Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 832: Sleep!

Yup, that's what I did today. Just sleep.

I woke up with a bad headache as well as with shooting pains on my back and arms. The body was crying out for some rest. So I decided to take time off work and not aggravate them.

And I slept. The whole day. The whole freaking day!

When I was up in the evening, I felt refreshed enough and the pains were no longer there. So I went for a jog, got back, cooked a bit, worked a lot (there was more than enough office work to last for a few days), meddled around with IOK again (I can't seem to be satisfied yet) and am finally writing the blog now.

Nothing super awesome about the day, as you can see. But sometimes sleeping & resting is just what you need!

167 more to go.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 831: Ideation Session!

This whole week, we are to have just what we call, ideation sessions at work. Which basically means just spend time, as a team, brainstorming and coming up with a few kick ass ideas for future initiatives.

This is an annual event here and I enjoy it every single time! Not just because am asked to brainstorm around shampoos and conditioners but because, in the process, we are subject to a LOT of very inspirational stories and brands and products and ads and even things that have absolute got nothing to do with any of the work we do but are still SO exciting!

I can't share any of those here because of confidentiality issues but they completely made my day!

169 more to go.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 830: Truly Done!

You know how yesterday I wrote here that Inganeyum Oru Katha was finally done?

Well, today I realized that I wasn't completely satisfied with it. The audio in a particular scene was driving me nuts and I had to get it right. According the hubby, I am just stupid because apparently the audio issues are not that big, and I do think he is right, but I wasn't able to live it.

So I came back home from work and spent a total of 5.5 hours on fixing it. Not just that scene's audio but also fixing all the subtitles because the timelines had all changed etc.


But now...

Now, I am truly satisfied!! Yay!!!! OK so now IOK is truly, truly done!

170 more to go.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day 829: Inganeyum Oru Katha - DONE!

GOD, what a day!

It's like even if it is a short film that you are making, you have all the problems in the world! Never a dull moment!

Maybe because IOK is a zero budget film that the technical issues were far beyond overwhelming! I mean... I literally spent $0 on it and I guess that shows. Looks like there is a reason why people end up spending quite a bit on making films.

Anyway point being, it was quite a struggle trying to get the movie completed. Wasn't a cake walk at all!

But as of a few minutes ago, it is DONE! I have my little Malayalam film, all ready to be screened!


More than anything else, I am just SO relieved! Because even this morning I could only go to bed after 9am. That's how long me and my editor and sound designer back in India were working on it. Then the movie was put to render for about 7 hours and another few hours to transfer it online from India to Singapore.

All of that work only to realize there are a few technical glitches. Groan.

Anyway, I managed to fix some of those and overall it is looking OK I guess.

Anyway, it is done.

IOK is done!

And I feel more than OK now!

171 more to go.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day 828: A Very Happening Saturday!

Yup, seriously happening.

Firstly I ended up going to bed only at 6:30 am after all the IOK work from yesterday.

Then I woke up and immediately started to panic. It was our friend's 30th birthday today and the theme for the partying in the evening was "70's Retro" and I had not idea what to wear for that!

Thankfully, neither did my husband.

So both of us went out shopping for some 70's Retro clothes and accessories.

Then it was time for the celebration itself - which basically involved dinner first and then major club hopping. We were at Amara Hotel, Marina Bay Sands, China One and Rupee Room in succession. A straight 8 hour celebration!

It was quite fun but then I had to leave the party a bit early (at 3:30am that is) to get back home to continue the design work. My editor and sound designer based out of Mumbai were sending me updated materials and I had to review them

That process is still going on - it is 7:21am on 26th already.

If this isn't "happening", what is!

A huge celebration and lotsa work all packed into a day~ I am dead tired right now but I am quite happy!

172 more to go.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 827: Farewell, Friends, Salted Caramel & Work!

Today was the farewell dinner of one of my closest friends in Singapore, who also happens to be the hero of quite a number of my films including Mausams and the currently in-progress Inganeyum Oru Katha. He is moving to India to do his MBA very soon and some of us, the common friends, threw him a farewell dinner today.

The venue was Canopy. This time, to get there, I took a nice long walk through Bishan Park all the way from Bishan Junction 8. It was a considerably long walk but I enjoyed it a lot! It was my first time walking through this park post all the construction that has been going on there over the last few years and I was amazed at how much it has changed!

It has a very lovely landscape, great jogging and biking tracks, several eating places and I loved the whole new look with all the bridges, funky seating areas, the stream running through (all man made!), the boulders scattered along and over the stream, etc. etc. It was all very nice!

Then, meeting this friend as well as rest of gang at Canopy and having a long, fun dinner was definitely a highlight! I had the most awesome time ever! There were about 10 of us and we spent a few hours eating and drinking and chit chatting about the most random stuff!

Then we made our way to the Salted Caramel at Upper Thomson road, in quest of dessert when there was none available at Canopy. It was my first time there, but I realized that salted caramel (yes, caramelized icecream with salt!) is indeed one of the most tasty things mankind has ever made! Yummmmmm!

After the dessert, a few of them came over to my place - not for further partying, but to WORK!

Yep, some of these guys are part of IOK, including the friend whose farewell it was, and they had to do a last minute dubbing. OK, I did feel kinda bad about making them do it - it's not exactly what someone wants to do on a Friday night, close to midnight, especially when it was your farewell dinner etc., but one can't help these things you see! So they came over, and while the dub was done successfully, we actually spent more time joking around and laughing so much that I started to tear! In other words, I had a ball!

Post dub, the rest of them left (it was 2am) and I started to work on syncing the dub files, going through some sound design work, doing another round of the titles and credits work etc. It is now 5:57am and I am still not done with all of it.

But I guess that doesn't matter. What truly matters is that I had a great evening with some of my closest friends and had a ton of fun, while discovering the supercool taste of Salted Caramel as well as being incredibly productive!

173 more to go.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 826: Titles & Credits!

Do you know how much work goes into making titles and credits in a film? Well quite a lot.

That's all I have been doing this evening - working on the titles and credits for Inganeyum Oru Katha.

