Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Thursday, December 27, 2007


a rather new indecent intruder to decent spoken english is this 'kind-of-a-thing'.
probably our own version of a thingummy.

commonly used adjacent to nouns like:
  1. i am standing next to this guy kind-of-a-thing.
  2. what is this bracelet kind-of-a-thing?
  3. he looks like musharraf kind-of-a-thing
but i hear it these days even without reference to 'things' or with reference to 'non-things'.
  1. we shall meet at 4 o'clock kind-of-a-thing
  2. what is this red kind-of-a-thing
  3. let's watch Discovery kind-of-a-thing
this drop in speaking abilities is a little bewildering kind-of-a-thing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

3rd anniversary

dec 26 2004 was a deadly day in the indian ocean.
with a 9.1-9.3 magnitude undersea earthquake striking somewhere west of sumatra - indonesia, a tsunami of unseen/unheard proportions was unleashed.
the devastation was mind-numbing.

the earthquake was so powerful that it moved the faultline by 10 meters horizontally and around 4-5 meters vertically. it has also marginally altered the earth's rotation, raised and lowered certain coastal areas, redrawn a few maps, etc.

3 years have passed. seems like much longer.
spent a lot of time in 2005 with tsunami related work.
spent a lot of time looking at the sea with fear and trepidation.
spent a lot of time marvelling at the human spirit.
spent a lot of time trying to understand the donor mindset.
spent a lot of time analysing the event.

not any more.
other disasters have come and gone and the mind has moved onto other matters.
while writing this, i just decided to try to throw away my disaster-fatigue.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

donate rice and improve vocabulary

a win-win combination is on at FreeRice.

20 grains per word is seemingly insignificant, but trust me, it is not.
roughly 20 grains = 2-5 grams, which means 1 kg = 1000 gms = 4000-10000 grains = 200-500 words correct.

it says that the advertisers are paying with their banners at the bottom, but i don't recall even glancing at even a single one.
it is always fun to rip-off dumb marketeers.

do use if you want. it is not a contest :-)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

the physics of sneezing

i had a bad cold just days before the marriage.
bad sneezing attack.
with a sore back, each sneeze feels like a thor tandav (TT) down the spine.

after 2 days of TT, i was reeling with a rickety back with a mega sit down event to follow.

desperate times.
called for desperate measures, i had to resort to fluid dynamics (not the inebriating variety) for solace.

for simple fluid flow, Area x Velocity = constant (those who have used garden hoses will easily understand this equation).
so instead of the classic thin mouth opening stance, i adopted the wide cough stance. with instantaneous results.
as the velocity of the expunging air diminished dramatically, the resultant reaction (newton's third law) force diminished proportionally and hence converting from TT to throwball (sorry, could not resist).

mind you, it is not a visual/aural delight to be in proximity to anyone who adopts this new stance, but the adopter is awash with relief aplenty , aha...

wedding and all

1. dec 5 was the date.
2. simplicity was the planned theme.

well - one of the above was achieved.

landed into chennai on dec 2 and was immediately pulled into a series of mini events and rituals.

dec 2 - samaradhanai (Venkatachalapathi, the Lord of the Seven Hills and his spouse Alermael Manga Thayar are worshipped so that the couple are blessed with a prosperous life)

dec 3 - sumangali prarthanai (This pooja is done to invoke the blessings of the departed Sumangalis (married ladies). The pooja is done for the Mangalya aka Mangalsutra, which is to be tied around the neck of the bride. Sumangalis are invited for a feast and offered gifts. The sari used for the pooja is to be gifted to one of the Sumangalis)

dec 4 - vratham (The marriage ceremonies begin with the Vratham (fast) performed separately by the bride and the groom. The Kappu or the holy thread soaked in turmeric colour is tied on to the bride's wrist to ward off all evil spirits. The groom begins the Vratham with prayers involving Indra, Soma, Chandra and Agni. From thereon, the groom prepares himself for a new chapter in his life as a householder or Grihastha. The days of his bachelorhood or brahmacharya are now over and the acceptance of this is the essence of Vratham)

dec 4 - naandi pooja (Naandi is done to obtain the blessings of the Pithrus aka ancestors for a long and prosperous life, free of diseases and ailments and to ensure that the children get good food and education and lead a healthy life)

dec 4 - paalikai (In this fertility rite, Paalikais or earthen pots with grass and betel leaves at the base are prepared. Nine kinds of pre-soaked cereals called Vilvam are ceremonially sown in these pots by Sumangalis. After the marriage, the sprouted seedlings are released in a river or pool. This ritual is done to bless the couple with progeny and a healthy life)

dec 4 evening - nichyathartham (At the marriage hall, the bride's father and the bridegroom's father face each other and solemnise the betrothal ceremony, in the presence of bride, groom, friends, relatives and guests)

(all above definitions from

dec 5 - the big daddy day. tons of stuff got done that day right from 7 am to 12 noon.
see here for details and explanations.

end notes:
1. we managed to limit the plastic usage in the catering to 2 cups for kheer. but instead paper cups were used. we ideally wanted to limit all disposable items.
2. the food was excellent and like every other marriage, just too much and too rich. there was enough space to cut down the spread and still keep the excellence. one of my mamas said that - "the variety is there so that everyone can choose their favourite items and hence everyone can be satisfied". my take is that - it is not possible to satisfy everyone, so just do what you feel strongly about and that is that.
3. we got to limit the jewellery to near zero and clothes to just enough levels.
4. we got rid of the official video shooting, which was such a relief.
5. overall, it was fun and we thoroughly enjoyed majority of the time and were certain that the friends and families too had a blast.

to achieve point 2 mentioned at the start of the post would have involved more hands-on work during entire november with both families and the contractors.

we are back into regular mode.
dec 2nd-5th are now pleasant memories which will be with us forever.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

wilderness camp

so we went to a wilderness camp called jungle lodges and resorts. a series of high quality tourist destinations in karnataka.
spent 3 days in K Gudi wilderness camp.

saw tons of birds and animals.
an experience in being in the middle of pure wild nature - raw, silent, powerful, thought-provoking.

highly recommended.