Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Trip to the Lion City-November 2010

October 31, 2010: I was happy to leave Vellore (at last-after 3 and a half months!). Departed from Katpadi (Vellore’s railway station) by 2609 Bangalore Express at 15:55. Reached Bangalore City at 20:06. My parents had reached safely from Ahmedabad with my grandmother. I was glad to meet them after ages. We discussed about the forthcoming trip to Singapore! Stayed at home for two nights-October 31 and November 1.

November 2, 2010: D-Day! Passports and visas were ready! My parents and I were all set to leave!
We left home at 06:45 pm in a Maruti Suzuki Swift. Reached Bangalore’s Devanahalli International Airport at 08:35 pm. After immigration and security check, we were free (at 09:45 pm).
Boarded a Singapore Airlines aircraft at 10:45 pm. It took off at 11:10 pm.
Had dinner-an Asian vegetarian meal was served. It comprised rotis, paneer curry, pulao and yogurt. Also had fruit punch. Pity I couldn’t consume an alcoholic beverage (Cocktails like Bloody Mary and Screwdriver, apart from J.B’s Black Label and Smirnoff’s Vodka were available onboard.)
My window seat (Economy class) was comfortable, but I didn’t sleep well. I didn’t watch any of the movies on board, which included Inception, Salt, Avatar, 3 Idiots, I Hate Luv Stories, My Name is Khan, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Sex and the City 2, Toy Story 3, Knight and Day, The Dark Knight, Terminator Salvation apart from some Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French and Tamil flicks. TV Shows onboard included an episode each of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, The Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons, Gossip Girl and Doctor Who. Instead of watching them, I chose to keep myself occupied with the flight path. I was updated with geographical information, as the aircraft flew over Tamil Nadu, The Bay of Bengal, The Nicobar Islands, The Straits of Malacca, and the Malayan peninsula before ultimately landing in Singapore.

November 3, 2010: Reached Singapore at 6 am. Cleared immigration and retrieved baggage.  Singapore’s Changi Airport gave an excellent first impression of the city-it was well maintained compared to many airports in India. We left at 08:30 am. A person called Guna had come to receive us. We left in an air-conditioned Toyota van.

The streets of Singapore were spotlessly clean. It felt like Paradise being there-so Utopian that you couldn’t imagine in any Indian city. The tarmac or asphalt roads were smooth, devoid of potholes and sand (typical of Bangalore and Ahmedabad.)
We zipped past at a good speed, not exceeding the speed limit though!
Another difference between Singapore and India (in terms of transportation) was the absence of noisy three-wheelers and annoying tractors on streets. Moreover, just a few two-wheelers were seen. Most of the cars were of Oriental origin (most of them Japanese Toyotas, Hondas and Suzukis, apart from Korean Hyundais and Kias.) Most of the taxis were either Hyundai Sonatas (new) or Toyota Crowns (old). A few, presumably the affluent, owned European models like the Bentley Arnage, the Audi A4 and the occasional Lamborghini Gallardo. No Fords or Cadillacs and certainly no Maruti 800s, Omni vans, Gypsys or Ambassadors (Indian cars) were seen. A few motorbikes were seen-2-stroke Yamaha RX-series bikes, along with Hondas and Suzukis. A few Bajaj Pulsars were spotted as well! Scooters were few in number, mostly Vespas of Italian origin. There were no Kinetic Hondas, Activas or Bajaj Chetaks, but mopeds were in plenty.

We reached Little India and checked into the Grand Chancellor. It was recently built and the rooms were comfortable.  After refreshing ourselves, we visited Singapore Zoo and went for the Night Safari. It was nice to see a well maintained zoo which was more like a national park, instead.

