Sunday, August 30, 2009

Towards the elixir

She moved through the forest
With the Voice in tow
Searching for the elixir
Needed for the Voice

She sparred and stunned
With the Voice standing near
Offsetting the traps (that)
Ensnared the path of elixir

She matched wits to wits
With the Voice getting weaker
Solved the puzzles (and)
Lighted the path to elixir

She stands at a junction
With the Voice almost limp
Two roads before her
Which one to the elixir?

Caution pushes her to one
Trust pushes her to another
Dreams push her to one
Practices push her to another

Brought up in trust
Hard to leave that path
Fueled by dreams
Harder still to leave
that path

Pained by caution
Hard to take that path
Singed by practices
Harder still to take
that path

O ye Universe,
Guide her through
For she is fighting

To save her guidance
To save her world
To save her Voice

Friday, August 28, 2009

Books and Movies

For long time readers, its not surprising that I'm a book fan. But lately, I've started watching movies too. Though I still don't think movies can match books, there are a few movies that are really enjoyable. But they are few and far apart.

This week's book list:
1) Seramaan Kaadhali - a tamil historic novel - total waste novel. Kathaiyae illa. Chumma, suthi suthi kathai ezhuthi irundhaan. Total waste of four hours.
2) 7 deadly wonders by Matthew Reilly - an english novel peppered liberally with historic facts and diagrams - not bad. But its not a must read as well. Its definitely not a page turner. But its fascinating how they combine so many historic facts to keep the novel in place. If you are a fact buff, you'll like this one.
3) Prom Crashers - English - a fun and light read - totally girlish
4) Batter off dead - English - okish - I took it mainly for the mystery part in it - but it was more like Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys minus the satisfaction you get after reading it.
5) Gifts of the season - English - okish - Suggested by a friend to read this genre. I would read it if I'm too tired to think of anything - warning: totally, totally girlish.

This week's movie list:
1) Inglorious bastards - English - liked it, especially Brad Pitt's and Christoph Waltz's acting. I've not seen any other movies of Waltz (yeah! I'm that pathetic!) but Pitt pulled a great accent. And, the last scene where Shoshanna's face shows through the smoke, man! That was an eerie touch. Though some scenes were bizarre (like people cutting off scalps as if they were bread loaves - I can't stomach that), it was a nice movie overall. (But three of my friends slept through parts of the movie. So, it just might not be your type!)
2) District 9 - English - Ugh! Too gory for my taste though the story line is different. The problem is I just can't relate to it or imagine that aliens can live on earth with us. If you can, then its a movie for you.
3) Kandasamy - Tamil - Less said, the better! Waste movie!
4) Raghavan - Tamil - ithellam oru padam! Padam eduthavan tamil makkala sariyaana kenai pasanga nu nenaichutaan pola iruku. Act pannavae theriyaatha oru hero. Kathai illatha story line. Ithoda director, script writer, producer moonu perayum, indha padatha oru 100 times paarka vakkanum. Athaan, correct punishment!! Adhulayae paathi uyir poidum.
Naan indha movie epdi parthen nu ketkareengala? I read the reviews of all tamil movies. Ellam waste stories. Seri, listla randomaa onnu choose pannalaamnu panninen. Adhula, ithu vandhadhu. En yaar yaarumae nalla tamil movie edukka maatendraanga? The last good one was Pasanga. After that, there is a dearth of good tamil movies.
5) The Ugly Truth - English - it starts out great but falls flat somewhere in the middle. Maybe that was because I expected the movie to go one way and it went another. And, compared to The Proposal (don't ask me why, but I keep comparing this movie to that one), it wasn't that good.

Drama: I also heard the audio of Crazy Mohan's Meesai aanalum Manaivi (Bharath's suggestion). It was good, reminds me of DD time some ten or fifteen years back. But sometimes, it looks to be a part of another era totally! Does anyone get this feeling when you see old drama or skits or episodes?

What is your movies/books list?/ Any recommendations for must read/watch books/movies?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kandasamy - Waste samy

Solla nenaichatha sollitaanyaa!

Don't waste your money on it. Unless, of course, you are a Shreya fan and would tolerate any stupidity dished out for her sake!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Spending habits: Some revelations

Spending habits of a person can easily tell loads about them. An account statement is about as intimate as you can get to a person's mind and the ideas churning there. We can easily segregate people into different classes based on their spending habits (loves travel, food connoisseur, movie buff, sports fan, art enthusiast, book lover, etc). Everyone has got their vices and pleasures. And that is what makes the world fun to be in.

I'm usually conscious about my spending but don't really get into a budget overdrive (I've done it maybe two months!). However, as I was reviewing my accounts after a long time (yeah, so much so that I don't know what happened to some of the stuff I had and had to start afresh with some left to "Gandhi kanakku"), I found interesting patterns to emerge.

