Friday, March 27, 2009

The travails of single South Indian men of conservative upbringing

One of my friends shared the below content with me. I really do not know who had the guts to display the verity in such flamboyant way. Hats off to the author for such wonderful creation.

Yet another action packed weekend in Mumbai, full of fun, frolic and introspection. I have learnt many things. For example having money when none of your friends have any is as good as not having any. And after spending much time in movie theatres, cafes and restaurants I have gathered many insights into the endless monotony that is the love life of south Indian men. What I have unearthed is most disheartening.

Disheartening because comprehension of these truths will not change our status anytime soon. However there is also cause for joy. We never stood a chance anyway. What loads the dice against virile, gallant, well educated, good looking, sincere mallus and tams? (Kanadus were once among us, but Bangalore has changed all that.) Our futures are shot to hell as soon as our parents bestow upon us names that are anything but alluring. I cannot imagine a more foolproof way of making sure the child remains single till classified advertisements or that maternal uncle in San Francisco thinks otherwise.

Name him "Parthasarathy Venkatachalapthy" and his inherent capability to combat celibacy is obliterated before he could even talk. He will grow to be known as Partha. Before he knows, his smart, seductively named northy classmates start calling him Paratha. No woman in their right minds will go anyway near poor Parthasarathy. His investment banking job doesn't help either. His employer loves him though. He has no personal life you see.

By this time the Sanjay Singhs and Bobby Khans from his class have small businesses of their own and spend 60% of their lives in discos and pubs. The remaining 40% is spent coochicooing with leather and denim clad muses in their penthouse flats on Nepean Sea Road. Business is safely in the hands of the Mallu manager.

After all with a name like Blossom Babykutty he can't use his 30000 salary anywhere. Blossom gave up on society when in school they automatically enrolled him for Cookery Classes. Along with all the girls.

Yes my dear reader, nomenclature is the first nail in a coffin of neglect and hormonal pandemonium. In a kinder world they would just name the poor southern male child and throw him off the balcony. "Yes Appa we have named him Goundamani..." THUD. Life would have been less kinder to him anyway.

If all the women the Upadhyays, Kumars, Pintos and, god forbid, the Sens and Roys in the world have met were distributed amongst the Arunkumars, Vadukuts and Chandramogans we would all be merry casanovas with 3 to 4 pretty things at each arm. But alas it is not to be. Of course the south Indian women have no such issues. They have names which are like sweet poetry to the ravenous northie hormone tanks. Picture this: "Welcome, and this is my family. This is my daughter Poorni (what a sweet name!!) and my son Ponnalagusamy (er.. hello..). ." Cyanide would not be fast enough for poor Samy.

Nothing Samy does will help him. He can pump iron, drive fast cars and wear snazzy clothes, but against a braindead dude called Arjun Singhania he has as much chance of getting any as a Benedictine Monk in a Saharan Seminary.

Couple this with the other failures that have plagued our existence. Any attempt at spiking hair with gel fails miserably. In an hour I have a crown of greasy, smelly fibrous mush. My night ends there. However the northy just has to scream "Wakaw!!!" and you have to peel the women off him to let him breathe.

In a disco while we can manage the medium hip shake with neck curls, once the Bhangra starts pumping we are as fluid as cement and gravel in a mixer. Karan Kapoor or Jatin Thapar in the low cut jeans with chaddi strap showing and see through shirt throws his elbows perfectly, the cynosure of all attention.

The women love a man who digs pasta and fondue. But why do they not see the simple pleasures of curd rice and coconut chutney? When poor Senthilnathan opens his tiffin box in the office lunchroom his female coworkers just disappear when they see the tamarind rice and poppadums.
They have all rematerialised around Bobby Singh who has ordered in Pizza and Garlic bread. (And they have the gall to talk of foreign origin.)

How can a man like me brought up in roomy lungis and oversized polyester shirts ever walk the walk in painted on jeans (that makes a big impression) and neon yellow rib hugging t shirts? All I can do is don my worn "comfort fit" jeans and floral shirt. Which is pretty low on the "Look at me lady" scale, just above fig leaf skirt and feather headgear a la caveman, and a mite below Khakhi Shirt over a red t-shirt and baggy khakhi pants and white trainers a la Rajni in "Badshah".

