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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Education tomorrow

I have always thought the education system is messed up. It took me my first jolting work experience to figure out how much.

After sixth grade, we were divided into different sections based on 3rd language preference.11th grade minor life-changing decisions were based on love of science vs commerce.College decisions were based on how well you have scored in screening exams.These were easy enough.It was as though childhood was a caress on the cheek that lulled you in a cradle of love and warmth and work-life a tight slap on that rested cheek that stuns you enough to make you realize that it was a false sense of security that you could have done without.

Dividing classes should be based on, if you are a good people-person or if you are a slogger.So that is the basic make up to determine if you will go into management or you are a techie.
IQ should be tested each year and coaching to be provided based on it.Internship in the last yr of college would ease each of us into practical reality as butter sticks slid into a hot wok.

Main Subjects :

Troubleshooting everyday situations
how to balance your work and life
how to please your boss
practical - emotional quotient course

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Jack-o-lanterns and Frankensteins

This year I had been to the much awaited the NY Village Halloween Parade attended by 2 million with a whooping viewer-ship of 4 million. Halloween- The eve of All Hallows day/All Saints day as it is otherwise called, was a day that ruled every tv channel,every kid's goodie bag and made every one's sense of fun and creativity come alive.
On any other day the streets of Manhattan is energetic , buzzing with people and traffic, with time on the fly and people on the run, racing against time.People weave the streets with the ever changing walk signs and traffic is crazy.This was the first time I saw naked NY streets stripped of movement, uncharacteristically silent and deserted save a million or two bordering these streets waiting for the parade to begin.
People trickled from down the block amid flashes of light clicking away and music from elaborate floats.The theme this year was 'Wings of Desire'

with beautiful birds dancing with the music.

There were some creative costumes like the guy in the painting:

giant spiders crawling down towers and not so creative Elvises, M.Monroes,presidents and people in animal costumes.And of course the ghosts,witches ,bats swooping over our heads,vampires and mammoth skeletons lent an overall 'festive Halloween' feel to the parade.The best was some dead people dancing to Thriller by Michael Jackson.
This was one time that traffic on the road had slowed down and people behind masks were all set to make people smile or frighten them; all in the spirit of the event.
This event is listed in the book called 100 things to do before you die.Strike 1 for me. 99 more to go.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fish out of water

Yesterday I watched a movie called Final Destination, II. It doesn't fall under the usual genre of movies I watch but it caught my interest. *spoiler* It's about how Death has formed a list and makes sure that even if Chance played a role in saving people,it hounds them in a series of unbelievable (interesting really...though a few are a little far-fetched) flow of events that ensures the person perishes.

This movie may not have merited a mention on my blog expect for something strange that happened today.

It has been raining all week .The weather moody, with a nip in the mid-October New York air.Manhattan skyline looked dull and hazy as I walked with my hands tucked deep into my jeans pockets, towards my fitness center.The thought of getting into the hot tub added an extra jump to my step.

I have been trying my latent fins in the indoor pool all this week.Today I succeeded in scaring a few weak-hearted away,with my ungainly splashes.There was one middle aged lady with a steady basic swimming stroke,a young family with a kid that was doing a better job than me,an old lady with aqua dumbbells and floaters and another athletic swimmer.The life guard was busy on the phone with eyes gazing off , at the imaginary person on the right corner of the roof.These survivors (who were unfazed by my water antics)pretended not to notice my inadvertent efforts at drowning. The swim lanes were almost full.Then just when I had swallowed half the pool water and burst out blowing bubbles out of visible orifices,with eyes red and burning, a vision presented itself in front of me.When I had squeezed my eyes to clear my blurred vision,I noticed a medium fat lady in her late twenties in a pink and white flower bikini join me in my lane.I waited for her to swim to the other end lest I kick her in my enthusiasm. She swam with a beautiful butterfly stroke and floated away leaving the water smooth without a murmur while I felt like a fish out of water.In the meantime I was trying to emulate the other swimmers' techniques.The pink n white bikini lady swam back and just as I was catching my breath to jump into the water I heard a distinct rapid murmur from her.Before I could hear her out I was submerged in water.As I walked back to start point I looked eagerly at her to see if she would repeat what she was saying; maybe give a few tips to the novice. Just before she floated off, she rapidly blurted a few quick words that might have made sense in a board room and she was off.On the other side of the pool she was doing those incantations,talking to her hand this time and then she had pressed her ear talking vacantly to the voice that only she, seemed to hear. I was reminded of the movie and the key was to watch the signs. She was talking to herself. I got goose flesh watching her,that even the ill-balanced pool temperature had not inspired.I made a hasty retreat and rushed into the swirling foamy whirlpool that waited on the other end of the pool.The hot waters were a warm welcome.From my frothy view of her I saw her slapping the water and the water divides hard and nibbling her palm.Just in time, I thought.The more I watched her, the more I was convinced I had to bring her to the notice of the pool hand.I looked around to see if any one else had noticed but no such luck.I got out out and wrapped myself in towels and lay down on the lounge chair. She had raised her hand again taking a go at it,her palm full of nasty bite marks.She was getting louder by the minute. By now, the others in the pool were casting furtive glances her way. We all looked at each other and rolled our eyes.This was proof enough that all was not right with the lady.She was the real fish-out- of-water.

