My First Poached Egg

Never knew of this method to cook egg. Tried for the first time. No oil at all and better than the normal hard boiled ones.

Poached Egg

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You Saw Water.. Now See Sand!!!

Some pictures taken when the “Sand Tsunami” hit Kuwait on 25th March 2011..

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Image Source: Internet

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The Rendezvous

They say marriages are made in heaven. If yes, heaven for me will always be a small ice cream parlour in a crowded shopping mall in my home town Thalasserry.

Like any normal young male in the “marriageable” age, I always stayed away, as far as possible, from any talks involving the M-word. Maybe it was the fear of life long commitment, maybe it was the thought of giving up my freedom or maybe some bitter-sweet memories of the past. Whatever it was, I was just not ready to settle down.

India is a fast developing nation with progress in almost all walks of life. However, when it comes to the most important decision which will take our generation forward, the majority still stick on to the long trusted form of match making – arranged marriage.

Like most parents from this part of the world, one of the main aim of my folks was to find a suitable partner for their kids. Even before I reached puberty, I remember the numerous aunts in the family asking me what are the qualities I want in my future wife. Talk about catching them young!! It’s still a mystery how I am still unmarried at 28.

Its been a while since my folks have started showing me profiles of prospective candidates to be my future wife. I came up with all sorts of excuses to reject those proposals. Apart from the fact that I couldn’t fall in love with a photograph, I wanted to delay the inevitable as much as I could.

Last year when my good friend Malai announced his wedding plans, most of us friends applied for leave with our respective employers. I managed to get less than a week off, but that was more than enough to attend the wedding and go home and visit my folks whom I haven’t seen for over a year. The venue of the wedding was in Madurai, a few hundred kilometers from Thalasserry. Due to lack of time, I had made extensive travel plans to get home fast and spend a full day and a half with my family before I had to fly back to Kuwait. I could never imagine how important those one and a half days would become for the rest of my life.

The wedding, as expected, was a gala affair. Yes the food was vegetarian, but we were all so happy to see each other after ages that no one complained. Then a few hours before the wedding got over, I got a call from dad. They had managed to get one more proposal and I was supposed to meet her the next day!! I didn’t know whether to go ahead with my travel plans and get home or run away to Kuwait. But after giving it some thought, I decided to take the plunge. It was not like I’m getting married the next day. It was more like a date arranged by my folks.. so why not. 🙂

It was not a traditional “pennu kaanal”. The rendezvous was decided at a popular ice cream parlour in town. Yes I was tensed. I hadn’t seen her pic (for a change), I didn’t even know her full name. I had only heard of blind dates, never knew I would be part of one.

She had reached early. I was stuck in traffic but managed to reach not too late. With some difficulty, I managed to find the parlour in one corner of the mall. The butterflies in my stomach had gone wild. The first time I laid my eyes on her…. it was beautiful. She was wearing a lovely lilac coloured salwar kameez and I just loved her smile. By the time we got talking, I knew she was the one.

This was almost two weeks ago. I had to fly back the next day. I’m thankful to the modern technologies through which we became even closer. We are due to be engaged in a couple of weeks time, and if everything goes according to plan, I will be spending the next new year with my wife, my Silsy.

Ou first pic together..

Posted in Growing Up, Matters of the Heart | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Let your beliefs save you!

Family, ethnicity, mother tongue, blood group – there are some things which we are born with, things on which we don’t have any choice; religion is not one of them. I’m extremely lucky to have a wonderful family, very proud of my ethnicity/mother tongue, but when it comes to religion, well, indifferent would be the word closest to what I feel.

As a kid we used to stay in our ancestral house . Me and my cousins were given normal religious education. We had tutors who used to come over and teach us the path to divine eternity and afterlife. So my religious beliefs (or the lack of it) has nothing to do with me not getting any opportunity to learn. And since I grew up in a multi-religious society, I have a fair idea of some of the other religions as well. But apart from the fact that its all different versions of the same story, I just couldn’t agree to any of them fully.

I believe that there is a greater power. I believe that we are not alone in this universe and there are things which are much beyond the the understanding of the human mind. But who are we to define that power? Who are we to set the rules and regulations for something which we are not even capable of understanding? Whichever religion you take, there is always a human link between the divine and the rest of us. One can argue that those links’ purpose of life was showing the rest of us the right path. So does that mean all the people who lived before “religion” was formed will burn in hell just because they didn’t have a prophet?