Sociologically too the tam or mallu man is severely sidelined. An average tam stud stays in a house with, on average, three grandparents, three sets of uncles and aunts, and over 10 children. Not the ideal atmosphere for some intimacy and some full throated "WHOSE YOUR DADDY!!!" at the 3 in the morning. The mallu guy of course is almost always in the Gulf working alone on some onshore oil rig in the desert. Rheumatic elbows me thinks.

Alas dear friends we are not just meant to set the nights on fire. We are just not built to be "The Ladies Man". The black man has hip hop, the white man has rock, the southie guy only has idlis and tomato rasam or an NRI account in South Indian Bank Ernakulam Branch. Alas as our destiny was determined in one fell swoop by our nomenclature, so will our future be.

A nice arranged little love story. But the agony of course does not end there. On the first night, as the stud sits on his bed finally within touching distance and whispers his sweet desires into her delectable ear, she blushes, turns around and whispers back "But Amma has said only on second saturdays..."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Iron Butterfly !

Since my childhood, I have ever wanted to, but had never cultivated my reading habit so far. In short, I am not a bookworm. But the last three days with too much of leisure time, fate had its chance to force me to read a novel to kill my time. So, I went to the old bookshop where various books on diverse topics were placed in the pathway. But the one which struck my eyes was Sidney Sheldon's "The stars shine down" - the reason was the beautiful lady (figure) in the book's cover. I have had no experience of reading novels, esp Sidney's, except for "If tomorrow comes". I know that he is the creator of many best selling books. So, I confidently chose this. After haggling with the old man (though I am not good at it), we settled for around one dollar (I am now getting used to Dollars rather than rupees :-) ).

I opened the book just to see that it was written in 1992 and that I have taken 17 years to discover this author's work. To brief the plot - it is about a girl named Lara Cameron and her accomplishment in the male dominated world of constructions. Having belittled by her own father, she vows to prove the world of her capability thereby confuting her father's belief "Thats the Fates.. It always work against you". She endures the hard, pitiless, egoistic men who already ruled the construction world, not just because of her allegiance to the work, but her ruthlessness which could offset her enemy's characteristics. The main character, Lara impresses the readers with her elegance, quick decisions, wits and occasional humor that even her antagonists call her 'The Iron Butterfly'. Having gained millions of dollars, she realizes that her journey has offered more enemies and few trustworthy friends.

Sidney takes us for a ride through various places such as Glay Bay(Nova Scotia), Chicago, New York, Reno, London and few others. The author has studied precisely on construction, lease and other details which are well reflected in the book. Lara's love for famous Pianist - Philip Adler is also shown meticulously by the author. Her relationship with Howard, Mafia Martin and the antagonists are shown maturely. In conclusion, it is a book worth spending a few hours. As a typical Sidney Sheldon novel, this kindles the curiosity of the reader to eagerly look to the next page.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Most Memorable Day

[ Disclaimer: Although it all started as a blog, it has come out like a short story. So, kindly excuse me. But pl find time to read :) ]

I am now 23, which means I have spent almost 8400 days of my life so far. Of all these days, the one which I can never forget is when I got placed in Nokia. It is beyond doubt that the Finnish Telecom giant recruited me inadvertently. However, I am eternaly grateful to this world leader while I celebrate their mistake. I can still remember the day...

DATE: 17-Nov-2006: Friday:
Just a week before, I was shortlisted for Aricent but dint turn up for the Interview (as my file was lost!) resulting in severe reprimand from my lecturer, Mr.PigMouth. It was then announced that Nokia R&D was the next to visit our campus offering lucrative salary.

10:00 am: (A-Block - written test)
I have had the experience of many written tests, most of them being futile. But this time, deep within my heart, I had the urge to make it to the interview, to prove myself to Mr.PM. Once the test was complete, I was certain that my wish will not come true, thanks to the questions in C++ and Java (trust me, still I don't know the answers for (m)any). But the beauty of written test is - the Multiple choice Qs. So, my hand marked those answers directed by heart than by mind. Had it been 'Fill in the blanks', I would have been in soup.

