Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 5 Madisars

I recently saw ''Seetha kalyanam'' and there were only 2 reasons for it - a traditional 7 day brahmin wedding and Jo in Madisar...although the movie moved at a snail's place and the ending was too predictable, it did do justice to the 2 things I looked for.

The ''bough'' vecha kai is adorable while the maroon with double side jari makes it very authentic !

That also got me thinking about other heroines in madisar and here is my countdown.

Note for buzz readers: If you want to take a look at the embedded videos visit my blog to read this post.

5. Bhanupriya in Aahaa


It looks like someone drew a madisar on her (video from minute 8.35). To quote my paati ''Onbadhu kajam evalo paandhama irukku avaluku'' !

4.Urvasi in Micheal Madana kamarajan


"Sundari neeyum'' is an amazing song and the venpattu Thittusundari, I mean, Thriupurasundari wears will remain etched in my memory forever !

3.Padmini in Vietnam Veedu


The only reason Padmini is pushed to place 3 is because she is slightly plump when compared to the gorgeous ones in 1 and 2 and that makes a difference.

2.Sridevi in Meendum Kokila
sridevi
I couldn't find a proper madisar pic from the movie but found another one and that one's pretty too ! There is no better combination than madisar with temple jewelery and she is wearing my favorite color combo, the mambhazha yellow with maroon !

and the undisputed number one position goes to

1.Sowkar Janaki in Edhir neechal


As long as I live, I will love ''Adhuthathu Ambujatha parthale''. The ettukal mookuthi, the jimiki, the long plaited hair with flowers, her beautiful eyes that look even more pretty with kaajal, all together make her the best velli thirai mami.

Special mention should go to Hemamalini in Hey Ram, the only reason she is not on the list is because her screen presence is very limited to actually include her in the contest !

An extra special mention goes to the invincible Shanmugi mami but she is out of the contest because of the mama/mami questions that might eventually be raised !


The scene with Gemini Ganesan that follows this song is the one that takes Shanmugi...err..kamal to a thani level....the body language, the blushing, the whimpering.....chancea illa !

On behalf of all mamis - Indha pudhu varusham ellarkum amogama irukattum bhagavane !

Ippadiku,
nammathu mami














PS: Please do not suggest Asin in Madisar as one of the contestants, she wears it like a ready-made pant suit and it only ends up looking weird !

PPS: Did I miss someone else ??

Disclaimer: All pics (except the last one ofcourse) and videos belong to the respective production houses. I am not responsible for any copyright violation in the embedded videos.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An English Christmas...

Right from Agatha Christie to Charles Dickens, everyone raves about an English Christmas. Just to what find out what all the hype was about, I decided to spend Christmas in London this year.

Here are some of the things I really enjoyed and hence have decided to include in the ''must-do'' list.

Pantomime
Watch a Pantomime
A Pantomime is a musical-comedy mostly performed during the christmas and New year season. I saw the ''Sleeping beauty''. I was initially skeptical when I learnt that the show was nearly for 3 hours and hardly anyone had come there without a kid. But it turned out to be 3 hours of pure and unadulterated fun.

The actors were brilliant and whats more they all had radiant smiles and really seemed to enjoy what they were doing. The show was very interactive and the audience was allowed to boo the villian (-ess), sigh with the princess when she falls in love and wish for a ''happily ever after'' ending. The crew threw chocolates into the crowd, came running through spraying everyone with water guns, had gorillas that scared the living daylights out of some kids, made the audience sing and dance with them...ohh I felt I was 13 and was taking part in a school annual day !

The best part was when a couple of the really small kids were called on stage and were asked questions by the court jester (CJ). Here are some of the ''brilliant'' answers
CJ: Where do you live ?
Kid1 (after a lot of thinking): Home
Kid2 (after a lot of looking around): hmm...
CJ: never heard better answers !

CJ: what did you get for christmas ?
Kid1: hmm...nothing
Kid2 (with a sheepish smile): hmm...forgot
CJ: well, between the two of you, you are keeping the christmas spirit alive !

Enjoy the Christmas lights
Walking through Oxford street and Regent Street on Christmas Day was amazing inspite of the biting cold weather (click on the photo for a larger version).

Christmas lights, LondonFor someone coming from Munich, where christmas decorations are confined mostly to the city centre, seeing rows and rows of lights in all possible shapes and colors was just too festive to miss. Going on Christmas day would ensure that you will not get clobbered by crazy shoppers (its God's day, noone shops much to the relief of most men)

Christmas PuddingEat Christmas pudding
If there is something worth eating in the English cuisine, its surely the Christmas pudding. Made with nuts, raisins and alcohol (mostly cognac), it is definitely a dessert worth gaining a few pounds for (atleast thats my excuse for now) !

Do some ''Boxing day'' Shopping
All stores have a massive sale on Boxing day. I saw items that had 70% discount. Well, yes, you should have had some experience in Ranganathan street to combat the crazy women (and sometimes men) in the crowded stores and if you are prudent, you will shop online or visit some stores away from Central London where the chances of you being mobbed are less likely !

Visit a Castle
I went to the Windsor castle and was pleasantly surprised by very few visitors.

Windsor CastleSince most people use the christmas vacation to catch up with families, sightseeing places like Castles are hardly crowded and this is a once-in-a-year opportunity for a highly touristy place like London.

Besides this I also had fun with a school friend, a college friend, a distant cousin, nearly emptied Saravana Bhavan in Eastham, saw Manmadhan Ambu in Cineworld (and felt jealous about how desi movies were screened and advertised just like English movies - for someone in a city where only 2 theatres screen English movies and desi movies are confined to one show, this is a big deal!) and ate a looooooot of really good desi food (to an extent that I should live only on water for the rest of the year!)

An English Christmas in London is a lot of fun, an English Christmas in London with near and dear ones is super duper fun !

Copyright for Pantomime photo: Odos Entertainment

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Does the girl know ?

Yesterday I was talking with someone who is a huge fan of Vijay and for some reason the conversation came around to the last scene in “Poove unakkaga” when Vijay tells the girl he loves (and whose wedding he helped arrange) a number of dialogues comparing Love to roses, thorns, bushes, exams and what not (imagine typical lalalala Vikraman music in the background)! And the girl innocently asks him “who is it that you love?”…at this point I always wonder if the guy is so naïve or if both of them are being diplomatic….because here is something you all should know: when a guy likes a girl, the girl always knows (this should be in bold, capital and a huge font size) and I mean always ! Except maybe one exception: when the girl does not know that the guy exists and he is doing long-distance sight adichufying via a telescope !

In all other cases, the girl knows. She may not accept she knows for whatever reasons (guilt, denial, prefers not to deal with it, does not want to spoil the friendship etc.) but the basic fact is she knows. I mean, how dumb can she be? If a guy goes out of his way to convince her parents to get her married to the person she loves, it shows he cares and cares really deeply. How can such care translate into anything but love?? In this case, the girl cannot ask him to stop helping her because she then would have to explain herself and deal with the fact that he is in love with her and there is nothing she can do about it. All that would accomplish is make things awkward for all of them. That’s why she vainly hopes that she is mistaken and he is indeed in love with someone else and in one last attempt of redeeming herself, she tries to hook him up with another girl.

