Born in the early 80s? I voice for you!

I grew up listening to childhood tales of my parents and grandparents. Very often, my grand mom used to say, “You are so lucky to be born amidst all the comforts. Yet, an irresponsible little creature you are… did you know that even on my wedding day, I walked kilometers to reach home?!” And I used to wonder, “Just that you were unfortunate to be born in a non-Maruti & Fiat era, unlike me. But, what is my fault in it?” My parents however, were better as they had a decorated ambassador car to take them home on their wedding day. So, they couldn’t crib much on the same. But, don’t think that they were out of ideas to emotionally blackmail us; my dad and mom have narrated the same ‘cycling uphill and downhill’ to school story, at least a thousand times! My mother would say, “You have ironed uniform, polished shoes, yummy breakfast and school bus waiting for you. In spite of all the luxury, you are always late! Are you not ashamed?” Then, she would continue, “When I was a kid….” And that used to be the motivation to get ready soon and rush to school…!!

I have promised myself several times that I will not torture the next generation with my hardships purana!

But… But… Now that I have crossed the silver jubilee of life, looking at teenagers, I realize that growing up is so easy for them; every damn thing is at their finger tips, just a mouse click away! I hate to say, but I cannot help it, “Bloody hell… you guys have got the best while we had to struggle to grow up!”

We did not have video CDs to learn Humpy Dumpty and Chubby Cheeks. To watch Tom and Jerry for half an hour, we waited for Sunday evenings. We eagerly looked forward to weekly Mahabharata, Chitrahar & Malgudi Days on Doordarshan. And if missed, no Youtube existed for re-telecast! When I had to know about tropical rain forests, I went to the library, picked book by book, flipped page by page, read line by line to gather information. And today, through google, so quickly and effortlessly, everything is served on their platter! I had waited for hours for my friends under the banyan tree near our school, not knowing where they were; while today SMS speak minds even before the memo is sent to their brain! We had only stamps and inland letters to keep in touch; while today, boys & girls are available on emails, facebook and twitter round the clock! Nobody knew what I did on a holiday, while today the whole world knows what one is up to! “Woke up late; stomach upset. Oh, what a terrible Saturday Morning!”, reads many gtalk status! To choreograph a dance performance, we had to eject, play, rewind, play, stop, fast forward and play cassettes. To find the track, we used to visit every possible music store in town. And today, they sleep on ipods and downloaded MP3s! We grew up playing ludo, caroms and snakes & ladders while these brats are glued to X-Box!

If I don’t stop here, the list is only gonna get longer! Hmmm …and for sure, my parents and grandparents were definitely better; they did not crib so much!!!!

However, even though we were born before the internet revolution, Better late than never… we don’t anyways belong to the computer-ignorant generation! Hence, the moral of the story is, “Compare yourself with the less-fortunate ones to become more content in life!” So, I pacify myself, “My poor granny… she died even without having an orkut profile …while I have a blog too!”  

So, do you wanna share with us, any tales inherited from your parents or ancestors? 


My First Professional Triumph

I was in love with almost everything in the office – the spiral stair case, the bright red and orange walls, creatively designed visiting cards, the messed-up table around which we sit and pretend that we work very hard, the caffeine corner and of course my work and interesting co-workers. Talking about my colleagues – each of them represented each district in Kerala! The ten of us hailed from different places in between Kasargod and Trivandrum. How much more cosmopolitan can it get???

One day, I was called to the Big Boss’s cabin for a discussion.

Sandeep – I have some really challenging work for you.
Me – Wow…I love challenges (In my mind – what the hell is it going to be?!)
Sandeep – Sheikh Khalid is visiting our office on Thursday.
Me – Oh, the cute guy, right?
Sandeep – Possibly cute; but he is a terror for sure!  
Me – Is it? (Guys are so jealous of other good looking guys!)
Sandeep – We have an art work getting ready. Study it well and you are going to present it to Khalid to get his approval for the project.
Me – Wow… Really? I don’t believe this! I am so excited…
Sandeep – Just a reminder, this dude is not good at English.
Me – What the hell…! You expect me to learn Arabic in two days to do the convincing, flattering, blabbering, etc and then magically get the approval?
Sandeep – Not exactly. He understands English; just that he doesn’t speak.
Me – Sounds so simple - I speak English, He listens, He replies in Arabic and I assume in Malayalam??!!
Sandeep – Come on; be a bravo; you can do it!  
Me – Alright; I shall give it a try, will give my best! (Has this guy gone out of his senses?!)

