Monday, February 27, 2006

Paperless office?

Why is it that whenever I wash my face in the men's room at work, they're out of paper towels??

I mean, here you are in the one of your best office-shirts, dripping wet from the forehead down to your chin. And you turn around for paper...Nada!

You look around to see if there're others you could turn to for an answer. But guess what? They seem to take a lesson from you, and don't even wash their hands!!

"Yikes" you say to yourself, but your peers appear to be proud of their dry-hands-policy!!

By this time, the water dripping from your chin has made its way through the neck into your best office-shirt. It's like being in the middle of a stage - with spotlight on you - while the other 'performers' come and go

And you wonder if that's what they meant by 'paperless' office :-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

6th June, 1992

I clearly remember the day when my grandpa passed away.

I was 15 and had just passed my 10th grade. It was the same old cruel summers of Delhi. He was in hospital - admitted following a severe heart-attack. We all used to be in hospital pretty much all the time...grandma, papa, ma, chacha (both), chachi (both), bua (both) and all us kids

I, being the oldest grandson in the family, was somewhat between the kids and the grown-ups. May be because I was his first grandson, or because I had spent that school session staying with him, I had come closer to my grandpa, than any other kids

I was at home that evening - with Sharlie - my younger sister and Saurav - brother, when I received this phone-call at our neighbors'. It was Ma. She sounded a bit tired. She asked me to come to grandpa's house with Sharlie and Saurav.

"Why? Is everything okay?"

"Yes, your grandpa is not feeling well"

"So, let's come to the hospital then"

"No, come to the house"

"Okay, we'll be there"

The hospital was at a good hour-and-a-half journey from home, and we had to board a bus that left half-past every hour

I couldn't understad why she called me to the house, instead of the hospital! Apparently my mom had spoken with the neighbor aunty when I came to the phone. And the aunty 'knew'!

We all locked the doors, and started off. An hour and a half - the bus was running on time, like everything else does! Everything.........

We had to board a rickshaw to reach the house. We did. On reaching close to the house, I noticed a few clusters of people here and there - and women.....

"'Well, this is usual"
I thought, having no idea of what I had lost. Sharlie and Saurav were even younger to even know what's going on. Well, we reached the gates....

"Why these tents?"

(In India, when they mourn a death, they make arrangements similar to that in a wedding - tents, food, chairs)

"Is someone getting married?"

yes, I was that naïve!

Had to climb stairs, one floor. A distant voice of people....weeping? Why? Who? I heard my grandma....crying. I had never, ever heard her cry before. What's going on? Is everything okay? Its surprising how oblivious we are to death, unless we see one.....or, even after we see one??

By the time I reached the living-room, and saw people sitting on the floor - wet floor. Wet with melting ice. Ice, trying to keep a body from the shameless summer of Delhi, that evening.....

"My grandpa's body?"


I couldn't face all this, I wasn't taught how to face all this. Why didn't he ever say he was going to die? That he will die one day? Why? Why do grandpas seem to be bigger-than-life? As if they'll always be there?

I was so not ready for this. I had just started to come close to him. There we so many stories left. Untold! War-time stories, his Police job. Partition of India...... What about those stories?

No, really what about them?

Alas, he was gone. And gone were those stories. All we were left with was a 6'2 frame lying on a bed of ice - waiting for those 'distant' kins, who had to travel to pay their last rites to the passed-away. Cotton buds stuffed in the ears and the nose.

I will always remember his favourite words from Geeta:

कर्म किए जा बँदे, मत कर फल का ध्यान
जैसा कर्म करेगा, वैसा फल देगा भगवान
यह है गीता का ज्ञान,
यह है गीता का ज्ञान

(Action is all thou shalt do, O man!
Without worrying about the effect.
As thy action is, so is the effect)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The 'selfless' sucker

Ever wondered what would happen if a vacuum sucked itself? I got this idea while cleaning my vacuum one day with its own hose! It was dirty for some time and I didn't want to wipe that 'stuff' with a paper.

So, imagine turning the hose back to one of the ends of the vacuum and turning the 'sucker' on, full blow..after pulling on the dirt on the plastic body, the hose might suck those loose screws in. Then it might break apart a few plastic peices and swallow them (gulp)

Within seconds, one end of your vacuum will be gone in the bag. Then the hose might turn to the upper part, where you hold the vacuum. The slim handle will give in easy, but the bulky body might resist for a while - 'til it starts coming down into smaller peices and feed the hose with itself.

Now comes the bag! Filled with all your 'droppings' that are found in the corners of the couch, or in the edges of your carpet - every Sunday, or after a night-long party. Stuff like - popcorn peices, bread crumbs and hair - to name a few! All the leftovers from your bodily and mental 'karma'

All fall in line to be chewed by the mighty hose. One by one - lump by lump! The bag is gone! All that's left now is the hose itself. The 3 ft long sword that we usually fight with every weekend.

The hose turns to itself from the other end, and chews itself into peices. Oh dear spring-like hose! Spare yourself for cleanniness-sake. But no, the hose is as determined today as on any of those weekends - sucking what comes in her way until she reaches her own mouth. Looking at herself from a perspective - as a serene watcher...what an insight she has.

And she never gives up, but gives in to her craving - in the end, sucking herself empty.....

Wife: Honey, are you done with the cleaning?
Me: Oops!

