Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father is child of a man

           Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the years. But still it can't help in sharing human feelings. While I was a kid, I never understood why parents are so concerned about their kids, caring for them and feel proud of them. Even if we (me and my brother) disobey smallest of things, my father would become very angry and depressed. In our smallest failures, he used to become sad and of course he would tell the world our least important success stories.   Whenever we asked, his answer used to be "You will know when you become a father". I did not understand. I did not understand for years. I just thought he was an extremely sentimental person.

            Now that I am a father of a 2.5 year old myself, I am starting to understand the feelings. Now I understand how you feel when your kid fall sick or when someone praises him. I understand how tough it is to stay calm while dealing with a kid and I also know how one smile can make the world turn around for you. More than the feelings, now I understand my father. Some of his words make sense only now. I am realizing that what I thought as some of his weaknesses were actually his greatest strengths. I was always dad's son but today I know him more than ever.

            Whenever my son breaks or spoils something, I naturally get angry but one incident keeps coming to my mind always and helps me cool down. We bought our first television set when I was in class 7; I think the year was 1990. (We still have the same TV at home in working condition!) . Those were the Doordarshan and above the roof fish bone shaped antenna days. So once you set up the TV, there was nothing much to change other than the volume. One day, within 1-2 weeks after buying the TV, my brother was explaining me the controls like tuning and color and brightness control. He showed me how turning the color control to 0 changes a color TV to a black and white one. He did that and increased the color back to previous setting to make it a color TV again.  I was impressed and tried my hands on. I lowered it to nil, looked proudly at the B&W screen, watched from a distance and then increased again. But nothing changed! Screen remained black and white. We tried all sorts of things to set it right like turning color full on, turning to zero and bringing up again and switching on and off. But nothing worked. It remained monochrome.

          We were shocked. Our financials were not so sound that time. Those days my town Mattanur had 2 TV technicians compared to probably 20 doctors. Doctors' fees for a visit used to be Rs 10 or 15, but TV technician used to demand Rs 250 on top of parts cost. 250 was a big amount. If I remember right, our monthly grocery bill used to be around 400. So if the TV had to be repaired it would have been a big impact on our budget. So we were sure that father will get angry. When he came home in the night, my mother presented the issue while all three of us were waiting for him to explode. He remained cool and just said. "I know my boys wont break anything that belongs to anyone else. If they can't experiment on their own things, where will they do? But I need some time to arrange money to repair it." Every time my son breaks something much more affordable and insignificant, like an egg the other day, I get angry but remembering this incident cools me down.

          Apparently the issue was not with the TV. Kannur relay station had some technical issue that turned the signal to B&W and it was fine by next day noon. It was the ultimate coincidence of timing. If we had a phone at home, we would have probably known same day evening itself. Thank god we did not have one. Else I would have been a much worse father today. My father did not survive enough to hear this story back from us or read this, but I am sure he knew he taught us a life lesson.

         There are some things which I don't understand about his behavior even now, like getting up half an hour before the alarm time if we had an important exam or getting worried if we were a little late from college than normal time even when me or my brother were 20 year olds. But the way things are going; I think I will understand those also in a few years time. Definitely not through technology growth. Also by then I need to find answers to my son's questions .

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Escape to Victory

This post should have been published a week or 10 days back. There are two reasons for the delay. One, I was very busy. Second, I was waiting for the another news item to appear which will make my blog irrelevant and unnecessary.

I am putting three links below. I was waiting for some follow up news to happen on first and second, but nothing happened which I noticed. I still hope Rajdhani staff will get some more amount after enquiry is completed.  There is not much I want to give in terms of my views about these news items. Please read it yourselves.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

3 mistakes of my life

Purpose of the title was just to catch attention. This is not about any big mistakes which affected my life, but three blunders happened in my college life in fact all related to CSI computer exhibition which I mentioned in another blog before.

The Not so bad :
     This was on the last day of our 1998 exhibition at Mahatma Mandiram in Kannur. Since there were lot of computers and other accessories in the venue some of the organizers stayed at the venue for security and I was among the few who were supposed to come early in the morning so that those staying overnight can go home.  In the hurry to reach as early as possible, I forgot to ask for cash from my father. I had some money with me, sufficient enough to last a normal day.  Problem was I never realized I had limited cash with me. So I had a good lunch and then I was left with only a few rupees, around 5. I just needed less than Rs 2 to reach home on a normal day. In Kerala, student concession applies from 7 AM to 7 PM. Exhibition stalls were closed by evening around 5:30 or so, but it was well after 6:30 when we left the place. When I reached the bus stand it had crossed 6:50 and I did not have enough money to pay for the full fare and I realized the fact only then. There was no bus in the bus stand about to leave towards my place. Also there was none of my friends around from whom I could borrow.  Going back to exhibition venue also would not have helped as everyone had left by then. I did not know what to do, but luckily a bus came at that time which was to leave just after 7:00 PM. I had travelled by the same bus once or twice before and they had accepted the concession. It was the same conductor this time also and I was saved.

The Bad :

       This happened in our second exhibition in 1999. Event was bigger this time with more participants, bigger stalls, more advertisements and bigger venue. We were doing it in Kannur Town hall this time . I was the secretary of the CSI college unit at that time. It was on first day of the event when some of the companies were still setting up the stalls. A few of our batch mates were cleaning up the place and they could not find a place to put the thrash and they came to me asking. We looked around together for dust bins but could not find any.  Then we moved to the side of the building and saw some old banners and advertisement boards and some "trash looking stuffs" lying there. Seeing that all of us concluded it is definitely a trash place and we put all the trash we had there and came back.

