Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Oh Brother

When I reached home last evening Nikita showed me this drawing she made.
I looked at it, smiled & asked“Where is the ‘r’ in the brother?”

“The ‘r’ is silent” said Nikita after a moments thought.

I looked at her open-mouthed for a sec & then rolled my eyes. Just the day before she asked me the spelling of Ballet, there I explained that ‘t’ was silent & that was why it was pronounced like that.

A minute later…. I asked “But why have put a brother in your family picture? You don’t have one, right.”

“Yes I wanted to talk to u about it. Why don’t u lay one?”

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH……I was speechless for 2 mins this time.

“Take out your homework and start doing it. Not another word till you finish it”

Lay a brother…….like laying an egg or something. I wasn’t going to touch that one with a bargepole.

Sunday, 24 February 2008


Do you want to impress or confuse clients or Vice versa?.........use Technovocabulary.. It can be called the "Buzzword" writing method. It is simple:

There are three columns of words involved, as follows:

Column 1Column 2Column 3
0. Balanced0.Management0. contingency
1. total1. Organization1. Hardware (or software)
2. integrated2. reciprocal 2. projection
3. compatible3. monitored3. time-frame
4. synchronized 4. digital 4. concept
5. optimal 5. modular5. programming
6. responsive6. transitional 6. mobility
7. functional 7. Incremental 7. capability
8. parallel 8. third-generation8. flexibility
9. systemized 9. policy 9. options

Just select any three-digit number; then use the corresponding Buzzwordsfrom the above grid, e.g., 257: "integrated modular capability".

Don't worry if it doesn't make sense to you; it won't mean anything to anyone else either, but they'll think you're just smarter than they are, so they won't say anything!!

You can propose "systemized reciprocal options" (929) to achieve "optimal transitional flexibility" (568), so that we can think of an "integrated monitored projection" ..............and your boss will probably promote you or your customer will be blown away with your technological superiority .


[p.s - has anybody(amateurs ie.) tried to make a table with 3 columns in Blogspot. Everybody(again i aim it at amateurs) must try it atleast once.....i just did - all i did was cut & paste HTML code but it took me 65 minutes. There has to be an easier way]

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Kumari Aunty

In dubai a career woman needs help to manage her children. Below are her 3 main options…

1. She has her parents or inlaws staying with her.

2. She has a full time maid(who goes home only at weekends) or a part time maid(who goes home at the end of the day) OR

3. She leaves her children at the ‘Baby-sitting’.
‘Baby sitting’ is basically an informal crèche. Generally, this ‘Baby sitting’ is managed by stay-at-home moms in their house itself for additional income. Its illegal of course but you’ll find it everywhere.

The 3rd option is the preferred option among the middle class coz it is the least expensive way of managing your children.

I stayed home & looked after my kids for 6 yrs and resumed work only after Naina joined school. I decided to keep a part-time maid since I didn’t want to create any kind of uncertainty in my kids’ minds by displacing them from their familiar territory(as it is they had to adjust to the fact that their mother was going to disappear for 8-9 hrs everyday, so imagine if they also had to adjust to another environment).

The 1st & 2nd Malayalee maids lasted 1 & 2 weeks each. One was unhappy with the workload(my inlaws were in town for 2-3months) & the other was caught by the police & deported.
All women working as maids should have paperwork stating their profession, etc. Most maids come into the country on a visit visa & stay on illegally, or “Khalliwalli” as they are known.
The middle class income groups turn a blind eye to their maids’ visa status coz if they didn’t want to hire these illegal immigrants then they’ll have to bring a maid on their visa which will cost a lot of money, not to mention many hours of paperwork.

Coming back to my plight, after 2 weeks of searching(by now I am desperate coz better half has suggested that I give up my job, read here how hard I looked to get that job) we got a coarse looking, rough talking malayalee who looked like a “been there, done that” type. Hubby took me aside & asked me seriously whether all this was worth it & finally left the decision to me. I was terribly upset & was wondering the same thing.

I sat down & thought carefully whether I really wanted to work in these circumstances. It didn’t seem worth it. It’s not like we needed my salary to survive.

Just then the doorbell rang. A friend, who knew my plight, brought another candidate for the housemaid post. A petite, middle aged lady with kind eyes & a pleasing face. She didn’t look like your average maid. She was a Christian, from Andhra Pradesh who didn’t know Malayalam or our cuisine. She spoke a smattering of English & Hindi. We knew a good thing when we saw one. She was IN.

