Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A ride in "Namma Metro"

The ride in "Namma Metro" was anti-climactic. It may be due to either the non-rush hour or the distance between two subsequent stations. But one thing is for sure. I am spoiled by the Parisian metro. Paris is a small city and there is a metro stop every few meters away.

"Namma Metro" in Bengaluru has gigantic stations and MG Road to Baiyappamahalli link runs mostly above the ground. The train stations are well designed, sometimes making you wonder if size is really necessary. Who is the actual customer here? The tourists or the commuters? The stations are very clean. So are the interiors of the train.

Since the train ride is above the ground, you get a view of the city. Unfortunately, the landscape is depressing with views of semi-demolished buildings and the impoverished areas of the city. Despite these, Namma metro seems to be a local delight. There were a few fellow riders like me who were there only for the joy of being in the train. They were also busy taking pictures using their mobiles.

The metro service is still in the teething phase. This is evident from two factors. The first is the signboard saying "No return tickets available". If there is no return ticket, is there an option for a day pass or a weekend pass? Is this again a distant dream? The second is the presence of people assisting people through the automatic gates. This also shows the low confidence on the intelligence of the travelers to figure the whole thing out.

There is always something about life that brings a smile on my face even when I am complaining. Yes, there were two during my "Namma metro" adventure - one before the ride and another after the ride. A metro staff requested not to spit chewing gum on the metro station in the most polite manner possible. This was while I entered the MG Road metro station. When I took pictures of the parked train, one guard requested me with a smile not to take pictures while his friend was trying to shoo me away.

The final act also is the basis of today's dilemma. Is photography forbidden inside the metro? I saw a signboard requesting everyone to kindly avoid taking photographs. The keywords were "please" and "avoid". Please and avoid are not the same as forbidden. I do not want to discuss intricacies of language with the metro staff. Instead I would like to argue on the technicality when time comes.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I'm fat!

She really knows how to make a face. She raises her eyebrows, narrows her eyes, looks intensely and also makes a weird gesture with her lips. This is when she is looking at her pictures on the iPad. At the end of this exercise, she mostly says without hesitation. "I don't like this". Then with some luck, she stops at a picture and says happily, "I like it".

This is the same kind of response I get while shopping for clothes. Be it for her or for her mom, she makes a face before giving her verdict. This is all fine with me. What cracked me up was something else. She looks at the mirror on the wall. She looks at herself from various angles and says "I'm fat". I didn't know how to react. Believe me, she is nowhere near fat. After being unwell last week, she lost all the adipose tissues gained from the brief visit of her grandparents.

Now, the big question is if she is really 6 or a grown up. The big mystery for her is when. When is she going to turn 8 years old ? She wants to grow up. According to me, she is already growing up too fast.

Tags: Parenthood,6,Fat

Saturday, February 25, 2012

So close yet so far

So close yet so far. Is there an expression like this? I am not sure. But it definitely sounds like the title of a Bollywood movie. Anyways, that was my thought early in the morning while sitting on the Emirates flight. I say early in the morning because it was early in the morning where I was; to be precise somewhere between Dubai and Bengaluru and a few thousand feet above sea level.

So I am sitting on the plane, one and a half hour away from Bengaluru and sleeping as peacefully as I can in the sitting position. Suddenly the pilot announces that we are turning back to Dubai. Apparently there was a technical failure which was corrected by communicating with the ground staff. Now, we are turning back to Dubai for finding an alternate plane. The whole flight takes only a little over 3 hours. So you can imagine my state of mind. So close yet so far.

I was supposed to be in Bengaluru at 9 am IST. Instead I arrived at 3:40 pm IST on the same day. There was another major shocker waiting for me in Bengaluru. Traffic!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Photos: Faces in the crowd

This was taken at Carnaval de Paris 2012.

Photos: Flying skirts

If it is a carnival, then there are a lot of dancers in skirts in it. This also forms a good subject to shoot. It is tricky to shoot a moving object since it is difficult to focus on anything to get a satisfactory shot.

This was taken at Carnaval de Paris 2012.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Boite à meuh

Pronounced "bwat a muh", this is the moo box. The same box which produces the mooing sound of the cow when turned upside down. How did I come across this new term which forms the basis of French Lessons? Right after a eternally long Monday meeting. You can imagine our state when a meeting, intended to be a quickie, stretched to consume our entire morning. That is when a friend brings up the term Boite à meuh.

According to my friend, we need a Boite à meuh. So, there is one guy who is controlling the meeting. Whenever we digress, this guy can turn the moo box upside down. This will force us back to where we left the main subject. This is an interesting way to stay focused in a meeting. There are a couple of French companies who has already implemented this.  

