Who Do You Hope Is NOT Calling?

I hope it’s not Satan telling me that it’s time and that he is coming over to collect my soul. Whatever I sold it to him for, it certainly wasn’t worth it.

I hope that the companies I tried out for aren’t calling me to tell me that “sorry buddy, you’re just not what we are looking for/you don’t have what we want”!

I hope its not someone calling to inform me that a loved one’s health has taken a turn for the worse or that they are dead.

I hope it’s not a sales call from Reliance/Airtel/Idea/Videcon/Tata Indicom/Docomo after I did test calls to them a couple of weeks back on the process of MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and foolishly gave them my true number.

Infact I hope it’s not a sales call of any kind!

I hope I never get the call from an ex who calls me to say that I have an illegitimate child and she now wants me to pay for raising the kid!

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Meeting Old Friends On Facebook

A couple of weeks ago, I started to get in touch with some old school friends from my years in Hill Valley High School. I studied in that school from the ages of 11-15, which is grade 6 till 10. The wonder years or so I have come to call them in the years since. Back in the 80s & 90s, most schools that weren’t the CBSE or ICSE syllabus were only uptill 10th grade after which you went to a two year pre-degree course in college. Or you could choose to join a school that had 11th & 12th grades but then you changed school boards. Anyway, I was of the former. I haven’t seen most of these people, my school friends, since I was 16-17. I tried to stay in touch with some of them but it just didn’t happen.

I met a few of them intermittently for the first few years. Some of them happen to pass by on the street or here and there and we’d talk for a while. By the time I was 19 I had lost touch with all but a handful of those friends. A well known fact of life is that we move on and new people take the place of those friends in your life. But there were plenty of people who I always wanted to be in my life, even if it was meeting them once every 2 months or so. They will always be a part of my life and my childhood.

Well recently, as recent as 2 weeks ago, one of them – Jeebouy – sent me a friend invite in Facebook. He wasn’t a classmate of mine, rather he was the brother of one of my closest friends and just a year younger. While accepting his friend invite, I saw his sister, Sheeba, in his friends list and I added her. Pretty soon another lady friend, Reshma, added me and I was chatting online with these two ladies in Facebook. Both these ladies are now married with kids; Reshma is married to one of my closest friends during my school days, a guy called Musthafa. He is doing business in the city and they both have two kids. The oldest, a girl, is 13 and she has her own FB account! Wow, which means that she was born when I was 21 (Musthafa is 2 years older than me although we were in the same class). That’s weird and makes me feel old.

Within a day I also added two other friends, Binju & Vinay and Reshma’s older brother Ramesh, who was 2 years our senior. Binju and I were very close, bonded by the love of music. I even stayed at his house a couple of times during the 9th & 10th grade. I remember he had a couple of dogs and some rabbits as pets. Chatting with him has been very special. He lives in London now and is married and dad to a baby girl. Seeing a sweet photo of him with his baby made me so glad. I never in a million years thought I’d see that when I was still in school. And then today I even had a phone call from Finland – a guy called Siju who studied with me for a couple of years now lives & works in Finland. That was so nice – considering that the last time I saw & spoke to him was 22 years ago back in 1989! Fucking awesome eh?

Thank you so much Facebook. You guys really are the best thing to happen to the Internet.

Steve Morse On German TV: 1984

Watch a very young Steve Morse (he was only 30 here) perform live in Germany for a tv live music series in 1984. Here he plays a custom Fender Telecaster, obviously at a time before he designed his now famous Steve Morse signature series guitars from Music Man. Joining him were Jerry Peek on bass and Rod Morgenstein on drums. First song is Refried Funky Chicken and then the acoustic Northern Lights.

Drinks & The Married Man

I hadn’t seen either Madhu or Anil since the former & I attended the latter’s wedding on the 15th of January. Aside from the jokes that Madhu & I were making about Anil needing to send in an application & plead a case for going out with his friends, he has been busy traveling to visit relatives with his new bride in the obligatory role that most newly weds have to play. Last weekend the three of us had made plans to meet up for dinner and drinks but Anil begged off at the last moment and Madhu & I had some fun at his expense. How the mighty bachelor had fallen!

