March 30, 2006

What’s in a name?

I wish when my grandson Sidharth grows up he shouldn’t work for a call centre in Bangalore, where, I hear, anyone with a perfectly sensible Asian name has it distorted into something popsy and western. I dread the prospects of Sidharth being truncated to ‘Sid’, ‘Sidney’ or ‘Saddy’. I am told the tabloid version of Bollywood actor Madhavan is ‘Maddy’. Founder of the Mysore-based software company SPI is Sid Mookerji, though I suspect they ‘namkaran’-ed him as Sidharth.
My own name got distorted, during s stay in England in the sixties; Krishnan became ‘Kris’. There was this elderly lady who had problem rolling her tongue to say ‘zh’ (for ‘sh’) and so, settled on calling me ‘Kristian’. Mercifully, such mutilation didn’t survive my UK stint. But then, a Wodehouse-mad neighbour of mine in Coonoor insists on addressing me ‘Geeves’.Another Coonoor friend, Ashika, couldn’t figure out why my grandson is named after a hotel. Sidharth is a hotel in Mysore; and she knows of no other Sidharth. Ashika, aged three, goes to pre-school.

March 14, 2006

Making life a little less miserable

My advocate in Chennai, Mr Santhoshkumar, forwarded the following. A lawyer is, perhaps, not a person one would associate with giving you tips on how to make your life less miserable. But then Santhoshkumar has been pursuing my writ plea in the Madras High Court for so long that we became friends. Here, then, is his 10-point programme to better our lives:
1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height.Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay them.
2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down. (Keep this in mind if you are one of those grouches;)
3. Keep learning: Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening,whatever. Never let the brain get idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." And the devil's name is Alzheimer's!
4. Enjoy the simple things
5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. And if you have a friend who makes you laugh, spend lots and LOTS of time with him/her.
6. The tears happen: Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is our self. LIVE while you are alive.
7. Surround yourself with what you love: Whether it's family, pets,keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.
8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable,improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county, to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.
10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

March 12, 2006

Holi hai

Residents at my block of 60 flats got together at the basement parking lot, Sunday (March 12), to celebrate holi. They invited as chief guest our apartments builder, Mr M B Nagakumar. Which is uncommon, considering that builders/contractors generally do not retain a high reputation among has-been clients. Few apartment owners have zero-complaint against their builder at the end of the day. Builders are not known for delivering whatever they promise, within the timeline they set.
Mr Nagakumar is not Mr Perfect, but he appears to retain a good rapport with his clients. That the residents of Devaraja Mohalla Premier Residency chose to invite him as chief guest at their holi get-together speaks for his reputation. In a way, The Premier Residency holi celebrations made a social statement on builder-client relationship. For the rest the function was marked by the usual fare of song and dance, contest and prizes, and, of course, ‘dandiya’.
Among key players in organizing this ladies-driven 'do' were Ms. Lata Mehta, Anu, Manju, Seema, Hema, Nandiini, Neelam, Priya, Pinky and another Pinky.
Word of advice: Organisers in future would do well to make sure that every child in the block wins a prize. On Sunday Master Nipul Jain was very upset because they didn’t give him a prize. His scream turned into a smile when someone focused her camera on him throwing a tantrum. The photograph was Nipul’s ‘consolation’ prize for the evening

March 5, 2006

A blog is like a shark

If it stops moving, a shark dies. So does a blog, without fresh postings on a daily basis. So says Clive Thompson in a longish New York Magazine piece. (Click ‘Blogs to Riches,if you have the patience to read). A Thompson tip to blogging success is – post wittily, and frequently. It helps if you have a team of post-persons working at it, as they do at Boing, Boing, a top-hit in global blogdom. Boing is steamed by a five-member team, all part-timers. They wouldn’t give up their day jobs, though Boing makes more than enough for them all, by way of ad. revenue. As a Boing blogger and novelist Cory Doctorow put it, “I always figured my life was fueling my blogging, so I didn’t want to be just a blogger’.
Blogging isn’t seen a mainstream occupation by most successful bloggers. Folks are journalists, doctors, aviators, and all of them, bloggers. An arm-chair thumb-twiddler wouldn’t have much to blog about, would he? Everyone on the myMysore blog list leads a full life, which would only enrich the blog. But then many of us need to get our blog going first. Clive Thompson writes of three categories – A-list blogs are an elite few drawing massive readership. B-list blogs are the ones that make a promising start, giving rise to a rising curve of readers. But somewhere along the way the curve flattens off as the blogger fails to sustain enthusiasm. A vast majority of blogs come under the C-list of bloggers who toil in relative obscurity.
I wonder where you would slot and its blogs. My sense is we can’t pigeon-hole many of our bloggers into any of the three accepted categories. They belong to the N-list – blogs that may well die a non-starter. People stop checking out on your blog, after having stared at the blank space under your name, whenever they were there before.