Thursday, November 18, 2010

Maths Teachers- A History

The world can be divided into two castes. Those who love Maths, and those who hate it. Unfortunately for me, my dad and me were on different sides. My dad once said "you can never escape maths. It will exist all through your life." My first reaction in my mind was, "God, how can this be true? Life cannot be so unfair"

My tryst with Maths as far as my memory can take me was in 2nd std in a freshly set up "CBSE English medium" school beyond the sugar factory in my humble town. The maths teacher was a mallu. Their literacy rates helped the influx of mallus into the teaching profession, irrespective of their capability to teach. Goofy would be ashamed of his teeth if he sees this guy. He always came with a stick made from coconut branch. If anyone had felt happy that he never used the stick, they were soon to discover this guy's third degree torture was to give a pinch in the inner thighs. Pedophile I must say. My knickers did no good. Given his 'YINGLISH-medium' I never understood what he said, never did my homework and never missed a class without his pinch. He sowed the seeds of antagonism for maths in me.

Given I started school at an earlier age, I had to study 2nd again in my first actual English medium school in Ooty. It was the best part of my schooling. But let me stick to Maths. Prema ma'am. I discovered how dumb I was when the whole class knew how to write a 'statement problem' while I mixed up the statements and the figures, courtesy earlier YINGLISH medium schooling. Somehow managed maths.

My 3rd std class teacher, was again Prema ma'am. It didn't help that her sister, Saroja ma'am was my class teacher. Saroja ma'am broke innumerable wooden rulers on my shin for my handwriting in her science class. Lucky a guy called Vikas Aggarwal was a distraction enough for Prema ma'am to give all her attention to. I barely scraped through. I also won a 'handwriting prize' in my 3rd std. Saroja ma'am maintained a blissful silence about it.

The prettiest teacher I had. Shruti ma'am. Every guy in the class had a crush on her, some were open, some against, the latter I guess, only pretending to be. I don't remember getting beaten much. But she taught me how to see time on an analog clock which was one of the chapters. What a time! :)

I got 23 out of 25 because I forgot 6x4=24 in a division problem. My highest maths percentage ever.

My dad somehow managed to lay his hands on the maths text book for my next year every vacation. He belonged to the likes of the dad in Tare Zameen Par. 'Maths is the secret of success' seemed to be his motto of life. And he was intent to make it mine too. He called on to his indebted colleague to ruin my vacations with maths tuitions every time I went home. If my mallu teacher sowed the seeds, my dad put extra powerful fertilizers for my antagonism for maths.

Back in school with the belief that I had already covered half the syllabus, I blissfully stared at nothing in the class. Jayarathi ma'am made the best of it. Her Sri Lankan hands were as powerful as Sanath Jayasuriya's bat.

Another Sri Lankan as my maths teacher. Manorathi ma'am. Dreaded batsmen. Black and blue are not enough colors to describe her thrashing. A combination of Jayasuriya, Ranatunga, Brian Lara. We also had Roy aunty. All she cared was whether the 3 students in the class were with her. Ritesh Aggarwal, Nagaraju and Marcello. The other odd 35 students were....well, "The Others".... No offense to these guys. We were in 7th std. Not their fault.

If there was ever a time I loved maths. It was my 8th std. All because of Prusty sir. Till 7th, my highest marks were in Hindi and lowest in Maths. In 8th std, it was reversed. Maths was at my fingertips. I got 89. My dad seemed to have forgotten the 'any gift I wanted' he would buy me if I scored 90 in maths at any time. Not even a mention. 89 is not 90, I consoled myself.

My romance with maths was thrown out of the window when my vice principal was the maths teacher. He entered the class looking out of the window at one end, and left the class looking out of the door. The only other thing he looked at in the middle was the blackboard. He sure needed a lesson on voice modulation. I looked at lot of dreams in those classes. Till today, I don't understand Logarithms. Thank god calculators were allowed in college.

Venkateswarlu Sir. He worked harder than me for Maths. His dedication was however not enough to fight the feelings I had for maths, courtesy my dad. But had it not been for him, dad would have thrust me into MPC to become an """engineer.""" I am sure I would have taken 5 years to complete the remaining 2 years of high school. I dedicate my School 2nd position in my 11th std first unit test to sir.

