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Movie and The Mother August 27, 2007

Posted by prasadhms in Pickles.
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Another weekend just flew by and there was something very interesting about the way it started and ended. By the way…it ‘starts’ on the evening of Friday and ends on Monday morning when you reach work!! Call it ‘maximum utilization’. This weekend began with a buddy-drink session where you think you are at your oratorical best giving the heaviest of words and longest of sentences and funniest of logics on everything from why people behave the way they do and how there is someone inside each of us keeping a tally of all successes and failures we clock!! (whooaa!! that sounds spooky!) And while the ‘spirits’ do their work…you wonder if your buddy noticed the lisp in your talk…when complex words like “organization”, “exasperated”, “influential” just refuse to sound correct!

I’ve been lucky with my movie choices in recent times and this time it was “Passion of the Christ” a 2004 Mel Gibson movie. Interesting story line built on the world’s most often told story of the Christ. The movie is all about the emotions and experiences of the ‘human’ in Jesus Christ in the last few hours of the crucifixion. Brilliantly shot movie that takes the other side to show the gory incidents and events in the last hours and all the while making sure you don’t lose the lense of looking at the sufferings of a man. Flashback shots of how Jesus (he is called the “Galilean” all through the movie) is reminded about his life as a carpenter with playful moments with his mother continue to tie you down to the knot of the story everytime you begin looking at the Biblical end of the scene. The screenplay sails cautiously between creativity and blasphemy and also comes out successfully at the end.

The movie has shots of how Satan appears at every point of physical torture and tries to sneak in self-doubt and disbelief into Jesus’ mind and how He fights it back. Well that shot came back to me this morning when CNN flashed the news about Mother Teresa’s recently published private letters showing that she suffered from disbelief for over 40 years and how she had in her confessions stated her not feeling God anymore. A debate was brewing over the Sainthood for someone who had struggled with disbelief for a greater part of her life while continuing to serve the people in the name of God. Am sure the fathom of work and service rendered overtakes any other point stated against.

Will pickle again!

A baby changes your life… August 20, 2007

Posted by prasadhms in Bottles.
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“Baby”…the last I was closely associated with this word was wayback in the late 70s when I was one myself! (Mom said I used to be a cute fella! hehehe!) This changed on the 28th of June 2007 when my daughter was born. A little angel whom I thought was too fragile to be held in my hands…until I saw the paediatrician do a check up in wrestle-mania style. While I would never get the hang of doing that to any baby, that atleast gave me the nerves to hold my own little girl in my hands.

While 28th June was the D-day, the changes to our life had started months back when the doc gave us the news. Changes began in areas as basic of speed of driving the car to much more complicated ones of leaving my wife back in India and returning to ‘bachelorhood’ here in KL. It was worth all the wait and anxiety when Advika (my daughter’s name that means “UNIQUE”) joined as the 4th member of a notorious gang of girls in the family…both my sisters have daughters as well! So now its Varsha, Raksha (Dinky), Diya (Pappu) and Advika! Cute little angels they all are!

While there are lots of things that kept changing and continue to change in our life with the little one’s addition…it had to be Anu’s (my wife) birthday to show how much a baby can change your life. All standard rituals were broken on the build-up and the celebration of this Birthday. Discussions about the new dress and the birthday treat were replaced with talk about how the little one was smiling at her first friend (a piece of thread hanging in her cradle and swaying with the breeze!) . Mid-night wishes were written off in respect to the sleeping time of the little boss and early morning wishes were not accomodated as well…to give Anu the time to sleep after a night-out session convincing the little one that nights are meant for sleeping! With both of them still in India, the wish had to wait until they woke up and settled in enough and say…”Now! Lets call daddy!”  and called me to receive the wishes! And it did not stop there. Bday talk was just a minute long and then we were back to the talk about how baby likes to sleep closing her ears with her hand and how much of a “freedom-fighter” she is in the cradle.

True! A baby changes your life…and you will Love it!

Will pickle again!

Of Custards and Customer Service August 12, 2007

Posted by prasadhms in Pickles.
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Oh! I did it again. Frame a strange title and then think about what to write. But coming to think about…there is really some stuff that I’ve encountered in recent times and been itching to write about.

Like I’d explained sometime earlier, the obsession about origin of words is like sitting with a pack of your favourite cookies…you stop after having 3, saying a shallow “Enough!” and then consider having the 4th and then a half of the 5th and eventually burp! over the empty wrapper! As I am sure you may not have an appetite for the origin of the Custard, let me just state that the history is a long and complicated one as captured in literature on food timelines. Owing its origin to Ancient Roman cooks (who were smart enough to discover the binding properties of egg) Custards have always had a close connection to puddings and flans and french creme. Over time, different foods have come to be known as puddings and custards.

I’ve lately been walking around shopping malls and stores without the shopping cart and the pressure of watching which section my wife was gonna set her eyes on next. Its during such an outing that I noticed that Customer Service (like Custards) has also taken up different shapes and denominations. We have a wide range starting from the hyper active “I-will-help-you-choose-and-pack-and-go-home-soon!” varieties to the “Oh-you-shop-but-ask-me-nothing!” varieties. There is this high speed-high cost express train service that shuttles between KL City and the International Airport that introduced a smile-o-meter (i dont get the right name…but am sure you get the idea) that is supposed to be a printed paper strip to be used by commuters to rate the customer service experience at the ticket counter based on the size / width of the smile given by the counter staff. Novel idea!  But the key is to first find the strip and then cast your vote. Guess I’ve been cursed enough by the demons to not get to lay my hands on these strips.

Then there is this chain of Japanese hypermarket that also adopted a similar idea, but has kept its supply chain of the ballot sheets good enough to be refilling the box at the counter. Whoa! I jumped up in joy to see the sheets and grabbed one like a greedy child while the lady at the counter was busy billing after having conveyed earlier that I meant nothing to her…its only the stuff to bill that she was interested in. I failed her in the test (as if it mattered!) and walked off the counter after paying up. I had to go back to the counter to bill something else and this time I felt “Customer is King!”. Was greeted with the best of smiles, friendly words, eye contact and “happy to have you with us” feel. I reversed my previous verdict with a positive vote for the efforts. So…it does work! Long live customer service.

Will pickle again!