Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Trip to Amaravathi

If it was not for Muruganand’s marriage, I wouldn’t have dreamt of this break. It was a long and a wonderful weekend that started after I switched off my cell phone when the train started rolling from Egmore at 10:00 PM on 27-May. After a brief discussion with Shakthi on the prospects of IT in Coimbatore, we fell asleep. The train took a longer route via Trichy ->Karur --> Erode -->Thirupur --> Coimbatore, 4 hours more than Nilgiris or Cheran Express and I preferred this, as it is way to be cut-off from the contacts for more time. I snatched the additional pillow from the lower berth and thanks to the passenger who didn’t turn-up and also to the TTR who couldn’t find a replacement till Thirupur, where we got down at 8:30 AM on 28-May. Sivaraj was there to receive us and we started to Udumalpet after a long argument with Kandan Karunai who wanted us to come to Pollachi and Karthi who insisted that we should come to Coimbatore. The priority is always Udumalpet because of its proximity to Amaravathi, were we spent all our formative years in a little-bit of education and a lot of pranks (Extra-Curricular and Co-Curricular Activities!).

By the time we reached Udumalpet, Kandan, Karthi and Maya arrived. We went to the Lion’s Club Marriage hall for lunch, and then met Muruganand of Tamilnadu, the groom and Roumya of Jarkhand, the bride. It is a Love & Arranged marriage and as per the stats, 80% of Amravians fall into this category because of varied reasons that I would post later. After lunch, we started to Amaravathi with the aroma of nostalgia over-powering our senses. Though all of us have lost interest in alcohol, we bought a couple of beers and whiskeys, sensing that there would be a need while sitting in the steps of the Canal or the Dam. The highlight of the journey was how Kandan narrated the way he promised his mom that he would become a pilot and would pick her-up from their house in Pollachi and drop her back after a round over Pollachi.

On reaching Amaravathi, RS, who was one of our English Teachers, stopped his bike after recognizing us while we were taking a snap of the board in front of the Academic Block.

Then, we went to the Obstacle Court and only Karthi was able to perform most of monkey plays, as he is still a monkey while most of us have turned into elephants.

As it is vacation period, most of the staff members were not there and the campus seemed deserted except for the painters, masons and carpenters who were busy with the maintenance activities that are usually done during the vacation period. The other important thing we noticed was that the name “Boy’s Mess” (as if there are girls in the campus) has been changed to “Sainik School, Cadet’s Mess” (as if, it exists outside the campus).

After seeing all the houses, we went to the canal that runs through the path lined with Eucalyptus trees on either sides, leading to Kallapuram, which used to be our running route for the morning PT. As sensed, we finished the beers and whiskey on the steps of the Canal while Karthi and Shakthi busied themselves in catching a lone fish.

The bottles got empty and it was the right time go to the Dam, so that we will be able enjoy its beauty in a state of ecstasy. As like other dams in Tamilnadu, Amaravathi Dam was constructed during Kamaraj’s reign and it stretches between the two hills that stand like the firm and heavy boobs of river Amaravathi. There is Crocodile form and the Indra Gandhi Wild Life Sanctuary spreads around this river.

We met PC, our physical chemistry teacher, who intentionally talked about the political scenario of Tamilnadu rather than the political scenario of the school in which we would be more interested.

The day ended with more Amravians, Beers and Whiskeys!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Money > Monkey > Monkeys

I have never understood Money and Fast Money is too far from my reason. That’s why, I was not able to understand the share market stuff haunting everyone in the recent time. However, I understand this beautiful story I received from Haroon, the mullah of Sainik. I thought this story would be really an interesting stuff to share, when the market is taking a roller coaster ride.

Once upon a time in a village a man appeared who announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for Rs. 10. The villagers seeing that there were many monkeys went out in the forest and started catching them. The man bought thousands at 10 and as supply started to diminish and villagers started to stop their effort.

He announced that now he would buy at 20 rupees. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching moneys again. Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer rate increased to 25 and the supply of monkeys became so that it was an effort to even see a monkey let alone catch it.