Well former Mr.Free & Single called me up this morning and asked me if I was free today. As I was, I answered in the affirmative and inquired as to when & where and what Madhu was doing. Anil said that he would call him and make the arrangements. I kept the phone thinking that things were looking up. Around 12:30 pm Anil called me back and said that Madhu couldn’t make it but that the two of us should get together for a late lunch and a couple of drinks. I was game and we arranged to meet at Kacheripady junction at 2:30pm. I watched an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise before taking a long shower and getting ready. At 2:30 pm I met Anil and we quickly made our way to Velocity.

Comfortably seated in the front booth, we ordered brandy & vodka and had some pork and chicken 65 for chomping down. We chatted for a couple of hours on the changes in his life after marriage, his plans of renting an apartment in the city (he & his wife are currently commuting from Thrissur to Cochin and back on a daily basis via train), about my plans of settling down (of which there are zero) and of my search for a new job. Since he had already had a little early, only I ate a couple of chappathies with chilly gobi. It was a fun two hours and the time went by quickly but I still got to enjoy myself. After 3 drinks and lunch it was time for Anil to beat a hasty retreat to Thrissur and I slowly made my way home after buying a few things for my home.

Stuff I Just Can’t Throw Away

Old magazines: I have old magazines from 2006 & 2007 just piled up in a corner of my built-in cupboard, collecting mold and silver fish. I need to just get off my ass, get them into a cardboard box and toss them out or sell them to the paper vendor who comes by once in a month or so.

Old cassette tapes: I don’t have a stereo cassette player anymore. I probably will never play a cassette ever in my life again. But I still have most of my collection of tapes in a steel cupboard in my room. Tapes from the 90s and the late 80s too! Yes I am a pack rat or something even worse. Keeping all those cassette tapes is downright dumb. Someday I will get rid of them.

Disposable razors: I know, I’m nuts. They keep collecting in my bathroom and I toss them out every few months or so.

Batteries: for my previous USB mouse. I kept using up these AAA size batteries; every two or 3 days I’d have to replace a battery and my desk drawer gets covered with them. If I shook my desk, you’d find atleast 30 of these used by batteries flying out.

This weekend some of these things are going to be tossed out, if not all.

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Emile Gets Called To Sit

I was meeting a former colleague for coffee at one of the coffeeshops in the city this evening after work. I hadn’t met this friend for a while but we had kept in touch and spoken to each other a lot over the last couple of years. So I said that I would be there around 8:30pm and headed for the venue after work. I arrived there first and ordered a crunchy, cold coffee and waited for my friend to reach.

Around the same time that I entered the coffeeshop, 3 girls and a guy had also stopped by to have a bite to eat and drink some cold drinks. I know exactly what they ordered and how much they enjoyed the food – not because I was  nosy! It’s because they were so fucking loud! And irritatingly so. My friend arrived and we both couldn’t at times keep a quite conversation going because of these 4. They were young, around early 20s or even 19 I guess. By their accents the 3 girls were American – two of them were of Indian origin and 1 was a Caucasian. The boy was almost certainly raised in India. And trying desperately to show off!

My friend and I know how much those 4 fought over the menu and that they changed their minds a couple of times after the orders were taken down. They made a lot of noise taking photos standing in different combination. I just wanted them to go away. Their food came and they ate. And they reordered and then ate again. My friend and I sipped out coffees without talking much. We would be drowned out by their yakking anyways, so why bother? And then….

The time came for them to pay their bill. So our boy here, his name is Emile, wanted to pay the entire amount and made an effort to showcase this fact. The noisy girls wanted to pay their own way or share in the bill and they kept telling ‘Emile’ not to pay the full amount. One of the girls went over to where he was standing with the waiter and telling him that she & the other girls would pay as well. Another girl kept saying ‘Emile, we are feminists!” as a way of explanation, announcing it to the entire cafe to emphasize the point! And they kept saying ‘Emile sit down’!

