Batty about ...


TT: There I was, minding my business (mostly) and carrying on with my life, when I see THE email. It mentioned that we will be able to play table tennis at the office! Brought up on badminton and squash, my first reaction was, “Hmmm….good for those who like the game. But, I really can’t see myself playing TT”. A day went by and then on the next one, as I was walking by, I saw the door to the “TT room” open. I thought, “I will just take a peek and go off”. Ha! Famous last words. I ended up watching a complete game. Next thing, I cornered another colleague, one equally clueless about TT, to come and play with me. We managed to hit the ball…all over the walls, and the room, and, once in a while, toward the table. That was it. I was determined to conquer this pesky little game. I started pleading with people to play a “few practice shots”. I borrowed slippers on the days I had come to the office wearing heels. I cajoled my way into doubles games, just so that I could hold the racket and try to play for a few minutes. The results so far? Well, some of my hitherto friendly colleagues have developed a habit of mysteriously disappearing when they see me appearing near their seats while others have flatly refused to play with me and accused me of ruining their game. I have ruined two perfectly good pair of slippers, and I catch myself practising with the spatula in the kitchen and dreaming about missed shots. So I guess, it’s official…I have been bitten by the table tennis bug.


ST: Before someone else writes about this on the blog or post some photos (as they have been threatening), let me admit that I am an unabashed fan of Shashi Tharoor (ST). And while I am a regular attendee of many book launches, I have to confess that an added incentive to attend Renuka RajaRao’s Study in America was the fact that he was the guest of honour at this one. The launch was quite a success with both Nandan Nilekani and Shashi Tharoor mentioning the usefulness of the book, as well as a desire that hopefully, one day, we will have a book about studying in India for American students (amen!). And I managed to talk to ST (see the evidence).J


Eclipse watching: As anyone who knows me at all can vouch, waking up at 6:30 am is not my thing. But Tuesday night, just as I was about to fall sleep, I realized that this eclipse was a big deal and the next one will be at 2132, which I think I will not be able to see. So, I set my alarm at 5:30 am and actually woke up, only to find out that it’s going to be one hour later. I woke up an hour later and realized that my family had already gone up to the terrace. I quickly grabbed my cell and the house keys (later on I found out that I had grabbed the car keys!) and ran. Up on the roof, my father was trying out his old eclipse goggles and we took turns looking through them. The sun was a perfect crescent (See the eclipse photo, which is courtesy of Jason Lonne) and we watched while the slice of sun became smaller and slowly disappeared into the clouds. One of our neighbours came up as well and we reminisced about other eclipses and other places, and then fell quiet, savouring the beauty of the moment.





Chain mails and ringtones


I just read Vivek’s post, and his remark about superstitions reminded me of the grouse I have against people who cause inconvenience to others because of their superstitions. I was telling Vivek that I’ve seen people wash all their curtains and bed linen after an eclipse, but that’s not the kind of superstition that really drives me mad. If you’ve received one of those “Tirupati e-mails” or similar ones that claim that great misfortune will befall you if you don’t forward the mail to a certain number of people, I’m sure you’ll know what I’m talking about. I take no time to delete any such mail immediately, but I wish people who forward these mails would understand the purpose behind them and see how impolite it is to tell an unsuspecting friend that bad luck will soon follow. I have often felt like hitting the reply button and saying, “Well then, bad luck to you too!”, but I figure I shouldn’t scare someone who is already so fearful.


And while we’re talking about unwelcome e-mails, I thought I’d also put in a request for all of us who don’t answer our phones promptly to keep them on the silent mode. Ringtones that go on and on can be very irksome and distracting, especially if you dislike the tone. Although I love the fact that we’re all on one floor and get to meet each other more often, I think we need to be a little more careful about leaving our phones to ring away on our desks. Having said that, I hope I won’t forget to take my phone with me the next time I head towards the food court or the washroom!




Random musings

I don't know how many of you tried to catch the eclipse this morning. I was up on my rooftop and had somehow expected to see the entire neighbourhood gazing at the sun. Instead it was practically deserted. Even the newspapers were delivered late. I go for a walk in the mornings (it was once a run) and the path which is normally packed with walkers and joggers was deserted too. Its incredible how superstitious people still are, well into the 21st century.

Another observation from getting out of the house early. Watching kids going off to school in their uniforms is a real delight. You see children from relatively low income homes (I think mainly kids of domestic help) being dropped on cycles by their parents. And while the parents may be shabbily dressed, the uniforms of the children are always clean and well ironed. To me its another little symbol of just how much education is valued in this country.

Jonaki had announced a contest where we had prizes of wine and chocolates, which has been met with deafening silence. If you don't want to write on her theme of holidays, write on anything. Otherwise I will have to drink and eat it all myself.

Vivek Govil

Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel

About this blog

This blog is for all employees of Pearson in India . We hope to share updates - both personal and professional - from the worlds of education and publishing.