January 21, 2010

No Comments, please!

January 13, 2010

My friend posted a letter to my residential address. It’s always a pleasure to hear from her and I immediately respond to her by commenting on the same letter that I received and post the letter with the comments to myself. And then I keep wondering why she hasn’t replied yet. I fret over it for days. Then, one day my friend comes home and I ask her about her silence and she tells me that she did not respond because she did not receive the letter from me.

This may sound strange with the example above and that indeed was the intention. Now let’s use a similar situation when interacting on Facebook. My friend posts something on my wall and instead of posting a response to her wall; I add a comment to her post on my wall. Depending on whether my friend has activated notifications by e-mail, she may or may not realize that I have actually ‘responded’ to her post. This doesn’t sound too strange though right? Everybody does this all the time so, what’s so strange about this, you may ask?

I find this extremely strange and will try and list down my reasons for it (you may choose to disagree):

– When someone posts a personal message (relative term), one needs to ‘respond’ to it and not ‘comment’. The right way to respond is to post it on the person’s wall.

– ‘Comments’ are largely for non-personal messages like notes, links etc.

– Some may argue that they need to have a trail of messages exchanged and the ‘comment’ option works well. Have you tried the ‘wall to wall’ option?

– Some people comment on posts from friends because they don’t want the other visitors to be greeted with random posts from a friend. Do they really care what you and I are talking about on a given day?

– When you comment on someone’s personal post to you, you expect the person to come back to your wall and check if there are any responses (I am using the term loosely here) from you. And how does the person do that? In case, the person doesn’t have email notifications turned on, he/she will have to search for you in the friends list, click on your name and look for his/her post on your wall. But if the email notifications are turned on then he/she will have to follow the links to each and every ‘comment’ to their wall posts to different friends. Aren’t we turning a largely user-friendly activity to something extremely cumbersome?

I am speaking from personal experience here and, believe me, sometimes figuring out which of your posts to friends have been ‘commented’ upon and trying to view them on each of those friends’ walls can be quite painful. You may choose to agree or disagree with me but, you are definitely allowed to ‘comment’ on this note. 🙂


January 12, 2010

My worst fear came alive today. Stopped at a traffic signal, switched off the ignition and tried thinking happy thoughts. Why did I switch off the ignition did I hear someone ask? Not been driving in Bangalore have you, lucky basta/bitc! (oops! need to strike that off, I am not an ex-Prime Minister you see). Waiting done and the signal turns green (was it sick or envious?), and I happily (some happy thought must have struck after so much coaxing) turned on the ignition….nothing…full force on clutch pedal and break, gear in the first slot and the ignition key turned….nothing still….nothing, nothing, nothing. In any other situation, one could be forgiven for thinking that there was absolute silence and the only sound was that of my heart beating. Surprise, Surprise! The loud blaring of horns and unending curses from drivers behind actually made my heart skip a beat, I am sure. So, there I was, in the middle of one of the city’s busiest traffic signals with an uncooperative car.

And guess who should report to duty promptly? The traffic cop? Damn right. I rolled down my window, flashed a smile at him (inappropriate?) and told him that I was having car problem. He asked me to move my car. I told him sweetly (inappropriate?) that the car won’t start. He gave me a ‘why-do-women-drive’ look and walked away. No instruction for me? What was I supposed to do? I called the 24 hrs car breakdown service center number and they decided that if it was a woman calling, she must have, at the most, chipped her nail at the steering wheel and could be asked to wait for a return call from them.

My thoughts wandered to my mood lifter calendar at the office desk and how I was supposed to stick a ‘smiling face sticker’ against today’s date to promise myself to smile throughout the day. The dilemma now (I take these things seriously) was whether I was required to smile as I had not stuck the sticker yet. But then, I had stuck one yesterday and didn’t know what the smiling-face-sticker-of-the-day expiry timelines were like. So, I adorned my face with a smile, got down from the car and explained to the driver behind me that I was having car trouble. Have I said Surprise, Surprise! already? Don’t bother looking because I am going to say that again. Surprise, Surprise! The driver actually nodded in complete comprehension and turned to his right and drove on. I was so dumb-struck that I almost cheated the smile on my face (the calendar doesn’t have a dumb-struck face sticker for any day of the year; a pity!). I got back inside my car hoping that it must have, by now, forgotten that it was in a tantrum-throwing mode and would start pretending that nothing really had happened. I was in for a disappointment as the car stood its ground, literally!

Suddenly, a face appeared outside my window and asked me to release the handbrake, put the car in neutral gear and try and maneuver it to the left while he (not just the face, but the whole being of man with it) nudged the car from behind. Sensible advice, wouldn’t you say? I thought so too.  There was one slight problem with this though; he wanted me to do all this when the signal was red and there were other vehicles in front of me. He had already taken to nudging the car from behind and I was flaying my arms from the window to attract his attention and ask him to conserve some energy because I wasn’t going to release the handbrake in a hurry.