However, I was really thrilled, though I was surprised that he assigned the task to me in spite of me being the least experienced of the lot!

Fancy Thursday:

Like a enthusiastic first bencher, I keenly prepared for the presentation and waited for the Most Awaited Guy of the day. And there he comes - a tall, handsome young guy in a white nighty! Technically though a nighty, it is apparently called a ‘thoub’. He wore expensive sun glasses and a smart pair of sandals. Those were the only things to be seen, the rest were hidden inside his nighty. I thought, “What an innovative attire; these guys need not spend much on accessories like we do! All they need is a packet of Tide detergent!”

As we walked to the conference room, he looked around and asked, “Oh, pandu ee chomaru neela aayirunnille?! Eppo choppu aakki?” (Read in ‘Malappuram’ Malayalam – Weren’t these walls in blue before, when did you get them repainted to red?)

My eyes literally popped out! “Poor thing… what a fate!”, I thought… “With so many Malayalis in the gelf, he would have realized that the easiest thing to do to move on in Dubai is to learn Malayalam.”

Coming to our presentation; it went on very well in my mother tongue and… at the end of it, we won the deal…! In fact, it was my first big professional achievement!

Now, if you are wondering about Sheikh Khalid… this guy’s uppa and uppappa (dad and grand dad) belonged to Malappuram in Kerala; but worked for the Royal Family in Dubai for many years. But our smart Khalid decided to be a Roman while in Rome; hence he became a Sheikh in the gelf!!

Later, I realized that the creative industry in the world is dominated by men and women from God’s Own Country!


My First Job

I still remember the day my post graduation results were out! I was the happiest girl on earth. I could feel my dreams fetching wings and desires becoming more fancy & colorful. No more exams, assignments, viva and thesis submission! Wow… I was sure; the world definitely would be a more peaceful place! I laid down my plans and I was so eager to see me achieve my aspirations!

I reached Dubai in few weeks and started job hunt. I thought the media companies in the Middle East were waiting for my arrival so that the industry will get rejuvenated. I filtered out the companies based on my priorities. All I wanted was 

- deeply satisfying job (no compromise on this!)
- high flying salary (in spite of being a fresher just out of college; Wah.. what confidence!)
- company to be located close to home (how I hate the traffic in Dubai)
- management which will not demand formal-wear to work (I love myself in jeans)
- to not have elderly-serious people as my colleagues (I thought handling generation-gap is a big deal) 

- tamil vegetarian restaurants close to office (crispy dosas, variety chutney and filter coffee are my weaknesses)
- my coworkers to be from any part of the world, but not from Kerala (Hey… nothing against Malayalis; I was looking forward to a cosmopolitan community at least at work place!)

Days passed, weeks passed. But nobody replied to my job applications! “Huh? Doesn’t at least one of them need my valuable service?”, I wondered. I stopped the filtering activity and started sending out my CV left, right and centre – to every soul in Dubai! I considered ‘Appointments Supplement’ of the newspaper to be the Gita, Bible and Quran! Whenever I go past a tall building, I would question, “Madam/Sir… such a huge office, plenty of space… all I am asking for is just a corner of a table, one computer and one chair (preferably revolving)!”

Once, I applied for the post of ‘Creative Director’ at an advertisement agency. However, it demanded 12 years of experience. “Grrr… If I had 12 years of experience, will I be stationed religiously before appointments page like this?” And what was I doing 12 years back? …I was in 6-th standard, where I spent days watching Doordarsan, fighting with my brother, studying, not studying and lazing around! I wished, “What if they call me for the interview and miraculously realize that I am THE one who would take their company to heights?! You see… the probability is never zero!”       

To my surprise, I was called for the interview. Now, looking forward to the miracle to happen! Keeping my fingers crossed …and twisted!

D Day: Interview Day

I reached their office, which was not too far away from home (demands getting satisfied already?). I met the Creative Head, whose computer had Angelina Jolie’s wall paper. I thought, “Wow, not bad… very sporty folks around! …n this guy will be having Mother Mary’s pic as desktop background on his home PC. Hmmm, Kochu Kallan!!” Though few strands of white hair popped out from his almost bald head, he looked smart and spoke well too. With a chuckle, I thought, “If I become the Creative Director, maybe I will have to manage this Jolie fan!” When I was about to leave his cabin, I noticed his family pic in which his wife seemed to be the epitome of an ‘Achayathi’ (Mallu Christian) from Kanjirappally! “Oh no… Malayalees..! Will you not leave me ever in my life?!” 

