Sita, Hanuman, Hulk, Spiderman …

hanuman-hulk-spidey-dora

I usually do not forward or propagate ‘forward-emails’ – emails which say that, this happened to my friends brothers sister-in-law. But this one brought with it major entertainment. This is about a little girl who went for a UKG interview in one of the premeire schools in Chennai. The Principal asks the girl to tell a story, to which the kid asks if she can narrate a story that she has written, or a story that she has just read. The surprised Principal asks her to read the story that she had written. If this is really true, God bless the kid – she is going to go places.

Ok, tell me story which you have written.

Sarithra said “Ravanan kidnapped Sita to Srilanka”

Opening scene failed to impress the Principal but still she encouraged the child to continue.

“Rama asked Hanuman’s help to rescue Sita. Hanuman too agreed to help Rama ”

“Then?”

“Now, Hanuman called his friend Spider man.” No one expected this twist in the story

“Why?”

“Because there are lot of mountains between India and Srilanka..if we have Spiderman we can go easily with his rope.”

“But Hanuman can fly isn’t it??”

“Yes. But he is having Sanjeevi Mountain on one hand, so he cannot fly very fast. “
“Hanuman and Spiderman flew to Srilanka and rescued Sita. Sita said Thanks to both”

“Why?”

“When you are helped you should say Thanks”

“Hanuman now called Hulk.”

All were surprised. She realized our curiosity and said ” Now Sita is there, so to take her safely back to Rama..he called Hulk”

“What logic???” the Principal asked.

“Hanuman can carry Sita right?”

“Yes. But he has Sanjeevi Mountain in one hand and has to hold spider man on the other”

The Principal could not control her smiles. ” So when they all started to India they met my friend Akshay”

“How come Akshay there now?”

“Because it is my story and I can bring any one there”

Now the Principal didn’t get angry but waited for the next twist

Then all started to India and landed at Chennai’s Velechery bus stop

Now I asked,”Why they have landed In Velechery bus stop? ”

“Because they forgot the way..& Hulk got an idea and called Dora”

“Dora came and she took Sita to Velechery Venus Colony…that’s all.”

Finished the story with a smile

Now the Principal asked “Why Venus Colony?”

“Because sita is there & I am Sita!!!”

Padhinettaam Peru

adiperukku

(image courtesy – subbu’s kitchen – where you can find some yummy recipes as well for this festival)

Today is Padhinettaam Peru, or as some people call it Aadi perukku – the 18th day of the Tamizh month of Aadi (mid july – mid aug in the Julian Calendar). On the average year, this is a typical spring day. This is celebrated as a Spring Harvest Holiday. This is not a typical harvest festival to thank the Gods – that is Pongal (Sankranthi). The ritual in this festival is to make simple mixed rice dishes (such as lemon rice, tamarind rice, etc), take it to a river bank or beach, and have a picnic. I kid you not, that is the ritual, and people did it a thousand years ago, and still do it. What a beautiful culture that we have.

If you want a detailed description, read the first chapter of Ponniyin Selvan by Kalki Krishnamurthy. The first scene is when the protagonist, Vandhiyathevan rides into the sunset, along the banks of the Veeranarayana Lake, fed by the Ponni river.

If you just want to read an abridged version, here is my PS-Chapter-1.

Read the rest of the abridged volumes here.

Happy Yoga Day!

Image courtesy MEA India.
Image courtesy MEA India.

Today, the 21st of June is being celebrated as the United Nations International Yoga day. If you want reference to a few basic aasanas, the government has released a booklet describing how to do these.

http://idy.nhp.gov.in/UploadFiles/files/jk_IDY%20common%20yoga%20protocol_book.pdf

However, it is always recommended to do this after training from a Yoga guru.

Ponniyin Selvan Book 1 Vol 2 is out!

Book1Vol1Vol2

The second volume was released early today morning. Follow along with the adventures of our hero warrior – Vandhiyathevan and his encounters with the veera vaishnavite – Alwarkadiyaan Nambi, Nandhini, the seductress, and the beautiful Princess Kundavai.

