Saturday, August 29

Looney Lines

1. If time doesn't wait for you, don't worry!
Just remove the damn battery from the clock and Enjoy life!

2. Expecting the world to treat u fairly coz u r a good person is like
expecting the lion not to attack u coz u r a vegetarian!

3. Ever notice how all of women's problems start with MEN?
MENtal illness
MENstrual cramps
MENtal breakdown

AND ...
When men have REAL trouble, it's a
HISterectomy :-D

4. Beauty isn't measured by outer appearance and what clothes we wear,
but what we are inside. So, try going out without clothes tomorrow and see the admiration!

5. Don't walk as if you rule the world, walk as if you don't care who rules the world!
That's called Attitude!

6. Every lady hopes that her daughter will marry a better man than she did

and is convinced that her son will never find a wife as good as his father did!!!

7. He was a good man. He never smoked, drank & had no affair.
When he died, the insurance company refused the claim.
They said, he who never lived, cannot die!

8. A man threw his wife in a pond of Crocodiles?
He's now being harassed by the Animal Rights Activists for being cruel to the Crocodiles!

9. So many options for suicide:
Poison, sleeping pills, hanging, jumping from a building, lying on train tracks.
But we choose Marriage, slow & sure!

10. Only 20 percent girls have brains, rest have boyfriends!

11. All desirable things in life are either illegal, banned, expensive or married to someone else!

12. 10% of road accidents are due to drunken driving.
Which makes it a logical statement that
90% of accidents are due to driving without drinking!
Piyo Sar Utha Ke! ;-)

Haapppppyy Weekend!


Wednesday, August 26

A Not-So-Tearful Adieu


The GMAT is FINALLY over...

What began as a slow and insincere effort at studying in February reached its terminal stage esterday when I gave the GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test, you didn't know that? It's a necessary exam if you wish to pursue an MBA abroad, and the scores are accepted by a few high grade institutes in India as well - ISB Hyderabad, etc).

So, here I am, heaving multiple sighs of relief each time I remember that the GMAT is FINALLY over :-D

(Awrite, I know I'm irritating you now, but I can't help it, kindly excuse and empathize!)

Coming to the point, my score is 690 which is not excellent, but better than what I used to get in my mock tests while I was practising. The highest possible score is 800 which is as good as not reachable. My percentile is about 90 (which means I'm better than 90% of the people who have appeared for the test so far) and while I'm not exactly elated, I'm ok with what I've got. I'm hoping I stand a good chance to and an acceptance letter from my chosen B-schools if I have a strong application. What universities I'm targetting? New York - Stern, Northwestern - Kellogg, Texas Austin - McCombs, Michigan - Broad (all in the US) and Cambridge - Judge in the UK.

For those interested in my experience of the exam, I can't tell you much because the GMAC has forbidden test takers from disclosing any info. However, I can certainly share with you that I was all shivery and jittery on the morning of my exam, and also exceedingly optimistic and happy. I think Ganesha gave me the much-needed confidence and calmness. I reached before time (my appointment was at 11), but I was allowed to start the exam sooner. My AWA (essay) section was pretty competent; I think I did a better job on the Analysis of Issue than on Analysis of Argument. (Love taking sides and persuading, you know!)

The Quant section after that was a very confusing one, where I could not decide whether I was answering correctly or not! I mean I HATE number properties and Data Sufficiency, and those were the exact things that were asked of me in the test. Can the GMAT read minds? Freaky!

However, my scaled score was 49 on 60 which means I did fairly well, keeping in mind my long sabbatical from the study of Maths, and my Arts background. My score in verbal was expectedly pathetic - a measly 35 on 60. I DETEST Reading Comprehension, but I frankly thought the section was not too tough and I'd score better. Anyways, my percentile ranks in the two sections were 87 and 73 respectively.

That was the quantitative news. The qualitative description is that I was taking it too easy! I was ekdum chill as I gave the exam. I panicked once during the Math section when I thought the time was running out. However, I managed to finish both sections before time. 690!! Wish it had been 720, but hell, I was dreading anything around or under 660.

The last month has gone by pretty rapidly. I was spending most of my time at office - working,blogging, studying and socializing. And of course, I was spending the rest of my waking hours preparing at home for the GMAT. Now with the test out of the way, I have more time to relax (though I have to start the application process for a US MBA soon). The means to the end had become the end in itself... and I'm glad its ended for once...

I cried my lungs out on Sauturday after I gave my final mock-GMAT prep test, coz the score was identical to my first mock-test. And if there is not even a point difference between the two scores, then what the *Y#%$T*& was I doing for the last so many months?!! Now with a 690 on my unofficial score report, I am content, if not ecstatic.

By the way, I must thank a couple of people who deserve credit for my studying and appearing for the GMAT...

Denis - the very first person who told me about the GMAT and advised me to apply for a US MBA. Without him, I would never even have CONSIDERED this option. He guided me step-by-step like a father does a baby, and I'm tremendously grateful to him. He kept motivating and
pushing me to not give up and do my best. Thanks, buddy! I look forward to seeing you in the US next September raising a mocktail toast to our respective MBAs ;-)

Nikhil - He just buzzed one day and we struck gold! Both of us were unaware that the other was planning to give GMAT. What followed after that was a series of meetings and telecons, through which he passed on a lot of prep material, and I made up for it by helping him with his Sentence Correction queries. Thank you, mate! Owe you one... I hope we go together to pursue our MBAs next year - you to Purdue and me to NYU / Kellogg! Amen.

