Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Management of Change

{This post was originally published in the blog That blog members were in the same workplace, and now are in different places except Expresso aka RGB of and myself aka KK in the same place. We form the creative team to a web and sofware solutions firm in Kochi. Cappuccino is Destiny's child of and Latte aka Novice writer of }

"Change is inevitable. Your strength and ability lies in adapting and assimilating as much as you can and delivering according to the changed needs", went on the management guru.

The company had arranged a management class for us. And this exceptional talk was in the post lunch session. Dozing off was not possible because it was a small room and there were only about ten of us from the creative division.

“ We are in the service industry and we can survive only if we meet the customer’s demands. Customer satisfaction is a must”, he droned on.

I was just thinking the type of writing that is expected of us sometimes and how we dread to stoop to that standards. But the next day at office, everyone was game to giving it a try- to change.

So we decided to make a change in our spoken English first and then carry it forward to our written English.

Espresso: let’s in the do.

Latte: yes yes

Cappucino: Change is in the us

Myself :My head is in the circle

Espresso: What?

Myself: My head is in the circle

Cappucino leans over to read something on my desktop and: She is in circle and Iam in the runs

Latte(giggling): Sheesh. You in the go there.

Espresso: Me going meeting moron

Myself: me the thirsty

Suze floats in. “Is that interface ready?”, she asks

We blink. We don’t understand.

She asks again.

She hasn’t changed. The management class has not affected her.

“Tell me when it is ready” and drifts off again

Cappuccino looks at the time, “ Oh no. I see butt of bus”

Myself offers, “ Iam the droppings”
And then corrects, “ Iam in the dropping”

What do you suggest? Is change good?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It happened to me

I had been putting some things for later for a long while. Travelling to the city centre in morning rush hour was a bit tedious. Finally I thought of doing those. It included the following jobs:
1. A visit to the bank
2. Try to find a book store in south of city for a pocket dictionary for bumbum.
3. Get some ayurvedic medicines
4. Get some fresh pappadams
5. Mend Bumbum’s old umbrella as he broke the brand new one beyond repair.

So, I started earlier than usual at about 9.00am. First stop the umbrella mending guy at wayside.
“He is on long leave”, said his mate, the cobbler.
OKayyy. I gunned my mean machine ( Scooty pep+) to life and vrooom

By 9.40 am I was at the bank’s front gate. The guard smiled wanly. It opened at 10.00a.m. I asked him, “Is there a place nearby to mend umbrellas?”
“Don’t know”

Since there was nothing else to do, I started walking down the road. Let me just tell you exactly how I was: Attire – a kurti and jeans with white jootis with phoolkari type work. A 4 yr bag with faulty zip and awning mouth slung on shoulder. A red kid’s umbrella in hand.

The book store had put the shutters only half up. I got inside and immediately asked the first guy
“Bhargava’s Hindi English pocket dictionary?”
“Eh!”, said he looking at the raised umbrella.
I forgot I was holding it while speaking
I repeated my question
“Sorry, we don’t stock Bhargava.”
Next I asked my favourite question, “Is there a place nearby to mend an umbrella”
That guy looked at the manager for help to answer nerds like me, who volunteered, “You can find one near the theatre up ahead”
So I trudged ahead and found the guy.
“ I mend shoes, no umbrellas. There’s one next junction”

Five minutes to go
“Ok let’s find if we can mend the umbrella”, I told my legs which are not used to walking.
The next junction had a lone lottery seller. Someone was buying a ticket to try luck for the day.
“ Where’s the mending guy?”, I asked
“Oh! He won’t be coming today”
I almost wanted to buy a lottery ticket where the prize was ‘Umbrella mender’. I glanced at the tickets and decided to walk back to the bank.

Bank job done, I went in search of H& C stores for the pocket dictionary. With directions from various people on the road, I got to the complex where it was housed. Next problem, 'where are the stairs up.'
I asked a guy who was sweeping the front of his shop, “Where is this H& C stores”
“Don’t know”, trying to be cold and distant.
So I parked right in front of his store and he gave a questioning look and got a cold distant stare from me.