When I moved Neverland, I was given some money(some big money - compared to my grad student state) to cushion the move. I assumed that it would last me the whole of the card's life term. But, yesterday, I found that I had blown some four-fifths of that money within four months. Woah! Wait a minute! Where did it all go? True! Some of it went for travel (ok! I'm nuts about travel and the experiences it'll give - I'd rather give $100 for an experience than for something I can take home - one that would finally become junk) that I'm doing in the coming months and for the recent trips I did with friends and cousins (not to mention my move). And some of it went for the new place (of course! THE bed of mine). And some of it went for shopping (yup! I've spent more than $200 in Bath and Body works alone) for stuff. The rest? Agreed, I paid my bills (atleast most of them) with this card. Shave off some $60 per month for that. That still takes away only $250 for four months.

One thing that jumps out of the statements is my long standing relationship with Airtel. I'm this compulsive home-caller whose mom is a skype-hater. A perfect situation where Airtel-customer love can grow like crazy. I need to call my mom every single night before I go to sleep. And my mom is this person who just hates talking over skype. I've charged this card of mine exactly 38 times(all in dimensions of $25) to airtel. No wonder I keep getting calls from airtel's customer center saying that I'm eligible for this promotion and that. At this rate, I'd be eligible for all the promotions they've got. Ok! I hear your *&#$&*@ words. But I guess that I pay more for the convenience of calling my mom and talking to her for hours whenever I feel like it rather than the actual talking that we do. So, this is still a worthy spend but guess I'll share my love between airtel and reliance from now on. Just so, flying under the radar :P

Another trend was that all my saving bursts were followed by spending bursts(if you can call not spending as saving) on this card. Or rather, spending bursts were followed by guilt laden saving bursts. Its all in the way you look at it, you see! But knowing me, I'd be more satisfied with the spending bursts and would let the experience sink in totally before I search for the next one. The gap would have been my saving burst. It was not intentional for sure! Wonder what will happen if I go on a spending high for too long. Would I crave the saving phase just for the change of it? Or would I need to spend more and more to be satisfied?

Looking back, I'm glad I spent the money on travel (tickets, car rentals, experiences, etc - though most of the fun came from being with friends and that's priceless!), treats (again this was money well spent), gifts (I'll do it again without batting an eyelid) and of course, shopping (despite all the bills, I feel that I have chosen well - saving where it is needed and spending where needed). One of the few regrets I had was spending on my bed. I wasn't thinking straight that evening and wanted a bed THEN for I had had a bad sleep before. But that didn't happen (the bed got delivered only the next morning - by which time, I was kicking myself and hard!). Though I love my bed now, I know that it is not the best of decisions I took. It could've been a bigger purchase and worse mistake. That incident made me understand the power of instant gratification. I thought I had worked it out of me but nope! I still need that. But now, I know the limits. The rest got covered in groceries (small things DO add up), dinners with friends (still can't forget the yummy Thai Kitchen :) and the small perks from time to time.

On hindsight, I also found that I hadn't planned well for it. I was working in the dark and the good spends I did were a result of sheer luck and lack of temptations before me. I had frankly not thought to use Airtel a whole lot. My usage in grad school was ridiculous (around $100 a month) but this is outrageous (2.5x times it!). Frankly, I had forgotten what it is to start a house from scratch (one of the ills of non-frequent moving - you forget what it is to move and start anew). So, alpine, time to plan things better.

Another thing that popped up was the change in my lifestyle from being a student to an employee. Some things that were reserved as treats have now become 'yet-another-thing'. Like heat-and-eat dinners! They were a treat when in grad school now I do it more out of habit or boredom to cook than for the experience of it. I'm getting less happiness at the same value. I'm not sure if this is the right way to think about it but yeah, I love this experiment. Lets see where it takes me! Btw, I'm seriously considering making some more changes to my lifestyle at Neverland, just to test the limits of what luxury means to me :) What is life if not change?

How are your spending habits? Do you see changes in your lifestyle after big transitions like graduation, wedding, divorce, loss, etc?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Safe drinking water for all

One of the best ideas that I've come across in recent years. Imagine if everyone had access to safe drinking water without the need for unnecessary storage, treatment and distribution of water. Life would be bliss for some on earth. And infinitely easier for others Kudos to Michael Pritchard!
Check out the video here.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Me vs myself!

