You’d have heard of the Raman effect. But from us at Karmakerala, here’s something new, the ‘Sholto Effect’!!
Scene 1-Yesterday evening
It’s a pleasant evening; we’re all having a group chat on Skype, all of us at Karmakerala and as I prepare to leave office, Sholto’s chat takes a new turn. Well, rather than explaining what it was, lemme share that chat here…
Unni: OK, bye all… leaving for the day
Sholto Ramsay: have a terrified evening
Unni: ha ha
Unni: So like Sholto
Sholto Ramsay: hope it rains an gets you all soaked
Unni: that’s not terrifying, for me
Unni: I love the rains
Unni: but it brings mosquitoes
Unni: and someone once found a trick, trapping mosquitoes with a black cloth
Sholto Ramsay: hope you all get bitten all night
Sholto Ramsay: and AC fails
Sholto Ramsay: and also electricity
Sholto Ramsay: and fans fall from the ceiling
Sholto Ramsay: and cover you in dust
Sholto Ramsay: and everything else
Unni: ha ha
Tanweer: AC working perfectly boss
Unni: bye anyways….
Scene 2-Today morning
As I wake up early morning, it’s raining heavily. I remember Sholto (Naughty Naughty Sholto; I can imagine him grinning a ‘Mephistophelean’ grin if he reads this and exclaiming “I am a prophet!”)….
As I get ready for office, I look out of the balcony and find it’s still raining. Though it’s not a heavy downpour, I know it would get me wet if I ride to office. Downstairs I wait for some time; then I lose my patience and as the drizzle thins down, I ride to office. Mid-way I halt for a few minutes under a railway over-bridge and then, when it seems a bit OK, I continue my ride, to office. I arrive at office, a bit drenched in the rain. From the shop below, I have some puttu and hot, steaming tea.
As I get into office, Sooraj arrives, in an auto-rickshaw. Once in the office, he passes me a photograph he had taken on the bus, caught in the Kochi traffic-jam, so characteristic of rainy days in this city with congested roads and indisciplined traffic.
I settle down, the fan overhead leaves me dry… I begin my work…
Thanks Sholto!! B’cos I do love the rains…
Well, the ‘little thing’ in question is ‘Naranga Mittai‘, a small, bean-shaped candy, with an orange-like flavour and other flavours and coming in different colours- mostly yellow, red, orange etc.
Small, yes. But this little thing could work wonders. Karmakerala office today witnessed one such phenomenon. Sooraj bought a pack of ‘naranga mittai‘ at lunch-time; that prompted me to buy one too. (Well, for those who don’t know, ‘naranga mittai’ is available almost everywhere in Kerala and is the cheapest sweet available). We distributed it among our colleagues…
As I sit relishing the sweetness of ‘naranga mittai’, I realize that something really big has happened at our office, of course unnoticed. At least for some tiny seconds some of us went on ‘nostalgia’ mode and remembered school days (Hey, not me! I never got to have ‘naranga mittai’ during my school days in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands). So, it was a two-in-one effect; relishing the sweetness of ‘naranga mittai’ and relishing the sweetness of childhood memories. For me, the little sweet also seemed to be a ‘power’ that was uniting the office in a different kind of bond, at least for some fleeting moments…
The ‘Naranga Mittai’ thus teaches us one simple lesson. At a time when we tend to forget little things (little things that make up life) in a mad race for things that mean nothing, it’s worth realizing life’s little truths. One of these truths is this: it takes little things like ‘naranga mittai’ and not big big things and big ideas to melt differences and bring people together. It sometimes takes just a fraction of a second and such little things to make complicated things seem simple.