After a hot shower as I stood blow drying my hair and thinking of the strange lady in the pool and weaving bizarre stories my mind could imagine,like she was plotting to blow up the building or pull out a gun from her skimpy bikini or at the very least create an awkward scene, I watched out of the corner of my eye as the pink and white bikini appeared on the wall mirror.She halted on seeing me while I froze inside preparing for the worst, ready for fright-fight-flight.
'Are you Kanchana?', she asked out of the blue. I whispered a tiny no while she looked like she wanted to prolong the conversation.I slunk out soon after,my hair still dripping wet but not really caring, putting as much distance between the gym and me.

Just when I breathed a sigh of relief as I walked by the river side with Hudson shimmering dully , a flock of pigeons dove and swooped over my head. I ducked instantly and thought of the movie where there is a similar spooky scene.I headed straight home.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Convey my regards

What do you tell a person who you been told to 'convey their regards' to? Do you say ' Hey! Alpha told me to convey his regards to you' or that 'Alpha was asking about you' and how is this person supposed to respond? 'Convey my regards back to Alpha'?

Now that makes me a messenger service carrying awkward 'convey my regards' messages.And... what if I forgot to convey a 'convey my regards' message. God forbid when the two conveying parties meet and find out I forgot to do so.That puts me right on the spot.

When you are a click or a phone call away from conveying your regards to a person,ages away from carrier pigeons and postmen doing the philanthropic service, why use such obsolete phraseology at all? Another phraseology dies a silent death.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

High-rise-cocoon complex- NY/NJ

Words finally burst into an excited gabble as they tripped over themselves in a hurry to be heard, as moist air swirled around me lifting my spirits. They had been locked out without a key in the sweltering confines of the 33 storied high rise building in Jersey city overlooking Manhattan where I lived , stifled and smothered hoping to express themselves someday. A feeling of having duct tape slapped across their mobile mouths. Some called it writer's block. I called it High-rise-cocoon complex.

As I walked along the river bank today, a gust of wind blew washing my face fresh,snapping me to attention clearing high-rise-cobwebs. They sang,they laughed and cheered the vast expanse of sky, unfettered by sky scrapers that dove to reach the fleeing white/gray flounces,trying to obscure the beauty of being, even as a copter whirred dully above. Where were the birds, flying free in other parts of the world? Were skywriters busy spewing smoke to read 'Fly East, people feed you and even clean up after you' ads that sent them winging eastward when we were not looking up?Or were they unable to recognize trees and hedges that looked too spruced up to nest, like a mannequin on a show case dolled up with a 'Do not touch' sign.Green inviting grass glistening with dew has 'Don't walk on grass' cardboard signs standing wooden on short stumps and trees have a circle of bright happy flowers around it making leaning against trees a thing of the past.

As I sat on the park bench,hungrily sucking in the sweet smell of the fresh waters of Hudson that a waft of river breeze had blown in, watching the gentle splash on embanking rocks against an unmoving New york skyline, my feet itched to feel them lap against my aching feet.They were tired of feeling the hard asphalt pavements and streets.Everything but the sky and fleecy gray clouds and cool fall waters felt real and natural.Plastic smiles,half hearted nods and unseeing eyes made a pained heart seek the balm of nature's caresses.

My feet traced a path towards lawlessness and I followed.