The human race has undergone a lot of changes over the centuries. From being just a part of the flora and fauna, we have transformed the entire world to work in a way which is most beneficial to us. And none of this would have been possible if humans didn’t support each other and work together(willingly or unwillingly). So a need to control the human mind was inevitable.  And what is the best weapon to control the human mind – fear.

Why do we invest in insurance policies? – fear – of not being able to control the future.

Why do we buy something we see in an advert (e.g. : washing detergent)? – fear – of your long trusted detergent  not cleaning the clothes properly.

Why do we spend so much on self grooming? – fear – of not looking acceptable.

Why do we wear a seat belt while driving? – fear – of getting a traffic offense ticket (safety comes a distant second).

Why do we stay back late at work? – fear – of upsetting the boss (dedication died a long time ago).

Why do we smoke that first cigarette? fear – of not being “cool”.

And why do we hide that from our folks? – fear – of knowing the fact that being cool can also get you grounded you for a long time.

So its pretty clear that nothing can beat “fear” as the best tool when it comes to controlling the human mind. And sadly that is the very tool which forms the backbone of any religion. “You follow us or burn in hell” … ” You follow us or you’ll never get salvation”….. as mentioned earlier – different versions of the same story.

A person is good by nature, NOT because of him/her following or not following any religion. Take care of yourself. Take care of your loved ones. Try and be good a much as you can. Heaven and hell is what we make of our lives right here on mother earth.
Posted in Matters of the Heart, Nature, Spiritual | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Travelogue

 

“I love traveling”… something most of us nowadays fill in the “interests” or “activities” box while filling up our profile (or resume). Its so good to see that change. Earlier it used to be limited to sports or music or reading or stamp/coin collecting (the last one seem to have completely become a thing of the past). Do they actually travel is a completely different subject. I remember reading somewhere a long time ago which said you can travel through the entire world by just sitting at home and reading about those places. It sounds awesome. You can zip through continents with never having to worry about baggage! But its just never the same experience. Visiting new places, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures and way of life…. No book or TV program can ever give you all these. There are still many among us who consider traveling as a waste of time and money. They don’t have a clue what they are missing. I haven’t traveled a lot, but with whatever little I have, it sure was a very enriching experience. Luckily for me, my folks used to take us kids to short trips whenever they could. Memories of most of those trips are still very fresh. The night we all spent in a house boat midst of the Kumarakom lake was one of the best. Most of my travels lately have been with friends. Almost all our trips during college was to different forests of Tamil Nadu. My good friend Vikram’s dad being the forest dept. chief was of enormous help. Internet is too public a medium to share all the experiences we had during those trips. And some were truly life changing. The night we shot a tiger in the wild during a night-safari in an open jeep, that was one of the craziest and most memorable of all. And for all you animal lovers out there, we shot it with a video-cam. I should have a copy of the clip somewhere. I might not be able to travel to all the places I want to in my lifetime. I just wish I can do it as much as I can – it might not happen with the same set of amazing friends, it might not be to any exotic destinations – but traveling is something I never want to stop doing ever.

White water rafting - Kithulgala, Sri Lanka

 

@ World’s End. Horton Plains, Sri Lanka
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“Ana Mahandhis”

No its not Malayalam, nor Hindi or Tamil (the 3 main languages you can connect me to and definitely not English). Its Arabic and it means “I’m an Engineer”.

Remember those meaningless question grownups used to ask you as a child – “what do you want to be when you are big mone?”…. give that a kid a break, will ya?!! Engineering was something I never opted. It was either a pilot or a cricketer or a musician or a super hero. Yes, they used to give me choices (super hero was my own entry) , not that I understood the pros or cons of any.

People who know me knows that I’m an engineering graduate. Only God knows how I actually pulled it off (some of those instances which makes me an agnostic and not an atheist).

When I was mature enough to understand that I can never be a super hero and after a rather shaky roller coaster ride shattered my dreams of being a pilot, banking or chartered accountancy was my next career option. My father being a banker must have been the driving force behind that decision. I was all set to choose the “Commerce” department after my 10th grade when I realized most of my friends had chose the “Science” department option. I wonder how life would have turned out to be if I had chose career over friendship.

