. Now let’s wait some more time for the Actual Output.

On Saturday morning, we had gone to Victoria market to buy vegetables. We knew that banana leaves are available there. We had taken a whole round on the market and could not spot a stall which sells any banana leaf. A Malayali can’t even imagine Onam feast in ceramic plate. I still remember the good old memoirs in my childhood days. All of us in Kerala will have a plantain in their own backyard. That was me who cuts leaves from the plantains and I had to be alert to take the bigger leaf before my sisters grab it, when we are called for lunch. Gone are those days – and now I am going to buy banana leaves from market, that too for dollars. Since we could not find any leaves, we started asking people in stalls “Can I get banana leaf here?” Most of us told that there is no such shop here which sells banana leaves. Even though we did not stop asking for it and atlast one guy directed us to a Chinese shop and it was really happy to hear that it’s available in the market– So we are going to get banana leaves soon. We rushed to the stall as per he directed, Bad luck. The stock was over. No other option – we have to take Onam feast in ceramic plates. But we didn’t turn back, we had asked one of our friends who has got a mallu restaurant in Melbourne. From him, we knew that we get frozen banana leaves in Vic market. So the next aim is set. Sunday morning, go to Vic market again and get the frozen leaves.

And we got the frozen banana leaves, 15 or more banana leaves for $14 (AUD). Don’t you feel like achieved something when you tide over such small hurdles? It doesn’t matter for, if these are big or small things. Really felt cheerful for a simple thiing.

Hence we started cooking, had made sambar first, we do make sambar frequently. Kootu curry was made with pumpkin, chick peas and coconut powder mixed in. It turned really nice. And I did not even have any idea before even on it's ingredients. Because this dish, we usually have only in festivals or in hindu marriages.

Hence we had to start preparing payasam (Paal Ada). It is important that you have to stir milk and ada for a long time. And you need to add milk and sugar several times in between. And that was for the first time anyone of us making payasam. It was really tasty, rich with cardamom, cashew and other dry fruits.

In another 2 hours, we had prepared all the other items from menu. Kaalan, which is made of yoghurt, Aviyal, mixed vegetables, Rasam - made of tomato and tamarind, Pineapple pachadi - made of yoghurt & pineapple, Pappadom and 2 pickles.

It was Gaye who made cabbage thoran. She had taken the recipe from internet and prepared it very well. And that too the cabbages from her farm. Liz had brought parippu curry which was pretty good – dal fried with cumin seeds.

As a token, the genuine thanks goes to

Gaye: Cabbage thoran
Liz: Parippu curry
Rajesh & Shehnaz: Kaalan, Aviyal, Sambar, Kootucury & Pachadi
Shihas: Payasam
Adil: for the marathon run for arranging all the vegetables & banana leaves. Even it was a hard job to clean and make the banana leaves into a good condition since the leaves were frozen, folded and packed.
Tindu: external support, arranged all the necessary stuffs to kitchen. It is notable that for Onam feast we don’t take any Non-veg dishes. Otherwise, Tindu would have been on the main chef role.
Myself: Rasam

Ona sadya turned really great. It was real fun while surfing recipes, calling home for recipes, and while cooking those recipes. It was the first time for Gaye having a feast served in banana leaf and eating food with no spoons or forks. She had really enjoyed the food. And all of us too....

And here comes the Actual Output:

I wish for next Onam, we will have the feast and go for a boat race in Yarra river !!!
(Hmm…. Buddha said: Desire is the root cause of all suffering)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Kayaking trip with Loc team.

It was a very much awaited day for the Localisation guys. They were supposed to go for a trip by 10 pm, 3rd March Friday eve. We all left the office by 8:30 pm and reached Madiwala by 9:15. We saw the Tempo traveler parked at the road side. Seeing this, we started making fun of Tindu, if this van is going to be parked here for some more time, you will have a trip to Madiwala Police station only. But from that moment itself, Tindu was insisting me and Shihas to join the trip. I should say, it was much unintended for me and Shihas, to join with the trip with the guys in Loc. Truly, we didn't even think of going for a trip, by getting arranged in another one hour. Also I was supposed to go to office, Saturday morning. Anyway, we had decided to go for the trip.