Sumant - who at a very crucial juncture lent me his laptop to study and prepare. Without a computer at my disposal, I bet I couldn't have done even 1/4th of the preparation that I've done in August. Plus, I've enjoyed making my blog-notes and played Mahjong Titans :-) Thanks!

And hey, Abba who paid my GMAT test fees, a cool $250.
And Sibi... who helped me hunt and browse for GMAT books, which I ultimately did not purchase coz the prices were crazy, and I wasn't sure what material was important.

And of course, all of you who prayed for me!! (Though you could've prayed a bit harder; I would have easily crossed 720 then...)

Well well well, the GMAT is finally OVER... I look forward to catching up with my friends and my sleep, and the Sherlock Holmes Omnibus that I had dug out a few months ago. I was anticipating a more relaxed and stress-free life after the hectic month of August. But the unanticipated resignation of a threesome at work has screwed my merry plans.I'm obviously going to have to shoulder extra responsibilities and dedicate more time at work.

(Not that I mind going an extra mile if I believe in the justness and necessity of the given task. Plus, it adds to my experience...)

Cheers, ladies and gentlemen! The GMAT is FINALLY over :-)


Saturday, August 22

The Gift of Acceptance

I wana make up right now na na,
I wana make up right now na na,
Wish we never broke up right now na na,
We need to link up right now na na…

Gosh, how I love that song! It just blows my mind away… The seductive beats, the gurgling voice of Akon and the entire mood the song sets… It’s super wow!

Have you seen the rains lashing the city at dawn for the last 3 days? They're scary... Like an alarm, the downpour starts at 3.30 am and goes on for a good 2 hours, making me thankful for having a roof on my head. I pity those on the streets that suffer the fury of Varun deva...

Hey, I've had a haircut... Back to the damke-damke, bouncing hair. No more long tresses for me, at least for a couple of months! And I bought a new pen-drive a couple fo weeks ago. A 2 GB Transcend. Exceptionally pleased with myself :-)

A movie I watched the day before on HBO touched my heart (as do most other things in this world). Called Sweet Nothing in my Ear, it was about this deaf girl who weds a hearing man, and they have a partially deaf son. The film relates how the man wants his son to have an implant that will help him hear, but the mother wants the son to live as he is, and decide for himself, as an adult, if he wants any such chip in his brain. The sign language was the biggest attraction in the movie for me, but what was equally appreciable was the realisation that so many times, we choose what is good for us under the pretext of doing something nice for someone else. Life has given us the freedom to make our own choices, and each should choose what is best for him/her; nobody else can...

Bet you can see how wonderfully my GMAT is shaping up... Jokes apart, I’m hard at work all day (which includes 5 hours of back2back training, followed by regular blogging), watching movies, surfing for stuff on swine flu and pronunciation, and doing just about everything other than going through my practice material. I really need a whack on the head, but frankly that won’t help much coz I’m sick of preparing. Even in school and college, my friends used to start their revision months in advance and I used to wait until the very last 2 weeks. Why? Coz I’d forget what I’d studied in advance anyway by the time my exam date came by, so why waste time preparing? (Of course, nobody believed me when I said that. “Kahitarich kay, 2 vela revision jhaali asel tujhi!”)

Hearing about people who’ve slogged their a** for months on end for the GMAT freaked me out, and I studied for no less than 5-6 hours for almost a week towards the end of July. And then, kapoot. Now I congratulate myself even if I finish a measly mock test… Such is life! Of course, I have no idea what I was thinking when I planned to give the GMAT after just studying the OG in 2 weeks. Now at least, I have Kaplan, Princeton and Barron behind me... And somehow I'm feeling very optimistic and calm :-) Touch wood!

All said and done, I’m as prepared now as I shall ever be. I really see no scope of enhancing my math and verbal aptitude anymore. My eyes are strained and my head is raped, and I am sick of studying. Practice may make someone else perfect, to me, it just irritates and bores. Hardly 72 hours left for my actual test, and I’m hoping I don’t give it in a frustrated and ek-baar-ka-khatam-kar-yaar way… If I get below 670, I’ll shoot myself.

The news is Indiblogger has ranked my blog Number 75/100. While I'm aware that 5 is my favorite/lucky number, I'd still have been happier if the rank had been 5, or even 15... But you see, I don't get to choose... Thanks, anyway, Renie Ravin and other Indibloggers! I ACCEPT this rank... Just like I have ACCEPTED that I won't be scoring anywhere over 700 in my GMAT. (If I do, you guys get a treat!! Cmon now, start praying!!)

Acceptance is such a bliss! Once you accept things, they cease to bother you and you feel so much at ease and peace. I mean think about the last time you were sad. What was the reason? Did somebody not behave as you wanted them to? Did you expect something and it did not turn out that way? Or vice versa? I get irritated at times cos I wana surprise some folks, and they don't react as expected...

My history with acceptance has been a stormy one. I've forever had issues with people, God and things about why-was-it-like-this-and-why-didn't-that-occur... Call it demanding, but I want my life and people around me to be reasonably predictable and caring. I find it tough to handle ambiguity and constant change (=not a typo, I know the terms are contradictory).

The result? I get impatient and downright rude with my friends, family and acquaintances. If they can't be bothered to care about me, why the hell should I oblige? However, now I realise that I'd have saved myself and (probably) others a lot of pain if I had just shrugged, said "Chalta hai yaar, koi load nahi" and moved on without any grudges. Acceptance is the key, see?

