Wednesday, July 28, 2004

En Iniya Tamizh Makkale....

Somewhere, recently, I read an article about countries. It laid out an interesting argument that the reason behind the quality products of Japan is the fierce pride the Japanese people take in their work and country. Because their products are so honed to perfection and can be easily identified by their workmanship and precision, the average Japanese worker works extra hard lest there should creep in some error and tarnish his country's reputation. I wonder what it takes to have that kind of pride in one's nation.  The article went on to suggest that perhaps the reason why India doesn't live upto its potential in many fields is the strange lack of pride and enthusiasm that the average Indian has for his country and work. 

Sadly, I feel that we are more ready to disown our heritage much more than we are ready to acknowledge it. The simplest case in point is the mother tongue. It is highly ironic that many people born and brought up in Tamilnadu all their lives cannot read or write Tamil. Some even consider it highly "cool" that they don't know Tamil and speak only King's English. Movies portray girls as preferring boys who speak in English??!! Ridiculous, isn't it?  And of course, much has been already said about the various cable TV anchors who literally murder Tamil trying to infuse a western accent into it.

Would any decent Englishman speak English like French? Or would any Frenchman try to infuse a German accent while speaking French???!!! Why in the world do we have to speak Tamil as if one just landed from the UK/US?! We seem to be in a hurry to disown everything that is ours by birth as if it is something shameful and sinful. In fact, if you tell some people that you read Tamil novels, you will get condescending glances. The attitude is that you will resort to Tamil(="local", "uncool") only if you don't understand and appreciate English (="civilized", "cool").

There are so many things people miss due to such stupid philosophies. Shakespeare, Browning, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson are not the only poets to be read and appreciated. They get more appreciation because most of the world speaks that language. There are beautiful sublime works in Tamil that ought to be read and known- works that reflect the culture and civilization that we were born into. If we read all those ancient works, perhaps, a realization will dawn that we are second to none as far as civilization, technology, science and art goes.  In fact, when Europe was still in the dark middle ages, struggling to find light at the end of the tunnel, the Cholas and Pallavas were at the height of their glorious reigns in terms of art, architecture, literature and navy!
If we take that fierce pride in our country, it will automatically shine through in everything one does.  The disinformation planted by the British about our past and our nation is so deeply ingrained in our hearts that even 50 years of independence has failed to shake its roots..... Instead of being happy about being second class citizens in another nation, I think it is far better to be first class citizens in one's own country....

Bharathiyar's words come into mind..
"Enna Valam Illai Indha Thirunaattil..."


The Da Vinci Code Part II

All of you are being treated to a second edition of the Da Vinci Code blurbs because I found it absolutely mind-blowing.  The style of the author really pulls you into the book and the way he weaves history in and out effortlessly into the storyline is spell binding. Apart from the mystery element, I really liked it for the little titbits of fact that it provides. I learnt about The Divine Proportion, curious facts about the Fibonacci sequence, the reason behind the four year cycle of the Olympics, Da Vinci's works of art and more...I actually googled to look up some works of Da Vinci that were discussed in the book! Now, when was the last time a book made me want to look up new things?!!!! Been quite a while.


Friday, July 23, 2004

The da Vinci Code

I started reading "The da Vinci Code" yesterday evening. It was highly recommended by a couple of my friends and one of them was kind enough to lend it to me (Couldn't find it at WT's). It is quite gripping and I have just gotten past 4 or 5 chapters. Think it will occupy most of my weekend because it has everything I love- mystery, history and art!
Still slogging on with Satanic Verses but I am going to put that on hold for now.
I noticed something weird happening with my blogs. I posted a comment on my friend's blog and the previous comment just disappeared! And on my own blog, a few comments have gone missing by themselves. I don't know why this is happening??!!! Tried checking the settings but nothing there would mess with the comments.
A little mystery to ponder about....

Thursday, July 22, 2004

To see the world in a grain of sand....

To see the world in a grain of sand

And  heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

And eternity in an hour.

I found these words accidentally when I was frantically messaging in multiple forums for an answer to my ColdFusion troubles. One of the persons in the forum had this in his signature. I was rather harried and mentally hyper till I saw this quote. It kind of calmed me down. It is amazing how we turn to technology to make our lives easier and simpler. We use so many gadgets , software and what-not to improve our standard of living. And yet, it is ironic that that same complicated technology cannot provide us with two seconds of mental tranquillity that a beautiful piece of verse gives!