November 4, 2010: Went for the city tour in the morning. Saw Raffles Hotel from outside, but the building was not impressive compared to many skyscrapers in the city centre. We saw the Singapore Flyer, but did not go for a ride.
We went to the riverfront where the Merlion and the statue of Raffles were located. We also went to a Chinese temple and prayed for good luck. In the afternoon, we visited Sentosa Island. This was the most enjoyable part of the trip. The Underwater World was more than just an aquarium-the experience was as good as scuba diving! It was worth viewing many exotic aquatic species there.  We went up the Singapore Tower and had a bird’s eye view of the city. Later, there was a dolphin show, where acrobatic feats were performed by a porpoise. Just after sunset, we went for an entertaining show- “The Songs of the Sea”, with spectacular audio-visual effects, held on the shore of Siloso beach.

November 5, 2010: Visited Jurong Bird Park in the morning. A mind-boggling variety of avian species could be seen. There were bird shows too. Came back to the hotel room and relaxed for a while. We went for shopping in Little India in the evening. Mustafa Centre was just awesome-there were more goods for sale than in any Indian supermarket. The stores on Serangoon Street were really well-decorated for the festive occasion of Deepavali. We went to purchase souvenirs at ‘3 for $10’ shops.

November 6, 2010: Visited Veerakaliamman temple, Little India in the morning. It was like any temple in Tamil Nadu, with a gopuram and red stripes on walls. In the afternoon, we got ready for the journey back home. We returned to Bangalore at night by a Singapore Airlines flight.

It was an unforgettable trip. I feel like visiting the city again, probably for work in the near future. I was very impressed with the city’s infrastructure and the perfect amalgamation of tradition and modernity. It was a perfect pot-pourri of the West (industrialization and efficiency in implementation of laws) and the East (the Orient-for culture and family values.) Rudyard Kipling would have sung a different tune if he had visited Singapore (His quote “OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meetis not applicable!). It is evident that Singapore is a fine city, because there are fines for everything (this is a T-shirt quote)!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let there be light

Jealousy is an emotion that can kill,
Many a time, it occurs as a result of making a mountain of a molehill;
It can choke, when with or without a gill,
A fish out of water feels and nothing can fill,
The void of regrets, not having fulfilled one’s dreams,
When, in danger zone, traumatic effects are seen and life seems to be bursting at its seams,
Comrades don’t listen; they condemn one in anguish who screams,
Aloud to make one’s voice heard, as anything is worse than what it seems,
Judgment Day seems to have come before expected, one feels like giving up in despair;
Jealousy is like Kryptonite, sapping one of positive feelings, making one think life’s really unfair,
Or like a Dementor, whose name is enough to scare,
And presence difficult to bear;
In this materialistic world of gold-diggers, few seem to care,
For a noble cause and for those, to confront their fears, really dare;
Life’s like a race, it zooms ahead like a hare,
An individual who’s happy with limited resources is rare;

However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel,
So there’s another opportunity for one’s ideas to sell,
Another story to tell,
Life on Earth is not really like Hell;
Dark days are over,
Even by thinking, “Never say never”;
One is not too small to make a difference,
Even a lit incense stick can trigger a bonanza of luminosity, which makes sense.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The luminosity of success

For the average person, success may seem elusive,
Sans hard work and persistence, who can live?
Not even the crème de la crème, who have to slog day and night,
At least for the bread to be consumed by the family, which they have to give;
The struggle for existence is like a battle, where one must prove oneself competent to fight;

Success and failure are optional;
In this noisy, competitive world, one shouldn't remain in the lull,
Of ignorance and mediocrity, as each one of us has traits which are unique;
One ought to follow one's heart, even if one is meek,
Lest one should miss out on opportunities one can seek;
In life, one ought to have fixed goals,
They ought to remain a challenge, not a piece of cake, such as a trip to the Poles;
One ought to decide, whether to stay at home and enjoy with one's family,
Or whether to dare to move outside one's comfort zone and experience the big, bad world that's there to see;
Being within one's cocoon is hard to resist,
Unless, to go afar, one wishes to persist;
Even if it is to keep up with the Joneses,
To the individual who is passionate about her/his endeavors, success will be hers or his.