The very next day after she joined I lost my cell phone. I couldn’t for sure pinpoint where exactly I lost it (I usually win the prize for the lousiest memory in any competition). The lady was so upset. She & I both knew that it was quite natural for the employers to suspect the maid in such cases. Analytically speaking I doubt a person with dishonorable intentions will create a negative impact so early in the day. But otherwise also I just couldn’t believe that she was behind the act.

During the next 3-4 months I found out a few facts about her. Her husband & son were both pastors & they worked as driver & office asst. respectively. They were not very happy about her working but she didn’t want to sit idle. Her English was limited to - prayer, eating, sleeping, chicken, fish & cleaning.
She knew a BIT of colloquial hindi & I could understand some of what she spoke but she couldn’t understand much of the Hindi I spoke.
She & I communicate using a crazy mixture of English, Hindi, dumb charades, pictionary and verbal noises(for eg. If I wanted something ground in the mixie – I whirl my hand furiously & say rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)

The kids are fond of her & can communicate with her more effectively. When they speak with her they automatically switch to her level of vocab. I cringe when I hear them murdering the queen’s language. Before you ask….yes I have told them to talk normally so that she’ll also learn the correct usage of words. But its no use coz then she won’t understand what they say. Forget the kids; I realized that I also resort to butler English & Hindi when I talk with her.

She is obsessed with cleaning(our electricity & water bill has never been the same again). I have told her time and again that there was no need to be so fanatical about it. She would dutifully nod to whatever I tell her but in the end cleans the bathroom once again and vacuums the house for the nth time. Its hard to get upset with a person who treats your home like her own.
I taught her a few basics dishes like thoran, mezhukuparetti, ozhikaan & the most importantly fish curries & fry :-P. After a few culinary disasters she got the hang of it. And I left her to it.
Just once I asked her 2 iron a shirt of mine coz I was running late & till today I never had to iron another item in my wardrobe.

Life is certainly eventful with her around. Once she fried 2 kgs of fish in 1 go coz she misunderstood what I told her. That night we had fish for our main course & rice as our side dish.
She has our housekeys but she has still locked herself out at least 3 times by now. Lucky for everybody that I can reach home in 10 minutes. I usually take 15-20 mins but in this case I’m sprinting coz I want to save my house from catching fire as she would have some curry on the stove. Yeah, we’ve told her a 100 times not to leave the house without keys, mobile, etc. Again she nods her head vigorously.

Our only complaint is that she kills us with kindness. We can’t keep a single bill or any paperwork on our table coz she thinks it her duty to keep our table neat. We hunt for the day’s newspaper & finally find the trash bin lined neatly with the same. The worst was last week when I found my new blue dupatta (u knw those dupattas u twist to keep it in shape) ironed and flattened it into a normal one. I sat down with a sigh & looked at it for 5 minutes hoping my eyes were seeing wrong. And then I smiled ruefully. It was my fault for leaving it crumpled invitingly in front of her. I should have hidden it somewhere.

It’s been a year since she’s been working for me. And she’s leaving to India for her son’s wedding at the end of this month. Of course I have asked her to come back when she returns after 3 months. She smiles & nods her head. But she & I know that 3 months is a long time. In the meantime she is calling up all her contacts & telling them to find a replacement. She stresses that I am very nice to work for(madam achcha hai). I smile and tell her that she is very nice, that is why people cannot help but be nice to her.

I got so used to her that I’m dreading the entry of a new maid. Kumari Aunty, as the kids call her, has spoilt us for choice.

I want to get her something special. Something which lasts. I thought of getting something in gold but it is the 1st thing they sell in times of need. Then I thought of getting her a good watch but just last week her son gifted her one. Any ideas, anyone?

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

India Unlimited

this article was doing its rounds in the mail. Felt good when i read it. Chk it out.....

For a moment forget about our stealing Politicians and shaming poverty and read the blog by a Pakistani, below:

The two Ambani brothers can buy 100 percent of every company listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) and would still be left with $30 billion to spare. The four richest Indians can buy up all goods and services produced over a year by 169 million Pakistanis and still be left with $60 billion to spare. The four richest Indians are now richer than the forty richest Chinese.