We are not doing anything fancy for our credits and titles - we are working with only simple text but even that is more complicated than what one would think. Or maybe it is just my obsessive compulsive behaviour. Either way, it is not done until we have the exact right font, colour, words, duration, pacing, alignment on the frame, transitions, sync with the music etc. etc.

My editor in India is putting in the credits and titles on the video at his end. So this what has been happening. He does the work, sends over to me for review, I give my comments here and there, he would re-work on it, send it back to me, and so on and so forth.

But I think it is coming to a close very soon and in a way that I am quite happy with.

Even such a small thing can give such a sense of satisfaction! Awesome, really!

174 more to go.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 825: Darn Ego!

Getting myself to write this blog today will be the highlight of today.

It is 10:26pm and I am still in office under an overwhelming mountain of workload that shows no signs of being less of a mountain.

Under normal circumstances, I would have skipped writing the blog today and would have come back to it a few days later and talked about the Chai I drank or the lovely lemon rice that Jumilah had packed for my lunch today (which was quite the highlight, by the way)!

But two days ago I happily declared on Facebook -
"Resolution for the next 177 days - if I am not travelling, I shall write the daily blogpost on the same day itself, no matter how late it is or how tired I am. Am done with bulk writing. "

... and then I proceed to further add on to it by writing -
"(OK, now that a public declaration has been made, my ego shall help me achieve it)!"


So here I am writing a blog in spite of the fact that I am dead tired and I still have so much work to do. All because of that darn ego. And that darn Facebook. And that darn sense of impulse. Bleargh.

But now that I am almost on to the very last sentence of it, I know that I will be happy, later.

Yup, it's done.. .my blog post for the day is done.. I have managed to write it in spite of whatever else that's going on with me... I don't lose my face in the Facebook world after all...!

Yeah baby!

Happy, now.

175 more to go.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day 824: Happy, Later!

It was another very long, hard day at work. Things have been way too crazy and I have been feeling rather overwhelmed the past few weeks.

To add to all that stress, I felt like my whole body was hurting today... my arms from way too much typing at the laptop, my wrist at the point where I place it on the desk as I type, my back from sitting for so long and typing etc. etc., all symptoms of fatigue and being in a rather non-ergonomical sitting state most of the time.

Nett, by evening, I felt like I had enough. I just wanted to leave and not do anything for the rest of the evening.

But here's the catch. I was supposed to go for yoga today. That was my plan as I set out from my home this morning.

But I no longer wanted to go for it. I was just way too exhausted and I felt that the heat and that kinda profuse sweating in the hot yoga room, is the last thing I really wanted for the day. I was pretty certain that I would not have a good class because I just didn't feel that great physically.

All very valid arguments, one would say. But just as I was dishing out all of them to myself, somewhere in my head I kept telling myself "but you must go... but you must go....".

Seriously, sometimes these inner voices are just plain annoying!

Anyway to cut a long story short, I was in a dilemma. For almost an hour, I went from "I will go" to "maybe not" and back.

At the end of the hour I happened to ask myself a question - "What would make you happy later? Would going for yoga make you happy later? Or would it be a nice relaxed evening that would make you happy later"?

The answer could have really gone either way. There is nothing wrong in going for yoga and there is nothing wrong in having a nice relaxed evening. But for today, I knew the answer was "Go for yoga". I knew that if I don't go, I will feel super guilty about it later on, which would spoil that relaxed evening anyway.

So I went for yoga. And just as I had predicted, it was an awful class for me. I was dizzy and nauseous through a good part of it. But I struggled on and after 1.5 hours, the ordeal was over!

I was happy and I didn't regret not taking the evening off to relax!

So this is going to be my mantra from now on - sincerely asking and answering the question, "What will make you happy, later?". I think it helps to overcome short term discomfort pretty well.

So for today, I am happy that I went for yoga - in spite of having an aching arm, an aching wrist, an aching back and in spite of feeling like I was going to die for about 1.5 hours!

176 more to go.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 823: Shivaratri!

Shivaratri, or Shivratri as they call it in the north of India, is a festival dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Today was Shivaratri and I decided to go the temple. If I were back at home in Kerala I might have been involved in the festivities associated with this auspicious day but here in Singapore, going to the temple was just about it for me.

But it was an awesome temple visit!

I chose a little corner and stood there with my eyes closed, unaffected by the crowd and chaos, not intending to meditate but ending up meditating anyway, for a really long time. It felt incredibly peaceful!

It was a perfect Shivaratri for me!

177 more to go.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 822: Major Scripting!

Today I worked a few hours straight to complete about 50% of the screenplay for the new potential project I had written about here.

It was actually pretty good progress because the film is supposed to be almost an hour long and to get 50% done of that in one sitting was pretty ambitious (to be honest, I was aiming 100% but that was way too ambitious I suppose!) Also, the plot was getting more and more complicated as I was writing and I was getting stuck at several places, and had thought of giving it up now and again.

But I kept on writing until I was half way through the story and I felt pretty darn awesome about it!

178 more to go.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 821: Singapore Airshow!

In my 13+ years of being in Singapore, I haven't even once attended its very famous Airshow. Don't ask me why. I just didn't.

But this year, thanks to a bunch of enthusiastic friends, I ended up going for it.

And it was really fun! Sure, the hubby got himself late and hence we missed pretty much most of the aerial displays and sure, I ended up taking more photos of people than aircrafts indicating rather a weak interest in the latter, but still it was a lot of fun!

There were thousands and thousands of people braving the hot sun and walking around in that huge, and I mean really really HUGE open space, admiring the aircrafts, enjoying their cones of ice cream and hot dogs, taking pictures left, right and centre, enjoying the Hawaiian live band that was playing, sitting and relaxing under the wings of a bomber when the sun becomes too hot (nope, I am not making this up), going into the air conditioned exhibition halls and settling in comfortably on the floor with their picnic baskets and having their curd rice and paav bhaji with their extended families (yup, this spectacular sight was provided by fellow Indians of course), converting those awesome fighter pilots to mere photographers and worse still, baby sitters. etc. etc.

In short, it was quite an experience! Enjoyed myself thoroughly!

179 more to go.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Day 820: A Film Project Commission?

A very interesting day!

