Thursday, December 10, 2009

Difficult relationships

I grew up seeing people close to me bidding good byes at the most inappropriate times.. I was so unfortunate that I couldn't see my paternal grandparents as both of them died much before dad got married. And the first death that I could remember is that of my maternal grandfather when I was three years old. I remember sitting in his lap when he was talking to his friends and guess that night he died. Amma was pregnant then.. Later so many others bid good bye including my little bro, cousins , uncles, aunts etc. At one point there was a death every year and it went on for 9 continous years. We met for the the first anniversary rituals and soon after used to get the news that someone or other got a heart attack or a stroke. It was like you get up in the morning with a thought "Who Next?" if you got what I mean..It was so scary and we used to wonder what doom has befallen us.. And then sometimes close friends moved out coz of education or transfer or some such thing.. Most of these people were very close to me and I even used to fear that it's because of me that such things happened to them - I felt like I'm bringing in some ill luck to whoever is close to me. Even now when I'm close to someone I've a fear at the back of my mind that I'll loose them sooner or later..

But these set backs also made me value relationships more and used to guard it so fiercely..I used to write long letters to my cousins staying out of town( even though most times it used to be a one way communication).. They used to tease me that I'm totally jobless and hence I write.. I always took the initiatives to keep in touch with old friends and also made sure I visit my relatives whenever I go to hometown. Many of my friends have told me that I'm the only person who still wishes them on their b'days or other occations. When I am in Thrissur I used to call up all the numbers in my phonebook and amma used to complain that phone bill shoots up whenever I come home. Now when a schoolmate finds me in orkut they ask me if I have any contact with my close friends in school. They are astonished when I tell them that we are very much in touch even after 14 long years.. Many a times I've taken pains to mend a broken relationships coz I felt any relation is too precious to loose.. Of course there are some rare cases where I have failed or felt it's not worth mending.. I even advice my friends to cling to a relationship even if they feel it's time to quit.. But today I just quit..

Yes I lost one more person though thankfully not to death..In fact it's more like death with a difference that what's dead is a relationship here.. And guess what it's exactly 3 months since I lost mom and six months since I lost my aunt who was my pseudo mom.. I'm scared of 3 month milestones now!! It's not that I am miserable or something, but just wondering.. What's the purpose of a relationship? What happens when you end a relationship so abruptly? How do you remove all the childhood memories that you have of that person? People say blood is thicker than water. But if you have to end such a relation then what's the relevance of other relations? And worse I'm getting my fear back.. Is it MY ill luck? I'm really scared to be with people now.. What if they also leave me one day?

I then read one of Preeti's older article and now I know. I don't know how she always reads my mind! So What are you? A Reason, A Season or a Lifetime?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Guess What?



Can you guess what this is? Let me know who gets it right first ;)

Btw I'm back to flickr again. I was missing that space and the great photos n photographers there. So decided to go back. But no I won't abandon my poor photoblog. So have decided to use flickr as the hosting site for the blog.

And I'm now in Chennai and will be around till end of this month. So any suggestions about places to visit, things to do , etc., etc welcome :)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Hands on Pottery

Yesterday I had a real good time in the South Indian Carnival @ southindies. And yeh I was there for a photo shoot :P Now don't ask me if I'm planning to change my profession. Not yet ;) The funny thing is when I showed my hand to the palmist, he mistook me as a professional photographer and was telling that my career line is very strong and so is the creative mount. So according to him the profession that I have chosen(photography) is very much apt for me. I was trying hard to suppress my laughter and didn't bother to correct him either :D

Anyway there were other fun things in the carnival and the one that caught my attention was the potter's wheel. I live very near to Pottery Town and have gone there a couple of times. I have always marveled at the way they transform a lump of mud to a beautiful art piece. Although I had enquired there about the classes they were not so keen to teach it to an outsider :( So you can imagine my excitement when I could really try my hands out at the wheel for the first time. But it wasn't as easy as it looked and the instructor was constantly reminding me that it needs lots of practice and I can't expect to master it in the first try. Anyway I am happy to have come out with something although with lot of imperfections. This is the final output.





Now that I'm at it I'll post some of my older works too. Of course the pots were made by the experts in pottery town. Only the designs on top of it is done by me.


The sunflower petals and leaves were made using ceramic powder and pasted to the pot using fevicol and later painted using acrylic colors.


If you are the lazy types like me, then this grape pot will work for you. Just roughen the surface of the pot using some white cement and then make the grape bunches by just rolling the ceramic paste to small balls. The tendrils n leaves can also be made easily. Then paste it using fevicol n paint. Your grape pot is ready :)

If you are even more lazier, but still would want to make something handmade, then walk around in pottery town, pick some pretty looking pots and just paint. Here are some samples.


I made this to give as a b'day gift to my neighbor aunty(who feeds me whenever I'm too lazy to cook), but felt it didn't come out well. So gave her something else and kept this with me.


This peacock pot was pretty but was looking very dull when I picked it up. So gave it a metallic shade of colors.


This wheel takes more time as the work is bit intricate but works very well if your mission is to take off your mind from some nagging thoughts :) The base is plywood and work is done using ceramic and then coated with metallic paint. Most people think it's real metal and ask me where I got it :P

For me, any type of arts and crafts is a craze not to mention that it's therapeutic. I like to experiment and try out new things except that I never stick to one thing. So please tell me your ideas and hobbies so that I can explore them.. Please please :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Yippee!

