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Coimbatore through the eyes of a Blogger

November 15, 2009

Sunset over rice field
A Textile shop in CBE
Gandhipuram, Cbe
HT Cables going along the road in Cbe
Shopping complex or advertisement complex?
Boxed exterior of a building in Cbe
Tall antenna during sunset
A campus passage across the road in Cbe
The buildings are wider, not taller
An electrical distribution centre through the fence
Wide open spaces and greenery in abundance
A lake/river inside the city
Railway tracks from an overbridge
Another boxed building flanked by huge trees
A notice board in a village near Cbe
Annanagar Tower

Ok, the last photo was taken in Chennai when I met the popular blogger Kanagu ๐Ÿ™‚

The notice board which is in Tamil reads “In our village, no one is allowed to urinate on the streets and people are not allowed to litter on the streets either. If they do so, there would be a fine of 100 rupees along with imprisonment of three days”. I think every village and city needs to follow this example. I was also reminded of a nice post written on this topic by Sandhya.

Yeah people, I have finally managed to move to Coimbatore. Not yet got by broadband connection, so will be slightly inactive online for the next week or so. But after that, Destination Infinity will rule the online world ๐Ÿ™‚

Destination Infinity

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The thrill in being normal

October 29, 2009

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“Stop controlling my life”
“We are not controlling your life, we are helping you out…”
“Who are this ‘we’?”
“I am sorry but that is classified information, I cannot give it to you”
“God… How did I pass my University Examination?”
“You wanted to pass, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, but I attempted less than even twenty percent of the questions… how can I still pass?”
“It’s enough if you want to pass, the rest will be taken care by us”
“So, now if I want a job, you’ll get it for me?”
“Yeah sure, why not?”
“And what if I don’t perform well in that job, I would lose the job won’t I?”
“We have people everywhere and at all levels… you don’t have to worry about losing your job at all”
“Why should this happen to me? Can’t you see all the others are normal, they get the marks they deserve, they get the jobs they deserve, they get to live their lives they deserve…”
“You don’t have to. You are special… you can get what you want… you just need to let us know your wants”
“You have any idea how it feels to be controlled by you people for 20 long years? Right from the day I remember, I have been getting almost everything I wanted – toys, food, education and almost everything. You people interfere with almost every aspect of my life in the pretext of making me happy but you don’t understand what situation you have landed me at this point of time… You just don’t have an idea how helpless I feel”
“We have ensured that you get what you want till now, and will continue to do so, you don’t have to worry”
“Great then, I want to be normal”
“What?”
“I want to be normal, like all the other people in this world. I want to fail and see how much failure hurts so that I would enjoy success, when it comes. I want to earn my living and taste the food that I earned for myself. I want to struggle for a living so that I can sleep at nights. I don’t want a bunch of people controlling every aspect of my life – I want to be free. I want to be normal.ย  I want to live my own life – that’s what I want. Can you give it to me?”
“We can, but all the privileges that you have been getting from us all this time would be stopped immediately. Is that ok?”
“That is perfectly ok. Just let me live my own life, I would be much happier on my own”

Flashback: 20 Years earlier

This is a special classified project that the Psychology department of the University has undertaken where we would adopt a kid and give almost everything that he needs through our network and resources. The objective of this project is to find out if a person can live happily if all his wants and needs are met at every stage of his/her life.

Destination Infinity

PS: This is one story that I wrote (In Tamil) during my college days, I became famous in my class for having ended a story in a flashback. They thought it was unique ๐Ÿ™‚ Those days I used to write something in pieces of paper and pass it to other benches for their comments and feedback, and the paper would return to me with all the comments! I guess I had a mini blog and a mini audience back then itself ๐Ÿ™‚

PPS: Don’t spoil kids by giving them everything. That was the message.

You could visit the ‘Short Stories(Fiction)’ section of this blog to read similar stories.

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Classical Fusion Music – The way forward?

