Sunday, August 27, 2006

Brand New Day

A few people were wondering about why there was such a long gap between my previous two posts, Koval-ummm and Kanyakumari. Well, the thing is, I have gotten a job! The timings are from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM. So all this while, my entire system has had to rearrange itself and get used to waking up at 6:00 AM in the morning, every single day! Thank God I get the weekends to myself. But all I do on weekends is to sleep, sleep, and then sleep some more! :D

And that is the reason why I could not blog as much as I wanted to. Now I’m somewhat used to this new routine.

During the last few weeks of my post-grad course I was quite worried about what I was gonna do once the final exams were over. I thought that I’d most probably be sitting at home twiddling my thumbs. So I decided to put up my resume online. And then one day I got a call from this company, asking me to come down for an interview. So I wrote my last exam on 16th May and went for the interview on 17th May, and got selected after a short test and an interview. To say that I was euphoric would be an understatement!! I just couldn’t wait to get home and tell my Mother!

As most people know, I have done Clinical Psychology. My current job profile is slightly different. The company where I work is all about Usability. We make websites and other electronic gadgets user-friendly. So at first I wasn’t sure what exactly I would be doing here.

I’ve completed exactly seven weeks at work now, six of which were spent in training. And they have been wonderful weeks! We are a bunch of 14 trainees. As a part of our introduction at the office, we were asked to put up a play. So we put up this silly play, which was about usability in a very filmy context! We were sure we’d be booed off the stage, but thankfully most of the people were laughing really hard! I played (very reluctantly, I might add!) the role of a law enforcement agent who was a cross between a Charlie’s Angel type and a bumbling havaldar! The best part of this experience was when my role ended! LOL!!

After the play was over, there was this big jam session, where our CEO played the guitar, and a bunch of other people began banging on drums, dholaks and other beatable instruments! I too got a chance to play a drum. The noise levels were really, really high, but it was just sooooooo much fun!!! And I must add that our CEO has to be the coolest of all! He’s terrific!

Last Thursday was our certification test, which all of us were quite tense and nervous about, as the passing grade was 70%. I hardly ever externalize my stress, but it eats me up from the inside, and I keep on picturing the worst-case scenarios over and over again! But, we passed! And now I’m even more ecstatic!

These past seven weeks have made me realize something. I was unhappy for the past two year. There! I’ve said it! I never thought I would be able to admit this to myself! Back then it was a sort of self-preservation thing, I suppose. If I’d admitted to myself that I was unhappy, then I would really have been unable to be even a tiny bit happy!

And a lot of the happiness in my life has got to do with my fellow trainees. At last I have found people who I can relate to, who share the same brand of humour as mine! The girls in my college were quite nice, funny even, but it was rather hard to connect with any of them, save one-two.

It’s a different story at work. I’m grinning like an idiot most of the time, so much so, that I catch myself grinning even while walking or sitting in the train on my way to work or going back home! I’m not even the angry lout that I’m most mornings! I’m not a morning person, you see, and am pissed off in general, whenever I have to wake up early!

One time last week, I was going back home by train, and I kept recalling this really funny incident in which this guy at work was imitating someone (and doing a brilliant job of it!). I found it really hard to stop myself from bursting out laughing. So I tried to just look out the window and smother the laughter by pressing my hand down on my mouth, but a few giggles escaped along with a lot of shoulder shrugs!!!

I thought to myself that I was glad that there weren’t too many people in the compartment at that moment. But then I happened to look at this girl sitting before me, who was looking at me with some alarm! She started giving me strange looks, and having decided that it wasn’t safe to sit anywhere close to me, picked up her bag and sat at the other end!! :))

I’m actually laughing out loud (and scaring my grandma in the process!) while recalling this incident!

I feel so blessed! Blessed to have landed this job, but most of all to meet such wonderful people!

Now I just hope that I will continue having fun even after I’m assigned to a project…

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Here I’m after aaaaaaages! I’m going to complete this long overdue post now!

So, last time I’d left off at the point where we had started off from Kanyakumari for Kovalam. En route we stopped at Nagercoil to visit the Padmanabhapuram Palace. The following three pics were taken by D.

It appeared to be a very well maintained structure. We saw everything from the royal bedchambers to the royal WC!! :D

I liked the Festival Hall the best because it had beautifully sculptured pillars and statues.

We arrived at Kovalam at about 2:30-3:00 in the afternoon. We stayed at a resort on Lighthouse Beach. Here is a pic of the lighthouse that I'd taken from my hotel room.

The view from our room was quite fabulous; tall coconut trees swaying lazily in the wind, and we could just about make out the sea in the distance.

After lunch we decided to snooze for a while. In the evening we decided to go for a walk on the beach. We were really surprised to see that the sand was black in colour. We later found out that in November-December the sand changes back to a pale yellow colour. This is all got to do with the way the sea moves, tides etc. This is also the tourist season in Kovalam.

Anyway, as I’d probably mentioned earlier, I looooooove water!! So I was completely excited and wanted to wade in. But Ma as usual was like, “Don’t go in too deep! The waves will suck you in!” Well, this time she did have a point, as the sea was really rough. You could hear the waves crash against the beach really loudly.

We then walked along the promenade and looked into all the seaside cafés. We then decided that we would dine at these cafés every night.

Next day we decided to go to Trivandrum. We first went to the Veli Tourist Village. There were lots of bizarre sculptures at this place!

