Thursday, March 27, 2008

Only food

Went for a team treat last night to a good 4 star hotel on Mount Road in Chennai near DMS bus stop.

Ok, chuck confidentiality. It was Courtyard Marriott.

I have been to star hotels before. But this was an out of the world experience. Simply cos the menu sucked!! If you are a veggie, please avoid Courtyard Marriott like the plague.

Out of the total 30 - 35 dishes, hardly 6 or 7 were veg. The rest were all living-turned-non-living things. (Technically plants are living things too. But we veggies will never ever buy that argument. We would be left food-less then!)

So in all, I did not relish the food. Forget relishing, I hardly ate anything. So this post is less about all that.

What provoked me was the menu card for drinks. I reproduce a pic of that below.

Maybe when I used the word 'reproduce', I was being extremely suggestive (wink wink)

This prodded me to think how in the world people can order these drinks?

Excuse me, can you give me an orgasm please?
Excuse me, I would love to have a screaming orgasm please.
Excuse me, can I have some Slazy sex on the Beach? (this was another item that was listed below. And "slazy" was how they spelt it too)

Phew, I am sure the waiters would have a whale of time in their private rooms discussing the day's orders.

A friend of mine wondered if this was just a parliamentary way of indicating that they offer rooms per hour, a la Jab We Met.

Anyway that was that. Now on to today morning. I was coming to office by train. And a few college students were seated next to me. From their talks, I found out that they were having an exam today. One guy was saying

"Tamil Nadu manage பண்ணிரலாம் டா.. Andhra, Chettinadu தான் problem"
(Tamil Nadu can be managed. Andhra and Chettinadu would be a problem)

For a moment, I thought they were some B.Arch guys who were discussing different styles of architectures. Then when I peeped into their record note book, I realized that they were catering students, and were talking about different cuisines!

Their record note. Ah! That was a wonderful sight! Each experiment was a multiple-course menu of some cuisine. Two of the guys were "mugging" up ingredients like we used to learn apparatus required. Another was drawing lines in all pages and fretting that he should somehow convince Sir to sign in his record before the exam. Another was spreading worldly gyan:

"Machi எனக்கு no tension டா.. எந்த கேள்வி கேட்டாலும் மாவு பெசஞ்சு சப்பாத்தி செஞ்சுருவேன்.. கூட சிக்கன் கரி, சேமியா பாயசம்.. எனக்கு இவ்ளோ தான் தெரியும்.. இதுக்கு என்ன மார்க் வருமோ குடுங்க னு சொல்லிருவேன் டா"
(I have no tensions.. Whatever they ask me, I will mix some dough and make chapathis.. Then some chicken curry and Payasam.. Will declare that this is all I know, and ask them to give me marks for that)

Though it was funny then, soon I got a bit irked. Come on, cooking is something so exciting after all! And still these guys were not interested in doing it with spirit?

That was when I remembered that even I did stuff like this at college. I might say that the subjects I had to learn were of a different kind, and were not as exciting as this is. But the point is that I was the one who chose to pursue that course in my UG degree. And I should have been more sincere there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Open Source

Note: If you are someone who has landed here from Google after searching for open source tech stuff, please exit asap. This is not what you think it is.

Today morning, my manager told me an interesting belief of a friend of his: One can judge a company from its restrooms.

If that person visits my company, he'll conclude comprehensively that it is an open and transparent organization.

We recently shifted locations. And the new office boasts of Western style restrooms. I am not referring to the western commode. Am talking about the restroom by itself. They are of the kind I have seen only in hollywood movies.


Note: Restroom changed to protect privacy. This is a Googled Image.

If you have ever used this kind of a restroom, you'll agree that the name itself is a misnomer. I mean, that is the only place where I am restless. As if the gaps in all directions were not enough, the whole damn structure rattles everytime someone opens/closes one of the doors. One would think those excuses-for-walls would all fall down anytime, leaving a scar on one's psyche for life.

Dunno what the aim of the facilities team was in putting up this kind of a structure. Whatever it was, it will surely achieve one thing: having experienced this, fewer of our people would pursue onsite opportunities vigorously. Money is not so important, after all.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

RIP Sujatha

I've been quite upset for a few days now. The demise of Sujatha has struck me real hard. Even as I write this, am confused whether to say “Writer Sujatha” or “Scientist Sujatha” or “Novelist Sujatha” or “Kollywood Sujatha” or whatever!

I have never come across any one else as versatile as Genius Sujatha was. He exhibited a perfect blend of right and left brain skills. And at what degree of achievement! He came across as an intellectual of the highest order, in everything he did.

And add to it the fact that he wrote in Tamil. That was exquisite by itself! For years, he was the only answer to the question of “Who is to promote அறிவியல் தமிழ் (Tamil for Science)?”. This moment I am unable to think of anyone else who wrote about scientific things in Tamil. Maybe, Hai Madhan comes a distant second.

The first time I came to know about him was in my class 3. Doordarshan used to telecast a serial written by him: என் இனிய இயந்திரா (Yen Iniya Iyandhira). It was a sci-fi thing, if I remember right, and I was fascinated by a puppy that starred in it (Geno). What was even more fascinating was that some male was named “Sujatha”. My Mom explained to me about pen names. But I never really understood that then.

After that, Ananda Vikatan became my most regular source of contact with him. I used to dig anything and everything that featured in his name – articles, reviews, interviews, stories, et al. But what floored me definitively was ஸ்ரீரங்கத்து தேவதைகள் (Srirangatthu Dhevadhaigal) – his book on life at Srirangam. The clear flow of his language and his succinct humor greatly touched me, and I became a BIGGGG fan of his. I even read out one full chapter (the one on cricket) from that book to my friend Ananth. That was more than a decade ago. And I still remember that. Such was his impact on me.

I almost met him in person once. Almost. When I was in class 12, a group of us went to meet him at T Nagar in PentaMedia’s office to invite him for our culturals. We were waiting outside when his secretary went in and explained the reason of our visit to him. He replied “What will I do at a school function where kids would dance and sing? Please tell them that I am not interested”. We returned disappointed.

Then it hurt me to hear him say that. But in retrospect, I can understand what he must have thought. Every minute of his was precious and had to be spent on higher causes.

Dunno what to say.. Feeling rather disoriented.. May his soul rest in eternal peace..