Thursday, April 26, 2007


This evening I was running a bit late for my fitness class and was hurrying out of my office building. As I fast-walked to my car, I could hear an audible "beep" sound from the road. Everytime a vehicle whizzed by, "beep" the sound would go.

I thought the traffic police had installed some motion detector device to count the number of vehicles which went by. But why on earth would the traffic police want a count of the number of vehicles? Oh, or maybe, they were tracking speed - but what an odd place to keep such a device!

By this time, I was quite captivated by the "beep" sound and decided to watch for a bit. Then I realized, the beep wasn't actually happening every time a vehicle went by. It just happened randomly.

Which was when I noticed - right on top of the stone name board at the entrance to the office complex sat a tiny brown bird. And every few seconds, it opened its tiny beak and went "tweet", "tweet". The "beep" sound I thought I heard was the tweeting of a bird!

As a city-dweller, how disconnected am I from nature that the operation of a motion detector seems to be a much more natural explanation for a beeping sound than the tweeting of a bird!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Happy Birthday, Blog!

After all the nice things my blog had to say about me forgetting its birthday last year, I learnt my lesson. So dearest blog, a very happy birthday to you :-)! You have already turned five! My my, growing up fast, aren't we?

In spite of all your assumed modesty, I bet you already think you are great. Nothing wrong in just thinking, huh? At any rate, must say I am really glad to have you around. I would lionize and praise you a lot more, but am feeling darn sleepy today. So will conclude with another "Happy Birthday, old thing :-D"!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Eye candy

Don't judge a book by its cover!
There is more to a person than just looks!
All that glitters is not gold!

All these age old maxims do not count at all when considering people for one particular purpose. Eye candy!

Eye candy, n., is defined as a person (in my case, male) who is soothing to the eye to look at. For the beholder, an eye candy's only job is to look good. So nothing else - a horrible character or non-existent intelligence or a squeaky voice or any of the million other turn-offs - even come into the picture. As long as they can provide something good to look at in an otherwise drab landscape, they are good to go!

A while ago, I was talking with a friend who is from the same undergrad college as me. During the course of conversation, I asked him if he had found many girls at our college attractive. He smiled and said happily, "Yes". And then asked me, "What about you? Did you find many guys good-looking?"

I thought a bit and then said, "Hmm, I think I found exactly three guys great looking in all my four years there." My friend was startled, "Three? Just three in four years?" I said "Yeah." There was a brief silence and then he finally said, "Wow, you must be having high standards then."

The unsaid thought hung in the air: Only a Catherine Zeta Jones can root only for Keanu Reeves clones.

I was just beginning to get all defensive when it struck me, "Wait a minute, we are talking about choosing eye candies, not the president of the country or life partners!" For eye candy purposes, the beholder can be as picky as they want to be about the eye candy without giving any thought to any aspect of themselves :-)!

So, I continue to adhere to my supposedly "high" eye candy standards. In places I frequent regularly, if I get lucky, I manage to locate eye candies. It was smart (unfortunately, no longer so :-() H in undergrad and Greek-God-like G in Davis.

At work, W holds the coveted position. Which was why I was extra thrilled when W not only noticed my new haircut but also complimented it :-D. I did say eye candies really don't have to interact with me, but they do get extra points if they have something nice to say about me :-P.

p.s. Before you start getting ideas, W is happily married to a female eye candy.

p.s.1. To make sure you have no doubts about the definition of eye-candy, here is an example. A picture speaks a thousand words and other blah but I put this pic up mainly because, as scintillating (hehehe) as my writing may be, Maddy's face does enliven the post a bit more, right ;-)?

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I admit - I love chewing gum. Whenever I feel the urge to chew on something because my mouth is feeling bored, it is usually chewing gum I reach for.

But, when I chew gum, it is with my mouth closed and making little noise. I don't go CHOMP, CHOMP, CHOMP, CHOMP with my mouth open as though I am a particularly bad-mannered Godzilla eating the human contents of a major city. Neither do most other people I know.

Then, why, oh why, do I land the misfortune of being seated right across a Godzilla like person? I can hear the CHOMP, CHOMP, CHOMP even as I type. If I lift my head a little, I can get the visual aspect of the scene too. Lord, can't people even be able to choose a seat in a library in peace without running a background check on the people sitting across?

I knew it, the Gods simply cannot take me trying to put in some amount of work on a Saturday afternoon. Grrr!