04:15 pm: (Tiruppur)
After the written test, assuming my luck as always, I left to Thiruppur with my friend. Suddenly, I got a sms (followed by calls) from my class mate: "Machan, unakku anjegaalku interview. Seekiram kilambi vaa".. asking me to show up for the interview scheduled at 5:15. My Sonata watch showed 4:15. "Oh God, why me?!". A feeling of exitement combined with worry filled my heart. We hurried to the nearby bus-stop to catch a bus (preferably, a private one) to Coimbatore which started by 4:30 pm. To my surprise, the bus driver was motoring in full speed as though God heard my prayers and whispered my pathetic condition to him. We reached our college by 5:10 pm. Meanwhile, I had asked my friends, VelT and Tamil to bring my records to the placement cell. Just before entering the interview room, I realized that I was not in formal attire. Being a hosteler, no one had to teach me on how to borrow things - white shirt, shoes, socks & necktie. I still do not remember who lent me what, but thanks to all.

05:20 pm: (Interview Room)
I entered the room unkempt and typically looked like an inane fella. There were two interviewers - while one was busy going through my file, the other looked at me with contempt. His face carried the question "Naan ready, nee ready-a?". They did not bother to offer me a seat, so I took mine without invitation.

Int1: What are you good at - C / C++? (Apart from the literal difference "++", the only technical difference which I knew, know and will know is the 'Object Orientedness')

Me : C++, sir.

Int1: I have never heard of anyone feeling comfortable in C++ than C. Hmm.. Let me test your knowledge.

Me : (grinning brightly, as though received a compliment from President of United States)

Int1: What happens when a class is declared inside another. Is it possible? If so, what happens when I instantiate the super class? Will the sub class also be instantiated? How will I access the properties and methods of inner class?

I was totally bowled over. Till then I had never completed a single, simple C++ program. It is impossible for me to get successful compilation in first shot, even if I try a simple C program with printf statement in main method. Again.. "Oh God, Why me?". Suddenly, my conscience replied "you chose it". I remembered my reply "C++, sir". This time I decided not to act smart and bluff something trying to impress the interviewer.

Me : No idea sir. I have not tried that scenario before.. but..

Int2 (interrupts): I can see that you have scored well in Math right from your school. But you are not able to analyse things rationally. (he sighs) Ok. Answer me this simple question. When there is a problem given to you, how will you determine if you solve it using C or proceed in C++ way?

(Good question. But how will I ever know that? Till date, in labs, they ask problems stating "Write a C program to ..." or "Write a C++ program to ...". Then why am I concerned about how they arrived at this? Above all, I can never solve in both, making no difference if it is a C program or not)

Me : Sir, I see that any problem solved in C++ can be done in C. Moreover, you can run your C program in C++ compiler but not the other way (Man.. I know I suck!)

Both the interviewers smirked at each other. It is true that interviews are times of embarrassment, but my act of imbecility knew no limits that auspicious day. All my hopes were shattered in the first two questions. No hopes, no expectations. My only concern then was to get out of the interview room asap to save the left over(?) dignity. At the least, I was glad to be in the interview room after the high drama. Without worries on the upshot, I took the interview with full-confidence.

Int1: You seem hopeless in C++. Let me ask a few questions in C. What is the difference between pre- and post-increment operators.

There it is, the question for dumbos like me. I took a pen with excitement and briefly elaborated with examples. There started my pleasant journey which continued till the end. I was shot with questions on unexplored areas of C (but somehow managed many) and a couple of puzzles to end with. Atlast, they were gratified with my performance. Following was my HR interview which was the coolest I have ever attended.

In the end, it was a day of extremes - from abashment to accomplishment. I was on cloud nine when my name was in the list of selected candidates - a 7 month wait for my dual placement.
Everyone has their unique memorable moment, their private literature - one that can never be destroyed at any cost. And I have just shared mine.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Comrades in Arms !

