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Saturday, 18 August 2007

questions

i was just thinking about the various questions one has to deal in a life time. they are just too many to mention. just too many to think. ponder or respond... if it were not those dreadful questions that one has to answer, we would not have been what we are. sometimes i wish if someone did not ask that question which is not so comfortable to answer. sometimes questions are very direct and unwarranted. most of the time the quiz master knows the answer or at least the many options one can pick from. but then he still chose to ask. just for fun. he cant but ask. he is such a jerk. just to satisfy his little right to ask. even when he knows we do not want to be asked, he will ask, as he is your friend, relative or family. if you don't answer these questions you become one of those ugly arrogant villain or vamp in the family, office, among the friends. and if you answer you will just be reminding yourself of a few things you want to run away from. but is running away a solution? but who says answering is any solution? do we need to answer anyone and everyone we know, love and care about? i don't think so. but it depends. we are firstly and finally only answerable to ourselves. have i done all my duties to the best of my capacities? am i a responsible human being? even if i am not i don think i am answerable to anyone else but me the first person. how do we counter an uncomfortable question? it is not simple. first of all it depends on who is asking. and second of all it depends what he/she wants to hear. if i know who is asking, i can perhaps say what he wants to hear. but many a times it is not possible to guess what the quiz master's intention is . sometimes harmless questions can find deeper answers and expose things that one would rather keep than tell. it is but questions that get the doctor find his way through appropriate cure. questions that solve a case. questions that enlighten our need to know more. questions that keep life rolling. questions that tell us what holds beneath. questions, that yell out the truth of life. questions, that ask the meaning of deeds. questions are the answers to what most of us seek. if we ask the right question we get nirvana. and it is the search for the right question that keeps our quest to seek to learn to grow alive. i love to ask questions. that which my teachers dreaded when i would not stop asking. that which my mother had a tough time answering. now i love to ask them mostly to myself. to check what i am doing. to introspect. to hear myself loud and clear. to know whether i am on the right track. i hate to ask questions that will never get a response. its the saddest truth of rejection. it hurts. so i shy and keep off things that have the potential of the same. i feel cowardly but then that is the truth of life. someone can prompt you to ask a question. in an impulse you might ask as well. but once you do, you cant take your words back. there is mostly no solution to the damage done. this is called a foolishly brave impulse that will ring in the truth after a while, when time stands still and you hear the words that you must not have told. questions have such a lot in them. it is worth asking why we ask questions and cant do without them. if we cease to ask them perhaps we do not exist. only the dead can stop chasing life. life is all about newer questions and answers. why do we greet 'how are you?' when we meet someone...cant we just wish 'hope you are fine?' instead. why do we believe in questions. cant we simply do without them? see i cant but ask that...somebody answer me...

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Who is this ‘Sender : HHIE Survey’?

Since a few days I have been receiving this sms regularly on my mobile. It reads like this:

The income and expenditure survey will contribute to the stability of the society and help achieve prosperity for all. Sender : HHIE Survey.

That’s it. The message ends there every time, giving me no clue of what this is about.

I googled for HHIE survey and found 'Hyundai Heavy Industries Europe'. I knew it had to be something else. So used my head and expanded IE as probably 'income and expenditure'. I searched again, adding the word Dubai to it. No luck! Then I changed words and searched yet again. Kept searching for better luck.

Eureka! I finally got a hint. It was 'Household Income and Expenditure Survey' by the ministry of economy of UAE.

But why did this vague sms come to me? Was the ministry telling me in advance that it is going to knock my door and ask me questions to fill in the survey form!? Or did the ministry want to inform that they want every one to prosper? What is the purpose of the message? May be they were doing a dry run of their new deal with etisalat to educate the common UAE population on money matters and society. I guess not.

Was it an advertisement of the ministry of economy? Or was it actually an incomplete text...may be it had more to it. Like 'please cooperate and fill-up details at this particular form/table at this place...or available online please visit for more information...etc!? Or ’if you think you are finding it economically unviable to continue in this country…then please quit!’? I don’t think the sender definitely had that humour.

I was reminded of a memorable sms that I got a few years back, while I was using a Hutch connection in New Delhi. The message was: ‘Don’t miss me. I will be with Karan at 9:30pm on Star World’. Sender: Shah Rukh Khan. I knew it was ad for the popular TV show called ‘Koffee with Karan’. The ad agency had some humour and strategy that worked its way to such a casual announcement or reminder of the programme…even those who were not SRK fans did not cringe reading the message. It served some purpose. But HHIE Survey!?

Sometime back heard the good news of 20 per cent hike in salaries for all Dubai government employees. As I work in the private sector it was natural for me to sigh in envy. Perhaps this survey did take place and has resulted in the prosperity they promise via pay hike for the country’s favourite few…in the government sector. I am still thinking but yet to find any sense.