Now, if you will excuse me, I will go and hunt for another spot to sit :-(.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Just a post

Okay, I really don't have anything even halfway interesting to say. Still a post is a post (ah, this pearl of wisdom needs to go into the Great Quotes Hall of Fame).
  • I think I am in love all over again. This time with the soundtrack of the movie Mozhi. All the songs have been playing on a continuous loop at both work and at home for nearly two weeks now and I am not yet sick of them. I think all the songs have super awesome lyrics (thank you, Uncle :-)) which add a LOT to their beauty. Thanks are in order to my friend A who first pointed me to the soundtrack. Some more thanks to the absolutely so-so (at least that's what I think so far) soundtrack of the movie Sivaji which prompted me to switch over to listening to other soundtracks. p.s. Question for all you Tamil speaking readers: What does madanthai mean in Tamil?
  • I finally resumed my fitness classes this Tuesday. Thanks to my India trip and my LASIK surgery, I think this is the longest break I have had from them in two years - a total of seven fitness class-less weeks! As expected, I discovered that my fitness levels currently suck *sigh*.
  • Why is the California weather so unpredictable? After having mostly glorious weather for the past two weeks, the past two nights have been super cold. In spite of me wearing socks, sweater and the works before sleeping. Of course, my body decided to show it disapproves of this abrupt weather change and I am down with a sore throat today. Am busy taking preventive measures before it can turn into anything full-fledged. Also bunked my fitness class today - so much for proudly resuming them! Sheesh :-(!
  • I watched Alaipayuthey again the past weekend after ages. Maddy looked absolutely adorable :-). However, though I still found the first half of the movie very cute, I found a lot of holes in the logic in a lot of places. Whatever happened to the movie which I thought was unqualifiedly great? Maybe I have grown up now - hmm!
  • This year, I finally called up my friend V on the correct day to wish him for his birthday - I am proud of my improving memory! Though I admit I used a reminder. But hey, I at least had entered the right date in the reminder system! Ah, third time is always lucky :-)!
  • Did you know toasted sour-dough bread with olive oil and freshly ground pepper tastes awesome? It does, try it.
I can't think of anything else to bore you with. So ciao and hey, weekend is almost here :-)!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Meetings - take 2

This Dilbert comic about correctly predicts my work day today and tomorrow.

Hmm, wherever would we all be without meetings?

I guess at our work stations, actually working :-P!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

How many of you believe that Friday the 13th will bring you bad luck? Or more interestingly, how many of you know there is word for describing fear of the number 13?

Really, there is a word for describing the fear and it is called Triskaidekaphobia. Now, the probability of this piece of info ever helping you win the jackpot or your dream job or any other great thing is about 0.0001%. Still, it is good trivia :-D!

Anyways, a few years ago, on some Friday the 13th, during one of those frequent day-dreaming, eyes-glazed over, thinking modes I indulge in, I was wondering about the rationality of feeling scared about the particular number 13. Why not 2 or 41 or 895645. Even more weirdly, how can you be worried about some date because it bears a particular number and falls on a particular day? But I guess that's why the fear is called a phobia.

Then I thought about how, because there is a negative connotation associated with it, using the number 13 is actually a form of discrimination in any situation where a number can be assigned to a person. That got me thinking about how, of all possible situations where an individual can be assigned a number, being born on a 13th is something which the individual has absolutely no control over.

"Oh those poor souls born on the 13th. They are stuck with the number all their life. Hmm, I do like the number 13 though," went my brain. Soon I started thinking of "close" people I knew who were born on the 13th. I thought and thought but could not come up with anyone. I knew I was missing out on someone I knew really well but couldn't put my finger on the person. Finally I gave up. Oh well, it would come back to me eventually.

Some fifteen minutes later it hit me. I was born on March 13th!

Happy Friday the 13th folks! 13th usually works great for me and by association, will work great for all of you reading this post :-)!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Follow the leader

Last evening, I was returning home from work and had just turned into the road leading to my house. On that road, the speed limit is only 25mph - besides being very residential, the area also has a lot of schools.

I was already driving slow. Ahead of me, I could spot a kid on a bicycle, maybe twelve or thirteen years of age, pedalling bang in the middle of the single-laned road. As I approached the kid, I slowed down further, waiting for him to move to the bike lane. His friend, who was pedalling on the other side of the road gesticulated to him to move, but this kid totally pretended he did not notice that anyone was behind him and continued to pedal slowly in the middle of the lane.