And this point my friend and I had had enough. So we chimed in loudly ‘Yes Emile please sit down!’. The kids were not expecting this and got a little flustered. Emile in particular. They could not wait to pay the bill and scamper away from the cafe. They were followed by giggling from the people sitting at two other tables and finally my friend and I could drink some coffee & relax and actually have a conversation where both of us could hear each other.

The State Of Affairs Of Varkeys

For a long time Varkey’s Supermarket chains were a staple of lots of city & town dwellers in the state of Kerala. It’s so convenient to have all those options in one store and especially if they had lots of  franchises scattered around the region. People working in offices in the city would stop by on their way home to buy vegetables, chicken, fish, bread, fruit juices packets, perfumes, powders, utensils, etc etc. I live near two of their franchises so for the past 4 years I’ve come to always expect the stores to be filled with people buying stuff.

However it seemed that the roll-out of stores across the state through debt funds has stuck their finances really bad. Too many stores at the wrong time – during the recession has made it difficult for Varkeys to maintain their status quo and hence all you see is closed stores all across the cities. The retail chain, with 59 stores across the state, could be divesting at least 25% stake to raise funds to manage growth as well as for stabilising operations, which has been overheated by rapid expansion.  The retailer has appointed investment bankers for a possible stake sale. With current liabilities, including bank loans, supplier credit and overdue salaries, running into almost Rs 20 crore, the company has asked vendors to stop supplies until the revival.

It’s always sad to see the closed shutters of their store when I go across the city. So I was glad to see that the stores were opened up in their MG Road branch. I couldn’t see much stuff on the shelf and it could be that they were doing some maintenance work or something else. I hope they recover and start opening their doors to customers once again.

The Hunt Is So On

I went to attend an interview yesterday. I had gone to a company in Infopark (Kakkanad) and was going recommended for the job post by the brother of the person who was conducting the interview. He already had a lot of details about me. So I took the day cause I was told that the companies in Infopark usually take a long time to complete an interview. I left my apartment at 9am and made my way to their offices.  I reached the gates at 9:40 am and asked for directions. Turns out that they had offices in two building a little distance apart and with my luck I went to the wrong one first. I then checked and got directions to come to the older of the two buildings.

The day was quite hot, the sun blazing down on a hapless city in all it’s glory and I was sweating as I made my way to the reception area. I was asked to sit and wait for a while. I was glad to and would have killed for a glass of cold water as my throat felt quite parched by this time but I didn’t ask. I just sat there and dabbed my forehead with my handkerchief and cooled down as much as I could. In about 10 minutes, I met the person and we sat in a small discussion room that was part glass so that people in the lobby could see into the room. We talked for a bit as he went through my resume and discussed a few points. Then he told me that he wanted two more people to meet me and have a chat with me and if I was free could I hang around. I smiled and said that I was free for the day and would gladly wait.

About 45 minutes later I met another gentleman and a lady who were in town from the another firm’s Trivandrum offices and spent around 20 minutes talking with them about the various kinds of work that I have done. I think it went well although you really cannot tell in these cases. Once that was done I left their offices and I will get to know how I fared in a couple of days. That done it was me walking in the hot  sun trying to find the bus stop to get to Ernakulam city area, where I had a meeting/discussion with anothe set of people who are starting up a new venture. It’s a small BPO and since I’m like semi-selected with them I was to meet a couple of their directors & financiers. The meeting went well and took about 2 hours or so.

By now it was late afternoon and I just wanted to come home. I had had cold juices during the meeting but no lunch. I came home and ate a handful off rice with curd and some veggies. I was dead tired and I plonked down on my bed and took a long nap. Now I have another interview tomorrow and I hope that goes well too.

Two Record Shattering Transfers In The UK

I fail to recollect when the last time the football world had such record breaking transfer deals on the same day. Shattering all previous English Premier League records, two star strikers changed clubs right on the cusp of the transfer window closing.