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at 50! However, since he had to go to the city on some business his assistant would now buy on behalf of the man. In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers. Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at 35 and when the man comes back you can sell it to him for 50.

The villagers queued up with all their saving to buy the monkeys. After that nobody found that man and that assistant, only Monkeys and Monkeys and monkeys.....
I understand Shakthi, JK, Haroon, ....... are left with lot of monkeys. They say, patience will turn monkeys to money and it's a long term investment. Who Knows!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Thanks to Chennai Cops

I’m very good at loosing cell phones, debit/credit cards, keys (vehicle as well as house) and wallets. It all started in my school days when I was passionate about trying a wide assortment of pens and loosing them. I don’t really remember whether it was the loosing that made me try different pens or it was the multitude of pens that caused this habit of loosing. Though I lost interest in pens (I no longer carry a pen), I couldn’t loose the habit of loosing and it keeps haunting all my personal possessions like cell phones, keys, cards, (sometimes girls!) etc, till they no longer interest me. Today, I have lost my debit card for the second time in two months!

Though very cautious, my wife was also caught by the Loosing Jinn last month when she lost her cell phone while visiting the bank. When she informed me, I blocked the SIM and consoled her saying that the model is obsolete and so it is an opportunity to get the latest one. But she was adamant, as it is a B'day gift I gave her and hence, she resolved to find it at any cost. Finally, she asked me to email the Cyber Crime Department of Chennai Police, requesting them to investigate this. I emailed cop@vsnl.net with the details of the cell phone and to my surprise, I got a response from Letika Saran, IPS, CoP, Greater Chennai, assuring that necessary action will be taken.

Exactly after 10 days, I received a call from the commissioner’s office that the cell phone has been found and recovered. One of my uncles went to collect the cell phone, and I understand from him that Letika Saran herself handed over it. I know that the Chennai cops have a habit of making and breaking world records in investigating complex cases. But I was surprised to see the same level of importance given for a trivial case. When agencies across the country are struggling to file charge sheets within 90 days, narrowing the gap between crime and justice so drastically is no mean task.

Thanks to the efforts of the Chennai Cops.

Don’t hesitate to lodge a complaint through cop@vsnl.net when you loose a cell phone.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Finding Happiness

I don't remember the last time when I had a hearty and genuine laugh. Most of us turn monotnous and sedentary, lost in contemplating on things that would gaurd us in the dead zone of security. The present illusion of the shore of safety, shell of security and the crystal of certainity makes life dead and would at some point makes us realize that we are living someone else's life. Beyond these illusions, we have always been happy living in insecurity and uncertainity and there is always a joy in living dangerously.

Don't call it Uncertainity - call it Wonder

Don't call it Insecurity - call it Freedom

I found the following six tips deviced by Tal Ben-Shahar who teaches Positive Psychology at Harvard University to be really useful in atleast making an attempt to deliver myself of the disillusionment of security and certainity.

Six Tips for Happiness

1. Give yourself permission to be human. When we accept emotions -- such as fear, sadness, or anxiety -- as natural, we are more likely to overcome them. Rejecting our emotions, positive or negative, leads to frustration and unhappiness.

2. Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning. Whether at work or at home, the goal is to engage in activities that are both personally significant and enjoyable. When this is not feasible, make sure you have happiness boosters, moments throughout the week that provide you with both pleasure and meaning.

3. Keep in mind that happiness is mostly dependent on our state of mind, not on our status or the state of our bank account. Barring extreme circumstances, our level of well being is determined by what we choose to focus on (the full or the empty part of the glass) and by our interpretation of external events. For example, do we view failure as catastrophic, or do we see it as a learning opportunity?

4. Simplify! We are, generally, too busy, trying to squeeze in more and more activities into less and less time. Quantity influences quality, and we compromise on our happiness by trying to do too much.

5. Remember the mind-body connection. What we do -- or don't do -- with our bodies influences our mind. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating habits lead to both physical and mental health.

6. Express gratitude, whenever possible. We too often take our lives for granted. Learn to appreciate and savor the wonderful things in life, from people to food, from nature to a smile.