Tag Archives: Blogging

Life Lessons from a Paani Puri Wala

I have been away from this blog for a long time but that is not what is troubling me right now. The reason for the lack of updates is not that I have been terribly busy, which I have been, thanks for asking by the way. I have been thinking about lot of things about my life, the stuff I do at work and otherwise. Its good to introspect some time and raise questions about life and the direction of it. A lot of questions were raised including the reason for existence of this space, and the relevance of it in my life.

 

This month of May has been more of a learning experience for me. I have met a lot of new people travelled to a totally new place, but I witnessed something today which brought on the surface a lot of things which were simmering down under my mind. To set the context I would summarize about myself and my life a little. I am a 29 year old guy (man still sounds too old) with a business management degree from one of the finest B-Schools in India (No it is not my usual satire and I am not a shining diamond from the Chaudhary & Sons vulture venture) employed with one of the best known consulting firms in the country.

 

Coming back to today’s incident, I was returning from office early evening and it started raining cats & dogs. I was in a hurry to reach back home and log back in for work, but the lack of visibility from rain and the additional craziness of the Bangalore traffic slowed me down and I was actually observing the roads and surroundings while driving. This was when I observed a Paani-Puri wala on the side of the road. He had a small round stall of thin bamboo sticks like generally the street vendors have and he had a red cloth and a piece of plastic tied around to support Paani-Puris. He was standing on the footpath holding another huge sheet of plastic over his Paani-Puris to make sure they don’t get wet and spoiled. I could see him his hands keeping the sheet tight protecting his stall and getting drenched in the process.

 

The fact that it rained with utmost intensity and it kept raining till 2300 hrs it was highly unlikely that he would have got any customers for his Paani-Puris. Also given the highly windy rains for such a long period would have ensured that his Puris were all damp and he won’t be able to reuse them in any case. The way he was standing in the rain getting all drenched he also might have gotten sick. I think he knew all of this all along when he was sticking out in the rain protecting his business out there in the middle.

 

When I see people like him, is when my mind questions the littleness of things I do in my life. I tend to question my own work ethic in front of the dedication of this Paani-Puri wala, his love for his work & business compared to mine. I am saying this all in the light of that I have had one of the busiest months in my career and I haven’t slept for more than 4 hours since last few days. I have heard from so many colleagues that consulting is a high pressure industry and how we need to slog (which is true) but still I feel I have it lot easier compared to guys like these.

 

I also tend to wonder that what exactly holds me back to stick out like that guy for my work. I don’t think this has got to do anything to do with follow your heart and do what you love fad which is going around; I don’t really think that guy is following his passion of being a Paani-Puri wala (possible but too hard to believe). Is it because I have a qualifications that give me a comforting factor that I will be able to earn my living while he fights for his earnings everyday? Or is it because that irrespective of his size of business he owns it and feels responsible for it and I look and argue for every task that whose responsibility and job description it is? Or is it that despite being a Paani-Puri wala who might not even be educated has a clear sense of direction how he is going to move to the next phase of life by selling Paani-Puris while I clearly have loss of direction where I am going with all my work and what I intend to do with my life?

 

I really don’t know the answer, which might be simple or may be a complex mixture of everything above, but I am glad that two seconds of view of that Paani-Puri wala gave me a set of questions to think about and may be seek answers to them. So what do you guys think of these grass root level entrepreneurs, don’t they have a lot to teach us and make us ponder?

 

November 16, 2010

Have you ever wondered that how time passes things which were alien and unknown become very important and the known and important become faint memories. I am posting this a bit late but then you are not a blogger unless you make the excuse “I so wanted to write this some days back but I couldn’t really find the time”.

Now that I am done with pleasantries excuses let me get to the important stuff. 16th November is an important date for me; its my mom’s birthday. But in addition to that it also marks the day in year 2005 when I wrote my first blog post. I don’t think I should provide the link here lest all you folks desert my blog and go. So this week on Tuesday I completed 5 glorious years of blogging; around 290 posts I have managed to clock an average of more than a post a week (special thanks to two NaBloPoMo I undertook).