October 23, 2009

The above song ‘Taaye yeshoda’ from the movie ‘Morning Raaga’ is one of the best Classical/Carnatic fusion songs that I have heard till now. The first fusion song I heard was ‘Krishna Nee Begane’ by Colonial Cousins. That was a brilliant fusion of western and classical. I have always wondered why there have not been many fusion songs after that. Carnatic/classical music has never appealed to me earlier, and I thought it was boring, when I was young. But of late, I seem to love music with a classical touch in them – which makes me wonder if age/circumstances influence our musical tastes…

Carnatic music, which is the classical Indian music popular in South India has been kept quite exclusive and as my friend says, even a rasika needs to know the nuances of raagam/thalam etc to appreciate its real beauty. May be that is one reason, they don’t carry mass popularity. But there are some real gems that even a common man (like me, for example) can enjoy and I was lucky to listen to a couple of them during a recent December music festival in Chennai. Western music and film based pop music seems to have a much wider appeal.

So, if more fusion songs like the above are made, probably a lot of people could enjoy and carry forward the versatile musical tradition that we have developed and nurtured over centuries. And if you know any fusion songs like this which are good (in any language), please do suggest them in the comments.

Destination Infinity

You could visit the ‘Music/Photo posts’ section of this blog to read similar articles.

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Plus and Minus

October 16, 2009

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Blessed are those who have one daughter and one son. When She gave birth to her daughter, she was elated. She was a mother now! After some time they decided to have another child and this time, it was a boy. She was, no need to say, elated again.

 

But being a mother of two kids was never easy. When they were kids, they were fighting for small things like “She’s got two chocolates and I have got only one”. She would try to convince the son that his sister was elder and bigger than him, and hence she could have more. When that doesn’t work, she goes to her daughter and tries to convince her that her brother is a small kid still, and she being elder needs to be more responsible and give things to her brother. Strangely, that mostly worked. She thought it was the mentality of elder brothers/sisters – they naturally feel responsible towards their siblings and are more ready to give up things to them. They are at least not as adamant as the younger ones!

Such small things never bothered her, in fact they were passed on as sibling rivalry and in any case this was much better than families that had two sons or two daughters – she thought the kiddy fightings in those families would give a headache to any mother!

Generally parents love their children – be it a boy or girl. For her, both the kids were same – there was rarely any gender discrimination – at least, when they were young. The first signs of such discrimination came when her daughter was about to get admitted in a college. Her daughter was always good at studies – she was always in the top ten ranks in her class. She thought that her daughter should take up computer science engineering, as that course was in demand. But their finances was not very good and they were able to save only enough money to educate one kid in an engineering college. This was the first time when she was asked to think ‘practically’ by friends and family members. Her daughter was anyway going to go away to ‘sasural’ – why would she want to spend so much on her education? And in contrast, her son was going to stay with her and if they were not able to spend for both, they ought to definitely spend for the son! She thought that was gender discrimination. But she had to decide upon something! So she spoke to her daughter –

“So, what do you want to do next?”
“Well, all my friends are taking up computer engineering….”
“Yeah, but the fees and the donations… they are so high for engineering, and me and your father were really thinking if we could afford it….”
“Wow. That’s great mom. I was about to say that I was not interested in such engineering courses. If it is ok with you, I would like to do B.A and M.A in French. I love the language and I really want to learn French”
“But, do you think that course has any prospects?”
“Well, its tough but I can always get a job as a translator. Actually I am not sure about the job prospects of it, but if there is some course that I would love to persue, it is definitely French. And don’t worry about the fees – the university charges very less for such courses”

She was both sad and happy – she always knew that her daughter’s decisions were right and responsible. But back in her mind, she was feeling guilty about the discrimination part. Maybe if they had enough money, her daughter could have taken engineering.

The second instance of such discrimination came during the marriage of her daughter. All her relatives and friends advised her that if she wants to find a ‘good’ bridegroom for her daughter, she better be ready to give a big dowry. This time, her son had finished engineering and got an admit to one of the colleges in the United States for his post graduation. They had to spend a fortune for sending him abroad, and had to even sell their house and move to a rented apartment. It was at that time that her daughter got a good match. This time again she went and spoke to her daughter.