Photos: Dancing Shoes

Shooting a parade is difficult. When people are walking, dancing, jumping or even running, your shots might get worser depending on your skills. I was not happy with the pictures when I noticed the shoes. I felt this is a good subject. Here are some of the shots. 

And to answer your question... No, I don't have a shoe fetish.

This was taken at Carnaval de Paris 2012.

Photos: What does her eyes say?

What comes into your mind on seeing this picture? Yes, she is dressed up as a clown. But what does her eyes say?

What attracted me was the melancholy in her eyes. 

This was taken at Carnaval de Paris 2012.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Switching jobs...

I have been involved in Information Technology for the past 16 years. In fact, I started in this field and faithfully remained attached to it. I do not know what it takes to change the line of work. So anyone who knows and does this automatically climbs up the charts in my viewpoint. According to me, it takes a lot of courage to do it.

The bigger question is why do people leave everything they know and pursue an entirely different line of work. My friend in Bengaluru always talks about opening a restaurant. If any other person had told me this, my answer will be a smirk. Having tasted the results of his cooking experiments from college days, I believe he is on the right track. He has the right skills and also the interest. He should just do it.

Today I listened to an interesting story regarding switching jobs. I met a property dealer who was in entire another field of work previously. So what made her change jobs? She was looking for an apartment in Paris for a long time before finding a suitable one. Once she zeroed in the apartment, she missed the thrill in hunting for apartments like  locating a property, checking it out etc. So she decided to become a property dealer!

Tags: Musings,Job

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What about reincarnation?

Do you believe in reincarnation? It is a difficult question. I don't. But I love stories which deals with reincarnation. What else explains my interest in movies like Karz, Karan Arjun and Om Shanti Om? The only Hollywood movie I can recollect with this theme  is Dead Again. I'm not sure if it is a Hollywood movie or a British movie. It featured some of the best British talents.

This post is not about movies but more about the theme reincarnation. Last week, an acquaintance raised an important and carefully worded question about reincarnation. Does your religion support reincarnation? My answer was yes. I am a Hindu and I believe my religion supports the reincarnation theory. If it does not, you can tell me now as my knowledge in this areas is shrouded in carelessness and ignorance.

However silly it sounds, my friend has a master who helps him to connect to his previous life. Connecting to the previous life. That is interesting. But how do you accomplish this? I couldn't contain my curiosity. So I asked. The answer was simple. You don't connect with your previous life. You understand your previous life from the likes and dislikes of this life. If you like something in this life, then you must have disliked it in the previous life, so on and so forth.

I may sound naive. This is more like knowing yourself and not to do with reincarnation. Moreover, all this explanation brought back memories of childhood where my grandmother tried in vain to teach me manners by instilling fear about the next life. If you don't behave well in this life, your next life will be terrible. Well, that was an unsuccessful mission for my grandmother. Look at the way how I turned out!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pappettan and his valentine

If you are wondering who Pappettan is, click on this link and find out.

When I met Pappettan yesterday, February 14th featured in our conversation. Falling on a weekday, I was pretty sure Pappettan had spent the evening alone. But I was in a for a surprise.

Pappettan: I had company on that night.

Me: *not buying it* yeah right.

Pappettan: I cooked. Food and wine... We even toasted looking into each other's eyes.

Me: *confused at first, then smiles sensing a scandal* So who was it?

Pappettan: A special person. *thinks and then talks with dragging out each word* A...very..special...person.

Me: * waiting eagerly for more information*

Pappettan: I stood in front of the mirror, raised my glass and toasted. That was my company. You know what? The person in the mirror also toasted... looking straight into my eyes.

Me: *slams my head against the wall*

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Movie Review: Man on a Ledge

A man(Sam Worthington) stands on a ledge of one of the high rise buildings in New York City. A crowd gathers seeing him. Soon, the cops arrive. He is an escaped convict trying to clear his name. How does he do it?

The premise is interesting. But the same cannot be said about the movie directed by Asger Leth. It is a movie you forget as soon as you step outside the movie hall. The movie tries to accommodate all the tricks in the trade in order to generate suspense and sustain interest. It is a movie and you know all is that ends well finally. But if you have a feeling of "all is that ends well" when the twist happens, then it is definitely not good for the movie.  This is what is wrong with the movie. The characters are so one-dimensional that you end up choking when they act. There is a host of well known faces like Ed Harris, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell and Edward Burns. But all of them are wasted.

Stay away from this one. There are no thrills here.

Language: English

Genre: Thriller

Rating: *

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Movie Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Set in early 70's, George Smiley(Gary Oldman) and "Control"(John Hurt) the head of British Intelligence nicknamed "Circus" resigns after a clandestine operation in Budapest goes haywire. One of their operatives Jim Prideaux(Mark Strong) is shot by the Hungarian Intelligence. Control and Smiley walks out the building to the relief of their coworkers - Percy Alleline(Toby Jones), Bill Haydon(Colin Firth), Roy Bland(Ciaran Hinds) and Toby Esterhase(David Dencik). Before long but after Control's death, Smiley is contacted to conduct an operation to find a Soviet mole. The mole is one among the four people who were happy to see him and Control walk away in shame.