Sometimes I wonder if all that technology doesn't just drive us into hyper-mode and make us all the more agitated. And a mind that is agitated cannot plumb its creative depths. Perhaps, that's why even the greatest scientific geniuses have led simple lives in harmony with nature - Edison, Einstein, Newton.....

Now that my two minutes of introspection are up, I've got to get back to battling the demons of ColdFusion/Java Script in the world of Technology!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

American Morning

Does anyone of you out there watch American Morning on CNN? The first thing I do when I wake up is switch on CNN and watch out for Bill Hemmer and Soledad O'Brien on American Morning. It is my way of getting news with hot coffee in the morning- a substitute (albeit a poor one) for reading The Hindu with hot filter coffee in India.  Unfortunately, Soledad O'Brien is on maternity leave and for the past week Heidi Collins has been taking her place. U know how sometimes you can take a totally irrational dislike to some people? Well, Heidi Collins has my vote. She doesn't fit in like an old shoe. Somehow, she seems to be rather snooty and uptight in contrast to the casual style of Soledad. I am sure all this is just my imagination but nonetheless, I don't like Heidi Collins' style.
Oh, and Jack Cafferty! That guy has a dry, sarcastic wit that is very appealing and his dour, skeptic screen persona certainly fits him. His one-liners are pretty amusing. By the way, it is a darn good way to start the morning. Bill Hemmer and Soledad O'Brien certainly do a great job. I guess I'll stop before I start sounding like an ad for CNN.
And news this morning: certainly not good. The head of the beheaded American Paul Johnson has been found in Saudi Arabia.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Satanic Verses...

I started reading The Satanic Verses a week back. I read around a 100 pages or so and found it in a different style. It has been a while since I read a novel out of the Thriller/action/mystery genres. So I am having trouble getting my brain to wrap around the kinds of metaphors, allegories and allusions that Rushdie is using. People turning into animals, men growing horns, people turning into angels??!!! Having a lot of trouble figuring out what is meant to be read as a hallucination, or reality or metaphor or whatever. The end result is that I decided that it took a lot of grey matter usage for me to read it now and put it on hold.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Pink Paranoia..

What is it with girls in the US and Pink?!! The obsession with pink ranges from watches to clothes to handbags to sandals to even cell phone covers (yes, you better believe it!). I got on the Medical Center bus the other day and suddenly a cell phone starts screaming somewhere. A perfectly sane looking woman dived into her handbag and lo! came up with a cellphone in a glory of pink!!! It had this flashy pink color and to top it all, was covered with glittering stars (a la Barbie)..I have to tell you, it really was an affront to all my aesthetic values. If I were the owner of the phone, I would've tied an anchor to it and thrown it into the Atlantic and disowned that phone. And I was strolling through the stationery aisle in Walmart and something weird caught my attention..I stop to see what it is that is so distinct...and there it is! A binder (for god's sake) in a bawdy pink with all sorts of flowers on top of it!!!!!
And the worst thing is handbags. How can otherwise-sane women carry handbags in bright pink, that too in a shiny material that I think would be more suited to Las Vegas showgirls ??!!!?
If the color is so tastelessly used in all sorts of godawful ways, it is no wonder men hate pink!!! And guys, don't associate pink with all girls. As far as I know, we girls in India never had any sort of partiality of fact, many of us ran far from that I don't know if it is some kind of an American thing or what!
And I learnt a new slogan last week, "Pink is for girls and Blue is for boys"??!!?? Really?!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Spice of Life....

Have you ever talked with anyone who has had a grouch bug? The conversation goes something like this: you mention a name and immediately the "grouchy" person finds a fault with the person.
You: "She invited me for dinner..."
Grouch: "She sucks as a homemaker. She never changes her drapery."
You: "Y gave me a lift to the mall. I had some shopping to do."
Grouch: "Y probably expects you to give him a lift in your car for the next whole week and pick up his kids from school."
You: "Isn't she a nice person to work with?"
Grouch: "Oh, that's because you presented her that nice Dinner Set for her birthday."
You: "He helps people out a lot. Nice guy."
Grouch: "He is such a neat freak!"

