Monday, April 24, 2006

A Trip to the US

Tomorrow, my parents are arriving from India. They will be making their first stop/stay at Bay Area, the silicon valley or the "land of desis" for the next couple of months and then continue their trip to the east coast for a couple of months from where they will head back to India.

Like most folks out there, i am excited, about my parents first visit to the US. Of course, the excitement comes along with a tinge of nervousness of how their stay with us is going to be. Over the past few weeks, my parents have been passing me information on how well they have stocked up for their trip. Even before i begin to tell them on how and what to prepare during their journey, they speak up with confidence on the various advices given by their friends and relatives who have visited their sons/daughters in the US. Even more surprising is the fact, that they know the activities, temples, places etc here in the Bay Area and it never ceases to amaze me about how the information from a US-returned parent spreads.

I guess i am fortunate to be living in Bay Area, with its variety of shops, desi stores, bus/public transportation facilities and choice of fine restaurants that should occupy them during our absences. Anyways, i am counting the hours between today and tomorrow afternoon to see them after 2 years.

Welcome Amma and Appa.....

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Fresh Look into the Dowry System in India

For those of you who aren't familiar with the dowry system in India or for thos eof you think that dowry giving and taking practices are no more happening in India, here are some updates.

Dowry is a form of wedding gift, usually money, material items such as jewels, applicances, car, homes, etc. (the list of dowry items are endless) given by the bride's parents either before, during or after the wedding depending on their tradition and religious custom. Now before you make that grimace of distate, thinking that dowry doesn't happen in the cities, its only shown in movies and happens sparesely in remote, illiterate villages of India, you have to accept the fact that dowry is still prevelant, mostly done behind the screens, even in well to do comunities as a symbol of exhibiting their status, family honor etc.

The underlying purpose of dowry in those days was a means of security for a married woman who was niether educated nor independent. It was an emergency fund/savings account set by the girl's parents in case of any marital problems or abandonment of a woman by her husband.

Well,in today's era of India's growing modernism and changing trends, amidst websites like, hindu classifieds etc. a new website for the anti-dowry folks has been set up by one Mr.Satya who wants to do his part to eradicate dowry as well as create a service oriented business.

This website has lists and photos of brides and grooms, like any other matrimonial website, but with a difference in that where these individuals are not for sale and are all for standing up against receiving or giving dowry for their marriages.

The website was recently inaugrated by Mrs.Nalini Chidambaram and Satya, the owner says that he offers free registration for accessing the site, but charges a nominal fee to view membee profiles.

It looks like the response to such a website has been phenomenal with more than 350 profiles getting posted within the first 3 days of its launch.

Kudos to the unique ideas of folks like Satya.....

Monday, April 17, 2006

India's Questionable Employability Status

A recent survey in a popular daily has been published about India's looming employability crisis in the coming years, amongst several other magazines that keep portraying a glorified job market in Bangalore, Pune and Chennai. The article primarily focussed on the kind of jobs that engineering graduates from Chennai are offered.

The reality is that based on a survey report by "Mapping of Man Power Skills for Tamil Nadu-2015", 43% of BE grads are unable to find suitable paid positions even after 2-3 years of completing their degrees.

The study showed clearly that the state's manpower requirements are not on par with the employability crisis that the engineering talet pool is facing. The reasons for such a finding is attributed to several factors, the top one being that there is a lack of an integrated system to manage the quality of education from high school to the post graduate level in the state.

So, what happens to this kind of an engineering graduate class pool-

20% of them found jobs outside the state, esp in Bangalore for Computer Science and Electronics.

7% of the diploma holders, AMIE and BE grad in Mechanical, Chemical etc. settled for jobs after 1 year or more of job hunting for low paying jobs in and around Tamil Nadu.

The remaining engineering folks found jobs with BPO and financial services, call centers changing their fields entirely.

1. Lack of one system to manage talent versus opportunity in the job market
2. Varying standards across educational institutions and lack of syllabus updates with respect to the industry needs and job market
3. Absolute poor communication between industry and academic folks except during campus interviews
4. Improper practical exposure in colleges to face real challenges in an industry.

Would be interested to hear your thoughts.............

