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Archive for May, 2008

similarities between chennai and vietnam

after having lived / visited different parts of india , and few parts of north america and east asia, i lived in chennai for an year. being born n brought up here must be a different experience, i am sure. but, from point of view of someone who has seen other better-adaptability parts of the world and then come here, heres a short fact study –


chennai and vietnam do have quite a few things in common.

  1. rush hour is defined by lot of  two wheeler vehicles, alongwith four wheelers  running chaotically in all directions at the same time. both places have fewer traffic lights (statistics show) and more traffic policemen who have to stand at signals, ward off vehicles, shout, whistle etc. compared to other places. chennai’s traffic in the biggest bottleneck areas though is nowhere close to big cities, but is complained of much more by common man.
  2. in vietnam there are no grocery stores freely available. in chennai too, it is not easy to find a vegetable vendor in your area. people have to weekly visit markets in pockets of the city to get these.
  3. staple food is rice and different items made of rice . in chennai it is – dosa, idly, idiappams, curd rice. in vietnam it is noodles, pancakes, fried rice or steamed rice.
  4. food has to be picked up fresh, and carefully, as due to the weather and lack of refrigeration in markets, it gets spoilt quickly. in chennai a packet of milk bought and stored in the fridge today night in all probability goes bad by tomorrow afternoon.
  5. summers are unbearably hot and are never compensated by colder weather in the rest of the year. they are accompanied by hot air flowing, which makes the ‘feels like’ degree rise higher.  the effects of this heat on health/ hygiene / household living conditions / outings etc can/should be imagined by the reader. resistance of the body to infections / illness goes down.
  6. the most popular newspaper in vietnam is the cong an thanh pho ho chi minh which is published by the police in ho chi minh city . its weekly circulation is more than 500,000 copies. newspaper vendors say it sells out almost immediately. the newspaper is filled with lurid tales of sex and violence, of gang crimes and prostitution. it is often the forum of attacks against any person that is critical of the party – it frequently attacks writers, artists and social activists for their work and is often hostile to foreigners. the most popular newpaper in chennai is hindu. it has good local coverage, but unsatisfactory national, international coverage, lesser open views and columnists.however since, an average non-tamilian in the city is kept disconnected from most of the contemporary life, due to strict use of only tamil language, he cannot relate to the newspaper.
  7. extension of the above point, unlike rest of india , where newspaper vendors, milkmen provide daily services for distribution, it is unlikely and irregular here and life feels uncomfortable everyday due to basic necessities missing.
  8. water supply is bore well water, which can only be used for cleaning, washing. for drinking, cooking people buy canned and bottled water which is also ridden with controversies about purity. in vietnam , living amidst glistening wet paddies, marshes, lagoons and rivers, vietnamese lead an amphibious existence. access to safe drinking water is a concern for many citizens. water wars exist as taps run dry or dirty.
  9. very few to negligible hanging out spots, holidaying spots in and around chennai for entertainment. in vietnam , there are two main cities – hanoi, ho chi minh city. apart from a few tourism spots including museums, monuments etc, not much of hanging out as such.




philosophy corner

there is no such thing as perfect life.

there is no such thing as – “this success just fell into my lap ya..”

theres no such thing as free lunch.


everyone has worked for every li’ll (or big) nicety he has. sometimes worked a lot. sometimes worked it out.


seriousness, maturity, plan, a li’ll amount of necessary dose of worry of wether it’ll happen –

is irreplaceable in reality.


we all want to see our life happening in a certain way. it always doesn’t. true. but we have to try.

whatever we can change shouldn be left undone.


though we cant get bogged down by constant thoughts of progress

with every breath. but the key is to never lose touch with our plan, and sincerity to stick to it.


happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.

lessons in mumbai

i am in mumbai. this trip as expected turned out to be exhausting. mom is lying in the hospital, and though she needs me in all ways, she puts up a stronger face saying go home, u need rest.

there are some people in this world who care for you more than you can imagine – and mothers are one such species.