I, in a way, got my first commissioned film project. In the sense, someone has requested me to make a film for them, and that too pretty seriously. It is not one of those several conversations you have with enthusiastic individuals who will say "we must make a film together" etc., but nothing seriously comes out of it. It was a very earnest request backed up with thoughts of plots, budgets etc. so it was pretty interesting!

The conversation on this had started a few days ago but today I met up with the guy (and his wife) who is the driving force behind it.

There is a question mark in the title of this blogpost, instead of an exclamation mark, because I am still struggling to figure out whether I will be able to do this project mainly due to time constraints. I already have some other commitments for the months ahead and I am figuring out whether it would be possible to take this up at all. Also, to be very honest, I have my doubts about how well I can make a film for someone else. Till date, whatever I have made, was purely for myself - whatever that appealed to me in whichever way it pleased me. But making something for somebody else - phew, it's definitely a totally different ball game! So yes, that's a question mark.

Having said that, the discussion today, that lasted for several hours over some awesome Italian food followed by McDonald's Himalayan Chai Latte, was inspiring and exhilarating! After several to and fro ideations, I was able to form a clear picture of the plot in my head. Also, I found both of them (i.e the husband and the wife) really fun to talk to! We not only talked work but had a ball otherwise too!

At the end of it all we agreed that as a next step, I will draw a rough script up so we have an idea on what is really needed to turn this into reality.

More details on what this film is about and for what purpose etc. will come up later once it is decided that I will definitely be taking it up. But for today, I had an awesome filmie meeting with some really cool people!

180 more to go.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 819: That Team, That Colleague, That Friend!

The best time I've had during my last 6.5 years of work is when I worked on SK-II with a wonderfully fun, close knitted, almost all-female team! Over the years, most of that team left the company to pursue other interests or jobs, leaving behind just four of us from the initial 10 or so.

Now one more very close friend from that team is leaving the company to join another one. She has been my partner in crime all through the SK-II days as well as one of my best counsellor, listener and regular 3 o clock tea partner!

Today I had my final lunch with her as a colleague, together with one more friend from the old gang. Sure, we would be meeting outside of work often enough but I would miss having her around to bug whenever I have a low point at work!

Anyway the lunch was fun, we talked for long while and reminisced about all our glorious SK-II days, the people we loved, the people we didn't love all the much, all the so-typical-old-SK-II-team moment etc. etc. It was bitter sweet but definitely the highlight of the day!

Here's wishing her all the very best moving forward...!

181 more to go.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 818: Kabuliwala With Kids!

Sometime in 2008, I had put up a theatrical show called Kathaah - it showcased three short plays all inspired by short stories written by Indian authors. One of those plays was Kabuliwala, originally a short story by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and I had adapted it for the stage.

One of the schools in Singapore had borrowed the script from me recently to put up the play with their own students. I was invited to watch the show today during my lunch hour and it was the best break I could have taken on a Wednesday! I found the performance really adorable and the whole experience absolutely beautiful! The students were all so very sincere and hard working and such earnest performers! They were from class 5 (or primary 5 as it is called in Singapore) and it was lovely to watch them perform, putting in their very best! Not only the performers, but I found the entire bunch, including the audience, very well behaved and eager and enthusiastic. They were so sweet that towards the performance they were all profusely thanking me as if I were the one who taught them to perform, when all I did was share a script! I was truly touched!

Post the performance I had lunch with two of the teachers there and we discussed everything from theatre to films to kids to teaching etc. It was a wonderful conversation too and makes me want to work with children on plays and films!

Anyway, it was indeed a lovely afternoon! It was quite amazing to see something you worked on so long ago come to life once again, that too brought to life by a bunch of kids. Very satisfying!

182 more to go.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 817: Yoga Demo!

Very interestingly, the yoga instructor asked me to demo my Oh-so-beautiful Rabbit Pose today in the class.

Of course, that made me feel Oh-so-cool and made an otherwise average day Oh-so-awesome!

183 more to go.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 816: Monday Music!

I knew that it is going to be a tough week ahead. There is simply too many things to get done at work. So naturally Monday was not something I was looking forward to.

Given the mountain of work I was supposed to finish off, I had to wake up early and get to work at least 1.5 hours earlier than usual. I thought that with all that early rising, I would finish up quite a bit of work even before lunch time which would then make me feel good and later I can leave office at a reasonable time and go for yoga, which would make me feel even better.

So I did wake up early, I got to office early, realized that I was the first one in office, I did my work - a lot of it - through the morning, realized that the mountain had hardly budged by lunch time, so continued to work through the afternoon...and evening...and night and then realized that I was the last one to get out of office. In other words, the day didn't go exactly the way I had planned. Oh well.

BUT I was in a great mood through the day and I think it is because of my Monday Music.

When I realized that I was the first one in office, I felt very proud of myself for being such an early riser and to celebrate the occasion, I sang at the top of my voice. Yup. It was awesome! With an amazing 19th floor view and a floor full of empty chairs, desks, quiet printers & copiers, without the hustle of the papers or the buzz of the phones around me, I sang. I felt on top of the world.

Later at night, when I realized that I was once again all alone in the office, I repeated my music rendition. The view from the 19th floor was still amazing and once again a floor full of empty chairs, desks, quiet printers & copiers, without the hustle of the papers or the buzz of the phones surrounded me and I sang. I felt awesome!

An otherwise potentially shitty Monday became very easily beautiful!

184 more to go.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 815: Anniversary Day!

Post the fantastic celebration on the yacht yesterday, we decided to take today, the actual day of anniversary, pretty slow and easy.

After waking up at a reasonably early hour for a Sunday, we made our way to the temple to say a quick Thank You to God. I was pleased to find out that the temple, which is usually rather crowded and noisy, was not at all that way today! There were very few people and the majority of them was sitting in one corner and singing prayers in a group. I found it really peaceful and serene and loved being there!

Breakfast was at the awesome Lakshmi Narasimhan, one of the best South Indian places in Singapore, which has reopened after a few months of being shut down! Their spicy Andhra dosa is super awesome! I enjoyed that with vada, idli and a cup of steaming filter coffee over some fun conversation with a couple of friends we ran into there!