 Finally, the sick or envious, whatever it was, signal turned green again and we managed to turn the car to the left and stop at a place where we were not obstructing the traffic. The face, and the man that went with it, appeared at my window once again and asked me to put the car in gear and try starting it, while he pushed the car. By now the traffic cop had come back, and he also lent the good face/ man a hand. I am sure the car was still miffed at me for abandoning it and going off to the Himalayas during the Christmas/new year week. So, it stubbornly refused to start again. The face/man appeared at the window again (third time, I guess) and asked me to step out so that he could give it a shot. The traffic cop was giving me murderous looks by now and constantly muttering “you don’t know how to start the car”… I smiled at him (definitely not inappropriate) with a ‘look-and-mutter-all-you-want-you-still-gotta-push-the-car’ look. They got to the job and accomplished it. The car started and the good man gave me the driver’s seat. I thanked him, looked at the traffic cop who was still muttering “you don’t know how to start a car” and drove away.

So, there, my worst fear had come alive. In all my driving years I have consciously tried not to give women drivers a bad name but today that traffic cop, though irritating, was quite right that I couldn’t start the car myself. It doesn’t feel nice but what the heck; it wasn’t me pushing the car!

Challenging Myself: 2010

January 11, 2010

I know I am a little late, but it’s time to look back on the mid-year goals set last June and how I fared against them and set my goals for the year 2010.

Looking back, here is how I performed in 2009 against my goals:

Learn a dance form: The big surprise!  This, according to me, was the easiest to achieve but I did not even manage to get a start on it.  I am aware of the reasons why this fell through the cracks, but I am not going into the justification mode and am counting it as a missed goal.

– Travel: This was a mixed bag.  The goal was to undertake one domestic and one international trip.  I did not manage the international trip but did complete three domestic trips and I am very happy on that count.  Still, this is a partially achieved goal.

– Plant trees:  I managed to plant three trees but unfortunately two of the trees that I planted were uprooted due to some drainage work.  I will think that this is a goal met but will look for a larger number of trees to plant in 2010.

– Take career decisions:  I surprised myself with this one.  I actually managed to achieve this goal!  I moved to a new company which gives me an opportunity for greater learning and applying my skills to the job at hand.  Also, the industry and domain in which the company operates are complimentary to my interests.

– Participate in a marathon:  This was a goal for 2010 as the Bangalore marathon was over by the time I had posted my mid-year goals.  I haven’t started training for the 2010 marathon yet and might park this till I come across some reputable trainers in Bangalore for a marathon.

– Go for a Himalayan trek:  This again was a goal for 2010 but was a part of my last mid year’s resolution because I wanted to begin training for the trek.  I am extremely proud because I managed to participate in the ‘YHAI Winter Dalhousie Trek’ in December 2009 and achieve the goal last year itself.  That said, the trek also helped me understand my physical and mental boundaries and I will definitely have to work on some areas in 2010.

Not exceptional but, definitely, not something to be ashamed of either J

Coming back to 2010, these are my goals for the year:

– Learn a dance form (and i thought it was easy!)

– Plant trees (okie… saplings, if one wants to get into technicalities)

– Travel to Bombay and 3 other destinations (domestic or international)

– Concentrate on fitness levels (weight loss could be incidental ;))

– Be wise, financially (difficult! oh so difficult!)

– Reduce back log of ‘to-read’ books (you know you have a lot of catching up to do when the list includes the Harry Potter series)

– Follow atleast one dream (Yes, I am a dreamer!  I promise to give an honest performance summary at the yearend even though I can’t share the details now)

– Smile…a lot!

Wish me luck! 🙂

Challenging myself!

May 31, 2009

I just realised that we are almost halfway through this year and, if i look back, i haven’t done anything significant in this period.  That doens’t go to say that its been a bad half year.  On the contrary, it has been good, fun and comfortable.  However, i feel that there should be more to life than just the weekday routine of home-office-gym-home and weekend routine of home-shopping-hanging out with friends-home. 

I have never done this before;  atleast not publicly!  But i have decided that i am going to give myself some goals for the remaining year.  So, here goes:

– Learn a dance form:  This tops the list.  I have joined dance classes in the past only to quit after a couple of weeks.  However, the urge to dance, and to do it well, couldn’t have been greater than what i have experienced in the last couple of months.  I have been doing random steps while standing in changing rooms, waiting at takeaway counters, driving the car [please do not try this in your car], sitting at my desk and at nights infront of the mirror.  But i think that i could do with some professional training.  So, i must start learning atleast one dance form and not quit.  The ultimate goal is to learn as many as i can but i think one would be a good beginning…

– Travel:  I am ashamed to admit that i have travelled to only two places in the last two years and both were just weekend getaways.  While, i have managed to convince myself that i have genuine reasons for not traveling, deep down i know that i haven’t tried hard enough.  So, this year i want to travel to atleast one doemstic and one international destination.

