Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Dad is born

Note: This post is moderated by my wife.

Days of waiting are finally over. We have been promoted to be parents.

Prelude: In April 2007 we had been married since 6 months and we were going for our much needed holiday at the end of May and my wife springs a surprise on me "We are not going. Cancel our tickets". I am surprised since I am the one always asking to cancel plans. And she gives it to me on a platter - "we are going to be parents". Wow thats a cracker of a surprise. I felt as if I had a few tots of Rum and I am on a high. That euphoria lasted a few months and the period of anticipation/expectation had started.

Nov 27 2007: Start date for us to be ready says the good doctor. So everyday visit to the doc or was it alternate days. Forgive me since I am still euphoric. Days pass and we cross December 11th still no baby. I am mighty worried for my wife and the child. The doctor is hapless "mother is not yet ready, but the baby is ready to come into this world. We will wait". Now what is that supposed to mean. I ask that to the good doctor and he gives me a few doctory jargons. Note them down, google them, ask my doctor friends and then try to get the meaning that the doctor wanted to convey. But trust me that did not alleviate my tension. On the contrary, the tension became all the more palpable. And then yet another doctor visit, a stress test and the baby decided he/she has had enough of dark places. The good Dottore advises "Caesarian" and now I am in my elements, I decide in 5 minutes and say, if you are ready to operate now, I am ok with it. No muhurat (Good time) for me, my wife and baby are more important. In goes the mom. argue with the good doc and said I want to be with my wife. Relenting to my stubbornness he lets me stand behind a curtain behind my wife. He warns me that it is not a pretty site. Like I care.

15 minutes pass by and no news yet. And suddenly bawls my kid, I yet don't know if its a boy or a girl. Hmmmmmp like I care. My first instinct, check wife, check kid and then sit down and cry, yes cry. Tears of Joy came running down.

I have just shown my wife this post and she sends me flying kisses.

By the way what is this post about?
Reams and reams have been written about how women change to mothers, the feelings that change run through them. I am going to write about what runs through me now at this moment sitting watch over our prince.
I am over-whelmed just sitting and watching him get comfy and sleep, sleep and sleep.

Now I know how it should feel like a dad. In days of yore (i.e. when we were born); in India, more often than not, the dads would not be there to see our birth. But I am glad that I decided to chuck that custom/tradition/practice or whatever else you call it. But I have a mighty problem on hand. My wifey can go on and on and describe how she feels about been a mom (But in actuality saying nothing), but I cannot even do that. But still I will try to express in words what emotions ran through me.
Moment 1: Baby is born - Concern for wife and baby and how are they doing. I know Baby is fine because he is bawling
Moment 2: Allowed to meet my wife - Contentment and a deep sigh of relief. Poor thing she has been through a lot of turmoil in her mind when the doc says she is not ready.
Moment 3: See my son - I see him and call him Rajakumara (Sanskrit for Prince and the moniker stuck). We are yet to name him. Rajakumara is just the first word that came to me when I saw him first.
Moment 4: I envelope my son in my hands. - My kid wraps my shirt lapels in his baby finger and opens his eyes at me. The flood gates open & tears of joy come running

These are the four discrete moments that I could recollect.

What are we calling him? What name do we give him?
There is a quaint tradition of ours which allows us to give three names to the baby, two are soon forgotten. I cannot say why the three, but it makes sense, One name by the parents, one by the paternal grand-parents and one by the maternal grand parents. And the name given by the parents is the one used always. So what is the name? Patience dear reader, this is my blog. So we had to decide on two names. Why two? We did not know the gender of the baby. They would not tell us and I did not want to know. So one name if the baby were to be a girl and the other if he were to be a boy. The name with which my rajakumara, my prince will henceforth be called is PratapaRudhra. Pratap means valour and Rudhra is the super God. (Wait for a theological post on what this super-God business is). So PratapaRudhra means the over-lord of valour. A prince should have a name fit for a King!!!

Where did I pick this name from?
Where else but from my hobby - Indian History. PratapRudhra was a mid-dynasty king of the Kakatiyas in South India.

Here are a few Links for those interested in history

How do I pronounce the name?

Pr as in 'Price'
a as in 'a-round'
ta as in 'tar'
pa as in 'europa'
Ru as in 'Rumour'
dh as in "Dharma'
ra as in "era"

Now say it all once, Easy isn't it. :)


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

India Are the World 20-20 Champs

For this post I am going to user Browning's poem Incident of the French Camp. I am using the style and a few words to tell us what goes on in our mind.