Success is manifested as different things for different people;
For many, it is money and fame;
For a few, it is having listened to the inner voice and having trodden a different path without regrets,
Ensuring that unlike others, they aren't the same;
As the secret of success lies behind the endless toil,
Which is done with love, with a positive feeling that plans won't foil.

Legend has it that a prince was forced to leave his kith and kin for fourteen years;
Confined in exile in the woods,
He confronted his fears,
And proved himself a righteous individual;
Upon returning home, he was proclaimed a hero,
Because he was not afraid to take risks for a selfless act,
Which can be established as a fact,
That success shouldn't blind us;
We should celebrate the triumph of truth, awareness over oblivion and good over evil, without any fuss.

Manifested as visible radiation and waves of sound,
The luminosity and decibels of the occasion will ensure that the Lord of Darkness will be found.

Friday, October 14, 2011

You know you're a Tam-Brahm if....

1.You wake up to M.S. Subbulakshmi's dulcet tones that resonate from your cassette or CD (nowadays MP3?) player- "Kausalya Supraja Rama" of Shri Venkateshwara Suprabatham.

2.You consume 'Madras filter coffee' of the finest decoction and go through snippets of the morning newspaper.
   The Hindu(pronounced 'Hind-do' [as in 'do' it well], not 'Hinthoo') is your favourite newspaper.

3.You own a TVS 50/XL Super,Suvega(affectionately 'Sevika'),Luna,Bajaj M80,Hero Puch or Enfield Mofa which is used for commuting, even you're a priest(sastrigal) going for a 'homam' from one household to another.
  You may own a bicycle or an ancient Ambassador(affectionately Ambi's Amby!) car.

4.You condemn 'mixture',namkeen and farsaan as 'sundry items', yet have them for lunch along with your thali.

5.'Stamping not allowed' would be more appropriate than 'Parking not allowed' as you care for your kolam.

6.You can't wait to rush back home after office hours as you don't want to miss the latest episode of Metti Oli, Kolangal, Chithi, Selvi, Manaivi, Comedy Time or Kondattam on Sun TV(or Raj TV,Kalaignar TV,Jaya TV,Aadithya TV,Star Vijay).
 If you're a westernized yuppie,you'll feel the same for Two and a Half Men,How I Met Your Mother,Family Guy and the Simpsons (on Star World),apart from Taarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah (on SAB TV).

7.You've grown up drinking Ovaltine('Oval'),Viva,Horlicks and Maltova (nowadays Milo, Boost and Bournvita).
   You've offered Crush,Oval, juice concentrate or syrup,apart from tea and coffee to guests.

8.You've visited least one of these restaurants- Mylai Karpagambal Mess in Mylapore,Woodlands, Palmgrove (in Madras),Dasaprakash (in Madras,Mysore,Ooty,Ahmedabad,Jaipur,Delhi,Agra and Lucknow),Chalukya,MTR,Vidyarthi Bhawan,CTR,Janatha,New Krishna Bhawan (in Bangalore).

9.You love shopping at Pothys,Nalli,Naidu Hall,RMKV (in Madras) or Rangachari Textiles (in Bangalore) despite the proliferation of malls with branches of Westside,Pantaloons,Wrangler,Nike,Reebok,Adidas,Big Bazaar and Vishal Mega Mart in your city.
   A visit to 8th cross,Malleshwaram or Sampige Road (in Bangalore),Ranganathan Street or Panagal Park (in T Nagar,Madras) is a must rather than a visit to Commercial Street or MG Road (in Bangalore),CG Road,Ashram Road or SG Highway (in Ahmedabad).

10.You don't play cards as there's no 'green' card, which every holder [an Ambi Mama,Athimber or Chitappa of yours in California/Texas/Michigan/Illinois :) ] uses to return to India every December for the Margazhi music festival in Mylapore Kutcheri Sabhas. There are Carnatic music concerts held elsewhere too-at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Malleshwaram (in Bangalore) and the Shanmukhananda Hall,in Matunga (Bombay). The Tiruvaiyuru Thyagaraja Aradhanai,held in the month of January,is famous too.