Today I did an photography assignment n guess what? I got paid !! In the past, I have been contacted to market some of the snaps in flickr but it didn't work out coz of the low resolution pictures(I had a PoS cam then). Same way some people have asked me to market some of the craft works that I have done and once one of my painting(rather my only painting) was put for sale by my painting instructor, but I managed to buy it myself(n the irony is I had to pay him for that and my painting classes ended there). So this is my very first earning from a hobby. Thank God I have an alternate career path n it sure comes in handy in these times of recession :P And for today's event we had playback singer Neha Bhasin and Zee Kannada’s “Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa” winner Chinmay. So got an awesome musical evening as bonus too :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Life changes in seconds

Today it's exactly one month since I got the phone call in the middle of the night asking me to come home asap as amma is not well. At that time little did I expect that my life is never going to be the same again. I couldn't believe it when they told me finally the next day or even when I actually saw her lifeless body. But now that my life is thrown out of sync, I'm slowly realising what has happened and what's the impact of it on me.. Two days before death she wrote in her diary that the whole night she was having a dream that I got lost in a thick forest and is struggling to find my way. And I realise how true her dream has become..

So far I was oblivious of my surroundings and was leading a blissful life.. But now I seem to be in charge of everything.. Suddenly I became responsible for things I have never done or heard of before - handling property documents, sorting out bank accounts, checking the investments they have done, trying to locate the bank locker(I didn't even know how the locker key looked like!), making bill payments, pension issues, insurance, electicity, water, gas, ration card or even simple things like deciding the wage of the maid servant or the driver.. I was someone who never cared about finances and mom or dad used to take care of everything. Even my tax excemption investments they only used to make and my contribution ended in giving them a cheque once in a while and then collect the bills when it was time for proof submission. But now when I sit in front of all these documents knowing nothing about it, I just wish I could make one last phone call to mom and ask her what it's all about..

On the other hand there are many things going out of my hand and I stand there helpless.. For some matters, there seem to be too many people deciding for me and they don't even bother to ask me what I want. There are too many people managing or giving directions for my day to day activities.. And they doesn't seem to realise that I also have a mind of my own.. Then there are others who urge me to sell my house and ancestreral property as I won't need it at all!! If I ask does that mean I should never ever come back to my home town - the place where I grew up , the place where all the memories are still fresh, the place where my ancestors are resting, the place where I can bond - there is an easy solution. You can buy a flat which is much safer! Then there is presure to give the house for rent coz there is a prospective tenant who needs a place urgently. Was he waiting for mom's death? Then there are the 'kudiyanmars' who lives in my ancestral property and they urgently need some more land to build a 'sarppakaavu' since they have lot of problems due to the lack of it and I need to give them an answer in two days. And I didn't ask why they didn't face any problem all these years when my parents and grandparents were alive..

And the next hot topic is my marriage. Everyone wants me to get married asap. I even got a complete biodata of a prospective groom on the 10th day ceremony for which I had to give a decision almost immediately and the person made it clear that he won't accept a 'No' from me. It seems some people have given character certificate about me and there are some families intereted in absorbing me to theirs. I never knew I was such a hot commodity in the marriage market!! I know many of them might be doing this coz they are too eager to help.. But I donno how someone can think of such things when the mind is totally devastated..

And I guess it's these troubled times that you really come to know how people behave in different situations.. Mom always used to scold me saying I believe people blindly and will end up in trouble. And I used to fight with her saying all people are basically good and if someone behaves otherwise there will be a definite reason for that. I used to believe that I have the knack to deal with them..In fact I have a history of earning the trust of the so called 'goonda's and 'bad people' and many a times I have managed to change them at least to some extent. It's not that my beief has changed, but I am just surprised at the insensitivity of people and of people taking advantage of the situation..I feel like how can they do things like this at this time?

There was a time when I wanted someone so badly, but there was none.. Even people close to me were avoiding me like plague coz they said they don't know what to talk to me.. Sometimes someone will call me and after the usual hello, there was silence.. And I had to take the pain of striking a conversation..But I also came to know the good side of many people.. There were people reaching out to me from far and wide, people whom I have never met, people whom I have never talked,.. Many called me, many mailed me, many are constantly supporting me via chat every day, many took pains to come and meet me, there were people who even flew down to be there when I needed them.. And yes it's a sooting feeling to know there are so many people to support me..

Emotionally also I am going through a tough pace.. My landlord was telling my friend that I have become moody and irritable.. I am staying here for 9 years and think this is the first time he is seeing this side of me.. He was telling me that he is not even able to look at my face as he can't find any trace of the old smiling and cheerful face.. I know it's true.. I'm getting irritated at the smallest possible things.. I was known for my patience and I have no idea where it has vanished when I need it the most.. I'm breaking down at the smallest comments that people make.. Even day to day things I'm finding it hard.. My house is a big mess with things scattered all around - some my things, some mom's things, some stuff that I had to take with me when I locked the house and I'm not able to do anything with it.. I just stare at it thinking that will help!! I was supposedly a good cook but now a days whatever I make is either burnt or is half cooked.. This is what a dear friend wrote to me when I told her that I'm yet to come in terms with the reality..