Possibly the earliest memory I have where I had a problem with my own self was when I conjured the thought that my "assets" and "looks" weren't marvellous when in school. I ached to be as pretty as the other "popular" girls, and I still cringe when I recall the ugly way a few evil classmates used to poke fun at me, courtesy my sun-kissed dusky complexion (which is now thought to be appealing) and my specs (that I continue to love to hate). Now, when my schoolmates and others see me, they literally have a heart-attack. The ugly duckling has become a swan... Or atleast a crane... No more a dumb crow :-)

The gift of acceptance is the best present you can give to anybody around you. Including yourself. I have now accepted the way I look, I don't want bigger *whatevers* or a fairer color. I'm ok the way I am (though I would love to see the world directly void my glasses). I'm sure God has made me a particular way for a particular reason, and I shall not insult his decision by hating myself or my life. I love you, Anuja! Muaaaaahhhh... And I love you readers, though I would sure appreciate it if you could comment more often and not just be passive readers!! (Conditions apply every where, no free lunches in the 21st century!!!)

Life is rosier and less complicated when acceptance becomes a daily virtue. Just let things be what they are, and enjoy your zen-like state where "live and let live" is the mantra. Nope, don't settle for mediocrity. Especially where you yourself and your abilities are concerned. But after adequate effort has been made, realise that things had to be this way. Commiting suicide for a measly 10th grade marksheet? Not worth it, right? Accept... Once you grow up, people will care a sh** about whether you even went to school... Don't define yourself by such trivial matters. Agreed, things din't end well, but there's more to life and you than one stupid test...
(Even the GMAT for that matter, ahem!)

Each time I've planned to give up expecting, I've noticed that I become more easygoing and serene. And that's the way I wana be! It feels great! Unfortunately, people feel weird when I start acting "cool". They cannot handle this un-Anuja-ic behavior and they ask me what's wrong... They think I'm detached and unruffled... Am I going away from them?? No, I'm just trying to improve myself so I come closer to you :-)

I have a horrible temper that flares up over the slightest issue, and a razor-sharp tongue that has no reins. I love with all my heart, yet I also hurt some people, including those I love. I'm trying to be calm and accommodating... It's a challenge, but in the end, I realize that it's a win-win for all...

Is that what we call maturity? Is that what growing up is all about? Knowing when you cannot change things and/or people, and learning to give up waiting, expecting or demanding?

Well, I'm growing up then :-)

I wana grow up right now na na...


Thursday, August 20

Jai Ho!!

Jai Hind!

Wish you a belated Happy Independence Day!

This comes late, I know... I was ruminating over a number of things before I came up with this post. (And the previous one, a poem, if you haven't read it yet.)

Say, it's good to know that my countrymen are all Indian... At least in spirit, if not in action.

Of course, we stand up when the national anthem is played before every movie in the cinema hall, and we cheer when India is playing a cricket match against Pakistan or Australia.

We feel proud when Akshay Kumar rattles off impressive statistics quoting the greatness of our nation in Namaste London, or when Shahrukh Khan admonishes his team in Chak De for not giving precedence to their nation, referring to their individual states instead.

When an Indian wins an international honor, we celebrate in our homes and streets, and we join peace marches for deaths that happen on the battlefield.

We forward e-mails and sign petitions...

But do we all vote?

This year maybe we did, courtesy the stunning Jaago Re campaign.
But do we know and practice our responsibilities otherwise?

I confess, I am a stupid citizen. I don't have a voter's card, despite applying for it thrice in the last 4 years. I hate politics and I don't know what I can do to prove myself a worthy and partiotic and well-meaning Indian. I don't pollute the air/water/soil much, but I also have not made any significant contributions to humankind or the world yet. Some righteous folks might say I'm as good as not living... if living is the right of those who know how to make a difference, those who know how to make their countries proud and strive to its development. Maybe I'm self-centred and cynical. Just like the rest of us...

However, the truth is I feel very bad for our nation, and I wish there was something we all could do to make it a better place. We have the best of everything - people, resources, intelligence, capability. But we aren't utilizing it effectively. I'm aware the simplest way out is to blame the bureaucracy and corruption, but though I admire and enjoy Anil Kapoor in Nayak, I can't be him... Wish someone was...

I asked a couple of folks what Independence meant to them. I asked what they would say to Mother India if they happened to meet her, and what she would say to them. Here are a few answers I received... Reproduced by permission.
(Thanks, friends!)

Bhanu (Guru, met him at ISABS, inseparable since) - What would we say to her? Nothing. She knows it all. Half of us would stand in pride, the others hang their heads in shame.
I hope in her second visit, we'd all be proud!

Sibi (THE Buddy) - To me, freedom is leaving the house at 2 am without fear, doing what I want to do, legally, of course.
If Mother India arrives, she'd look into our eyes and say "care for me a little bit and I'll take care of generations that are yet to come."
And we'd stand there expressionless, waiting to get back to our work and schedules...

Abba (
my Uncle, who I refer to so often here. For the record, my grandpa was a freedom fighter and Abba, as leader of banks and educational institutions does more than a few flag-hoisting ceremonies back at my ancestral place) - Every Independence Day reaffirms my faith in India.
If Mother India appears, she would say your society passes, but just barely!
I'd reply, we could've done better had we not all been so selfish and unscrupulous...