11.You stay in localities like Mylapore,Triplicane,Adyar,Besant Nagar,Saligramam,Vadapalani and Nanganallur (in Madras),
    Malleshwaram,Basavangudi,Banashankari and Jayanagar (in Bangalore),
    Vastrapur,Memnagar,Satellite and Bodakdev (in Ahmedabad),
    Matunga and Ghatkopar (in Bombay),
    RK Puram and Munirka (in Delhi)

12. Your long, tongue-twisting name is truncated to your initials. For example:  Melattur Sundaram Rajagopalaiyer is known as M.S.R. to all.
(October 14, 2011)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Rising Force in the Eastern Hemisphere-September 10,2011

An era had begun in the new millennium,imparting in the developing half of the globe,a feeling of vigour and ecstasy,
To challenge the invincible,with the collapse of the West's economic supremacy;
Plagued by terrorism,which promoted the adoption of stringent safety measures that were meant,
To lead to outsourcing of jobs to the Orient;
The American dream was not worth hankering after,
When equally good and more fulfilling opportunities lay ahead at home,rather;
Where the heart truly wanted to be,
With more for oneself to feel and see;
For the home-bound expatriate,having migrated yonder,
Absence from home made the heart grow fonder.

The upheaval in the Dark Continent was against tyranny,
And the extermination of the world's most undesirable in a British colony;
Amidst political instability in a gerontocracy,that led to vulnerability,
To terrorism,nepotism and corruption,apart from hi-tech scams that amounted to felony;
A crusader had emerged to combat,with the support of many a citizen,
Whose abstinence from food and drink led to the Gandhian change we wished to see in our countrymen;
For progress,prosperity,security and equality in society,
And freedom from the clutches of tainted politicians and from bureaucracy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

F.R.I.E.N.D.S,dost,amies,amigos....:-)- August 1,2011

Friendship is a barometer of success in life,
Behind every successful man, there'll be many enemies, but only one inspiring wife;
Who has to be his best friend for life-his true companion,
But friendship isn't merely restricted to marital love;
Trust, compatibility of interests, altruism and above all, acceptance of differences are attributes of a successful union,
Which can be extended to platonic interactions as well;
Friendship sans romance is the best, but only time can tell,
Whether the transition from stranger to acquaintance to friend, is genuinely for the person, or for the benefits;
When you feel betrayed, in your face the reality really hits,
Because they are fair weather friends of the first order;
The affinity one has, with betrayal in trust, is replaced with sadness and hatred on the border.

One ought to choose one's friends carefully and be nice to all,
But should not be susceptible to flattery or be gullible to backstabbers, lest one should fall;
Difficult to form and even more difficult to break,
Since friendship is essential for a social animal, one ought to learn to be one's honest best, for any other's sake!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

With humour and wit,mind it!-June 16,2011

Once upon a time in independent India, a boy was born in Bangalore,
To Maharashtrian parents of Tamil ancestry, who never knew for him,that success and laurels beckoned galore;
Who never knew what fate had in store for him,
Despite the fact that it seemed dim;
But he proved things wrong, making ends meet as a bus conductor,
With his inimitable mannerisms, he arose as an actor,
First in theatre and then in cinema,
After being rechristened by his mentor, he became an enigma!
His popularity with the masses rose with time, which he could not while (away),
Because of his humility, genuine nature and ability to act in all genres with style (that was there to stay);
The 'punch dialogues' and the amazing, Newtonian flick of the cigarette,
On messing with him, getting kicked in the air was what the goons would get!
He became the messiah of the proletariat against the cruel socialists, in a society rampant with corruption,
Even with hi-tech humanoids to save and help the world's population;
He's well-known,apart from South of the Vindhyas, in the land of the Rising Sun,
Even in other parts of India and the globe, his stunts and dialogues can stun!
Jokes apart,come whatever may,
He's on the way to a speedy recovery in the abode of the Merlion, which is the news of today!

