Wednesday, December 12, 2012


The day has arrived, and now the clock has started ticking. Couples rushing to tie the knot, babies getting ready to be born, birthday boys & girls happy that they were born this day...And with the time 12:12:12 arriving in just a few minutes (IST), you can imagine the chaos!

It's all over the place. In the papers, the radio stations, the TV channels, on cyberspace...everybody is making a beeline to make the most of it. So what's the fuss all about?

Will we be around to see another 'sequential' date? Unless destined to live to well over a 125 years, it's a 'no' for me, because 01-01-01 would take another 89 years to come! So what? I'm perfectly okay, even if the date is not sequential. To me, it could be just another day. Albeit, there's something about the number 12 that doesn't fail to fascinate even someone like me with the least of interests in numerology, lucky numbers or auspicious dates.

  1. According to Chinese numerology, the number 12 brings harmony to the yin and the yang. '1' is a yang number ruled by the sun, representing independence and individualism. '2' is a yin number ruled by the moon, representing symmetry and balance. 
  2. The number 12 has found its way into Religion (12 Apostles), Astrology (12 signs of the Zodiac), and Mythology (12 Greek Gods & Goddesses).
  3. There are 12 constellations in the ecliptic.
  4. The 12 animals of the Chinese horoscope: the Rat, the Ox, the Tiger, the Cat, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Goat, the Monkey, the Cock, the Dog and the Pig.
  5. The number of function keys on most PC keyboards (F1 through F12)
  6. There are 12 basic hues in the color wheel; 3 primary colors (red, yellow, blue), 3 secondary colors (orange, green & purple) and 6 tertiary colors (names for these vary, but are intermediates between the primaries and secondaries).
  7. There are 12 ounces in a troy pound (used for precious metals)
  8. Mathematicians love 12 for its inherent divisibility. It is a composite number and one of the few smaller numbers that can be evenly divided into multiple subsets: halves, thirds, fourths, sixths and twelfths.
  9. There are 12 inches in a foot and 12 in a dozen (Did you know 12 dozens are known as a gross? And why ever do we have 13 in a baker's dozen?)
  10. There are 12 pairs of ribs in most humans.
  11. There are 12 face cards in a deck.
  12. 12 often represents the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. December is the 12th month of the year; every 12 hours day turns to night or night to day.

Now as I countdown to 12:12:12...hope to hear from you on what you know about the number 12, and if you really think 12-12-12 is worth all the attention!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Foto Kochi

It had been a long long time since we did this? I mean, just head out on a drive with family, and relax over the weekend. Work had been absolutely hectic, leaving me tired and lazy to do anything else. But this Sunday was different. When hubby said, let's take the detour after Church, I jumped at the opportunity. We decided to do 'Foto Kochi'. Wondering if that's a new destination? Quite, I would say. Since it would be OLD destination (Fort Kochi) in a NEW perspective (equipped with our new camera)!

So I'm going to let the Fotos (picture)s do all the talking for Fort Kochi. All photos published in this post belong to the author. Any unauthorized copy, reproduction, reuse or modification of any sort is strictly prohibited, whether for personal or commercial purpose.

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Fishing boats at harbour
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Tripod becomes bone for puppy

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It's lonely out there!
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Chinese Fishing Nets

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Hop a little

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The vibrant memories to carry home

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Books and Old World Charm

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Sleepy hamlet - selling trinkets

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The Land of Elephants & Backwaters

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Riding over CM

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Sea and Sweat

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Collision course
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And finally, me, in a picturesque backdrop of backwaters!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Big Hairy Audacious Goal

My personal BHAG (For those of you who are not familiar with the term: Pronounced Bee-hag, abbrev. of Big Hairy Audacious Goal, it actually means a strategic medium-long term business goal that sounds audacious but is not impossible) had no "big hair" in it, though "audacious" had quite a few occurrences; I've had no fetish for long-straight hair at all!

34 years of living with short hair, it sort of grew on me. Then a friend nudged me to grow my hair, and the parlour I went to for a hair-cut convinced me that I should grow my hair at least till shoulder length, saying it would suit me better (and would not make my neck look so 

But as always, it seemed to take ages, and with growing frustration and falling hair, I finally gave up and rushed to the Salon to have my hair chopped off. The Tibetan hairstylist coaxed me to try straightening and I DID! My friends were just as surprised as I was to see that long hair didn't look too bad on me, after all! 

But now my own wavy hair is growing out those smooth strands and I'm not too sure if I want to straighten it or have it cut short. With the amount of hair fall, one thing I do know is, if I chop it off, I'm never ever going to grow it back to this length again. So maybe (just "maybe") I'll give it one more go, try a funky hairstyle or something with my loooong hair (now it's grown a bit longer than what you see in the pic). BHAG, you think? 