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Happy Tamil New Year

Iniya Tamil Puthandu Vazthukal.......

For those who don't know, April 14th signifies Tamil New Year's Day- an occasion for Tamilians all over the world to greet one another and celebrate the arrival of the month of Chithirai.

Highlights of celebrating a tamil new year day

  • View auspicious things like gold jewellery, betel leaves, money, mirror etc. first thing in the morning
  • A temple visit where the panchangam (tamil almanac) is read.
  • Draw colorful rangoli kolam designs outside homes
  • Prepare Maanga Pachadi ( a dish made of raw mangoes, jaggery and neem leaves), which is sweet, sour and bitter at the same time signifying all the different aspects of our life.
  • End the day watching one of this year's new releases: Ajith's Tirupathi, Parthiban's Pachai Kuthirai, Bharat's AIBI and Jeevan's Thirutu Payale.

April 14th also happens to be "Vishu", the Malayalee New Year as well as Naba Barsha, the Bengali New Year.

Ironically, April 14th is Good Friday here in the US and April 16th is Easter Sunday, so i am here at work, planning an easter egg hunt surprise for my employees for tomorrow.

Red-Auspicious color for Tamilians

Green- Easter color....................................

Everybody celebrate and enjoy the festival weekend..........................

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Memories and Rain, Rain, Go Away.....

Bay Area has been experiencing some rainy days for the past few weeks now, have heard that this is unusual for this time of the year. Looking at the weather forecast for the rest of the week doesn't help either, as all one can see are showers and more rain.

What this means to folks living here? Extended travelling time, backed up traffic on highways 101, 280, train delays and just staying indoors to keep away from the downpour. Of course, when folks talk about spring break and the arrival of spring weather, we just seem to blink and move away.

I can only imagine how much i used to enjoy the rare rainy season that hit Chennai when i was in school and college. During school days, heavy rains would clog our gutters and create huge puddles of water and the route and area to my school Adarsh Vidyalaya would just be a mess. Buses would run sparsely and getting from home to the busstop would be a challenge, auto drivers would demand outrageous amounts to drop us off, even if we were a bunch of students and finally one person's dad would manage to drive us to school. And then, with more thunder and downpour in the later morning, we would sit speculating about our plans for the afternoon when a notice would come around from the principal's office that school would end at noon that day and we could all leave early..........hooray!

And then, college days, the rain meant getting the same notice from our department head or requesting permission to go home early because of the rain and bus schedule to get drenched in the rain in our salwars (O Ho..Megam Vanthatho Song from Mouna Raagam, nyabagam) and 5 of us huddled together in each others laps in a wet auto would end up going to Udhayam theatre in Ashok Nagar (closest to our college) to watch a movie in the afternoon.

In the evening, when we used to go home, hot pakodas or savories for the rainy weather would greet us and we would end up enjoying the rare rainy months in Chennai.

Alas, after 5 years of being away from home, rainy weather is no more fun, but just an end to another regular day at work.

My Rainy Day Schedule- I am leaving early for the day and will go home and make myself a steaming cup of hot chocolate and snuggle on the couch with my latest James Patterson novel.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Achtung Chandramukhi & Chaiyya Chaiyya Song

Did you know?

Chandramukhi is the first tamil film that is now being dubbed into German and Turkish languages and will be released in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Turkey countries in June. The overseas distributor of Rajnikanth's mega movie has managed to pull strings and sold the dubbing rights of the movie to the Cologne based 'Rapid Eye' company.

Just imagine the global audience, a mixture of white folks and persians who do not understand English or Hindi watching thalaivar in this stunning ghost story.

Is laklakala going to be translated into German too? Articles quote that they are surely going to say- "Achtung...." (The war cry of the Nazis which means, Look out! Take care) Thalaivar is here!

Of course, intense googling will tell you that Mani Rathnam's Thiruda Thiruda has got its german version too and Chandramukhi is not the first tamil film to be dubbed in German, but when it comes to Super Star, its always, the first.

Along similar content, Dilse's Chaiya Chaiya song is the title song and ending music when the credits are up in Denzel Washinton's recent film "InsideMan."

Are Indian cinema and music adding spice to western movies and catering to a global audience?