i landed on tuesday. mumbai after a long time felt crowded and fast on the move. i headed straight to the hospital. she was waiting near the lift for me wearing the white uniform they gave her. her eager face lit up as the door opened us to each other. “how was the journey… my tests are done, waiting for operation now”  we chatted for quite some time. since my adolescence, mom has been more of a friend. she has this strange talent to just find out everything about me. this time she said, you look calm and happy, i am glad to see you like this, needn’t ask you more.


in the afternoon they took her to the operation theatre. what was supposed to take a couple of hours took more than seven… i closely saw what anxiety means, that day. a nurse on the floor told me, at 9.40pm, she is on her way back, they found some complication and it was 2 operations done on her. for the first time, my mother who is always in control of everything said, i need you tonight.

that one night in the hospital, i saw her like never before and did everything possible to help and comfort. she was my baby and i was playing mom. she couldn’t talk, but she looked at me like – oh you have grown up so much!!!  sleep was the last thing on our minds.


next day i left for home late afternoon, which is an hour away. i felt i wouldn be able to cope up with the local trains and the rush. i managed somehow. once in the train i remembered, how i was used to it.


home, after a long time. i have been away for more than a couple of years you can say.  every time i visit home, i have grown more as a person and look at the same things differently. we earn more than what we require these days and still it isn’t enough. at home i felt – have i gone so far that i have forgotten my roots? shopping n socializing n travelling that i do now, is way beyond what i’ve been raised up on..

sometimes it’s the home food, sometimes its lighting a lamp near god at twilight, sometimes it’s the luxury of small surprises like an ice cream cone after a summer lunch, sometimes an occasional cultural play, sometimes socializing among people who love you .. maharashtrian families have a typical flavor to their life. we love simplicity. we hate flamboyance. home keeps you strongly in touch with your roots.


next week i spent travelling to and fro – hospital and home and picked up the lost things back, like jumping into an arriving train on the platform.. attended lot of people on phone, met some, got to spend some quality time with mom n dad of course and a critical week is slowly getting over, without we feeling it as much.


oh yes, and there was a curious li’ll lesson that i learnt. a lot of forgotten aunties, uncles, wellwishers came visiting mom. i felt people were very much interested in my life, my work, my company, my husband’s work profile, wether i bought any property in mumbai, wether i am renting it out, how much i bought it for etc etc etc… they all poured a lot of questions but only rarely some reacted positively. the rest were not happy with my achievements/ facts. they compared and they looked jealous. it was disturbing. somewhat.


my father has been ill for quite a few years now. it was a difficult time for the family, but we are much better now.  it was these same people who were happily empathetic then and content with the fact that their lives were better than us. irony of life.


i can advise something – no one is completely happy with someone else’s happiness. even a 50 year old aunty is jealous, if a 25 year old newly wed has a better furnished home. hence its wise to guard all our facts,  to keep peace. that was once when i felt, good we are far from the madding crowd. i shall head back tomorrow, longing to go back to anand, my greatest strength support and love. the family has extended. extended in a nice way.

first wedding anniversary

we have fought with each other and tolerated each other and been there for each other unfailingly for a year now.

yeah, it was first wedding anniversary on 29th april.


and there are some sure signs of  knowing each other better. for example, we asked each other what gifts we would like.

we went and shopped for them together, ensuring they are really useful / well fitting /  colour coded to choice etc etc… (ask me how many problems are solved here !!)


29th was a Tuesday, and taking a couple of days off gave us a 3 day holiday… as 1st was holiday for labour day..

there was a impromptu plan to drive to yercaud (a hillstation 375 kms from chennai) and we were put up in a filmy like villa

in hotel shevaroys.


lots and lots of tall green forests, cool climate, good food, made the holiday a well deserved one away from the mundane hot chennai.

Yercaud lake boating activity was soothing.


since not much is said about the place, we didn expect much but it was great, and in anand’s words it was underpromise – over-delivering that we experienced..