Monday, March 7, 2016

Nearing THAT hill!


Wow. Just how can closing in on 30 can change you! I am not 30 today, but getting there a day at a time.

As we  near 30, we start to think and do a lot of things. I can think of a few that I do think and/or do myself.

1. We REALLY start thinking about our career and money.

And if you have seen one of those sans-Gandhi Rs. 100 note - you really do belong to a generation that has or will be turning 30 soon.

We start thinking about investments - proper investments - a house, maybe even a second. We start thinking about a promotion or even a start-up sometime. We start saving up for all of that and some even for a rainy day.

Just as a good career advice - network a lot. In India, it would be much easier to do it and you may very well get to meet high power corporate people (not extremely high power like Ratan Tata) much more easily than you would in any other part of the world.

2. We start eating a lot more at home.

A few years earlier you and I were probably thinking where can we go for my next lunch/dinner with my wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend as the case may be, but once we approach 30 - that's really when we start thinking that I should eat more at home.

This is not because you and I have become lazy that we don't want to drive down to that dhaba at Mount Road, but more so since we think that we spend a lot of our savings on eating out. (Refer Point 1).

3. You Plus (at least) One.

As any Indian guy turns 25 and 22 if you're a girl - people start asking you - "When are you getting married?" and if you are married, people start asking you about kids! OMG.

Yes, and as you turn 30 and if you are still single - some thoughts about getting married or having a kid starts creeping into your mind.

4. You really start caring about social issues.

My city's youth impressed everyone all over the world with their efforts during the floods in Chennai in December. I can't but quote what an Indian Army Officer said about the rescue efforts in Chennai - "In all other places we see more victims than volunteers, only in Chennai did we see so many more volunteers than victims."

I guess that pretty much sums up our mentality.

Once you start nearing 30 - your Facebook and twitter feed is no longer about Big Boss or about Virat Kohli's breakup. It's more about the why things happened at so and so. It's about assessing what has been done for India. You start thinking more logically about who you want to vote for (Ahem -  readers from T.N. and Kerala).

5. We lose some friends and gain some.

As we grow older, we do lose some of your friends. It's a sad thing - but that's how life is. That's what turning 30 means. A lot of us must have now lost contact with some of the guys/girls we used to hang out with everyday when we were 27.

And suddenly, your boss and your senior at work seem to become your best friends and advisers for your life and career.

6. We become much more happier with what we have

As you approach 30 - some of the things mentioned above may have happened to you and you start to realize that you feel much more happier with what you have.

You decide that you don't need the new iPhone and you can save more money by using that old Samsung phone and a basic post-paid connection. I decide that I don't want some fancy number plate for my new car and I can just go with what I get.

7. We look back at your life so far and laugh at some and cry at some.

Life always has its ups and downs and when you turn 30 - you definitely look at your journey so far. The road ahead will no doubt be long and tortuous, but by 30 a lot of us would have seen a lot of things and that would give us the strength and confidence to face a lot more in life.

Bonus point - if you have that special someone with you, who will stand by you - no matter what.

8. You start valuing relationships.

Valuing relationships as a jeweller would. You value people who have been good to you, who have helped you/helped your family. You value people who have been bad to you and your family.

You will choose who you want to keep close to you and who you want to cut out.

9. You WILL travel.

Even if not internationally, at least to some place where you find your solace. This will definitely happen to most people a lot before 30.

This will give some experience or another. A story to tell your crush/girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband/kids/random stranger in the seat next to you.

10. You will understand courtesy.

A lot of us Indians do not know basic courtesy and I am ashamed to accept that. I know I will draw a lot of flak for saying this.

We definitely do not know to hold the door for the person behind us. We do not know how to stand in a line (cutting across and creating multiple queues for a counter). Despite so many of us being well educated, we don't even think twice about littering the streets.

We definitely do not care about being polite with people - saying please or sorry. Say please to the salesperson at the store if you need something - it will make their day. Thank your subordinate for the good job he/she did today at work - it will motivate them to do more for you. Ask "How is your day so far?" to that person on the other end of the phone at a call center resolving your issue - they hardly ever get asked that question and it will be very helpful (Trust me).

This is probably the one thing that anyone - 30 or even 3 will need to learn.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Singara Chennai

One week of extremely bad flooding and rains have shown India and the rest of the world what exactly the words - humanity, resilience and self-help mean.

Humanity - India has of late been tagged to be "intolerant" by a lot of people. For them this word might mean isolated incidences of hate crime committed against another religion. For people in TN (not just Chennai) - we do know what humanity is, tolerance is.

We tolerate extreme stupidity such as this one: 

And we are extremely humane:

Resilience and Self-help: Nothing can ever prove our resilience than this one week.  In one week, we have proved that the power of the simple common man CANNOT be under-estimated. In one week, TN has provided more volunteers than you can ever imagine. Ignored by "National Media." Ignored and even abused by the people who think of us only every 5 years - the people of TN have stood up. They have given the FINGER to all of these people and taken care of themselves. 

The hundreds of volunteers, who have stepped out of their houses caring less for their own self and families, the hundreds of fishermen from North Chennai, who plied their boats and trade to help so many souls stuck in Central and South Chennai. 

I am one of those people who had requested help from some of the volunteers to check and rescue some people and I cannot say how happy I am to see so many of them rescued!