This brings me to the concept of platonic relationships. In one phrase: Easier said than done. I don’t believe that there can be a platonic relationship between a girl and a guy if one or both of them are not already committed to someone else. Here I do not refer to friends that you meet or talk to once a month or when you bump into him/her, am only talking about people who take up a lot of your time and thoughts. When you admire someone platonically and love spending time with him/her, it is really easy to drop the “platonically” if you realize (sometimes surprisingly suddenly) you find him/her attractive as well. I am not saying its right or wrong but I am saying that it is inevitable. Take ‘Friends’ for instance – the 6 of them change relationships with each other so often that many times I have had to explain it to my frustrated and utterly shocked amma with her “ivan avaloda dhane irundhan?” questions !

So all I am saying is don’t kid yourself, have fun but tread carefully !

Disclaimer: If someone reading this post thinks “already kozhambi irukara kuttaila iva kuchiya vittu attara” then you should know that I am just a vetti blogger (who I may add is happily married :D) in her vacation mood. So I can’t be held responsible for your actions/inactions.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Candid..err..Creepy Camera

A Spanish friend of mine is currently in India. She was there for a wedding and spent 2 weeks in North India touring Delhi and Rajasthan. I called her to find out how she was doing. She is totally frustrated with people there. She says every second person tries to cheat her or take a photo of her with his mobile anytime she bends to pick up something or just tie her shoelace! She continues almost in tears that this is true of even men with families who actually do this right next to their wife and kid. My question to such men: why are you such creeps!?! My question to their wives: why do you let these creeps get away with what they are doing??

In my best defense, I asked her if she had remembered to dress a little conservatively as I had suggested and she bursts out saying "I have worn nothing but jeans/cotton pants and t-shirts, I did not even pack any skirts or shorts". Then I was all out of words. What else can I tell her? I have spoken to her about how closely knit our families are, how we respect tradition and values....how can I talk to her again as a proud Indian?? I had already warned her about being ogled...as a tourist, it happened to me in Egypt - men whistling, making eyes, and they even said something in Egyptian that thankfully I didn't understand and I didn't mind it too much because I was used to these things and I never minded this harmless flirting. She said she found it weird but it wouldn't bother her either.

But being photographed by a bunch of cheap strangers is just pushing the limits too much. With the abundance of skimpily clad heroines and easily accessible pornography, one would assume that the deprivation limits would have been lowered and men would learn to control their animal instincts...but no…. it seems to be getting worse, thanks to the technology revolution that provides every pervert with a mobile equipped with a camera !

People always make fun of Netherlands because drugs are legal there and are sold at what are known as "Coffee shops". Ashok lived in Enschede, a small university town and I have been there many times. The day we left, out of curiosity I asked him “where are the coffee shops?” and when he said “no idea”, the friend who dropped us off said “you are 200m within 2 of them” and there they were right in the centre of the town and not once have either of us even noticed it because there were no junkies lying on the road, no cops and basically no fuss, it was just like any other shop – apparently only soft drugs are sold and there is a limit on the quantity ! The Dutch probably have the right attitude, if its out there, its not a forbidden secret anymore and you lose interest in it. But does this with work with male-female interactions??

In Europe, where they are nude beaches and parks, I have seen almost no ogling but every now and then you catch someone “looking” at you or someone asking you for drinks. In N.America, where things are a little mellow, there is a bit of subtle ogling and one gets asked out for coffee. In countries like India, Indonesia, Egypt etc. there is blatant ogling and in the Middle East, no woman is supposed to give you a chance to ogle and if she did, it’s not worth her life and yours. Which one of these scenarios would women prefer (I am not going to consider mens’ preference here, am far too annoyed now to give them a chance) ? Truthfully, I prefer the Europe scenario. Yes, there is the occasional embarrassment in seeing something you don’t want to see but that aside, I always feel safe and comfortable at all times of the day. It pains me to say this but I don’t think I could have lived alone for so many years in any other place, even in India!

Maybe this is just a reaction to the conversation I had with my friend, maybe I will start feeling better about it all soon, maybe men will grow up, maybe there will be world peace, maybe angels will come down to earth, maybe money will start growing on trees…

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Freaky Friday

It was friday night. After finishing some chores I was tired and I fell asleep while watching ''everybody loves raymond''.

Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up with a start when I heard a loud noise which after a while, I realised was some movie song but nothing was making any sense because it sounded cacophonous. I dragged myself out of bed and reached the laptop with my heart still pounding. A quick look at the time said it was 3am. I was groping around for the volume controls as one part of my brain that was waking up said my neighbours would call the cops if I didn't do something about it.

The volume buttons didn't seem to be responding...then my eyes, which were until then seeing only red and green spots, finally focussed on a youtube screen and I noticed I had 2 tabs open each with a different song and for some reason they were automatically playing !! The google chrome browser didn't respond to any of my attempts to shut it up and by then I was getting ready to throw my laptop out the window; the blaring noise was driving me out of my mind!

I used to love the fact that my laptop had 4 USB ports and I always used them to the fullest - hard drives, laptop speakers, card readers etc. It was the first time I was cursing this feature because I couldn't figure out to which USB port the speakers were connected. Losing all patience, I pulled out every one of them (yeah its blasphemy, sorry all computer/laptop/hardware enthusiasts) until finally I ''heard'' the sweet sound of silence.

Windows vista causes problems with 90% of the applications and Google chrome with the rest of them. Together the combination was probably an explicit Murphy's law invitation. I don't know if it was some weird windows vista update (engineers who built the OS should be ashamed of themselves, seriously!) that caused the system to restart and restored the google chrome tabs but I learnt never to go bed without closing all youtube windows even if my laptop is set to go to stand-by on being idle for a while!

I silently thanked my good health that prevented me from having a heart attack and prayed that no one else in the building had one ! I don't want to get sued for this but if I did then I am taking Microsoft and Google with me !

PS: For those who noticed that 3am after going to bed on a friday night actually means saturday - good job, but I am not changing the title !

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Movie Marathon

Since I had a bad week, I also had a movie marathon. One way to feel better is to keep oneself occupied but when there are no possibilities of outdoor activities and the person hardly has any interest in household chores and has read most of the English books in the local library, inevitably the idiot box (in this case a laptop with a DVD player) comes to the rescue.

So a run through of the movies I saw:

About a boy – As any normal girl does, I love (or maybe like a lot) all the Grants, from Cary to Hugh. This is a story of how a boy changes the life of Hugh Grant, a Casanova who worries only about himself and lives his life spending his father’s money. It is not one of those cancer-related movies, where someone having cancer changes everyone’s life but it is one of those inexplicable things that happens in life and what I loved about the movie was that, nothing was dramatic. Every scene was like it could happen to you or someone you know and that made it wonderful.

Knocked up – A movie that made me decide that rotten tomatoes ratings don’t have to be always right. According to one critic, this was supposed to be the best date-movie ever and I just thought to myself that if some guy had taken me to watch this movie, it would have been the last time I would have seen him! It gave the word “disgusting” a whole new meaning. As the name no doubt implies, it’s about how a one-night stand results in pregnancy and brings two people, most unsuited for each other, together. I wasn’t offended by this concept; I am grown-up enough to deal with that. What I couldn’t deal with was the crass humor (no, not adult humor, just crass) that involved men not showering, flushing etc. Guys, a word of warning, if your girl is anything like me, please stay away from this movie for your own sake!

Up in the air – Clooney is on the same list as the Grants :D ! This is about a man who travels 320 days a year and loves it! What I enjoyed most about the movie was how I could identify with Clooney’s excitement of being treated differently since he is a frequent traveler, his efficiency in air travel (from packing to checking-in at the right time, not too soon, not too late), his fervor in collecting miles etc. There was a time when I was traveling nearly 100 days a year and while it was exhausting on certain levels, it certainly was enjoyable on many other levels. I used to get preferential treatment at the Marriott, in Lufthansa and it made me swell with ego even though I was well aware that I was traveling on my employer’s money most of the time. The cabin crew in Lufthansa actually brought me a cup cake with a candle on it and wished me “Happy B’day” when I flew on the day after my b’day !