Merely mentioning his name can make one shiver, what do you say?
Unmatched in power and status as the leader, he commands respect in his way (his own,unique way!)

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Himalayas-June 10,2011

Towering above the Indian plains,
Lies the mighty Himalayan range;
Whose ecosystem is fragile and susceptible to change.
Formed as fold mountains from mere alluvium,
They’re relatively young, compared to the basaltic Gondwanaland which had existed for more than a millennium.
From the valley of Kashmir and the rainshadow region of Leh,
Perennial rivers originate and cascade their own way.
Amidst tributaries and distributaries, religious fervour at confluences,
There’s serenity at pristine locales in the high reaches;
Along with snow-capped peaks,
When illuminated by the rays of the sun at dawn, they cannot be described by any word one speaks.
From apple orchards and handicrafts,
To verdant territories and scenic rivers with rafts;
And the influence of Buddhism,
With monks, monasteries in ample;
Hardy mountain-dwellers being represented as a microcosm,
Tenzing Norgay, who made it to the summit of the highest peak on earth, is a shining example.
Truly, lakes and caves thrive in God’s abode,
Where both savage and sage aspire to visit, despite the relative absence of rail or road.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Vegetarianism and animal cruelty.Dedicated to vegetarians/those against animal cruelty. P.S-Am a lacto-ovo-vegetarian

Vegetarianism seems to be the fad of the day,
Not adhering to Mother Nature,we'll have a hefty price to pay;
Animals are cruelly raised on factory farms,so dark that there's penetration of hardly a ray,
Shifted into cages,like prisoners,they too have feelings,which they can hardly express or say!
For they're unfortunate,there's no other way,
Except to be processed into meat and stuffed like hay;
Or being slaughtered,tortured with hormonal injections,come whatever may,
Their misery is pitiable,so much for even a hen to lay;
Cruelty imparted towards animals is ubiquitous,from the farm to the bay,
The least we can do is to be aware about the hazards imparted,that can take our physical,mental and spiritual well-being away;

Whether to the environment or to one's health,consumption of meat is not okay,
Ask anyone who'd like to consume a product that's generally in a condition of decay!
If voraciously consumed by gluttons,animal species have not much to stay,
Depletion of animal species and cruelty to animals are reasons for which we need to find,for survival and existence,another way;

Having the will,not merely for a religious cause,we'll know whether our food comes with or without a face,
So that we can choose to ethically treat animals,love them as our kith and kin,and quit the meat-eating race.

(Feb 2011)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Heartbreak- by me during VIT's annual cultural fest Riviera-poetry and creative writing

A complicated emotion is heartbreak,
In the pursuit of frivolous love,we suffer for its sake;
The precursor of heartbreak is love,
Which should inspire us to soar to great heights like a dove;
But sadly,we fall like a killed pigeon,
And suffer like a prisoner trapped in a dungeon;
True love,as a feeling, is misunderstood,
It brings joy and nourishes us like food;
But it is complicated by the addition of expectation from the other,
So much for the first love we suffer, that we cannot love another;
Love in every form surrounds us,it is ubiquitous,
Because on equating love and lust,we create a fuss;
Find love in all living entities,in God,in Nature,
Yet we fail to recognize true love that can nurture;
Romeo and Juliet's love was unrequited,
That means for true love, it's not necessary to be committed.

However,in a relationship,commitment needs to be abided by,
Not respecting the other leads to regrets and heartbreak;
True love,without heartbreak,is like a butterfly,
In its pursuit,we realize it is evasive and fake;
But heartbreak doesn't happen like a dangerous boulder,
When we self-introspect and be patient and dutiful,true love comes to us when the butterfly sits on our shoulder.