"it will take at least 6 months ... before it sinks in... you will cry at the least thing .. you will see a reminder in everything around you .. you will talk to her and rave and rant .. you will ask her why she left so soon ... you will always wonder why you were not there .... and, then she will speak to you and place her hand on your heart and soothe the pain away .. she will tell you everything will be alright ... this will take at least 6 months .. loss causes the greatest grief .. the deepest sorrow .. nothing compares and the healing takes a long time. It took me almost 1 year or more .... so dont wonder ... you just allow the pain to hit you ... cry as loud as you need to ... dont pretend that it doesnot hurt ... with every ventilation .. there will be a small release ... please dont be strong as people will ask you to ... you need to endure your weakness to find your strength.. read your blog ... it does not talk about the nothingness you are experiencing .. this nothingness is a sublimation of the cutting pain in your heart ... you need to talk about that to someone ..."


Even my other friends say that I need to talk about it and they are all ears.. But even that I'm unable to do..I know I will never be able to talk to someone about my emotions.. It's not because they are not close enough, but it's my limitation.. And that's the reason why I decided to write whatever I'm feeling.. I really hope it helps and I can return to normal soon..And hopefully this will be my last random rant post..I really hope so..

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Orphaned...



Amma also gone...
Just 1.5 years after acchan and exactly 3 months after her sister.. She might have thought it's better to be with her husband and sister and all other dear and near ones than her cursed daughter..
So now no more phone calls fretting about small things..no more worries, no more concerns.. My phone will never again receive a call from 'Home'.. I didn't call home when I reached here today and I realised never again will I make another phone call to home informing I reached safely..

Now there is no place called 'home' to go back.. Although everyone is inviting me to stay with them when I come to hometown next, there will never be another place like 'home', a place to just be yourself.. a place to just eat and sleep without doing any work.. Just a locked house and memories and painful silence is all that remains..

When I came home for Onam I never dreamt that it's going to be my last home visit or that's the last festival I'm celebrating with my family..I remember the Onasadya and all my favourite dishes mom had made.. Now no one will ever cook any of those dishes for me..For that matter, no one will ever know what my favourite dishes are.. Last time when I left home to catch the train without eating the food amma had made,little did I realise that I had just missed the last chance to have "mom's cooking".. I look at the salwar material that she gave me this Onam and realise that there will never be another 'onakkodi'..I am wearing the salwar she had pressed and kept, knowing very well that this is the last time I'm enjoying that privilege and no one will ever do it for me again..

Some people tell me that I used to be their subject of envy before - single child, undivided attention - but they say now they realise the absurdity of it. No one to care, no one to turn to, no one to talk to, no one to give advice, no one to fight with, no one to ask for an opinion, no one to bother even if I die in the middle of the road.. How can someone be considered lucky in such a situation?

I know GOD gives hardships to the ones very dear to them, but I never knew I'm so much dear to HIM. I used to pray every day, but have never asked for any favours so far.. but now I am praying for one boon - Please give me the courage to survive in this big bad world..

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Kickstart

Many of you asked whether I went for the VoF trip finally.. Yeh I did :) But yet to recover from the hangover I guess. After I came back it took me more than a week even to touch my cam and copy the snaps to computer. Then everyone was asking to share the photos n I was just too lazy to upload it in some online albums. Now since I have accomplished that task too, I thought of jotting down the experience before it fades away from my memory.. So here it goes..:)

The trip was scheduled from 1st-10th Aug. When we booked the tickets to Delhi we didn't know the reporting time on 1st. So to be safe we took the evening flight on 31st. Later when we came to know that the train to Haridwar was on 1st evening we decided to roam around in Delhi on 1st. This 'we' is me another of my colleague "A" and 2 sisters "P" and "M" whom we met for the first time in the Bangalore airport. We landed in Delhi at around 10 PM and had airport pickup arranged by the hotel. Our first hurdle came up then. Me and A had dinner in flight but "the sisters" (as the team referred them during the trip) hadn't had their food. So we had to ask the taxi driver to stop in some place for dinner. My Hindi is very much like the famous ‘Mein Bheem Singh ka beta Ram Singh Hoom…Hai…Hoom’ style and same was the case with A. So we hoped that 'the sisters' will be better in Hindi as they are from Bangalore. But to our dismay we learned that all 4 of us are in the same state and probably mine was better compared to the rest!! When we were scratching our head wondering how to convey the point to the driver, A mentioned that for all we know the driver might be knowing English and he might be laughing to himself and thinking let's see how far these girls will go. Unfortunately that's exactly what happened. After we gave him enough entertainment value with our discussions, he started speaking to us in English! Anyway that was a big relief and we stopped in a place to pack dinner and reached the hotel around 11.30 PM.We were too keen to get into the rooms asap coz of the Delhi heat that was boiling us even at that time of the night. But the manager was behaving cranky and was refusing us to check in saying we don't have valid ID cards. According to him PAN card is not a valid ID and was asking me to produce passport or DL. Why should I carry the passport while traveling within India especially after an earlier experience of loosing it once(that's another story altogether) or a DL when I'm going to the mountains where there is no chance of me driving a vehicle? I was feeling helpless(and angry too) and more than that it was tough to communicate with him with our bad Hindi. I was trying to tell him that if they were particular about specific ID cards they should have mentioned it when we booked the rooms and not tell us after we have reached the place!! And his argument was that it was not him who confirmed our booking via internet. WOW what a logic to tell 4 girls in an unknown place in the middle of the night! Finally he somehow agreed and we soon retired to our rooms waiting for all the excitement to begin..

To be continued...