Then, I met another guy, whose cabin was bigger than the Jolie fan’s. Hence I guessed that he should be the boss’s boss, The Big Boss of the company! With a smile, he began to speak, “Well Shalini… When I saw your application, I was really curious to know who this confident young girl is, who applied for the post of Creative Director! Blah blah blah…! Anyways, nice meeting you.

I got so furious… in fact wild…!!! I replied, “Sorry to say, it was not at all great to meet you, as you bothered me needlessly. Good Bye!” I could feel my voice crack as I felt I was being made a fool!

I reached home with soaring disappointment and was narrating the bitter experiences to my mom. I was explaining how bad he is to look at, how bad he is at conversing and how bad his dress sense was!

…while my mobile rang.

“Hello, This is Sandeep* from H2O* Media. Am I speaking to Shalini?” (* names changed)
“Yes, Which Sandeep?” I thought, why is this bugger calling me again?
“…with whom you felt is not great to talk to, couple of minutes ago!”
“Oh My God…! In fact, I did not mean that…”
“Anyways, we have decided to hire you… definitely not as Creative Director, but as Junior Copy Writer.”
“If you are interested, please come to our office tomorrow to accept the offer.”
“Oh, Thank You so much… Thanks a ton!!!”

To my mom, “Amma… I think he is not that bad as I thought!” ;)
And in two weeks, I joined H2O Media, a place which I will never forget in life!

…to be continued


Exclusively for Y2K Chinmayans!

Once upon a time, we were in brown & white and canvas shoes. We lived in it for 14 years! But today, colorful clothes and sneakers have invaded our lives! However, my smiles are the widest at the thought of those good old days!  

Ten years back, we discussed cricket matches and class tests. Partying at Appoos over an ice cream that cost 30 rupees was considered to be a celebration. Today, we sip coffee from the next door Coffee Day and talk more about coding and job-hopping. Sharing those chocolaty ice creams bought by pooling money was more joyful than fussing over over hyped cappuccino. Isn’t it?

Those days, we were tensed about getting answer papers signed by our parents. Today, we are worried about rising EMI and petrol prices. How silly we were then; they were not problems at all; now we realise. 
An unexpected candy could excite us then; but today, we are not content with what we have. We are still figuring out, what we really want in life! 

A decade back, we were a bunch friends leading a carefree life celebrating every moment. Today we are in a race against time. However I am glad that nothing has done any harm to our friendship; the ship still sails happily!

Yeah; one more post on friendship…!! How can I not record this? This Saturday was so special, in fact one of the most beautiful days so far this year!

About twenty of my batch mates in school got together at a restaurant in Bangalore and we let ourselves forget the present and go back in time, to those wonderful years of the past! We
held onto the things we treasure a lot, the things which we never want to lose – memories!

Life’s little joys are magical at times. It could easily make you the happiest person on earth! Like at one point in life, we found happiness and excitement in running around the big mango tree, cheering for Hamsa Geeth, Rag, Nad and Dwani, laughing at the one who got caught 
peeping into neighbor’s test paper, crushing pappads in the canteen amidst the aroma of sambar, holding back the giggle listening to vice-principal’s gyan at morning assembly, celebrating birthdays giving coffee-toffees and bondas to friends, admiring the flower carpets during Onam celebrations followed by enjoying the delicious payasam served …and my list goes on and on and on! Oh, those days were so lovely! 

When we met again, we recalled all those wonderful moments and also shared what we have been up to in the last ten years. Love stories came from the most unexpected guys. Like this fellow - once a silent back bencher, narrated his eventful tale where he at last won the consent of his parents and the girl’s family after much drama and hungama! Cheers and kudos to you, my dear buddy, on behalf of all of us! J 

Friends, we really rock! Wishing everybody the best in life for the journey ahead; Keep Smiling J

Are you also a proud Chinmayan? Then… post in your thoughts here about memories of school life. Even if you are not, you are always welcome to share your mind!


When a name actually matters…

Isn’t amazing to see Chinese folks eat noodles? Indeed exceptional these people are; rather interestingly peculiar!! When you can comfortably and neatly handle it with a fork, why do you want to make ‘even eating’ look complicated by using chopsticks? God… what all Chinese kids go through – they not only have to get potty trained, but also should get chopstick trained!!

