Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chronicles of Vinayakan - II

July 18, 2012...I will be 30 yrs old. By that date, I hope to claim that I have successfully weathered the quarter life crisis. I never thought I will write this blog...but my friends tell me how much they enjoyed reading Chronicles of Vinayakan - I. Plus, I want to put few things in writing that I can reflect on when I will be 35 yrs old in the year 2017.

Read on, please.

Moving to house 1455 in Poorvanchal JNU. What a house! - July 2007

Shared the song 'Beedi' from the movie Omkara to a colleague in USA. As expected, she did not understand what the song was, I passed it of as Indian folk music - September 2007

Silk scarf and a pin stripe suit. A suit is a suit is a suit - November 2007

Brother's marriage. Dad and bro not seeing eye-to-eye. Wondered whether Indian family system and marriage in itself is overrated to keep the 'love' economy running. Over the years, I have grown increasingly cynical towards marriage, unfortunate! - November 2007

Hanging out with school friends at 'The Big Chill', Khan Market, New Delhi - an Italian food joint. A regular feature of our lives now - since December 2007

My first rock show in Shillong by Scorpions. So much energy. Oh yes, this is Steamrock Fever! Went to Cheerapunji the next day (supposedly wettest place on earth) - December 2007

First sip of Johnnie Walker Gold Label on the rocks. Admire the way a spirits company markets the bottle first to sell the liquid inside it - January 2008

My friend sets me up on a date by 'introducing' me to a girl through my blog. I was astonished to know that a girl would go on a blind date with me after reading my blog. I skip office and go - January 2008

India wins Test Match at Perth (WACA) vs. Australia. This is what wet dreams are made of - January 2008

Blind date girl eventually dumps me as I am not marriage material. Gets married to some other guy. Obviously, I wasn't invited - Sometime in 2008/09

Bhutan trip in less than Rs. 10,000. First time out of India. Fascinating country...among other things, its a country where phallic symbols are painted at the entrance of the house - December 2008

Delivered flowers to parents of a girl whom I have not met! I am such a nice guy - April 2009

On to twitter and I think I have found the social media platform that I wanted - June 2009

Went zipping on wire at Neemrana fort...A bit of adrenaline there - July 2009

Visited Bhubaneshawar and then Sun Temple at Konark. For a civilization that is Bharat which built this masterpiece 800 years ago, how did we lose our way so badly? - December 2009

Hired a wealth manager to multiply my pennies. Bizarre! Was I taking drugs? - March 2010

Between November 2004 and August 2009 - I have had seven flat tires. I believe, I have had more than my fair share of flat tires! Why, why?

Silver Medal, Corporate Sporting Challenge: Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. As a result of this, I got to meet Kapil Dev in office - November 2009

My first trip overseas on company business to Singapore after getting drunk at a friends place previous night. Many more trips follow but I remember this trip only in parts - August 2010

Got my milk tooth removed, thought of giving it to a jeweler to make an ornament out of it - December 2010

India wins Cricket World Cup. Celebration time! - April 2011

I chauffeured a pretty girl to the airport. For a nanosecond it seemed like she wanted to give me a bye-bye kiss...I kick myself for letting this moment pass. I am such an idiot - April 2011

Went to Khajuraho to admire erotic art / Kama Sutra carvings on temple walls. Played guide to two free spirited Dutch girls - Evelyn and Jonecka. This could be my alternative career choice if I quit my corporate gig - July 2011

Solo travel to Europe. I take on 8 cities over 21 days spread across 5 countries including Oktoberfest - Munich, Germany. Love it and recommend it - September 2011

Lost my wallet on train to Luxembourg from Amsterdam. Reported it to Luxembourg police and they gave me a page as proof. First Information Report (FIR) probably. What's more... a Dutch train official finds my wallet, establishes contact with me and mails it over to the hotel I was staying in Munich - September 2011

Who says French are aloof? I used google translate and used this line over and over again with cross section of French people in France. "Bonjour, Je suis indien et je parle français comme une vache espagnole. Parlez-vous anglais?" - This line works if you say it with a smile/touch of awkwardness. 100% success rate. September 2011