You know, we Indians stormed the Wanderers stadium (South Africa),
A 1000 miles away,
In a desi (Indian) -bar, we (my friends at office and me),
stood, danced, drank shouted hoarse on our storming day (the finals),

With attitudes out-thrust, you fancy how,
Glass of Rum/Beer in hand, Mind running perms and combs,

As if willing our team to fight, fight to win, not to fall,

Oppressive with the cloud of defeat.

Just as perhaps we mused,
"Our glory that soar, to earth may fall,

Let once M S Dhoni, our captain, guardian of our honor
waver a yonder cricket pitch,
Out 'twixt the "sixes" barrage there flew A rider,
bound on bound,
Full galloping; nor bridle drew,
Until he reached the bowling wicket.

Then off there flung in business-like attitude (take the last wicket)
and bowled a neat ball,
after judging the batsman's intention,
you could hardly suspect him to take the wicket,
(So tight, lips compressed,
eye-brows clouded with sweat),
you looked twice ere, you see our own Conan,
Place the then high-flying, but now falling ball
into the hands of the fickle Goddess Victory.

"Well", cried the team "India i.e. Bharat", by God's grace
"we got you the World cup"
We are in the ground, where to our hearts' desire
Perched our Flag; Tiranga by name,
For all world to see.

Our eyes flashed, our Glory; like fire soars high,
The euphoria lasts for some time to come,
Presently senses reined in
unbridled pleasure and joy,
we raise a toast to our,
Boys in Blue,
who are now the men; nay the team in BLUE.


What more shall I tell you! a migraine was spoiling to mess up my plans for the night. But I will not be denied the Glory. I leave early, grab a nap. but get up late and reach the rendezvous - Kapila restaurant where Vikas, babu Bhaiyya, manu, Silky bhai, seetha, srini and uncle were already present. I miss the Indian innings, but watched it three times the next day. Oh! by the way, I am not the usual cricket fan. Lost all interest in cricket in my "those" days. But this team grabbed my fancy with their "Play-To-Win" attitude. As I take the seat, Pakistan lose their first wicket. Wow! thought I, can there be a grander entry. Pardon the images. (A little extra rum can do that to you.)
The bar all smoke-filled, they had provided a big-screen for our viewing pleasure. The place soon turned into a shouting match. Shouting what you dare ask??? just about anything. Sample these
"Bhhaaaaaaaaajjjjjjjiiii Wiiiiiiiickkkkket"

"Jeetega bhai Jeetga" asks one
India Jeetega reply the rest in chorus.

"bolo Bharat mata ki Jai" say one
Jjjjjjjjjjjai shouts the crowd.

But the one that rang true every time was

"ganapati bappa" - "Morya" - hail the elephant trunk.

What else did we do. well we were competing with everyone else in the out-shouting match that was going on. In this picture we were sitting silent (only those very very few times). a few drinks were already imbibed. Don't ask how many. I cannot remember. Then the lull set in. Wickets were not coming in for sometime. we are feeling despondent and unfairly criticizing our players, Conan the most. you can see srini wipe the perspiration from his balding head (Sorry for this Dora. But I had to. Your pose is too whatever..) Silky lights up yet again and babu bhaiiya uses the opportunity to asks for more bottles. Of what!!! if you don;t know, then you needn't know.
Manu needs some help by now. His voice has become hoarse and seetha is in his calculations (Sorry again) and explaining them to a fuddled-brain Manu. Where am I, taking the snap. Hands are bit shaky now what with all the jumping, dancing and shouting match we were indulging and of course because of good "spirits". Then a line of Pakistani keeping falling and each time babu Bhaiiya asks "Misbah?". No we say. "G****" abhi nahi gaya! Arre G**** usko out karo. and we are off to another shouting spree.

