Wish You A Happy Married Life

A former trainee of mine (this would have been a training batch in October 2007) invited me to chat this morning. We also voice chatted for a few minutes in Gtalk. She no longer works in the same office as I do, having resigned from her post as a CSA a few months ago. I’ve always had lovely rapport with her, even if after our initial 5 day training period, I’ve had very little official work concerning her.

She would always stop to chat with me for a few minutes if she saw me and she followed this pattern after she left by leaving me scraps / messages in Orkut or in an email. So I wasn’t surprised to see the Gmail invite. So after the plesantries were done, she said that she had news! She was getting engaged in late August & her marriage had been fixed for the 1st of November. I congratulated her but I wasn’t too happy on knowing the details

She’s just met the guy for a few minutes before the ‘deal’ was finalized by her folks and his. She wasn’t sure what his name was and it took a few minutes for her to confirm the dude’s name. And she told me that he was working in IBM’s Delhi office but had no clue as to what he exactly did. She hasn’t seen him since that initial day and she wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to attend their engagement as he may not get the leave! What the fuck ?!

I’m Indian so I shouldn’t get surprised when I hear about such bullshit marriages and ideals about marriages. I mean, she wasn’t even sure of his name for crying out loud. I couldn’t marry a girl I barely know. I know it was the norm here and please don’t get me wrong…..I mean to insult the very idea behind it and to hell with anyone’s fucking feelings!

I mean, how does a dad go ahead and do this – Boy, you may not know my daughter well enough to call her an acquaintance and she may not be sure of your name but don’t let that stop you from fucking her during some nights and a few afternoons as well. It’s a goddamn meat market – just take a look at the matrimonial ads that are right next to the classified. Stereo, computer, furniture, cow, goat and daughter for sale. Oh but in the same case, the dad will throw in the money as well!

One Embarrassed Malayalee

I’m a little embarrassed to say the least. That’s the reason why I didn’t blog about it immediately.  And the reason is the second major hoax regarding the state of Kerala & the city of Cochin vs terrorism & militancy. So called terrorism & militancy.

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For the second time in less than 10 months we’ve had a major hoax scare. The first one was there was the whole bomb scare, a hoax that was instigated by some idiots who called a tv station fracture dvd download the hoax online blackbeard online download . And then a few days ago, we had the grand ole “LTTE militants have been spotted on a boat heading from Cherthala on towards Cochin city. We had the cops all over the place, searching cars & vans and having numerous check points set up.

download sexy beast online I was quite a bit embarrassed to find out the next day that the so called militants were actually just a couple of harmless fishermen on their way to catch fish! Fishermen! Really! So instead of asking them “what are your demands?” we should be asking them “what are your rates?” Cause, really fish is a staple food for lots of families in the state.

Now imagine if the real militants actually did show up. Even if they stood up and proclaimed themselves to be terrorits or militants, we wouldn’t take them seriously. We’d say “oh stop it, don’t kid around my friend. Now tell us, what’s the price for a kilo of sardines?”

LTTE Militants On The Way To Kochi?

The news flash message on one of the local news channels hit hard and hit close to home. In fact it hit exactly at home!

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Following a tip off about movement of armed LTTE militants into Kochi via Cherthala, security has been beefed up in the coastal areas of Alappuzha.

Kochi coast has also been put on high alert. Security has been stepped up on Aroor bridge as well as on all the routes leading to and from this this region. However according to police sources there is no need for the public to panic.

All over the city you could see people tensed up and hoping that it was just a false alarm. The cops searching every vehicle that could seem to carry the militants was shown all over the news.

Knowing that this could cause delay in people reaching their homes, we have asked our lady staff in training (who are doing a 4pm till 1am shift) to leave a couple of hours earlier. So I arranged to have their drop facility moved up to 11 pm, as with the checking they might only reach home after 3 am and we don’t want that.

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Lizards : The Kerala House Pets?

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I am not sure about the rest of the world or even the rest of India, but here in Kerala every house seems to have atleast 5 to 10 house lizards scurrying across their walls. My house was the same and now my apartment is the same; I can’t remember ever going a day without seeing one or two lizards in my room or any of the other rooms.

These creatures don’t harm you (unless ofcourse one fell into you mouth while you were not concentrating or sleeping or if they fell in your food or drink) and they don’t make a mess. It’s not threatening in any way and I can’t remember anyone telling me that lizards were really ugly to look at. Infact I can remember my mom helping me & my sis to make lizards out of “chappaty” dough with mustard seeds as eyes.

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Besides they eat insects & other monsters so they can’t be bad for us. Have we just learnt to live with them? Sure they don’t help out on the rent or expenses (chuckle) but I might miss them if suddenly the entire lot were wiped out or if I moved to a place where there were no such thing as house lizards.

Imagine being a Mallu and going abroad to Australia or England or Canada and staying in a apartment sans lizards. The very thought sounds depressing enough to make me wanna prefer only cricket on tv all the time —- strike that. I’d rather go blind that let that happen.

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What Place Would You Write A Song About?