When I am less occupied, sometimes I go through my sms box and delete unwanted messages. And I chanced up this one again.

My thought ran wild yet again and I said there has to be something to it. I sent a reply message asking: ‘what does this mean?’. Instantly got a 'message sending failed' for the effort. May be the survey is as unreceptive as this. Hope the ministry of economy is not as inaccessible. Or is it? Does this survey mean anything to anyone? I wonder.

If the message was in Arabic, like the many we receive, I would have deleted it immediately and got rid of , as I don’t understand the language.

Heard of ghost in the machine...has the next generation ghost cranky and gone hi-tech!? And that too via etisalat? Creepy!

kudos pharis...boo brittas

i dont have enough words to appreciate malayalam newspaper deepika's chairman and 'the so called controversial businessman' pharis abubaker for his bold and brave approach and attitude in an entertaining interview in a malayalam channel last night. i confess that was the most entertaining of any interviews that i hav seen so far in my life and career as a journalist in any language...any channel.

sorry i am not pinarai's anybody. i hate politics and i hate the condition of kerala...so i am more likely to anyway find some common sense to what pharis blurted out eloquently in in crisp n clear malayalam...u can now read the rest.

john brittas, a relatively new face in the malayalam news (if u google for him u will find just abt his current stint as the pro-cpi news channel called kairali's head...and nothing more...) i am not sure if the media was trying to grill pharis abubaker on a string of controversies that you would have a clear picture on. this interview came out to be v memorable.

it is with amazing confidence that pharis toppled the poor show of brittas who tried his level best to do a la rajdeep sardesai. i am glad atleast a few people are there who can catch hold of these mediocre media fellas who come with half knowledge and absolutely no common sense to ask questions. but i sometimes wonder whether it was all planned. may b not. i don want to think it was a frammed attempt and spoil my enthusiasm to lash out against the poor journalists of my times. i see them all the time...all around me...and hence am best placed to make a comment. and i am making it.

most of brittas' questions where quotes and those which he wanted to mouth had no substance. really this man who calls himself a journalist needs to go out and get himself checked.

one more striking thing about the interview was that it proved that there is no true journalism in kerala. gods own country is infested by inquisitive devils. they simply cant but scratch up something which is someone else's business. its not just a phenomenon with the people in the news...but people in kerala on an average. i feel terribly sorry for making such a frank and ruff understanding of an observation. but let me bail myself out by saying that 'experiance maketh a man'...so has it me!

thanks to pharis, he brings alive the faith that there are atleast a few malayalis who have the wits and the wisdom to attack such 'no show...all noise' elements who rattle around trying to beat their own trumpet.

brittas in my opinion is a no body...god knows what mamootty saw in him. i was surprised to see this man one fine morning on a new news channel that had a then popular malayalam movie like name and theme (remember: we the people / 4 the people...the like). brittas cant anchor in english for anything under the sun. even shekhar suman knew just an average spoken english but he is bright...he picked up a global accent which is more show man friendly. atleast he doesnt put me off.

brittas belongs to the average breed of men who wants some attention while digging up or being a part of some controversy and he thought being a journalist was a good idea! but nicely forgot that half knowledge is deadly! i would like to believe that brittas has lost 99% per cent of his image that he tried to cultivate as an intelligent media person.

thanks to pharis for putting brittas wr he belongs.

just because u head a channel doesnt make u good enough.

...it was a delight to see the interview. the best entertaining programme on any any indian channel since a long time i must confess...eagerly waiting for more such episodes. for once i don feel bad about spending time watching a regional channel in the few minutes that i get to spare in a day on front of the idiot box.

kudos pharis...boo brittas.

Phalaak Phaneir

One of my British colleagues is quite worried about what the sedentary lifestyle has done to her in Dubai. She swears pinching her bulges that she can’t find anything that helps her get back to her good old leaner days. She is always cribbing that her stomach is not in good form, it is rock hard and that she feels bloated all the time.

Today morning she fished out a lunch-size can from her lunch bag and yelled out, "Look what I found, 'phalaak phaneir'...its absolutely wonderful...good for my tummy". She held up a can of Palak Paneer (spinach and cottage cheese in mild Indian spices). In the eureka mode of her new healthy find from the supermarket's ready-to-eat section, she recommended to all of us patting her now-happy stomach, “Phalak phaneir’ is good for you. Must try it”. Palak Paneer is a household dish at North Indian homes and is served with chapattis.

I was reminded of this popular in Hindi saying 'ghar ki murgi daal barabar'...which means home-made chicken is equivalent to boiled lentils. When I was a small kid my mother tried hard to make me eat this not so glamorous palak paneer - a green curry that made me chuckle. She would lure me saying that palak (spinach) will get me bright red eyes like the rabbit and pink lips like our Punjabi neighbour Ashima. She even said that I will get a golden mane like Barbie’s. I don’t know if my mother was successful in getting me eat palak paneer then, but when I grew up and was living and cooking all by myself, I developed a taste for palak paneer, simply because it was easy-to-cook and was healthy.