With the passing of 10th std, I never looked back. Maths was gone forever, at least in the form it was. What a relief.

Yes, I did face maths again in graduation. Calculus. Dr.Siva Kumar sir took the class. But my confidence was so high, I sat on Calculus' head. Slowly, Maths turned into finance and I turned into a financial wizard in college. Now I realize, you never escape maths. But God is still fair. Its not the same maths.

Throughout my entire childhood, my dad fed me with "YOU ARE POOR AT MATHS." That made all the difference. Unfortunately a difference that killed the confidence I had in myself.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Kites:A **view

Firstly, I must thank Karunanidhi for getting me up close to Barbara Mori from the first row of Inox. For 10 bucks. Prices of first two rows in cinemas are regulated. Even the rest of the rows, though at 120 bucks.

This is not going to be a Review. Becoz it's a movie that's best watched in ignorance. In not knowing what is next. Suffice to say that, in such ignorance, it has moments that keeps you hovering at that millisecond before your first kiss.

Watching Hrithik Roshan dancing and Sachin Tendulkar batting gives you a kind of spiritual orgasm. Don't miss some of the moves.

Barbara Mori seemed to have a on-off switch when it comes to her beauty. But when it comes to the lips of Jessica Biel and the shape of Katrina Kaif's mouth, that tongue-in-the-teeth half smile of Barbara takes you in fully.

The first half has 'time' that chases to keep up with the movie! You remember just putting the first corn in your mouth and the screen says "Interval". It's an hour since that first pop corn went in. It's probably even digested, unless your stomach is busy trying to swallow Barbara Mori's Mallika-like-waist across the swathe of the screen in her introductory scene.

You have watched the trailers probably. Forget them when you go for the movie. Forget any rumors. Forget everything. Or else, you will miss the orgasm.

P.S.: A final word of caution. Don't go over the hill. It's not the best movie ever, but rest assured, it's one of the good ones in recent times. Time will fly faster than a kite!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Paneer-Brinjal Contract

Something we die to live for! One of our most compulsive indulgences. Irony that it may seem to be, it still remains the truth that I missed my hostel food whenever I went home. Unbelievable....but true.

My MBA hostel. Tuesday's breakfast was immortality personified in paratha-channa. Even the laziest bums woke up on time to make it for the breakfast in time. Funny coincidences failed to kill my appetite, not when the taste was beyond explanation by the tongue! There was a high Karl Pearson's coefficient of correlation between the time tables of our campus lawn mowing and palak curry. Tamarind rice became the mainstay food for a couple of weeks during our rural food distribution service every year.. Even after 5 years, I relished it with the same enthusiasm or rather desperateness! Not to forget the sweet pongal and tamarind rice served on Shivarathri days.....

Graduation hostel. Rasam was amruthan. I bet they made the world's best rasams.
 Tamarind rice with coconut gratings and groundnuts....unbeatable...... My heart aches with the thought that I may never get the chance to taste it again.

Senior School hostel. Unfortunately this was the time I started to like paneer! Sunday brunch craze still haunts me. Chutney and bun-patti.....beyond bliss.

Primary school: Today's lunch, a full south Indian meal at a certain Meenakshi Bhavan provided a whiff of their rasam that took me back to a similar aroma back in my school in Ooty in 1990 as a 2nd std kid. I had a green small chair alloted to me. Rasam and rice mixed and served so lovingly because we kids may not have known how to mix rasam with rice!

Primary school was also the place we kids used to have 'how many paneers did you get' contest. Somehow, I didn't like paneer then. With the security at the pantry being tighter than Alcatraz, the only way to deal with some curry you didn't like was to pass it to someone who liked it. Often paneer was traded for chocolates, places for video sessions and a lot more things. It was short of the national currency in the hostel! I also don't happen to like brinjal, but always had some extra curry thrust on my plate every time....... Murphy caught me very early in childhood. Then, there was a guy in my class, Anupam Jyoti Das. He loved paneer. I hated paneer and brinjal. We got into an agreement that lasted almost 3 yrs.

