Friday, December 30, 2005

Happy New Year !



My New Year Resolutions

Make a New Year Resolution!

Make a New Year Resolution that I can follow.

Stick to my New Year Resolutions

Remember my New Year Resolutions.

Make sure my New Year Resolution last at least a month.

If possible two months!

And if possible….

Stop getting obsessed about my New Year Resolutions.

Is there any way I can break my New Year Resolutions?

Can I make half-a-year New Year Resolution?

If I break my New Year Resolution can I start afresh?

Or do I have to wait for the next year?

Can not making a New Year Resolution be my New Year Resolution?

Is New Year Resolutions accepted by the law? Then please can I not pay taxes?

If I make a New Year Resolution to be on time for office, do I have to do it the whole year? ( oh my gawd!!! )

Do I have to make ‘good’ New Year Resolutions? I cannot always be nice to people when they tell me how much I look like my grandma every time they meet me.

Can I make ‘bad ‘New Year Resolutions like letting my dog on my pesky 10-year-old neighbor every time he bursts a cracker just when I am passing by?

Any ideas on New Year Resolutions?

I hate New Year Resolutions!!!! hmph

Have a great year dear blog pals. Hope to read lots more posts from you and I hope to post more often too. Now that’s a New Year Resolution to begin with!!!!

Happy New Year 2006!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Feel gifted !

The first gifts of the Season from other family members have started trickling in. My aunt gave me a beauuuuuuuuuuuuuutiful pack of heart shaped candles with glitter on them. I absolutely love them!!!!

Second gift is from a cousin brother. Hold you breaths girls. Trumpets sounds, cymbals clash as I open the gift.

IT IS A BOX OF GLITTERY EYE SHADOW !!!

Yuckk!!

( but the thought was nice)

Ok, this is it. That was the last straw on a gals fast sinking faith in the ability of most guys to buy a decent gift. I am now convinced that most guys are not gifted with the art of gifting ( corny line I know!! ) So here’s a guide for guys who are gifting-ideas-challenged and want to surprise the women* in their lives with that Perfect Gift. (* moms, sisters, girlfriends,wives, cousins sisters, colleagues etc.)

Warning: Please do not try this on men!


1. We do not like non stick pans. Please do not remind us of the drudgery of cooking for you.

2. We do not like crockery. It is a constant reminder that it needs to be filled with food.

3. But we love cookery books. Especially glossy ones with colorful pictures . Don’t ask me why Point No. 1 and Point No. 2 is disallowed when Point No 3 is allowed.

4. We like kitchen implements if they operate electronically and we are married ( or else you are in trouble, leave scene immediately).

5. We like candles. The fancier the better. Don’t ask me why! Just buy it!!

6. We love flowers, but stick to roses if you do not know about our likes and dislikes among the 200 other varieties available in the market.

7. We love artificial flowers, that is if you are onsite in the US or Europe.

8. We love perfumes, but please DO NOT BUY perfumes for us. We dont wanna smell like an oil slick! (Hint: Gift voucher)

9. We do not like aftershave. I know it smells wonderful.

10. Ditto for men’s deodorant. I know it does the same thing that a ladies deodorant does. grrrrrrrrr

11. We do not mind sarees if we are 21 and above. But please tell the shopkeeper that we will be coming soon to exchange it.

12. Ditto with books. But a subscription of Femina, Reader's Digest or Cosmo will be just fine.

13. We love jewelry but follow Point No 8 (Gift Voucher). Please remember a Rs 500/- Gift Voucher will not even get us an entry into a jewelry shop. The Gift Voucher should be in multiples of Rs.1000/- only!

14. It's true, Diamonds are indeed a girls best friend. (hint, hint)

15. We love gems but please tell sales girl our birthmonth so that she can give you our birthstone. We are very particular about this. However whatever our birthmonth, Diamonds are always welcome ;)

16. Everything that glitters is not gold for girls. So please go easy on glittery tops, shoes, handbags, lipstick and eyeshadows. Point No. 5 can be repeated here too.