PS: If anyone is interested in free online Photography course you can register here : http://creativetechs.com/freephotographycourse

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Homecoming!!

Yes that's what I am feeling when I come back to this space. Thanks a lot for your concerns and queries. I am very much fine :) I guess this is the longest I have stayed away from my blog. There were so many things happening in my life - some personal losses , some unfortunate incidents - all of them drained my energy and kind of kept me in my cocoon. But then I felt I need to fight back and come back to normal life.. So here I am ready to bounce back :)

And the news update from my end is that I'm finally going to one of my dream destinations in India - Valley of Flowers. As such flowers are my weakness and I try to shoot each n every one that comes my way. Then how can I resist a valley full of flowers? From the time I read about this place years ago, I dreamt of going there. Four years back when we booked tickets to Delhi and was contemplating on where to go, my first choice was VoF. But everyone else vetoed it and we ended up in Leh. Not that I am complaining, but it was one chance lost. Even after that whenever I brought out the VoF topic, my friends were like 'If you want to see flowers we'll go to Lal Bagh. ' All of them felt the 54 kms trek just to see some wild flowers is not worth it. So I didn't have any hopes when I brought the topic this time also. And as expected it was zero response from my usual gang. So I decided to venture out alone and went ahead and registered with the group that organizes this trek regularly. Luckily two more friends have also joined now. Anyway now the flights, hotels and all are booked and I am one more step closer to my dream :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Impossible = I'm possible


I am not sure whether I really believed in it. But now I do believe in it. You want to know why? I completed the 10 km in the Sunfeast World 10K today. I know it's not a big deal for a fit or trained person. But for a couch potato like me with a lousy stamina, who has never ever run in her whole life it indeed is a big deal. When Diana founder of Chrysallis asked us about the marathon, all of just laughed it off. It looked just impossible. But later when me and a dear friend H discussed about it we felt we should do it and told this to Di. Since this was the first time for all of us, we were totally confused and it took us some more time to actually decide. Finally we did make a last minute entry for the 5.7 km Majja run which looked doable for non-runners. But by mistake, some in the group entered in the Open 10K category and then Diana felt all of us should do the 10K. Having worked with her and Chrysallis for these many years, we knew what it meant. Diana has always shook us out of our comfort zone and made us do things that we have never tried or done before. She has made non-dancers to dance , non-performers to perform on the stage, non-talkers to compere and end of it we all came out with a sense of accomplishment and belief in ourselves. It was all about hard work, dedication and joyful discoveries and this was no different.. Anyway end of it we all enjoyed the experience thoroughly and is looking forward to more such runs ;) Btw we also managed to raise enough money to gift 20,000 children in such a short span of time. Isn't that wonderful?

Ending this with a summation I liked very much:
"Do not lower your goals to match your abilities but raise your abilities to match your goals"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Blooper Queen!!

In my previous project, we had a gang of 9 girls and it made quite a sight during lunch time. At sharp 12, all us would march to the canteen and mostly would be the first ones in the queue. We would then cram into a corner table (of capacity 6) by pulling some extra chairs even though whole of canteen would be empty at that time. Then our chatting session would start and it would mostly be the bloopers done by one or the other among the girls..A sample : One manager sent a mail informing that one teammate A got a baby. One of our BQ's was prompt in congratulating the manager for the baby. He was taken aback and was quick in correcting her that it is indeed A's baby and not his! Needless to say each one was very competitive in this area and we had endless laughing and teasing sessions. I was supposedly the most mature n sensible of the lot. So you can imagine how the others would be... And these sessions used to continue for about 30-40 mins i.e. till the canteen gets crowded and people start giving us dirty stares indirectly asking to stop our non-stop non-sense and giggling and give them the table. OK coming to the point - today was my day to be the BQ :(

We had a programme at 10 am and since it takes some 30-40 mins to reach the venue, we decided to start at 9 am. We were 10 of us in 5 bikes and I was the only one who had been to that place and knows the route. So everyone was to follow our bike. One pair was in a scooty and they were very slow and managed to get lost in the first 100 mts itself. Everyone felt that if we proceed in that speed we are going to reach the venue may be only by 12 or so after the programme ends!! So we decided to do some crisis management and were checking who among the pillions could drive. It was only me and another guy N. When N took the vehicle and started asking questions like “Which is the brake?” “Which is the accelerator’ etc and everyone decided it’s better if I took the driving seat. First of all I was not comfortable as it was not the type of vehicle that I am used to and also it’s been 6-7 years since I have driven. Moreover I hate driving in Bangalore roads and I knew that the rain and the narrow by lanes would make my life even tougher. But since there was no other way out, we started with N as my pillion and I soon realized why the previous driver was so slow. The brakes were so loose and the helmet was too foggy with scratches and I could hardly see anything in front of me. When I used to drive, brake was something that I always used to check on a regular basis and dad used to insist that if it is not in a proper state I am not supposed to take the vehicle out. But I could not do anything about it at that time but managed to take a better (clearer) helmet from another friend and proceeded. It was a one-way and so I just went ahead thinking there is no way the others could get lost there. But soon after the second turn I found one of the bikers chasing me and asking me to stop and they asked me “Where is N” who was supposedly my pillion rider!! I was really shocked to see my pillion seat empty. I remember him getting on when I first took the bike and I thought that he fell off and I didn’t realize that. The other bikers couldn’t control their laughter but I got really scared. Since it was a one way I couldn’t go back to check what happened to him. Finally I was relieved when I saw him coming unhurt. Apparently he got off when I was pre-occupied with exchanging the helmets and he thought I’ll stop after a test ride with the new helmet but I just went off!! Anyway my very understanding and considerate colleagues have promised to flash this story in office and I have no idea what version will be coming from them... Keeping my fingers crossed…

PS: Please check this link and see if you can help in any way.Your contribution will be eligible for tax exemption under 80G as applicable. Please remember that every single rupee counts and together it makes a huge impact!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Online Friends - Real or illusion?