Ketaki (a school-and-college-mate, a very smart lady, as you shall shortly acknowledge) - Independence to me is light and liberation of every Indian citizen.
If Mother Earth ever incarnated down to our Motherland, she would rightly show us the path towards illumination, which would be virtuous and lawful victory over the social and economic demons that dwell here.
We, as Her children would ask her to bless us with the power to think with precision, challenge and work towards a better and brighter tomorrow for us and for the generations to come.

Hmmmm... smart folks, eh?
Would love to hear your answers and comments, too readers!

Thank ye all, and lets pray we become a better community and nation soon... I'm sick of hearing "India is a DEVELOPING country" and "a superpower in the making"... Bring it on!! Enough of the waiting...


Tuesday, August 18

A Sorrowful Saunter

She walked gracefully, as lithe as a dancer,
Her pretty white saree fluttering in the breeze.
Her face shone like a thousand diamonds set ablaze,
Her hair the color of dark kohl,
Her eyes just as marvellous.

She passed through a meadow as the cattle grazed,
A frisking calf came up to her.
She cuddled it lovingly,
And noticed a hillock of plastic and garbage.
She stumbled, her mind in a haze,
She shrugged and moved on.

She treaded through the farm with lush wheat harvest,
The beauty of the crop set her heart free.
When she looked up at the sky,
She saw a tall skyscraper threatening to take over the farm.
Amidst the thorns, her saree tore a wee bit.

She reached the river-bank,
The blooming lotuses, playing kids and ducks soothed her soul.
The water glistened and she looked carefully,
A ring of oil and chemicals floated past.
Her face clouded over and dazzling smile faded.

A bell rang in the temple nearby,
She walked to it to bow to the Lord.
A queue stood waiting for worship,
As a wealthy zamindar strutted past.
A child ran ahead for a glance of the idol,
The pandit rushing to greet the landlord shoved him out of the way.
Her hair turned limp and lustreless.

She entered the city gates,
Tired and morose, still hopeful.
After all, education was beneficial, right?
"Yes, we'll destory the basti (=settlement) and the surrounding trees,
The mall will be ready by next September.
Just get my son the Ferrari, and I'll make sure the bridge collapses."
Her eyes moistened and eyebrow twitched.

As she roamed the streets she saw,
Young kids begging and tricksters scheming,
Man fighting against man,
Under the pretext of God, values and religion.
Law-makers and police abusing rights and responsibilities.
The youth ready to pack their bags and leave,
"After all, what's there in India anyway?!!
The future of this country is in the dumps!"
She watched the future speaking, dumbstruck.

Not a Tsunami, not an earthquake, nor droughts,
Could make these people understand just how terrible their deeds were.
These reminders were showing them a glimpse of the final consequences,
Which they encashed and exploited to rob their own kind.

Her heart went out to the jawan on the border,
She shed tears for those that had laid down their lives for freedom,
There were few who promised to make the nation proud,
But the country teemed with evil and cynical, selfish monsters.

She treaded her lonely path,
Her walk sorrowful and soul in despair.
The saree torn and dishevelled,
Her face stained with tears and grime.
Hair the color of pepper and salt,
Eyes red as peaches.

"Oh my children," she sighed,
As she trudged away to nowhere,
Shaken and hurt, morose and lost,
"My children, how I wish..."

Saturday, August 15

Ph.D. in Boy-o-logy

Boys, boys, boys... Ye pagal ladke!

Some bygone crazy song by an Indipop artist. Dunno why I remembered it. Or hold on, I think I DO know why I recall it...

I have been thinking of gender benders and how men and women differ from each other. While I already vented more than a few opinions and biases on Pyar Today Tomorrow (under the guise of giving you the movie review), I still have a couple of points left to talk about... And you know me, if I've to say it, it will be said. No matter what... Not too politically correct of me, but hell! Life's too short to keep being right and indisputable all the time!!

(Not that anyone ever challenges me and turns away irrefutably victorious!)

So, I was saying... I notice that most guys are reckless riders. No offence, by "reckless" I mean wild and hasty, but by no means lacking control. It astounds me when they take those fearsome "cuts" and emerge at the head of the traffic signal. The way they find their path amidst the biggest and scariest of vehicles as simply as if they were popping a mint into their mouths, that's so out of this world! And the most important feature, they can admire and praise people without any hitches. (Most ladies I know find it extremely hard to appreciate others, especially their own gender directly in front of them.)

So, you see, I do have my respect intact. As far as transportation is concerned, I'd ride/drive with a guy rather than with a female any day of my life... Yet I cannot turn a blind eye to some annoying (or cute, depending on what your mood is...) behaviors in "man"-kind. Till date I haven't been able to grasp why they need to rev up the engine and aceelerate more than is required. The urge to go from 0 to 80 in a single second takes its toll not only on the vehicle, but also the poor pillion person who's holding on for dear life!

I get terribly annoyed when this happens, and more so when they immediately brake to pause for a signal... WHY oh WHY can't they anticipate the speed and signal and cut the accelerator accordingly? I know boys better than to brake for indecent purposes all the time... So then, why?? Women, I must admit, are far better at this kinda riding. They zoom only as much as required and bring the vehicle to a halt without a bone-shaking jerk and a heart-freezing lurch.

The most bug-worthy event, by far, is their wholesome interest in any mishap that occurs on the road. They turn back more than a hundred times, a full 180 degrees, crane their necks and try not miss an inch of the action... All as they still continue to ride their motorcycles... In the bargain, if they dash into other vehicles (frequently one of their own clan, also aching to catch the accident in full detail), they grin sheepishly at the other rider, and still turn around to see what they overlooked... Uffff!!

