Soccer Celebrations @ Office

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As South Africa celebrates the 2010 Soccer World Cup with full fun, frolic and enthusiasm; our project also made sure that we also join in the celebrations. We are having soccer celebrations in the form of floor decorations and various floors in our building are competing to win the honor of the “floor with the best decoration and most soccer spirit”. So today, to add to the soccer sprit, we had all come dressed in the Soccer Jerseys. Our floor has also been decorated with lots of colorful props and flags of various countries. All of us contributed to bring in snacks/drinks to form a Soccer pub-of-sorts called “Mama Lee’s Tavern”- we very well emulated a real soccer match party environment. We had also set up a mini soccer field on our floor to play some football during free time !! :)
(Click on the photos for a better view !!)
We had created a wonderful environment at office which I have rarely seen or heard of in the Indian scenario. I must say that I had a lot of fun and had a very relaxed day at office today. Days like these make coming to office more fun !! :)

New “Fun” Experiences in Johannesburg

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Accenture had arranged for a “fun-outing” event for us folks from the India location. Events included:
The Ice skating event took me back to my childhood days !! I had learnt skating (roller skating) in my 7th or 8th class (Something like that, I guess) … I started Skating when my Appa bought me roller skates and I started my first lessons on the corridor in front of our flat in Baroda along with other friends and then went on to the terrace of the flat. We had to soon change our location due to increased irk that we caused (due to our and the roller skates noise) to our flat dwellers. My father then figured out a Skating Rink where I used to practice for some more time before finally losing interest in it. I had seen ice skating on TV and had always wondered if it would be similar in feel … and if the same technique would apply. The ice skating rink was the right place to get my answers first hand. After a somewhat “jerky” start, I realised that it is pretty similar to roller skates and I found myself much more comfortable and enjoying myself – all I had to do was to let go of my fear. Thanks to my Appa (who took the pains to buy me roller-skates and take me to skating rinks in Baroda), I was able to thoroughly enjoy the experience. I always used to wonder how could someone balance on just two blades on the feet !! But I still don’t know how .. but I managed well. I did fall down couple of times (because I was not able to stop at the correct time and bumped into some kid there !!). The environment was initially cold because of the Ice but as I started skating, I realised that I was starting to sweat and get exhausted – the cold was then no longer a problem. I already had just started a bout of cold and cough just couple of days before, Thanks to the ice skating, it just became worse at the end of the event. But I think it was worth it !!
Bowling was another experience that I was trying for the first time. And I was experiencing something that one of my colleagues referred to as beginner’s luck !! And Luck it was - as I was consistently making good strikes and spares at will … And I defeated two pretty experienced players with my score at 108 (I guess). It did get close at the end with the two contenders coming close to my score. I don’t think my technique was exactly the correct one … But I seemed to have a knack for it. Good for me !!
The Bollywood Movie that we saw was “Kites”. It was one of the super hyped movies since last 2 years. And I can only tell you that it never came up to the expectations that the hype had created. I really cant say that it was a “bad” movie, but what I saw in the movie was a normal love story, some nice songs, some good dance, “ok” performances and sort of a drag in the ending of the movie. Just not what I was expecting out of it … I normally go open minded to movies … but this one was so hyped that I also had some expectations … of something special … from the movie which it never delivered. I heard that the Indian audience was also pissed off that it wasn’t a real “Hindi” movie. Overall … Very “average”.

But my day on Sunday was a very exciting one as a whole, with some really new and exciting experiences and some nice time out with my colleagues. Days like these are what keep me going in Johannesburg, as I pass my days here, missing my family back in India.

Memories … of my Engagement Day

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I am not good with remembering dates … And I have been in trouble (and I guess would be in future too) for this trait of mine. But when I do remember something of the past, it does bring back either fond/sad memories based on what the event was.

Janani reminded me last week that it was around this time 4 years back that her father had (finally) called my father “to discuss the marriage or their daughter Janani”. After lots of attempts, this day had finally come. I will remain eternally thankful to Mama for that one gesture. As they say, “Khareed liya mujhe” !!!

I had not blogged much at that time about it, I guess 4 years down the line, is a good time.

So, what followed is the proverbial “Jhat Mangni – Pat Byah”. Engagement (7th May, 2006) and Marriage (6th July, 2006). So here is the story.

Parents Meeting (29-30 April, 2006, will confirm the exact date – Janani help!!): Before every wedding, there is a ponnu paakal ceremony – where the guy and his family (and relatives) go to see the girl. This ceremony has been made famous in many Tamil movies where the party comes in with fruits, flowers, sweets etc in various plates. In my case, it was the opposite. The Girls parents and relatives came to see the guy (Me). This event normally has the girls’ parents show off the girls “talents” – “Ponnu roumba nalla samayal pannuva” or “Ponnu roumba nalla paduva” etc. My all excited mother also didn’t hesitate to “show off” my talent. She went on “Hari roumba nalla samayal pannuvan .. Kitchen le enna roumba help pannuvan” or “Hari roumba nalla paduva … Hari Kanna oru paatu paadi Kaatu da !?” … And when my mom says that, I can never refuse ... :) … I was wondering if my mother would finally cap the ceremony by claiming “Unda Table cloth-le embroidery Hari than pannirkaan !!!!” … After that effective selling, who could refuse a ”IT professional boy – who can cook and sing” !! … So the Formal Engagement was set for a week later at my home.

Engagement (7th May, 2006): It was a small ceremony with close family members from both sides. Amma was happy to have that function at my newly purchased house and see her last wish fulfilled – seeing her son getting “settled”. For me, I guess as much as I had always wanted this day, the feeling was just not setting in. I just couldn’t believe that it all happening – I was very happy. But all this was also in the backdrop of my mother’s failing health condition and her slowly losing her 6 year battle with Cancer. So, the feeling inside me was such a strange concoction of extreme happiness and extreme sadness. I guess it leaves you silent and numb – all you give is a silent smile. I am able now to put all this in words now, but it was would have been very difficult for me to even describe this at that time. I guess my mother was also going through a similar feeling. We just smiled at each other.

Janani was looking extremely beautiful (as always), first in a light blue saree and then changed into the saree that I gave her - a dark blue with red/maroon border. You can see that in the link. Let me see if Janani can fish out our Family photo that we took at that time.

It also dawned on me for the first time that my life is going to change into something very different soon. I had to now look at life more seriously and together we had to start building our live together. We have come quite a long way – and I can only say that it has been such a wonderful journey with Janani.

If there is something that I miss, its my mother. Happy Mother’s Day – Amma. (Wherever you are, I know you are watching over us !!)

- Amma (Tamil)- Mother
- Ponnu paakal (Tamil)…Seeing the Girl
- Khareed liya mujhe (Hindi) … meaning to be indebted be to someone
- Jhat Mangni – Pat Byah (Hindi) – Fast engagement and a faster marriage
- Ponnu roumba nalla samayal pannuva (Tamil)– Girl can cook well
- Ponnu roumba nalla paduva (Tamil)– Girl can sing well
- Hari roumba nalla samayal pannuvan .. Kitchen le enna roumba help pannuvan (Tamil)… Hari can cook well and helps me a lot on the Kitchen
- Hari roumba nalla paduva … Hari Kanna oru paatu paadi Kaatu da !? (Tamil)– Hari can sing well ..Hari, Please sing a song for us!!
- Unda Table cloth-le embroidery Hari than pannirkaan !!!! (Tamil)… Hari has done that embroidery on that table cloth

Thanks to Janani for finding these photos for me !!