But more than the average, the visitor count, hits, and subscriber there is one more thing which has kept me at blogging; the satisfaction of writing something, utilizing myself in a way that I really enjoy. Someone tweeted some days back on my timeline (I don’t remember who, so couldn’t link to the tweet) which I firmly believe about blogging “The basic reason for being a blogger should be intrinsic, no matter the readership”. So here I am after 5 years wishing a little space in the virtual world I created for myself a very Happy Birthday.

Image Source: http://www.manchizzle.com/ (Via google images)

I wish that you keep adding the flavor and aroma to every one’s life, many more Ginger & Cardamom for the tea of life.

Coming back to November 16th, another important even happened; the book Urban Shots, where my story was published was finally launched on this day at Keps Corner Crosswords in Mumbai. So for the record I am a published author now. If you want to buy the book, it is available here.

Urban Shots

Urban Shots

Beauty And The Bloggers

So all of you must be knowing from my last post, that I am being published as a co-author of the book Urban Shots. The beautiful lady on the cover is Kanaz who is an established model and actress. Kanaz has features in multiple advertisements and movies like Pathshala and Wake Up Sid.

So when Me and Kunal (One of my Co-Author from urban Shots) came to know that she has agreed to be on the cover of our book, we jumped on an opportunity to have some conversations with her. You can read some snippets of our conversations with here here.

30 Indian Books One Should Read Before 30

Given the fact that I am a voracious reader and try and read almost anything and everything I can get my hands on, I often encounter a question from fellow readers “Suggest some good books to read”. When you have read so much it’s both difficult and easy to dole out suggestions extempore, easy because you can easily list out books which are worth reading as a suggestion and difficult because no matter what, you tend to miss an awesome recommendation.

So I decided to compile a list of some of the best reads which have an Indian connection i.e. the author is an Indian or the book is written on India. These are the books I have read over the years, have cherished the writing, the content and have recommended to people around me at one point or the other. The blurbs are not the reviews of the said books but just a broad indication on the subject of the book.

As with all lists, the disclaimer: This list is entirely based on personal judgment and preference and is not indicative of any other merit or demerit. There might be some very good books which I might have missed because I haven’t read them yet or for some other reasons. Also the Indian in the title is very loosely used term, the books or the authors would have some Indian connection. If you feel that a book that should have been a part of the list please feel free to add it in the comments section.

So here is the list of books-

1- A Suitable Boy By Vikram Seth – One of the most voluminous fiction novels I have ever read. A Story of four families in the post 1947 India, with the plot revolving around a mother searching a suitable boy for her daughter.

2- City of Djinns By William Dalrymple– One of the best books ever written on the city of Delhi, A book that will make you fall in love with the city and its history.

3- English, August: An Indian Story By Upamanyu Chatterjee – A fictional story of a civil servant which spans across his training and first posting in a small town.

4- Everybody Loves a Good Drought By P Sainath – A collection or reports from tour of author is some of the most poor parts of India. The author portrays a real picture of poverty and backwardness in the interior India.

5- Five Point Someone: What Not to Do at IIT By Chetan Bhagat – A fast paced read about the youngsters studying at one of the most prestigious institute. One of the books which hooked the India’s new generation back to reading.

6- Gitanjali By Pt. Rabindranath Tagore – A collection of poem by the Nobel Laureate must read.

7- In Spite of Gods By Edward Luce – A picture of the modern India through the eyes of a foreign journalist travelling all across.

8- India Unbound By Gurcharan Das – A book on the changes in India during the era of 1991 and the pre and post liberalization of policy of India.

9- Indian Controversies: Essays in Religion & Politics By Arun Shourie – A deep insight on the religion in India and politics played over it. The book covers a deep insight on the mistakes done during the time of Babri Masjid demolition and the political aspects of it.

10- Inheritance of Loss By Kiran Desai – The book is a fictional story of the retired Judge who is living alone in North East close to the Nepal border. The story progresses when his grand-daughter comes to live with him. The story covers how their life is intertwined between insurgencies, immigration and a lot more.

11- Interpreter of Maladies By Jhumpa Lahiri – A collection of nine short stories by the Indian American author. The stories are linked through a common thread of the immigration and tryst to protect the culture, religion and the identity.

12- Malgudi Days By R K Narayan – The book of tales from the fictional town of Malgudi, beautifully created and crafted by the author. Every story and character reflects a tale which would keep Malgudi in reader’s heart forever.