“See, there is a good prospect in hands for your marriage – we just have some family jewels and we are not sure how much they will ask”
Her daughter was clear in her response – “Well, if the guy’s family is going to ask anything more than that, I am not going to marry”

She thought it was her luck that the bridegroom’s family did not insist for any dowry. They did not have much to give anyway. She was once again not happy with the discrimination that happened with her daughter. But some times, life doesn’t give any options and she had to choose whatever was the best for her family – at least that’s what her relatives told her.

It was after some years when her husband retired that she was able to feel the financial burden of all their sacrifices. He sure got some pension, and they had some savings, but the cost of living in a big city with having to pay a big monthly rent for the house was taking a toll on them, financially. Her son called very rarely, and told her that he till he gets a ‘green card’ he cannot help much. And she was unsure if he would take his parents to the United States after his marriage. After all, the youth of today want ‘freedom’ and their own ‘space’. It was at that time that she got a call from her daughter, who was employed as a translator in a big company.

“See, me and your father are planning to move to a smaller town. The rentals are getting higher every year. We are able to manage the other expenses but not the rent”
“Actually, I called to ask if you and father can move in to the new house that we have bought recently. Since we are already living in our own house, we may not need the other house. We bought the house only for getting the tax exemption and since both of us are earning enough we don’t want to give it on rental either. In fact, he asked me to check if you two would want to live there”

That was like a blessing from nowhere.

She was recently thinking about the age old societal practices, blind assumptions and equally blind myths when she was asked by a distant relative –

“So, how many children do you have?”
“We have one daughter and one son.”
“One minus and One plus?”
“No. One plus and One minus.”

The reply was instantaneous. She was wondering how life teaches the most important lessons the hard way. And how people pay with something more important than money for learning such lessons – Time.

Destination Infinity

You could visit the ‘Short Stories(Fiction)’ section of this blog to read similar stories.

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HAL Aerospace Museum and Tiruvannamalai Temple Photos

October 11, 2009

It’s been a long time since I put up a photo post, since I rarely take any photos. I am either too lazy to take photos or my cell phone is too complicated for such operations. Anyways, crossing all the self inflicted hurdles, I managed to take some photos.

The below are some pictures taken in HAL Heritage Centre and Aerospace Museum, Bangalore.

HAL Aerospace Museum 1

HAL Aerospace Museum 1

HAL Aerospace Museum 2

HAL Aerospace Museum 2

HAL Aerospace Museum 3

HAL Aerospace Museum 3

IMAGE_088

HAL Aerospace Museum 5

HAL Aerospace Museum 5

HAL Aerospace Museum 6

HAL Aerospace Museum 6

HAL Aerospace Museum 7

HAL Aerospace Museum 7

HAL Aerospace Museum 8

HAL Aerospace Museum 8

The below photo was taken in front of the Tiruvannamalai Temple (Annamalai is another name of God Shiva) in TN. Quite a big temple this.

Tiruvannamalai Temple

Tiruvannamalai Temple

Actually I went to attend the marriage of a relative, there. And they gave one small booklet to everyone. There was one section in it, which was quite interesting. It was in Tamil, but I will translate it for you people.

Why should you eat food by sitting down on the floor (with your legs folded)?

Since the eating culture is changing very fast in our country, we are eating food by standing, sitting on the sofa, walking etc. Instead of eating food sitting on the chairs of the dining table (sometimes with one leg over another, sometimes without removing shoes, sometimes watching TV simultaneously), it is better to follow the habit of our ancestors – sitting on the floor with legs in folded position as it is good for the health. When we eat food, there is some movement in some joints in our body – this movement will cause some pressure on the joints. Sitting down with legs folded would help reduce this pressure, which is good for the joints. Also, when we are standing or comfortably sitting on the sofa, there is more chance that we would eat more (lot of) food, which is also not good for health. Even today’s medicine advises you not to eat so much food that your stomach is full.

So, you fast-food-culture-brought-up people, know this :D. Of course, fast food in itself is bad for health.

Destination Infinity

You could visit the ‘Music/Photo posts’ section of this blog for similar articles.

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Presence in Absence – The Chinese concept of Yin and Yang

October 4, 2009
You know about my interest in philosophical concepts, among other things. So, I searched the internet for some interesting information on the Chinese concept of Yin and Yang and I will share here, the best of what I found (with my expert commentary in italics ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

 

“Yin is (refers to)receptive, yielding, negative and nurturing (concepts). Yang is active, dominating, positive and initiating/creating”

Ok….