A very frequent question that I encounter is "How do you spend your time alone?". For many people it is very difficult to digest and keep pestering me to get a roommate. I admit I have enjoyed each and every bit when I was staying with roommates. But they were my friends and we all knew each other quite well. Somehow I am not ready to share my space with a totally new person or someone I hardly know. And strangely now I am so used to staying alone that if someone else comes n stays with me for long I feel they are intruding into my personal space.(he he am I turning to an anti-social animal?)

Some days back I was talking with my friend who was home alone since his wife had gone home for delivery. He was saying it's too boring and he is not able to cope with that loneliness. He was wondering how I manage and I told him that I mostly spend time blog hopping and being online gives me a feeling that there are many people around me just a window away :P It doesn't really matter whether it is a chat window or a comment window in a blog. But he feels I'm addicted and having online friends is like an illusion - just an escape route. He thinks that it's only the common interests and things that we relate to and life is not just that. According to him online people are always nice to you, somehow not close to reality. I am not sure of this. I do have lot of good blog friends most of whom I haven't met or heard,some living in far off places, but feel very close to my heart. In fact I guess many of my online friends know much more about me and my feelings than someone I interact regularly in real world.

I would like to know your take on this? Do you share a good rapport with your online friends? Do you think it's an illusion?

Updated after Preeti's Comment : check her related post here

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Honest Confessions?



I've been awarded the Honest Scrap Award by Amal sometime back. It's my first online award and I’m so glad you like my blog and choose it for the award. Thanks a Ton Buddy :)

But the award comes with a "Terms and conditions apply" tag line.

“This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog’s content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant.”

“When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!”


Don't you think this whole blog is about bragging? Why else would someone start a blog? And you already know who that misguided soul is. Guess what? More than the award I'm so glad I managed to successfully misguide at least one person :)

Now the seven random victims are Sandeep, gappa, Usha, Sharanya, Mishmash, Pareltank , Preeti. All of them maintain such brilliant and interesting blogs on varied topics and I never get tired of reading them. Yeh sure I'll leave the harassing comment to inform them about the award after I publish this post.
Now coming to the last and the toughest part. I have this habit of taking feedback about myself from friends(real world ones) and try to improve myself. And many a times I have got feedbacks like "One word to describe you is 'Paheli'" or "you are friendly to everyone but allow only very selected few into the privileged inner circle" or "Emotionally you are a closed book" or "You make others comfortable to share their secrets but you never share yours". And some friends who read my blog have told me that "You write so openly in your blog and it's like knowing a different person". How I wish I was the same in the blogging world with so many secrets that would make me look very mysterious and intriguing :( As it is there are no big secrets or happenings/controversial things in my life. On top of that with my penchant to write about anything and everything that affects me, it's very tough to dig up even 1 or 2 new things that I haven't yet written!! Anyway I guess I'll have to go to back to my infancy/school times to do that. So here are some random facts about me.

1) My parents had a late marriage and my mom was 40 years when I was born. And she seems to be really surprised to get a healthy child! Not a new thing since she is very fond of worrying about anything and everything

2) I was kidnapped by the maid servant when I was 6-7 months old. He took the ornaments, left me in a thenginkuzhi(a pit made around the coconut tree to keep water and manure) and ran off. I was found much later playing in my comfortable 'mud bed' blissfully unaware of the commotion. This incident and another near murder in my friend's house has made my mom paranoid of live-in servants.

3) I used to feel so lonely as a kid and longed for a sibling so badly. I even used to pester my parents to adopt a kid from the orphanage.

4) My all time favorite subject is Maths but I always managed to lose 1/2 - 1 marks by making careless mistakes!

5) I was an average student though out and have managed to pass all exams. But the final year ICT exam was so tough that I really thought I will get a supply(short form for supplementary exam that you need to take if you fail in an exam). I was so desperate after that exam and offered to do 108 pradakshinams in Guruvayoor if I pass. Even now I believe it was the effect of prayer that saved me. There is no way I could have passed that exam otherwise!

6) All through my school and college days I have skipped breakfast and I'm just not proud of it. That time I used to think I was so fat(even with a BMI of 19-20) and this was my idea of diet. Now it has screwed up my metabolism so badly :(

8) I never got fever during school days and used to wonder what it is like to have fever. But all the fascination went off when I got it the first time - a very high intensity one with a bad headache n vomiting for 3 days.

9) I was never into sports. Most of the PT classes, we used to spend inside the classrooms doing craft works or some other 'quiet tasks'. Mam used to bother us only if it's nearing Republic Day when school participated in the parade. So it's the same even now. Any physically demanding activity I'll try to keep a safe distance :P

10) My first hostel life was when I was in 3rd standard and I totally loved it. I was the younger most since hostel was available only from 5th std upwards. But I was admitted on special request for a short time and was thoroughly pampered by all the chechis , nuns and even the warden who was famous for her strict ways.