He would get 'ALL' my paneers if he also agreed to take my brinjal curry whenever served. I really appreciate his sincerity! But sometimes I doubt if he did it out of his craze for paneer!!
Nevertheless, it was the sweetest  & most cunning contract I had schemed in all times!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A True Story

It was in my Business Communication course in MBA. We we were asked to speak for 5 minutes on any topic. The speech to the class would be video recorded and analyzed for verbal and non-verbal communication in front of the whole class!! Embarrassing for some I must say!  The lecturer was not a generous type. I had to resort to something that stands out from the rest of class. And I knew what exactly I had to do! I planned to narrate a true story.

I will try and pen it down as exactly as I had done. At least the first part of it.

"It was a decision I had made......
It was tough. But it was taken.
I prepared my mind for over a month to face it when the moment came.
I knew there was no walking back on it. The only way....was forward.

Days passed...
The final day had arrived. I decided that a height of 11floors would do the necessary.
I began the climb.
My knees trembled.
My heart rattled against my rib cage.
After what seemed to be ages, I was on the top.
No turning back, I said, to myself. Not when I am here.

The world stopped. Putting all my faith in God, I jumped.
The sight was beyond ordinary.
The Earth was hurtling towards me accelerating at 9.8 m/s sq.
The wind gushed through my mouth that opened in awe.

Just when I reached the bottom, I felt myself going up.
I felt light. Light as feather. Floating, in slow motion.

Two minutes later, I was standing on the helipad of Sri Sathya Sai Airport having done the first Bungee jump of my life."

I then went on to explain the history of the sport which originated from a tribe in some remote place and got done with the speech with exhibits of bungee cord and alloy fasteners.
At the end, the lecturer , confused, tried to say that in the initial part I seemed to be talking about.......with hesitation to say the word, paused. I gladly supplied the word- "Suicide". He asked why I did that.

My plan had worked. I told him I wanted the class to think it was a suicide when it was not. After all, it was about communication. The lecturer couldn't believe. He asked the class if they too thought I was on the way to jumping into my own grave.

Any school teacher would have jumped with joy at the next instant. Every hand in the class was up! I scored!
Needless to say, I got 42 of 50, highest ever.

And that idiot behind the video camera forgot to press the 'Record' button.


Monday, February 15, 2010

The Bhelpuri Chronicles

The only reason I have discovered I like my office filled with Jasmine gardens on Fridays is that I am mandated to take two full weeks off in a year. With my boss' blessings and grace, I took a week off as I had joined mid year. Someone who is used to calling me if I am more than 13.5 minutes late to office, he couldn't resist the habit of asking my colleagues where I was on a fresh Monday morning at 11:13:30, when I was actually chugging my way to Gangtok on a train with an electric engine.

An English teacher at this point, would strike out my soul-stirred, or rather stomach-stirred essay because the first paragraph doesn't relate to the title. Thankfully, I am done with school.

Another such paragraph and I guess even Pali teachers would do it. So here I go.....

So when I set out on my vacation to Kolkata, Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya, I had a idea in mind. Chennai is good for sambar. Kolkata for fish/rasgulla. Gangtok for momos and hit beer, Shillong for all moving things except humans. So how do I get a taste of the tastes? I needed to standardize the measuring instrument. After much debate with various corners of my mind, I settled upon Bhelpuri and thus "The Bhelpuri Chronicles". However, I must warn you not to expect anything more than bhelpuri.

Let me start from history.

School/College: Bhelpuri, Andhra style I suppose. Served for evening snacks with tea. Dry. Very dry. Mostly white. The Hindu paper cone. Lots of red chillies. Lots of ground nuts. Lots of spice powder. If you could be one of the last for a few times, you could open a spice powder shop. But the hostel chef was a Tamilian who had once worked as a nutritionist in Netherlands. The bhelpuri probably was a cross breed, inclusive of an alien strain.

Delhi: Oooops....Blanked out!! I can remember only gobbling gol gappas!! (pani puri) 'Gobbling' because I can't make out if one has to eat or drink it for one reason. And 'gobbling' because I used to gobble.

Year 2008. Month April. City Bangalore. Area Shantinagar. I was looking around for a job and happened to notice a bhelpuri cart near my friend's room. At 10 bucks, I got a big paper cone of bhelpuri. My first spoon and the next 4 days, I must have spent 100 bucks! Bhelpuri with lots of spices with carrot grating left me asking for more.Little wet, little dry. Unfortunately, I landed a job at Chennai soon after.