“The concept of Yin and Yang is used to describe how seemingly disjunct (or) opposing forces are inter-connected and inter-dependent in the natural world, giving rise to each other in-turn. Yin and Yang are complimentary opposites within a greater whole. Everything has both Yin and Yang aspects, which constantly interact, never existing in absolute stasis”

Example: A seed will sprout from the earth and grow towards the sky – an intrinsically Yang movement. Then, when it reaches its full height, it will began to weaken, eventually falling back to the earth in decay – an intrinsically Yin movement.

Quite similar with human beings too…

“All opposites that one experiences – health and sickness, wealth and poverty, power and submission etc, can be explained in reference to the temporary dominance of one principle over the other. Since no one principle dominates eternally, it means that all conditions are subject to change to their opposites. It is the way of nature to process through periods of flourishing and decline”

Ok….

“By its principles, extreme good will turn into evil, extreme wealth to poverty, extreme honour to dishonour”

Highly debatable. There are a lot of people who were born very rich and very poor too, they remain as such throughout their lives. But I am not sure on what time scale the above statement is to be considered, if it is spread out to many generations, then there is a chance that even extreme conditions might change.

“Yin and Yang are dependent opposites that must always be in balance. The opposites flow in a natural cycle always replacing the other. The Chinese view opposites as evolving and cycling – there is neither right nor wrong, but there is a balance, transformation, interaction and dependent opposition. We need both to maintain a balance”

We need both to maintain a balance is fine, but ‘that mush always be in balance’ is a theoretical concept, I guess.

“Yang elements are clear and obvious while Yin elements are hidden and subtle”

True. People share/show happiness and joy immediately. They can go to any extant to hide the negative parts of their lives, etc.

“The cyclic nature of Yin and Yang, the opposing forces of change in the universe mean several things.
1. All the phenomena change to their opposites in an eternal cycle of reversal.
2. Since one principle produces the other, all phenomena have within them the seeds of their opposite state (Sickness has the seeds of health, wealth has the seeds of poverty etc).
3. Even though an opposite may not be seen to be present, since one principle produces the other, no phenomena is completely devoid of its opposite state (One is never really healthy as health contains the principles of its opposite – sickness). This is called ‘Presence in Absence’.

Let us discuss this part in the comments section.

“In the Yin-Yang theory, time itself is a series of cycles based upon the movement of the planets. For these thinkers, time extends indefinitely into the past and the future. As long as the planets are in motion, there can be no end”

Interesting speculation ๐Ÿ™‚

Destination Infinity

You could visit the ‘Concepts and Ideas’ section of this blog to read similar articles.

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Book review – Laghukatha

October 1, 2009
I was reading two books – “My country My life” by L K Advani and “Glimpses of world history” by Jawaharlal Nehru (See how neutral I am – I read books written by leaders of both rival political parties ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and both of them are 1000 pages plus non fiction content – so I wanted to take a break and at that time this book – Laghukatha by Sakhi, which I had ordered through the net, came. It was a welcome change.

 

This is the first time that I have read a story which is just about 180 characters in length – the book starts with this shortest story. Most of the other stories are short too, as the stories first came out in the blog and hence have been written for the fast internet browsing audience of today. With non fiction, you tend to see how many pages you have completed, how long you have been reading etc, but it is always the reverse with fiction – I finished the first 74 pages in a couple of hours! The stories which follow, I am already familiar as I have read it earlier.

This book primarily consists of situations that someone might either want to be in, fantasize to be in, might be embarrassed to be in, or is afraid of being in and mostly ends on a positive note (Some are realistically sad endings, but they are a few in-between). The author deals with life’s complex situations without preaching what is wrong and what is right, and the tone is ‘observationist’ and neutral. The situations that are created is more from a “wishful thinking” point of view and it plays on the emotions to create a suspense as people do wish they were in certain situations which might be different from their routine life. Since a lot of stories involve doctors and hospitals, we assume that there might be some influence from ‘situational reality’ as observed by the author – and some of them do have fairytale endings making us happy and think ‘At least these things happen in fiction’!