And what's with filling only 20 or at the max 50Rs of fuel?? Only on the rarest occasion have I seen a guy doing a "tanki full". (I last caught a man doing that to his Unicorn about a month ago and I nearly flipped to see someone so generous and alien!) Granted that bikes give better average, but what's with guys and petrol stations? Why do they have to visit a fuel pump every single day?? Can't even say the pretty attendants are the magnet that draws them :-P

Hmmm... That's quite a bit about romanchik riding... Moving on to what guys like to do next best... Eat! Most guys I've seen (I should actually say ALL, can't remember any exceptions) are complete foodies with amazing tummy space. And they really pamper their hunger pangs... I mean I do know a few women who eat 27 hours a day, but more than half the men I know are dedicated breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner-snack-snack-breakfast people. I really appreciate that! Sincerity with diets and meals has never been my forte, and my mum can vouch for that... As can most of you :-D

What follows next is so obvious - their farts and/or burps. Ugghhhh... Feel like wringing their necks when they proudly demonstrate their expertise at these two activities, following it up with a "sorry" as if they're doing the world a favor!! I mean, how gross! Why can't they be decent and cultured like us women ;-)

Not to mention their obsession with bowel processes. They love potty discussions (especially when they're eating), and after the uploading is done, they invariably go hunting for the loo to initiate the download process... What a routine!! And then to rush to the washroom after a smoke or mug of hot tea... It's so predictable yet hilarious when I see a guy doing that...

Most guys (except those passionately in love) find the concept of "live and let live" extremely conducive to peace and happiness. They prefer the no-strings-attached kinda relations, not just with their girls, but also with their buddies. They don't expect to be in consistent contact with any pal, nor do they want anyone else to latch onto them and start demanding rights. So, you wana hang out with us? You're most welcome. You wana share my underwear? Go ahead! (OK, I know that was a lil too much! Just wanted to make a point.) But you want me to keep calling and meeting you every single day? Dude. let's just live our separate lives and not intrude... That's the guy-way... Quite systematic and convenient, I must exclaim!

Well, my reservoir of guy-gyaan will never dry up. High time I get a degree for my unending observations and hypotheses, right? Something like a Ph.D. in Boy-o-logy? I promise I wouldn't feel old by the "Doctor" title like SRK did with his recently awarded honor...

Anyone looking to host or sponsor an award?

I'm here :-)

Your truly!!

Wednesday, August 12

Fact or Fiction?

Ok that's it. All limits crossed. I've had enough of this hullaballoo.

I'd thought I wouldn’t write about the swine flu pandemic, coz I expected it to die down within a few days just like other media-hyped “no cure”, “deadly” diseases and infections. Seems like I’ll have to change my mind, coz this virus pledges to hang around for a bit longer than usual… And what with people dying and all, it's really becoming one helluva chaotic situation... Of course, nobody's paying heed to the fact that people die of malaria and AIDS and other diseases almost everyday... Just coz it's new and "different"...

So exactly, what IS this swine flu business? The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
which boasts of being “your online source for credible health information” defines H1N1 (referred to as “swine flu” early on) as a new influenza virus causing illness in people. (I know this ain’t too helpful, but hold on. I’ll get there shortly.)

This contagious virus, first detected in people in the United States in April 2009, was originally referred to as “swine flu” because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in it were similar to influenza viruses normally occurring in pigs (swine) in North America. However, Novel H1N1 viruses are not spread by food; you cannot get infected with novel HIN1 virus from eating pork or pork products. Pepperoni lovers, don’t fret or abstain yet!

Somebody told Ammi (my aunt, if you remember her) that the Taliban injected this virus in Mexican pigs so as to ruin America, but turns out that the entire world s paying for this misdeed. The TOI says 168 countries around the globe are battling this pandemic, and it promises to get worse. According to the WHO and Ghulam Nabi Azad, one-third of the people in India could get affected by this virus within the next 2 years. I pray their prediction fails, just like the weather bureau’s forecasts. Amen.

My initial reaction to this “new” problem was one of disgust. I thought the media is going too far this time, scaring poor and vulnerable people, and cashing in on masala and gossip. Generating profit by creating a sansani khez khabar... Have I changed my mind about that? I’m not sure. My mum’s doc insists it is all “rubbish”, and I would heartily like to believe. Unfortunately, empty roads, few by-passers brave enough to venture out with masks on their faces, and newspaper headlines screaming out terrifying consequences of this flu are not letting me discount the intensity of this issue.

While I was first rejoicing on behalf of the school kids who got extended vacations thanks to the shutdown of schools, I was struck with horror when I learnt that an exchange student from my very own high school caught the virus while in the US. Suddenly, the cancellation of the school unit tests and a long leave did not appear to be a very pleasant scene. At the moment , almost 14 schools and a few colleges in Pune have declared a shutdown, as kids are probably the most prone (and less immune) to such virus. Several graduate hostels and classes have closed down, too and outsiders are leaving the city for the time being. I hear most ofices are planning to stay shut for the week, too. (They have a central A/c you see, not too safe if the virus is around...)

Increasing fear among the public could be attributed to the absence of any vaccine to protect against the H1N1 virus. Doctors and scientists are working towards the same, and I hope they strike gold soon. At the moment, there are antiviral medicines (like Oseltamivir or Zanamivir) that you can take to prevent or treat swine flu. These prescription medicines (pills, liquid or inhaled powder) fight against the flu by keeping the virus from reproducing in your body.