The next guy showed the way. I trudged up the steps and the moment I started my question” Bhargava’s..”
“ Sorry, stock over”
“ But I called and someone said you had two versions. I come from the suburbs”
“ Sorry. New stock will arrive in two weeks”
“OK can you at least ask your branch in suburb to stock them?”
“Will do”
Thank You

I wanted to give our sweeping friend one more cold stare. But he wasn’t there.

Next stop: Ayurveda shop
It was strarting to drizzle. I got off the sccoty and ran to the shop window with helmet on. Inside, two old timers are having an interesting discussion on carnatic music. They felt disturbed.
I said apologetically, “A bottle of Vyoshamritham and Vasharistham mixed 50-50”.
“Tana, naa,na Haan”, said the animated old timer. The other got up to leave.
“ In ancient Bharata, women were devis. And they had crowns on heads”, the old guy continued pointing to a badge of Sri Ram and Sita on his chest. “ And now”, he continued.
“ They have helmets on”, I offered taking off the helmet.
“Hmmm.” “Do you know when this was?”
I stared clueless.
“About 5000 years ago, when Bharata was a great civilization”
“Oh! No. He’s still on that devi crown saga. He may lecture about wearing sindoor on forehead too. How to scoot fast?” My brains were working overtime.
“Make it a bottle of each. I can mix it at home and use it longer”
And he gave me the medicines.

Now it was my turn to surprise.
“Any umbrella mender around here?”
I gathered my stuff, paid him and went my way. Next time I shop there, I go with a crown on my head.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

First tag reply

I never understood tags. I have been tagged quite a few times but I did not respond. Since Bik of seems to be a bit too , I reply partly to his tag.

1. What one material thing are you hoping/ scoping to inherit? Ancestral home
2. If You were a character in a movie that you've seen who would I be and why? Saif Ali Khan in Dil Chahta Hai( you seem to be in and out of relationships;))
3. If You could do one thing for Someone, no matter what it was, what would it be for Who? I could have mobilised money for my neighbourhood kid for better treatment( long ago)
4. You’re driving. It’s great weather. Attractive member of opposite sex in expensive car looks at you and half-smiles. You’re in a relationship. Do you return the look and half-smile back? I smile back. Hasne ka tax nahi lagta
5.Pick a situation a. You’re 42. Would you rather go without sex for three years and win a lottery after that, enabling you to never have to work again? Orb. Get twice the lottery money now (at 42) but have your partner sleep with your boss?
a since i can't make a decision about whom my partner sleeps with
6. What has been the craziest thing u have ever done?
Cycle 8 kms at dawn to replace a gadget before anyone knew that it went kaput
7. God gave u chance to alter any one event in the past, present or future. What wud that event be?
Past- no Bopal gas tragedy. Present - No oil spill. Future - The boss stops the banter on recession for not giving a raise
8. Would you rather go bald or lose your front tooth?
front tooth. Can have a dental implant. Bald women aren't interesting especially if they have misshapen heads
9. Your sibling is sleeping with your married close friend. Who do you go to first, sibling or married close friend?
Neither. It'll be too much
10. Would you rather your kid turn out to be a nymphomaniac or gay?(For my amusement, please answer in the format: I would rather my kid be —) Spare me!!!!!!!

Any who love this tagging game can take it up.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A foreigner’s view of Indian weddings

This is a first hand account of what they feel attending Indian weddings:

  1. "My, my, do you always have so many guests to the wedding!"
  2. "Why do you have so many lamps? What do they signify?"
  3. "And why are going round in circles onstage?"
  4. "And does the bride wear all that gold later too?"
  5. "Why does the couple look so glum? They are not smiling much."
  6. "What? Can’t listen with music…"( nadaswaram in background)
  7. "Don’t you guys dance. Your films show so much dance and song."
  8. "No thank You. I can eat with my fingers"( on being offered a spoon)
  9. Seeing everyone leaving after feast, "Is that all?!"
  10. Snapping away the pics of dining hall after feast,"I must show everything folks back home"

I request each of you to write something about each:D

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Some memories

Vacations at grandma’s place was fun. Mom had five siblings. We were 14 cousins in all with the oldest being about 23 years older than the youngest. That means you have all age groups. The mid eighties is what I remember most. Kerala then was known for power cuts and monsoons came sooner. My vacations started in April and by end of first week, we were in Kerala till mid June as school reopened in July. Sometimes, dad too managed leave or it was just us traveling with other families.