[Modified an old but non-published post]
Do you know who is the hardest person to convince in this world? Do you know who is the hardest person to cheat on? Do you know who is the hardest person to please? Its you! Yes, you heard me right!
Try convincing yourself that a new dress on sale is something that needs to go to your closet or that new car that you've been wanting is just the perfect gift for yourself and you'll know what I mean!
Try cheating on yourself by eating more icecream than you should or by spending more than you should on a shopping spree! You'd find that harder than climbing Mt.Everest.
Try sleeping in when your mind says to get out and go for a jog or going for a jog when your mind says to sleep in! You'll know that pleasing your mom or boss or spouse is a cakewalk compared to that!

Start of day:
I: the one that wants to have fun all through the day, read novels, munch yummy food, sleep when she feels like it, hang out with friends, do something different every day and hates routine life.
Me: the one that is the mommy character. Knows that routine is actually good and sets tasks that will feel really terrible at the start but will be so good at the end. Loves fun but knows that work is fun too(yeah! my workaholic tendencies crop from this character)
Setting: A day in life!]

Me: Get up! its 6.30, for God's sake! Otherwise, you are sure to miss work/class!
I: Damn! I just got to an interesting point in the dream. Now shut up and don't disturb!
Me: If you want to catch the 8 am bus yet have time for all the stuff you want done before you leave, you are already 15 minutes late! Do you get that into your thick skull?
I: Oh shit! Now I've lost the aborigines!! Ok! What the hell do you want me to do?
Me: Well, for one, it'll be great if you can drag yourself out of bed and start getting ready for the day!
I: Oh! No probs! How about this deal? I'll do everything as you say today in exchange for letting me continue my quest on aborigines!! I can't leave them stranded in Magic Land! They need my help to get out of it!!
Me: Good idea. How about adding this clause? Lets pause your quest till tonight and get back to the aborigines in the dream later! That way, you won't have to sleep yet you'll listen to everything I say! That is a double treat!
I: Double whammy!
[I drag myself through all the things to be done... work/class, reading, talking, etc etc]

[A typical scene during shopping.. feel free to change it to dress, shoes, whatever... the latest being a car!]
I:Yay! An icecream! I'm so going to buy this one.
Me: NO WAY!! You just had an icecream in S's party last night! You can't have two icecreams on consecutive days.
I:Come on! You are not my mommy! I can have it!
Me:No you can't. I'm not paying for it!
I: Yuck! Where's the fun in being a grown up if you can't even eat an icecream in peace?
Me: With fun, comes responsibility! Eating two icecreams is definitely not responsibility enough!
I: Oh my!! Next time, I'm going to leave you at home when I go for parties!
Me: Ha! Ha! Try it!

[After I'm done with the day]
I: Phew! that was one interesting day! Wasn't XYZ fun? I thought it would be boring to code that. Now I wish I could do more of it!
Me: I'm sure you'll be bored of it in a wink! I've planned ABC tomorrow.
I: No!! ABC is just work! How can I do an assignment now for something due next week? I've got six full days in between!
Me: yeah right! You also have the DEF to finish! Not to mention the weekly status report to your prof! You also offered to help out X with Y preps! And you haven't yet started on your thesis!!! You also want to go to Z's house for the potluck this weekend!! How the hell, then, do you have six full days??
I:[grumbling] OK! OK! I'll do ABC tomorrow! Damn! How I wish I had some days off to catch up!
Me: Now, now! Don't fret about it! You have time enough to squeeze things through. Lets see!
I: Mmmm... anyways, me back to the aborigines!
Me: Lol! Sweet dreams! But I think it would be Vandiya Thevan and Kundavai's turn today to grace you with their presence!
[The day ends]

Every single day, though the motions are similar, I find that this conversation with myself to be really interesting. Though there were times when I has felt like rebelling against me, I'm glad that I actually shut up and listened to myself. I'm sure everyone'll have conversations with their inner selves and choose based on it.

Its been an interesting journey so far in life with I and me being the two sides of the scales. As long as I'm a Libran, I'm sure I'll have both traits within me. And that makes life really fun!!

What makes your life fun?

[Yay!! My 200th post! One of my friends reminded me of this one two weeks back! She is a regular reader here and one of my most silent yet most supportive readers. I don't usually celebrate the blog's anniversary but she wanted me to do a special post for this one. I wanted to blog about so many things (my O trip, changing views about marriage, how people spend time, the veggie challenge and of course, a voice post) but didn't feel that they touched the special mark. Not that the 200th post is any different, but its nice to know that there have been posts that I've spent hours writing and those that hold pieces of my memory of distant lands and peoples past. I've tried to capture I and me in this post of mine. I'm sure I'll laugh at this one when I'm older and be glad that I listened to both I and me, with I being the heart and me being the brains. Lets hope I make it to 300 by end of this year. An ambitious goal but what is fun in life if not for ambitions...]