Part 1 The city where punjabi thalis are put through concentration camps. My first bhelpuri was on a beach. Bhelpuri is served in a polythene cover with a plastic spoon. Standard 10 bucks. Non-standard size. You wonder whether you just had onion-cabbage-puri. But you get an option of adding pieces of sour mangoes in summer, and winter too! Only you are not allowed to complain in winter. Few tomatoes, more chilli, less salt.

Part 2 Chennai also has Saravana Bhavan. A typical south Indian restaurant. Just remove some onions, cabbage and mango from above and add a bucket of tamarind chutney with one 'kanjoos' leaf of cilantro. Served on paper plate. Standard size. Non-standard 15 bucks.

Kolkata: Victoria memorial was my first pit stop for Bhelpuri. Given my experience that a cup of tea was available for 1.50 that morning, I expected a cart of Bhelpuri for 10 bucks. I was not entirely wrong!! Bhelpuri here is served in cones with wooden cup ice cream stick. Serious ergonomic problems. You can see for yourself in the picture above. It's wet and the color of the kumkum in Hanuman temples. The taste left me wanting to lick a pickle bottle off the next shelf I found. Had lots of non-bhel items.The bhelpuri was confused whether to be sweet or orange. So it ended up half-way....somewhat sweet and orange in color.

Shillong: Standard 10 bucks. Standard paper plate. My first impression on seeing it was to doubt if the old lady adulterated it with mud. My second impression too felt same in my mouth. But my third impression by taste thankfully proved the first two wrong. Potatoes, channa, some red chilli and a sandy feeling. Yes, you are right. It's the other pic.

I sincerely hope the Bhelpuri chronicles continue....Wish me 'puri' luck....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Plight of a Punjabi Thali in TN

Fresh from a stinking movie hall that just finished screening a Telugu movie with two gorgeous heroines, my stomach which took revenge in the morning by digesting a pain killer in slow motion asked for a big thali. I walked into a nearby restaurant, and the moment I saw "Mini Punjabi Thali", my stomach didn't think twice.

I ordered for my thali and smugly waited to receive the plate. Since it was self-service, I saw my plate in the assembly line. A black guy with a red thread on his hand was holding a white plate and putting orange biryani with brown bare hands. Thankfully, someone took that plate. The next in line was mine. I saw a south Indian meal plate made from galvanized steel being filled with Punjabi food. I received the plate with all the contents duly covered by a tandoori roti and a rolled papad.

I took my plate to a table opposite to a gal with a book, under the pretext of sitting near the fan. She seemed ok in this crowd of martians and jupiter-ians.....had to invent this word as neither Roland Emmerich nor Steven Speilberg and not even James Cameron had made movies with people from Jupiter.

Ok. Back to my plate. I uncovered my plate and said Hi to my tomato soup in a katori. The bread crumbs were like dead bodies that drowned in tomato soup few hours back. Then, I saw the curry and the dal. Both were rightly in their respective katoris. My roti seemed hotter than the gal opposite me and my stomach couldn't wait to lay its juices on it.

And then, what I noticed was shocking. A punjabi would have died on the spot with multiple organ failure. Of course, the brain is exempted! I noticed the lassi.

LASSI IN A KATORI ?????????? Punjabis take no less than 2-3 'pints' of lassi  with a meal and here I was, staring at a katori-full  of it.

God....if I can make my death-wish in advance now, please get me out of this lassi  and gals forsaken land.

Life's small unsolved mysteries

How many times did you wake up to a fact, but don't remember the story behind it?

Today was one such day. Night rather. I woke up because my little finger on my right hand was hurting like hell had stepped on was 4.30 am. The last time I woke up at 4.30 am was about 4 years back in college to mug for some horrible exam set by some obnoxious professor.....The thinking part of my brain was still asleep, while the 'pain-feeler' part seemed to be widely awake and vigorously active. It took me a minute to recover from my disorientation and discover which side my pillow is and therefore by common sense, where my legs would be.