On the flip side, the names of the characters are quite strange – Jui, Ketki et all. Maybe this is a deliberate ploy to make the reader notice and get involved. It would have been better if the book had something more than the blog – but a book is any day more comfortable to read!

Destination Infinity

PS: There is a selfish reason for doing this book review – Actually I am planning to write my autobiography (Since I need to live life before writing that, you people may have to wait another 33 years :P). But when I do write that and publish it (in whatever form that is popular then), I expect you people to buy it, write a similar review and encourage me – so, I am setting an example here. And yeah, that will be much more than 170 rupees… ๐Ÿ™‚ But still you all will buy it – won’t you?

You could visit the ‘Non Fiction’ section of this blog to read more such articles.

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It’s all a part of the game…

September 26, 2009

“Take a defeat like how you take a victory – sports teach you that important quality”

“Be a sport” is what everyone tells him, when he sits down to watch a cricket match. People know how much he wants his team to win. He gets elated when his team wins, and he is devastated when they lose. People say, “It’s after all a match” – but for him, it was much more than that. He used to wait for days when some important match is scheduled, and he keeps calculating the plus and minus points of the players of both the teams. He discusses for hours with his friends on why a certain player ought to be selected and why someone else shouldn’t have been selected.ย  He knows exactly who is in form, and who is better suited for bowling/batting against particular teams at home/abroad both due to instinct and his memory of the statistics of recently concluded matches. In fact, he even keeps track of the county team match results, where some members of his team have participated and even the domestic circuit matches. He was almost an unpaid selector, and he dreamt that some day he might become the selector of his national cricket team. Such was his passion for the game.

 

He never prays to God, except before important matches. All his atheism is forgotten during the mornings of the important matches as he just cannot leave anything that might even remotely help his team to win. He always felt that his feelings and prayers were important for his team to win. He was also sentimental – If he sat in a particular chair and his team wins, he sits on the same chair till they lose some match. Then he tries a different strategy. He has sometimes even consulted the road side astrologer with an all knowing parrot, to take a favourable card indicating victory for his team – if the parrot takes a different card, he again tries the next day, till the right card is taken! He cannot stop watching a match even before the day of an important examination, if his team is playing.

During the match, he becomes even more tensed. He has even consulted probability theorems taught during his maths class to judge how many times there is a probability of getting heads or tails according to the conditions of the ground and the force with which the umpire throws the coin. He knows, more than the captain, how important it is to win the toss! He fumes with anger sometimes when his team decides to field first, as according to him they should have batted first. He gives countless reasons for that to anyone who cares to ask him why. All his reasons were technically sound and backed with statistics and his favourite instinct. After all, he leaves nothing to chance and he follows every inch of the game.

Normally a quiet personality, he doesn’t realize that during the matches, he shouts enough for the whole apartment block to hear his expert commentary and his jubilation! It’s a riot when his favourite left-handed batsman hits boundaries continuously and he jumps when a sixer is hit – he loses himself in such moments and doesn’t realize how his emotions are being expressed just inches away from the TV. After all, why should he be so important to himself, when his all-important team is playing!

He is inconsolable after a loss! He has even broken a few glass tumblers after a defeat! He then resigns to his room, suffers alone and is grim-faced for the next couple of days. People have taken that opportunity to tease him, as he is unable to tease them back during those days, unlike normal days. It takes a couple of days for him to do even the post match analysis as he is overtaken by too much grief till then. He has even written a couple of poems during those times, in an attempt to make his heart lighter! He slowly recovers and then gets back to the business of analysing his team.

It was said that cricket was a religion in his country, and he could easily associate himself to that statement. He was sure that there were many more people like him at every corner of the nation. Cricket was every thing to him – happiness, grief, elation, misery, mystery, passion, success, failure and in short – Life.

Till one day when the headlines in the News channels ran, “Match Fixing scandal unearthed. Players fix matches beforehand for money”

He just couldn’t understand the concept. Why would the players agree to fixing? For money? They must already be earning so much through the ads and commercial endorsements… Why would they have to do something like this to earn? There were a billion people who were supporting them, no matter what and this is what their team gives them in return? How can other people take it so lightly? Why was he affected so much? A million questions ran in his mind and he was never himself after that.