17. We are extremely particular about our lipstick shade, so repeat Gift Voucher /Certificate here too.

18. If you are planning on buying lingerie for wife / girl
friend then “God help you!!!” Play safe, don't get caught consulting a Lingerie catalogue. Read it someplace safe.

19. We love chocolates. But we may not like chocolates as a gift because it is fattening. So it’s your call.

20. A weighing scale is not such a good idea of a present and can be potentially harmful to your skull.

21. We love paintings, but no nude women please... and vice versa.

22. We love crystals, especially those cute animals figurines in crystals.

23. Talking of crystals, we also like crystalware.

24. Teddy bears are acceptable if we are 12 years and below. Dolls also fall under this category!

25. Just because we are middle aged ( 50+) does not mean we do not appreciate flowers, so go easy on the Hot Water Bottles,prayer books and Shawls.

26. We love music CDs but who the heck is Laffy Taffy???? And Black Eyed Peas...? Is this some exotic vegetable? Please enquire about our taste in music from our friends before buying that CD.

27. If we are above 70, forget about the gift.....we would love to have you visit us.( ok senti rising to dangerous levels here, grandma I miss you * sniff* )

28. And ....the only brass that we wanna see, is on guys in uniform ;)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The joys of Christmas Shopping !




Ok I made some grandiose announcement about not being able to blog etc etc. But being away from the comp and the office is working wonders and this Christmas season I have so many tales to tell!!!

Christmas is here and as usual I get the noble task of buying the gifts that the family wants to give each other. A typical day before Christmas shopping goes like this.

Dad: Ok, so what do you think I should give your mother?
Me: How about you both taking off to Lourdes as you promised her 7 years back?
Dad: Sure, You will get leave right? You and mom can have a nice pilgrimage.
Me: But Dad she wants to go with you!!!! She has been looking forward to this for so many years. ( I use a very senti speech here)
Dad: I know, I know, but the guys were just telling me that we haven’t had a party like the one you organized on Father's Day! So you go with Amma and don’t hurry back. And if you go with Amma then as additional bonus you get that zoom lens for your camera!


Eldest Brother G: Now tell me what you want and what I should get for all of you.
Me: Ok, I want perfume, I think you should give mom a saree and Dad needs new shoes for his walks and M ..hmmm I think you give him what we all have been giving him for the past umpteen years, a nice tube of hair gel !!!
G: Ok, and get a nice handbag for your to-be-sis-in-law.
Me: She will think you are a miser. Give her something expensive!
G: Ok, how about a purse?
Me: She may call off the wedding.
G: You women are so hard to please!!!
Me: You are learning fast!
G: Oh my God, now I will have to think of gifts for her birthdays too????
Me: Yes! But it’s too late to cancel your wedding so I will get her something and you can tell her that you looked high and low for this perfect gift for her. She will be very pleased.
G: Fine and don’t forget to wrap it and put a nice message too. But don’t let your creativity get the better of you. I don’t want her thinking she is marrying a lech !


Second Brother M: Ok what do you want this Christmas that won’t be thrown on my head or will not be given to the gardener.
Me: What else do you expect when you present me with a monkey cap?
M: That was a Monte Carlo monkey cap!!!!
Me: yeah, the gardener looks very spiffy in that.
M: Ok then your highness what can I get for thee this year? Ok wait....I know what I will buy for you? ( with a gleam in his eyes), I get that awful sinking feeling when M goes shopping. He walks away whistling. I KNOW I will get a Hot Water Kettle! (of course it will be a different brand and color from the one I got the year before last and the year before the year before last)



Mom: I know what I will buy for everybody!!! (with triumphant smile.)
Me: er...what will be that Amma?
Mom: You will look really nice in a Salwar!
Me: But amma I have so many that I don’t wear!
Mom: Don’t argue with me. And for M, I will get a nice shirt. He looks like a beggar at weddings.
Me: Amma he rather look like a beggar than a pansy in that lacy shirt you bought for him last time.
Mom: Don’t argue with me. And for Dad also a nice shirt...
Me: But ma he hates shirts, he always wear Tees.
Mom: Don’t argue with me! And for your Chetan a nice wallet.
Me: But ma, he already has 25 wallets!
Mom: Don’t argue with me. Now come with me and show me where I can get these things in those new malls. And don’t forget to carry a big bag so that the guys don’t see what we have bought for them.

