Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The ' write ' thing

The last week went by in a winsome, alluring fashion.Mostly because I was occupied for most part of the week.The kind of blazing passion writing ( or anything got to do with communication) evokes in me, is completely unmatched by any other task that I embark on....So, thanks to the lonesome inactivity of the past month, I decided to give writing a shot that it is well worthy of!! That sparked off the inspiration to send a few sample write-ups to a leading news paper. Ecstacy is a the closest term I could coin when they told me that they liked my writing style etc..and asked if I would like to work with them as a features writer. They needn't have asked! They could have ordered and I would have jumped at the proposition!!!
(Now I am working there on a part-time basis since I have a full-time job of a software engg. that keeps me busy throughout the week)

So now I have started a brand new avtaar of mine as a professional writer. That I am thrilled to bits is an obvious thing but the next thing that struck me was..."what do I write about for the upcoming week? "(I am required to write 2 articles per week). Last Friday, following an overpowering urge to brush up my knowledge on a famous Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, I did an extensive search on this petite woman of the early nineties who spent most of her 47 yr. old existence etching out self-portraits. A year back, I had watched this awesome movie called 'FRIDA' that entails the life and career of this woman, wherein my favourite Salma Hayek has rendered full justice to this cult figure.

I guess half of me was driven by the inspiration that Frida aroused and the other half was compelled by boredom, but whatever the reasons be, I was on Google at full throttle. As I read on and on about her, I was fuelled by a burgeoning need to write about her inspiring, though short, life.Once my heart is set on something, I am driven by an animal-like passion to see an end to it. The same emotion drove me to finish the article by evening. So article number 1 was up and ready!!

Something beheld me from launching article number 2.Probably an intuition that something worthy is going to materialize!!!....Well, I waited. After biding my time over the weekend, doing 'this-n-that', Monday started as a bright, warm day extending it's big arms around me as though it was welcoming me back into an energetic week! I spent half the day writing the second article, which turned out to be my review on 'CAT-2005'. So this was the event I was waiting for, over the past week! It landed cleaner and better structured than I had expected while starting it. I had spruced it up with my analysis and how one could have sailed successfully through the other-wise shocking ( that was the majority's reaction to this year's CAT) CAT. Priti read the article and said it was smart. So enamoured by praise (one thing that always gets me going!!----my biggest SIN in life!)
I sent it across to the chief-sub-editor and sat back in reverie.

I was indeed tantalized by how wonderful I felt. Maybe victory gives a brilliant glow to it's recipient & that outshines every other thing!! And the fact that I had finally set sails on a career that I had forever secretly longed for! This is on a very small-scale in comparision to what I want to do ( since I am doing it part-time) but every giant achievement starts as a small step in the right direction! And some time in the near future, I plan to take on a full-fledged career in writing and be a successful one at that too!! ...I pray my God is listening. Well he must be coz it is my ardent belief that my posthumous granny is seated right next to him, on a regal chair and plotting a dazzling life for me!! Being her eldest grand-daughter, I was her favourite, you see..

And I spent the rest of the day giving well-thought after (and I insist, well-sought after!) advice to a buddy in the office...

The joy of that day continues, rocks and rules..........

Monday, November 14, 2005

Aadaab Hyderabad!

During the month of August we planned a 2 day holiday as a way to combat mid- year boredom.Since travelling always leaves one knowledgeable and people-wise, I was more than geared up for it when we decided the destination as Hyderabad, also known as "The Pearl City" and "Cybercity", thanks to the city's foray into the IT domain.Little did I know then, that the pearl city would open up pearls of information in terms of it's culture, people, places, food and hospitality.

After getting off at the travel agency's office in Hyderabad, a friendly looking man, around 40 yrs of age helped us into his auto and off we went to the lodge we had booked. Enroute, laid on one side is the vast strech of water bearing the name Hussain Sagar, a lake constructed in 1562 AD.It has bejeweled the heart of twin cities, Hyderabad and Secunderabad with the Necklace Road.Boating and water sports are a regular feature here.Emerging right in the middle of the lake is the magnificent 18 metre tall, 350 tonne monolithic statue of Buddha on the rock of Gibraltar.The other side of the road is equally eye-catchy with about 33 statues of Andhra Pradesh's famous personalities.

Once at the 3 star lodge, we unloaded our luggage and were on our heels to go city-trotting.The Qualis we had hired for a day was spacious enough for us to strech our limbs and I struck a conversation with the driver.He enlightened me with tips on the best places to visit and take-home gifts from this culturally strong city."Khana bole to aap zaroor biriyani khayiye madam.Aur yaha ki nahari( a special Hyderabadi soup made of paws of lamb) saare tourist logon ko acchi lagti hai.Yaha hum sab naan aur nahari se kaam chalalete hain" was his advice on food.