I cooked it once for my in-laws. My husband cannot stand anything green in general. When I serve him vegetarian, he bleats and reminds me he is not a goat. This is a common joke at our dinner table when he breaks into bleating at the sight of some salad or broccoli or anything green or leafy. So I make vegetarian stuff only occasionally as I can’t convince him with stories to get started on eating healthy. Stories do not work after an age and especially with men who have an option to have their own mummy's food.

Surprisingly after joining a fitness club, my husband is close to one of his British trainers, who I assume, must have given him a crash course on healthy names in the Indian menu. Last night he asked me, "Do you know to make phalak phanier?" Instead of blurting out that, "I have made it but you don’t like it anyway."...I said, "I will try and make it for you from the Sanjeeve Kapoor's Khana Khazana collection that you bought me to learn good chicken recipes." He was happy to know that I will try it out and we struck a deal on having it this weekend.

Perhaps it is the colonial hangover, or is it just the thought that healthy must not be tasty. May be it is the many snap shots of brown-bran breads, no-sugar, no salt, no oil thoughts that reminds of a slow ballet while the fried chicken makes an entertaining rock-and-roll entry. Or perhaps mummy's cooking is the best. Whether mummy believes in frying less and steaming more is not applicable anyway. I don’t know the exact answer to all this, but it is sad that palak paneer has to come to us as phalak phaneir to actually get its true value seen.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

empty mind...

to get out of the 'nothing to do mode' one has to continuously keep working on something. till the mind and body sends the signal - its ok, now u can take a brk. go to sleep. this situation is applicable to housewives who spend a lot of time at home without company. and end up nagging their husbands when they come home. i feel the nag is not just there in housewives...but anyone who feels he/she is not doing something substantial at home/work. you can observe this housewife syndrome with many at work place. like say if someone is not been promoted for a long time, then he ends up feeling that he is not doing something substantial. he/she starts nagging...about the system, the work, the management. he also doesn acknowledge that there are other fellow colleagues who are doing the good work. what happens if u are the receiving end? like say this nag always finds a reason to pull you down. or say if u are somewhere associated with him/her in your workflow...he/she will try troubling u by sitting on the work for a much longer required time than what is required. so how do you counter one such frustrating situation!? simple turn your attention on something else. keep a time alarm which is far beyond the time that he/she requires to give you the stuff and surf the net and read some useful links. pick up the news paper. also, the most important thing is keep a tally on the update. make your own personal flow chart for every assignment...with time and date and people featured at every juncture. this will give not just an explanation to the boss if something goes wrong but also a quick look at the current status of your work any time u want to have a look glance than open the file again and again. how can u do this at home!? again, at home there needs no explanation given to bosses...so its a lil more easy. you can catch-up on one cup board at a time to clean and re-organise and by the time u finish all cup boards say there are 8 cupboards in all. the first one will be 8 days old to get a quick minding. or may be then u can start with one window a day to clean. watch an oscar winning movie, not necessarily a language u understand...but with a sub-titles...this will help u widen ur mind-sphere to different culture and ways of life, thats a good thing to do in a spare time plus it is entertainment. read a best-seller. listen to a karoake music while u sing the lyrics urself. join an instrumental music class. make an online photo album. write a daily blog. do some beauty packs for skin and hair. bake up something unusual but simple...like a delicacy. buy some fresh flowers and decorate the rooms. relish a chocolate. watch oprah. watch dr phill show. watch bbc. write to the editors of various newspapers u read at home n online. fix that broken ear-ring. clean up the shoes and shoe rack. fix the dysfunctional clothes...like the fallen hem, broken button. clean up and throw the old clothes from ur wardrobe. u may also spend reading about new products n the supermarket while u spend some time at the counters there. also some retail therapy is fine ...but of a different kind like get some health and wellness thing into the house. read about different investment opportunities in the country u live in. talk to successful people and get leads to get ur investment bag started. tabulate and monitor daily expenses for a ready reckoner on ur bank balance any day. the more u can keep ur self engaged in anything the better u can do the engagement. it applies to everything from gossip to good work.