Friday, February 17, 2006


I for one, am greatly impressed with how Google is breaking into our lives little by little. No, this is not a sarcastic remark by any means. People tend to hate big companies as they grow larger than life - part of which is a because of the monopolistic approach such companies seem to take. But nevertheless, I think as a consumer, we have a lot to benefit from Google before we start fearing it.

Especially, I like the way they change their logos senstive to the occasion. Here're a few examples I have kept (all the pictures are under copyright of Google inc. ©2006 Google):

Opening ceremony of the ongoing 2006 Torino winter Winter Olympics:

This is for the ski-jump:

This one stands for the game of 'icedance':

Here's one from New Year's:

Winter Holidays:

Thanksgiving 2005:

Tee Vee Land

She's watching TV today! Yes, already!
So much for the attention problem. She has an idiot-box that'll attend to her..

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Softners de tissu

Ever wondered why those 'fabric softeners' are sold separetely? Not as part of your detergents? I think I am starting to find some answers...

For starters, they advise to use a full-capful on the bottle of laundry soap - so even if you don't need that much (unless of course, when you've not washed your clothes in a year or your profession generally leaves its marks on your clothes) you still end up using one capful of detergent. As a result, your clothes can't get rid of all the detergent in them, and become what they call 'hard'

So, what to do, Mr Tide?

"Well, lets see... how about a hefty funny-looking bottle of fabric softner. It will drain all extra detergent and make the clothes softer"

Guess what, they made us put all that extra detergent in in the first place. As a result, what they end up doing is sell more detergent, and sell fabric-softner as an add-on!

And what exactly is this fabric-softner. I came across this article that explains the general ingredients of a softner and the health hazards related to them. Apparently there is a movement going on to participate in a class action lawsuit against manufacturers of fabric softeners.

Recently we saw our baby's pediatrician for a general visit. She noticed a somewhat elevated amount of baby-acne on her face. Although it was nothing alarming, but she suggested using less detergent on her and our clothes - about one-tenth of what they suggest on the detergent packs!

At first it sounded strange - to use such a little amount of detergent on a full load of clothes. Thing is, with babies, we often miss the point that the little ones come in contact of our clothes as much as they do with their own!

Moreover you don't need that much soap on even your clothes. As unless your clothes are used by a farmer or construction worker, they are not soiled enough to use that much soap. Plus, its more eco-friendly to drain less chemicals down your drains, right?

So here's my reasons to use less detergents:

  • Easy on your clothes - you might extend the life of the fabric
  • Excellent for babies
  • Good for your skin too
  • Environment friendly
  • And hey, did I say you save some money?

Happy washing....

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Babies "Я" us

We are learning new tricks everyday to keep up with the changes our little daughter is going through in her life.

She is 2 months old now and has started paying attention to our activities around her. She wants us to be around while she's awake...and while she's sleeping too! The first part is not a problem, as that's something we love to do - playing with her, talking to her and taking pictures:

..but the second part is a little tricky, I mean leaving a few times when its absolutely neccessary you can't be awake around your baby the whole night....right?

Me and Poonam (my wife) tried a few things - a large part of which was of course staying awake! Besides that, holding her in our arms and singing also seemed to work.

Recently , we read somewhere that one should try not to hold the baby to her sleep, but rather let the baby go to sleep on her own. They say rocking and ciddling the baby helps her become drowsy, and the you can slip her into the crib. Yeah, sounds easy huh? The trouble is the last part - slipping the baby into the crib. Seems like they have sensors on their back that tell them when they're being put on the bed (yeah, I know we all do - they're called nerves, but I am just trying to make a point)

I even tried to fool that - by cuddling her in my arms and then bending slowly into the crib such that she still had her face on my shoulder and that she won't feel a difference when I left her in the crib. Than slowly lifting my body up - leaving the princess in her golden bed.

This worked for a while, but not too long. This way she was still in an early stage of her sleep when I left her, and as soon as she moved or woke up - voila! where's that shoulder?

Then we started to rock her for a while afer putting her to sleep, to make sure she still felt our touch for some more time. This seemed to work better than the others, in that she went to a little deeper sleep before we could snap ourself away. But apparently there was something wrong in the way we rocked.

Lately we (especially I) have tried to work on the rocking thing. I try to gently move her back and forth while she's in the crib. That seems to tell her that she is still in my arms and gradually she goes into her dreamland.

Babies (and probably all of us) breathe differently as they move forward into their sleep. They have a shallow and fast breathing when the sleep is shallow, and it grows quiter as they go into a deeper sleep. So, as soon as I realise her sleep is deep enough, I gradually pull back, kiss her good-night and (hoping to get some sleep myself , deep or shallow) slip into my bed...zzzzzzzz

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Strange Feeling #1

Some feelings are so strange they don't have a name. And they can't be described easily - they can be just felt. If you're thinking I am being poetic, step back, and think again. I am talking about real 'strange' feelings. Have a look:

Ever had mouthful of fennel seeds after a heavy Indian lunch, or dinner for that matter? And when the last seed of fennel hides behind some far fetched molar as if saying 'catch me!'. I've often struggled long hours, trying to floss that little peice with my only tongue. How do you think it feels when that little peice comes out? (phew!) and then I spend a few minutes chewing on that peice. What a sweet feeling!