Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry X'Mas!

Merry Christmas!

A couple of funny Christmas Messages ...

"Dear Lord, I've been asked, nay commanded, to thank Thee for the Christmas turkey before us... a turkey which was no doubt a lively, intelligent bird... a social being... capable of actual affection... nuzzling its young with almost human- like compassion. Anyway, it's dead and we're gonna eat it. Please give our respects to its family... "

"I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no white man would be coming into my neighborhood after dark."

Santa Claus wears a Red Suit, He must be a communist. And a beard and long hair, Must be a pacifist. What's in that pipe that he's smoking?"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

God's Own Curry v1.2: Kerala - Welcome to the Jungle, We got Fun & Games...

Picture Courtesy: Malayala Manorama

Most of us in literate Kerala must have seen the above picture early morning today in the leading Malayalam newspaper, the Malayala Manorama (not just read by people in Kottayam, Ernakulam & Thrissur)...

This is a scene from the 3-day old strike by auto/taxi drivers in search of "greener" fortunes.

A lady carrying an infant to hospital in a rickshaw is stopped by another rickshaw driver who again tries to deflate the vehicle's tire so that they are forced to take part in the 'strike' - something which has not changed anything one bit...This little comrade who obviously is a product of Kerala's left-over politics which believes in 'if you can have it, why not me (but with no effort)...I wonder if this energetic little fella ever has had a wife or kids - to start with. Ever wondered why a lot (a lot!!!) of sensible people are trying a way out of this mess which still claims to be owned by the Gods!? Ahem!

Oh well, good to see a law-abiding citizen wearing a helmet in the background ;)!! That is the only positive thing you see in the picture! Lol! Welcome to the Jungle, ha?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Curry: Beef Madras

Beef Madras

I was getting dinner at a restaurant the other day and noticed something like Chicken Steak (steeeek) on the menu. I always thought Steak had everything to do with Beef and nothing to do with Chicken. Maybe (maybe!) I am terribly wrong!

Wonder how many of you ever heard of Beef Madras? Hmmm, Madras & Beef?

Walk into any food court in the City of Sails - Auckland in Middle Earth and you will find Beef Madras to be one of the hottest selling dishes. Madras is a city that prides on its vegetarian cuisine, at least as far as I know. The last time I was there, I had to walk nearly a mile on Mt. Road braving the summer heat before I could find myself a Non-Veg lunch, that too Chettinad! If I had known better I would have taken a cab. Oh Well!

Auckland has its own bunch of Indians from India and other parts of the world like Fiji, a country which always had a huge Indian diaspora. Most of them are from AP, Gujarat and UP. And, I am not too sure they are beef-eaters like the average Malayali. But they sure know that the best Beef recipes are available somewhere down south. The South generally referred to as Madras even in Mumbai is probably the only reason I can think of why Madras got tagged along with Beef.

Just like Schezwan Chicken which no authentic Chinese restaurant will ever sell. Even the BBC has a recipe for Beef Madras.

That is some beef you get everywhere but Madras.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Memories: The Day After

It was a winter morning in the charming Bangalore of those days. We, a group of 4 classmates were riding our usual route to college down Hosur Rd. The traffic those days was negligible. Stray dogs would jump the walls of the Military School and cross the road with ease. Students at the nearby Baldwins College would play their guitars on the sidewalk. The air was fresh, the grass was green and the girls were pretty.

So, again, it was just another winter morning in Bangalore. We were heading to college and were surprised to see Trucks entering the city with graffiti scribbled on their windscreens. Things like "Fu*k Advan**" "Suck Advan*".

Ignorant as we were, we entered our large campus to find more people leaving the campus than enter it. Someone told us "go back home before everything shuts down. there are riots all over, the Babri Masjid was razed to ground yesterday".

Yes, the Babri Masjid, an ancient mosque in the North was pulled down to ground by so-called "religious fanatics" and your local rickshaw driver was charging you 4 times more to get you home.