ghost sms

a few days back i received this sms on my mobile: The income and expenditure survey will contribute to the stability of the society and help achieve prosperity for all. Sender : HHIE Survey.
thats it. the message ended there. i immediately googled for HHIE survey and found 'Hyundai Heavy Industries Europe'. i knew it had to be something else. so expanded IE as income expenditure + dubai. eureka! i found the answer. it was Household Income and expenditure survey by the ministry of economy of UAE.
but why did this vague sms come to me. was the ministry giving me hints that it is going to knock my door and ask me questions to fill in the survey form!? or did the ministry want to inform that they want every one to prosper. what is the purpose of the message? may be they were doing a dry run of their new deal with etisalat to educate the common UAE population on money matters and society. i guess not.
was it an ad of the ministry of economy? or was it actually an incomplete text...may be it had more to it. like please cooperate and fill in this particular form at this place...or available online please visit here...etc!?
A week after receiving this sms, i heard the good news of 20 per cent hike in salaries for all dubai government employees. as i work in the private sector i could only sigh in envy.
when i am less occupied sometimes i go through my sms box and delete unwanted messages. and hence i chanced up on it again. i sent a reply message: what does this mean?. i got a 'message sending failed' for the effort.
heard of ghost in the machine...has the ghost gone hi-tech!?

'i got caned for speaking in hindi'

i got caned for speaking in hind, quipped a friend in his acquired foreign accent that he picked up during his stint with a call centre in hyderabad. we had try it hard to not get caught, the call centre was very particular that the client should not make out that it was an indian who was talking to them, he added at another instance.

i am sure his parents sent him to an english medium to speak the language of the babus and thus get him upwardly mobilised in the indian society. tday english is more popular than hindi...as it is one of the official languages that unite the sub-continent. in my school we had to pay one rupee per hindi word...thats how the management got a few unruly jat fellas mouth angreji.

my friend also observed that, "it is because we indians speak english so well that we could bring in all the bpo deals to our country even if china was offering their services for a much lower cost."

yeah! i agrees ...the only silver lining, i confessed.

Working homemakers

It is interesting to observe the two new general categories of grown-ups. Irrespective of man or woman...one is either a homemaker and the other is career oriented. And of course there is mixture of the two, but are rare to find at the first glance.

The write-up is also a response to this non-stop research on whether women are doing justice to their different unconventional role(s) ever since they stepped in and out of kitchens and office cabins. No, my findings do not have a feminist flair to it, as you will soon find that my observations are quite a delight to any general chauvinist male, unfortunately.

This is a true peek in to the not-so-professionally inclined women who are entangled in the soul draining monotonous web of job-home-kids-career-beauty-splurges-fads-fashion-gossip cycle...or in other words those who come to work as they have no other option along with those who come to office to get rid of those extra hours of boredom at home and some extra money in return. Most of them are plainly lucky to be there. There is also a last category of the other women who just donÕt care whether the world is going to the dogs or to the buffaloes. I donÕt really want to comment on the last category as I am jealous of them and hence can be biased while making note of what they are.

I have realised that the workingwomen and the homemakers are two most common syndromes found among women of my generation. Infact it might have been like that always.
There is an easy way to distinguish between these two at any work place. The meek, well-covered, smiling colleague of yours is generally the homemaker type and she refers to price-rise and her meagerly income as a part of her fate. Career oriented proto-type is the one who has humour but airs opinions calculating consequences, does not care much about the keen eared Judas (male and/or female) who is tuned to her words all the time, walks with the gait of a man, looks / or is equally lost in creating and re-creating newer strategies of work flow loudly or softly with senior or equi-profiled colleagues.

Actually it is funny, this observation also apply to men. again there are two striking genres among the working men Ñ the homemakers and the career oriented men. Homemaker men are those who seem meek, well-dressed and are the always-smiling type whom we chance up on every day. The career oriented men are generally the humorous ones who air opinions not bothering about consequences or cares a damn about the keen eared Judas (male and/or female), walks with that particular gait (which you would observe close to absolutely funny) and is lost in arguments on what is right for the company with someone senior to him, whom he believes is not good as himself. Homemakers among men are not necessarily the kitchen or broom-friendly ones but they are called so as it is their's and mostly their alone business to make it for their home. They comprise of the responsible family men who are breadwinners who rarely are game to take up a challenge that has the slightest potential of a back-fire. In other words, anything that might negatively effect the monthly bank statements is cleanly cut from their list of objectives.

Both men and women who belong to the career oriented category take risks all the time they get that itch (some justifiable and some not-so justifiable type of itches). They are either employed at responsible profiles or they donÕt exist at all one fine morning. They are like the phoenix Ñ they rise form the ashes, are bright, mostly elusive (mentally as well as) physically...and are found in mythological-like stories. It is seldom that we find one colleague addressing the other as the better one at work, irrespective of the male-female factor. But we do hear stories of 'thaaaat wonderful ex-worker who was such a talent to have around...but look at whaaat the management has done'.

The funny matter of fact is that we find the two not just all around us, falling over eachother all the time, but also within us at times. We tend to swing from one of these personalities to the other but by and large retain our original make. Everyone has a million stories to tell. The story keeps us and we keep the story going. Life is quite an event at office.