I personally consider that any disease that is bound to happen shall, and no matter what number of vaccines we produce, there shall always be more “incurable” diseases that are discovered every year. For example, the Hepatitis which was “breaking news” when I was a teenager, was supposed to be a deadly illness and a lot of my friends’ parents had their kids vaccinated. My mum didn’t deem it essential, and lo! We haven’t heard of Hepatitis since…

Anyway, I’m not advocating anything here on my blog. These are purely my own thoughts and values. But I must say that the sight of every third person wearing a face mask is freaking me out. I have these imaginary symptoms where I feel my throat is aching and that I’m feeling unwell. Especially when I’m in Aundh or in close contact with children.
(Kids coz they’re the easiest targets, and Aundh coz the H1N1 treatment centre is in that area. I know I’m silly, but you can’t say I’m being dishonest!)

Symptoms of swine flu in humans include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue (similar to other common flu symptoms) and vomiting and diarrhea. While a few fatalities have occurred, most patients suffer mild unease for a given duration, depending on their immunity and precautionary measures. Certain people are at “high risk” of serious complications - folks over 65 years, children, pregnant women, and people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions.

The roads, multiplexes and malls are empty coz people are avoiding stepping outta the house. A good move, according to the CDC. But I'm sure the makers of Kaminey and other films releasing this Friday aren't thrilled. Their box office collections will be hit, I mean flop... Dhan-ta-naa... But hey, the positive side is that traffic is less, so commutation takes lesser time, and plus few vehicles so hardly any accidents. Yin-yang.

Back to H1N1... How does the virus spread? Mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people infected by the virus. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something – such as a surface or object – with flu virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose. Studies have shown that influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for 2 to 8 hours after being deposited on the surface.

Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after use.
· Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially with alcohol-based hand cleaners. (Use hand-gels/nilgiri oil - one of the preventive measures.)
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and avoid close contact with sick people.
· If you experience flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

You ought to follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures. Be prepared in case you get sick and need to stay home for a week or so; a supply of over-the-counter medicines, alcohol-based hand rubs/tissues could be useful.
The virus is destroyed by heat (167-212°F or 75-100°C). In addition, chemical germicides like chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, soap detergents, iodophors (=iodine-based antiseptics), and alcohols are effective against human influenza viruses if used in proper concentration for a sufficient length of time.

What do I myself do? Nothing out of the ordinary. I haven't bought a face mask yet, and nor do I intend to... Many people I've seen either hang the mask around their necks, or keep their nose exposed, or do some other more creative draping. Besides, who knows how effective these masks are? I've heard the N95 (I thought that was a Nokia handset model) is a good buy although it is comparatively expensive, and out of stock. The others that are being at all prices from 50 to 250 may/may not be good for more than a few hours, after which they need to be disposed.
(Creating waste and disposal problems. Shucks. Never a win-win situation, is there?!!)

Anyways, I'm going to place my faith firmly in God and the transience of all things good and bad. This issue needs to get resolved soon; the Naidu hospital is finding it hard to battle against the rapidly rising number of actual cases and "suspects". God save the world...

Stay safe.


Monday, August 10

Now they think...

He was a dashing man,
And she a charming lady,
They met and hit it off,
Like they were absolutely meant to be.

They lovingly held hands,
And smiled as they said “I do!”
“I'll be with you forever,
And do all you want me to.”

She yearned to be loved,
And he wanted nothing else either,
Life was a bliss every passing day,
No worries and trouble neither.

Unfortunately, good things don't last forever,
And it was evident from what happened next;
Arguments and abuses on things silly and trivial,
And troubling comments that couldn't be ignored in jest.

The soulmates became eternal rivals,
And life became a constant contest for victory,
Ego, prejudice and insensitivity dominated,
Not a moment was peaceful and free...

It hurt them both, as each shed bitter tears,
Alas they couldn't find a way...
There was just no option left,
And goodbye they had to say.

When they sit down in their separate nooks,
They wonder what could have ruined it all;
Was it their lack of understanding or incompatibility,
That had led to this despicable fall?

She had yearned to be loved,
And he had wanted nothing else,
How then had priorities changed?
How had wishes become evil spells?

Maybe it was the craziest mistake for them to be a couple,
Maybe they weren't meant to be together,
Maybe they were destined to part ways,
Maybe they both deserved better...

Now they think on...


Friday, August 7

Pyar Today Tomorrow

Now while that title may or might not rake in the audiences, it sure translates to something which in my opinion is a brilliant movie...

Yep, lads and lasses, the Princess is back with another review - Love Aaj Kal starring Saif Ali Khan (the outstanding, outstanding actor) and Deepika Padukone (the pretty damsel with cute dimples). Imtiaz Ali has another winner on his hands after Jab We Met, and we should congratulate him for this wonderful film. It is honest, intelligent, observant, emotional, believable and obviously entertaining.

What's the story? It's about this dude and dudette in London who are dating for fun-sakes, the no-strings-attached style, so common among teenagers and young adults today. Their destiny beckons them in different directions so DeePad heads to India and they break up before she leaves, so as not to complicate matters later and ruin their pleasant memories during the "relationship". They think they were having innocent fun together and there was nothing serious between them, but they miss each other and think of each other... You get the flow, right?