We did not realise the seriousness of the developments and all of us ended up in my flat in cosy Richmond Town. We sat through the day indulging in usual teenager activities. It was late afternoon when we heard a mob in the nearby street bordering the local market where there was a huge Muslim majority. We walked out of our daze and realized that many parts of the city just like all over the country were on Fire. Muslims in the nearby market rushed to shut their own shops while ordering the few Hindu shops shut. Your neighbor suddenly turned your enemy. Buses were stoned, people were thrashed. I rushed to my aunt's house on Cunningham Road just to be in a safer part of town. We watched TV as mobs all over the country turned violent.

India was never gonna be the same again. This was probably gonna be the darkest day in modern Indian history.  Schools and colleges were declared shut for nearly two weeks. It was the second December riot for Bangaloreans after the Cauvery riots of December 1991.

I boarded a bus home on a seat while many others sat on their suitcases for the 12 hour ride across borders...The youngster in me smiled secretly at the thought of the 2 week holiday ahead...not realizing that India's secular credentials were gonna take a beating in the years to come...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Must Visit: Hot Or Not

If you have not been to HotorNot or RateDesi, what you waiting for? These are two sites we used to visit quite often 5-6 years back and very very popular then before other websites popped up with the same idea. is a website created by two Asian students in the USA nearly ten years back. This site allows people to upload their profile pictures and visitors to the site are asked to rate their profiles and even maybe date them!

The site reached a viewership of 2 million viewers per day within a week of it's launch taking its popularity ratings to as good as that of CNET. Hot Or Not was sold at approximately 20 million USD in 2008, a site which started at a time when the founders were in student debt!

There is even a Desi version of Hot Or Not at and features your neighborhood hottie, maybe!!! ;)

These are two places you can instant fun at! Take a break!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

PhotoBlog: Volvo Ocean Race Stopover - Kochi (December 2008)

PhotoBlog: Volvo Ocean Race Stopover - Kochi (December 2008)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Education: NASSCOM finding - 75% Engineers Unemployable

Engineers Unemployable! That surely is some bad news for parents who continue to think that Engineering & Medicine is the only way to a successful career. How about being a Male Nurse, for a change? Not that desperate, huh? Or Photography, Travel Reporting?

If you are gonna owe the above NASSCOM finding to the recession, think again. The recession is one reason, of course but surely not as big as employability. The report points to “how trainable you are” as the major reason for not succeeding in getting a job. Traditionally (even 5-7 years back), many engineers got jobs, be it Civil, Mechanical, Instrumentation, even Biotechnology or Chemical, most of them would ultimately become Software Engineers! Most companies did not look beyond the academics. A lot of poor communicators were hired and companies ended up spending a large chunk of their revenue on training engineers who could not speak English well enough or who did not grow up learning different kinds of etiquette. The English language and business etiquette are two key requirements since we are working for mostly Western customers.

Last quarter, we were on a hiring spree for fresh engineers. Over 3 weeks, we interviewed in person, 250 engineers from the 2000-3000 applications received. The screening process we employed was pretty simple and straightforward.

1.     Applications: Starting with the applications, those emails received without a proper subject line or content were simply deleted. If you are serious about getting yourself a job, please address the employer and mention the position applied for.
2.     Education: The pedigree of schools/colleges attended and what grades were scored? Interestingly, most successful candidates were from ICSE/CBSE English medium and top SSLC schools. A lot of SSLC schools are run by the Government and follow the Malayalam-medium which does not give much opportunity to students to speak English, which again is the preferred medium of communication in the corporate world.
3.     Communication: is what all employers think is most important. You might code well but if you can’t write 2 sentences of English well, nobody would wanna spend time and money training you. Again here, those who studied in reputed English medium schools and those who generally spoke English in the family and amongst friends were more successful applicants.
4.     Attitude & PreparationScoring high marks from a premier institution is simply not good enough anymore. I interviewed a Computer Sc. Engineer (with a distinction) from a premier engineering college in the state, who told us he wanted a job coz he was under pressure from his girlfriend’s family to find a job (not that he had any technical skill what ever happened to the focus on career?
5.     Others: What does the family do for a living? Which towns or cities has he studied in? Has he listed “Books, Music & Cricket” under Hobbies?