Dabang – I was never a fan of Salman and this film was a whole new low for him! What killed me was people comparing this movie to Tamil films (which was one of the reasons for me seeing it) just because Salman has a moustache and his dialogues rhyme – Bollywood, please do your homework before you want to produce something and call it a Kollywood copy. Even I though I am not a fan of Vijay, he can definitely do a better job than Salman even on his worst day! And what’s with the heroine Sonakshi??? Neither is she pretty, nor can she act or even react to others’ dialogues! When will people realize that fair does not mean lovely???!! All in all, I stopped the movie after an hour; I didn’t want to kill myself!

Tere Bin Laden – This was breath of fresh air especially after the Dabang fiasco. It is about how a gang of youngsters in Pakistan cause chaos unknowingly by using an Osama look-alike. It was a good story, the screenplay lagged at certain times but was still good enough to keep the viewer engaged. The Murgi humor, the dig at Americans and the handling of terrorism on a lighter note (which is extremely difficult but they pulled it off) all made the movie totally worth watching.

Va Quarter Cutting (the Va is not like Vaa for come, but for “Uwe” the sound of puking after getting drunk) – I don’t care what anyone says but I loved the movie ! The story is about a guy who is leaving to work in the Middle east and who is hence looking forward to getting drunk one last time. I had really high expectations for Pushkar-Gayathri after I saw their first venture “Oram po”, an utterly amazing and must-watch movie and this second one fell a little short of my expectations but still gave me a lot of laughs. Some of the scenes were absolutely brilliant and at least according to me they are taking tamil comedy to a whole new level! The heroine, although with a small role, was once again a disappointment – in short, Sonakshi Jr but maybe it was intended because the role calls for a really dumb girl.

Although the marathon had its ups and downs, the start and the finish made it worthwhile (you need some bad ones to make you appreciate the good ones, right ?)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow, snow, go away....

....come again, another day - actually the only day everyone (or atleast I) want snow is on Christmas day, just like we expect it to rain on Diwali !

In the last week of November, the weather in Europe (and of course Munich) took a turn for the worse when Mother Nature decided that the snow should start as early as possible, apparently the earliest in centuries, according to BBC. Since then I have been contending with dressing up like a barrel (If you mention winter fashion now, I swear I will punch you), walking like adi pradakshinam (for fear of slipping on icy roads and losing the few grey cells I have left) and above all doing the thing I hate most – living in a closed heated apartment (now is not the time to remind me of homeless people!). I am sure glad that I don’t have to drive!

For someone who grew up in Chennai in an apartment from which one can see the ocean, closed windows and doors are horrors. I still remember how the evening breeze would rock everything in the living room that amma would make sure that everything that is outside is nailed to the wall or inside a closed showcase! Summer evenings always meant going up to the terrace with cousins and of course with food, a music system, cards, blanket and pillows and we would come back home only when the hot sun woke us up the next morning ! Even during Agni natchathiram, sitting in the balcony was a welcome break from the AC rooms. Now I realize (or rather in the past few years I have realized) how much I had taken the sun for granted. Sorry Surya Bhagwan.

I hate using the heater, no I am not exaggerating, I plainly hate it! It makes me feel suffocated. I usually leave the windows open when I leave for work and when I come home I run the heater for a couple of hours to bring the house to a livable temperature and then I switch it off. Running the heater throughout the night is unthinkable for me. But these last few days have been so cold that the couple of hours are not really enough. Hence I have been playing switch-on-too hot-switch-off-too-cold with the heater and it frustrates me! The only consolation I have is I can still shower in cold water (yes, you can gasp, everyone else has). I have never (really never) showered in hot water and I simply cannot. Even as a baby, I apparently took kindly only to cold water and the habit happily still continues. The first few drops send a shiver down my spine but then the rest really wake me up, shake off the depression from the dull weather and leaves me refreshed. Only the shivering time is now getting longer with the weather getting worser.

I know I have grumbled too much but I had a bad week. Ashok is traveling, am home-sick, had some bad news, some issues at work, got hurt by a friend and all this gets worse when I step out the door and get hit on the face by a blast of cold air. I have new found respect for people in Scandinavia, Siberia, Alaska and all other places where 0 deg C is considered warm!

But I am sure it is going to get better this week – my parents’ 30th anniversary coming up closely followed by my Christmas vacation, even this lousy weather can’t take away the Christmas cheer from me….here is some to you too !

Monday, November 29, 2010

Kerala in Munich

After having seen a couple of ads about a new ‘South Indian’ restaurant, which is a rarity in Germany (read, never heard of in Germany), we decided to go there with a couple of our friends to check if we could finally find something other than Mughlai kofta, Chana Masala and Palak Paneer !

As soon as I got in, I was impressed – finally an Indian restaurant with no huge paintings/posters of the Taj Mahal or skimpily clad women doing household chores, instead there were some beautiful statues of Natarajar, Krishnar, Pullayar, potted banana trees (with banana leaves), tasteful hanging lamps and red draperies that did not shout the color. I was even more impressed when I saw Idli, Dosa, Uttapam, Kesari, Tamarind rice, Lemon rice etc. in the menu…I was fervently hoping that it was some franchise of Saravana Bhavan that for some reason did not choose the same name (its silly I know, but hunger can do weird things to you!).

Our German friends were not there yet. So we ordered the usual mango lassi and started looking at the menu in detail to make sure we had some suggestions for our friends to whom we had promised that there was more to Indian food that just Nan, paneer and kofta ! While we were at it, the waiter brought some appalam (the South Indian rice appalam and not papad) and I was once again impressed. The 3 kinds of chutney dips were also a welcome change from the usual mint and mango chutneys that one usually gets in all other restaurants.

Among the 4 of us, we tried a lot of the dishes, so here is a quick run through them
- Uttapam with sambar: Sambar was perfect, Uttapam was decent
- Vada with sambar: same sambar, same perfection, Vada was crisp but needed a little more salt
- Masala dosa: dosa was perfect (how did they get the dough to ferment in winter ??), masala needed a little more salt (I am guessing the chef has high BP)
- Chola Bhatura: Chole was really good, pooris were too hard, I would NOT recommend it to anyone, well at least anyone I like ;)
- Spicy lamb: I was told it was very good
- Kesari: Too dry, very less sugar (was more or less like a German cake - maybe that was the idea!)
- Gajar Halwa: very good (was obviously made before and was just microwaved before serving, if I may add at a much higher temperature than necessary but its winter and I really don't mind)
- Beverages (Coffee, Tea): bad, would never try them again (Indian restaurants in Germany always serve bad coffee but this one even had poor chai and I was heart broken at there being no mention of South Indian coffee in the menu...schade!)

The waiter who served us first was very friendly and polite but the one who took orders for dessert and coffee was quite rude. It was obvious he was in a hurry and the tone he used was always ‘come-on, lets get this over with”…well I am going to give him the benefit of doubt this time.

Verdict: Excellent décor, good food, decent service

PS: As an ardent fotographer, I should've taken pics but like I said, hunger does weird things to you !

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fake job offers purporting to be from Qatar Airways

I got the following email today. My first thought was that it was spam. But I wanted to be sure because I had a profile in Naukri.com before and I was approached by a head hunter in Dubai a few weeks ago.