Hats off to you guys! 

And a special word of appreciation for some of our stars in the Film and Media industries - specially RJ Balaji, Siddharth, Ashoka Varshini, Chinmayi and Dr. Sumanth Raman! We are deeply amazed and have a lot of gratitude to you. 

And not to be taken for granted - the help and service from our INDIAN ARMY AND NAVY and the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), who have helped rescue thousands of people across Chennai and TN. Thank you and we have no words to even begin appreciating your service. 

Please do not treat this blog post as something that was done to damage someone's image or to boost someone else's image. This post is solely an emotional outburst at my city's condition and how my city has risen to take this challenge head on and come out on top.


வந்தாரை வாழ வைக்கும் தமிழகம். வாழ்ந்தும் காட்டுவோம்.
- We will let live and we will live on.  

Friday, March 20, 2015

5 Reasons why CHENNAI is way better than any other place on the planet.

I am a very proud INDIAN. Yes, even though I am currently living in the US, I am still Indian and more often than not I calculate weights in kilograms and not in pounds, I calculate speed in kmph and not mph, distances in km and not miles. I am miles away from home and yet, I still do that.

I am also a very proud Chennaite. Yes, that city on the east coast of India, which is home to over 6 Million people. I have seen things happen in Chennai, I have heard of a lot of things as well, but for me to convince anyone about why Chennai is way better than any other place on the planet - I only need 5 reasons.

1. You will always be welcome in Chennai. Whoever you may be - Chennai welcomes everyone with open arms. People from the North east fear Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore for some of the hostile reactions that they get there. Look around you in Ranganathan Street and you will find at least 60% of India's languages spoken.

2. Conservative, yet modern. Chennai is a more tradition oriented city, where people exist across various spectrums. Chennai is home to a lot of madisar mamis and also to a lot of mini-skirt girls. Well, I guess that sums it all up in a nutshell.

3. Marina Beach. The world's second longest beach. Nope, you cannot wear those skimpy bikinis on this beach either, but I can assure you, Marina and Elliots beaches are a lot more cleaner and safer than the beaches in Mumbai and Goa. And yes, you cannot drink on the beach - horseback cops will arrest you - That's why you find the beaches safer.

4. Safety for Women. Well, what can we say - Chennai is one of the safer cities for women in India. There are crimes against women, yes, but you will never come across ineptitude when it comes to preventing crimes against women. People are friendly and will help almost anyone in distress. That does not mean Chennaites are naiive, it means Chennaites care about those around us.

Read this, if you don't believe me:

5.Intelligent people. Helping nature is one thing, intelligence is another. Chennaites are very knowledgeable about a wide variety of things. Thanks to some amount of street smartness that our ancestors gave us. Every international cricketer who visits Chennai says that Chennai's cricket loving public are extremely knowledgeable and highly sportsmanly about the game. Apart from that, we are also the kind of people who wouldn't encourage cheating in sports or in exams (Hint: BIHAR).

Oh well, I guess, if those reasons don't convince you, I'm not sure anything else will.

- A proud Chennaiite. :D

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sin City.

Las Vegas. A big beautiful city with all the vices that can ever be there in the world. You name it - gambling, booze, girls, etc. Whatever vices it may have, it is a great place to unwind.

My wife and I took off to Vegas for the thanksgiving weekend and I have to admit it, I was scared of Las Vegas for a few minutes. Sin city - reputed for ruining so many people's lives through gambling. I am not a gambler, but I did realize within the first few minutes of playing slot machines how much I hated losing money. Eventually, we did lose most of our money that we set aside as a limit for gambling and got out of the casino floor. 

Las Vegas is not as intimidating as New York is. Las Vegas is in fact far more inviting than New York.I did go to New York too, but it was a bit intimidating. Big tall buildings, a city that never sleeps, stories that we might have heard from people returning back home. However, when you are entering the Las Vegas Boulevard area fondly known as "The Strip", you see all those large hotel casinos that you see on the picture up there. And all the lights and the hustle and bustle of people during the evenings provides an amazing sight.

The fountains at The Bellagio and the gondola ride at The Venetian are two things one shouldn't miss on a romantic getaway. With this being our first trip to Vegas so far, we hardly planned out things that we wanted to do. Hopefully, next time around would be better planned. :D

Las Vegas has a bunch of great restaurants and shows as well. There are some immensely stirring acrobatics that feature in some shows. Ka is the show that we saw during our trip and I must say it was incredible to say the least. Stunning visuals and choreography. Cirque du Soleil caters to each ones tastes and has a lot of variety for people who are interested in shows. And most of these shows happen in theatres located inside a hotel.

Also, Hoover Dam. The dam is located about 40 minutes away from the Las Vegas strip and is one marvellous construction, considering that it was built in the 1920s-1930s, during the peak of the great depression. The dam is the source of water supply to nearly cities in 3 states - Arizona, Nevada and California and is built on the Colorado river, which runs right through the grand canyon. And yes, do not miss the Grand Canyon. We did not get to make the 12 hour round trip to the Canyon and back, but we intend to do it soon.

Getting back to our cities was no fun, especially after Vegas being a great place to visit. Absolutely recommended for a quick getaway, but don't go lose it all!

Remember: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!