Should I be more discreet?

Of late, I couldn’t help the feeling that any third person who follows my blog & other parts of this site for a few days would be able to know everything about me and there is a greater chance of identity theft. While I have been careful enough not to disclose any security information on these pages, with my tendency to post about the daily happenings in my life, the likelihood of piecing together the missing parts of the puzzle is very high. In my observation of other bloggers & those with personal websites, I could find people in both the extremes – right from people giving out their name, address & family photographs to people careful enough to hide behind their alias.

For the moment, I am just leaving the site as it is – for it has been like this for the last 5 years – in fact, it was revealing a lot more previously. Would my readers tell me whether I am giving away too much?

Turning a model

A colleague of mine clicked photographs of me from various different angles like the police would do the criminals (that is how it is shown in Tamil films… no first hand experience this). Someone was even holding sheets to get a nice background. All this – for a job advert that is going to appear in the local newspapers soon. While I am eager to see the advert out on print, I wonder who would apply with the company if they put my photograph in there. Perhaps, they wanted to scare people away. In any case, would get to know all about it in a couple of weeks.

Reap what you sow

During my days in Ramco – Chennai, Internet connection was something that couldn’t be taken for granted. It was early days for Internet in India and in our company, there used to be only one machine per team from where you can connect to the Net and that too for select few hours. Though they used a leased line, because of the number of users using the same line, the connection used to be very slow that rather than send a mail and wait for the success message to come up, one would feel like walking over to each of the recipients and deliver the message in person, where ever they live.

In the days when spam mails are unheard of, one of the common pranks amongst us is to subscribe our friend’s e-mail address (esp. Yahoo, Hotmail etc.) for all unwanted free newsletters so that when a guy opens his mailbox, he would find quite a few mails to delete before finding the genuine ones. At that time, it reached frenzied proportions that we used to have a secret e-mail addresses, maintained far away from the ears & eyes of these pranksters.

Though I have been both a victim as well as a tormentor in this game, it is my latter part that gets highlighted very often. When I opened one of my mailboxes after my holidays, I found about 4000 mails smiling at me – all from Viagara dealers, lottery agents, medical representatives et al. Perhaps, someone had cursed me at that time. I am still doing the unenviable task of separating the wheat from the chaff. One thing is very clear – you’ll reap what you sow, even if you have turned a good leaf long back.

How would you describe the feel when you are staying alone & receive an invite for lunch/dinner?

Heavenly! Only those who had undergone that would be able to appreciate that. After 1.5 years of good food, I was left to feed myself all of a sudden, as my wife decided to rest her heels in India for a while. That was when I realised how I had taken good food for granted all these days. Until the time I (re)discover the great cook (ahem!) in me, these invites would appear god sent. Going by the rate at which I am getting back to form in the kitchen, I think these invites would always appear god sent.

Shoe Bites

My new Bata shoes, that I bought as a backup for my Hush Puppies has bit (for want of a better term) me at more than one place on my right foot resulting in me limping for the last couple of days. Since I have had some stitches at that very place, the pain is even more acute. Though I have stopped using the shoes for now, sooner or later I would have to use them. Any ideas to smoothen it out and avoid the agony? My dad used to have instant ideas for these kind of issues. Perhaps, I should give him a ring.

Trip to India : Observations & Experiences – Part 2 of 2

– Had stiff neck all through the day on Jan 1st, thus wasting 1/19th of my holiday.

– Managed to find time to visit the Book Fair in Chennai (& happened to meet Badri there).

– Was stunned to see photo-copied versions of International Best Sellers & other IT books being sold for a fraction of their original cost, right outside the Book Fair venue and elsewhere in Chennai. With colour photocopying in place, one would find it hard to distinguish them from the original, but for the quality of the paper.

– Maintenance standards have taken a severe beating at the 32 ft. Anjaneyar Temple in Nanganallur.

– No fee is charged for minding the footwear at temple entrances in TN. Problem is that, at some places there is no one to man the place making people think about their expensive footwear while inside the temple.

– Many roads in Nanganallur, if not all have been relaid to good effect in the last 18 months.

– Only KJ Yesudas manages to draw the crowd he does for Carnatic concerts. Is it due to his gifted voice or cine fame or both?

– The New Indian Express costs only Rs 1.50 in Chennai.

– Both ‘The Hindu‘ & ‘The New Indian Express‘ have started their Trichy editions. Previously, Trichy-ites used to get their papers from Madurai.

– ‘Times of India‘ is all set to launch its Chennai edition. Their offices are being readied at Sholinganallur. I expect Hindu to launch its Mumbai edition subsequently.

– Quite a lot of people, whom I met, are not happy with the so-called neutrality of The Hindu.

– An auto-driver at Chennai to another motorist who crossed his way, “Vanakkam Sir! Konjam paathu poga koodadhaa…”. Should I say that it was pleasant to hear these words instead of the usual innuendoes.

– Was made to realise that a battery is as important to the camera as a film. There is no point in having 4 extra film rolls & even a digital camera as a backup if you don’t have backup batteries even for one. Murphy’s law would strike ensuring that both the cameras would cry for batteries when you badly need them.

– Chennai has changed and it is for good.

Trip to India : Observations & Experiences – Part 1 of 2

Kuwait Airways is quite a decent airline.

– No airport/baggage tricks this time. Airport staff behaved well and so did I.

– Almost all the shops & public places in Chennai have a box titled ‘Tsunami Relief Fund’. How many of them are genuine?

– Prices have skyrocketed in India or I have remained grossly out of touch for very long. Whatever it is, my budget went awry.

– The background music in Sun TV‘s Tsunami appeal advert churns the stomach.

– Fleecing by the auto drivers in Chennai would never stop.

– There are mechanics, who do work on Sunday nights – in case your vehicle gets punctured. Just that you would have to walk few kilometres to find them.

– Met some of my close friends – some of them after several years.

– With the arrival of Data OneBSNL‘s Broadband service (256 kbps for 500 bucks a month), Internet services would be moving to a different level.

– Lost a gold ring within hours after it was presented to me.

Marina beach presents a desolated look.

– After a long time, it was pleasing to see Cauvery gushing with water.

Trichy is littered with ‘kavidhai’ posters on Tsunami.

– Flyovers have been built over the narrow roads at Trichy so much so that, at some places you could jump into the balcony of a house from the flyover & viceversa.

– Almost got a heart attack when I heard that Srirangam – the island between 2 rivers, faced water problem last year. Effect of building more & more apartments axing the lush green coconut & mango groves.

– The modern public convenience near Srirangam temple is really, really well maintained.

– People don’t bother switching off their mobile phones even when they are at the sanctum sanctorum of temples. Hearing “manmadha raasa” tune while worshiping Lord Ranganatha doesn’t augur very well.

Back Bournemouth after 19 days. Can’t say it as a great trip coz the mood in India is understandably sullen & sombre. For the last 24 hours, the only thing that remains in my mind is the scene of my mom at the airport in her choked voice & moist eyes saying, “seekirama ingaye vandhuden da. Ethanai naalaikku daan ipdi irukaradhu” (Come down here quickly, once & for all. How long can we live far apart like this?). Thinking of that makes me emotional as well and twice during the day so far, I had to wipe off the tears in a polite way.

Regular posts as soon as I settle down.