Then we caught the film 'Descendants', which had a very nice, light take on an otherwise usually morbid backdrop of death. I quite enjoyed that too!

Then there was dinner at Absolute Thai with friends, brother and sister in law ...(really awesome food, albeit being pretty spicy at times) and ice cream!

Lovely, relaxed, beautiful day!

Thus we move on to the sixth year of marital bliss!

185 more to go.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 814: 5th Anniversary Celebration!!!

Had the most terrific day!

Tomorrow, the hubby and I complete five years of our marital bliss and to celebrate this occasion our close friends put together a yacht party! And it was AWESOME!

A small yacht that could accommodate about 10 people was rented out for a few hours in the evening. We reached the Changi Sailing Club at about 5:45pm and boarded the yacht, sailed by a nice old guy called Derek, at 6pm. It was not too sunny by then and the weather was perfect - windy, cloudless, cool.

Our friends had organized a lot of food - pizzas and snacks, and drinks and we spent a few hours eating, drinking, taking pictures, chatting, laughing, singing, listening to music, watching the sun set, watching the planes above our aheads right after they take off from the Changi airport runway, watching the fishing villages floating by, balancing on the edges and tip of the yacht in the attempt to take cooler pics, sitting and dangling our legs off the edge to touch the speeding waves with our feet, getting thoroughly wet in the process, loving the sailing in daylight and loving it even more when night fell. In short, having the time of ours lives! Our friends also presented us a series of gifts, in an elaborate ceremony - bringing them out one by one and making quite a show of it! It was rather cute and the gifts were awesome! And at the end, they got us to pop a champagne too! It was all very sweet, happy and unforgettable!

After the yacht ride, we had our dinner at the Changi Sailing Club. It was my first time there and that place is really beautiful. It is almost like a resort in Thailand or Bali... loved the quietness and ambience and the ocean a lot!

Post dinner, we walked to the beach and spent some time there. We saw a gorgeous moon rise - the moon was huge, golden in colour and was very low down to the horizon and ascended very quickly into the sky as we watched it. It was stunning!

It was one of the most beautiful evenings, one of the most beautiful experiences ever! I couldn't have wished for a better anniversary celebration! It was perfect and I couldn't stop smiling through the night!

A big thank you and much love to our amazing friends who made this day truly special!

A big hug to the hubby for five years of being around as the hubby!

Here's to a lot more!

186 more to go.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 813: 5 km!

This week was rather stressful at work. And I got it out of my system by going for a more than usual jog. 5 kms... in a very nice, breezy, cool Singapore.

The stress evaporated! And I was back to feeling on top of the world!

187 more to go.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 812: Remote Consumer Work!

I am sure I have said this before somewhere on the blog, but let me repeat. I love doing consumer research as part of my work! It is always eye opening to listen to total strangers talk about their lives, habits, inspirations, thoughts about anything and everything including dandruff shampoos!

I had not been to any consumer research for a while but for the last two days I had been remotely (i.e. via videocall) participating in a focus group discussion. And I had a ball doing it! Two whole days of listening to a bunch of young & old men and women just talk, talk and talk!

Not only was it inspiring and encouraging, but I managed to lock what I believe are pretty good product concepts, post the research! I loved all the debriefings, discussions, multiple concept revisions as we learn more and more things from the consumers, and finally locking something that the consumers like and we like too! So it was fun as well as very productive. Awesomeness!

188 more to go.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 811: മലയാളം ബ്ലോഗ്‌!!!

My sincere apologies to any non-Malayalis who planned to read this blog. For today alone, I am writing in Malayalam!

എനിക്ക് പെട്ടന്നൊരു ആഗ്രഹം. മലയാളത്തില്‍ എഴുതാനൊരാഗ്രഹം. അതും അവിടെയും ഇവിടെയും എഴുതിയാല്‍ പോര. ബ്ലോഗില്‍ തന്നെ എഴുതണം. ഏതായാലും എന്‍റെ ഒരു കൊച്ചു ആഗ്രഹമല്ലേ. സാധിപ്പിച്ചു കളയാമെന്നു ഞാനും വിചാരിച്ചു.

ബ്ലോഗ്‌ വായിക്കുന്ന നല്ലവരായ കുറച്ചു പേരോട് ഞാന്‍ ആദ്യം തന്നെ ക്ഷമ ചോദിക്കട്ടെ. മലയാളം അറിയാത്തവര്‍ എന്നോട് ക്ഷമിക്കു ( ഇത് ഞാന്‍ മുകളില്‍ ഇംഗ്ലീഷിലും എഴുതിയിട്ടുണ്ട്). മലയാളം അറിയുന്നവരും എന്നോട് ക്ഷമിക്കു.മലയാളം എഴുതിയിട്ട് വര്‍ഷങ്ങളായി. ഇതില്‍ എത്ര തെറ്റുകള്‍ വരുമെന്നെനിക്കറിയില്ല. അതുകൊണ്ട് നിങ്ങളും ക്ഷമിക്കു.

ചിലപ്പോള്‍ ഈയടുത്തിടെ വായിച്ചു തുടങ്ങിയ പി. പദ്മരാജന്‍റെ ചെറുകഥകള്‍ ആയിരിക്കാം ഇങ്ങനെ ഒരാഗ്രഹം പൊട്ടിമുളക്കാന്‍ അവസരമുണ്ടാകിയത്. അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്‍റെ എഴുത്ത് ശൈലി എനിക്ക് വളരെ ഇഷ്ടപ്പെട്ടു. കാര്യം ഓരോ കഥയിലും മരണത്തെ കുറിച്ചും മരണത്തിന്‍റെ പശ്ചാത്തലത്തില്‍ നടക്കുന്ന സംഭവങ്ങളെ കുറിച്ചും മറ്റും ആണ് എഴുതിയിരിക്കുന്നത്. സാധാരണഗതിയില്‍ ഇതെല്ലം മടുപ്പിക്കുന്ന വിഷയങ്ങളായി എനിക്ക് തോന്നിയേനെ. പക്ഷെ ഇദ്ദേഹം എഴുതുന്ന ശൈലി വളരേ മനോഹരമായതിനാല്‍ വായിക്കാന്‍ ഒരു രസമുണ്ട്.