In this adaptation of eponymous novel by John le Carré ;the director Tomas Alfredson brings in the camera very close to his actors in sync with the author's narrative style of John le Carré. The camera is so close to the actors that you can even see the slightest eyebrow raise clearly. This helps in building intrigue and suspense in many scenes. There are no break-ins by performing superhuman acrobatics. Despite this, the director is able to generate anxiety in minds of the audience during ordinary break-ins with a combination of brilliant acting, photography and music. The movie is about loyalty, treachery, deceit and redemption. The emphasis is on emotions and interactions based in reality. There is no romance associated with the job. It is dangerous. But you work in a dull environment surrounded by even duller colleagues. The flip side of the movie is the pace in the initial part of the movie where nothing happens and also the flashbacks to the past which confuses anyone who has not read the novel or is unfamiliar with le Carré style.

Performance wise, the movie belongs to Gary Oldman. For me, Gary Oldman is an actor who can't be idle. He is moving his face, his hands or the body constantly and suddenly. Now, think of a Gary Oldman where all these movements are minimal and measured. That is how he plays Smiley. The dialogues are minimal. His body movements are very slow and calculated. This in itself is an interesting watch. The scenes to watch out for are when he extracts information out from his former colleagues - one cajoling with a bottle of liquor and the other threatening extradition. Another scene is when he asks his team member to do an illegal activity and also instructs for not revealing Smiley's name if caught in the act.

Must watch. Keep in mind Smiley is no James Bond. You will not find guns and girls in here. But you will find a good spy movie told realistically.

Language: English

Genre: Thriller

Rating: ****


My daughter has started the countdown. Now she knows how many days remain before I show up the door. As a parent, I feel proud for two reasons. The first, she misses me and the second, she knows to count; it was investment on her education. It has been 8 months and I wanted to start a countdown as soon as I booked my tickets. The "cold snap" and the business of being involved in everything yet nothing has prevented me from doing it. 

Looking back, the last time I did a countdown was in 1997. A few days in Bern for the first overseas assignment, I was homesick. I wanted to go back home. I wrote the days remaining on text file and updated it every morning. When that was not fast enough, I reworked on the countdown and calculated the number of hours remaining. Luckily, that moved fast enough for me. If it did not, I would have moved on to minutes and then seconds. Like I said, I was homesick! It was a jinxed countdown. When the goal was within reach, they extended our stay by another one month. You can imagine my despair.

That experience with the countdown also had another effect on me. Now I'm prepared whenever I go for assignments, however short it is. Deep inside my mind, I know these can get extended. This also is one advice I give freely to anyone who flies to a different location for an assignment. Have an open mind with respect to the duration.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Photos: The Joker

Tags: Photos

Monday, February 13, 2012

Photos: We are a team

Tags: Photos

Friday, February 10, 2012

Movie Review: Underworld Awakening

After finding the existence of vampires and lycans, the humans are embarked on a cleansing operation headed by Dr Jacob Lane(Stephen Rea). As part of this operation, Michael Corvin is fatally wounded and Selene(Kate Beckinsale) captured. Selene spends 12 years in cryogenic suspension. She is awakened by the visions of unidentified person referred as Subject #2. Suspecting this person to be Michael, Selene escapes from the headquarters of Antigen where she was kept captive. Her search leads her to Suspect #2(India Eisely), new enemies and new allies.

This is the fourth in the series. The best part about the first and the second was Kate Beckinsale - what she wears and how she executes the stunts. With the fourth installment, the hopes are up because of Kate Beckinsale returning to franchise after being absent from the third part. Although she wears the same outfit and the stunts are performed like a seasoned martial artist, the film fails to provide any excitement because of the shoddy way of executing the action scenes. The movie is directed by Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stern. The absence of Lens Wiseman in direction is sorely missed. The plot is too silly. The movie ends in such a way as to provide a way to kick off the next in the series while you wish the climax could have better crafted in order to avoid a next in the series and also save the audience from more pain.

Stay away from this. If you really want to see Kate, then revisit the first and the second in the series. That will save you a lot of disappointment.

Language: English

Genre: Action

Rating: **

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sharing glamorous photos

Do you know the difference between artistic nude and pornography? I don't! Although several photographers have tried to explain the difference to me, I still have trouble differentiating between the two! In the eyes of a professional photographer, these are two different things. So I let it be as it is. The tricky part is not the differentiation but whom do you share these pictures with. This is what I understood when I attended a monthly gathering of photography enthusiasts in Paris. 