Our first stop was at Salarjung Museum, a unique art collection of a single connoisseur of art, Mir Yousuf Ali Khan, better known as Salarjung III.The artefacts that adorn the eyes in this fantabulous, visually appeasing 5km wide museum are, Persian carpets,a beautiful collection of jade, daggers belonging to Nur Jahan,the veiled Rebecca,Aurangzeb's sword,amazing silver,bidri and brocade work and many more.It is a real museum in every sense of the word,the collection adorned with both beauty and historic appeal.

Understandably,the local taxi-wallahs have an updated knowledge of the tourist spots and ours took us to Char Minar next.This edifice was built by Quli Qutub Shah and marks the city's 400 yr old history.It stands a proud 180 ft in height and is supported by four minarets. Inside this are around 45 prayerspaces and a mosque.A popular place for visitors, it also provides a wonderful back-drop for photographs.Here we shopped for the elegant and famous Hyderabadi bangles and dupattas which,when bargained are available at a reasonable price.By now, hunger had raised it's torturing head and we headed to a local restaurant.One piece of advice about the cuisine:If you are not used to hot and spicy food,play safe and opt for the less-hot dishes.For Hyderabad rules the roost for spicy food.And for unsuspecting victims like me,who ordered for meals,everything from sambhar to rasam with the exclusion of curds made my eyes water and I had to gulp down large quantities of water!

Post lunch we headed towards the Golconda Fort.It spreads 3 km wide and now stands deserted as the reminder of a bygone era.This fort is the proud producer of the world-famous and much sought after Kohinoor diamond,which now decorates the Queen of England's crown.It is protected all around by eight gates.Originally belonging to Kakatiyas,it's legendary reign includes the likes of the Bahamanis and the Qutb Shahis.The most fascinating aspect of this edifice is it's acoustic effects, whereby clapping of hands at the entry gate can be heard on top of the fort, roughly around 61mts high.
That was the end of Day 1.

A trip to this city is never complete without visiting the IT boosting section of Hyderabad! A well planned city in itself,with intelligent infrastructure and such wide roads that aid good transportation, no wonder the city has earned the distinction of being one of the IT giants.
Madhapur opened up yet another facet of Hyderabad in the form of HITEX (Hyderabad International Trade Expositions Limited). It spreads over a sprawling 100-acre land and houses 3 indoor exhibition halls,a trade fair office building and an exclusive building for conferences, among other facilities.

The remaining part of the day was invested in shopping,which is a wise investment considering the fact that it is the 'Pearl City'.Pearls are to be purchased only at authorised shops that ensure it's authenticity.We shopped at Abids,Patthergatti,Koti and other adjoining places for pearls,jade,hyderabadi chappals,bags and other accessories that adds a dash of the Nizam style elegance to the regular metro-look!

The evening was meant for relaxing in the lodge and enjoying conversations with the family, sipping the famous Hyderabadi chai (the Irani chai), relishing pastries and packing up.That was the end of the 2 day trip to Hyderabad.Though there were many other places we could not visit, as they say, 'There is always a next time'.

Photo courtesy:

Some children's day

"Akka,tomorrow is a holiday.We only have to go to school and eat chocolates!!!" 4 yr old nephew screamed into my ears on the lazy Sunday afternoon of November 13th."Really? do you know why you are given a holiday" was what I wanted to know. To which he gaily proclaimed "Yeah! tomorrow is some children's day"...If you have had a similar experience with a tiny tot, don't brush it aside as a less important statement. In a way the child had something very important to convey.

For most of us living in the plush apartments, caught up in the web of our own duties in personal and professional lives, days like 14th November would be 'some children's day'.But the sad part is, it is indeed 'some' children's day since just a privileged few like my nephew get to celebrate this day.For other less-fortunate children it's just any other day, with a monotonous routine that begins with supplying milk to houses or selling newspapers or cleaning cars, not being able to go to school, giving up on the pleasures of childhood because they also have to work to lend a helping hand in supporting the family.

My maid servant has an 8yr old girl Anjana* who went to school for a year or two after which she had to quit because of financial constraints thanks to my maid's single mother status.When one enquires about the plans she harbours for the kid she replies in her trademark flat tone, "Ayyo leave it kutti.People like me can't afford to have 'plans' for their children.Even she will have to take up a job like me and fend for herself". Whats more she has even started searching for a job for the girl and has begun fretting over the fact that her neighbour Kamalamma's* 7 yr old son has already begun to work.She also cribs over her shaky fate that gave her a daughter who can't work as efficiently as a son would.