ഏതായാലും ഞാന്‍ മലയാളത്തില്‍ എഴുതാന്‍ തീരുമാനിച്ചു. അപ്പോളിതാ അടുത്ത പ്രശ്നം. എന്തിനെ കുറിച്ചെഴുതും ? സാധാരണ എഴുതുന്ന പോലെ ഇന്നത്തെ ദിവസത്തെ കുറിച്ചെഴുതാണോ? അതോ വേറെ വല്ലതും?

പലതും മനസിലേക്ക് വന്നു. പണ്ടത്തെ കുറേ ഓര്‍മ്മകള്‍. കേരളത്തിലെ ഓര്‍മ്മകള്‍. കേരളത്തില്‍ മാത്രം കിട്ടുന്ന ഓര്‍മ്മകള്‍. എന്നാല്‍ പിന്നെ ആ ഓര്‍മ്മകള്‍ തന്നെ ഇവിടെ എഴുതാം. മനസിലേക്ക് വരുന്നത് അത് പോലെ തന്നെ.

സാധാരണ ചെയ്യുന്നപോലെ ഒരു ലിസ്റ്റ് തന്നെ ആയിക്കോട്ടെ.

1 ) മഴ - മഴയിലാത്ത കേരളമുണ്ടോ. എല്ലാ മലയാളികളെ പോലെ എനിക്കും മഴ ഭയങ്കര ഇഷ്ടമാണ്. എന്‍റെ അഭിപ്രായത്തില്‍ മഴയെ ഇഷ്ടമല്ലാത്ത മലയാളി ഒരു മലയാളിയേ അല്ല. മഴ മാത്രമല്ല മഴകാലത്ത് റോഡുകളില്‍ പടരുന്ന കുണ്ടും, കുഴികളും റോഡിന്‍റെ രണ്ടു വശങ്ങളിലും ചിലപ്പോള്‍ റോഡിന്‍റെ നടുക്കിലും കെട്ടി കിടക്കുന്ന വെള്ളവും, വേഗത്തില്‍ വണ്ടിയോടിച്ചു പോകുമ്പോള്‍ വെള്ളം മുഴുവനും കുതിച്ചു ചീറി പായുന്നതും , വീടുകളിലേക്ക് വെള്ളം കേറുമ്പോള്‍ അതുലൂടെ ഇഴഞ്ഞു വരുന്ന അട്ടയും, ഞാഞ്ഞൂലും, പാമ്പുകളും, തവളകളും, ആമകളും മറ്റു ജീവികളും, നനഞ്ഞു കുതിര്‍ന്ന കാക്കകളും, മഴക്കാലത്ത്‌ ടി വിയില്‍ വരുന്ന കുടകളുടെ പരസ്യങ്ങളും, അവ തമ്മിലുള്ള മത്സരങ്ങളും, ഇടിമിന്നലും, ഇടിമിന്നലില്‍ വീഴുന്ന മരശാഘകളും, മരശാഘകള്‍ കമ്പികളില്‍ തട്ടി കെടുന്ന വൈദ്യുതിയും, ഇരുട്ടില്‍ കത്തിക്കുന്ന മെഴുകുതിരിയും, ഇടിമ്മിനലിനെ പേടിച്ചു കാലുകള്‍ രണ്ടും കസേരയുടെ മീതെ കയറ്റി വെക്കുന്നതും, ഓടിട്ട വീട്ടില്‍ വെള്ളം ചോരുമ്പോള്‍ അത് പിടിക്കാന്‍ വേണ്ടി നടക്കുന്ന വഴി മുഴുവനും വെച്ചിരിക്കുന്ന പാത്രങ്ങളും, മഴ തുള്ളികള്‍ പാത്രങ്ങളില്‍ ഇറ്റിറ്റ് വീഴുന്ന ശബ്ദവും, ഒക്കെ എന്‍റെ മനസിലേക്ക് വന്നു. എല്ലാം എനിക്ക് ഇഷ്ടപെട്ടത്.

2) കാറ്റ് - മഴ പോലെ തന്നെ മനോഹരമായ കാറ്റ്. വൃശ്ചിക കാറ്റ്. "മോളെ , കാറ്റ് കാലമായി" - ഇപ്പോഴും എല്ലാ കൊല്ലവും അമ്മ വിളിച്ചു പറയുമ്പോള്‍ എനിക്കസൂയ തോന്നും. ഒരു മാസത്തെ തണുത്ത കാറ്റ്. കൊല്ലം തോറും വെയിലും മഴയും മാത്രമായി കഴിയുന്ന, തണുപ്പ് ഒരിക്കലും സ്പര്‍ശിക്കാത്ത കേരളത്തിലെ തണുത്ത കാറ്റ് കാലം. മഴയെ പോലെ കാറ്റും ഒരുപാടു ഓര്‍മ്മകള്‍ മനസില്ലേക്ക് കൊണ്ടുവന്നു. കാറ്റിന്‍റെ ആദ്യ ദിവസം രാവിലെ മോര്‍ണിംഗ് വാല്‍ക് കഴിഞ്ഞു വരുന്ന എന്‍റെ അച്ചന്‍റെ ഉത്സാഹം - "കാറ്റ് കാലമായി ... വാ പുറത്തേക്കു വന്നു നോക്ക്", പുറത്തുപോയിആദ്യത്തെ കാറ്റ് ചുറ്റും വീശുന്നത്, സ്കൂള്‍ ഗ്രൗണ്ടില്‍ നിന്നും കാറ്റിന്‍റെ ഒപ്പം ഉയരുന്നപൊടിപടലങ്ങള്‍, യൂണിഫോം പാവാട ചുറ്റും ഇറുക്കെ പിടിച്ചു നടക്കുന്നത്, വീട്ടിന്‍റെ പുറത്തു ഉണക്കാന്‍ വെച്ച അരി കൊണ്ടാട്ടം പറന്നകലുന്നത്, വെയിലിനെ അകറ്റി നിര്‍ത്താനുള്ള കുട കാറ്റില്‍ മലക്കം മറിയുന്നത്, അങ്ങനെ പലതും.