Will let you know, if I successfully get to keep my hair long, for a bit longer, and if the hairstylist (still hunting) can actually give me a funky hairdo, something that suits me!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Just for laughs - Phunny English Poem

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Then shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!   

Let's face it - English is a funny (or should it be phunny) language.
There is no egg in eggplant 
nor ham in hamburger;
neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England!

We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
We find that quicksand can work slowly, 
Boxing rings are square,
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.   
And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing,
Grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend.
If you have a bunch of odds and ends, and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?   
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
Should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.   
In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship.
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
While a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?   

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
In which your house can burn up as it burns down,
In which you fill in a form by filling it out,
And in which an alarm goes off by going on.   

And, in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother's not Mop?   
And if people from Poland are called Poles
Then people from Holland should be Holes
And the Germans, Germs.   

And let's not forget the Americans, who changed s to z, but that's another story.

- A language-confused netizen

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Ever heard of a crack in the heart?

I’d been wanting a new mobile phone for over 2 years - a ‘Smartphone’ what they call, to replace my Nokia N72 which was literally ageing in my hands. Which one, depended on various factors like the utility, the brand, the price, the looks, the features and all that. Each salesman outsold the other on their favourite or recommended brand / model that only did me more confused.

The main purpose - apart from making/receiving calls of course, was to be able to access my mails, review creatives and give my feedback and such else, on the move. After several rounds of web search, much deliberation – between iPhone, Blackberry, Samsung SIII/SII…

I settled on a Samsung Galaxy Note (though the price pinched my heart and burnt a hole in my pocket – it was time I had one or so I consoled myself!), because I thought it was like a small tab-cum-big mobile so I didn’t have to carry 2 devices but enjoy the benefits of both!

I was excited like a little girl holding on to cotton candy or a bunch of balloons. Exploring the magic of touch, the speed of internet, angry birds and all those fun android games and apps, mobile TV, driving directions with voice, clarity of photos shot, da da da…and hours whizzed by like seconds. That was less than a month ago.

Yesterday, I wish it was just a nightmare…something dreadful happened! I was working at my desk. The headphone was plugged to my Note. Some visitor walked in. I got up to join him. Just remembered I’d left my phone behind. Got hold of the phone. Felt a bit of a tug on the other side. Headphone cord was stuck somewhere. Before I could do anything else, the Note was out of its Flip Cover and face down on the Desk. The N72 had seen worse falls, from greater heights, so I casually picked it up and tried to tap it to life. And what do I see?

My head went numb. I was just gaping at the Note for what seemed like eternity. Took me a while to get to my senses. A quarter of the screen was lit with a cacophony of colours, the rest of the screen was blank. My heart was in my mouth. I switched off the Note, removed the battery, turned it around, put it back in and tried to revive it back to life (save the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation!). The same irregular quarter of screen with a magenta-blue mix of colours / pixels. I thought I would faint. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t. The world around me seemed to be spinning.

Then I noticed the crack (2 actually on the LCD screen, oh no, not the screen, maybe it was the touch panel. I felt the crack in my heart. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bungalow & Farm Holiday – Part II

The ancient charm of a colonial bungalow, the rustic charm of a farm resort-----contd.

April 21-23, 2012

The drive from Vaghamon to Vandiperiyar (14 kms from Thekkady) was filled with nature’s wonderful hues and views. As we were nearing our destination – Harithavanam Farmer Resort in Keerikara, the emerald green tea plantations welcomed us, stretching 6 kilometres way up to the resort. We unwound the window glasses, let the cool and fresh wind in, turned up the volume of the music playing “We will, we will rock you!” and looked forward to gulping down some fun, on the rocks. 

The Resort had this very earthy concept, with generous use of bamboos in its decor. We were to stay in 2 cottages which had thatched roofs and eco-friendly materials to keep it pleasantly cool in any weather. A refreshingly cool lemonade, spiced up with ginger was waiting. A shot of spirit, followed by a heavenly feast (traditional Kerala cuisine with fish curry, fried fish, dry prawns chutney and the works!) and we were all ready to hit the waters.

We changed into suitable outfits and made our way through the plantations (coffee, spices, fruits and vegetables), down to the river. The water wasn’t too deep, as it was the peak of summer, but just enough to stay afloat and beat the heat. We had a splash of a time. We sat like hippos in the water, and could see small fishes curious and nibbling at our feet. We spent about an hour by the river and went back up.

We then played some cricket (we always carry bat, ball and stumps in the boot, to play where we please!) after which we indulged in some steaming hot pazhampori (ripe banana slices dipped in a batter of gram flour and fried in coconut oil…slurp, slurp!) and refreshing hot chai (tea). We got to cuddle some cute li'l rabbits too.