I have been in touch with her for almost one and a half years. I often think of her in my lonely existence. When somebody rests on one's lap, it will be to take a nap. But when my deary reposes in my lap, it is to keep me zingy. Above all, she is too HOT to just lie in my lap. I would festinate my fingers to touch the button in her top but she would immediately grin with short beep. I have spent many sleepless nights with her where we would just sit and stare at each other's face. True to Einstein's law of relativity, even hours spent with her would seem just like minutes.

I truly believe that without her, I would have never been able to achieve anything in these 1.5 years of my life. I owe my entire career success to this comrade. She helped me with my GRE preparation - questioning me the words, keeping tests and what not! When I had felt melancholic, she would sing words of solace. In short, whenever I need her, she would be there to assist me.

There are many other things I like in her: Quick way of doing anything whatever she is capable of; And her powerful gigabytes of memory - whatever I tell and give her, she remembers & holds; Sometimes, she acts as a flibbertigibbet, nevertheless that would never annoy me.

It is distressing to think of our separation in next 3 months when I quit my job @ Nokia for my graduation. Somebody said that I can own her if I complete three years of my experience in Nokia (Unfortunately, I will only complete my second year when I leave). Or our marriage can happen if and only if my father-in-law (manager) approves our alliance. If that does not happen, I will miss you badly dear.

Sorry.. I have been telling my love story without mentioning her name. My lady-love's name is "Lenovo ThinkPad T60p".

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Rags - to - Riches !

It was yet another ordinary day in my life with quite a lot of spare-time in the evening. I was in a pensive mood, trying to excogitate a way of spending my time productively (atleast then). Finally, I adjudicated with the routine of watching movies. Yes, watching movies, once an avocation, has now become a routine in my life. This happens, especially, when you are a solitudinarian - a state where the living machines are out working and you are forced to live alone with non-living things! My laptop, now my best friend and entertainer, had quite a few gigabytes of movies. The first one which caught my eye was 'Slumdog ...'.

First, when I saw the movie name, something in me said 'It definitely is an Indian movie'. Bcoz, the very moment you hear words like slum, poverty, beggary etc., you sense something INDIAn in it. Then my mind surfed the fed in data and rightly retrieved that the music was composed by the Mozart of Madras, Dileep Kumar. Aah.. Then, it is worth spending my time. Before watching any movie, I have got this habit of going through IMDB information. Dont ask me why! I would say 'just to ensure if the movie is good'. But the true reason is to register the celebrity names and events in some part of my brain, though most often I am unsuccessful.

I found some names like Danne Boyle, Lovely Tandon, Vikas Swarup, Dev Patel, Freida Pinto (there she is.. the heroine!). It was the time when the movie was released in US and yet to gain its popularity in India. I have seen 'The Beach' by Danny, starring DeCaprio and it was kinda OK. So, without much expectation, I double clicked the movie to open in VLC media player. But, I was taken aback by the way the slum was captured, especially with 'O Saya' at background. I would really appreciate Vikas Swarup for the theme - the questions of the show 'Who wants to be a Millionaire?' being related to the life-story of a slum gem chai-wala.

The film has captured all the pathos of kids-turned-beggars. The film has to be unquestionably appreciated for its cinematic excellence. It is good to see the movie showered with accolades from all sides with Oscars, BAFTAs and Gloden Globes acknowledging its worth. When I speak about beggary, cinematic excellence & Oscar, my thoughts flow to 'Naan Kadavul'. Hasn't Bala shown India-Beggar relationship better than slumdog? Why no Oscar for Ilayaraja? This is another disputable topic. So, I have planned another blog exclusively for this discussion. Atleast I am glad that ARR has become an international icon with some hollywood movies in his kitty.

Ironically, my heart itches with guilt to celebrate the success of slumdog for the only reason - it is not an Indian movie, but just a movie made in India to portray her dark side. It depicts bitter reality such as poverty, prostitution, squalid slums, underworld etc. thereby tarnishing her image. In one of scenes, when Jamal II is kicked by the policeman, finding the foriegners' car ravaged, he shouts 'If you wanna see real India, here it is!'. What a way to gain sympathy from American tourists! Though the films boasts of optimism, there are many out there, experiencing a harrowing life without salvation.