(Like they don’t know already)

Land of “OPPORTUNITY” !

A couple of incidents that happened over the last one and half years.


A few months ago while me and my colleagues were crossing the road a car driven by two teenagers, both blonde, (probably some expats kids) nearly ran us over. They stopped the vehicle and cheekily peeped out of the window to see our reaction. However they accelerated off recklessly at dangerous speed when some guys from my office who witnessed this incident ran towards them in rage.

Last month, just as we were nearing the Cubbon Park traffic junction, the traffic lights turned yellow. A bike with two guys who were near the signal slowed down and stopped on seeing the yellow lights. Right behind them was a Tempo Traveller driven by a foreigner. The vehicle was carrying four Great Danes, probably his pets. The white man was furious when he saw the biker slowing down. He pulled down his window and swore at the bikers fluently gesticulating obscenely. He was angry that the biker didn't jump the light thus holding him back too.

Last year in Mumbai the head of a large MNC abuses an Indian who overtook him by calling him a “bloody Indian”. The incident was reported in the papers however the foreigner got away with an apology.

Earlier this year in Ooty a rashly driven Scorpio (again a white man) nearly ran down a lady carrying firewood on the road. He too stopped to abuse the poor lady before driving off in rage.

In Kodaikanal last year while trekking we came across a huge house amidst a fruit plantation. We were warned by the locals to keep away from the fortress like house as the people who owned the land (Germans) owned ferocious dogs (to keep out the “natives”). The dogs had apparently grievously injured a kid and another woman who had gone to collect firewood in the Estate. Collecting firewood in the Nilgiris is not considered encroaching. In fact quite a few foreigners have bought land in the Nilgiris and you can make out their property with the imposing high walls and patrolling dogs.

On my recent Goa trip, I was witness to yet another incident. After browsing through the famous Flea Market my brother and me came across a Pizza joint. As we sat with our beers waiting for the rest of the family to join us the other tables soon filled up with foreigners. The topic of discussion at the table next to me was about the “awful lot of Indians coming to Goa!!” Many of these foreigners here were “service providers” for the foreign tourists. They ran tattoo parlors, hair braiding parlors, organized tours etc etc. We were told by the owner of the pizzeria ( a Goan) that the locals rarely interfered with these foreigners. The tourism industry here was run by the foreigners for the foreigners with the help of a few Indians.

A disconcerting scene at the same pizzeria. An old Frenchman covered in Rudraksha with a small girl in tow and that of another young man with another small child. Both kids looked like laborers kids.

Another incident in Goa. A religious procession carrying a statue of some Christian Saint is being carried to another house in a procession. A group of foreigners all youngsters, hoot and jeer at the procession.

Go to the outskirts of Bangalore where foreigners are farming huge tracts of land. The produce of these land range from flowers to fruits to vegetables is flown out of the country by private cargo aircrafts. The seeds and pesticides bought in by these people are unregulated I am told. (But this is an unverified report)

I have nothing against foreigners in fact there quite a few of them in my company and they make excellent people to work with. But when I was in Goa I was told that the tourist industry has been virtually taken over by foreigners and was dangerously out of control of the State Government. The main reason behind this was the strong network that these people establish exploiting the loopholes in the system. In fact the newspapers in Goa were simmering with reports of foreigners running illegal businesses in Goa leading to a lot of local discontent. (Please note the word illegal)

Our people have found jobs abroad when opportunities were scarce here. So we should extend the same welcome to people from other countries too. But the haughty attitude towards “natives' is disconcerting. Besides we have a virtually non-existent system of keeping track of foreigners and their activities here.

So India is a land of opportunities now? Opportunity for what?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Ghosts of Christmas present

I just read somewhere that a movie called Pulse will be releasing next year. This movie is a story of a guy who dies and then starts sending his buddies e-mails.

I apologize to all those folks on my floor that I scared silly by suddenly bursting into laughter after reading this news. It took me a good half an hour of giggling to recover from this news.