13- Maximum City: Bombay, Lost and Found By Suketu Mehta – One of the best, apt and most engaging account of the wonders of Mumbai. Suketu Mehta almost charts the moving portrait of the city of Bombay.

14- Midnight’s Children By Salman Rushdie – A brilliant tale set up in India around the time of independence and partition. The story is about the protagonist who has special powers because he was born right at the midnight hour and unites all other children born at midnight who are blessed with special power too.

15- My Experiments with Truth By Mahatma Gandhi – The autobiography of the father of the Nation.

16- Prince of Ayodhya By Ashok K Banker – This is the first part of the six book series where he depicts the tale of Ramayana. A modern version of the epic in which the tales of Rama, Laxman and Sita were told as a more humane characters, highlighting their emotional sides too.

17- Q & A By Vikas Swarup – A brilliant tale of a waiter winning the top prize in the general knowledge quiz show, the story of how he wins the show and finds love in his life.

18- Sea of Poppies By Amitav Ghosh – A fictional tale based in the era of Opium trade; and the opium wars on the banks of river ganges.

19- Shantaram By David Gregory Roberts – An account of the journey of an Australian prisoner who arrives in Mumbai. Gets involved with underworld, the war in Afghanistan and a lot more goes in the entire adventure.

20- Spouse: The Truth About Marriage By Shobha De – The Indian version of the Men are from Mars and Woman are from Venus. A very good book to read for some practical and insightful advice on how to sustain an Indian marriage.

21- Such a Long Journey By Rohinton Mistry – A novel set in Bombay of 1971 where the protagonist is a government clerk. Struggling against the poverty, and the hope diminishes when the eldest son of the family refuses to join the prestigious IIT.

22- Tales of the Open Road By Ruskin Bond – A travelogue of India by Ruskin Bond covering which has not been covered by any author.

23- The Argumentative Indian By Amartya Sen – A series of essays by the Nobel Laureate which depicts the rise of the contemporary India as a tradition and history of the argumentative aspect of our culture.

24- The Great Indian Novel By Shashi Tharoor – A satirical and fictional take on the Independence movement of India and the couple decades following it, casting the shadow of The Mahabharata.

25- The High Performance Entrepreneur By Subroto Bagchi – Tenets from a successful entrepreneur for identifying and developing the entrepreneur in oneself.

26- The Japanese Wife By Kunal Basu – A collection of Short stories of varying themes and interests but a treat to read

27- The Palace of Illusions By Chitra Banerjee Divakurni – A book setup in the backdrop of Mahabharata bringing out the feminine point of view.

28- Train To Pakistan By Khushwant Singh – An account of the horror and torture that was inflicted on the common man during the partition.

29- We The People By Nani A Palkhivala – A back to reality read touching the realms of what has happened in India and how the people and constitution have contributed to it

30- The White Tiger By Arvind Adiga – A satirical novel based on a theme which provides a contrast between the contemporary India rising as a global economic superpower and a harsh reality working class struggling with poverty.

Milestone: Published

One of my seniors from the engineering college had a line etched on his hostel door which has inspired me since I have read it for the first time “One thing I like about stones in my path is, when I cross them they become my milestones
This is a big moment for me, I got published in Sakaal Times on Friday July 30th, 2010. It was a long waited aspiration that one day I would write something that would see my name in the print. A dream long before I even started this blog, and all I feel right now is a stone crossed and a milestone achieved. And I hope for many more to come.

Below is the scan of the paper carrying my article, you can click on the image to read my piece at the bottom of the page.

Blog: Dead & Alive Day 30

I am not sure, if I should be happy or sad. It was on June 1st 2010 I undertook NaBloPoMo. Though knowing that this month was expected to be particularly crazy with parents coming in and a lot of pressure from work, I still felt I should do it because I needed to get into regular writing and blogging. The blogging has taken a back seat post my move to Bangalore primarily due to majority of my productive daily free time is spent in commute. However, this post is not about the Bangalore traffic, this is about what that commitment meant to me. However, given by the rules I have not completed successfully the NaBloPoMo this time and at this happened towards the end and the time when it was least expected.