It was a special year for our school as well – 1999. In its 17 year history (since starting Class X) one student from our batch failed the board exams. It was also the year when “Pre-Degree” courses were abolished from the colleges of Kerala. Guess that was the reason why we had an extra option for “Plus 2” course – Science with Computer Science. Thank God for that. I detested Biology. I wonder why?.. I clearly remember us friends eagerly waiting for the “Life Sciences” chapter to begin during the Bio class in grade 9. Wonder what went wrong – maybe it was the annoying lady who taught that subject (can’t recollect her name) or the thought of dissecting a live frog/roach during lab.

Back in 2001, if you are a high school graduate majored in science your only options were engineering or medicine. Since I have not chose biology my only option was engineering – not that I had any intentions of being a doctor. Electronic gadgets have always fascinated me, be it the Casio G-Shock watch or the bulky Ericsson mobile phone – no we didn’t have LED TVs or touch screen phones back then. Guess that is the reason why I told my dad “Electronics & Communication” when he asked which branch of engineering I wanted to specialize.

And just when you think you have given the biggest exam of your life, the 12th boards, there comes the next one – entrance exams. I wrote precisely 4 entrance exams – Kerala state, Karnataka state, Cochin Univertity and IIT JEE – and spent a good amount of dad’s money for the entrance exam “coaching”. And  where did I end up doing my engineering – Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

They say “first impression is the best impression”. Not something that is particularly true for me. I hated Chennai during the initial years. I wanted to discontinue my course till about  4th or 5th semester. I couldn’t figure out the language for quite some time. They even banned public smoking the year I landed there. But looking back now, those 4 years were truly golden – made friends that I’m sure will last a lifetime…had many adventurous journeys…learnt a new language…got kicked out of hostel…was debarred for a semester…had my first lessons in cooking…learnt to ride a bike…fell in love with an amazing woman…even got placed in one of the companies that came to recruit, but took some more time to finish what I came to the beautiful city for in the first place – engineering.

They say “time and tide waits for none”, I learnt it the hard way. I’m sure my life would have been pretty different now had I finished it on time. I will never know. But I’m not going to sit back and regret, in fact I’m lucky in a way. I’m really not keen in sitting in front on a computer and writing codes all day, and maybe the delay in completing my degree saved me from doing just that.

I’m miles away from that time and city now. Again I find myself in an similar situation. Unfamiliar people, still figuring out the language, still adjusting to the ridiculous climate.. but one thing that takes me forward, one thing that gives me special treatment while applying for driving license, one thing that gives me visa-on-arrival in some countries, one thing that I can say out proudly – I am an Engineer.
Posted in Growing Up | 5 Comments

“Tomorrow Is The First Day Of The Rest Of My Life”

“Having a bad start”..
“Things not working out right”..
“Made a bad choice”..
“Should have been more strong”..
“Will do it better next time”..

The list goes on… And these are not what people around me has noted, but what I have been telling myself at different “new starts” of my life and career. I strongly believe that success is always more sweeter once you have experienced the bitterness of failure. People say that realizing ones mistake is a big deal in itself, but unless one takes action to rectify it, its no good.

Most of us are good people by nature, there are a few exceptions of course. And for most of us, the mistakes we do are either unintentional or out of helplessness. And for some of us even if the intention is good, it just won’t work out right. It is only very rarely one makes a wrong choice with the full knowledge that a road block is around the corner. And I’m no exception. Why did I make that choice? I don’t know. Guess that is the reason why the human brain and mind is still a mystery in today’s highly advanced world.

How does one define a mistake in the first place? A bad choice for me would actually be a life changer for someone else. Most of the time we let society decide if the choice we made is right or not. That in itself is the biggest mistake of all. Yes we do live in a social world. Yes we depend on others to get things done. Yes the society is an integral part of our lives. But we should not forget that without us, the society itself wouldn’t be there in the first place.  Each one of us, with our individual tastes and flavor makes the society what it is. Imagine how boring it would be if everyone thought alike. Imagine how unexciting it would be if everyone supported the same team. Imagine how colorless it would be if all girls looked beautiful.

So it is OK to commit a mistake, you might realize it right away or take years, but its always good to learn from ones mistake than be told to do the right thing from the “all knowing” society.

Tomorrow is literally a new start for the rest of my life (career-wise). I don’t know what the future holds for me. I have no clue how successful I will be. But one thing is for sure, I’m the master of my destiny. My choices and decisions will decide how my future will shape out to be. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life.

Posted in Growing Up | 4 Comments