I nudged my thinking cells awake and tried to travel past in time by an hour or two. I could vaguely remember I had a dream-like experience where my little finger started to pain. But how did it start?? I got up, brushed, ate a piece of laddoo, took a pain killer and sat on my bed in deep contemplation of what could be the cause. Did I crush my finger under my head?? head isn't so heavy, though I always joke my brain significantly contributes to my weight. I didn't find anything around me that could possibly accommodate my finger beneath it.

My digestive system that normally takes about 43 minutes to digest a full meal, seemed to be gleefully digesting that painkiller in slow motion. It's revenge for all that I send down throughout the day and night. I needed to distract my mind. So I watched an episode of 'How I Met Your Mother'. Robin Scherbatsky was extremely distracting! Attraction does cause distraction! Wow..thats an oxy-moron-ic sentence!

Or could it be my flat mate on a sleep walk who over stepped the mess around me to accidentally land on my finger? Looks likely, but I won't know until later in the day.

But in most probability, it will remain a mystery that will be forgotten once the pain disappears....until then, my grey cells will suffer from lack of insomnia.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I remember...

I remember, the day I cried for my milk bottle my mom supposedly gave away to a calf.....
I remember, it was my aunt who borrowed it to visit her childhood innocence...

I remember, my first caning I got in my school, the pain is yet to subside...
I remember, my every tantrum invited threats of me being sent to boarding school..
I remember, my first day at boarding school, ooty....I knw it had nothing to do with the tantrums....its a video in my head...blowing my new bright yellow trumpet my dad bought with his almost last few rupees, so that they can slip away before I overcome the joy of my new toy....

I remember, I was 7, the first night I slept without mom beside me. It was painful. I didn't have a pillow :)

I remember, my first birthday in boarding school. Chocolates for all, my parents bought. Instant fame.
I remember, the red sweater, the blue,the maroon, the orange and my least favourite, brown.....
I remember, the blue shoes, the white and my least favourite, brown.....

I remember, new Bril ink bottles, Camel box, and that idiot Sandeep who brought a wooden ruler every term...Weapon of class destruction for every school teacher.....
I remember, my first crush. 4th std C section. For the first time 'A' seemed so far from 'C'....

I remember, every nth maths tuition that sapped the fun out of my head still aches...
I remember, one movie cassette per day all through vacations....f**k the math...

I remember, my first bicycle injury..

I remember, the tears of growing up alone, the joys of toys all to myself.....a basket full to bury my boredom...

I remember, my first board exam. Tension. Acidity. Pain. Lucky, it was English.
I remember, one Digene before every board exam...

I remember, THE fight between engineering and finance...
Money always wins.....

I remember, the athletic medals I won, the goal I made in 5 seconds, the misdirected kick that cost my team the cup....

I remember, 90 days of accountancy problems at 4 pep my score to qualify for adventure sports at college...
I remember, the first bungee jump at college....9.8 m/s sq acceleration....but allergic to gravity in spirit....
I remember, the first buck my horse gave, becoz I rhythmically smashed my ass on its back...perfectly in reverse sync...
I remember, the first wheelie I did on the bike. Suzuki Fiero 2, the first ramp jump, one great fall, one great recovery....

I remember, MBA, two years passed in 2 blips....

I remember, what it is to come so close to love....and what it is to move so far...
I remember, season, always 'hot' ;)
I remember, mugging newspapers...books, articles
I remember, the govt got unlucky, I didnt clear the civil services....

I remember, the first salary. Swatch, Kingfisher (air hostess, not the bottle), Honda and Bose followed.

I remember, friends who turned siblings...and classmates who turned friends...

I remember...much more, scenes, sounds, emotions, that words cannot completely craft....

But I remember......

The funny thing about arranged marriages

If you ask my preferences about the two schools of marriage, my up-bringing may dominate my western outlook and try to pull me towards an arranged marriage. But hey....i am the generation next....youngistan meri jaan....i at least don't have a negative perception towards a 'love' marriage. It does work.... But i often wonder if marriage kills the 'love'!!....the excitement of discovery of a gal in an arranged marriage seems least contempt is bred late.....u r free to interpret 'discovery', but it hardly leaves space for excitement if you take the 'wrong' side!