“Hey, there is an important match today and you are here reading novels? What’s going on with you? Aren’t you coming down to watch it?” his friends asked him. He replied, “Actually exams are coming within a month, and I will read the novel only for an hour or so, after that I have to prepare for the exams da. You guys watch the match and tell me the result, ok?” His friends were stunned, but he was happy reading the novel. At least in the novel, they mentioned that it was fiction at the beginning itself!”

What the sport couldn’t teach him, the match fixing episode single handedly did. As they say, it’s all a part of the game called Life….

Destination Infinity

You could visit the ‘Short Stories(Fiction)’ section of this blog to read more such stories.

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Chennai and Bangalore

September 17, 2009

This is not a tourist guide about either of the places. This is just a generic comparison of the two places to live in, and my personal impressions as I have lived in both the places. I was born and brought up in Chennai and am living in Bangalore for the last 1 year and 9 months.

Bangalore is cosmopolitan and multi-lingual. At a glance, you can see people from all over India. You can easily communicate in any one of the five languages – Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu or Kannada. Chennai is metropolitan and bi-lingual – Tamil and Tamil (Ok, English ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and even though a sizeable population of Telugu and North Indians live in Chennai, every one speaks fluent Tamil.

People of Bangalore love plants, greenery and gardens. They have one park every 500 meters. The public parks are maintained very well and they are so green. And a lot of people love to walk in the parks in the early morning (except me, of course). There is a flower show in Lalbagh at least twice a year.ย  Most of the houses have nice gardens or at least some small plants in pots. In short, they are garden conscious. People of Chennai love music. And of course, movies. The music part is ingrained in the culture and the genes. And the people are good rasikas – they appreciate quality music. Carnatic music has flourished here like no where and the whole month of December is reserved for music festivals in various musical sabhas. If the traditional music has flourished in closed confines, the popular mass music (normally in the form of movie songs), is even better. This city has time and again produced some of the best music directors and songs.

Bangalore, probably has the best climate that you could ask for in a city. Coming from Chennai, initially I didn’t switch on the fan even during summers! The lazy cold mornings of Bangalore are the best – especially when you go late to the office and your boss comes half an hour later than you! December can get too cold, but its just one month. Chennai, is blazing hot for at least 9 months in a year. And due to its proximity to the sea, the humidity factor is also high and hence even the nights are warm. People in Chennai may not realize this but the heat is a blessing in disguise. Especially the practices followed to beat the heat – right from the food, to the recreational activities, clothing, habits, games and almost everything else. The culture of a place is influenced partly by the climate, and in the case of Chennai, it is a boon which they cannot see from within.

Talk about the one-ways of Bangalore! It is quite difficult to learn the directions of this city and most of the roads take a curvy path. You cannot have a sense of direction (NSEW), which is quite easy to associate in the case of Chennai where the roads intersect at 90 degerees, mostly. The auto drivers, bus drivers and the traffic police are much more polite in Bangalore. You cannot see an auto driver charging over the meter very often (it does happen, though). Chennai has a busy and very useful electric train network and MRTS train network which cover a couple of important routes. Partly due to this, the traffic management on the road is better, but both the cities are hopeless when it comes to peak hour traffic. And the planned Metro rail network would be very useful in both the cities, if the work is implemented faster.

The work culture is better in Bangalore, perhaps due to the influence of the MNC IT companies. The timing is not strictly followed (as long as the work is done) and the bosses are not too bossy. Chennai has a more traditional type of work culture. But this may vary in particular industries. If all the major IT companies have their presence in the software industry of Bangalore, most of the major automobile and mobile manufacturing companies have created a good hardware eco-system in and around Chennai. IT/ITES companies are present too, but not the variety that Bangalore sports. Entertainment in Bangalore is restricted to the malls and pubs. Chennai has two beaches and a whole ECR (East Coast Road) with a variety of theme parks for entertainment. The movie releases of major actors like Rajnikanth are celebrated like festivals!

