Steve Jobs – the Man who changed my everyday

This blog was not meant to accommodate my larger than small thoughts on life. But this is not an ordinary day. Today Steve Jobs died.

A little bit of Jobs will live on in every Apple product and Pixar production to see light.

I type this from my iPhone using a WordPress app, while doing a mindless chore. That’s how radically Mr. Jobs has changed my world – by changing the way I do the little stuff in my life. And making it so much better.

Steve Jobs, shine on forever.

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From Mylapore to Myanmar

Next weekend, I will spend in Yangon, at a friend’s place. I have always felt an invisible thread of connection with Myanmar, and am so excited to visit.

I’ve tried to list this attachment in a very business-like way – A List. (And if you are wondering about the title – Mylapore, in Chennai is where I grew up and where many of my ‘reasons’ took root.)

My List of ‘5 Reasons why I want to visit Myanmar’:

1. My great-grandfather and his sons took their amateur drama troupe to perform in Rangoon*. He was a retired civil servant, music lover and philanthropist who experiencing an epiphany – meeting Swami Vivekananda. After this, he dedicated his life, resources and energy towards funding and sustaining a students home/ college (Ramakrishna Mission) in Madras*. The trip to Burma* was, yes, another fundraiser. I have never met the man in question, nor have I done anything worthy to match his nobility. But at least, I’m visiting a land he went to, and where none of his great/grandchildren have ever been to. Hopefully, with some investigative work, I can find the venue where they performed.

2. Mrs. Moses, my class 5 teacher who was a refugee from Burma in Madras . Recently displaced, she wanted a job for her son. When she found out that Appa was setting up a business (no idea how that!) she launched herself on me (nicely. Not in an awful way) and gracefully asked for a meeting with him. I did that, but never found out what happened afterward and neither did my dad enlighten me. To me she was ‘foreign’ and exotic as she came from Burma. But also so familiar – she was, after all an ethnic Indian.

3. Perumal, our gardener in Mylapore. My heart would bleed for that old man, as I saw him wheezily and feebly work at the dusty plants in our backyard. My Patti was quick to burst my balloon of pity. Apparently, he wasn’t old (he looked 70 to me). He was sniffing because he was high on some weed. He was 40 and a childhood of drugs in Burma (oh wait! I think Malaya – not sure, but never mind that!) had resulted in accelerated aging.

4. The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh. Loved that book. Deeply moving. Myanmar has been on top of my “Some day, I should visit” list after reading it. Yet to read “Saving Fish From Drowning”. I love Amy Tan, so I’m surprised I haven’t read it.

5. Aung San Suu Kyii. A big hero from my schooldays. We loved her, her grace and her quiet courage. Being in the same city as her, is reason enough for a visit.

And then of course, there is the prospect of Burmese food. Experienced in San Francisco, Hong Kong and Singapore. Can’t wait to try the real stuff in Myanmar.

And as a post script – Who from my (and older) generations in India, can think of Myanmar and NOT think of this charming song? ‘Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon’ from Patanga (1949)

“Mere piya, ho mere piya gaye Rangoon
Kiya hai wahaan se teliphoon
Tumhari yaad sataati hai, jiya men aag
lagaati hai”

(ALERT! DANGER! There is a cheesy cheap remixed HORRIBLE version of this song sung by some woman called Shaswati. AVOID!)

Mingalar par, Myanmar! Can’t wait to visit you!

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(* – I have contextually used the colonial names of Yangon, Myanmar and Chennai…because…in the ’70s and ’80s, that’s how we knew these places. Also that’s how the people I have referred to, knew them)

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In my dreams, I sleep

In my dreams, I rest.

(Slow gentle music. Lullaby. Adagio)

My bed is made up of me.
I lounge and eat ‘after 8s’ before I shut eyes.

I’m smiling in the dream
No mundane matters worry my pillows

No wet wipes for a runny nose
My son, my little one, snuggles close

The skies are calm – maybe a light pleasant rain
Will make my coziness more appealing

But in my other life, this wakeful one
I stay tired. And eternally desiring sleep.

And NOW…

(Change tempo to allegro, the music changes. It’s rock)

I’m heading
To my bedding
I’m as sleepy as Khumbakarna
And Rip Van Winkle
And a baby at 11 am.
A bear in winter

My head is nodding
My eyes with heavy lidding
My back is sore
I think I’m going to snore
With open eyes
I don’t look nice (or sound nice)

On the couch I lie, helpless am I
Like a newborn with it’s mum
Like an old person without…
Like Sita in the woods
Like Snow White after the apple
Like Sleeping Beauty before her Prince

I
Lie. Awake.
Too involved to move to bed…

But in my dreams it’s so easy.
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

(Music ends. Track over. Silence of the bees)

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Hermès! Je t’adore! Je parle français! Mais Oui!

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Allo! Allo! After many days I pushed myself to exercise and was rewarded with an unexpected treat! My gym happens to be located in a wonderful shopping mall which constantly delights by showcasing events around lunchtime. This one was outstanding … Continue reading

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Shi Huangdi sends army to Singapore

This gallery contains 3 photos.

A general, an archer, the First Emperor’s chariot and some of his belongings which he carefully packed for his afterlife are in Singapore for a bit. (At the Asian Civilisation Museum’s special exhibition, on till October 16th this year) The … Continue reading

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This Store Is Now Closed. Borders fenced up.

This gallery contains 4 photos.

So Borders shuts shop at Wheelock House. It was a lovely in-between location for my Orchard Road trysts. Loads of books, comfy chairs (ok – very few, much sought after comfy chairs*), staff who didn’t mind moochers, and loads of … Continue reading

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What you gain in kilometres, you lose in inches

I was inspired by reading my good pal’s running blog – The Offbeat Athlete – read here – http://wp.me/1IuJ2 –  enough to come up with that catchy name for this post!

A Treadmill Poem – “What you gain in kilometres, you lose in inches”

3 weeks, counting, since I hit the gym
(I hate jogging, never could swim)
At first,
I hated the exercise and all that sweat,
I hated the gymmers – liposucted, I bet!
But my worst ever Dread.
Was for that Mill Tread.
Seriously, I’d rather be funning,
Than running and running
Sip drinks elsewhere,
Than Still-Running nowhere
Then,
Today,
I stood on the scales, measured the girth
(I promise I’ve never lost a kilo since birth)
But the accurately calibrated measures didn’t lie!
I flit, oh joy, I fly, so high!
It’s a miracle, incredible! (I keep giving me pinches)
Truly – what you gain in kms, you lose in inches!

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