The moral of the whole thing is: Life is as simple as ‘naranga mittai’, just don’t spoil it by making it look complicated. Relish it, every bit of it…. the ‘naranga mittai’ can melt away any moment…
We have been expecting this for the past few days; the media have been abuzz with news of the likelihood of a hike in price of petrol by about Rs. 5. It’s as if they were preparing us for a shock; which has come out today evening, in the form of the news that petrol price would go up by about Rs. 7. Continue reading
It was an afternoon of ‘Tsunami’ for us at Karma Kerala yesterday…
The time is 2.20 and we are working, most of us glued to our seats and computer screens. I have my headsets on and at the same time am part of a group chat on Skype, with our Scottish boss Mark Scott getting me to change a blog post. Suddenly I see some kind of a commotion and people looking down on to the road and some pointing to a fan. I don’t realize what’s happening; I guess it’s some film-star who has appeared in the studio opposite our office for a shoot or a photo-shoot that has caused the commotion. But then, why do they point at the fan that’s not working?
I take off my headphones… I hear something, can’t make out what it is. I prick my ears and listen… and hear it vaguely – “Earthquake!”
“Earthquake?! Where? When?”, I ask myself, since I was sitting in the very same office and didn’t feel anything. Thejal, Venu, Tijo, Tanweer and others move about; they point at the fan that’s swinging slightly. Aji surfs the net for updates. Praveen makes some quick calls to newspaper offices. Jisha says she can still feel the slight tremor. Shyama, who works from Delhi (Dilli), says over Skype that an earthquake of magnitude 8.7 has happened in Sumatra and that there is a Tsunami warning too…
“So the earth did tremble, after all”- I say to myself, and sit down on my seat after going around for a while.
By that time the word ‘Tsunami’ reaches our ears. My cousin who is on the train to Chennai from where he has to catch a flight to Port Blair the next morning calls me as he could not get connected to his father, my uncle, who is in Port Blair. I make a call to Port Blair, for the sake of my cousin. That gives me a clearer picture. My uncle says, “ We just felt a slight tremor, I was having my lunch then. There are Tsunami alerts in Southern Islands like Car Nicobar (I had spent my early years there), Kamorta, Katchal etc, but it’s just an alert”. (They have been used to having tremors of much more magnitude, ever since the 2004 quake and Tsunami, from which my mother, who was then working there, had a narrow escape).
Then on, it’s ‘Tsunami’ at out Karma Kerala office. People check the net for online television news and updates. Sreekumar gets calls from home; he is told that something had happened to a building at Palarivattom here and he’s worried. Jisha goes on saying she can feel slight tremors still. Praveen and Aji tell us people have run out of high-rise buildings and the IT companies at Infopark when the tremor happened. We are told the Mullaperiyar dam is safe and we needn’t worry on that count.
Over a cup of Coffee, the ‘very vocal’ Venu talks about quakes and Tsunamis. Aji once again checks the net and says people say the Tsunami has struck Indonesia. Shola says she wants to die wearing a Saree. Usha and Deepa remind her to wear a white one. Shola asks Aji when the Tsunami would hit Kochi. Aji says ‘Dunno!’. Shola retorts by saying she has to apply some makeup and lipstick to greet the Tsunami. Remya is worried that tremors are happening at Thiruvananthapuram too, her little son and parents are there. Rinoj gets calls from home, asking him to come home, at Thrissur. Ragesh calls his wife; he is now the proud father of a baby boy, whom he has named Rakshan. Amjath sits glued to his computer screen, working and in between cracking jokes.
Jisha says she is a Taurean and hence can feel the pulse of nature. Meanwhile there is a second tremor and some of us at Karma Kerala once again get the feel of it. Still I am excluded!!Caro (Carolane) moves about, inquiring things and making calls. Leneesha is a bit worried. Tanweer and Mary and Sara and Divya and Sooraj and Teena are all part of the talks on earthquakes and Tsunamis. Sreejesh, who had gone to the bank, comes back after a while saying he felt nothing as he was riding his scooter.
I ask Shyama to keep me updated, not because I am worried about the Tsunami reaching here, but because I have close relatives in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and I am concerned about them. Shyama is ‘worried’ about her Kochi apartment, which remains locked as she is in Delhi. I take the occasion to philosophize, on a lighter vein, on the group chat on Skype, saying that there’s absolutely no reason to be worried and that life is just like a ‘bubble of water’ and what’s destined to happen cannot be changed etc… It’s blah blah blah…
Rain clouds gather around and that adds to the worries and the tension that’s created.