Buy the two books here -> Book 1 -> Vol 1 and Vol 2.

 

Sutta ….

I got down from the auto at the Trinity Circle. And that is when I saw him. He was walking towards me. His hunch showed his age. The wrinkles on his face spoke about all the hardships he had been through. All the scowls, all the smiles, and the anger that has now dissipated into just crumples of skin near his jaw. His eyes were sunken. It had seen the world through lenses of suffering and joy. He walked slowly towards me. I stood there in the pretext of putting the change that the auto-driver had given me into my wallet. He walked with a slow gait almost like the trundling of an aged elephant. He slowly started lifting his hand as he neared me. I was almost certain that he was going to ask me alms. I still held my wallet in my hand and had not put it back in my jeans pocket. The slowly, almost bionic, bony arm went up, and wait, it did not stop midway. It went all the way towards his now emotionless face.

From within his fingers, jutted out a tiny remnants of a beedi and he took in a long drag and continued walking past me …..

4 things I would love to see Mast Kalandar do

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As most of my reader base know, I am die hard fan of Mast Kalandar. From the time, when I ‘converted’ to MK, because it was the only pure veg chain, to now appreciating the various initiatives, and their prompt social media presence.

As I do for most things I am a fan of, I am never satisfied. I always want more. See my wish list for BigBasket here. And MK is not getting excused either 🙂 So here goes:

Mobile App: Well, hellooo ! Are you guys sleeping or what? Why is there not a Mast Kalandar app yet? I want to be able to order my food through the MK app. I want to be able track the delivery through it (yes, I order home delivery quite a bit). What would I like in the app? That is a bigger post for a different day. What is even more irritating is that, their website itself is not even mobile optimized. Sucks to even to take a look at the menu on a mobile. Guys, please — develop a mobile app (android/iphone/winphone). And please mobile optimize your website. I tried reaching out to their twitter handle (@mastk) about a year ago, and they said they were working on it. A year, and it is not yet ready? Oh cmon.

Packaging for Roti/Kulchas: As I said earlier, we do order home deliver often. Have you considered alternative packaging techniques for rotis/kulchas? Rolling and wrapping in aluminium foil is so yesterday. Sure, it retains the heat, but it just spoils the taste. The humidity just makes the rotis/naans become hard. I am not an expert in packaging, nor have I done experiments, but have you tried perhaps some form of a pizza box type packaging. Maybe they would stay warm and also retain freshness? Worth a try na?

Indian salads: Have you guys tried creating Indian salads? The Indian market for healthy food is heating up like anything. Have you tried salads with traditional indian veggies and even more traditional chutneys as dressings? Perhaps a try? And I am sure, with the whole patriotism (Make in India, Eat Indian food, whatever), this will catch on pretty well.

Food for train journeys: Guys, you need to do this. There are so many times, I had wished I had ordered food through MK, and they deliver it to me either in the platform. Also, you should explore a rail menu. Stuff that does not get bad even after a few hours. There was a time, when I had packed something from MK (I dont remember what?), but it got bad after a few hours. I am not blaming MK for it – perhaps the ingredients were such. But I am sure you can come up with a menu with stuff that stays for a few hours. Combine it with the above mentioned ability to order through a mobile app, and good solid pizza box style packaging, this would ensure a hearty comfortable meal to eat, even in a moving train.

Well, thats it for now. I sure wish someone from the product management team in MK reads this.

 

Internet Nostalgia

The year is 1995. It is past 9PM. Our typical tam-brahm household in Chennai has started ramping down for the day. Mom is clearing the kitchen and setting up for next day. Dad is finishing up watching the long form news (yes, the DD news that aired between 8:30-9PM ; there was a short form news between 730-745PM). I am generally vetti (vella, jobless, whatever) – a generally acceptable state for an engineering student in my second year of college.

I may look vetti, but excitement inside me is rising. The time is approaching. Half hour more. You ask for what? I will tell you what. INTERNET TIME.