This is from one the blog prompts that is featured in Plinky.com (quite a nice little community site that gives you prompts for blog posts when you suffer a little case of writer’s block). I have got a few ideas of them and some I have kept on the backburner.

Today while looking up Plinky, I saw this prompt and it made me think about places that I have been to. Which ones would I want to write a song about?

There’s this little broken down ruins of what used to be a temple or some kind of place of worship quite near the Cochin University campus. I used to live in Thrikkakara and my house was a 2 minute walk away from the campus. This ruins of the temple is at the North end of the campus and there aren’t much buildings near it, just rows & rows of evenly spaced trees. The roof was completely destroyed and it’s just part of the walls that remain. It’s quite eerie to look at and even more to be next to it.

I’ve been there twice – once with some of my cousins and the second time with a couple of my friends. Each time we would go near what would have been the entrance of the temple, we would feel a chill going up our spines.  The first time we went there, it was just to rest from our walk from my house to the town area to buy some stuff for home. My cousins and I came near a broken peice of the idol/deity that was supposed to be there and we felt the wind pick up in intensity.

There seemed to be a small whirlwind kinda thing, when a gust of wind swirls round & round, picking up leaves and other light things in it’s wake. This scared us a bit (we were in our mid teens at the time) and we backed away and left the area. The second time I didn’t see any whirlwind or anything like it. My friends and I looked inside and tried to find the remains of the idol but it was no longer there. I still don’t know if it was a temple for the worship of a god or was it a place dedicated to black magic or sorcerry.

Who knows? It was eerie and I would like to see it again and find out what was the history behind the ruins. And I would want to write a song about it – I’d call it ‘Stormwind’ and it’ll be a mid-tempo rock classic in the vein of Hotel California.

Sign Of Things To Come

I was running late for work today and I got an auto to drive me uptil the office. As we were crossing the North Railway Station bridge, I was texting members of my team regarding some work to be done later and replying back to a team member who was down with the flu. So I didn’t see it until the driver cried out on seeing the scene to our left.

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It was near the Lisie Junction bus stop and as I looked towards the right, I saw what the driver and many others who were looking and pointing were seeing. They were looking at the dead body of a man, lying on the side of the road. Apparently he tripped while either climbing or alightining the bus and the back wheels went over his head. He died instantly and it was not a pretty sight, judging by the screams of the people on that side of the road.

I can’t imagine losing someone like that. What his family must be going through today. It could have been his fault or it could have been the bus driver’s fault. Or it could have been a total accident. But he will still remain dead. I think he was around 50 or so, judging by what I could see. That was a gruesome image to see, heading on to work and it would mirror the day at the office to a T.

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Aggrived Father Of Slain Major Chases Away The CM

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, a Malayalee from Bangalore, was one of those military men who died fighting the terrorists in Mumbai. Following widespread criticism of the Kerala government’s failure to officially acknowledge the supreme sacrifice made by the late Major, the Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan and Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan visited the Major’s residence in Bangalore last evening.

However, Mr. Unnikrishnan, father of Sandeep refused to meet with the two politicians and said that he did not wish his son’s death to be part of any undue publicity. He asked the two to leave. An aggrieved Unnikrishnan was seen on television chasing away the media personnel and the politicians calling them “filthy dogs” and raged at the fact that him family was not given the respect & privacy they deserved on their only son’s death.

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Although it is a tragic situation for any father to cremate his only son, I’m all cheers for Mr. Unnikrishnan for putting those politicians in their places! May the Major’s family find some peace.

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Late Afternoon Lunch With The Gang

watch the reader online Its been too long since my team went out for lunch or for anything. We’ve been extremely busy what with all the work piling up on us for the past two months and we needed some fun & a chance to blow off some steam. As part one of this need, we decided to go out for lunch in a slightly expensive place, courtesy of the bugdet handed over to our department and emjoy ourselves for a couple of hours. It was decided to do it on Friday rather than Saturday, since one of the trainers in my team would be heavily occupied today.

We wanted a suitable place for our lunch and although the one near us has delicious food, their service is terrible and we kind of got feed up of it. So we started looking for an alternative. Hotel Periyar in Aluva was suggested – it’s big, roomy and it has a wonderful view of the adjacent Periyar river and the Aluva bridge. So hotel picked out, it was now just a matter of informing the team, arranging transport and adjusting our work so we could be free for a few hours.

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It took us a long time to arrange a cab. Hungry faces stared at me from 1 pm till about 2:40 pm when we got into the cab and headed on the way to the hotel. 5 of us went by cab and waited for almost 40 minutes until the remaining guys reached. While we waited for them we ordered cream of chicken soup, which was different but hot & tasty. By the way, just what on earth is cream of chicken soup? Where is he cream from? Er, never mind. The others reached and while they had their soup, a couple of us went to enjoy the view on the balcony that overlooks the river. Beautiful!