My parents were just short of giving me a Gantt chart on the project called marriage. My mom's ultimatum was that either I find a gal, or they will, within 2 years. Unfortunately I am stuck in a city where friday dressing means white silk saree with gold border and a jasmine garden on the head. I do empathize with Kirsh Malhotra of '2 States'. So a large pie-of-my-chart is commanded by my parents. So how does it feel like?

Arranged marriage is like a menu card.

0. Caste-Subcaste 1, 1.1, 1.2...., Subcaste 2,
1. Dowry-Lakhs or crores. Anything less, its a road-side eatery
2. Things that come free with dowry-car, gold etc etc etc.....
its a one time opportunity for the guy's family. Its the culmination of the family's efforts to get a degree and a green card tagged to the guy. Probably India is the only place where we find a third source of capital- equity, debt and dowry. Of course the last one doesn't fortunately have a secondary market!!
3. Assets-no pun intended ;) for god's sake...remember, the parents are reading the menu...
4. Color of skin- Dark(mentioned as wheatish), Fair, Very Fair
5. Education: let me tell you the choice here for me happens to be bad. 99.8679% are B.Tech if you are seeing Andhra gals.

well, there are more items on the menu card which are relegated to oblivion if the ones above are substantially large.

Does it end here? not have permutations and combinations of stars and planets that must match. I swear I will murder the next guy who discovers another planet in our solar system. We have enough to confuse us.

The funny part of an arranged marriage is the afford-ability or freedom to choose from the menu. So surely its an advantage for the guys!! You get most of the things you want!!!

Fortunately I have parents who care nothing for the top 3 items ( this case zero before one cannot be ignored).....but i must confess, its not the entire menu they intend to sacrifice....after all I am giving them a chance....I am still single after living in India's capital for a couple of years..(hope u don't start assuming things here....and if u have, u can stop it...its false)...but the planetary configurations narrow my choice to half-gal look-alikes.......May the stars line up for me.....

To hell with the menu......but i am stuck in jasmine gardens!

PS: I am still neutral on the schools. First in, is in.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pyar Impossible

Well, trying my hand at writing a movie review.

I went to the movie expecting a fun filled love story between a geek and a goddess in a college. Turns out the trailers were misleading. The college story ends in about 5 minutes if the song is discounted. Abhay Sharma (Uday Chopra) saves an extremely spoiled brat that Alisha(Priyanka Chopra) is when she falls into water trying to catwalk down the parapet wall of a bridge. The director doesn't allow PC to meet and thank UC so that this can form a guilt and repentance sequence later in the movie.

7 years later, Mr Geek creates an operating system that he is foolish enough to leave his laptop unlocked while meeting a wily probable investor-Dino Morea. I still don't see the purpose of a discrete pen-look-alike pen drive Dino uses to steal the software while UC is busy making a call to his dad for every half a decision. Of course, his dil ki dadhkan is still PC.

UC follows Dino to Singapore to discover that Dino actually used an alias. In another dreamy sequence he sees his love step out from a car. For the 'n'th time the world freezes when he sees her with a background score screeching 'Alishaaaa' and so does your interest freeze.

PC is the PR head of a company to which Mr. Varun (Dino) is trying to sell his stolen software. I wonder how PR head doesn't have a car and travels in a taxi. UC stalks her to discover that a 5th nanny quits due to the loving and cute monster daughter that PC has. So PC is a divorced single mom. And UC has no issues. UC is mistaken for th 6th nanny. The director then forces a 'breathless' from PC, and an unmanly UC doesn't get a chance to speak up. So he ends up doing daily chores. I find it over the top to see Priyanka's 6 yr old daughter plotting to hook-up UC to PC while a budding relationship develops between Alisha and Varun.

The final sequence begins with a confrontation of the 3 main characters. Varun conveniently reverses the story saying UC is a thief. UC, still maintains his dumbness. Priyanka realizes in few minutes that UC has been in love with her for 7 years. The guilt sequence is here. She redeems herself by revealing to the world the true story about the creator of that software.

The movie is filled with cliches and you keep wondering, why the hell is not Abhay speaking up, at many points.

Overall, go to the movie only if you want to see PC in ultra-minis that probably make her underpants feel guilty of covering too much.