So that's it about me and didn't I tell you before that I always made careless mistakes in maths :D

Monday, April 06, 2009

Blogging Disasters

Last 2-3 days I was sleeping late and Friday was our Family Day. I was totally exhausted after that and so yesterday I slept nicely in the afternoon. I woke up feeling so fresh and was not in a mood to go back to sleep at my usual time. So as usual was in front of the comp and browsing/chatting was going on. That time my childhood friend came online. Talking of my childhood friends, none of them are in the IT industry and so very rarely we meet over chat. It's mostly phone calls or e-mails. Also the fact that all four of us are in different parts of the world doesn't make the communication part very easy. So I was thrilled to see her online and we started chatting although it was already wee hours of the morning. Some excerpts from our talk.

me: hi korangi
ss: hey how are u
i just woke up
me: good good :)
i need to go to sleep
it's already morning :(
ss: well talk about timings
any new trips planned/executed?
me: last was dandeli/karwar last month
ss: i saw and read your blog
me: oh ok
..
..
..
ss: You have gained wt?
me: yes. Who told you?
ss: from your blog
..
..
..
ss: how is kuttettan's baby?
saw her legs in ur blog ;)
me: :)
..
..
..
SS: How is B and H?
Remembered them when I read one of ur post abt them
me: $@#%#$^%$#@$#
how come you are knowing everything abt me n me totally dark abt u
ss: It's your blog dear
me: Then u too better start a blog. This is unfair


Don't you think this is totally unfair? And this is not the first time that I have encountered this type of one sided talks with close friends. Most of them are silent readers of my blog and never leave a comment. So I have no idea who is following the blog and then they surprise me when we call or meet. Talking of leaving comments, even I have the habit or reading a blog and come back silently mainly coz of sheer laziness. So I am not insisting on that. But to make it fair you should start updating me the news from your side too. So you,yeh 'YOU', do sit down and shoot a mail to me NOW, this very moment. Else I will be forced to stop blogging(not that I'm regular here) :P

Monday, March 16, 2009

A trip to remember..

[Warning : A very long post ahead. I just wrote it to relive the experiences of a fun filled trip that we did last week. I doubt if it'll appeal to anyone else other than the ones who were actually part of that trip and experienced it first hand :) ]

Dandeli - that was one place that we had missed out in the main tourist attractions of Karnataka. We always felt it's too far and needs a 'long' weekend to go there. Somehow we had the mindset that we need 2 days to drive and 2 days to spend there. So that was the first choice when we got a 4 day weekend in March. As usual we sent a mail to the 'travel gang', but somehow except for the 3 defaulters no one else was ready for various reasons. And the fact that not many companies had that 4 day holiday made it difficult to invite anyone outside the company. Normally we are reluctant to include others who are not from our gang mainly because even though they might enjoy traveling, each person travels for a definite purpose and if our interests doesn't match the trip will end up as a disaster. We have had a few bitter experiences before and so is always cautious about the people whom we invite. But since it would be even more boring if only 3 of us went, we decided to take the risk and checked with another travel gang in the company and they were more than willing to join us. Quick planning followed. It was they who pointed out that we can take an overnight train/bus and avoid driving this long distance in the hot summer. That way we saved 2 more days and we decided to include Karwar as well. All these planning happened in Jan and by the time we actually set off last week there were few additions and subtractions to the group. The final troop consisted of the 3 oldies from the original gang and 4 young bloods and it was these newbies who made all the difference to our otherwise 'sightseeing and photography' oriented trips. Although only few knew each other beforehand, after the introductions in the railway station it was as if all of us were long lost buddies :)

Saturday morning we reached Londa junction where the resort pickup vehicle was waiting for us. Although Dandeli is synonymous with white water rafting we were quite sure that it is not going to happen in March. The dry forest on the way added to our belief. So we were expecting to spend 2 days in the resort and chill out. The only thing that we were hopeful was the safari since animal sighting's will be good in summer. When we reached the resort we were in for a surprise. The Kali river behind the resort was FULL and the resort people informed us that if we would like to go for rafting it's better we go immediately as water level might fall the next day. So after a quick and tasty breakfast we headed to the rafting site where we got ready with the gears and instructions. The highlight of rafting was KK's new waterproof camera that captured the adventure well although initially it did give some shock to all us and also to fellow rafters in the other rafts. How often do you see someone dipping a camera in water to clean the lens that has water droplets splashed on it!! Only problem was that many a times,esp near the rapids,the instructor had to remind KK that he is supposed to paddle as well and not just click pictures. Even otherwise he seemed hard on hearing and Sid had to repeat all the instructions specially for him :) The entire stretch was 9 kms long with 8 rapids some of them 3rd degree and it took us about 3 hrs to finish. This is my third rafting experience and each of them were totally unique. Once we reached back, freshened up and finished our lunch it was already evening and we were lazying around near the river side. Lot of photography sessions followed. Yeh that was another difference in this trip. Other than the usual nature or wild life photos we also had some fashion photographs. Who can resist such a chance when two models are readily available to smile into the camera ;) One of the models even fell into the river while trying to give us good poses and even that was captured :P A coracle ride followed where we watched the sunset and some birds too (don't be mistaken - the flying types) and more photography experiments. Once we returned after the coracle ride we decided to go for a walk to a dam site nearby. It was a moonlit night (just 2 days for pournami) and we had great fun walking through the middle of the road and at the same time our individual singing and dancing skills were also put to test :) A late dinner and a game of 20 questions followed which kept us awake past midnight. The kiddo's were ready to continue but we insisted that we hit the bed as we had to get up at 4 am for the safari the next day.