– Plant trees:  Driving in Bangalore is becoming extremely distressing these days and its not because of the traffic or the distance.  It’s because of the diminishing green cover.  I remember how my heart used to dance while driving through some of Bangalore roads resplendent with their greenery.  But today those very roads are bare and seem to be crying.  I cannot bring back the trees that have been felled but i can plant some.  I am surprised that inspite of having so many people who feel the same way we haven’t managed to plant any trees this year.  I will try harder.

– Take career decisions:  I have not given my career the importance it deserves.  I want to sit down and figure out where i want to be, what i want to do and chart a roadmap for myself.  Knowing me, it will the most difficult thing to do but then, i need to get started…

– Participate in a marathon:  I want to start running and train myself to participate in a marathon.  I have books on running and some of the fanciest running shoes/accessories but the maximum running i have done is 2.5 kms. on a treadmill. 

– Go for a Himalayan trek:  This is for next year.  I want to train myself physically and prepare mentally to go for atleast one of the Himalayan treks.  I have friends who have done this and i am proud of them.   I just want to join them next year and feel on top of the world.

There are thousand other ‘i-want-to’s’ but for now i will stick to these.   This is the first time i have set clear goals for myself and done so publicly.  So, there is no turning back this time!  Best of luck to me!

Travel Wisdom

May 18, 2009

Recently acquired wisdom:

– Mobile charger is like a mistress.  Men love to take it everywhere especially while traveling!

– Everyone on a bus looks like a creep for the first 20 minutes!

– It is hard to decide whether you are irritated or amused by the constant chatter at the seat behind you!

– If traveling by bus, you might pick up some hilarious lines/songs from a regional movie!

– Never board a bus on a full stomach…The rate at which other around you empty theirs will make your stomach go through a major upheaval!

– Sometimes you are so bored that you cannot sleep and then you call up a friend and beg him to bore you to sleep!

– Its good to be back home…to your own toilet seat!

An attempt not earnest!

January 12, 2009

I am a big Oscar Wilde fan but until yesterday, I hadn’t watched any stage production of his plays. So, when I heard that Evam was bringing ‘The Importance of Being Earnest: a trivial comedy for serious people’ to Bangalore I was, understandably, quite excited.


I managed to catch this play on Sunday [January 11] at Ranga Shankara. The electric atmosphere at the venue, huge crowd, an interesting introduction and the slow and mystical dimming of the lights before the start of the play promised a great experience. But promises are seldom fulfilled; and this production was no exception.


Without getting into too much detail, I will just list down the wonders and blunders.


Starting with the positives:


The script: Thankfully, was original. They didn’t try to get too creative here and let Wilde be wild and we sincerely thank the Evam team for that. I feel every line in the play is a gem, if only the actors had done justice to them. I remember whispering along some lines to myself with more passion than the actors on stage!


Performances: Though most of them are forgettable, and the sooner one forgets the better, a mention must be made of the actor playing Lady Bracknell. She was in her elements as the snobbish, arrogant but proper Victorian aunt to Algernon Moncrieff. She did complete justice to her role and was the only one comfortable with the language and British mannerisms that the play demands.

Unfortunately, I do not know the names of all the actors, as, even though the cast and crew took a bow at the end of the play; they weren’t introduced to the audience. But I guess, Lady Bracknell was played by Shannon.


Coming to the negatives:


Dance sequences: The play had two dance sequences; one with Jack and Gwendolen and the other with Algernon and Cecily. Both were poorly choreographed and terribly executed and, as far as I could see, not even integral to the script. As my friend put it, the dances reminded her of the physical education drills in school! Not sure if they were trying to elicit some laughter and claps through their poor dancing skills since the acting hardly got them any! I would have been happy to see a sincere effort, if not perfection, on stage. Maybe some of them should just follow the simple rule, ‘Have two left feet; will not dance on stage’.


Sets: The sets were mediocre and the time taken to change them between acts was unbelievable. Also, the flower pots used for the garden scene were dirty and shabby.


Performances: Karthik, as Algernon Moncrieff, could have definitely done better. His comic timing was not really bad but I think the lack of English mannerisms, was his biggest negative. In the dance sequence with Cecily, he looked and acted like a hero out of a B-grade Hindi movie.

I do not know the name of the actor who played Cecily but she was horrendous quite bad. She had no stage presence, comic timing, throw of voice and her overall performance was extremely lifeless and mostly irritating.

The other performances were average.


I have generally heard good things about Evam but, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ was the first play by the troupe that I watched and one can see that they have not made a good impression. I found the merchandise they were selling more exciting than the play!