Ergonomics

Working from sofa for long doesn’t seem to be good for my back. In the recent weeks, I have been working for extended hours from sofa when Anirud is not around and from the dining table by sitting on it when he is present, as a result of which I have been suffering from slight back aches in the last few days. Planning to simulate an office like environment at home possibly after buying an ergonomically designed chair.

Parking Notices

Pray and Display

I had to stop by a local church for some reason and for a moment, I didn’t see the ‘r’ in the notice at their parking lot. Couldn’t help smiling when I noted that eventually. If you don’t get the word play, look at the blue notice that is typically put up by the respective local councils at the public parking spaces.

Pay and Display

Wonder whether the churches employ some creative people on their rolls. The same church had put up a note in front of their building ‘We believe in Miracles. Even England for World Cup’.

Airlines and an evil idea

Few years back I used Kuwait Airways for my trip to India and when I had some change in the itinerary, they made me regret for choosing to fly with Kuwait Airways. The procedure was very complicated that they can’t do any changes over phone or email and I had to visit their offices in person with the tickets, proof of identity and what not.

On the contrary, my in-laws who travelled in Srilankan Airlines had some change of plans and last week I called up the airline’s offices to find out the procedure. All I needed to provide them was the name of the passenger and the date of travel. The airline staff confirmed me the co-passenger’s name, where the ticket was booked, when the onward journey was made and everything. All the necessary changes were done over the phone and that was it. They even said that the same ticket would hold good. Sounds simple? Hold on.

Just think a bit about the data security. If you want to screw up someone who travels by Srilankan, all you need is their name and the date of travel. You can then just call up the airline’s offices and have their travel date changed. Worst part is, the actual passenger wouldn’t even know about that until the originally intended day of travel. Have I just given you an evil idea?

Trip down the memory lane street

Recently I was driving past Hounslow – a London suburb near Heathrow, where I lived between 2000 and 2002. As those were the good, old bachelor days, I was telling my other half about the time we had then, the route we used to take for our daily commute, the Asian shop in our neighbourhood, the polling booth where I cast my vote, the shopping mall and the super market we used to frequent etc. I got a bit carried away with the talk that we decided to visit the street where I lived. Cromwell Street is still the same as it was before. It is a narrow, one-way street with just about 20 odd houses. It was exactly five years ago that I moved away from the house we lived and it so happened that I didn’t get a chance to visit the area afterwards. While I entered the street, I had an eerie feeling that the house would have been demolished and might have given way to some modern structure. Thankfully, it wasn’t so.

I parked my car in front of the house and felt very nostalgic. Strange that one feels that way within five years. The house we lived was an old one with 3 bedrooms and a box room. Four of us used to stay there and my room was the one that was upstairs facing the road. The Indian flag that I had pinned up on the wall used to be visible from the road, if anyone cared to crane their neck and look up. There used to be a ill-maintained lane that would run by the side of the house leading to the garden. All through the two years, none of us had stepped into that lane and as a result it used to be in a very pathetic state. It was a typical bachelor’s house. Our biggest maintenance activity whilst there used to be the clean up of the carpeted floors with the vacuum cleaner. The present occupants appear to be a sensible lot for I found some flower pots aesthetically arranged in the front. I was so very tempted to walk up, knock the door and see how the house looks like inside, but decided against that.

Despite the fact that we have had numerous, lengthy and loud arguments in the house, despite the fact that we went through the frightening days of 2001-02 many a times discussing for the whole night about the options we had if we lose our jobs, despite the lovely boiler there which used to break down quite often causing chaos, I have so many pleasant memories of that place. More than anything else, we would best remember that house for the hundreds of Tamil movies we have watched there. As our first address in the UK, that house can’t be easily forgotten. I am sure my ex-housemates would be with me on this.