Sunday, although half asleep, we all were ready at 4.30 am for the safari. It was 28 kms to the sanctuary and 40 kms safari inside. We were supposed to go in a Gypsy. Since it was quite cold, most of us tried to fit in inside and continued our sleep. The safari was very disappointing mainly coz the guides had no idea of the forest and where to spot what. Many a times we spotted some animals and had to tell him to back the vehicle. Once we reached the sunset point(at sunrise time!) we could walk till the view point. On the way back V decided to propose S in full filmy style with song, dance n flowers. S accepted it immediately and we expected a happily ever after ending. But it seems the relationship didn't last till we reached back the resort! On the way back except me n KK everyone opted the open ride but realized the effect of a speeding Gypsy in dusty path the hard way. By the time we reached all of them were red in color from head to toe!!! And the smarties chased us, gave a tight hug and ensured that they transferred half of their possessions to us. Grrr..

We had our breakfast and was supposed to go for a natural Jacuzzi bath at 10.30. But unfortunately they came and told us that the water level is low and we can go only at 12. Half of us went to sleep and others waited and again at 12.30 we were disappointed as they said the force is still too low and we cannot have the Jacuzzi but can just go n swim in the river. Somehow a swim in the scorching sun didn't appeal to me and I decided to stay back n catch up with my sleep.

Once they came back we had our lunch and was ready for a nature walk. A tribal came with us and I was expecting it to be only a WALK. But to my dismay I realized that this again was a trek and the climb though short was quite steep :( The path was slippery and covered with dried leaves and it made the climb even tougher. But it was worth it when we finally reached the catchment area and the evening light was just perfect for photo shoots. We stayed there till the sun went down and then headed back. We told the guide not to take the same path as the prospect of climbing down that steep path in the night was not too appealing. Instead we took the jeep trail which was around 1.5-2 kms longer and Oh boy that was fun. The uneven path lit only by the moonlight, sounds of birds all around and the guide's stories of how he has spotted tiger, elephant etc in the same route! By the time the tired gang reached back , barbecue was ready and we feasted ourselves. Another long session of chit-chat followed and I went to sleep while others decided to stretch the day lil more longer.

Monday morning we had to catch a bus to Karwar and the resort guys were supposed to drop us till the bus stop. But to our dismay, we found out that there was some problem with the transaction and the resort guys hadn't got the advance payment. We had carried only the remaining amount as cash and to add to the worry the STD lines of the resort was not working ruling out payment by card. The only option was to go to Dandeli town, find an ATM and hand over the remaining money to the resort people. This meant an extra 40 km drive. So we were packed in the Gypsy again and started off at around 7.30 am. Once we reached Dandeli and settled the accounts, we got in to a waiting private bus and even found time for a quick breakfast. Most of the ride was uneventful and the troop went back to sleep. But the last stretch was like a roller coaster ride and there were some in the gang who was determined to sleep even in that stretch. Once in Karwar town, he had some snacks and headed towards the office. From the port it was a 20 mins boat ride to the resort in Kurumgad Island. Me and Sid had gone there 3 years back and were surprised to learn that they still recognized us. Again a tasty lunch and we went to our tents. The change from dry forest to humid beach was not going so well with most of us and we were longing for a nice bath. Also we were very tired after the long journey and some went to 'sound' sleep in the middle of chatting session itself. After a short nap, we headed to the beach for water sports. Unfortunately because of the strong wind, only banana boat ride was possible. Others went for that while I chose the speed boat to capture the fall ;) Once back in the dining hall with a camp fire and barbecue on the side, everyone seemed to be at their creative best. There were lot of photography experiments happening at one side ranging from bulb mode to multiple exposures to ghost photography, while on the other side experts with two left legs were giving a tip or two to the ones who were holding back. Towards the end all were exhausted and sat down for the dinner were more games followed..

Next day morning was supposed to start with an island tour but all were too tired and was reluctant to get out of the bed even at 7 O' clock. So we decided to skip the walk and directly go for Dolphin watch. We were taken more into the sea where we spotted many dolphins close enough. Finally the boat left us back in the beach where we could do water scooter and kayaking that we missed the prev day. Since the sun was hot and both these activities were individual sports, others rested under a tree. It was then that we discovered what can happen to a person when there is wet sand in front of you - the child in you comes out. In no time what started as a simple mickey shoe around Sid's leg formed in to a full fledged city with an airport, underpass, bislery plant, paddy fields, palace, cheesy manyatha tech park, swimming pool, granite view point,'innova' garage and so many other things that I can't mention here :P It was a very innovative bitching session and all the guys were in full enthu in developing the city in the most 'agile' way :) The entire action with running commentary was shot by the guy who is ever behind the camera and we had a hearty laugh all though. That was the perfect ending for a perfect holiday and soon we headed back to the mainland to catch our bus back to Bangalore.. Think I should officially thank the newbies for making this trip such a wonderful experience.. Thank you guys and gals and hope to have many more :)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Bugged by 'Size 0' bug!!