What cracked me up was the thought of a ghost using email!!! After battling with spam and forwards now we will get unsolicited mails from ghosts too?? :-p I tried to conjure up a hypothetical situation wherein a ghost sends emails and the resultant turn of events. Now imagine that one day you get a spine chilling e-mail from a ghost:

ghost@xyz.com: “I want your credit card numbers!”

Mail comes back to ghost with this message: “this user does not exist!”

Ghost resends mail to your other email ID

Mail comes back with this message: “sorry, this user has exceeded his quota.”

Ghost tries your office ID, mail returns with this message: TRANSACTION FAILED - Unrepairable Virus Detected. Please contact your mail administrator.

Now what can a honest upright ghost do in such a situation? He has tried all legal routes to haunt you but failed. So he does a Patrick Swayze act to intimidate you by typing this sinister message on a MS Word document on your PC.

“Silverine,

I want all your credit card numbers. Or else....”

Signed:

Mr. Ghost


Suddenly an ugly talking paper clip materializes from nowhere, blinks and enquires: It looks like you are writing a letter. Would you like help?

Ghost jumps out of his ectoplasm in fright at the sudden appearance of the ugly talking paper clip.The ugly talking paper clip looks awfully like his skeleton back in the grave. He doesn't like the ugly talking paper clip. He tries to scare ugly talking paper clip but ugly talking paper clip stares right back at him unfazed smiling and blinking. Ghost tries to close document to get rid of ugly talking paper clip but ugly talking paper clip enquires : Do you want to save changes to the document?

Ghost retreats in haste, thinks for some time and tries new tactic. He opens Microsoft Outlook. Ugly talking paper clip reappears. Now it is the ghost's turn to feel haunted! He clicks on ugly talking paper clip in trepidation. Ugly talking paper clip asks: What would you like to do?

Ghost types: Get Silverine’s credit card numbers.

Ugly talking paper clip replies: Listen buster! I have been trying to get her credit card numbers too for the past two years, now buzz off!!

Ghost makes New Year resolution never to mess with technology again.

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Ok folks, I will stop here for now. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2006. I don’t think I will be able to blog till month end as I have a very noble duty to accomplish! And that is to ensure my chetan ( my eldest brother) reaches the wedding altar willingly or unwillingly ( even if I have to drag him there). My to-be-sis-in-law is paying me big money for this.

So take care, have a blast partying this Xmas and New Year. Don’t drink and drive, observe lane discipline, tip the traffic cops generously etc. etc. ( this is a FREE public service message for which the cops have agreed to pay scant attention to my traffic misdemeanors for the next one month! Yipeee)


For a sneak preview of the movie Pulse click here!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I, ME, MYSELF

I turn 50 today ! Er... I mean this is my 50th post. This post is a reply to Leon's Tag where I am supposed to list 20 facts about myself.I really enjoyed doing this one. And like other tags I wish there were more than 20 points that I could list about myself. So here goes...and if anyone gets bored halfway through or earlier please click here and here for some light reading.


1. I am the youngest of three kids and was born a month premature. I spent the first month of my life in an incubator. The doctor told my Dad that I was perfectly normal enough to be kicked out of the incubator but he had to follow hospital rules and keep me in there. He advised my Dad not to wear off his knees kneeling and praying in the hospital chapel as I was doing better than most full term babies. My Dad sighed as he realized that he had missed a perfectly good opportunity to yarn to friends and family about how he pulled his daughter out of the jaws of death by kneeling down and storming the heaven with prayers. ( He can spin enough yarn to weave a blanket over the Himalayas)

2. I am a very forthright person and brutally frank too. I do not mince words. With these characteristics I do not know how I ended up in the communication business. I handle Communications for an IT company.

3. I have a curious mind and must get to know how things are done. So I learnt to cut hair, to make wines ( I am not kidding),embroider, knit, bake, carve vegetables, make candles, cake icing, flower arrangements, Bonsai, Ikebana etc. And if there is anything else out there to be learnt I will do it. And after I learn these stuff I buy books and try to learn more on these subjects. I try to perfect most of the things I have learnt. I have actually gone into restaurant kitchens befriended cooks and got recipes out of them. It is this passion for learning that made me pick up Photoshop, Corel Draw and Dreamweaver in weeks. I cannot bear to not know stuff.