Thus, the slow procession continued - kid on bicycle, female-1(me) in car, closely followed by female-2 in another car. I was not comfortable with crossing the center yellow line to get ahead of the kid - his actions were not too predictable. Without much choice, I slowly trailed behind the bike. By then, I was torn between the simultaneous desires to: a) Honk at the kid, b) Stop my car, get out, and whack the kid, c) Laugh my guts out at the kid's obvious enjoyment.

After two more minutes of crawling behind the kid (by then he had even lost the grace to pretend he did not know there was traffic behind him and instead kept turning back and giving me wicked grins), he finally decided to push off to the bike lane. And I bucked up my car, shot the kid a not-quite-there disapproving glare, overtook him and went on my way home. Grinning.

Childhood is such a great time to do all the 'silly' things you want to do and mostly get away with them :-)!

Monday, April 09, 2007


*This post was written some time before I went to India in Feb '07 - I forgot to put it up then.*

I saw this movie called Serendipity yesterday. I have seen the Tamil version of this movie, Jay Jay, and thought it was pretty bad. Now I realize that Jay Jay did not have any chance since the original itself is pretty bad to start with. In fact now I think I like Jay Jay better than the original.

Serendipity, if you didn't know, tells the story of two characters who believe that the whole universe has conspired to bring them together and hence suddenly decide that they need to chuck everything that they have already got in order to follow the "signs".

Sorry if the above statement makes it look as though the movie has a profound message - it does not. Kate Beckinsale (KB) as the female lead has a totally vacuous dumb-blondish look about her (though she is brunette in the movie). I don't think I have seen any other movie of hers though for some reason I did not think her to be quite in the same class of dumb-blond looker as Mandy Moore and such souls. Turns out she is.

It does not help that her character is supposed to be this vague, scatter-brained person who talks about signs, the universe and everything whenever she opens her mouth. I don't remember the name of the male lead (ML) though I have seen him in some other movies.

Anyways, when these two characters meet it is mutual like/love at first sight for them. Instead of doing something about it, since she is blessed with extraordinary brains, KB thinks that she needs a divine sign that ML is the man for her. This reminded me of a story.

An overly pious man is trapped on the roof of his house with flood waters swirling around it. He prays to God to help him - after all he has spent so many years in complete devotion. A boat comes by and the pious man says, "No, I am waiting for God to rescue me" and refuses to get in. Same thing happens with two other boats which come by. Finally the flood waters overtake the roof of his house and he is drowned and goes to heaven. He confronts God about God's failure to rescue him from his plight. God is puzzled and says, "But I sent you three boats."

Back to Serendipity. Essentially, meeting a person you are instantly attracted to and finding that the other person is also attracted to you is by itself a divine sign. So why does our dear KB think that she needs writing in golden letters across the sky (not really, but something close) before she decides to give it a shot? And of course, it is anyone's guess why ML would be attracted at first sight towards such an obviously batty character (who reminded me strongly of Madeline Basset in Wodehouse's Jeeves stories) however pretty on the outside she may be.

Anyways, KB and ML part ways, with KB believing that the "signs" will bring them together if they are meant to be and the movie progresses. A couple of years later, ML is about to be married. Yet he still remembers the batty character and thinks she is his soul mate. Never mind the other poor woman who thinks that ML actually loves her and wants to marry her. Anyways the rest of the story is how both ML and KB chuck all that they have at that time thinking that life will be a bed full of roses if and when they find each other again. It being a movie, they do find each other again eventually - yaaaaaawn.

The only way a movie with such an illogical story could have been rescued was if it had likable lead characters putting in scintillating performances. However neither KB nor ML fall into that category. I empathized more with all the supporting actors. In fact, KB's friend gives a pretty nice speech about how given that everything in life is so chaotic, it is kinda fun to take it head on rather than wake up everyday waiting for some "sign" on how to go about it.

Watching the movie by itself is a waste of time. The good part is it made me get a different perspective about the way I look at life. Essentially it reminded me to NOT be like the lead characters. Ever.

Update: I found a review for Serendipity here. Please scroll to the bottom of the page and check the contents under the header Vulgarity/Language. They actually have a list of swear words which occur in the movie and their count - ROFL :-D! And I thought I was vetti :-D!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bowl baby bowl

We were going to have a fun-outing at work. On a weekday afternoon. "Yaay, awesome," I thought. Then the venue got posted. Some place which sounded very much like a place which would have bowling lanes, pool tables, video games - the works. Oh no, oh no, oh no. Would I really have to bowl?