Na don't be mistaken. I'm definitely not bitten by this bug. But the problem is all the wardrobe items seems to be obsessed with that. Don't be surprised. Listen to my story and you will understand. It's been 1.5-2 years since I have done any cloths shopping and when I did it recently,I was in for a shock. My regular size doesn't fit me anymore and even 2 sizes higher seems to be 'just' fit. First I thought the manufactures have changed the standard. But then I realised that the problem reoccurred even with my old wardrobe items. All of them seems to have lost oodles of weight!! How else can I explain the phenomenon that all of my tops/kurtha's turned itself to the retro Bollywood style (remember the body hugging kurtha's that made u wonder how the heroine managed to get into it and finally you concluded that the tailor would have stitched it directly on her body) and my old comfortable jeans doesn't allow me to breath anymore? Some of my salwars are also trying to follow suit but luckily they haven't succeeded yet - may be because of their low metabolic rate. Anyway thanks to these loyal salwars, I was somehow managing till now but I'm doomed in special cases where you are supposed to wear a team T-Shirt or a saree for an ethnic day. I can't wear a T-Shirt on a salwar or saree without a proper fitting blouse. And my teammates doesn't believe the story of my wardrobe having shrunk and I have to bear the brunt of betraying the team and face the consequences :(

So I was thinking of two different solutions

1) An end to end wardrobe replacement with the new standards. But it's a tough decision in this recession time and also I need to make sure the new set is not 'size 0' obsessed.

2) Second solution is something where I should change according to the situation. In Malayalam we say it as 'naadodumbo naduve ooduka'. But I have no idea HOW I can achieve this (although last 3 weeks of in and out of hospital have given me some hope). Issue is I want to do it NORMALLY. That is you are not supposed to tell me crazy things like "Avoid fried food" or "Don't even think of chocolates" or worse "Exercise Daily"

Does anyone have any other 'workable' solutions?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mastering from the Master :)

I am just back from a Wildlife Photography Boot Camp at the Bannerghatta National Park organized by ireboot. I got a forwarded mail regarding this camp the very next day I got my camera and I didn't have to think twice to decide. The mentor was Kalyan Varma and I have been following his blog for quite sometime and is a huge fan of his photographs. I had missed his previous workshops and was looking out for the next session. So I just jumped at this opportunity and registered immediately.

I have no words to describe how useful the session was.. As I have mentioned many times before, I don't experiment much with the camera settings. I did know a little bit of theory but was never confident to actually apply them. I felt camera is always intelligent than me and used auto mode to shoot the pictures and occasionally changed to 'P' mode if I had to switch off/on the flash. But now I know at least all the main controls of the camera and how to use them and more importantly when to use them. For me, exposure composition was something that you use to get those nice silhouettes during sunset and that was it. Never realized you can actually use it for overexposed pictures! Again I was not so clear about the relation between aperture, shutter speed, ISO, flash and what not. Whenever I have experimented with them, either it was lots of trial and error and finally one good output or one of my 'expert' friends told me which value to set for each and wow I got that perfect picture. Similarly I have always wondered what's this rage about full frame and the multiplication factor in lens. Now I know better! Hey don't give that smile, I know I was too naive..

To talk about the camp itself, Kalyan is very passionate about what he does and it is very evident from the way he handled the topic. Ours was a diverse group with people across varied age group (yeh we had participants from 6th std onwards), different models of cameras (Simple PoS, semi-pro SLRs, pro SLRs) and not to mention the varied levels of expertise. But he handled it so smoothly starting from the basics and then moving on to other aspects like exposure, composition, flash etc. In fact yesterday, we had different sessions for more than 18 hours from early morning 6 am till past 12 at night. How many can do that with the same energy level throughout and more importantly grabbing full attention from everyone in the class? I am not exaggerating when I say there was not a single dull moment. We had a good mixture of both classroom and field sessions. In classroom, we learned the techniques and in the field, we applied them. The emphasis was to get almost all parameters right while shooting itself and do very less post processing later. But yeh we got an introduction to different post processing tools too. So now I also know how to do basic editing using Photoshop, GIMP, CaptureNX etc :) We also had a session where we checked the great photos from world famous photographers and analyzed what made them stand apart. Some of our photos from the workshop were also reviewed. And in another session, we got to see some of the wildlife videos which did strike a chord. Last session was a brief about different equipments used and care of equipments. Everyone gasped when Kalyan poured water on one of his expensive lenses to prove that all these camera's and lens are designed to withstand rough conditions. And not just that - we learned a lot from each other too. Since the group was diverse, every one was good in one or other and they always gave tips whenever they saw others struggling.

In short,it was very informative, interactive and real fun and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who would like to understand the art of photography. Thank you Mukta for organizing the same and Kalyan for making us better photographers :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Me too,me too ;)


I have mentioned before that I like photography and some of you had encouraged me giving comments in my photoblog and/or flickr. So far I was having an Olympus PoS camera and most of the snaps were from that.. But now equipment wise I'm a semi-professional :)

Yes I OWN a D90 + 18-200 VR lens now. I'm so excited - just like a child who got a new toy.. :) But I very well know owning a Nikon doesn't make you a photographer,only a Nikon owner :P So next step is trying to figure out how to use the cam.. So far I have never bothered about the technicalities involved in clicking a picture. I even used to debate that too much of technicality tampers your creativity. But today while taking the pictures(rather trying to take pictures), I realized that the DSLR doesn't give you the desired output 'easily' like the good old user-friendly PoS. So now I don't have an option other than learning the basics :( Let me take baby steps and start the journey.. Wish me luck please :)
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