The big problem we faced then was to arrange the wardrobes. Please note that it was a Friday. As we dedicate the weekend specially for washing clothes, we had no enough stock. I should thank my roommate, Shyam for his pro-activeness shown on to the situation. Somehow we managed to take all the stuffs and put it in bags. While walking out the house to the road, I was thinking whether I have taken all or not. I was just listing out things, Tooth Paste is taken... Oops the brush is not taken....

By around 10:30 pm, we had started the trip. We picked up people in another one hour. All of us except Yuva were in the thought of a deep plan to wish Yuva on his B'day. Even though it was on 23rd Feb, we wished him and presented the gift. The greeting card holds the people's writings in the card. The very nice one was of Neelima's, which holds the wishes written in the form of VB macros. Good work Guroo, you missed an A+ rating. Bad luck, Tele2 had called ExitSub().

The next day by 8:30 am, we had reached the camp, geared up in another 1 hour. While having our breakfast, guide was telling about the nature. We were asking him questions like "Is there any crocodiles in the river?" He said Ya, Not only crocodiles; this is the region where the King cobras are plenty. I got scared, even though I thought “Hmm King Cobra....” I looked at everyone. I could see everyone looking at Sandaya’s face. And I didn't express my dreariness even though from my child hood itself I am very scared of dogs and snakes.

After the breakfast, we have just started the journey to the riverside, for White water Rafting and Kayaking. It took around 2 hours to reach the spot. We were in urge to put the life jacket as well as to inflate the raft and kayak. The Raft and Kayaks are of Sea Eagles, imported from US. Rafting/Kayaking offered us the broadest array of river experiences available from mild to wild with everything in between. It was an awesome nature trip, focused on the flora and fauna of the forest.

The trainer had given us a good session on how to control the kayak, and what to do in several situations. He trained us on how to paddle and manage the kayak in case if it gets stuck in the rock. Also it included how to use the life jackets in case someone had fallen into the water. Just after he finished his instructions, everyone secretly said their own prayer and was drawing a deep sigh.

It was the most awesome trip I have ever had in water. The most thrilling moment during the Kayaking was with the rapids. In still water, it's pretty easy to manage or control the kayak. But in rapids, the strong flow makes the kayak, move to its own direction which will lose the control and in turn put into turbulence. But that is the very interesting part in kayaking. We enjoyed a lot, paddling in rapids. The instructor had a tough time to give instructions - I was in the back row in the Raft. The instructor was standing beside me. Couple of times, I got hits on my head while paddling, for the mistakes in making the right move. He used to say "Forward paddle..... Backward paddle..... From my childhood days, I have been always confused in finding directions. When someone says Right or Left, I often used to check my hands to see which one I usually use for eating.

The most memorable moment happened after lunch. We were amazingly thrilled to enjoy every moment in the water. In rapids, we were heading towards the rocks with water flooding over the sides of the boat. This truly was an exhilarating experience. When our instructor, Manju handed over the Fist Aid kit and some other packs to the other trainer, we didn’t know that it was an intentional act to make all of us fall into water from the raft. He also told his friend to wait somewhere at the end. At that time we wanted again to go against the stream so he told to paddle very hard to go against the stream, purely an upstream activity. Once we get into the rapid the aim to make a fast turn towards the flow. This will make it more turbulent and the people who sit at that side of the raft will have to struggle a lot to hang onto it. This happened to most of us. When we tried to do the same, I was about to fall down to water. But Shihas pulled me into the raft. It happened to Neetha too, where she was partially fell into the water. But others somehow managed to pull her into the raft.

It was the third or fourth attempt to go against the stream to head the rocks in the rapid. We were paddling very hard to go upstream and suddenly the raft got slid to the left side. I saw the people sitting on the left side making the effort to get into the raft. Ultimately, it happened. Sandaya fell off the raft. Everyone saw what had taken place. But we couldn't see her for 2-3 seconds. Most of us were frightened and stood in the raft to look for her. She had drowned into the water, and was unable to surface up as she was below the raft. After some tine we saw her around 50 meters away the raft. Because of the big commotion, we lost control of paddles to the water. Manju told to retrieve it quickly. At the same moment, Sandaya was drowning again but somehow managed to make use of life jacket. Easily she was able to float on the water. She was around 200 meters now. We paddled quickly to reach Sandaya. Our hero, Tindu was roaring '' Sandaya, we are coming. Don’t worry...” Later Sandaya told that she had heard a voice that finally somebody had come to help her. (Pls note that Tindu has recently been selected to the Fire Task Force too). This is a memorable moment for everyone and will be too especially for "Sandaya from Kerala".