Finally, Thejal, who manages the office and decides things here, says the ladies can go. Ladies start moving out; bidding adieu and saying, though light humouredly- “See you tomorrow, if the Tsunami doesn’t strike!”. Shyama reminds Remya over Skype- “Dress well to bed…not make-up…but running clothes”, Remya responds with a smiley and leaves with a ‘bye’, along with Jisha.
Sreekumar is busy planning work for the next day. We are in office till 5.30- 5.45 and talks are mostly about Tsunami and earthquake. We try to remain updated on what’s happening. Aji reminds me to write a post here on this Karma Kerala blog on the earthquake and the Tsunami alerts and related things.
Well, this was what happened at the Karma Kerala office yesterday; I feel this would suffice to give you an idea of the commotion that struck Kochi in particular and Kerala in general after the tremors that were felt in various parts of the state and the Tsunami alert that came into effect.
The Kochi International Airport is going to be one of the four airports in India that would have the Visa-on-Arrival facility working in a year’s time.
The decision to extend the Visa-on-Arrival facility, provided to tourists from some countries, like Japan, Singapore, Finland, Luxemburg, New Zealand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines etc, to four airports has been taken by the Government of India. That the Kochi airport is one among these is a matter of happiness for the people of Kerala, especially since people not just from European countries, but from places like Japan and Singapore too visit India, especially Kerala. This could prove a boost for the tourism sector and do good to Kerala.
Antony’s Dilemma, mine too….
Mark Antony was not supposed to speak praising Caesar, he was supposed to praise Cassius and his company of conspirators (Brutus too!). But Antony knew what was what and he could not but speak up for Caesar. He could not but condemn the acts of Brutus and Cassius. Real dilemma indeed! Continue reading
The ‘No to Moustache’ version (TEAM A AT KARMAKERALA)
Curiosity! To know, do girls like guys with or without moustache? Sholto decided to have a quick survey in the office to find out what they have in mind. Majority of the girls liked clean shaved guys like me so he wanted me to know what the reasons are.
One of the most valid reason a lady member raised was she finds that ‘kissing is a wonderful experience and that she can avoid that abnormal sensation of tingling, if her guy is without moustache. Another member felt that guys look good and younger and it adds to their personality without those hairs below their nose.
Some female members were sympathetic, they didn’t mind guys spotting one but felt that keeping a moustache needs regular maintenance and felt sorry that guys have to be in front of the mirror half of the time balancing it. So they felt they could do without it and use that time for better use.
Rest of the women folks felt that moustache has nothing to do with real men and they believe that everything is fine till the guys serve the purpose, it was all about convenience.
Unanimously they all feel to have a moustache is like telling the world “there’s something wrong with my face you are perfect never mind keep it clean.
The Moustache waala’s perspective (TEAM B AT KARMAKERALA)
Statistics always counts, when you are on to a debate or an argument. Let’s begin with some statistics then…
Our Boss Sholto was commenting the other day that for a man, it’s a whole year that’s wasted in his entire lifetime shaving his beard. Yea, if you add the time you spend daily or on alternate days to shave your beard, it would amount to one full year, that’s what he says. So just imagine, if you have to go without moustache, that amounts to more labour and more time spent on shaving. So, if you are quick at calculating, just calculate how much of time will be wasted over shaving your moustache regularly. If time matters for you, then well, this should matter. If not, I’d just retort with a loud boo…
So now, here we go making our points in defence of the Moustache, one by one
- * The notion that not having the moustache is trendy needs to be blasted, with pure logical reason. How can someone with a moustache think of appearing different on different days? A man with a moustache can work wonders with his looks. One day it would be twirled upward; the other day it would be drooping downwards. On another occasion you could just mend your moustache to suit your bulgan beard and on another you could just make it blend into your whiskers to form the Friendly Mutton Chops style. You can trim, cut, crop and grow your moustache, only if you have it. Endless possibilities, eh! (Ask our Karmakerala colleague Rinoj and he could show you how he changes his appearance off and on that way!)