There are a good number of such people for whom children's day has no such importance or relevance.To them, it marks another addition to their usual working day. Not that one can blame them...When the mother is fighting hard to make ends meet, she can't be expected to know the significance of such a day.When I visited my maid servant's locality last year on this very date to distribute chocolates, I met a bunch of kids who wanted to know how I used to celebrate this day as a kid.And I told them about the different cultural activities and competitions we used to have.A boy, around 13 yrs of age, looked at me with those faraway look in the eyes and said, "Even I see all that in the nearby school where my mom is an aaya( servant ).They won't let me in because I'm dirty and my dad does'nt have a car.But one day I'm going to have one and then I can go there....can't I akka?"

Well, I could only nod in approval. Irrespective of however harsh the reality is, I'm really counting on that boy to make it big and own a car.My eyes were moist that day.Maybe due to the cold breeze that kept stinging my face or maybe something else.....

The message we can derive out of this is bold and clear.We need not go totally out of our way to make life comfortable for these children.But a little bit of compassion and love we give them on this day and whenever we can, will put a smile on those love-lorn, pre-maturely aged lips. And that, to me, is a day well lived.

Photo courtesy: Google

Thursday, November 10, 2005

"Hello...whoz there?...old friend.?!??..

Well, yesterday was fun!While I felt good about the comments Deepi and Swaroop posted,I was also amused at the sms I got in the evening from an unidentified number...clearly an imposter, here it goes...An account of the cheap and undesirable entertainment these imposters provide...

PS: Number is one thing, but I have no idea how he got my name also!!

Me: Me man Me, of course ME!!
IP: Imposter

IP: Hey Vineetha, how are you...What are you doing now?
Me: I'm good..I could'nt identify this number. Could you please tell me who you are..?
IP: I'm an old friend of yours...What are you doing now?
Me: I expect an old friend to have a name..what's yours..?.......apart from being jobless enough to reply to such messages, I'm even helping people re-discover their names...Voila!
IP: won't's been a long time since we last met
Me: Identify yourself.......not that it matters considering the way he approached, even if he were an old friend..errr..You see, I don't have an automatic old friends detector in my cell....whoever said technology is advanced!
IP: I'm $^%&^ your classmate ......original crap!
Me: See, I've never had any old classmate by that name.Just stop messaging
(I really have'nt had any classmate by that name)
IP: You may have forgotten a friend but I don't forget mine.........Hah....Plz. accept my sincere apologies, Your Majesty, Mr.Old Friend!!! he he he...
Me: How did you get my number?
IP: A friend of ours gave he say 'friend of ours!?!!!'...I wanna know the name!
Me: And who is that?
IP: Sneha...she somehow got your number............Eurekaaaa! Sneha is a nurse in the hospital where I was born. I have known her all my life!$$$.....geeeee....I have NO clue who she is!!
Me: I don't know anyone by name Sneha either ( I honestly don't). And I'm mot interested in you or your Sneha. And I DON'T want to see even a single message from you or your friends in my inbox.........old or new.....duh!
IP: Oh..I got scared...K bye...I miss you...


The incident concluded with a male buddy stepping in and driving the devil out of my old friend's mind.
Thanks, Rajiv

Such experiences being a part of most of the mobile owning youngsters' kitty, I have no hopes that this is going to be the absolute last sms of this kind.But I do hope that people get creative and come up with innovative ways of trying to hook a girl/boy!!

Every end is a beginning in itself...

A finger in the blog pie!!

I never really wanted to blog.Ever. Somehow the thought of putting my thoughts up on the net for just about anyone to read did'nt quite appeal to me.But hey, come to think of it.
Some @#%&&#$$$$ years down the line bamboo and subsequently paper might just become extinct (thanks to deforestation, human occupancy in forest areas name a few).
Then the one sure shot way of making my words live on and on and on...forever is either by carving a John F Kennedy out of myself, who would make statements like.."Ask not what your country did for you, but what you did for your country" know, the kind of words that would live forever by their sheer word-power OR more simply by blogging. Since the second option seemed more doable, I settled for the latter.

Now before I start off, I want to confess something. That I am a victim of an INCURABLE syndrome.It generally starts off within the 1st year of one's birth and stays on as long as the individual lives. While it is not really troublesome to the victim him/herself, it usually proves to be a pain in the whatever for the other nice people around. And from times immemorial there has never been a cure for this.The syndrome is 'NARCISSISM'. And it's victims are fondly referred to as 'NARCISSISTS'. So, do bear with me. Sometimes I tend to go overboard.And all my friends have unanimously voted me out of the humility scale.

However, I'm proud... of everything I stand for, like my being, my views, my values and principles,my dreams and my abode-Planet Earth, Galaxy Milkyway...absolutely everything around me that fascinates me and triggers off my interest.To the point that I've almost made it my business to talk.... about myself, about other people, about various things ( err..My hobbies include emceeing and writing poems)

So as though the microphone and poetry were'nt enough, I've ventured into blogging. Let's see how this one goes.....