In April, it was hot and humid. But we cared less. We had all sorts of weird games like jumping over fallen banana trees ( high jump) setting it higher each time, Bus games where we just ran behind the fast bus( my cousin clothed in a shorts with two sticks as wipers), playing Tarzan, sliding down the curved sloping wide bannister by the steps, feeding the cows(my short clad cousin would just squeeze milk from the udders directly to mouth), trying the taste of latest cattle feed, having chemmeen puli eating competition and so on. The elders were busy talking, playing cards, playing music on the latest 2-in-1 bought by Gulf uncle. And if Gulf uncle came that year, there was this multitude waiting for their share of goodies which included perfumes, cigarettes, alcohol, and garish lungies, gulf sarees, soaps, talcum powders et al. Grandma will ask the numerous women servant to grind, sieve, powder rice and coconut to make different eatables. Other favourites included banana chips, jaggery coated banana chips, achappam and Jackfruit Jam ( Chakka varatiyathu).

But with sun down, the atmosphere changed a bit. The men might go out or a drink and I was afraid of Gulf uncle who will hold me high up in air(he was 6’3”), once he was on a high. The younger males and my aunts would start singing the Malayalam hits. While some of my elder cousins sang well, others knew the lyrics and so we spent the powerless moon lit nights on terrace. We kids tired after the day’s toil listened to nice songs lying on someone’s laps or on a straw mat. Suddenly some one might draw attention to the glow worm and we would get up to see or pluck the tenderest of mangoes from the overhanging branches of the nearby tree.

By 8.30 pm, grandma will call everyone downstairs. By then, my eldest aunt’s husband, a teacher to astrologer would be there. He will tell all those ghost stories which everyone knew was whims of fancy. Around 9.30 p.m, we will have dinner and youngest of cousins will go off to sleep. Around 10.30 p.m almost everyone is tired of ya-yapping throughout the day. My lazy elder cousin would be picking at her hair for lice, (wonder whether she found any in her life). Her mom will be asking her to take a bath which she wouldn’t be taking till its about midnight.

Suddenly, there will be a thud on the window and a sound like ouuuyiii. Lazy cousin jumps out of her chair.
“Indrakuttyamme”, calls out the voice
“ Ow, Chakunni, why do you scare us so?”

Chakunni is the local grocer who closes the shop at 10 pm and home delivers things he had taken order for in the morning.

“ Da, ithum pidicho( here, hold this too)”, he says thrusting a paper into my aunt’s hand. And rushes off.
“Appo paisa”( what about your money), aunt calls out to the diappearing figure with a torchlight.
“Pinne” ( Later).
But that later is only till next morning.

It’s the bill. It’s something like this
Ma- 4

None but my aunt could understand that bill. The miser he is, he saves ink of pen and paper too by making it so brief. And is always uses the backside of notices and handbills to write on.

Sa is savala or Onions, Mupo is mulakkupodi or chilly powder, cha- is chai or tea, pa is panjasara or sugar, so is soap, u is uppu or salt, ma is mathangna or pumpkin.

I have never seen that guy walk, always on a run like the industrious ant On the local palli perunal ( feast at church), he will wear a shirt and on Christmas and Easter and weddings. In any other season, he had only the lungi on and torch as accessory. He worked on the day he died too. Died in sleep.

Maybe we can learn a lesson or two from him. HE NEVER WASTED ANYTHING OR A MOMENT. His effort led to his children being like him. They worked their way up. Only one remained in village to look after his dad’s shop, but has another business interest too- timber trade.