Stud Saif starts dating a firang and DeePad manages to find an admirable partner in the form of Rahul Khanna (where did he tapko from? The last I can remember of him is Bollywood-Hollywood with Lisa Ray). But the point is, they CANNOT seem to get over each other as much as they try. After a few songs and scenes later, you see DeePad getting married to Rahul, and Saifu is pareshan and he walks out heartbroken. But destiny takes him away to his dream job in the US and things are as great as could ever be. Until he realises that without his lady love, he cannot function at all.

He takes off to India to confront her, only to find out that she left her husband soon after their wedding and lived alone waiting for Chhote Nawab to arrive. Happy ending.

Now where exactly does the Sardarji Saif figure in this plot? (You know he plays a double role in this one, don't you?) Miraculously, (and ludicrously) it turns out that Rishi Kapoor (yep, he's in the movie, too) used to look like SAK in his youth, AND his life and love story were identical (=what they say in HIndi, huu-ba-huu) to the 21st century SAK. So, it's basically this khichadi about the two love stories that forms the gist of how love was kal and how it is aaj... It is a beautiful contrast, and your hair stands on end more than once when you see the plight of the sexy Sardar Saif and his super-sentimental expressions.

If the above doesn't sound very exciting to you, I'm sorry coz my description hasn't done justice to the movie. I loved it for the fantastic revelations it presents about the gender differences, relationships and human nature. Pardon my prejudice, but most of my observations about men have been verified through this film.

Like how they find everything mast at first and then get struck with boredom and monotony. How they hate serious discussions and firmly believe in "live and let live". Don't misunderstand me, I do think males are more humorous, adventurous and better company than females. But they find it challenging when it comes to being sensitive and mature... They don't realise their own feelings. They misconstrue their own needs and others' expectations/remarks. They stumble upon matters of the heart by accident (and often late), but get over things fast and adapt to the situation. Blind to the most obvious facts, not willing to listen, obsessed with living up to the image of "macho" and "stud" and "cool" - that's how most menfolk are...

And of course, women. How small things are important to them but they don't say it out loud and expect the man to understand and act upon it. They want their man's convenience even as they want him to overcome his hurdles and pamper/surprise her. Women think a lot and express most of it, and they don't find their being vocal incorrect in anyway. The essence of which the men realise later, after they've wagged their tongues and explored the highs of their voice-boxes.

I really pity our generation where we have so many options, that we pursue worldly things and lose track of loyalty to people we know. Our "fatafat" generation (as aptly coined by Radio One) stands by fast food, fast money and fast gratification, and we're the poorer for it... There's no time to understand others, put up with their needs and behaviors, forge a lasting bond, forget about loving and caring for them... Comfort and convenience are top priorities and we end up losing so many important things and people coz of our narrow-mindedness.

The movie also showcases the rise and fall of relationships. How they start with a bang, get boring and predictable as time passes, and how the couple starts taking each other for granted. How we hide our true feelings and how we hurt the other person. How sometimes we misjudge the significance of a person in our life, and overlook how much he/she means to us. When one fine day we come to terms with our desire, a man rushes to spell it out, but a woman will stay quiet and live on. She doesn't want to force anything, coz more often than not, the guy regrets most decisions he makes. (Hey, do you make or take a decision? Gotta check...)

One thing's for sure, Saif can't dance sala ;-) He looks funny when he jigs! All that uncalled-for rush of energy, and the two left feet, they just don't look appealing... But he makes up for it with his cute smile and crazy jokes delivered with a deadpan face (akin Dil Chahta Hai). I really don't understand why he had to do a double role; a different person could easily have played Rishi's youth. And DeePad, well, the role's really not that demanding for her. Also, I'm not visiting her designer anytime soon, she looks quite crazy in her long kurtas and uncoordinated slacks.

I'm guessing Kareena was not feasible for the movie due to her high prices, but Saif wanted her so desperately, that he made sure Dee looked size zero - the woman appears malnourished at a few instances!! Anyway, RK and RK (Rishi Kapoor and Rahul Khanna) don't have much to do, and you even glimpse Neetu Singh-Kapoor in the end. The songs are lovely - Chor Bazaari, Twist, Dooriyan and of course my favorite Aahun Aahun.

Hmmmm... So, you see I loved the film and I'm giving it a 9 on 10. Which is incredible! The lost one point is bcoz Saif speaks too much when he's nervous and really bugs the s*** outa me... Its ok, buddy. You're forgiven. Not coz ur royal blood, but coz you did a good job here in movie-dom.


Your very own,
Filmi Farishta

Wednesday, August 5


Good afternoon, buddies!

It's my fourth working day today, and I'm as excited as an American on the Fourth of July! My job has well-begun (is half done... duh! whatever) and I'm settling down into this crazy routine that I had outgrown in the last 2 months. I now rise at (wonder of wonders!) 6.45 am everyday so that I can arrive at office in time for training my first batch of 11 students at half past 8. Hardly is that over than trickles in my next batch which continues till about noon. A breather and a quick snack later, I'm back in class to interact and guide my next 2 students.

For those that don't know, I've taken up a full-time training position in communication skills (primarily basic and advanced English) with an HR consulting firm that recruits and trains candidates for BPO/KPOs, IT and ITeS companies. So, you could say my biggest KRA is to get the candidates to the right competency level where they are considered "hirable". The English bit I'm already good at - have been in ESL/EFL training for over 3 years now; but I'm also learning and teaching VnA (that's Voice and Accent) here, adding to my existing skill-set.

