Oxymoronic Campaigns

In an organization someone I know works for, there is a campaign going on to cut down electricity usage in the office. There are nicely designed flyers all over the place giving little statistics / tidbits on how much the company could save by switching off the monitors, light bulbs etc. The flyers even tell how much electricity could be saved if one chooses to avoid e-book and stick to traditional books. Also, every switch board and monitor is splashed with “you can’t miss meâ€? kind of stickers that remind everyone to ‘SWITCH OFF’. In the same organization, at the same time there is another campaign going on, probably being run by a different set of people. This one talks about saving the environment by cutting down the use of papers, and advice everyone to avoid printing unless it is absolutely necessary, to maintain documents/records as much as possible in digital means, to avoid ordering any flyers unless it is a customer facing feature, to have all campaigns communicated through electronic means etc.

The above reminds me of the utility service providers in Chennai. As soon the Corporation lays the road, the Electricity board would have a pressing need to dig it up and leave it with some patch works. Next would be the turn of Metro Water or someone else to dig it up.

Automatic Doors

There is a passageway in our office that has got automatic doors at both ends. Yesterday, as I was walking through it, for some reason the control unit of the automatic doors developed some problems and both the doors failed to open. I didn’t have my mobile on hand to call anybody, so I waited for few minutes for someone to appear and open the door from the other side using a lever.

During the last few months, I have been working during the weekends and late nights all alone in our sprawling office. When working at nights, I normally walk through the passageway to fetch coffee. Had this happened during one of the nights, this blog would have had an interesting post on how I spent the night sleeping on the office floor.

Beach Cleaning

Recently we visited Bournemouth beach which is by and large a very clean one. While I was living there a few years ago, I remember it being voted as the best maintained beach in England. While I was there, I noticed a guy with a metal detector combing through the sand. Although I have noticed quite a few of them doing the same in the past, I had not bothered to check what they were doing. I had a chat with the ‘mottai boss’ who was using the equipment and he patiently explained the nitty-gritties of the detector and also permitted me to take photographs.

Metal Detector at Bournemouth Beach

Metal Detector - LCD Panel

(Images hosted at Flickr)

The equipment he was using is the metal detector that can detect any metallic objects in the immediate vicinity up to a certain depth (1 feet or something). In the LCD panel, it would show him the exact location of the object including its depth etc and he digs that out immediately and puts it in a bag. He showed me his bag that contained lot of nails, bottle lids, rusted can openers, coins etc. I never thought that one would comb through the vast stretch of sand unless he/she is in search of something in particular.

The best part was when I asked him whether he is employed by the Council or anyone. He said that the equipment is his own and he is doing that so that the beach would be safe for the children. ‘We can’t expect the Council can’t track down every rusted nail in the beach. It will be impossible and very expensive too. But as hosts, we should keep the beach clean and I am doing my bit towards that end. There are lot of people like me who do this every day and we are just helping to keep this beach neat and tidy. We are happy if the visitors particularly children return back home after having a safe and enjoyable day here’. Mottai mama, I admire your spirit.


An old shopkeeper asked me whether I am a Chilean. When told that I am an Indian, he apologised for having offended me though I thought Chileans might have got offended for being juxtaposed with me. Later he added, ‘There is no race on earth other than Indians who consider education of their children much more important than their own survival’. Does that sound true?


For a long time now, my other half wanted to have a Hibiscus plant in our garden. We tried to get the seeds here in UK last summer, but in vain. So, when my in-laws visited us from India last month they carried two stems of the plant and that has been planted in the garden. With the month of May being unusally rainy this year, watering the garden is being taken care of without any effort from our part. It would be interesting to see if the plant grows and to have a ‘chembaruthi’ (செமà¯?பரà¯?தà¯?தி) blossom.

DD News

After several years, I happened to watch our good, old Doordarshan few days back. Having pressed 832 on my Sky remote accidentally, I was quite surprised ending up at a channel in which a guy was was speaking something about ‘khiladiyon… bangladesh… bharath’ etc in Hindi in front of a DD logo. Though the language was much beyond my ‘Yeh kya hai? Yeh Kalam hai!.. Voh kya hai? Voh Kithaab hai!’ levels, it was good watching our good, old DD after a long time. I tried listening to the English news, but was a tad disappointed on seeing an expressionless face who was trying hard to control himself from visiting the men’s room.

However much people criticised DD’s programmes in the past, their national news bulletins were my favourite in the yesteryears. Of course, we didn’t have a choice then as Doordarshan was the only available channel in India until the early ’90s. Quite a few news readers like Sunit Tandon (the bearded guy), Gitanjali Aiyar (I think she was Gitanjali Ambegaonkar earlier. Also, she used to appear in Solidaire TV adverts in print), Rini Khanna (Rini Simon earlier – I felt that her English was impeccable), Usha Albuquerque, Minu, Neethi Ravindran (who had a rich, colonial accent), Sukanya Balakrishnan, Sangeetha Bedi, Bhaskar Bhattacharjee, Kaveri Mukherjea, Tejeshwar Singh to name a few. I know quite a few guys at school who were listening to the news ogling at some of the above. Though I know that lot of people still watch Doordarshan news even in this era of satellite channels, I am not how many of the above news readers are still around.


I happened to be in Central London recently for attending a conference that happened in the top floor of an old building which provided some nice view of the city’s impressive skyline. As a speaker was dishing out some blurb from the podium, one group was busy munching the snacks they provided while the other was in an animated discussion over the property prices in the high-rise structures visible from there. But there was something that everyone in the room noticed and chuckled. It was that the speaker’s zippers were not fastened.

Wrong Day

There are quite a few things that could possibly push you into foul mood. Those are really little things that it would happen to everyone. Like for instance – waking up with a big headache, your electric toothbrush losing power while brushing, getting caught in heavy traffic when you need to reach work in a hurry, your password getting locked out since you entered it wrongly few times, missing a meeting coz of the previous one, fountain pen running out of ink when you are writing down something important, nothing working out at work, mobile phone losing reception when you want to talk, no comments in the blog, no interesting blog posts to read, child in a very cranky mood when you get back home etc. What if all these happen on the same day? You blog. Thats what I did.