This place was apparently first used for movie shootings, and has now been opened up to the general public. The best part was the speedboat ride that we had. I’d never been in a speedboat before, and I’m so glad I did at last! It was sooooo much fun! We were just zooming all over the place! The guy who was driving it took quite a few sharp turns and I could actually hear Ma squealing behind me. I couldn’t make out if she was enjoying herself or was just scared out of her wits! LOL!

As for me, I was just grinning like an idiot throughout the ride, and this song called “Na To Raa” (which I think means “Come with me”, but am not too sure) from a Telugu movie called “Ninne Pelladata” kept on playing in my head. Nagarjuna and Tabu had starred in this movie. All the songs in it are damn good! It was even dubbed and released in Hindi, but I forgot what the title was in Hindi. It is the song in which Nagarjuna and Tabu are enjoying all sorts of adventure sports on water.

Anyway, I digress, so lets get back on track. After the Veli Village we went to see the Padmanabhaswamy temple.

We then went to visit the Napier Museum, but couldn’t as it was a Tuesday, I think, and all the public places are closed on Tuesdays. So we then went to this departmental store called Parthas, and did a bit of shopping there. We then had lunch and headed back to Kovalam, with Dad in a very bad mood, as he thought that the entire day had been wasted since all the “places to see” were closed. As is his wont, the tirade did not stop till we reached our hotel in Kovalam, and D and I escaped into our room!

At night we dined at the Malabar Café. I had a pizza after a really, really long time and was very, very satisfied! :D

D was also satisfied as he got to watch the FIFA on a TV mounted at the restaurant. A variety of fresh fish were displayed outside most of these cafés, and one could inspect and choose which fish one would like to eat.

The next day we went to the Neyyar Dam sans D, as he just wanted to have a day of R & R on the beach. The road to the dam was just awful, and even though I had taken a travel sickness pill, I felt quite sick! At last we arrived at the dam and I was glad to walk on stable ground again!

The dam was surrounded by a large garden. We turned a corner and all of a sudden came face-to-face with a man peering at us through a binocular lens! I got so startled! And after a few seconds I realized that the ‘man’ wasn’t moving at all, and that’s when it hit me that it was just a statue! There were freaky statues like this all over the place! There was a statue of a woman in a swimming suit even at the edge of a swimming pool! Photgraphy around the dam was not allowed.

There was a Crocodile Protection Center some 3-4 km away from the dam. The poor crocs were kept in tiny cages. Most were quite small. The biggest one is the one below:

We then found out that there was also a Lion Safari Park just a few km away from the Crocodile Protection Center and we signed up for that along with another family, who were also from Bombay. I’d never been on a lion safari before, so turns out this trip was one of firsts for many things!

There are 3 female lions, 1 male lion and 2 cubs in the reserve. We were told that there was a distinct possibility that we may not come across any of the lions. We could hear the roars of the animals from time to time though. We then turned into a clearing and came across two of the lionesses.

We were all so completely thrilled! We were just about 2-3 feet away from wild animals! I rushed to sit in the seat just beside the driver’s and kept on filming the two lionesses on the camcorder, even though all they did was sit around and regard us with an air of utmost boredom! Some distance below the clearing was a large cage in which the two cubs were kept. The lion was sitting just outside the cage. The two cubs were not really all that small, and were kept separate from the lion to avoid any territorial fights.

At one point the driver asked me if I wanted to see the two lionesses walk. I just shrugged my shoulders and wondered how he would manage that. All he did was nudge the van closer to them. The two got up grumpily, walked just a few inches away and plonked themselves back on to the ground!

Then the driver got out on to his side (the lionesses were on my side of the van) and tried to get the lion to come up where we were. He shouted a bit and threw a stick or pebble to distract the lion and make him come up. At this point I grew quite nervous as the lionesses could come around on to his side at any moment and swipe at him as if he were a rat! I just wanted him to get back into the van and shut the door tight!

After the excitement of the lion safari we headed back to Trivandrum and visited the Napier Museum at last!

There is also a zoo somewhere close to the museum, but I was not in a mood to visit a zoo, so we just went to the museum. It had some really interesting artifacts ranging from Southern India to Fiji! There were also some models of the famous seals and statuettes found at Harappa and Mohenjodaro.

We spent the next day at our hotel, and I got a massage. This one was much better than the one that I’d gotten in Thekkady two years ago. I felt completely relaxed afterwards and I think it even cured my hair loss problem!!

At night we went back to the Malabar Café on the Lighthouse Beach promenade. It was our favourite little café. It even had a hotel attached to it.

Out of all of the places that we had visited this time, Kovalam was my absolute fav! It gave me a very “Dil Chahata Hai” feel! And the whole time that I was there I kept on thinking of how fantastic it would be to come back to Kovalam with all of my gal pals and spend an entire week (or more) just lazing around on the beach, eating at the Malabar Café, and maybe getting a massage or two. That would be just heaven! :D

The next day we got in to the Netravati Express and came back to Bombay after spending nearly 24 hours in the train, as it was terribly late! So I just spent the time getting onto D’s nerves by talking utter nonsense all the time and asking him innumerable questions! Hehe! Well, he deserved it for annoying me for all of my 23 years!

We were greeted by a very wet Bombay and all that was left of our trip were fond memories and a deep tan!