The place is good, the team is young and fun, and training was always my passion, so the going has been good so far. I work till about 5 pm, which makes my day extremely long, but I don't seem to mind somehow... I guess doing what you like to do beats all blues and stress :-)

I seem to be liking working on GMAT as well; I've completed Kaplan and am now halfway through Princeton Review. Of course, working full-time does not allow me to study too much daily, plus I'm pooped and ready to collapse with exhaustion every night so the "Anuja is a night owl" mantra is now passe. However, I do think I'm more confident now about the test, and my math proficiency has increased reasonably. Surprisingly, I seem to have improved my verbal ability also, as the Sentence Construction section teaches me correct usage of tenses, idioms and clauses. Yaba-daba-dooo!!

(Ahem, I'm still terrible with Reading Comprehension though, but I'm not gona discuss that...)

It's Raksha Bandhan today and Ganeshotsav is round the corner. So get set to celebrate, folks! If you're the sis, make sure you get something for Bhaiya-Bhabhi; don't just be content with gifting them an ek-pe-ek free rakhi!! If nothing else, chocolates do the trick! Cadbury's Celebrations will do fine... And if you're the bro, don't feel proud of yourself having given the behena a cheap dabba of chocolates or a 100 rupaiye ka note! Unleash the power of thy wallet, dude! The sky's the limit ;-)

How convenient, right?! ;-) Hehe... That's the way aaha aaha I like it!!

The latest on my front is that I visited Zafran recently. This swanky restaurant on the rooftop is set amidst the beautiful campus of Panchshil Tech Park, located between Airport Road and Nagar Road. The complex houses IBM Daksh, Dell and other IT companies, and has the cosy Aquaa Lounge next to Zafran, and the attractive Costa Coffee downstairs (both of which I intent to visit when I can). I found the place interesting as its decor was very stylish and the crowd was, too. The food could've been better, but the prices were as good (or bad) as any upmarket place in Pune.

My reason for going there was the engagement ceremony of a family friend. Though the venue was not well-suited to a large gathering, it was a wonderful change from the usual A-list restaurants that people choose for such occasions. (I'm sick of Garden Court, Mahesh Bhavan, thali joints and mangal karyalayas!!) While the pretty dulhan and the astonishingly clean-looking dulha were striking poses for the demanding cameraman, I and Bhabhi reduced the weight of the moving food-platters that consisted of chat, paneer and cutlets. (Of course, I also relished the penne pasta, Hyderabadi Dum Biryani and Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream later.)

Worry not, for my weight remains what it was and has forever been; but I wish I could say the same about my mouth and cheeks. Naah, it wasn't the food that had them sprained, but the incessant smiling and chatting which is a given at any such get-together.

I mean what's with these functions and small talk? You have to greet everyone you even glance-by-chance with equal and genuine warmth and enthusiasm. You have to ask and answer the same ghisa-pita questions. You have to ooh-and-aah-and-wow-and-oh my god at regular intervals to make up for the lack of emotion on your face. You have to make the same remarks a 100 times - "Of course, I haven't lost weight", "I work as a trainer", "Ya, it's been a long time", "Why don't you come home?" and so on. Plus when an adoring uncle squeals, "How you've grown" and "we must find you a good match soon".... Grrrr!!!

I'm gona carry a sign next time I go anywhere with my parents...
Watch out, Anuja bites.

And makes dirty faces.

And can be extremely curt and impolite.

Meddle at your peril.

I was (comparatively) more at ease when I was partying with a gang of friends the previous night. I hadn't seen this group in the last couple of weeks.
(One of whom makes the most enlightening remarks without batting an eyelid - this time she impressed me by saying that modesty is hypocrisy, coz you are sort of aware that you're good! Food for thought, eh?)

Though the bash consisted of about 20 people I didn't know, I still felt comfortable as they got hammered and smoked. Each one was having a good time, talking as he pleased and sitting as she wanted. This did lead to quite a few embarassing PDA scenes, but then, nothing is entirely perfect ever. What rocked was that I got to meet my pals after quite a while and I get to practice proficient English with them; what sucked was just like everytime, my hair was stinking of smoke. Yin-yang. There's some good in the bad and some bad in the good.

While I'm very tempted to go on talking, I must rush. My watch says its time to get back to class!


(Ok now guru?!!)


Monday, August 3

Mental Feng Shui

Ready for some gyaan?

I'm getting very insightful these days, and with people sending me all sorts of philosophical mails, you can't blame me for this direction my blog is taking!!

I'm not quite sure what the heading means, I mean we know what's Feng Shui, but mental?? Anyway, it's very inspiring! Enjoy :-)

1. Give people more than they expect, and do it cheerfully.

2. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

3. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

4. When you say, "I love you," mean it.

5. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.

6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

7. Believe in love at first sight.

8. Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

9. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

11. Don't judge people by their relatives.

12. Talk slowly but think quickly.

13. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"

14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

15. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.

16. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

17. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

18. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

19. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. Start by admitting and apologizing...

20. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

21. Spend some time alone. You are your best company!

Hope you doing fine!! Be back soon...

Belated Happy Friendships Day!!


P.S : I heard a queer story about Friendship Day; I'm not sure whether it's true or not, but I got this mail saying that in 1935, the US government killed a man on 1st Saturday of August and the next day his friend commit suicide in his memory. Hence, the US government declared the 1st Sunday of every August as F-ship Day. Which makes yesterday the 73rd such Friendship Day... Cheers to you, mates!

Dream last night

I dreamt of you last night. I know I dreamt of you last night. I don't know why I dreamt of you last night. In my dreams, you were at my...