Let me come to the point; have you ever tried to find out the similarities between Chinese and Malayalis? Well, here is my finding - Apart from both being ruled by the left, they have really long tongue twister names! …like Lamonjanae Tinwing Shosha and Melepparambil Kunhikannan Nayanar.

Now, this happened few years back. At an event hosted by our company where the invitees were from China and India, we were all getting introduced to each other during the ice breaking session.

Passionately following ‘Athiti Devo Bhava’, we let our neighbors get started off...

I am Zhenbang-Feng-Mei; but you may call me Zef.
The next person, “I am Chijian-Shaozu; you may call me Chizu.
Next, “Hi, I am Wang-Yungching-Chin, my friends call me Wang Chin.

…while our friend Mr. Navaneethakrishnan Balagopapalan who hails from Ottappalam is wondering from the corner of the room, “Oh My God… I am the first to go amongst desis. And I do not have a duplicate name like them. Is it mandatory to have a backup, even for our own name? How come my history teacher never taught me that China not only has the Great Wall but Chinese also have two names? Even otherwise, they don’t teach what actually is required in life! Grrr…!!! Now, should I tell them that my mom calls me “Thakkudu”, and that is my nick name?”

Navaneethakrishnan started foreseeing and analyzing the situation in his head. Finally he arrived at the conclusion - Thakkudu is old-fashioned and so, girls may find it funny! He definitely has a point. After all, why should a name be the villain between hot chicks and our poor Thakkudu, right?  

He smartly and confidently said, “Hello my dear friends from India and China… I am Navaneethakrishnan Balagopapalan. However, I am known as "November". You may also call me so...”

Vijay, Anand, Vidya, Geetha, Rajan, Rahul, Rajeev, Sajeev, Vinay, Vinod…. All desis gathered in the room curiously looked at him, to make sure Navaneethakrishnan Balagopapalan is actually not a Chinese in disguise!

Bangaloreans - Take Monday off and enjoy the loooong weekend! :)
Ugadi Aashamsakalu in advance! 


Being Pampered…

The word friend stands apart beyond the definition; it is a beautiful poem in itself, which one would love to listen again and again …and again! How many posts I have written about friendship… but still my pen is fervent about writing more on my friends and the closeness I share with them!

It doesn’t take much to make me smile, to take my excitement quotient out of the roof! The coolest and most wonderful folks I have around, who are best at it, who adds flavor to my days thus making my life lovely and happening!

Yesterday was one such special day when I was so joyful for no specific reasons. Felt I totally belong to Karan Johar; I was superlatively happy that I cannot exaggerate my feelings further! I realized it was those few phone calls and emails that made it “D-day” of the week!

I wrote, “You are the Darling-est of all..!!”
She replied, “Tell me something which I don’t know!!!”
And our silly conversation continued…

By the way, I swear we are not lesbians; you corrupt mind – if that is what your doubt is!! I am a happily married girl, who is interested in neither girls, nor guys!
J Ahem ahem… If I am to sound like a true Bharatiya Nari, my “Swami” is the Sun and I am a planet revolving around. And in this galaxy, there is just the sun and one planet! J

I believe love and affection deserves to be expressed and it is unfair and rude to hide it under the worthless mask of ego and pretense. Otherwise, why do you think our heroes are compelled to eat double the portion of ginger chicken and triple omelets? Simple; to lift (and run too!) heroines like Kavya & Asin & Khushboo and express how much they are being loved! After all, who would want to live with an expressionless strict husband or an unreadable stern wife??!!

I wrapped up the day topping up my cheerfulness; spoke to this guy who is adorable, interesting and an absolute darling! …with whom one can talk for hours together on anything under the sun! He is incredibly talented and popular too! And most importantly, My Good Friend!
If you are wondering who this good friend is; well... he could be the college dude, or the good boy next door, perhaps the villian in thick meesha or may be you could even spot him somewhere in royal Rajastani attire!

Disclaimer - This post is just my distorted thoughts; this is not written as a result of watching “Vinnaithandi Varuvaya”!
J I really don’t know how the post took this shape! When I started writing, the intent was something else. Hmm, the wonder those little joys did to me!!

FYI – the ‘darling-est of all’ is visiting me next to next weekend! …n so I smile!!

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