And then another wicket, but still no Misbah!!!!! "G**&$#^" goes babu bhaiyya again. Srini tells of my avocation to "India lifts the cup" with a lift of my own glass of good rum. This picture is the moment when India needed 1 wicket to win and Pakistan were needing a lot. Yours truly predicted that the wicket would fall and the picture is snapped. Then Bhajji goes on a generous spree of offering runs. 3 sixes in his penultimate over and Pakistan looked as if to give us an acidic stomach rum et al. Last over Joginder Sharma, India's dark horse who was running a bad luck streak on his back
bowls India to victory. The euphoria is yet to drain. The credit for predicting the victory wicket goes to Babu Bhaiyya, He stands up, picks up his glass, takes a swig and predicts, ab yeh B***C*** out hoga and we all jump up in joy and ecstasy. First I did not realise that we won. I only thought Misbah is out and now we will win. But we have won. That called for an extra round of drinks (Number count lost). We went on and on chanting "Dhoni" "Dhoni" "Dhoni" "Dhoni" "Dhoni" "Dhoni" "Dhoni" "Dhoni". And the whole restaurant took our chant. The victory lap by the team is one which we will cherish for a very long time to come.

The euphoria last for the night and the rest of the day. I watch the highlights thrice and still it is not enough. The hangover stays till the next day. The office chat still revolves around our victory.

This was last snap we took. The effect could be due to the Rum or the win.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Fiasco called the MA Team River-Rafting program

Well, well, John proposed and we accepted, but God disposed our plans peremptorily.
Date of trip: 8th Sept 2007
Place Kolad Village, Kundalika River
Offer: River Rafting, kayaking, Rappelling, and many more mountain water sports
Opted for : River rafting
Result: no River rafting
People: Employees of SAS - John, Deepak & Deepak, Navin & his BIL to be and of course yours truly.

Whats the story!
As Marco Polo would say, "What more can I tell you??"

The day started with The pick-up service coming up to my place (John and me are neighbors) and John comes 15 mins late.

Off we go to Navin's place to pick up his pair and the day starts on an Ominous note:Cannot reach him on phone. So cannot tell him we are on our way. Reach his place and wake him up. (Khadoos!!! He should have been awake and ready) the time 7:25 AM By the time we leave the place we, it is almost 7:45 AM and on the way, we stop for fuel and we notice we were driving with a flat tyre. What more can I tell you? A cigarette stop was in the offing. We lookup towards heaven and ask father above, "Is that all you got, bring them on?" and this was the beginning of the end of all our rafting - plans. We are behind schedule and finally near the edge of Pune we all are assembled in a rickety Jeep which had many undesirable features -
  1. Auto-Honking (Every time we hit a ditch, it honks baaaank baaaanak)
  2. Low-battery (Push start the goddamned vehicle)
  3. Auto-radio on off (Same story, hit a ditch and it starts blaring, cannot stop it)
  4. And a Homilies Non-comprehende of a driver we hired - he was all the time thinking we are on our way to boozeland - GOA
What more shall I tell you?

The drive was very scenic. You cannot complain of everything though and up whipped by camera-phone and shot this very nice picture. The moment I click, the jeep enters another hole in the road and you can see the effect.
The edge of the window peeps into the shot. But still it came out good. You can see more pictures in picasa.

Well we move on towards our destination and we see a host of cloud kissed mountains. At one point we had to stop to see the scenary, a cloud moving down a valley. We stopped here to have some breakfast and we lingered for sometime as the view was breath taking. City dwellers do miss out on the beauty of nature.
after breakfast we start again towards our goal. Along the way we the river meandering alongside our road and we had to stop yet again. This was something we will be missing for a long time to come. For posterity sake I needed some pictures. Forced the driver to stop (BY now he was confused and in a hurry to reach the end). The river is part of the TATA group's hydel project owning. Took some pictures with my phone from the moving cab before I decided enough, I need to get down. The pictures can be viewed here - picasa. by now everyone was in a trance - the effect of nature at it's virgin best.
got down and started clicking photos and here we found we have more to face. John's cam wouldn't work, Batter down a la' jeep.

And here i decided we need more pictures and we took our first people picture at this point with the river in the back drop.

We moved on and reach the destination just before lunch time. Our guide leaves us to inquire about our rafting program and we settle down for some chow. Post lunch we move and we acquire another Flat tyre. The jinx is still there. we top up the tyre with lots of air as the guide tells us we need to go only a short distance. We reach the starting point on a FLAT TYRE. and learn that the water levels are low and we need to go a bit up hill to enjoy the rafting. Yes the JINX is still with us. So we shift to another rickety JEEP and go uphill and enjoy the vision of a DRY RIVER BED. The jokes were on us now. Our driver, nice chap sounding incredulous asks us, You came all the way 100 KM (About 150 miles) to watch some mountains, trees and have lunch? Snigger!!!!