3) ഭക്ഷണം - ഇതില്ലാത്ത ഒരുപരിപാടിയും നമ്മള്‍ക്കില്ലല്ലോ! കേരളത്തിന്റെ രുചികള്‍. ഹോ! എവിടുന്ന് എഴുതി തുടങ്ങും എന്‍റെ ഈശ്വരാ! നാരങ്ങ വെള്ളം തൊട്ടു ബീഫ് ഫ്രൈ വരെ, കഞ്ഞി തൊട്ടു ബിരിയാണി വരെ , സദ്യതൊട്ടു തട്ടുകട വരെ, എല്ലാം ഒന്നിനൊന്നു മെച്ചം. എനിക്ക് ഓരോന്നായിട്ട് പറയാന്‍ വയ്യ. എങ്ങിലും മനസ്സില്‍ വരുന്നത് എഴുതട്ടെ. പുട്ട് കടല പത്തിരി നൂലപ്പം അവിയല്‍ സാമ്പാര്‍ ചമ്മന്തി കാളന്‍ ഓലന്‍ തോരന്‍ അവില്‍ കരിമീന്‍ കപ്പ കൊള്ളി മുട്ടമസാല അടപ്രഥമന്‍ പഴ പായസം കായ വറുത്തത് ശര്‍ക്കരവരട്ടി പപ്പടം കള്ള് ഇഷ്ടു എനിക്ക് അതെല്ലാം ഇഷ്ടമാണ്, വളരെ വളരെ ഇഷ്ടമാണ്!

4) നാട്ടുകാര്‍, വീട്ടുകാര്‍ - വീട്ടുകാര്യങ്ങളെ കാട്ടും നാട്ടുകാര്യങ്ങളില്‍ താല്‍പര്യമുള്ള നമ്മളുടെ സഹമാലയാളികള്‍. .. . . , കുശുമ്പും കുനുട്ടും അതേ സമയം മനസ് നിറയെ സ്നേഹവും മറ്റുള്ളവരെ സഹായിക്കാനുള്ള മനസുമുള്ള നാട്ടുകാര്‍, എത്രയൊക്ക പ്രശ്നങ്ങള്‍ ഉണ്ടെങ്കിലും നാട്ടിലെ ഉത്സവം വന്നാല്‍ എല്ലാം മറന്നിട്ട് മുന്‍നിരയില്‍ നിന്ന് പഞ്ചവാദ്യത്തിനൊപ്പം ആഹ്ലാദിക്കുന്നവര്‍,ലളിതമായ വേഷധാരണതോടും, വെള്ളവസ്ത്രങ്ങളോടും പ്രിയമുള്ളവര്‍ , ഒരുപക്ഷെ ഇന്ത്യയില്‍ വച്ചു തന്നെ ഏറ്റവും ദൈര്‍ഘ്യം കുറഞ്ഞതും ലളിതവുമായ വിവാഹച്ചടങ്ങുകളുള്ളവര്‍ , എന്നാല്‍ അതേ സമയം ഇന്ത്യയില്‍ വിവാഹത്തിനു ഏറ്റവും കൂടുതല്‍ ആഭരണങ്ങള്‍ ധരിക്കുന്നവര്‍.. , സിനിമാതാരങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് "ഫാന്‍സ്‌ അസോസിയേഷന്‍" ഉണ്ടാക്കുന്നവര്‍, ആ പേരും പറഞ്ഞു പരസ്പരം കൂട്ടുകൂടുകയും, തല്ലിപിരിയുകയും ചെയ്യുന്നവര്‍, ഒരിക്കലും അവസാനിക്കാത്ത മെഗാസീരിയലുകള്‍ ആകംക്ഷപൂര്‍വം കാത്തിരിക്കുന്നവര്‍, ആനപ്രേമികള്‍, ക്രിക്കറ്റിനെ പോലെ ഫുട്ബോളും ഇഷ്ടപ്പെടുന്നവര്‍, പഠിക്കാതെ തന്നെ ഇംഗ്ലീഷും ഹിന്ദിയും തമിഴും ഒക്കെ പുല്ലുപോലെ പറയുന്നവര്‍, അങ്ങിനെ ചെറുതും വലുതുമായ പല രസകരമായ സ്വഭാവഗുണങ്ങള്‍ ഉള്ളവര്‍.. . നമ്മുടെ മലയാളികള്‍. .

5) സിനിമ, സിനിമ - എനിക്കെപോഴും പ്രിയങ്കരമായ, ഒരു കാലത്ത് ലോകത്തിലെ തന്നെ ഏറ്റവും മികച്ചത് എന്ന് ഞാന്‍ വിശ്വസിക്കുന്ന മലയാളം സിനിമകള്‍. . . മലയാളം സിനിമയിലെ രംഗങ്ങള്‍ , കഥാപാത്രങ്ങള്‍, ഗാനങ്ങള്‍, അഭിനേതാക്കള്‍, എഴുത്തുകാര്‍, സംവിധായകര്‍, ഇവരെയെല്ലാം കുറിച്ച് മണിക്കൂറുകള്‍ എനിക്ക് സംസാരിക്കാന്‍ ഇഷ്ടമാണ്. അങ്ങിനെ സംസാരിച്ച് വേറെ കുറെ പേരെ വട്ട് പിടിപ്പിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്! ഇന്നും കുറെയധികം സിനിമകളിലെ ദൃശ്യങ്ങള്‍ മനസിലേക്ക് വന്നു.