- * Mallus (that’s the trendy phrase the new generation uses to refer to Malayalees) have liked Mammootty mouthing Ranji Panicker’s dialogues in ‘The King’ and Mohanlal saying “Po Mone Dinesha…” in ‘Narasimham’. They have felt the adrenalin rush when Suresh Gopi says ‘Just remember that…” or ‘Bha Pulle…” in his trademark style. The new generation likes and adores Prithviraj. No am not forgetting the older generation…the most sensible of them liked Satyan over Prem Nazeer. All of these stars, sans Prem Nazeer go sporting moustaches. Well, Prem Nazeer might have acted in the most number of films, but what use are those films when compared with the gems that Satyan has acted out with his moustache?! Coming to more recent times, though film buffs like ‘Panchagni’, they say it loud enough for everyone to hear that it would have been great if Mohanlal hadn’t shaved off his moustache for that film.
- * People sans moustaches don’t make it to the Guinness Books of World Records the way people with long moustaches do it. Can someone create a record for not keeping a moustache? No way. But, you could definitely find place in history if you have a long moustache.
- * Moustache is an integral part of certain professions. Picture in your mind the portrait of a policeman whom you feared as a kid, he’d definitely have a moustache. Teachers with moustaches make the best headteachers. They are obeyed instantly. Think of professions where a lack of a moustache comes to be of advantage to you. You won’t find any…
- * Moustache is part of our culture in Kerala. The archetypal hero of most of our folk-tales go with moustaches and the typical ‘Karanavar’ sports a twirled up Moustache. It has always been associated with manliness. My women colleagues in Karmakerala say a man wins respect if he has a moustache, which is an integral part of a man’s personality.
- * Can you imagine Charlie Chaplin without his trademark moustache? So that proves we need a moustache to evoke laughter too; and laughter is always the best medicine!
- * Moustaches are given to us by nature. By going without moustaches, aren’t we defying the laws of nature?! Ha ha…
- * You look serious with a moustache, say my women colleagues in Karmakerala. They opine that sans a moustache you look more funny. They also say that moustache makes a man elegant.
- * Says a colleague of mine- “It’s after all a neat moustache that makes a man’s face apparently different from a woman’s”. Aha, thanks for the info!
- * For a colleague of mine who says that a man cannot kiss if he has the moustache, here’s the answer. Emraan Hashmi, known as the ‘Serial kisser’ in Hindi films, kisses his heroines equally well in those movies too wherein he sports a moustache. Why don’t you go and ask those heroines if they feel a difference between Emraan Hashmi with a moustache and Emraan Hashmi without moustache as regards his deadly kiss…. Ha ha…
Hope these arguments would suffice in support of Moustaches…Here I end my case, for moustaches.
Postscript: Just imagine, but for moustaches, we wouldn’t have had a movie named ‘Meesha Madhavan’, one of the biggest of all time hits in Malayalam…
It was some years back that an actor from Kerala, M.R.Gopakumar, was chosen to play a key role in Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Lost World’. But the actor, who had proved his calibre with Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s ‘Vidheyan‘ couldn’t make it and join Spielberg’s unit in Los Angeles as the American Consulate in Chennai denied him a ‘work visa’. The reason quoted was that Gopakumar had no documents to prove that Spielberg had actually hired him. For the actor, who is definitely a real talented person (‘Vidheyan’ alone is proof enough), this was big loss indeed. (Gopakumar continues to act, but in totally unexceptional kind of roles and television soaps, thus being one of the most under-utilised actors in a star-oriented film industry).
M.R.Gopakumar is just an example of how visa rejection could cause irreparable loss to people. People from all walks of life have had to face this at all times. The world of visa rejection is indeed a lost world, wherein you suffer the losses and the authorities in question too can’t help it maybe. There are complexities, official and diplomatic ones. The reasons may sound just and you can’t blame the blatant indifference shown by authorities at an embassy or consulate. But there are instances where this could be avoided, perhaps. One such instance, where it can be and should be overcome relates to the forthcoming Formula One Indian Grand Prix, slated to take place on October 30th at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, so near our National Capital. Visa related issues are causing much trouble for drivers, journalists and others who plan to make it to Delhi for the grand event, as per recent reports.