So we settle down for something second best - a dip inside a water fall. The road was littered with a host of waterfalls and we pick one which we liked

We pull up on the side and settle down in the water. Getting in was tricky, velvety smooth rocks did the trick on us, So gingerly we go in and then nobody wants to come out.

What did we do?,
Nothing just sit there. And I quote Anon
Doing nothing, but sitting and enjoying the bounty of nature's beauty is I suppose the best thing in the world

Spent a few hours under another fall before starting for home and I did not want to lose this so from the back of the moving jeep I clicked a few more. We saw two Rainbows parallel to each other and I wishfully thought, when can I go back to the stay in the lap of mother-nature?? Sniff!! Sniff!! Note: You will have to peer to see the second rainbow. It is faint.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Don't show your riches says PM Manmohan Singh; Crap says I

World over, since time immemorial, people have been striving to get a better life than they have currently. When they get more disposable money to spend, they would want to spend. In the Indian context, marriage institution is a blatant example of better prospects - a rickshaw puller wants to marry his daughter off to at aleast a Taxi - driver and from this derives the rest of the society's intent too. Every parent would like to see their children earn better than their peers, have a better (read bigger) standing in society, to wed in more influential families etc. On the other side of the spectrum, we have people who don't want that or are not allowed to want that - people who survive day by day on the welfare doled out by the government and the nasty tribe - politicians. Where does the government get money for welfare - we the tax payers give that money. What is more troubling is the ingratitude of the government towards the tax payer- asking us to have some restrain since the government is inapt to raise the so-called-weaker sections' standing in society. We must have a rebate for the taxes we pay since we see all the money either eaten off or paid into welfare (read doling out) only. We are paying taxes for charity work. The UPA govt. brings out a report card, prepared by them and invariably they talk about only what they did, but no mention about what they did not - for example - inflation control, mis-handling of power crisis, mis-handling of home affairs. I am not talking about bomb blasts if you may. What I am talking about is the after effect of the blast - Compensation for the victims or their next of Kin. Compensation is not bad. what is bad is the way it is portrayed and implemented. I would want compensation in the form of earning my lively hood and keeping my self-respect. Not just some Cash which runs out quite quickly and then you are reduced to begging on the streets. The respected finance minister talks about un-marked money among people who do respectful Jobs. What about the begging-economy.

Another galling fact is the leaders-of-minorities : In Hyderabad we have the Salar - Salauddin and his Son Asaddudin Owaisi who run Schools, colleges etc. The fee there is so exhorbitant that I fail to understand why do they need additional funding under the minority institutions tag. Why are they unable to raise their "so called minority" brethren to a better social standing, simple because my dear in India like everything else Education is a business and not charity which I fully support.

Then we have our Honourable HRD minister who is bothered only about Quotas in institutions. But his ministry does nothing about basic education in non-urban areas, backward areas etc. Many of the institutions that have been targeted by our Minister (Sniff) are the ones who actually do some thing for these areas. If you need proof check out IIM Kozhikode. Student and faculty indulge in bringing students to a level where they can compete with peers in the IIM.

Then we have Honourable minister for AIIMS Anbumani Ramdoss (Oops! he is the honourable health minister). But he doesn't act like one. Polio cases are on the rise, but the minister is worried only about bringing down the dean.

And lastly Dr. Maran who had to step down as telecom minister because his uncle and DMK supremo did not like people's opinion; yes people's opinion as brought out in a opinion poll in a newspaper run by Dr. Maran's bro. Dr. Maran really did something for telecom sector and we the aam-admi (Normal human being) were happy in that one area atleast. Now we are back to being the aam admi -a.k.a in Tamil Maanga Madayan (Fool).

Honourable prime minister, are you listening to the drums. Drums always give warning.

And the icing on the cake - When the Legislative does nothing, the common man looks towards the judiciary and the legislative does not like that.

Failures of the Government -
1. No mention of building better road infrastructure - is work on the golden quadrilateral of the previous governmen still on or stopped because it was not started by the Holy INC.
2. Needling in affairs which would enable them to get votes for the next election and do nothing after that
3. Power: States which were selling excess power to others is now reeling under the lack of it.
4. Water resources and planning
5. Poor visualisation of SEZ - this one is worth mentioning - Using arable land to build industries. Dear Prime minister and his team; where do you want the farmers to go.? Suppose for every acre of arable land acquired for a an SEZ, the farmer is given 3 acres of barren land far away from water, would he be able to grow the same yield??? Why don't industries pick up barren land; simply because it is barren.
6. Law and order: I give up on this.