മുകളിലെ ലിസ്റ്റില്‍ പെടാത്ത വേറെയും കുറെ സംഭവങ്ങള്‍ - കേരളം അല്ലെങ്കില്‍ മലയാളം എന്ന് കേള്‍ക്കുമ്പോള്‍ മനസിലേക്ക് ഓടിയെത്തുന്ന പല പല ചിത്രങ്ങള്‍. --- ഓണാഘോഷങ്ങള്‍ പൂക്കളം പുലിക്കളി വള്ളംകളി വിഷുദിനത്തിലെ പടക്കങ്ങള്‍ ക്രിസ്മസ് സ്റ്റാര്‍ വടക്കുനാഥനും ഗുരുവായൂരപ്പനുംറാന്തല്‍ വിളക്ക് നിലവിളക്ക് ശബരിമല അയ്യപ്പന്മാര്‍ മോഹിനിയാട്ടം കഥകളി ചാക്യാര്‍കൂത്ത് ചെണ്ട മദ്ദളം ഇടക്ക പുല്ലുവന്‍പാട്ട് അടക്കയും വെറ്റിലയും മുത്തശ്ശിമാര്‍ പാത്തുമ്മമാര്‍ മാര്‍ഗംകളി തിരുവാതിരകളി ഒപ്പന പാടങ്ങള്‍ തെങ്ങിന്‍തോപ്പുകള്‍ കടല്‍ കുന്നുകള്‍ പുഴകള്‍ കുളങ്ങള്‍ കാടുകള്‍ അങ്ങിനെ കണക്ക് കൂട്ടിയാല്‍ കൂടാത്ത ഇനിയും കുറെ കുറെ ഓര്‍മ്മകള്‍

ഇതൊക്കെ ഇപ്പൊ ഇവിടെ എന്തിനെഴുതി എന്നറിയില്ല. പക്ഷേ മലയാളത്തില്‍ എഴുതുവാനുള്ള ആഗ്രഹം സാധിച്ചു. അതുമതി.

189 ദിവസങ്ങള്‍ കൂടി.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 810: Thaipusam!

Thaipusam, or Thaipooyam as it is called in my language Malayalam, is a very popular festival amongst the Tamils. Given that there is a significant Tamil population in Singapore, it is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show here as well.

Dedicated to Lord Muruga/Karthikeya/Kartik/Subramanian (all names of the same person!), the most fascinating thing about this festival is the procession whereby the devotees carry huge "kavadis". The idea is to inflict some pain on oneself as a form of physical sacrifice. So the kavadi can be simply a big decorative heavy piece, or one that has metal hooks which are hooked on to the carrier (yup, they actually pierce their skin with the hooks!), or one that has spears instead of hooks which are drilled into their bodies! Some devotees also pierce their cheeks and tongues with small spears and others walk a few kilometres on sandals made of nails! The whole ceremony or procession would seem rather bizarre but I have always been fascinated by how much pain these people seem to be able to take and the amount of faith they have in God and themselves.

Today was Thaipusam in Singapore and I caught a glimpse of the procession on the way back home at night. And as it happens every other year, I was once again astounded by the sheer determination of these people. They would be in so much pain with so many metal spears and hooks spearing them all over!

But just as that thought crossed my mind, a group very close by started to play the drums in true Tamil style - that is to say peppy and upbeat! And the guys carrying the huge heavy kavadis - with their bodies pierced with metal hooks, spears piercing their tongues and cheeks, started to dance! They just danced and danced as the beats turned heady! Am sure that if the spears in their mouths allowed them to smile, they would have!

What an incredible sight it was!

P.S. For those of you who have never heard of this... I strongly recommend googling for Thaipusam images. You are sure to be stunned!

190 more to go.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 809: Cycle Confidence!

I had written here about how I had been trying to better my newly developed cycling skills. If you read that post, you will see that I was just beginning to learn how to make turns on the cycle. What I had conveniently missed out in that post was that all that cycling was done within the premises of my condominium because I had lacked the confidence to venture outside!

But today, together with the hubby who had recently gotten himself a bike too, I ventured out with my cycle. And together, we cycled and cycled and cycled!

Initially I was doubtful whether I will be able to cycle at all because well... since January 4th, the day I was learning to make turns, I had not cycled at all! But the fact that I could and that too for so long until my legs started to hurt, was just too awesome! My confidence on it has improved by leaps and bounds!

Awesomeness, really!
191 more to go.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Day 808: Canopy!

Today, I had breakfast with two of my very good friends, who were also the key actresses from Mausams. We had not caught up in a really long time, so we decided that it was high time we met up. Happily for me, the venue for the rendezvous was the gorgeous Canopy which is hands down my best discovery in Singapore in a while!

Canopy is a beautiful outdoor restaurant set within the lush greenery of Bishan Park. I absolutely loved being there - it was almost as if I was having breakfast right in the middle of a tropical forest!

Not only is the ambience and the environment super cool, the food was pretty awesome too! That of course took things to a totally different level.

But the beauty doesn't end there - they actually allow pets into the cafe, so I saw some really cute dogs in there too! They were all just hanging around calmly, serenely almost, as if they were taking in all that greenery as much as we did.

I had a great morning - chatting with the ladies for hours, enjoying my breakfast, ogling at all those adorable dogs and puppies and relaxing in that lovely atmosphere. Perfect!

192 more to go.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 807: Wedding, Catch Ups & A Midnight Jog!

A fun saturday!

After a morning of working on some audio stuff as well as designing a publicity leaflet for Inganeyum Oru Katha for a potential screening, I made my way to Fort Canning Park for a friend's wedding.

It was my first time at Fort Canning for a wedding and I must say the venue was just lovely! The celebrations happened both outdoors at the Raffles Terrace and indoors inside the Raffles House, and the whole place was very tastefully decorated, making the already pretty place very, very pretty!

Both the bride and the groom are my juniors from university, so I ended up meeting a lot of others from college as well, many of them after a really long time! So it was wonderful to catch up with everyone!

Oh, special mention goes to Daisy, the darling little dog who was running around the venue. She belongs to one of our friends and she was quite a heart stealer with her cute looks and awesome behaviour! Needless to say, she was got royally pampered through the evening!

After the lovely wedding reception, we came back home and I sat down to do some more sound design work on Inganeyum Oru Katha. I had been feeling too lazy for any exercise through the day but somehow, just as I was doing the sound design work, I felt myself all kicked about going for jog even though it was already midnight!

But that's exactly what I did and it was an awesome jog. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and I really enjoyed running against a strong, chilly breeze.

Lovely day that ended really well...!

193 more to go.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Days 805 & 806: Two Super Awesome Days!

2 & 3 February, 2012

Two incredible days that just got better and better and ended with a bang! I loved every bit of both the days but there is simply too much to cover, so am just gonna do a list.