I finish up my nightly glass of milk and run to my dads computer – a clunky X86/486. Dad had always been up-to-date on computers. For formality sakes, I run up to each family member in the family and tell them I am ‘going to the internet’ – not because they will miss me, but when I am ‘in there’, there will be no phones that will come in. *Pause for dramatic effect*. Yes, no incoming phone calls. And there was only one phone in the house – no mobiles then. So I basically cut off the primary communication channel to the home. On hindsight, I am thankful for family to have even let me do that!. Wow thats huge. If my son tells me, he is going to muck with my internet for a school project, I am not sure if I would be OK with that. (I would probably get him another Docomo stick or get myself one).

But I digress. I switch on the computer. (Yes, those were times when you switched on your computers only when you needed them). We had a choice. You could use the VSNL dialler or if you are adventurous, you can open up Windows Hyperterminal and could control the modem using the ATDT commands. The Zyxel modem used to be pretty much the same size as our cable modems now. I guess that has not really changed much.

Tariff:

vsnl

Dang. It was expensive. I had a student account. 500 bucks a year. And I got a low speed terminal access account. My email was gcmouli@giasmda.vsnl.net.in. GIAS was the Gateway Internet Access Service. The only window from India to the world.

vsnl3

You get this screen and you fistpump. You made it. There were a fixed number of dial-up connections that could be opened up. So you keep trying. Most used keys were up-arrow and enter. Repeating the ATDT for redial. And then you would hear the screeching noise of the modem and then the busy tone. Up-arrow and enter. More screeching. And then you hear a different screeching sound. And a dramatic pause later, NO CARRIER. Dang. Up-arrow and return. Now you see why, when you see the above screen, you fistpump.

After we got into the internet, we had a grand list of 10 things you could do.

vsnl4

Three of them were most popular. Email. Lynx. UNIX prompt. And you typically went to the UNIX prompt to fire up IRC and chat with folks. There used to be a Madras Chat Room. There used to be a room with SVCE (our college) folks. Fun Fun.

But yeah, we got only a terminal.

And then entered Ranga, who wrote a software called BlueSpec (I think – dont fully remember the name of the software!), which could bring up a TCP-IP connection interface (that is what we used to call an internet with pictures :)) with a shell connection. You downloaded Mozilla (or got it from the free CD in PC Quest – remember??). You fired up BlueSpec only if you wanted to see pictures. It used to be terribly slow though. The shell connection was faster. So lynx it was. A site was considered good if it opened up clean in text and in a browser. That was the ‘responsive’ design of yesterday.

And then you would continuously be looking at the clock. You also had a limited number of hours – remember – 500 hours per year. So an hour a day would be comfortable – so that some time is remaining for ’emergency’ internet times.

Those were the days. Good days. Nostalgia.

All screenshots courtesy: (http://guide2net.net/bookweb/dnload/guide.pdf)

GPS directions in ‘Madras tamizh’

I use GPS directions in two ways. I have a MapMyIndia ZX 250 which I forget to take most times, and during those times when I forget to take the GPS device, I use Google Maps.

Recently, Google Maps surprised me with an Indian sounding voice. Very nice. That set me thinking ofcourse, of how it would be if the Directions were given in ‘Madras Tamizh’ or Madras Baashai as it is sometimes called. For those not in the know, this is mostly the tamizh that the auto drivers use, and mostly made famous by ‘Loose Mohan’ in tamizh cinema.

Iruba .. Route pudikaren == Syncing satellites

Nera poyikine iru  ==  Go straight on

Rightla cut pannu == Turn Right

Leftla cut pannu == Turn Right

Leftla cycle gapla pooru == Turn Slightly left

Rightla cycle gapla pooru == Turn Slightly right

Vutla soltu vantaya == Navigating to home

Aprom paaklam ba == Shutting down

Dei Dei Kasmalaam Turning-a vuttaya dei behmani == Rerouting

If you have any more, let me know in the comments …