4. I am a Crossword-oholic! I cannot sleep till I have completed every grid! ( I need help!!!)


5. My Dad is very liberal in his outlook; my Mom is a very conservative Pala Achayathi. I was never allowed to sleep over at friends house however my friends were always welcome to do so at my house. That’s the way my parents struck a balance between their views. I am glad I have little bit of the modern and little bit of the traditional in me. However my Mom still remains my best friend.

6. I rarely watch TV. And if I do watch it will be only comedy serials, English movies and Malayalam movies. I still love to put my legs over the sofa backrest and hang upside down on the sofa and watch TV (don’t ask me why). My mom is convinced that I was a bat in my last life.


7. I can actually make people puke their lunch out with my one-liners. Ask the crowd that sits with me for lunch in the cafeteria.


8. I can size up a person at first meeting. But I do not let first impression be the last impression. Every person in my mind is an open book. I just keep adding new chapters.

9. I once spent an entire day in Ooty following a Malabar Whistling-Thrush .I can identify over 50 different bird species. I can spend an entire lifetime watching birds with my Canon binoculars and not be bored with it ( the feathered kind mind u guys). Next birth I want to be reborn as a bird. ( ahem..the feathered kind guys!)

10. I rarely lose my temper except when someone treats me like a kid. This is what made me snap at two commenters on my blog, for which I am deeply remorseful.

11. In school and college I never confined myself to any group. I was welcome in all the groups from the literary types to the constantly-applying-makeup-types to the sporty-types to the nerdy-types.


12. I am too forgiving. I cannot hold a grudge for long. I am too cheerful a person for that.

13. I live in eternal dread of losing any member of my family. I rather die before that happens.


14. I am fastidiously neat. Cleaning up is my stress therapy. I am also a very organized person. At work it is me who usually plans out every Quarters schedule.


15. I work at break neck speed. That's because I work with utter concentration and the ideas flow thick and fast when I am faced with a creative challenge. I did this months Internal Newsletter including content and design direction in 3 hours flat. I need to slow down sometimes for the sake of my team mates.

16. I believe that it takes all kinds to make the Earth. So it is no point getting irritated at differing opinions or viewpoints. I believe in the live and let live philosophy very strongly.


17. I am a religious person, but constantly got into fights with the nuns in school and college over matters on religion. I still disagree with a lot issues in the Church, but remain steadfastly a Catholic.

18. I do not believe in love at first sight. I am too much of a realist for that.

19. I am equally comfy in my own company or with others. I can never get bored because I will always have something to do.

20. I hum 24 /7/ 365 days of the year. I love pop, reggae and country music besides old Hindi and Malayalam songs. At work you will never see me without my headphones.


Whew that was quite a job. I cheated by inserting more than one aspect of my personality in one point, but I still feel I have so much more to say. I am supposed to pass on the tag so I am passing it on to whoever would like to attempt it. Try it guys, you will be amazed how much you will enjoy it.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Close Shave!

One of my most enduring and endearing memories of Goa.This is a mobile cam image of a board outside a barber shop on Baga Beach Road. I was ROFL after seeing this.I particularly liked the logo i.e. the shaving blade with the legend 'Close Shave' emblazoned across.You can see many such hilarious boards and notices if you look around.





Close shave anyone? ( you know where to go) :))

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Selling Snow to an Eskimo



How would you sell snow to an Eskimo? This was a question that a couple of people in my company asked me the other day at lunch. Though I do not handle marketing I have watched my marketing brethren in action to be fairly able to answer the said question.

Selling snow to an Eskimo is a piece of cake (according to aforementioned marketing brethren) if you follow the laid down marketing principals of giving your customer a new product, value for money, accessories, distribution system, pricing, promotion blah blah blah.