So here's everything that made me smile/cheer/jump with joy etc. over the last two days.

a) My super successful presentation and the offsite - I had been working my ass off the last couple of months to put together this "action plan" offsite at work. I was leading it both in terms of general organization as well as the prework, agenda, content, etc. etc. It was finally D-day today and since it was the first time I was organizing something of this scale, I was hoping and praying that things go well. And it did! People said it was a very useful session and everyone seemed to have a great time! Also, I had presented a bunch of materials I had been working on for so many days now and those were well received as well. It made all that work worth it!

b) The lovely Screening Room - it was the venue for the offsite and I loved everything about it! It was nice and cozy and had a restaurant that served some of the best food ever (but hey, let me cover that in a separate point).

c) All that yummy food! - Everything from the breakfast to the lunch to the tea time snacks at the Screening Room rocked! I loved the chocolate cookies and the mayo-veggie sandwiches they served for breakfast, the absolutely lovely coriander-veggie soup, the super awesome fried prawns with rice, the delicious mutton kebabs and the yummiest cake for lunch, and last but not the least, the samosas and pastries for tea!

d) Team time - The offsite was also a good time for me to spend some casual fun time with my colleagues, something which we very rarely do these days. I quite enjoyed that!

e) Power of You Gold - Post the offsite, the boss thanked me for my efforts in putting everything together including the presentations. I thought it was really nice of him because he highlighted all the specific contributions vs. a very generic formal note. But most unexpectedly, he also declared that I am to receive an internal recognition award called the Power of You Gold for my work over the past couple of months! That was most unexpected but needless to say, I felt quite touched by the gesture. This was the second time I am winning this award over the last six months, even though it is usually pretty rare (the one I won before that was about 4 years ago!), so I felt very encouraged.

f) Hubby's great presentation - The hubby and his team at Teamie (that's what his new startup is called) were competing at the Startup Arena, an Asia wide pitching contest for startups, and he did his presentation for the same today. Half the shortlisted contestants gave their pitch today and the others are to give theirs tomorrow, after which the results would be announced. Usually the hubby is highly critical of his work but today he said that his presentation did go well and that a couple of investors showed interest in the company! That was pretty awesome and I felt super happy for him because he had been working really hard on this event for a while. While we don't know the results of the contest yet, it was good that he was satisfied with what he's done and he seemed to be very happy too.

g) Celebration at Clarke Quay - To celebrate the hubby's good presentation as well as my successful offsite, presentation and the award, we went to Clarke Quay and had dinner at the Renn Thai there. Over Green Curry Chicken, Hotplate Tofu, Tom Yam Soup and Rice, we chatted for a long while. It was nice to take time out on a Thursday evening and have a small celebration to ourselves!

h) "And the winner of Startup Arena 2012 is... Teamie!" - Yes, the hubby's startup won the competition today!! It was AWESOME, really! OK but wait... I must write about how it all happened. I knew that the results were to be announced sometime around 5pm today. I was busy at work the whole day but my thought kept going back to this. Being top 5 in this contest would be really awesome for the hubby and his team and would be a much needed motivation. So I was really crossing my fingers for a top 5 spot for them! At about 5 pm, I was in the middle of a discussion when it suddenly struck me that results are probably already out! I quickly called the hubby... the phone rang but he didn't pick. I tried again and this time it was switched off. I gave up on him and instead decided to check on the contest organizers' website. There were no updates there when it struck me that maybe their Twitter feed would have faster updates. I went on Twitter and found them but again, there was no update. Just then one of my bosses came over to discuss something. Just as he finished I glanced at my computer screen and I saw the highlight "1 new tweet" and I knew that would have the result. I was a bundle of nerves when I opened it... and immediately my eyes first fell on "Teamie"... and then I read the rest of the tweet "And the winner of Startup Arena 2012 is... Teamie!" I squealed at the top of my voice, sitting in my office! I was SO happy... ! I don't think I've ever reacted that way to anything before. I was clapping my hands and punching the air in excitement! Needless to say, I made a fool out of myself, much to the amusement of my colleagues around but what the heck!

i) Sharing the news - The hubby called soon after and talked to me briefly before he got bombarded with interview requests at the other end. I couldn't control my excitement, so I called up my in-laws and parents and shared this awesome piece of news, even without waiting for the hubby (but I did get his permission to break the news to them myself)! It was super nice to share the happiness and excitement with all of them and I had a ball bringing them up to date and hearing all their excitement!

j) Birthday party - Later, once the hubby was free, he and I met up and together we went to the birthday party of his partner's son. The little one had turned 1 today, right on the day his dad and his company won a super cool contest! How awesome is that?! The party itself was fun and we spent a few good hours there... chatting, eating, taking photos, watching the magician who was around etc.

k) More celebration - After the birthday party was done, I felt that it was still not time to end the night because surely there must be more celebration! So I called our close friends and together we went to Cafe Iguana and downed two pitchers of margaritas together with other drinks. Post that, we decided to continue the celebration but this time at the Wine Connections in Robertston Quay. There we popped a champagne and had another run of fun over some crazy conversation, all the way until 2 am or so.

It was indeed two super awesome days!

194 more to go.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 804: IOK Screening Discussion!

Awesome day! If all goes well, an organization in Singapore would present the global premiere of Inganeyum Oru Katha (my malayalam short film) at their venue here in Singapore, in March! That would be pretty nice because inspite of being a short film, it would get a sizeable audience and a good premiere!

I met the organizer today to check out the venue and talk the detailed of the screening. It's not yet 100% confirmed but fingers crossed!

In any case it was nice to meet him because he happened to be from my same hometown and we hit it off very well! He also treated me to some really awesome food at Spice Junction which serves authentic Kerala cuisine. Over Fried Prawns, Beef Coconut Fry and Fresh Lime Soda, we discussed IOK, Malayalam movies, movie making, food, Thrissur (our hometown) etc. etc.

So yes, it was a nice evening and am hoping the screening works out! Even if it doesn't, am happy that at least somebody wanted to give it a proper premiere. Sometimes, even that is such an encouragement!

195 more to go.