A quick google search revealed that its quite the scam and a number of people have let go of real jobs in the hopes of getting a high-paid tax-free job elsewhere.

Here are a few indicators as well as pointers to stay away from such emails:
  • Beware of weird domains in contact email ids. Given that the official website of Qatar airways is qatarairways.com, email ids from any other domain should cause suspicion like the one in this email from career@qatar-airwary.co.cc.
  • The footer of the email says something about PI Industries. If you visit that website, there is nothing in there that even remotely connects it to Qatar airways. So why would one company use another company's address in the footer ?
  • Since there is a name given here, you can run a quick check of the name in LinkedIn. Legitimate head hunters, recruitment agents are usually listed in such networking sites.
  • Quality of email - Although making language mistakes is not such a big deal, I have never seen a job query that says "Free feeding" !
  • Inspite of all this, if you are still in doubt, just call the concerned company (using its contact information online, not the one in the email) and confirm. Qatar airways itself has issued a warning in this regard.
Above all, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is ! So exercise caution !


Confidential!

Dear Job Applicant,

QUESTION REF: Q.A-UK-09/014

VACANCIES: UNLIMITED FOR THOSE IN THE (AVIATION INDUSTRY, IT,
PROJECT MGT. ADMINISTRATION, HOSPITALITY, MANAGERIAL OPENINGS)

CONTRACT DURATION5 YEARS (RENEWABLE, PROSPECTS OF SECURING PERMANENT POSITIONS).

CONTRACTOR/ EMPLOYER: QATAR AIRWAYS.

AGENT/ RECRUITER: QATAR AIRWAYS CAREER DEPARTMENT.

CONTRACT/ JOB LOCATION: LONDON.

Sequel to the job advertisement made, we have reviewed your CV/Resume
sent by our labor consultants http://www.Naukri.com for a possible job
engagement with us and we also wish to inform you that you are
eligible for a Job position in QATAR AIRWAYSGROUP U.K

Please answer and submit the Official Online questionnaire alongside
your credentials/photo graph for QATAR AIRWAYSGROUP U.K which will be
used to ascertain your final eligibility for a Job position in
reference to your cv/resume as posted prior to this interview by
http://www.Naukri.com
*Note: Only Successful and Short-listed Applicants will be contacted
Either On Phone or Email!

Good Luck!

1. Briefly describe your ideal job?

2. Why did you choose this career?

3. What goals do you have in your career?

4. How do you plan to achieve these goals?

5. Can you work well under deadlines or pressure?

6. Tell us about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What were
the repercussions?

7. Do you have reference list?

8. Why do you want to work here?

9. Why should we hire you over the others waiting to be interviewed?

10. What is your Current Monthly Salary Package in US Dollars?

11. How soon can you travel down to start your new Job?

12. What job position/s are you currently holding with your current employer?

13. What three Specific Job Positions do you target from QATAR AIRWAYS
GROUP U.K?

14. Give us full details on the Following;
(A.) Full Name :
(B.) Permanent Mailing Address
(C.) Current Mailing Address
(D.) Tel/Mobile Number(s)

15. What is your Country of Nationality? Is it different from your
Present Location? If yes please state your Current resident Country.

16. What is your Future Plans for QATAR AIRWAYSGROUP U.K?

PACKAGES
Compensations and Benefit packages for these positions remain
Competitive and Comparable with those available in leading Aviation
Industries across the globe & negotiations
are allowed.

CRITERIA FOR EMPLOYMENT
Contract Awards/ Employment will be based mostly on merit and will be
considered on experience and Profile.

TESTIMONY
Over the years, The best recruited Expatriates have been selected via
the Internet and the selection has proven to be unbiased & based on
merit since our Clients require the best expertise in various fields
to enable them deliver within specified frames of time and harness the
opportunities in the operating environment.

BENEFITS AVAILABLE TO SHORT-LISTED JOB APPLICANTS

* FREE ACCOMMODATION

* FREE FEEDING

* OFFICIAL VEHICLE WITH COMPANY DRIVER FOR LOCOMOTION

* FAMILY STATUS PACKAGE + 75% FOR COMPLETE FAMILY WELFARE

* FREE TO & FRO TRAVEL TICKET

* REIMBURSEMENT FOR PROCESSING OF TRAVEL PAPER(S), VISA ETC * UPFRONT
PAYMENT OF FIRST MONTH'S

SALARY +BENEFITS BEFORE RE-LOCATION TO JOB LOCATION

Many more incomparable benefits.............

IMPORTANT INSTRUCTION FOR JOB APPLICANTS

All Completed Online Interview Questions should be submitted to the
Human Resources Department of QATAR AIRWAYS at:
career@qatar-airway.co.cc to enable them ascertain your eligibility
for a Job position and make possible considerations for Job offer in
her Company.
*Note: We need only twenty candidates, and we have received more than two
thousand emails and CV's so far waiting to be short listed and Only Successful
and Short-listed Applicants
Will be contacted Via Email! And will be contacted,
invited for a Job position and a mandatory Orientation/ Training
Program scheduled 3 weeks on confirmation of Job Offer from QATAR AIRWAYSGROUP

U.K

Sincerely,
ikennaoy Ekam.
Recruitment Manager.
QATAR AIRWAYS.
--------------------------------------------------------------
This message, including any attachments contains confidential
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Baby fever

...is what everyone in my family is suffering from and by family I mean not just immediate family but anyone who is even remotely associated to some member in my family tree (actually family forest, in Ashok's words!). I can't actually blame them because according to them we are living ''outside the law''. Whoever has heard of a desi couple without a child after nearly 4 years of marriage??

There was a time when I thought that pregnancy inevitably followed the wedding. In my defense, I was 17 and everyone who got married announced that they were having a baby within 3 months and there were no movies/internet/ads to ''enlighten'' me. These days, the situation in India has marginally improved and married couples have the ''luxury'' of starting a family after a year or even two, if they are lucky. But once someone celebrates the 2nd wedding anniversary, everyone stops hinting around and chooses the direct approach.

Here is one of the “pearls of wisdom” that usually has smoke coming out of my ears....''Your life is empty without a child''
While I am sure a child enriches one's life and brings happiness, I fail to see how everything else one accomplishes before having a child suddenly loses all meaning. People usually use the same argument for getting someone to marry. While I totally believe a loving companion (spouse or partner) makes life beautiful, I fail to see how the individual's identity is suddenly deemed worthless.

There are others who choose the practical approach and say:
- Women have a biological clock
- Its better to have a kid when the parents are young and healthy and can accede to all the time and attention demands from a child or children. The addendum of this is its better to have a kid when the grandparents are still reasonably healthy
- The sooner you have a child, the earlier you can retire since the child/children would be settled by then

While I partially agree with these practical statements, I am also tempted to play the devil’s advocate. Life expectancy and general health of this generation is better than the previous generations and so is the determination of when to enter the various phases of life. I mean how often did women stay unmarried after 21 in our parents’ generation? But now most women don’t even think about marriage until they reach 25 and I know quite a few who are in their late twenties and still not ready for marriage. As far as the kids-settling-down-before-retirement argument, I have to say that I don’t like to plan the next 30 yrs of my life with so many variables in place; those variables being number of kids, their IQ, their urge to settle down in life, their financial independence etc. I am going to go with ‘let’s cross that bridge when we get to it’.

Then there is the sentimental approach where grandparents say ‘naan sagarthukulla kollu perano pethiyo pakka vendama’…this usually reminds me of when I urge one of my friends or cousins to get married so that I have an excuse to come to India and have fun at a wedding…simply put well-intended but unreasonable expectation !