At the end of the day, we hired 20 out of 250 short-listed. There were another 10-15 brilliant candidates who could not fit in coz we had already met our requirement. So, that is 30-40 out of 250 engineers, all of them with >65% grades, but just 40 had the right skills, attitude and preparation for a career in the corporate world.
With the sudden mushrooming of engineering colleges all over the state and engineering education turning into a business, most Engineers do not carry with them the attitude and skills of the Engineer of let's say a decade back and are not ready to work in the corporate world. 
(A recent analysis of Kerala University's B.Tech results over the last few years showed a declining trend of the technical education standards)

This obvious drop in quality of the Engineer should have academicians thinking of a complete revamp of the engineering syllabus which ultimately produces Software Engineers who know not more than two ancient programming languages thus forcing companies to spend more on training - in both communication and programming.

Cabin Crew Training: Sky-High Dreams by the Sea

A few months back, we were interviewing candidates for a secretarial position and young girls came in hordes from an aviation training institute. Most of them were 18-20, still pursuing their Bachelor degrees and had paid a hundred thousand or more and had never been inside an aircraft. Instead, they were sent to contract jobs in beach hotels at a salary not much higher than that of your maids’. We had high expectations but were thoroughly disappointed when they started behaving like robots during the interviews. Basically, they were trained to greet the interviewer, answer a few expected questions and if ever you asked anything out of the way, they would stammer. Most of them were not even fluent in the English language.

Being the age they were, ignorant and from poor families in small rural towns,  having studied in Malayalam-medium schools and dressed like your pretty airline stewardess but speaking in mono-syllables and in deep debt trying to repay the money they spent on learning to wear business-wear, lipsticks and to speak like robots...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

God's Own Curry v1.1

Note: After a series of discussions with bloggers and members of the community, we have decided to edit and remove certain excerpts on this blog which refers to any particular cities, communities or individuals and which probably hurts sentiments of people who are working for the progress of their cities or communities. Unfortunately, the truth remains and let us all try to change that! Also, one must realise that Engish is a funny language that includes sarcasm and humor and you should learn to accept English the way it is!

The very "concerned" hypocrites
A boat carrying tourists capsizes and drowns 45 human lives in the famed Thekkady lake in Kerala. The news attains "national" status primarily coz of the many Northies who died in the tragedy. Investigations ordered. The boat driver and someone called the Chief Inspector of Boats who apparently licensed the boat are arrested.

On the flip side, 1000s die every year on bad roads in the state of Kerala. More die due to bad drivers and gruesome accidents, like those caused by the state-run bus services. Does the Thekkady style of law enforcement apply to the PWD and KSRTC? Will the same responsible State arrest the drivers of those buses or the engineers, contractors and other workers who designed and laid our roads meant for one-night stands?

Or will the Delhi media take up every death caused on the road just like they did with the ferry tragedy? No, they won't and people will die simply because we lack good infrastructure.

The Metro Impact!
Yesterday, the Metro Manorama (supplement in Kerala's leading newspaper) displayed pictures of vehicles carrying fancy-looking registration plates. For the next few days, the traffic cops will fine every other car on the street not following the registration plate guidelines. Metro Manorama will proudly call it "Metro Impact". Rightly so and good work!

But, all the enthusiasm will die down when either a so-called Citizen's NGO goes on strike against the fines imposed on their dear citizens or when the son of a higher-up is given a ticket for the same. Disobedient citizens or just puppet cops?

Of Fanatics & Patriots ...

Removed - Reason: Trying not to be a fanatic myself :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

God's Own Craters - here to stay!

Note: After a series of discussions with bloggers and members of the community, we have decided to edit and remove certain excerpts on this blog which refers to any particular cities, communities or individuals and which probably hurts sentiments of people who are working for the progress of their cities or communities. Unfortunately, the truth remains and let us all try to change that! Also, one must realise that Engish is a funny language that includes sarcasm and humor and you should learn to accept English the way it is!