My blog was giving a bit problem while opening at work on Friday, so to be on the safer side, when I wrote the post for Sunday; I also scheduled two posts for Monday and Tuesday so as not to miss the deadline. However, the blog did not open on Monday and I had logged a ticket with my Service Provider on Sunday this is the reply I got-

Dear sir,
This is to inform you that, some security work is going on the server. During this process, your site may not respond or become slow. We have put the server on Cisco Guard. We are working on this and will update once the work is over. Thanks for your patience.

Then the next update on Monday from the was a bad news and the blog was completely down-

Dear Sir,
We are facing a serious issue of Sync_flood attacks at data center.So websites are not able to resolve properly. We have applied all the solutions to stop this attack.As the attack is so intense that we need some time to actually come to terms with it meanwhile we are migrating the entire server to the new one without any data loss.We are expecting a downtime of 6-8 hours but the maximum will be 24 hours.So thanks for your patience under such tough time.

So I missed the Monday & Tuesday posts as the blog and even the scheduled posts were not published. Out of the blue Wednesday morning the two scheduled posts appeared on the feed and the notification on twitter. However, I was able to access the blog but admin panel was still inaccessible. Finally Wednesday at 5:00 I got a mail from them that my blog and admin are up and running. I am grateful to Znet for the quick response and the work they have done; thankfully they managed to migrate the site without any glitches and data losses.

I personally feel that I missed two days of NaBloPoMo cannot claim the successful completion, though I gave my 100% but situation were beyond my control. However this would be last post for the month of June and I would love to take the opportunity to thank all the readers of Ginger & Cardamom to bear with me and my writing and apologies for all those filler posts and tags done out of desperation of not missing a day.

However, for Ginger & Cardamom this marathon was very successful, for all the love that was bestowed on the site, For the month of June 2010 there were around 6000 unique visitors, with more than 200,000 hits almost 40% higher than the usual. And consuming a bandwidth of 2.4 GB which is almost double than usual. All these stats are excluding bots and the feeds & Facebook readers which read the entire content off the website. Thanks a lot for showing so much of love, I feel humbled with gratitude and a responsibility to write better and often than I usually have been.

Special thanks to fellow bloggers who supported me through the NaBloPoMo and kept the motivation levels high, Preeti Shenoy, Monika, Neha, Swaram, Meira, Aarti, Iya,
Kudos and congratulations to all you folks enjoyed your posts everyday. And I close this NaBloPoMo with a Hope that the fun and insanity on our blogs never die. Amen.

Kaise Mujhe Tum Mil gaye – Day 28

Swaram did this tag … and the desperation for the NaBloPoMo inspired me to take this one again

Rules:

* Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, IPOD etc. on shuffle.
* For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
* YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS.

1. If someone asks you, “are you okay” you say:
Tune Jo Na Kaha main woh sunta raha. Like I was reading too much into the question is it?

2. How would you describe yourself ?
Choudavi Ka Chaand ho ya aftaab. ????? Talking about my falling hairs and bald head?

3. What do you like in a guy/girl ?
Bheegi si Bhaagi Si mere bajuaon mein wo samaye. Hmmm Not bad chalega 🙂

4. How do you feel today ?
Agar hum Kahen aur woh muskura de. Bas aisa din ho to kya baat hai

5. What is your life’s purpose ?
Forever and For Always. Purpose complete hoga hi nahi kabhi to kya sochna 🙂

6. What’s your motto ?
Everybody rock your body right. This tag seems like would make me the dance teacher aka Shamak Dabar. Its a different thing I have two left feet.

7. What do your friends think of you ?
Yeh Veeraniyan Zindagi main tum bin hai yeh veeraniyan. Bilkul sahi bola dost log abhi main nahi hoon to veeraniyan hi hongi na?

8. What do your parents think of you ?
Tere liye meri saansein mujhe tujhse pyaar hai. Yeh bhi abs correct mom & dad ka ladla hoon main 🙂

9. What do you think of often ?
Main Nashe main hoon. Mere jaise teetotaler par itna sangeen ilzaam?

10. What is 2 + 2 ?
Hoshwalon ko khabar kya bekhudi kya cheez hai.

11. What do you think of your best friend ?
We’ll survive, I will make it through (Enrique). :-O

12. What is your life story ?
Sombody for Someone (The COrrs). True so effin true 🙂

13. What do you want to be when you grow up ?
Ae Khuda Teri Marzi ke Aagey kya ho. Bilkul sahi bola

14. What do you think when you see the person you like ?
Fir aaj mujhe tumko bas itna batana hasna hi jeevan hai(Jagjit Singh)

15. What will you dance to at your wedding anniversary?
Main Tera Tu Dhadkan Teri (Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani)

16. What will they play at your funeral ?
Turn the Page (Metallica). Sahi baat marne ke baad kyon paka rahe ho bhai log

17. What is your hobby/interest ?
Laila main laila. Yeh kaun si hobby hui bhai?

18. What is your biggest fear ?
Zindagi yun hui basar tanha kafila saath magar safar tanha. Thats actually a fear, of being lonely.