After a sensational day of drama on transfer deadline day, Liverpool have confirmed that  22-year-old English striker Andy Carroll has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal at Anfield. Newcastle United initially rejected two bids for their star player but when Carroll handed in a transfer request, the writing was on the wall. The first 2 bids of around 30 million pounds were rejected and the final bid of 35 million was agreed upon. At the time this was the record transfer in the UK.

Andy Carroll will wear the No.9 shirt for Liverpool. The former Newcastle forward will be expected to team up with fellow new signing Luis Suarez, who has joined the club from Ajax, in a new-look strike-force under Kenny Dalglish.  Carroll has burst onto the scene in the Premier League this season, netting 11 Premier League goals in 19 games and scoring a hat-trick against Aston Villa in August. He made his international debut for England against France at Wembley in November.

I stated earlier that Carroll’s transfer was the biggest in the UK – but the record lasted only a short time. Chelsea have officially completed the sensational £50 million signing of Spain star Fernando Torres from Premier League rivals Liverpool. The 26-year-old World Cup winner was the subject of rumours and speculation throughout transfer deadline day, but has now put pen to paper on a five-year-deal at Stamford Bridge.

The transfer saga began in earnest last week when the Reds declined an offer from Chelsea and then rejected a transfer request from Torres, insisting the player would be required to honour his long-term contract at the club. Despite this, negotiations between the clubs continued and a conclusion was reached on Monday, allowing the forward to undergo a medical and agree personal terms with the reigning league champions.

Torres had joined Liverpool from boyhood club Atletico Madrid for a fee of around £25m in July 2007 and bagged 33 goals in all competitions during a stunning debut campaign. The striker went on to play a total of 142 times and score 81 goals in three-and-a-half successful personal seasons on Merseyside.

Despite enjoying a close relationship with the club’s fans, a lack of trophies and the Reds’ inability to challenge for major honours haunted the player, who has long been linked with an Anfield exit to various destinations around Europe. The fact he has joined another English club will be a bitter pill for Liverpool fans to swallow in a deal comprehensively becomes a new British transfer record. Even more bitter will be that the Spaniard is to make his Chelsea debut against none other than Liverpool! Torres, who is yet to win a major honour in club football, has already amassed 82 caps for Spain, scoring 26 times.

Meleah Hits 500

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Well I am so happy & blessed that Meleah has hit the 500 comments mark in my blog. As I’ve stated before in my posts, she is one of my biggest cheerleaders and has been a big supporter for me since December of 2007. I dedicated a couple of posts to her when she hit the 300 & 400 mark. Why she still does it is beyond me but boy do I value her friendship and her support! At times I feel that Meleah knows me better than a lot of people who I see on a daily basis.

Meleah – someday, dunno when I can afford it, I’ll try to make it to the US for a little visit. I do have some cousins there and stuff  and would love to see the country. If I do, I’ll look you up. I might be old and gray by then but I’ll still flirt with you

Oh and I thought that for this occasion, I’ll let Meleah do some of the talking, so to speak. So I’ve prepared a small question & answer session and well, here’s the ‘voice’ of the lovely lady in question.

Q1. State your name, location and what you do for a living?

Meleah Rebeccah Hawthorne, NJ, Blogger

Q2. Do you remember how you came to know about Awake & Dreaming?

We met online, through blogging.

Q3. How often do you visit my blog?

At least 3 times a week.

Q4. What is it that you like so much about Awake & Dreaming that you visit frequently and post a lot of comments?

You’re open, honest, entertaining, and informative.

Q5. Is there any topic that you would want me to blog about (that I haven’t yet)?

hmmmm…..I’m not sure!

Q6. Tell me; is that a tight sweater or is your heart swelling with love for me?

ahahhahahaahahahahahahahahah

Choose the following
Q7. Admit it: you have a big crush on Roshan and that is why you are the numero uno commenter on his blog : Choices (true/very true/absolutely true/damn right it’s true/hell yeah and I’m proud of it).

It’s mostly because you’ve been such a wonderful friend to me!

Q8. This is for you; say anything you like and I’ll post it here (cause you deserve it)

I enjoy reading your blog and I cherish our friendship. Thank you for always being there for me.

And since a picture is worth a 1000 words…..