My morning walks have resumed. I decided to take the healthy route to hell (whenever that comes). Unlike my earlier running outfit of just a t-shirt, shorts and running shoes, I have taken to track pants and all-terrain shoes. With superior road conditions in place, the only road without potholes is nearly a mile away. But to get there, I would have to take a road which resembles Craters, Valleys, Cliffs, Rocky Mountains and some very huge ponds.

All that terrain means you get yourself a good pair of all-terrain running shoes. I looked around the city for all-terrain shoes and not having found suitable brands or models, thought it might be wiser to actually run to the nearest shopping mall which unfortunately is 200 kilometers away. Again to get to that "mall", I would have to take a day off work, take a long weekend, do some shopping, spend time with family and cousins up there, eat and drink! All that would cost me the equivalent of 3 pairs of shoes, at least. Not a good idea!

Ultimately, this wannabe jogger, had to go the e-way to fetch a pair of shoes. I logged on to amazon and had a pair of shoes shipped across the seas.

Yes, my running comes at a cost. The craters can cost you your life and of course the shoes just keep getting harder and costlier.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Japan, Barcelona et al! - P.S: We are Optimists!

Note: After a series of discussions with bloggers and members of the community, we have decided to edit and remove certain excerpts on this blog which refers to any particular cities, communities or individuals and which probably hurts sentiments of people who are working for the progress of their cities or communities. Unfortunately, the truth remains and let us all try to change that! Also, one must realise that Engish is a funny language that includes sarcasm and humor and you should learn to accept English the way it is!

I am sure most of you out there would have heard of the twin city concept.

This city, for quite some time now, has been making vain attempts to resemble a little bit of Japan, a little of Barcelona etc. A few years back, she was trying to twin herself with some English town. Can't remember which one? I guess that one was just for the newspapers. I dunno how far this is true but I hear the city has twinned with a local suburb which hosts the state's IT Hub. Thanks to IT, the city has changed her sleepy government town image.

In recent years, the Japs stepped in to provide everything (except the water) that is required to carry water from one end of the city to the other without pipe bursts. Unfortunately, the pipe bursts continue, the roads have become open canals, we do not need pipes no more. Thanks to the Japs and mostly inefficiency at the local level, we have Kerala's best road network with separate lanes (oda in Malayalam) for two-wheelers and joggers. Another reason why I quit the morning walk, lest I fall into an Oda, they would say I was trying a drowning lesson.

As if all this was not enough, we have some wisemen comin up with ideas like making Barcelona our new twin. Awesome! Brilliant! Seriously!!! Imagine having those wide open grounds, 10 meter wide sidewalks, Catalonian architecture, tree-lined boulevards, a Camp Nou, wannabe-Messi kids, motorways, tourism, cheese, fashion, real beaches ... wow!

This attempt at making this city a Barcelona is absolutely amazing and welcome as long as it does not remain an "attempt".

FYI and your enlightenment, Barcelona has already a few twin cities, the likes of Dubai, Rio de Janeiro, Boston, Shanghai and imagine having this city in that crowd of megacities! Way to go!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Random Curry For Ya!


Here we shall strive to bring you the best curry from the best places and people.
Curry - sweet, hot, red and yellow.

You might or might not like it. If you have a brain and an open one at that, please stay back and refresh yourself.

If you are more like the "how can he say that about my..." kinda guy with a stuck-up brain, you better get goin' coz we do not plan to entertain whiners.

We shall also strive not to use your name, your street name, your ex-girlfriends' name, your employer's name, your dog's name, your city's name and any other name you might find offensive to your culture, religion etc. In case, we do use names that sound familiar to you or to your family or even your community and country or names that are similar to that you have, a 1000 apologies is all we can say. We really cannot do much about it, neither are we gonna try doing something about it. Especially, with the Internet around, it is a small world out there!

This is our first truly random post and we hope to randomize you with as much crap as you can take.