Relocated from New Delhi to Bangalore and lost my cuff-links in transit. My precious! - October 2011

Metallica, Live in Bangalore. Mindless crowd management by the event management company but an awesome show - October 2011

In my enthusiasm to chat up strangers, I lose my camera. I am so dumb. Bahrain airport - January 2012

Running and crowd spotting at Hong Kong's avenue of the stars. Amused to see my Asian friends posing near Bruce Lee's statue - May 2012

Grandpa passed away. Sad. He had a great life - May 2012

Ten years of work life complete. Tale of six jobs, two companies - June 2012

Wrote to a senior official of world's largest airline and suggested to him that he should include a pack of condoms as amenities for all the frequent fliers. He appreciated the feedback and I don't want to names drop on this blog - June 2012

I haven't found my camera face yet so I hope am ageing gracefully. I am so much more in control of my thoughts and actions than how I was at 25. Feel very sure about the choices I have made in life till this point and the ones I will be making in the years to come.

To celebrate my 30, I have changed the name of my blog to "Scatterbrained" - I am very sure those who know me well would agree that I am totally Scatterbrained.

Life begins at 30, see you on the other side.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Green & Sustainable

April 2011: Due to my parent’s decision to sell everything we had in Delhi and move to South India, I had to re-evaluate where I should stay. A true nonconformist that I am, I had no intention of buying a house of my own and payback loan to the banks for few years. Alternative idea of paying rent to a landlord seemed rather wasteful. I am saving money to catch the Aurora Borealis (Northern lights) live.

Trust me when I say, siblings are very useful in scenarios like the one was in. I spoke to my elder brother in Bangalore and said “Bro, I am going to look to move to Bangalore with my current job, but if it doesn't work out, I will put in my papers and stay with you in Bangalore”. He replied “Sure”. Then I started the conversation in my company to move me to Bangalore. Details of the conversation with my employer are unfit for public consumption…so, let’s leave it at that.

October 2011: I moved to the Bangalore office. In fact, I didn’t quite move to the office, I started working from home in Bangalore. It was an unintended/indirect gift from my employer in turning me into a first green employee of theirs in India. I definitely know, no one in my company really cares about how much they have given back to the environment by letting me work from home…but for the sake of this blog, let me write it anyway:

1. I don’t shave and shower everyday: Saving at least 150 of water every week. Project it over 52 weeks; my company has given back 7,800 to the environment through me. Please don’t say “Ewwww, yuck Vinayakan”….I am a hygienic guy. The weather is nice in Bangalore through the year and one can go without taking shower every day

2. I don’t drive to work: Saving at least 12 petrol every week. Project it over 52 weeks; my company has ensured 624 of petrol is not consumed through me. And one less car on the road

3. I don't need to wash & iron my clothes: Working from home, I am wearing shorts and a T-shirt, so there are no special office clothes to be washed or suits to be dry cleaned. Saves water and stops detergents from polluting the water bodies. No ironing required...which again leads to reduction in my electricity consumption

As 'getting ready' and 'commute to office' time is saved on an everyday basis, I have more time to work on my fitness and write this blog. Through this medium, I wish to spread the "Sustainability" message to the world. I dream, some other organization somewhere in the world will read this and let the employees go green with its direct/indirect action.

And by the way...other than my friends - whom I coerce into reading my blog, no one else reads my blog. But I just can't stop dreaming.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Pause for a minute. Take a deep breath.

Let’s go back 312 years. In the year 1700, if gross domestic product (GDP) was measured in the way it’s measured now, India would have taken the pole position of an economic powerhouse in a canter. Due to variety of reasons, India missed the industrial revolution gravy train. Oh, wait a minute, we didn’t miss the train. We were in the unreserved compartment of the train which contributed economic wealth and prosperity to the British Empire and our bogie got disconnected from the train when the engine had used up our resources. Further, as travelers in the unreserved compartment, we put our individual differences on display which just made it very easy for them to rewrite our Vedic educational system.