My first experience with bowling was sometime during my undergrad. That time, it was a new- fangled thing in Chennai. Me and a couple of my friends went for it with great excitement. To our major surprise, for utter novices we played quite decently - even managing "strikes" at times (though we did not know the official terminology then). Only later did I realize that the reason for our marvelous performance was that the railing next to the gutter had been raised. Apparently, the bowling alley owner had thought it wouldn't be good for business if customers got discouraged by balls rolling off into the gutter. So much for believing to be naturally gifted bowlers - hmph X-(! Anyways, I think I played once more in Chennai after that.

After that, it was straight to Davis. There, I confirmed my previous suspicions. I simply sucked at bowling. Without any railing to disuade the ball, any bowling ball I threw invariably found its way to the gutter. Even a bowling ball which started off treading the straight and narrow path would abruptly change its mind just as it was about to strike a pin and docilely roll off into the gutter. My friends blamed my technique - but I am quite sure the Bowling Gods hated me for some reason. Still, a stray ball now and then would actually strike some pins - so in spite of the teasing I did not really mind going bowling. Bowling was good fun, really!

Then, after I moved to the Bay, during some trip I made back to Davis, a motley gang of ten of us went to the university games center for an evening of bowling. After some initial ball-meeting-pins action, *each and every* ball of mine started going right into the gutter. Without exception.

The nine others who started off teasing me mercilessly soon realized that here was someone in dire and urgent need of bowling lessons. Of course, while playing a non-team sport in a non-competitive environment, there is nothing better than offering advice to hapless novices. Thus I hear nine voices at the same time: "Bend more", "Your arm is too twisted", "Swivel a little", "Turn at the hip". Had I followed all those instructions, I would have probably stood in front of the bowling lane like Ash in that impossibly twisted pose in that poster from Taal (with hands down though).

So, after a point, I stopped heeding any advice. With great self-consciousness, I played worse and worse under the relentless stare of nine pairs of sympathetic eyes. Let's just say that night wasn't the proudest moment of my sporting life. Anyway, after that episode, I declared that unless I practised and improved, I would go bowling only when accompanied by close friends and close friends only.

So you can imagine my apprehension about the team-outing. The last thing I wanted was a ring of people I work with on a daily basis to surround me and start tossing bowling instructions from all directions.

Today was D-day. When we arrived at the venue, ta da: no bowling alleys! But all the other regular fixtures were there - air-hockey, ping pong tables, pool tables, fooz-ball, volley-ball - the works. My colleague invited me to an air-hockey game at once. I started off saying "Oh, I don't play that well" and then whipped the puck right into his goal :-))! From that point it was war - turns out I don't suck blatantly at air-hockey. It was good fun playing with different people. Then I learnt pool (make that re-learnt) - I sucked big time, but I did feel posh (like "rich" people from old desi movies :-)). Then tried my hand at ping pong (again, not too bad). Must say I had a whole lot of fun. Its true - its not about winning or losing, its about how you play the game.

Or in my case, how you enjoy the game :-)!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Tomato Tomaato - how does it matter!

You probably need to be able to follow Tamil to fully understand this post!

Yesterday, I was browsing at the library when my cell phone rang. It was my friend V. After general pleasantries, this is how the conversation went:

V: Hey, yesterday I went to Molly.

Me (thinking it is a new night club or something): Really, where is it?

V: No yaar, I went to see Molly.

Me (puzzled - we don't have any common friend named Molly): Okaaaay - but who is Molly?

V: Aaaargh, no man - I went to watch Molly. You know that Tamil movie you mentioned, with Jyothika as heroine and all?

Me: Ooooh, you mean the movie Mozhi - haahahahahahahahhahahahahah!

V (unable to see what is so funny): Yeah, that's what I said, Molly. Anyways, what I wanted to know..... (conversation continued).

You see, V is a native Telugu speaker and does not know a lot of Tamil, much less know how to differentiate between the famous Tamil 'zh' and 'la'. Hence, his brand "new" name for the movie. Still, apparently he and his friends decided to watch the movie because the Telugu movie they had originally gone to see had "flop" written all over it. And what's more, they all had enjoyed Mozhi a lot, inspite of it having no sub-titles and thus not being able to follow the entire climax scene (to clarify which he had called me up).

Ah, good movies - don't they transcend language barriers!