In November, Bombay Stock Exchange's benchmark Sensex flirted with 20,000 points. As a consequence, Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries became a $100 billion company (the entire KSE is capitalized at $65 billion). Mukesh owns 48 percent of Reliance.
In November, comes Neeta's birthday. Neeta turned forty-four three weeks ago. Look what she got from her husband as her birthday present: A sixty-million dollar jet with a custom fitted master bedroom, bathroom with mood lighting, a sky bar, entertainment cabins, satellite television, wireless communication and a separate cabin with game consoles. Neeta is Mukesh Ambani's wife, and Mukesh is not India's richest but the second richest.
Mukesh is now building his new home, Residence Antillia (after a mythical, phantom island somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean). At a cost of $1 billion this would be the most expensive home on the face of the planet. At 173 meters tall Mukesh's new family residence, for a family of six, will be the equivalent of a 60-storeyed building. The first six floors are reserved for parking. The seventh floor is for car servicing and maintenance. The eighth floor houses a mini-theatre. Then there's a health club, a gym and a swimming pool. Two floors are reserved for Ambani family's guests. Four floors above the guest floors are family floors all with a superb view of the Arabian Sea. On top of everything are three helipads. A staff of 600 is expected to care for the family and their family home.

In 2004, India became the 3rd most attractive foreign direct investment destination. Pakistan wasn't even in the top 25 countries. In 2004, the United Nations, the representative body of 192 sovereign member states, had requested the Election Commission of India to assist the UN in the holding elections in Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah and Dowlat-e Eslami-ye Afghanestan. Why the Election Commission of India and not the Election Commission of Pakistan? After all, Islamabad is closer to Kabul than Delhi.

Imagine, 12 percent of all American scientists are of Indian origin; 38 percent of doctors in America are Indian; 36 percent of NASA scientists are Indians; 34 percent of Microsoft employees are Indians; and 28 percent of IBM employees are Indians.

For the record: Sabeer Bhatia created and founded Hotmail. Sun Microsystems was founded by Vinod Khosla. The Intel Pentium processor, that runs 90 percent of all computers, was fathered by Vinod Dham. Rajiv Gupta co-invented Hewlett Packard's E-speak project. Four out of ten Silicon Valley start-ups are run by Indians. Bollywood produces 800 movies per year and six Indian ladies have won Miss Universe/Miss World titles over the past 10 years.
For the record: Azim Premji, the richest Muslim entrepreneur on the face of the planet, was born in Bombay and now lives in Bangalore.India now has more than three dozen billionaires; Pakistan has none (not a single dollar billionaire). The other amazing aspect is the rapid pace at which India is creating wealth. In 2002, Dhirubhai Ambani, Mukesh and Anil Ambani's father, left his two sons a fortune worth $2.8 billion. In 2007, their combined wealth stood at $94 billion. On 29 October 2007, as a result of the stock market rally and the appreciation of the Indian rupee, Mukesh became the richest person in the world, with net worth climbing to US$63.2 billion (Bill Gates, the richest American, stands at around $56 billion).

Indians and Pakistanis have the same Y-chromosome haplogroup. We have the same genetic sequence and the same genetic marker (namely: M124). We have the same DNA molecule, the same DNA sequence. Our culture, our traditions and our cuisine are all the same. We watch the same movies and sing the same songs. What is it that Indians have and we don't?

Saturday, 9 February 2008

No Small Feat

Naina(she studies in KG) was taking part in a dance program at her school. It was for the GRADUATION DAY of the prep students who were going to 1 std the next year to start their formal education.
We braved the cold & went for the program which was held in the open grounds of the school.
The UAE & the Indian National Anthem were played at the start of the program. Pride, memories & tears intermingled as I stood erect listening to the music & lyrics of our National Anthem. The last time I stood like this for the National Anthem was almost 10 years back.
The consul-general of the Indian Consulate was the chief guest, a kind gentleman who, without wasting any time, declared the graduation program open.

The program from start to finish was enacted by the Prep & KG students but ofcourse orchestrated by their teachers. More than 60% of the students participated in the activities. There were various dance programs, which included patriotic song & dance, Indian classical dances, film song choreography & even a beauty pagent.