I think a lot of how I feel definitely has to do with my tenure in Germany. People here are very practical and they always have this attitude – “Its my life and I know what I want from it”. Families and friends are usually only informed of decisions they make and are allowed to deal with the outcomes in anyway they please. I don’t know if it stems from their independence right from childhood or from the distance they maintain with families/friends. I remember how offended I was when some stranger asked me about my salary and later remembered how common it is back home and how touchy I have become.

Another aspect is seeing married couples here with no children. While some do not want the responsibility of a child, others simply like the way their lives are and do not want to change it. I also know a married couple who instead of having children choose to have foster children for a few months every year. This way they can be with kids, do their part to society and in the remaining time be their old selves.

I have to admit that seeing and being with such people has changed my perspective. I am not leaning towards having no children but I am leaning towards choosing when to have them.

Ashok and I worked/work hard for our careers and we do enjoy our success and want to continue to enjoy them. We are having fun traveling, attending shows, taking dance/ski lessons and doing a lot of other things that one should do when one has time, money, interest and health and we are not yet ready for a change in our lifestyles....I think it should happen on its own and it will probably happen when we least expect it....like falling in love :).....and when it does happen, boy o boy, aren’t we in for a roller-coaster ride !?!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Deepavali - Andrum, Indrum

I was looking at the video, it was made when Chowmee was nearly 5 years old. I was so glad Chowmee appa had thought of making a video and had later thought of converting the cassette to a CD. I loved to watch it and it always brought back a rush of memories.

Chowmee was 10 years old. It was 4am in the morning. I could already hear the crackers outside, the hustle and bustle of people in the building. I was still trying to wake her up.

''Ezhunduru chowmee, mani 4 achu!''
"Po ma, enakku thookama varudhu''
''Pattasu vedika poga vendama ? Pakathathu Chitra, Sreeya ellarum ezhundhuta theriyuma??'', I knew that would wake her up and it did.

After she drank her boost, I made her sit down on a stool in front of the bathroom to oil her hair.
''Yennai vechu vidaren vaa, athula kachinadhu, mudi vasanaya irukkum'', as she sleepily sat down on the stool, I sang ''Gowri kalyana vaibogame, Seetha kalyana vaibogame''. I know chowmee liked it when I sang this song. I couldn't help adding ''innum konja varushathala, chowmee kalyana vaibogamenu paduven''.

''kannu eriyardhu ma'' she screamed, when I was applying shikai to her hair and I scolded her, ''kanna irukki mudikonu sonnenolyo?''

After I washed her hair, I let her bathe and I took the new blue and white skirt and blouse remembering how she had wanted the black skirt and how upset she had been after I told her, ''Pandigai nal anniku karuppu potuka koodadhu'' and how she had come back to normal after we had shopped for some matching blue and white hair clips and bangles.

''Amma, naan kulichuten, en dress tha''
''Mudhala thalaya thodachu vidaren, inga vaa'', after drying her hair and taking a few strands from each side to do a small plait it in the middle, I told her, ''Pudhu dress kungumam thadavi vechurukken paaru, swamy namaskaram pannitu edhuthuko''

She came back in a few minutes and said ''Amma, inga paaru'' proudly displaying her new dress. I said ''romba nanna irukku, pattasu vedikarche white colora thodaikara thuni madhri akidadhe''. As she gave me an annoyed look, I smiled and said ''seri, seri, thatha paatikum namaskaram pannu''.

As she was ready to leave to join her other friends, I exclaimed ''Legyam sapda marandhutiye, anga dappala vechurukken, edhuthuko'' and continued to wake the others. When I came back from the bedroom, chowmee was still happily licking the legyam. I immediately took it away from her and said ''Ada ramachandra, adhu bakshanam illadi''. As she licked away the remnants sticking to her mouth, I remembered how she loved the Deepavali Legyam.

The others joined her in a short while and after 1 hour, they all came back, satisfied and hungry. Chowmee called out ''amma pasikardhu, bakshanam tha''. She always took one sweet from each kind I had made on a plate and the mixture in a cup with a spoon. Chowmee appa always said ''ava mattum dhan methodicala sapadra''. She would take them with her and either sit at the window sill watching birds (there would many kinds of them flying around behind our house) or sit next to paati and ask her for a story.

Very soon, weary from having woken up early, she would nap on paati's lap and when I asked paati ''amma, unga kal valika poradhu, avala bedla paduka vechudaren'', paati would cut me off and say ''kozhanda paduthunda kal valikuma enna?"

When chowmee was 14, she came home from school one day and said ''Amma, ineme naan pattasu vedika maaten''. When I queried her about what had happened, she said that she heard stories about child labour in Sivakasi and that many students in the school had made a conscious decision not to burst any crackers and she was one of them.

When she was 18, she was staying in the college hostel and had not come home for Deepavali since she had an exam the very next day. She said it was one of the toughest subjects and so she wanted to spend her time studying instead of traveling. I had called her at the hostel to make sure she had received the packet of sweets I had sent and she happily said ''Amma inga ellar athulayum sweets anupchurka, enga room poora sweet dabbava irukku, padikama ellarum nanna saptu kadai pesindu irukkom !''

When she was 21, she was in Germany. When I called her, I was surprised she was going to a lecture. I asked ''Deepavali anniku koodava lecture irukku?'' and she responded with an irritation in her voice ''Enna ma, Germans Deepavali kondaduvala illa namma kondadaromnu leave viduvala??''. I was afraid to ask if she had purchased a new dress or if she had any sweets that day. I knew the answers already. And when she said ''inniku mattum naan Madrasla nammathula irundhu irundha evalo jollya irukkum illa?'', I suppressed my tears and told her that she could plan to come the next year and fervently hoped she would.

When she was 25, I was expecting her call. I still couldn't believe that my Chowmee was all grown up, was married and it was her thalai Deepavali today and she was living 1000s of miles away. She had already refused my offer of buying a pattu sari for her and a pant-shirt for Mapillai and sending it by post. When she called, she said ''Amma, inga Indian communityla oru party irukku. Adhuku innum konja nerathula naanga po porom'', I was happy that she was celebrating thalai Deepavali with her husband and that's what mattered.

When she was 26, she was in Chennai for the Grihapravesam of her house and I was overjoyed when she decided to stay for Deepavali. I knew she would stay at her in-laws' place but I also knew that I could visit her there. I celebrated Deepavali with my little girl after 10 years.

A sudden ringing jolted me out of my reverie and when I realised it was the phone, I answered it eagerly. Hearing ''Amma, chowmee pesaren'' always made me happy. She was calling from work to wish me and after giving her my Deepavali Asirvatham and speaking with her for a few minutes, I knew it was time for her to go back to work. After she hung up I realised that Deepavali simply wasn't the same anymore...maybe...maybe it will change when chowmee's little girl or boy is around....


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tango the night away

A long time ago, Ashok and I had decided that we should go to the theatre (not the movies) often and try and catch at least 4 shows a year. This resolution was after we saw a great Beethoven show in February this year.

Yesterday morning, as we were lazily sipping our coffee, Ashok reminded me of this decision and said we were falling way behind and there were only 2 months left in the year. So we quickly googled (yeah, its a verb now and where have you been??) and I was shocked to see that there were 140 different events happening in Munich that day. After a quick perusal, we decided on the Tanguera and were glad to see that there were still tickets available.