19. What is your biggest secret ?
Sorry seems to be the hardest word. Now everybody would know that how I suck at spellings

20. What do you want right now ?
I want your sex (George Michael). Ooooops!!!!!

21. What do you think of your friends ?
Please forgive me. Ab iske aagey kya bolun

22. When you want to rush to the toilet, what do you think ?
I don’t know why I Keep coming back to you. ROFL!!!

23. Person you hate the most is in front of you, what will you tell the person ?
Oh girl you are mine, tere ishq main hadd se guzar jaaon. Come on I don’t hate wifee

24. You have just won a lottery. What will you sing ?
Is tarah aashiqui ka asar chod jaaonga, tere chehre pe apni nazar chod jaaonga

25. What will you post this as?
Kaise Mujhe Tum Mil gaye (Ghajini)

First Girl-Friend Day-24

The credit to this post goes to Ojas. For those who don’t know him, he is the son of a very dear blogger friend Monika. So to set the backdrop, we were discussing about how Ojas is reacting to his school which he started going only last week. She told me, that he likes the school but always wants her to be around.

My reaction was “Wait till he finds a girlfriend in school”, which I am sure he would, given the handsome little dude he is (Ps. Ojas, remember one of the first few people to use handsome & dude in the same line for you was Prats Uncle Bhaiya:-D). Coming back to the point it actually sent me down back in my memory lanes, when I was a kid would and recently started going to school in LKG may be around 3 yrs of age.

I studied in a Catholic convent school till class 4th where sisters used to teach. Thank god, I changed my school after that, otherwise the “important” classroom discussions like “Amrita Ma’am is so hot” would have towed a line of being incest if the Amrita ma’am in question was replaced by Sister Nancy and the b***ard principal would have been b***ard father. However I digress, so the point being the sister decided who would your seat partner be.

My seat partner used to be, a girl names Ruchi. Sadly I don’t remember her last name I am not sure if she was a bully or I was simply trying to impress her. I always used to come home and complain to my mom that she ate a part of my lunchbox, and especially the sweet & sour tamarind chutney, if it was present was completely savored by her. So technically looking she was my first girlfriend.

I don’t know the schools changed, paths changed. I never met her and as of today I don’t even remember what she looked like but then the name and her acts of bullying me for my chutney do leave some smiles on my face. But sure would be interesting to know how she is doing after so many years. Ruchi, If you are reading this please do leave a comment here and Ps. I have stopped eating tamarind chutneys, you know the jar mom brought when she came this month is just an empty jar 😉

So Ojas, remember this advice from this uncle bhaiya, when you make your first girlfriend do ask mommy to note down her complete name and address. So when you grow up you can at least find her of Facebook (or whatever is the social networking thing in your time) and flaunt it to other guys look she was my first girlfriend (I know sounds weird but we guys do get a kick out of discussing the hotness quotients of our ex(‘es))

Movie Summaries Day 7

Lately I have seen so many movies, not used to writing too many reviews. So I thought to define the movies as one liners. So here goes my one liners for some of the movies I have seen recently-

1- Rajneeti- Everybody kills everybody leaving only Katrina Kaif to contest the elections.

2- Prince of Persia- Super movie, you sit for effin 2.5 hrs just to realize that actually nothing has happened.

3- Kites- No entiendo un carajo (Translation for poor viewer: I don’t understand a shit)

4- Well Done Abba: When you plan to get a well dug from the government you get your daughter married

5- Paathshala- Sending you children to school which advertises is making them do bonded labor.

6- Badmash Company- Selling single pair of gloves and defaulting bank loans are bad business plans.

7- Alice in Wonderland- So finally the rabbit goes through the hole