Alappuzha(Alleppey) is the land of backwaters, lakes and rivers. It is also known as 'Venice of East'. I take great pride in telling everyone that I hail from Alleppey. We finished rafting at the bank and the other group was just sitting on the rock which was in the middle of the river. And I wished to swim upto there. Easily managed to swim up to the stream and when I tried to cross the stream, I felt it was pulling me towards the flow and it was very hard for me to keep afloat. At the end of the story, HELPDESK had to come to my rescue by throwing the rope towards me. Nowadays, I don't tell anyone that I am from Alleppey. :)

A camp fire was arranged on Saturday night. Neelima was in high spirits to try out few dance steps. Even though our van driver was in some other dance mood, at last he agreed to play the songs to make us dance. We were very tired by the end of the day. And we got to sleep inside the tent which was really nice. That time also, I remembered Manju mention about snakes. I kept looking at the corners of the tent to see whether everything was covered fine or not.

On Sunday, we were on our way back to B'glore. But once we got into Malpe beach, we heard about another island nearer to that. We thought of going there by making a new plan suddenly.

Malpe is a natural harbour and an important fishing centre that enriches Karnataka's coastline with its' fabulous beach. The endless stretch of golden sand, clear blue sky and gurgle of the sea, all set the perfect mood for an idyllic holiday. Fishing boats bobbing in the distance make a pretty picture.

St. Mary's Island, another delightful get away is only a boat-ride away from Malpe Harbour. Here one can find a unique formation of volcanic rocks which have crystallized into columns and split into hexagonal mosaics. This is neither a swimming nor a strolling beach. It's a beach to be gazed and wondered at; and it's the only one of its kind in India. Legend has it that Vascoda Gama appears to have set foot on the island in 1498 before he reached Calicut. It has a coconut grove, which makes it the shadiest island of the group and gives it true South Sea colour.

The boat ride to the island leaves everyone, the breathless with excitement. For some people it seemed like a good place to have a film shooting. Dona was busy in pointing out the best places for shooting, seems that she got an aim to produce a film soon.
The return journey was also enjoyable. Everyone was in great gusto to take pleasure in. We were dancing under Neelima’s guidance, by just following her dance steps. Also Yuvaraj recited couples of poems. And Gitika’s Tumka dance was a noteworthy event for the trip.

And it’s very heartrending that just one week after the trip, the whole T2 team got scattered. The moments we had spent together, the instances we got together all have become reminiscence now.

I feel the time is getting close,
We all have to part soon.
And I will miss you, dear pals
But you will always be near.

We must be dreaming,
For it has gone to fast.
The time we have spent together,
will soon become the past.

Just hold on to our memories,
To move on to the future.
Now I say, Thanks a lot.
And I say, Goodbye.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Manju, you live in our hearts

It was a nice interview in "Radio City" today morning with Dharmendra. It is the Mumbai Marathon 2006 which made Dharmendra known to the public. He has gone to Mumbai to run the Marathon for Manjunath, his friend and IIM-Lucknow batchmate. Dharma had the long run with the bandanna written "Remembering Manju" which got hefty attention in the run.

I think everyone still bear in mind, Manjunath - who was brutally murdered for doing his job honestly in Lakhimpur-Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh on November 19th 2005.

Manjunath (27), an IIM-L graduate worked as a Sales Manager with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). He refused to accept bribe and sealed the pumps that sold adulterated petrol. This irked the pump owners who eventually got rid of him by cruelly murdering him.

It is poignant to see a person paying his life for resisting corruption and adultery. His martyrdom lays emphasis on the rising need for a combat against corruption. May this tragic happening change the outlook of our society. Let the incident herald the Indian youth to strike against the infidelity among the society.

Manju, I have never seen you. And I didn't know you. But you are a friend of mine now. Only because, you were brave enough to shell out your own life.