Now... our Eskimo is surrounded by snow. Tonnes and miles of white snow. So we add a dash of value-adds to the snow, package it attractively and pray for suckers er...customers to buy it from us. (Besides, inspirational pep talk by your Manager that you either reach your target or go back to your old job as door to door salesman in Bansiwalah Papad Company also works wonders.And such pep talks give the team that vital burst of energy and motivation to attempt the impossible like selling infrastructure bonds to Bangaloreans. )

For aspiring marketing executives the conversation below will act as a curtain raiser to a career in marketing. ( I know no one aspires to be in Marketing, but then people with a glib tongue and no life need to be gainfully occupied too.)

Marketing Guy ( MG)to Eskimo: Aksuse!! ( greetings) I am from Icy Snow Company.

Eskimo: You come selling snow to me Eskimo ??? You either crazy or from marketing. ( shaking head)

MG( plastic smile and well rehearsed speech in place): We don’t just sell any snow, Sir. We sell Icy Snow, the leading brand of snow in the world.
Aren’t you bored with same old snow you see very day? The same old white, reindeer dropping dripping, husky pee smelling snow that you use posing serious heath hazards to you are your family?

Eskimo: My ancestors use same snow, I use same snow. Nothing happen. Now scram pest, before I let my Huskies on you!

MG: You have Huskies? How cute; we give free castrations for 8 Huskies with every purchase of $10,000 worth of snow from us.

Eskimo: Whaaaa? You castrate my Huskies? I will castrate you if I see you near my Igloo again!!!! grrrrrrr

MG:(hastily) er... Or you can take the 8 pack of absolutely FREE copper bells for your Reindeers Sir.

Eskimo:(suitably mollified) hmmmmm that sound good.

MG (wiping sweat from his brow): Glad to be of service Sir.

MG starts a presentation on his Laptop.Impressive music fills the air as a Flash presentation of squiggly lines weave and curl over a world map. A clich├ęd commentary accompanies the presentation extolling the company and its snow.

MG: As you can see sir, we are a well-established company with an office in every country. We manufacture tonnes of snow and our sales in places like Ice Land and Greenland is at an all time high.

Eskimo is not impressed. He says “We Eskimos no fools like ‘em Icelanders and Greenlanders, Shmucks!!!! Baah!”

MG:(smoothly) Of course you are not. But then do you use Vitamin enriched snow for your igloos?

Eskimo: Vitamin enriched snow? What do I need that for?

MG: For a healthier lifestyle and bounding energy for your seal hunting Sir. Imagine sleeping in an Igloo that is slowly releasing essential Vitamins and Minerals into the atmosphere, so that you wake up healthy and raring to go!

Eskimo:(puzzled) Go Where? I go hunting once a month. Rest of the days we eat.

MG: Er… well sir let me rephrase the sentence for you. Imagine sleeping in an Igloo that is slowly releases essential Vitamins into the atmosphere, so that you wake up healthy and raring to eat.

Eskimo: Will the vitamins make me eat more?

MG(confused but learning on the job): er...is that good or bad? I mean an increase in appetite?

Eskimo: hmmmm well I can’t afford to eat more cos that means I have to hunt more...

MG: ( cutting in smoothly) Well Sir what I actually meant was that it will effect your ahem...libido!

Eskimo:(petrified) No no no... that mean I have more children, which means I have more mouths to feed!

MG: And many more hands to help you during hunting Sir.

Eskimo(scratching his beard):That sounds interesting.

MG:(triumphantly removing a glossy brochure from his briefcase)...And our snow comes in different colors too. You can choose from a wide variety of Pastels and Browns besides the regular colors. You will be the envy of the neighborhood Sir. Infact Mr. Akkituyok, your neighbour has just ordered a batch of purple snow for his new Igloo.

Eskimo: Well, if Akkituyok has ordered then I must have this new fangled snow too. That son of a mountain skunk, rotten seal eating bastard will not steal the march from me.

MG: That’s the spirit Sir !! I shall process your order ASAP. That will be $7000 dollars Sir, will it be cash or card?

Eskimo: Dollah? What dollahs? We Eskimos pay in seal skin ONLY !!!!

MG: aarrgghhh !!!!!

Well... he nearly sold the snow.

It was a catch 22 situation. MG is caught between the deep sea and Bansiwalah Papad Company. He was last seen jumping off an iceberg.