The cost of living is slightly higher in Bangalore. The cost of food/ house rent is quite high, when compared to Chennai. But it depends more on which part of the cities you stay in. North Indian dishes are better in Bagalore but South Indian dishes are better in Chennai. I miss all that puliodharai with medhu vadai, lemon rice with sambar, masal vadai with Tea etc. But once you are used to the cusines of a particular place, it is generally harder to adjust to new ones – it seems! So, I am trying to cook more now. I have been trying it for the last one year, actually ๐Ÿ˜›

My verdict: To hell with the bigger Tier-I cities ๐Ÿ™‚ I am planning to move to CBE – Coimbatore as soon as possible (as soon as I get a job there, that is). Will keep you people updated.

 

Destination Infinity

You could visit the ‘People Places and Culture’ section of this blog to read more such articles.

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The Message of ‘After 5 Years’

September 10, 2009
If you have not read the short story ‘After 5 Years’, please click on the link, read it (It takes only 2 minutes) and then come to this analysis.

 

While I thank the readers for coming up with many valid interpretations to that story, the message I wanted to convey was not simple. I am an expert in complicating simple things ๐Ÿ™‚

Imagine this situation: You go to a restaurant, you have a buffet lunch. You have eaten to your stomach full and had desserts too… When you want to leave, the waiter comes with a lemon juice. You don’t want to miss it (as you have paid a good amount for the buffet) and somehow manage to drink it fully. Here, the act of drinking the lemon juice, which normally would have a positive feel about it, became negative (or at best neutral) because you have just eaten a lot of other tasty stuff.

Now imagine this situation: You have not taken you lunch (maybe because of the work), then you need to walk down for half an hour in hot sun to reach your favourite restaurant, and find out that you are late and they have closed the lunch section. There is nothing there in the surroundings to eat/drink. You are so tired and start thinking how tough it is going to be to walk to the next eat-out joint, which would take another half an hour of walking in the hot sun. Now the waiter comes and offers you a lemon juice, as you might be a regular customer for them. How happy would you feel! in this situation. You might even give him a nice tip for a very simple gesture!! (Even if he charges you for the lemon juice) as he is serving you something that is very much needed by you at that moment.

So, have you noticed how the same lemon juice has evoked such mixed reactions! Your mixed reaction is entirely based on your situation just prior to the incident (of receiving the lemon juice). So, in a sense, your happiness of enjoying the lemon juice depends on how much you are deprived of it.

In our story, in the first case, the person was just casually chatting (perhaps with a friend) and might have been young enough (though there is no such explicit mention in the story) not to be exposed to the hardships of life. So, the extra 20 rupees charged to him looks like big cheating to him. (Let us not get in to whether the charging of 20 rupees extra by the auto driver was right or wrong – it is clearly wrong and I am not supporting that, and the focus of the story was not that point).

But in the second case, the person is perhaps running a business and is introduced to the perils of making money in the big competitive world. When people are suddenly subjected to such situations (after having been pampered endlessly in their homes, etc), they tend to react in two ways: One set think that all the world cares is about bad things only and everyone in this world are bad and hence becoming bad like them is our only best defence or means to growth. Another set think that what a lot of people are doing is wrong and we should try and be different and set a positive example, inspite of the hassles involved. I am not getting in to which is better as both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Without deviating much from the story, in the second case the person is simply introduced to bigger perils of life and hence the overcharging of 20 rupees doesn’t look that big a sin to him any more (This, was suggested by the readers too). But the core message that I wanted to convey is : Nature gives us trouble to understand the value of goodness. Good and Bad just cannot exist individually. You need one to understand/realize the other. That is why the “They lived happily ever after” concept propagated by the movies/novels is totally false. If you are always happy, you would forget what happiness feels like and the happiness in itself would become a profound state of sadness.

The argument against this would be: “What if I have happiness always and I keep increasing the happiness at every stage of my life. Then, it would be a total bliss – right?” Think about it and you answer that question (to yourself).

Destination Infinity

“Cut your own wood and it will warm you twice” – Ancient Chinese proverb.

You could visit the ‘Concepts and Ideas’ section of this blog for reading more such articles.