Monday, 20 April 2009

Delhi and back

So, I went to Delhi this sem. The last time I had gone during a sem to Delhi was in 2007. This time, the occasion was my parent's twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. It fell on 9 April, an inconvenient date considering that my bro had JEE on 12th. So, the celebrations were postponed for 12th evening and 13th.


On 9th evening, we went to ISKCON temple in East of Kailash and had good darsan. Then, we had dinner in Govinda's restaurant below. My maternal paati made a concession to us by agreeing to eat there (she doesn't eat outside food) becuase Govinda's made it without using onion or garlic and above all the presiding deity in ISKCON was Lord Krishna.
Even otherwise too, we eat at Govinda's. The food is nice - not having onion and garlic and associated masala makes it more delicious and it's got quite a few tables that can seat 10 - 12 (when my uncle and his family join us, we usually become 10 people). Govinda's has a buffet system. They provide two to three varieties of salad, two varieties of soup, four to five side dishes like dal makhni, aloo gobhi, palak paneer, pulao rice plus one or two sweets (usually halwa or sheera). The naans arrive hot at the tables. At the beginning of the meal, jal jeera is also served at the tables. This time, there was an Italian pasta too. And, in the end there was ice-cream because the sweet got over suddenly. But, they were quick. By the time we finished ice-cream, they had sheera ready and we were treated to that as well. Govinda's is priced moderately at about Rs 250 per head. Plus, you get the satisfaction of having contributed to the temple's funds.

JEE day

On 12th morning, my bro went for JEE. He was quite tensed - definitely more than what i was in 2005 when I wrote. I guess the expectations were more now. Now, he had to live up to at least what I had achieved. No one had told him that, yet it was there for everyone to see. I have always argued that the second born child is better off because parent's know how to deal with them. Plus, they get the elder's advice. Now, I knew it is difficult for them too. They have to live up to expectations. And, that's really pressurizing. I had promised him that I'd be in Delhi on his JEE day and there I was (my parents' wedding anniversary helped me keep the promise.). He came back out of the first exam a little tensed. Apparently, the guy ahead of him hadn't turned up. My bro, in an hurry, had marked his thumb impression in the space meant for the other guy. The invigilator was confused. Later, she said she would do something. This incident, however, made my brother tensed and he didn't do really well, according to him.
However, he did better in the second part, probably because he saw that the invigilator had struck off the thumb impression made in the wrong place and written absent next to that guy's name. When we calculated the score based on solutions by Bansal's, VM, Narayana etc., it came to around 285 which dropped to 270 after my bro's coversations on the phone which lasted 2 - 3 hours. 270 - The predicted rank was within 1000 and I, at least, was happy. But, before calculating the score, we had Sri Satyanarayanan Pooja, which my parents perform every year around the time of their wedding anniversary.

Sri Vaikunthanath Ji Mandir

On 13th April, in the morning, we reached Sri Vaikunthanath Ji Mandir by 10.30 am. The temple had shut by then. We were there for a Dhanvanthari Homam. The Homam was performed by the archarkar there in a room in the back of the temple. It started at 11.30 and was over by 1 pm. Myself, appa, chitappa (dad's bro), Ramesh uncle (my aunt's husband) and maternal thatha sat around the Homam along with the archakar. After the Homam, we had food there itself - bisibela bath and thayir saadam and a big ladoo. I was one of the few who managed to eat it full.

We then went back home at 1.45 pm and reached by 2.30 pm. We left for the temple again at 4.15 pm and reached by 5 pmWe had darsan. Then Kalyana Utsavam to Lord Ranganathar and Thayar began. It was conducted very well by the archakar and was over by about 7 pm. We came back happy with the blessings of the Lord and his consort Thayar. Recently, I read in the 'Religion' column of The Hindu that worshipping the Lord without Thayar is meaningless.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


Yes, "Sperm" is the name of a shop that claims to sell menswear and other fashion accessories including belts, junk jewelery, watches and even bike helmets. And, Yes, "Sperm" is located in the so-called 'conservative' Chennai on 100 feet bypass road in Velachery. In fact, it's one of the first few shops on that road which houses top brands in apparel including Peter England, Lee, Levi's, Koutons etc.

I've often passed by it and always wanted to check it out in spite of the name being so crass. So, I did the other day. The shop takes its name quite seriously. With some trouble, you can read what appears on its glass door in the photo that I managed to capture. Some of the things written on it can make a feminist pull her hair. The first floor is nicknamed 'Virgin Territory'. One of the narrowest, winding staircases I've ever seen leads up to it. And believe me, one of the paintings there proclaims 'foetus'!

Inside, the stuff was pretty ordinary - branded sports jerseys priced at Rs 400, the shirts they had were unimpressive though the cargoes and jeans section upstairs up for that. They also have the now-popular three-fourths and other clothing stuff. Plus, they have accessories - leather belts at Rs 300 or so, usual junk jewelery, sunglasses, watches and even biker's helmets. They also have a few worn-out outrageously placed sneakers on display. One of the the shop assistants told me that I can expect variety in a couple of weeks.