Dear Government of the aam-admi; the very same aam admi who now feels that he/she is a Maanga-Madayan, When will you stop interfering and meddling and start governance. Good governance does not mean you tell us what to do and you do the opposite. Look at your own legislators; a few of them puts the whole bunch to shame. Oh! you will wash hands saying they are not from our party. Crap!!!!

The aam junta of this once-upon-a-time (When was that) great nation - you have a choice - grovel on the mud or stand up. Prince of Hamlet remarks (or was it some one else - I know not) some one else is great because you are on your knees. To add to that, you bend your knee to some one who doesn't deserve even an iota of respect.

Jinhe Naaz hai Hind par woh Kahaan hai?? Kahan Hai, Kahan Hai, Kahaan Hai??? (Sniff!!! Sniff!!!!)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Maestro L Subramanyam makes me think....

This Morning I was listening to Dr. L Subramanyam play the violin and as I was listening to his soulful playing, a thought wandered into my mind. "Where have all the great musicians and great masters gone ?" TV doesn't talk about them except posthumously, "The Hindu" which I consider a great news daily doesn't talk much about musicians as they used to previously. In my child days, I used to scour the week's collection of the Hindu and collect articles on different topics and columns that were published. But not anymore. The columns are not as vivid. TV is much left alone, the more I talk about TV the more depressing it is. All you have now is "Serial" killers and just more "Serial" killers. At an age when I could not appreciate music much, TV was just one option : DD National and now with this plethora of channels, I wish we could get back those days. The spirit of Unity concerts of Madras Telugu Academy and Bharat Cultural Integration Committee are a boon to music lovers. Why a boon since the concerts do not discriminate on region, culture or any other such parameters. They have proved that art and music transgress borders and "mean" thinking. Forgot who said it, but the quote runs thus "There is no such thing as good or bad music, there is either music or there is noise". Well said. I am sure there are more people in this country and still more people in this globe who appreciate music for what it is and not from where it has originated. Why is it that Indian classical music has more appreciation from "Non-Indians"? Why is it that we have only the "Tyagaraja festival in Tiruvarur and the Bal Ghandharv Mahotsav in Pune? Why is it that a Shakira or a Iron Maiden has more promotion, sorry not just promotion but promotional blitzkriegs? Sure their music and songs and dance are great, but what I am ranting about and what I want to find out is have Indians lost touch with their roots? Have Indians no appreciation for their own music? Is "Indian Art" losing ground because of its own brethren? I have not the answer. I only have complaints. I wish I could be a TVK Shastry ?

This "wishy" thinking is making me ashamed. I just wish but do nothing about it.

The worser thing that is making me mad is so called artists loot the government by using the "artists exemption" from paying income tax, make tons of money; that too because fools like yours truly are foolhardy to buy their stuff and on top of it I have to pay income tax because I am salaried. Truly maddening.....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cricket, India and the world

I am not much of a fan leave alone being a cricket fan. But I could not help but notice the ire of Indians against the heroes we created albeit paper heroes. I do play some sport, but cricket is not my cup of tea or coffee. A lot of discussion went into "the viability of this team winning the cup" and a lot more discussion is going on as to what went wrong. Either case the demi-gods of Indian sports have become mere mortals with vandals going ahead and abusing families and breaking into houses, damaging property all because the gods are not coming home with the trophy. My question is "So what if are out of reckoning?", "so what if the paper heroes are mere mortals and have failed?". Indians as a bunch are responsible for this debacle as much as the team that went for the tourney. As far as I am concerned, what ails Indian cricket is Indians themselves. stop praying to the demi-gods that you have created, and if not full, atleast to a large extent the team would start playing cricket rather than adverts and albums. The "Times of India" - once upon a time a news daily I respected and now a paper I would wrap my tiffin box with shows photos of Zaheer khan driving his SUV and mentions his girlfriend in the caption. Can't you just leave them alone and treat them as people first and sportsmen second. I give a damn to who is Zaheer khan's girlfriend and give more to his bowling abilities. Wakeup ye brethren of India, wake up!!! Give the demi-gods you have created a chance to be people and sportsmen first.