No matter what you say, Mr. Grouch will come up with a way of spoiling it. These people seem to be infected with some kind of victimitis virus and view life like a barter system: something always has to be given if you receive something. And they have an uncanny eye for finding faults with people!! And most importantly, they never forget bad things about others. And usually, the issues that they talk of are trivial and meaningless...(so what if X flosses twice a day??!!! who cares?)

I've met quite a few people like this( some of them are quite close to me) and believe me, it is amusing. Maybe I am being naive, but I simply cannot view everyone around me as out to get me or believe that everyone has ulterior motives. Of course, we all do somethings expecting something in return but that is something restricted to some people and certain phases of our life..certainly not in everyday life. (If there's someone out there who does it in everyday life, all I can say is "Get a Life!")

So, we all have our little quirks, eccentricities and faults. So what? I think that is the Spice of Life. If everyone were like me, I am sure I'd be bored with life. Sure, sometimes, we'll find people who are hard to get along with, boring people, annoying people, staid people, arrogant people,people who wish ill for us, people who harm us and people who downright stink. But meeting all these varieties and dealing with them and learning to share life with them is what makes life interesting!!!!

Perhaps the grouches of our world should learn to enjoy the colors that different people bring to life just like different spices bring aroma to food...and forgive, forget and give people a second chance!!!!

Monday, July 12, 2004

Browser wars....

All these years, I never understood when some nerds complained about how buggy browsers were. I just thought they were the mutterings of those perpetually afflicted by the victimitis virus..I was the user and IE and Netscape seemed perfectly fine to me. Well, after all these years, now that I am designing websites, i myself am going stark raving mad trying to get browsers to display my website properly!!!! How well I understand what those poor nerds were talking about...!

Anyways, as testimony to me going mad, i just received an e-mail from the University that declared me delinquent! apparently, i haven't given them some transcript (the nth one). I have this great love affair going on with U Ky's graduate school. It's like this: if they don't see me for 30 days together, they go utterly crazy and start firing off all sorts of e-mails (ranging from being declared delinquent to informing me that I never was admitted to UK to god-knows-what-else) designed to bring me to their office. The latest missive is just the last in a string of such communications.

So goes another boring day in my life....

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Indianapolis trip

Spent an awesome three days in Indianapolis. Reached there on Friday night and returned on Monday night (technically Tuesday morning but who cares?). Spending time with family feels great. My Uncle and Aunt had come from India to visit their grandson (my little nephew!). Anyways, chatted with them for a long while about what's hot in Srirangam, what's in and what's out, who's in town ( u know, just local 'vambu' and yadda yadda...) and of course, events in the temple, family stories etc...
My cousin's house is in a great locality. It is full of greenery and simply too picturesque. I loved the place. Went for long walks with my family. Had good old South Indian food. Went to a nearby park. Saw the fireworks on July 4th. It was a so-so display..not too good, not too bad.
Went shopping at a mall. Bought new sandals ( actually went to buy something else but us girls no can resist da temptation...:))

Saw Hum Tum...okay sort of a movie. Expected more but turned out to be a disappointment. I have seen Rani Mukherjee before and have found her okay in her movies..but in this one, she REALLY made me wish she had a better voice..U know the noise that initially comes when ice cubes are put in a grater??!! Well, that's the way she sounded to me..(freaked me out after a while).

The little guy (name's Vishnu, by the way) just stole my heart. He is 7 months old and he took to me very nicely! It feels great to be a part of a little one's life, to be there when he grows up, to be someone to whom he can turn to for care, affection and support. I really miss him.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Beautiful Morning....

Aren't mornings beautiful? I love the cloudy, rainy mornings especially. Well, yeah, they make your commute miserable. But the smell of rain drenched mud, glistening tree leaves and a cool light breeze make me happy. Behind my house, there's this little stream that gets fed by rain water. So if we have a thunderstorm, we have water in the stream that gurgles as it jumps over pebbles. I really love that sound!!

Anyways, for the first time in my life, I didn't wake up to an alarm. It really amazed me! Got up at 7.30 AM and rushed to work. Had no breakfast. I am hungry now.
My database server is down and I can't get to my work scene isn't hot either.
So, here I am writing my first blog...
If you are as bored as I am, then go ahead and comment on it....