Keeping track of time

While attending a seminar at London recently I noticed that the key presenter, who is a CEO of a company, was wearing three watches – two on his right and one on his left. I am not sure about others, but I was distracted by that for some reason. Someone who took up the podium after him asked him about the watches on stage and pat came his reply, “I have offices in different time zones. I am not good at math to work out the time difference. It is a matter of convenience”.

If ever I get to meet our company’s CEO, I would like to see how many watches he uses, for he has got offices in all the time zones. If he is using only one, I would assume that he is good in maths.

Washing

The washing machine at our home conked out recently and we had to resort to manual washing for few days. Though that sounds like a simple chore, it was something that we hadn’t done for quite a few years now.

The last time I remember washing my clothes without a machine was during my bachelor days in 1997-98 when I was working in Chennai and staying in a room. During those years, we at Ramco were working on every other Saturday and as I was doing my Masters then for which I need to attend the classes over the weekend, the evenings on Saturday / Sunday was the only time I could spend for washing. Since then, washing has always been a task of hate for me coz I need to factor that into account whenever I planned to go out. Whenever I travel from Chennai to where my parents lived, I remember carrying home bagful of dirty clothes and get that back washed and ironed. What a relief that was. I am glad that those days are behind me. I can’t imagine how the womenfolk of yesteryears (and some of them even today) used to wash loads of dirty clothes manually. I would never want to imagine all that.

Mr. Bean’s Holiday

How wonderful it is to watch a movie in a theatre? The last time I watched a full movie in a theatre was in 2002 when I saw ‘Yey! Nee Romba Azhagaa Irukkaey‘ at Chennai. A year later, my wife and I watched ‘Love Actually’ in London but had to come out 20 minutes before the movie ended as we had a train to catch. Currently, as we have our my in-laws here to baby sit Anirud, we decided to watch Mr. Bean’s Holiday at Empire Cinema in Hemel Hempstead.

The movie was a typical Rowan Atkinson comedy which people of any age could enjoy. More than the actual movie itself, I enjoyed the theatre experience complete with nachos (Popcorn is not my fav) and 2 scoops of Haagen-Dazs. Movie in a cinema hall doesn’t seem to be the flavour these days. There were hardly 30 people in the hall and this was on an evening before a long weekend. May be it was a wrong day or it could be that people prefer to watch it at the comfort of home. Anyhow, it was an enjoyable evening over all to re-live what we were doing more frequently once upon a time.

Easter Break

I enjoy Easter breaks than Christmas holidays coz of the weather factor. After walking around with the jackets and coats for months, Easter would probably be the first time when you could shed off at least some of those and walk light. Also, four days of holidays after a long time would be more than welcome, although it so happens that I will be working through the easter break this time.

One another reason why Easter is special to me is that I arrived in UK just before the Easter break seven years ago. In a way it gives a kind of anniversary feel. Seven years seem quite long now. After eating the Jacket Potatoes and baked beans on a Good Friday afternoon in 2000, I never had an idea that I would spend this many years in this island. Two years ago, exactly this day I put a post in my blog (in my old blog, which hasn’t been linked up properly) wondering whether to take up the British Citizenship or not in view of the fact that I had completed 5 years in this country. Two years later, am still sitting over that.

Sivaji – The Boss

Just came out fresh after hearing the songs of Sivaji – The Boss.

Thankfully, A.R.Rahman hasn’t made the same mistake as he did in disastrous Baba. SPB has sung the fast paced intro song ‘Balleilakka’, whatever that means. I am sure that this song is going to send the audience to raptures when it gets screened. ‘Sahana Saral’ and ‘Sahara Saral’ (pathos) are soothing to the ears. ‘Vaaji Vaaji Sivaji’ is kinda ok with nothing great about it. The interesting one among the lot is ‘Athiradee’ sung by ARR himself. The lyrics have got the film names of Rajini’s old movies like ‘Billa Ranga Basha daan…’.

On a first pass, the songs have come out very well. It has very much set up the expectations about the movie. Atleast in me.