The show was for 80 minutes and to my surprise, without a break. It was more or less like a musical with a storyline and all emotions - love, anger, passion, anguish - were expressed solely by tango dance moves. Although it was an age old tragic love story (boy loves girl at first sight, girl works for a cruel club owner, club owner beats up boy, girl sold as a call girl, boy rescues her, they have a brief moment of happiness, club owner kills them both), the execution was amazing. The music, the costumes, the lighting (that totally fit the mood), the scene settings (which were changed at a lightning speed) and above all the dancers from Buenos Aires were all brilliant.

What was interesting to note was when the story began with people coming from Spain to Argentina, there was a dance piece where they celebrate their life in a new land and the dance had tapping steps similar to Flamenco clearly showing (what I considered) the Spanish influence in Tango Argentino.

The cabaret performances when the girl is stuck as a ''show girl'' were a tad monotonous and lacked variety but I guess not many people will complain when the long legged girls tango in skimpy costumes. This is the only part that makes me retract one star from the otherwise 5-star performance.

If you are even remotely interested in Tango, you would enjoy it immensely. But be aware that this is a show for adults and not for the whole family.

Picture Copyright: BB Promotion GmbH

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Of Jackets and Shoes

I went shopping for a winter jacket today. I saw one in the store and was not sure if it was a fall jacket or if it would work for the negative temperatures in winter too. So I asked the store employee and he tells me it is a ''übergangsjacke" i.e a transition-jacket used to transition from fall to winter. I thought to myself....dey, enna velayadareengla ??

I already have a spring jacket, a fall jacket, a winter jacket (that is close to breathing its last which is why I went shopping) and 2 rain jackets (one of them is a sports jacket for when I go running) and now this fellow comes and tells me that I need a jacket to transition between the seasons, marana kadi ayiten naan !!

Shopping for clothes was one of the toughest things for me when I first came to Germany and choosing what to wear on a particular day, even tougher and no, it was not a girly choice of what will look good on me but it was a much simpler problem on what would make me comfortable. I have worn turtle-neck sweaters to classes and have felt too warm, or just a shirt and have felt too cold. It took me a while to figure out that there was a concept of dressing in ''layers'' (shirt under a pullover under a jacket) and you take them off or put them on depending on the temperature.

What's the deal with everyone wearing black, grey and brown in winter ?? Isn't the depressing weather reason enough to dress up in bright colors ?? There have been many winter days when I have come out of my apartment to go to work and have noticed everyone dressed in black and grey and it always makes me feel like the whole street is going to a funeral. Yes, its easy to decide to buy bright colored pullovers and jackets but difficult to find them since the winter collection in stores hardly ever go beyond the sober colors !

With these problems came another one when I started working. Now apparently besides the seasons, I also had to make sure that I had formal jackets that I can wear to a client meeting or a conference. The client seeing me in an informal jacket for a split second before I take it off (to sit down in a heated room all day) has somehow the powers to put the kibosh on the deal !

For someone who has never seen or owned a jacket until 20 and prefers comfort over fashion, this is frustrating, very frustrating ! But the frustration levels go rocket high when the problem of jackets meets the problem of shoes.

As a teenager, I have read a number of English novels and in all of them there were always allusions to girls being crazy about shoes and having way too many pairs. I never understood that since I always had only 2 pairs (besides the school shoes) and most likely they were both from bata, one the Rs 99.95 slipper that I wore everyday to go out and the other, the Rs.159.95 one that amma made me wear to weddings and other special occasions.

I come to Germany...boom ! I suddenly have a dozen pairs - for different seasons, for different purposes (running, work, casual) and for different costumes (you can imagine how inconvenient boots are with a salwar or a sari) and when I have trouble with these already, there is another huge factor - fashion. Apparently knee-length boots are not a great idea when wearing knee-length skirts. I go ballistic if I hear suggestions like these and I want to shout, ''I don't care, I am comfortable and I like the way I look and you can go jump into the sea for all I care!!!''....

....and then I realised if everyone thought this way, there will be no fashion industry, an industry that spends millions on creating fabrics and style that last one year and are shunned the next and that spends more millions on convincing people about it.....so they gotta do what they gotta do and I gotta do what I gotta do....

...so if you spot someone in a bright red jacket, a bright maroon scarf and wearing comfortable shoes that probably don't match the jeans, on a dull depressing day in Munich, its most likely me :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Endhiran screening in Germany

For those in the Munich and Stuttgart area, who missed it the first time, here is another chance to watch Endhiran on the big screen (which is actually the only fun way to watch it) and at half the price. It is screened on 23rd and 24th.

You should be able to get tickets directly at the theatre if you walk in half an hour before the scheduled time.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Vethalapakku in Germany

Navarathri means a bunch of memories….small girls running around in pattu pavadais, listening to carnatic music, dodging from having to sing carnatic songs, kutti krishnars playing with kutti kurathis, thengai smell from all the different varieties of sundal, temple visits, covers and covers of vethalapakku, last minute adjustments to the mud park or refilling the choppu saman of chettiyar bommai with rice or dal, muddling with the twinkle lights that suddenly stop working, singing loudly at the end-of-the-day aarthi with a sense of accomplishment…..and now you know why I end up with a dazed look for a few minutes everytime someone mentions the word.

For the last few years Navarathri also meant….
….calling home every alternate day to listen to the latest golu kadai – also an excuse to listen to amma say ‘nee illama golu golu madhiriye illa’ as often as possible
….calling periyava over the weekend to convey Navarathri namaskaram
….watching TV or newspaper clips of a friend or relative’s golu and then calling them to hear them describe it very proudly
….congratulating friends in the US for taking the effort to create a walmart-ikea style 1 step or 3 step Golu with bommais that they carefully brought from India
….listening to subrabatham and all other sacred chants I have on my laptop on Vijayadasami and actually attempting to do something new and useful (I always feel guilty and wrong if I don’t stick to my Vijayadasami schedule….habits die hard!)

And this year, there was a wonderful addition to that list…being invited to vethalapakku !! Until this year, I did not have any tambram friends in Germany who actually managed to celebrate Navarathri and so this year, when I got an invitation for vethalapakku, I jumped at it even though the family lived 135 km away. Ever since I got the invitation, I had this mental image of celebrating the day exactly like I would have, had I been in singara Chennai. The one thing I forgot to factor was the weather….the @”§%§$%@! weather !

I woke up to find it raining and the maximum temperature was 6 deg C. As I realized that I would never survive the travel in a cotton salwar (that I had happily unpacked from my suitcase for this occasion) on such a day, I also thought to myself “There is no way I am getting vethalapakku in a jeans and pullover”. As I reached their house, the first thing I saw was a kutti girl in pattu pavadai waving to me from the balcony and my spirits soared. As soon as I got in, I told my friend to give me 5 minutes and then I happily got rid of the jacket and the boots and the scarf and the what not and changed into my cotton salwar (that I had packed and protected from the weather), took my time to wear matching bangles and earrings, made sure my bindi was not washed off in the rain and finally took a look in the mirror and felt ‘This feels like Navarathri’ :)

I came out and saw that my friend’s family that also included her in-laws from Chennai were all traditionally dressed too and as they invited me to lunch, my heart skipped a beat at the sight of the vazha elai (banana leaf)…never before had I had food in a vazha elai in Germany ! I sat there smiling (read, showing all my teeth) when my friend’s mother-in-law slowly filled up the elai with all the items in the right order – payasam, followed by pachidi, followed by kootu, kai, vadai, rice, paruppu and nei (ghee). I usually make a small gap for the sambar right in the middle of the paruppu sadham and my cousin always said ‘paaruda, dam katta aramabichita’…with that fond memory began my lunch, my very special Navarathri lunch :)

After lunch, we spent time talking (maybe a little gossiping :D), looking at photos and then I spent some time playing cards (remember the memory game?) with the little girl…and before we realized it was time for coffee. After the namaskaram-vethalapakku and take-some-sundal-for-the-journey-back session, I started getting ready to leave, politely declining the invitation for evening tiffin (I wasn’t going to abuse the invitation, I want another one for next year!). Some hugs, some goodbyes later, I was going back home after what felt like a day with my cousins, a day with my cousins during Navarathri....