When a beauty pageant was announced I was skeptical about its intentions. But it was conducted tastefully with a message. For example, they had 3 girls coming up to claim the prize for “”Beautiful Teeth” & then the compere would ask them what the secret of their beautiful teeth was. And the kids would say it was because they brushed their teeth morning & night & ate less chocolate. Then 3 boys came to receive their prize for “the best muscles”(it was actually comical when the lil ones proudly held up their non-existent muscles) & they claimed the secret to their muscles was exercise & using their hands to help others. And so on.

Naina & her classmates performed for the song Jambalaya. A slow number with steps matching the tempo of the song. We craned our necks towards the stage & caught sight of her in the 2nd row. She was doing her steps gracefully, making us shake our heads in a mixture of wonder & pride.

All these days whenever I asked her 2 show me the steps of the dance she showed me some weird paandi steps leading me astray regarding the nature of the dance.

The event culminated with the certificate giving ceremony where all the graduating tiny tots came forward to receive their "degree" attired in a red graduation gown & cap.

Children are capable of so much. We as parents, often underestimate their capacity to absorb & react in accordance. If each of us parents’ truly took initiative to encourage and bring out the talents in our offspring’s in the right manner, the world tomorrow will see a more imaginative & humane generation.

All in all, a very memorable evening.

Size Matters

Joe was a successful lawyer, but as he got older he was increasingly hampered by incredible headaches. When his career and love life started to suffer, he sought medical help. After being referred from one specialist to another, he finally came across an old country doctor who solved the problem.

"The good news is I can cure your headaches... The bad news is that it will require castration. You have a very rare condition, which causes your testicles to press up against the base of your spine, and the pressure creates one hell of a headache. The only way to relieve the pressure is to remove the testicles."

Joe was shocked and depressed. He wondered if he had anything to live for. He couldn"t concentrate long enough to answer, but decided he had no choice but to go under the knife.

When he left the hospital he was without a headache for the first time in 20 years, but he felt like he was missing an important part of himself.

As he walked down the street, he realized that he felt like a different person. He could make a new beginning and live a new life.

He saw a men"s clothing store and thought, "That's what I need -- a new suit."

He entered the shop and told the salesman, "I'd like new suit."
The elderly tailor eyed him briefly and said, "Let's see .. size 44 long."
Joe laughed, "That's right, how did you know?"
"Been in the business 60 years!"

Joe tried on the suit. It fitted perfectly.
As Joe admired himself in the mirror, the salesman asked, "How about a
new shirt"
Joe thought for a moment and then said, "Sure."
The salesman eyed Joe and said, "Let"s see... 34 sleeve and 16 and a half neck."
Joe was surprised, "That's right, how did you know?"
"Been in the business 60 years!"

Joe tried on the shirt, and it fit perfectly.
As Joe adjusted the collar in the mirror, the salesman asked, "How about new shoes?"
Joe was on a roll and said,"Sure."
The salesman eyed Joe's feet and said, "Let's see... 9- 1/2."
Joe was astonished, "That's right, how did you know?"
"Been in the business 60 years!"

Joe tried on the shoes and they fit perfectly.
Joe walked comfortably around the shop and the salesman asked, "How about some new underwear?"
Joe thought for a second and said, "Sure."
The salesman stepped back, eyed Joe"s waist and said, "Let's see... size 36."
Joe laughed, "Ah ha! I got you! I've worn size 34 since I was 18 years old."

The salesman shook his head,
"You can't wear a size 34. A 34 underwear would press your testicles up against the base of your spine and give you one hell of a headache!

aaaaaaaaaah..................the agony :-D

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Number Game

I just had to put this up........

Sudoku is one of my favourite pastimes. i have been at it for the past 2 yrs & manage to solve 85% of the puzzles Gulf News puts up in its Tabloid.
For the ignorant, here is a small summary of the game.

"Sudoku is a logic-based number placement puzzle. The objective is to fill a 9×9 grid so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 boxes contains the digits from 1 to 9, only one time each.
The puzzle setter provides a partially completed grid."

There are 4 levels of difficulty - Gentle, Moderate, Hard and Diabolical.

As u can see, i solved a 'Diabolical' for the 1st time & must have taken some 40 -45 minutes(Sudoku experts will scoff at my timings :-p) to solve it.

p.s - solved it sometime back but my scanner was on the blink. Had carefully preserved the portion of paper until now :-p.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Brain Drain

NOW.....for the Male Brain

Need i add anything more.......

naaah i'll just ruin the entire effect :-)