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Ok, now it was past 4 and we were waiting for the food to come. People ordered biriyani, chicken fried rice, beef fry, chicken szechuan, 3 big karimeen fish fry, porotta, chappathy, prawns (curried & fried), chicken 65, mutton curry and American chopsuey. I had a chopsuey, fish fry and sampled the chicken 65 & prawns. We talked, joked and laughed, and along the way, polished food enough to feed a small army. By the end of it, stomachs were full and satisfied. By the time we finished our ice creams and paid the bill, it was 5.30 pm! The hall that we were in was big and roomy enough to accomadate lots of people, while leaving enough gaps among the tables to ensure that you do have lots of space & privacy to talk.

The Hotel Periyar is an old building surrounded by the river, large parking areas and a garden/lawn area where you can sit during the evenings and relax and there’s even swings & a play area for kids. It’s too far from where I live to go with family or friends for lunch/dinner but I think it’s fine for people in Kalamasserry & Aluva. And it is expensive!

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The Ghost Of The Rented House

two lovers movie Today morning around 11 Kavitha, one of the trainers in my team, informed me that a girl trainee of hers has not come in today as she is not well. I was very casual about it until Kavitha told me the reason why the girl, Akhila, hadn’t come in today – it seems that the girl had been visited by a spirit last night and therefore she was too shaken & scared to sleep and was too worn out to come in at 7 am today. I was like, “could you please repeat that”? Kavitha said that she would come to me later and discuss this. I said ok.

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A few minutes later Kavitha came to meet me and brought with her a girl called Anusha who had been working in our office for a few months and who stays in the same house as a paying guest as Akhila. Anusha says that all 6 girls who live there have seen this ghost or spirit or entity or whatever, and they describe her as being in appearance around 23-24, dressed always in what appears to be a green blouse and black pants. She says that they hear water running in the bathroom at 1 am when there’s no one there, switches going on and off for no reason, their rooms being locked at night without anyone being there, creepy noises on the door and pipes.

She says that the visits were infrequent for the last 4 months (the duration of their stay at the house) but that it has picked up in the last few days. One of the neighbours say that they had heard that there was a suicide there in one of the rooms. Anusha says that one evening after work, she felt her hair being pulled fro behind but she saw no one behind her. Another girl claims that she is being forced to lie on her back by a force whenever she wants to sleep on her side. They say that they have all seen this strange girl, always dressed in the same outfit, but only 1 or 2 has seen her face.

Last night, it seems that the ghost sat down on Akhila’s bed and said something to her. The others heard Akhila say “please don’t do anything to me, please go away and leave me alone” all night but they didn’t see the spirit until much later. Akhila is frightened to her wits end and was shaking & shivering all night. Her parents have come and it looks like they may take her home with them.

After Anusha told me all this stuff I spoke to Kiran, my friend in HR. I stated the same thing, I told Kavitha & Anusha – I don’t believe in gods or ghosts or goblins but I do know one thing. These girls are being affected mentally and they have to get out of the house ASAP! We swung into action and by evening we found a new place for the 6 girls to move in. I was smiling and joking at the statements which seemed to lighten the mood but we were worried about this girls, kids at most (all under 24) and why they had to wait for so long before they told us about it.

The lady who rents the house for them is also a bit weird. She says lies to the girls about the house and stuff. She is supposed to give them 2 meals a day along with lodging but she gives them stale stuff, curry cooked 3 days or a week ago and the girls always get sick because of it. Atleast now, this will stop.

Or will the ghost allow it to stop?

Miss Kerala 2008

The Miss Kerala (for those of you readers outside of India, it’s a state in the south of the country) competition took place recently and a new winner was crowned. Now, I normally don’t watch or pay much attention to such frivolous drivel but this year I just happened to think that some of the girls were really pretty. They’re not necessarily the ones that take the gold, bronze & silver (or whatever you call the top 3 positions). Anyway, take a look at the top 3 in 2008.


Rima is the 1st runner up (right), Sree Thulasi is Miss Kerala & Ann Joseph is the 2nd Runner up.

I personally really liked these two girls. The girl on the left reminds a lot of someone I know – I just can’t figure out who! Damn, she looks familiar.

Keralites Love Affair With The “Gelf”

Its a funny inside joke that us Malayalees love living / working in any of the Arabian Gulf countries, collectively referred by a majority of us as the ‘Gelf’. In certain areas, large populations of Malayalees just want to get that holy grail – a working visa to places like Muscat, Sharjah or Dubai. They want to live & work in Kuwait or Jiddah and send money home to mom & dad back home and help pay for little sister’s wedding and little brother’s college studies. Almost  every family in the district of Malappuram have atleast one male family member who works in a Gulf country.

Yeah we love the Arabs, even named a milk shake after an Arab city – the Sharjah shake. Which I just had about 2.5 hours ago, yummy! We also have plenty of Arabian food cafes strewed throughout the cities in Kerala.

My dad went to Kuwait with his brother and a few others back in the 1960s to make a living and send money back home. He struggled for a few years and was then rewarded for his loyalty (29 years working for a bank), got married to my mom in 68 and raised two kids there. There’s a few thousand versions of him all around. But some guys take it to extremes; they also have a smuggling side business going on. That’s not cool. And you know the difference between families like us and these buggers?

We don’t pronounce it as ‘Gelf’!