It so happens that the Vedic scholars were the first ones to master English when the language was introduced to ‘civilize’ India. Please do not be seduced by the ‘civilization’ efforts of the British. British Empire had no option but to make us go through their education system so that we conform to their methods as quickly as possible and start contributing to their objectives. In India, we had someone by the name Valangaiman Sankaranarayana Srinivasa Sastri who was known for his mastery over English language and even Englishmen regarded him very highly. With historians like Romila Thapar writing our NCERT history books, Srinivasa Sastri isn't mentioned anywhere. Luckily, in the world we live in, Wikipedia is not authored by Indian historians.

Due to the presence of numerous languages in India, spoken English has different regional accents. On a personal note, language is a medium to convey thoughts and as long as that is done effectively, I basically don’t care about the musical quality of the accent. India is probably the only country in the world where one Indian has a rather condescending tone while describing a fellow Indian’s accent. I am ok with harmless fun, but we don’t have to downgrade each other for wearing an accent. I don’t think there is anything like “superior” or “inferior” accent. I have people in my family who revel in their mastery over the language but make fun of other accents. When are we going to stop sizing each other up on trivial things like accents? An accent must not be divisive. Let’s be proud that we have contributed numerous words to the English language. Let’s be proud that we have the largest and the youngest English speaking population in the world. In a few years, we would have changed the language so much that very soon it will be “Inglish” and not “English”.

As most of us know, Germans speak English with a German accent, French – whatever little English they speak, they speak with a French accent (and they are very proud of the way they are, they are not looking for validation from anyone)…as for Americans, I love them. They speak ‘American’ with a vocabulary of 1,000 English words. A New Yorker certainly isn’t berating a Californian.

For the sake of "Inglish" let's save Indians from Indians :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012


“If the slaughterhouse had glass walls everyone would be vegetarian”

– Sir Paul McCartney (The Beatles)

Whenever I am in a random get together of friends or acquaintances I am always an outsider in some context or the other. It’s been like that since I went to hotel school in the year 1999. In that batch, there were students from all parts of India but in the circle of friends I had, I was the only Delhi raised, south Indian.

It has been more than a decade since I went to college but life continues to put me in situations when I am an outsider. These days I am usually a single guy in a circle where everyone is married. Going by the kind of plans of I have for my life, this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. Married guys (and gals) have completely different things to talk about than a single guy. They talk about how priorities in their lives have changed after marriage or how they are preparing for arrival of a new member of the family or how their little kid is learning to walk etc.

At times, I am an outsider because of my vegetarian eating habits. I have been a vegetarian all my life as I was born into a strictly vegetarian family. I ate chicken in my college once but my delicate, 18 year old vegetarian system got surprised and I didn’t enjoy the taste of chicken. So, I left it. Other than that, there have been rare occasions when I am travelling and I have deviated from my vegetarian ways but these instances have not been out of choice but because of the circumstances.

Being a vegetarian serves as an excellent conversation starter. The conversation usually goes in 2-3 predictable directions. They are:

1. “You have no idea, how big a challenge it is cook for a vegetarian separately when everyone other that you coming over is ok with eating meat”. My reply: “Oh, really? I am really sorry. All I need is Rice/Roti and dal…or fruit salad. I promise I won’t be offended if I don’t make it to your invitee list because of my vegetarian ways”

2. “Oh! you are a vegetarian – I can’t live even one day without eating meat. Don’t you find it difficult?” My reply: “No. It’s not difficult at all being a vegetarian in India. In fact, the sheer diversity of cuisine we have in India supports my vegetarian eating habits very well. I consider myself incredibly lucky to be born a vegetarian in India because of which I have access to various cuisines”

3. “Back in college/when we were working together, you used to meat…how come you are a vegetarian now?” My reply: “You are probably confusing me with someone else, but I was a vegetarian in college canteen/staff cafeteria”

Number 3 above has come from people who have known me very well. But I guess, remembering me as a vegetarian is completely irrelevant information for friends who eat meat. That is ok; I don’t want to ask too much off their brain space. Killing an animal with the only intent of eating is irrelevant to them, then why would they care about remembering my vegetarian ways?

I am a nonconformist and I believe I am comfortable in my skin. I certainly don’t feel bad for being the odd one out. But I certainly feel terrible about any of my friend’s antipathy towards vegetarianism. Friend(s): I love you dearly but I will stick my neck out and say “animals deserve better and you can be better”