        About 15 minutes later someone came asking for the organizers of the event. I went to him standing tall (as much as I can) and head high in pride and asked how could I help him. He started shouting saying "some guys from my team" has put trash in front of their office. I followed him with another guy, who was not originally part of "the team", to the place and he pointed to the place where we had put the thrash and asked me. "Can anyone think this as a place to put waste? This is right in front of our office". "Definitely not" I said.

and the Ugly :

 Back to the first edition of exhibition. There were two batches senior to us still in college. They were doing all the important things of marketing, arranging venue, getting the press to cover the event etc. They also covered most of the establishments in Kannur.  Our batch was supposed to cover 2-3 shops in nearby smaller town Thalassery.  Three of us were in one of the computer institutes trying to convince the owner that participating in the exhibition will benefit him. He was not convinced and had his reasons not to spend money and effort on an exhibition happening in a different city. We had run out of the points our seniors had given us while going. All of us were trying their on sales skills and suddenly I got a brilliant a new idea and said. "Look at your classroom, there are so many empty seats and machines. Participating in our exhibition can help you fill it all up" ! Our prospective customer stared at me for some time. My friends looked at me with their expression asking are we here to sell something or to tell him his shortcomings.

 No point in guessing if that institute joined the exhibition or not. On our way to next destination, one of the other two guys remarked. "We did our best" !

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Their cup of redemption

  Everybody is busy dedicating the victory of Indian cricket team to Sachin. While it is an all-deserving world cup crown to the Master's head, he is a legend even without it. He already had every thing else in his showcase related to cricket and if you consider each international run is equivalent to running 20 meters, he has already run more than 650Km in the cricket pitch i.e. equivalent of running from Bangalore to Madras and back from Chennai to Bengaluru. He probably has all major batting records except highest individual score in a test innings. Of course stats gurus have created new stats that other players can also have a few records. (Like highest score from 41st to 50th over in an ODI while chasing)

While the credit of the victory goes to all the players, support staff and their family, I feel especially happy for two of them, Dhoni and Zaheer Khan. When the tournament started and even though India was not losing any matches, we were neither winning them comfortable nor winning it at all. Facebook and teatime discussions (thank god that is still real and not online) were all pessimistic of Indian prospects and critical of MSD. All experts including myself thought he was a fool who cant bat or just a fool at best. But in one week of knock out matches, every Indian is a Dhoni fan now, of the batsman and  captain. What makes him even special is he did not try to steal the limelight after victory, his feet was firmly on ground even after his hands and the last ball he faced touced the sky, he did even dedicate victory to past great players like Ganguly, Kumble and Dravid for the steady growth of the team over the years and did not push Pawar out of the podium. Take a bow Dhoni and sorry for the early criticisms and lack of trust. I am an average Indian cricket fan after all.

If any player wanted this trophy more than others, it would be Zaheer Khan. Not to show off, not to tell stories to his grand children, not to be part of Indian cricket history till the time cricket is played in India, but to sleep well without the nightmares of his first spell in 2003 cup final. In South Africa 2003 India had lost the final in the first over bowled itself. He definitely needed a cup victory to erase those memories. And oh boy what a tournament he had and what a terrific first spell in the final.  Zak you carried the Indian bowling throughout the tournament and you can very well forget your last 3 overs.  Relish the glory and get some sleep.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Two plates cutting

           There is an old not-so-high quality joke in Kerala, which got classic status because ace filmmaker Sreenivasan used it brilliantly in one of his films. Joke goes like this. An elderly man (who has a weak hearing and eye sight) steps into a hair-cutting salon mistaking it as a restaurant and asks “What all you have”. Barber replies as “Cutting and Shaving”. Elderly man’s reply is “Give me both one plate each”. (That is the end of joke, if you did not feel it). I had a very long vacation in India this time spanning two haircuts and lot of food plates in between the two. 

I had prepared a list of things to eat while in India and could get almost all of that. I had the taste of many food items whose taste I had missed during last two years of stay in US and most I had missed for last 6 months when my wife was in India.  Party started on the day I landed at brother's place with sister in law’s special fish fry and ended with Jackfruit preparation by mother on the day and I left. This is not yet beginning of the Jackfruit season but was lucky to get it delivered in Mangalore by my loving mother in-law.

Since my mother stayed with us, I could taste all of her specialties including Pradhaman, Koottu curry,  Tapioca and Fish curry and rice payasam. Even though I was missing wifey’s cooking only for six months it was great to taste the Avial, Fish fry and Kara Para dosa again. Also had the full Sadhya prepared by my wife and mom on the birthday of my son. Two weekends we could spend at in-laws place made sure that my mother in law made all her specialties like Avial, Neyyappam, Chicken curry and fry and more of Tapioca. The Pal payasam at one of Smitha’s relatives was just heavenly. 

After eating all these I realize the difference of use of fresh ingredients make to taste of any dish, other than the obvious ones like Fish and Coconut even the milk and fresh curry leaves add to the taste of food. And more importantly the amount of love you add to the dish just takes it to next level. If anyone feels jealous reading all this, it is not my fault that I got such loving wife, mother and in-laws.

My eating out wish list was left incomplete for two items. Had the Gadbad from Ideals, Laddoos of Balettan , Kinnathappam of Brothers bakery and Mangalore style Pomfret masala fry but two items in the list, Some like it hot from Cherry Square and Malabar Chicken Biryani from Kairali were left unfulfilled. Next time!