PS: I have to write this in Thanglish, any charm will be lost in translation.

Monday, October 4, 2010

O'zapft is

...yes, the October fest is over and this year when the Mayor tapped the keg (that's right) and said ''O'zapft is'' (you thought I was swearing, didn't you? Its slang for “the keg is tapped”) it proudly celebrated its 200th Birthday.

Oktober fest
The October fest ends today (and yes, it starts in September) and I am going to miss…

…the heart-shaped Lebkuchen (cookies)


…people in traditional costumes

…staring at the rides and the Zelten (tents - don’t be thrown off by the word tent, it can hold 100s of tables, 1000s of people and atleast 10,000 litres of beer!) of the different breweries as I walk by the Theresienwiese

…general festivity in the air with office goers taking 2 hour long lunches with one too many beers

I will however not miss…
… buses and underground system being so full (and usually they are half empty) that its better to walk
… people drinking beer at 10 am being considered normal
… watching pretty girls in beautifully dressed Dirndls horrifying innocent bystanders (like yours truly) by throwing up on the road
… Theresienwiese taken away from Joggers
… and finally stone-drunk people who go around breaking glass doors (the pic shows the handiwork of one or more of them on my building entrance door - click on it to see the cracks up close)

This year the biggest highlight was the ‘Historische Wiesn’ that showcased 200 yrs of October fest. It had:
- A Museum that showed the mobile homes people used when visiting the October fest in 1925, for example.
- Rides that were almost 100 yrs old (Doesn’t the photo remind you of poi kal kudirai ??)
- A Horse race arena (pity there were no actual races since that would require extra security measures). Apparently, it was all about the races when the October fest first began
- A festzelt where people can eat and drink (I loved seeing old people attired in those really traditional costumes. One old lady actually had 4 fresh roses pinned to her blouse!)

...and it will start all over again in another 49 weeks ! Auf wiedersehen !

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Endhiran - Just Pass

Yesterday in an article in the times of India, there was a phrase that caught my eye ''the phenomenon that is Rajini'' - I realized how true it was when we went to the theatre at 10:30 pm and saw it swarming with all Indians and Srilankans in Munich and I thought to myself that if one wanted to meet the community and make new friends, there can be no better venue !

Since someone came up with a brilliant idea of allotting tickets WITHOUT seat numbers, there was quite a bit of drama (pushing, yelling, swearing, scramming to find the best seats) before everyone settled down to watch the movie. Just when I was thinking that this is starting to feel a lot like the FDFS in India, people started whistling and throwing paper flowers when Rajini's name was screened (just the name not the man) and obviously when Rajini first appeared, I almost went deaf from the whistling !

After that ''Thaliavar'' intro, let me come back to the movie (spoiler alert).

The +++++++
- The ''desi'' touches with the robot (his Rajini walk, his changing hairstyles) and over all the intial introduction of him to the world is very enjoyable
- The climax where the swarm learns from one another and takes all kinds of shapes (Remember the swarm of nanorobots from Micheal Crichton's Prey ? There is probably a slight chance that Shankar will get sued for this)
- Mosquito scene
- The bad robot (reminded me of those villain roles that Rajini had so successfully done in the past)

The -------------
- The top most for me is that this is not a Rajini movie, I mean, anyone else could have played this role. I mean when I saw Mottai Shivaji I thought to myself "Man, no one else can pull that off with so much style'' and there was no such moment during Endhiran.
- Santhanam and Karunas' comedy track: Even if we condescend to accept them both as robotic research assistants, what kind of them smoke and drink sarayam in the lab and goad the robot that he cant drink or smoke ??!
- Too many songs, especially inserted in all the wrong places. I could have made my peace with them had I liked the songs in the first place. They were too techno and Aishwarya wearing costumes that she couldn't pull off did not help (My heart broke when I saw flab), inspite of the exotic locations.
- Too many cliched and ergo, unwanted scenes (why should even hero robots fight bad guys wanting to molest the heroine), the movie could have been 30 min shorter !

And what's the deal with Ash quietly watching when Bad robot Rajini is on a killing spree !? She can ask him not to harm Rajini but she cant do that for other innocent people ?! Oh..well...one should not really ask logical questions when watching thalaivar padam but I couldn't help wonder about this.

One thing is for sure, its very clear why Rajini is in the movie because with no one else can they make back the 200 crores (or more) invested in this movie with this story/screenplay.

Verdict: Watchable, but just once (and if everyone does that, they get their money back and more at these ticket prices !)

PS: It was hilarious when there were a couple of German dialogues in the movie and the audience shouted saying ''We dont need subtitles'' :D !

Friday, October 1, 2010

Man of the moment....

Rajinikanth doesn’t wear a watch. He decides what time it is
Rajinikanth’s email id is gmail@ rajinikanth.com
Rajinikanth can drown a fish
Rajinikanth once kicked a horse in the chin. Its descendants are today called giraffes
Rajinikanth can strangle you with a cordless phone
Rajinikanth did, in fact, build Rome in a day
Rajinikanth electrocuted Iron Man
Rajinikanth knows Victoria’s secret
Rajinikanth killed the dead sea
Rajinikanth can divide by zero
Rajinikanth once got into a fight with a VCR player. Now it plays DVDs
The Bermuda Triangle used to be the Bermuda Square, until Rajinikanth kicked one of its corners off
Rajinikanth has counted to infinity, twice
Rajinikanth can play the violin with a piano
When Rajinikanth does push-ups, he isn’t lifting himself up. He is pushing the earth down
Rajinikanth can delete the recycle bin

Just got this as a forward...ROFL....one has to accept, the man does have style....
Let's see if that shows in Endhiran tonight...Review tomorrow :D !

Monday, September 27, 2010

2 States - 2 dull !

I recently finished Chetan Bhagat’s ‘2 states’. Before I talk about the book, I have to frankly admit that I am not a fan. The only book of his that I have read so far is Five point someone and only because it said something about IIT on the cover and I was (and probably still am) IIT-crazy. The book was decent while the movie was way better, so I kind of understand why Rajkumar Hirani was saying that Chetan was taking away credit from his script writers. That being said, they should’ve acknowledged Chetan’s contribution. I think Bollywood and Kollywood (and all the rest of the woods) are kind of loose on the plagiarism concept (thanks to Anu Malik and Deva and others who are every now and then ‘inspired’ by other people’s talents)!

There is however one thing I will always credit Chetan for and that is bringing English books to the masses in India. His simple writing has turned many people towards reading English books and I realize it every time I get an orkut invitation from someone I don’t know and notice that they have Chetan Bhagat’s books as ‘favorites’ in their profile’ !

Coming back to ‘2 States’, as all the promotion says, it’s the story of his marriage i.e. how a Punjabi boy married a tambram girl with the blessings of both families.