In addition, I recently read in a magazine that Dharavi (the slum where most of the scenes were shot) is included in Mumbai Local Tour Package. Is it something that we should be proud of or that needs to be highlighted? Also, it is pathetic to see Anil Kapoor basking in Oscar shower, though his contribution to the movie was anything substantial. Same is the case with Freida Pinto, who has become Fashion Guru by appearing in covers of Vogue and other popular magazines. These stray dogs are worse than slumdogs. Though this is common in film and politics, I am merely pissed off rather than digesting it.

I do not simply veto the film. But would like to quote that it is high time we perceive the handicaps of our Mother. Let us enlighten everyone around us and take efforts to eradicate poverty, terrorism and other matters which hamper the development of our nation. The hollow message of social justice from the film has been decoded and shared with you. Now, it is time for us to act!

Monday, March 02, 2009

"Hearts are made to be broken" - Oscar Wilde

It is true that a life without love is incomplete. But life with love is intricate. Is our young generation mature enough to handle them? This is not something philosophical. We see walking case studies everywhere!

The love 'spark' is enchanting. But when it is given life and turned to 'flame' (before taking a relationship), there are quite a lot of affairs that need to be managed. Otherwise, there is a good possibility of the flame taking the shape of huge fire anguishing both sides.

People start moving into a relationship blinded by the attention they get from the other end at that time. The GenX nowadays find it difficult to answer why they are really getting into some relationship. The clarity of relationship has been totally lost. Maybe, I would allege the media (mainly books & movies) for improper guidance of youth in love. In movie, the hero and heroine get hooked up thru various means - mobile, internet etc. The hero battles hundreds of villains to save and succeed in love. In the end, love triumphs. The fantasies always have happy endings, but back in reality, is it the same?

There are innumerable problems in love between lovers, leave alone the external forces (like family oppositions). One main reason which I would like to quote is the higher expectation in love since the partner in the other end is 'the chosen one'. This leads to immense disappointment with feeling of being rejected and unloved. This expectation, which once seemed as part of love, turns unreasonable as time goes on. The next is possesiveness of the duo which necessitates reassurance from each other everytime. The trust and secured feeling is then lost gradually. One other significant reason is the sudden realization of the family related issues. In cases of many, the realization takes time as people are totally blindfolded in love and amorousness. This stage, I mean, is even before either of the family comes to know the secretive relationship. It then is high time the pair starts getting concerned about religion, cast, creed, color, status, culture, traditions, lifestyle... I believe there is no end for this list, unless both the families are unorthodox, which, in most cases, are negative.

Once things turn difficult, they feel insecure of letting go of the relationship. There is a mixture of guilt and skewed sense of duty as a commitment that is made. This dilemma leads to mini break-ups before final good bye. When one wants to breakup yet keeps going back, it is usually more a case of habit and dependency than love and mutual respect, which is definitely not healthy.

Fine. Does that mean sudden breakups are welcome? Nope. The one who starts it feels stronger (relatively) than the one who receives the 'goodbye'. This would lead to the person in the receiving end to inundate the other with calls and messages to express, convince, evince his/her feelings, resulting in complete detestation of each other.

So, what is the solution to this? Trust me, I really do not know. But what I understand is 'If you fall in love, succeed. If you fail.. you better not fail.' :-)

You expect this to end here? Definitely not. Another question creeps up. "Should I keep in touch with him/her or not?". Some people think 'love after friendship is fine but not the other way'. I am not trying to make any point here. But would like to strongly insist on one thing - falling in love? think if you can take it long. Dont be taken by the strange temptation. If you are really positive about your success in love, ONLY then go for it.

Infact, there are some relationships that find a fairy-tale ending as shown in woods (hollywood, bollywood, kollywood, sandalwood etc.) Kudos to those who succeed in such relationships!