Next we got ready to go on the fishing trek down the river, across the bridge, through the plantations…with a professional fisherman to guide us. What a catch we had! 

My elder daughter Ann proudly lifted live fish one by one, from the net into the basket. And to have that fried and curried for dinner is an experience worth relishing (A boat can float in my mouth now, just thinking about it)!

 We had time for a quick shower, and got ready for campfire and dinner. Rotis, Rabit roast, Fish fry, Chicken curry, Peanut masala and Fresh green salads with some clinking of glasses, in a background of music blasting off from my sister’s mobile, kids all flared up with their own singing and dance performances and then a grand finale with all of us breaking into a tribal sort of dance around the fire. It was a sight, no doubt, but gratefully there was no one else around, but us!

Crashed the night and morning we were up early to have a quick breakfast - Vellayappam and beef stew, and hit the road on our journey back home. The drive was not very pleasant though what with the endlessly curvy roads and the kids and sis giving in to motion sickness.

Finally we were on home ground, bringing back with us the memories of a fine vacation. Though just 2 days in all (the weekend), it was a fulfilling and refreshing holiday, worth waiting for!

Busy days ahead, I switched on my laptop and nearly swooned at the mails and the work in store for me. The worst part of a holiday, is having to get back to work, I tell you! Just like the Monday morning blues, I'm suffering from 'Back from holiday' blues...Will get over it soon for sure, but hey, who wants to?!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bungalow & Farm Holiday – Part I

The ancient charm of a colonial bungalow, the rustic charm of a farm resort

April 21-23, 2012

It was a journey amidst a hectic schedule. A harried couple of months at work, followed by a weekend getaway plan, what with sis bil in town. Leaving behind a pile of work that would be sitting a pile higher when back from holiday. Kids, Bob and I along with my sis and bil hit the road early in the morning.

A whirlwind visit of Bharananganam the resting place of Saint Alphonsa en-route to Vaghamon. 

The highway on four wheels and six spirited souls (six abs none!) continued on the dreary drive uphill.

The first casualty (of motion sickness) turned out to be my 3 yr old daughter Becky (the youngest of the lot) who threw up without warning. But I held up the mug in the nick of time saving our clothes and the car insides…phew! (A mug is handier and less messier than the pukey bags/plastic covers, and so accompanies us on all our car journeys)

The rest of the journey passed by quite uneventfully, save the beautiful sights around us - the mist clad hills, rocky mountains, views of the bottomless valleys, tea plantations….

And lo and behold…we arrived at our first destination – Vaghamon – A right turn from the T-Junction and about 500 metres down the road is the Estate Bungalow of MMJ Plantations - our exotic place of stay.

A bit more about the Bungalow...
Built in 1927-28 by the then Chiefs of Vaghamon (Travancore) Tea Company Mr. Hammonds and Mr. Gardinier (Brits), this Bungalow is situated inside 2000 acres of Tea, Cardamom and Coffee Plantation at an elevation of 3100 feet above sea level. The wooden floors are fixed 3.5 feet above the ground level.

Most of the Bungalow remains quite intact with no major renovation having taken place, except perhaps for the modern bathrooms adjoining the two guestrooms, and the regular maintenance and cleaning around.
We were welcomed with a cup of steaming hot tea served in the cozy settings of the living room in all its colonial splendour. All rooms in the Bungalow have a fireplace that adds an exotic charm to the place. We quickly had a shower in the modernized bathrooms and took a quick tour of the Bungalow. It has a visitor’s room, living room, library, 2 guest suites with attached bath, recreation room (caroms, chess, cards...), dining room, kitchen, storeroom and a caretaker’s room. Each room spacious, and each nook telling a resplendent story of the yesteryears.

We played a few rounds of caroms (had been ages since the last time I played!), had some refreshing drinks, then went out for a walk in the garden. 

They have a beautiful garden of medicinal plants and flowers of all kinds and colours that make it picture perfect. With organic farming, everything locally cultivated and farmed, and a poultry farm, our lunch was nothing less than perfect. It was then time for a siesta, short yet sweet.

The fresh tea refreshed us and we were ready for the drive around Vaghamon – A place called Pine Valley (acres of Pine Trees) the perfect picnic spot and a scenic place popular among cinematographers in South India, then proceeded t to Mottakunnu – again a picnic spot, a seemingly endless meadow with little hilly mounds. The weather was rather pleasant.

Drove back to the Bungalow, enjoying the sights around. More rounds of caroms followed. Then, sumptuous dinner. We were ready to crash. After a good night’s sleep, we woke up early, walked around the tea estate (covered not even 1% of the 2000 acres perhaps!) and the veg garden.

Many photo-ops later, and after bread, butter, eggs and tea we hit the road, heading to our next destination – Thekkady.

[This post begs for a Part II, so I’ll be back…Hope you’ll be back too!]