- The ‘South Indian’ in me got annoyed everytime I read the words ‘Madrasi’, ‘Blacks’ and everytime he made fun of ‘Carnatic Music’ but felt strangely proud everytime South Indians were referred to as ‘educated’ (I never realized that people had such an impression and was pleasantly surprised to learn it)
- The ‘Tambram’ in me got irked when he described the bride being in a Madisar (9 yard sari) before kasi yatra. For an author married to a tambram girl and having supposedly had a tambram wedding, this is indeed a very careless mistake.
- The ‘foodie’ in me did not like the fact that Chetan fails to appreciate the South Indian (keeping aside a description of a dosa as ‘not bad’) and/or the tambram cuisine
- The ‘girl’ in me found it downright annoying that while Krish (the hero) works like crazy for months to convince the girl’s parents and Ananya (the heroine) does almost close to nothing to convince Krish’s parents.

Elaborating on the last point, I think I have been pampered with too many tamil movies (some of them quite good) where both the hero and heroine work with the other’s family for tying the knot and Chetan, on the other hand, is probably used to movies like DDLJ where the guy jumps through a 100 hoops to get on the good side of the girl’s family and the girl literally does nothing. Should I maybe consider this flattering and assume that smart, beautiful women never have to try too hard?

For example, imagine a situation where a desi guy introduces a desi girl to his ‘conservative’ mother. What is the first thing any normal desi girl would do? Say a polite Namaste or even hello and probably the ‘smart’ girls would immediately touch her feet and ask for blessings. Well, Ananya, a tambram from another conservative family, tries to shake her hand!! Apparently studying in IIM makes you less ‘street-smart’!

What I also found surprising is that both of them fail to update the other about the dos and donts before meeting the family, which is the probably the first thing one does before introducing the prospective son-in-law or daughter-in-law to the parents who are most likely to be overly critical of every single thing they notice since the power of decision making was taken away from them. How can you be with a person for more than 2 yrs and not even pick up a few bits and pieces of their mother tongue? English is the bane of our existence, I suppose!

On the whole, I didn’t enjoy the book. I think there is a downside to reading a book that involves South Indians, tambrams and singara Chennai....a lot of it becomes personal and the writing being monotonous does not help.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Back to college ??

I just saw a movie - Oru kalluriyin kadai. Since Wikipedia has a dismally written plot in its article, here is my short version - Hero, a college student, and with his friends plan a get-together 5 years after graduation. Everyone turns up only to realise that the hero is mentally affected and has no idea that 5 years have passed. Since the psychiatrist figures out it was because of something that happened in college, they come up with ''re-creation therapy'' where the college days are re-created for a month to diagnose the hero's mental condition and treat it.

While the plot sounds highly impractical (re-creating a college with all his students, professors and infrastructure after 5 yrs such that the hero buys it) and mishy-mashy, it has its tugs-at-the -heart-strings moments. One example is the arch rival of the hero, who turns up un-invited for the re-creation and sadly demands ''enda, enna mattum vittuteenga? ellarum serndhu irukkum podhu enakkum varanumnu asai irukadha ??''* and another where one of the friends explains to the hero in the climax ''ellarum namma padicha collegea thirumbi pakka maatomanu enguvom, unnala naanga oru maasam vazhndhe pathutom da''**...I had to reach for the tissues !

All along the only thought in my mind was - Would the college/school relationships and student life really stand the test of time ? No, I am not talking about a couple of college/school friends being in touch, I am talking about the whole batch, the thing that held everyone together for a certain number of years.

If I take my case, 5 years after my graduation:
- I had been married for 3 months then
- I had been working for a while
Most of my class girls were married, some even had kids and many of them were working/living abroad.

I am sure most of us would enjoy a get-together at a friend's wedding or at an alumni event but would we really be willing to do it all again now for a month if we had the chance ??

Would be willing to stay away from families (spouses, kids etc.) ?
Would be willing to stay away from work ?
Would be willing to not care about our other responsibilities (insert a long list here) ?
Would we still enjoy making fun of teachers, gossiping about who-has-a-crush-on-whom, scribbling (etching) on class room benches, bunking classes, copying assignments under the desk ?

Would we really be able to live life as a ''student'' in the very same place ?

Time certainly is a tricky master....

*Why did you leave me out ? Would I not want to be together with everyone else ?
** Everyone wishes for a glimpse of their college but you have given us a chance to re-live those college days




Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Guten Tag !

One of the most often asked questions from people who want study or work in Germany - ‘Is learning German important’? YES, YES and YES. Right from mundane tasks like shopping for groceries to essential ones like making friends, knowing German will take you a long way not just in your social life but also in your career. To me, it’s a simple rule of thumb, if you are going to live in a place, you might as well learn its language.

Some other facts (read incentives) to do so:
- It is the most widely spoken language in the EU (French comes next)
- It is the second most widely published language after English and this is not trivial because the numbers of non-native speakers of English outnumber German by a huge factor. This goes to show that the language and hence the literature has evolved almost at par with technology and other changes.

The very next question is what level of German should one complete before coming to Germany. Since its always easy to learn German in Germany than elsewhere, I would suggest just knowing the basics before getting here (unless your university/company demands otherwise). But once you get here, you must make a conscious effort to learn the language as soon as you can.

Here are some simple pointers:

1. Stop complaining: This is the first and foremost rule. Because the moment you start complaining, you develop a mental block for learning the language. Many people start with ‘why shouldn’t they speak English?’ and my question to them is ‘Why should they? Do they have to let the language die like we did in India where most people can’t even write in their own mother tongues’? Even in India, if someone moves to Delhi for his/her job, he/she will be expected to learn Hindi soon. It is a simple rule of communication – having a common language that most people are comfortable with. If you are the odd one out, isn’t it your problem and isn’t it unfair to expect everyone else to change?

2. If you are a student, make the most of it: Firstly, attend language classes offered by the university. Make friends (and not just desi friends) with whom you can converse in German. As a student, you can afford to make embarrassing mistakes with the language when communicating with fellow students and this luxury is not available to you elsewhere.

3. Learn Grammar: Yes, it’s not my favorite but it happens to be essential to develop competency in the language that extends beyond speaking colloquially. I have met a lot of non-native speakers (who have restaurants and other businesses) and they speak fluent German but most of them have trouble reading and only a handful can write a couple of sentences without any mistakes. This is because they never really learnt the language formally with all the essential rules of Grammar. For example, if you learn a new noun, always learn it with its article and for a verb, make sure you know the past and present perfect tenses.

4. Speak: Always speak in German. It doesn’t matter if it’s grammatically or phonetically correct; the only way to learn it is to use it in daily life. Do not be shy about making mistakes. Germans are usually very patient with anyone who attempts to learn the language. They will wait for you to complete the sentence, will try to understand what you convey and if you tell them explicitly to do so, they will even help correct your mistakes. Everyone will understand what you mean even if you use the wrong article Das Tisch (table) instead of Der Tisch.
5. Learn the language in your own style: Think of some fun ways to learn the language, that you are comfortable with. For example, as a kid I loved Mickey and Donald comics (still do) and I used to read it in German. Since I knew what Donald says in English (at least most of the time), it was easy for me to figure out what the German sentence meant. It really helped me learn simple sentence formations and other words used in daily life. Plus I also learnt that the German version has an additional character Dagobert Duck, Donald’s uncle :D !

Other ways can be watching movies in German that you have already seen in English. Watching James Bond say ‘Geschüttelt nicht gerührt’ (Shaken, not stirred) can be fun too ! Listening to the radio, watching TV, doing simple crosswords or other word games – there are lotsa ways, what is needed is just the will !

Picture(s) copyright: 1.Geothe Institute, 2.www.phantomias.de
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