In Loving Memory

Days go by in the continual boring routine of sleeping, waking, rushing to office, eating, sleeping, and so on and so on … days merge into weeks, weekends rush by and soon months just pass away without any perceptible difference.

But not today. Today there is an sms on my phone: “We lost her last week”

Today a flood of memories engulf me – of my first time away from home, in a new environment and new people, my first time away from a sheltered life – graduation college. My anchor in this whole new chaotic world – my new roommate. She was the elder of two sisters, her father worked overseas and HER anchor in this new chaotic world, her friend and confidante – her mother.

Her mother – this hardworking lady, who though brought up in a conventional traditional home wished more for her daughters; this lady who would fight with criticising family members to give her daughters the freedom and choices that she never had for herself; this lady who handled my tomboyish ways with indulgent reproach; this lady who let me into her home and played gracious host to a number of pj parties for our girls’ gang; this lady who meant the world to her daughters.

“We lost her last week.” said the sms.

The labours of daily living would soon force my mind to the mundane routine of everyday life, but not today.

Today I want to relive those precious gossip sessions and discussions that she presided over; Today I want to bow down to the staunch resolve she always had for doing right by her daughters; Today i want to rail against that dreaded word “Cancer” that broke her resolve.

Today, I just want to spend a few moments in isolation, in loving memory.

 

Mental Judge

the pains of getting used to new place and new people

the pains of getting used to a new place and new people

Anton Ego: “Since you’re all out of perspective and no one else seems to have it in this bloody town, i’ll make you a deal. You provide the food, i’ll provide the perspective, which will go nicely with a bottle of Cheval Blanc 1947.” – Ratatouille

P.S.: On a related note of “negativity destroys all” do check out this lovely series at ZEN PENCILS here.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Did that just happen? Did that really just happen? Did Ben Stiller just make a movie that I wouldn’t mind having in my DVD collection!! Well that’s a first!

Of course the movie locales are just awesome – such lovely shots of the ocean, sunset, Greenland, Iceland etc. – along with the background score it makes for a great watch, but it was more than just that. It was the whole concept of the protagonist “zoning out” to escape from his mundane existence and what they had done with it in the movie.

When I had gone for the movie I had no idea what it was about – I was just accompanying some friends who wanted to see it. Now that I have done my research I know that it was a second, more modernised film adaptation of the James Thurber’s short story. However I still love the way that the movie creates Walter Mitty’s alternate universe with some main stream movie themes and juxtaposes it to the lost look that Ben Stiller always has when he’s zoned out making him seem a little mentally deficient to the onlooker. As a person who dramatises the most mundane conversations of the day, the fact that the protagonist’s imagination runs wild at the most normal daily encounters, makes him so relatable to me.

That he’s also very good at his work but doesn’t ever bring up it up is another relatable trait. With the kind of upbringing me and my friends had, boasting is considered a bad quality and one doesn’t ever really talk about the great work that one does. Its a drawback in a world where show is more important than substance. We wish that somebody should recognise our worth and appreciate it like Sean O’Connel does for Walter Mitty in the movie referring to negative 25 as the “Quintessence of Life”.

Add Shirley McLain (I just adore her in Guarding Tess & Mrs. Winterbourne) to the mix, playing Walter Mitty’s mother – the grounding character to his restless mind and you have a complete formula for a dreamy feel good movie.

The movie focuses more on visuals (and what great ones at that!) than dialogues to carry forward the narrative which adds to the dreamy charm of the movie. However the minimalistic dialogues are not to be taken for granted – Most of them are going to be in my quoting list for a long time ahead -

Cheryl:  “Major Tom—that song is about courage and about going into the unknown.  It’s a cool song.”

Trawler Captain: “Unfriend the shark! Now!”

Walter Mitty: “OMG That really happened?”

Sean O’Connell: “Beautiful things don’t ask for Attention”

Sean O’Connell: “If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.”

Not to forget the Motto of Life Magazine: “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”

The only tad overdone dialogue -

Todd Maher: “I pictured you as this little grey piece of paper, but now I see you and it’s like Indiana Jones decided to become the lead singer of The Strokes or something.”

P.S.: Been wanting to update this for some time now …. but “being there doing that” got in the way.

Also there are great reviews of the movie here.

System? Process? Whazzat?

“A System comprises of Machine, Process and People.” Mr. R

Recently we visited a famed bakery to buy some snacks. It was one of the larger outlets of the bakery and since we went there after office, we had our bags with us. We got stopped at the entrance for a security check and had to deposit our bags at the baggage counter.

The bakery had a very different style of billing. Unlike other bakeries where the food counter first gives the customer the bill for their items, and the customer is able to collect the items once the bill is paid at the cash counter; here the food counter would pack the food items, stick barcode labels on the parcels, and the customer could directly take the items to the cash counter, get it billed and walk out. They had given so much thought to their process, that they had even priced all the products in multiples of 5 and kept chocolates worth Rs 5 at the cash counter to be returned to any customer who didn’t have the requisite change.

We got our items packed and went to the cash counter for billing. There were two people at the billing counter – one was scanning the bar code and the other was packing the individual parcels into a bag. The packing person was in such a hurry that he picked up one parcel and put it into the bag even before the bar code was scanned. Neither the scanning person nor the packing person bother to notice that there were 3 parcels which were packed whereas the bill was only for 2 items. Our bill was reduced by half since they missed to bill the most expensive item of the lot.

Overall for the bakery the value of that item may have been nominal, but my point is that a system, an organisation is all about people people people. One may have the best machinery, the best processes – but in the end of the day its people who are going to run it. One may not have the best processes or machinery but may have an efficient system because the people running the system know what are the critical aspects and focus on it. How effectively the system or the organisation runs therefore comes down to intangible terms like “culture” or the indefinable “Toyota Way.” Its all about how you handle your people.