During such gatherings, many photographers showcase their best works with the rest of the group. So here I was with a professional photographer analyzing the results of the various photo shoots by another professional photographer. The results were stored on a Samsung tablet. Being a novice, the person I was with patiently explained the finer points in detail. According to him, the finer points were the composition and post processing. Even a novice can hardly argue on these points.

That is when a woman moves nearer to us hoping to participate in the conversation. She has no idea as to what we are discussing. The passion might have been evident on our faces which made her interested. On seeing the woman, the person I was with placed the tablet on a table near to him but far away from the woman. The ensuing conversation was awkward and funny at the same time.

Woman: *raises eyebrows* So, are you not going to share the photographs?

Person I was with: *sheepish grin while searching for an answer*

Me: *looking elsewhere trying hard to suppress the smile*

Person I was with: *weak voice* They are not mine.

Woman: *not buying the answer and looking intently for more explanation*

Acquaintance: *gathers courage* Actually, these are glamorous photos. These have to be shared by the owner.

Me: *almost chokes on hearing the word glamorous*

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Free Hugs campaign

I was at Manga and Sci-Fi show in Paris last week. One thing about Paris... There is always something or the other happening over here every weekend. The huge convention Porte de Versailles with 7 pavilions is never empty.

I am not a big Manga fan. I don't like the way it is drawn. In a way, I love the Ram Waeerkar kind of sketches. I had a no clue what to expect in the show. The show turned out to be interesting because a lot of people came dressed up as Manga characters. Most of them were teenagers.

What caught my attention was the "Free Hugs" campaign. There were a lot of teenagers holding up placards with "free hugs" written on it. There were hugs and laughter being shared everywhere. The concept is so reminiscent of Munna Bhai's Jaadu ki Jhappi. So I researched on this using Google. The campaign has a site and also a wiki page.

What was more interesting was the remark about controversies surrounding this campaign. Who could imagine Munnabhai being dragged into controversies for such a noble deed? But yes, there are controversies. I am not sure what is the nature of these controversies. But the website clearly states to check with local law authorities before embarking on this mission.

Monday, February 6, 2012

When do you send a distress signal to your boss?

Recently, a friend forwarded an email to me. As soon as I read the content, there was a sinking feeling inside me. The friend was experiencing issues at work and the email highlighted those issues to the major stakeholders. But on reading the email, I felt it was the beginning of the end.

My friend is what many says a middle-level manager. In the organizational hierarchy,  he reports to important people above him and he tracks a whole lot of important people under him. Tracking is a mild word as he also has to ensure the work is completed with acceptable delays. If you have heard the famous saying involving a horse, water and drinking, then you already know how difficult it is to make independent-minded intelligent people to stick to deadlines especially the ones in which they were not involved in the decision-making.

Coming back to the email, the targeted audience of email had all three levels - top, middle and bottom. The content was unsettling. The middle level, in this case my friend, was raising concerns to the top level about no-shows and lack of seriousness from the bottom level. I have seen such kind of emails in the past. For me, it is the beginning of the end because everything else has failed. That is why someone complaints about his team to his superiors. In a way, it is as good as saying I cannot manage this team! I like hierarchy. My liking has nothing to do with either how fancy it looks on the chart or how boosting it is for the ego. Hierarchy helps in faster resolution of issues and better decision-making. While all levels should not be far away from ground realities, every level should not be involved in day-to-day activities and related heartburn.  There are powers associated with each level. If you now take a look using my perspective, managing the team is my friend's responsibility.

Is he right in sending the distress signal? In my viewpoint, no. How can this be corrected? There are many options. One of the many options is inducting new members into the team. Probably, everyone is bored with their respective assignments. It might be the right time to inject fresh blood for new outlook. Whatever you choose, sending a distress signal like this makes you lose the trust of your next level. That, according to me, is the beginning of the end of a relationship.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Paris in snow

The early bird catches the worm. This is true when you want to take photographs especially the ones with snow. If you wait for long, you end up photographing the muddy slush. Well, I didn't know all this when I got up today morning. On seeing the street covered in fresh snow, I suited up and was out of the door in record time.

The streets were empty. In my part of the city, the streets are always empty. What is surprising was even the avenue in front of Grand Palais was empty. There were people jogging despite the snow, tourists with their suitcases taking one last picture before leaving town and even others walking their dogs.

All through the month of December, the travel websites were writing about Paris in winter and putting up pictures of Paris covered in snow. Living here, I know there was no snow during Christmas and it was a hoax. But today, it is different. There was snow everywhere if you were an early bird. Now, there is only slush.

In case you missed, I have captured it in pictures. I am glad it snowed on Sunday. If it was during a working day, I would not have been able to capture it the same way as I could today.

Photos: A kiss

While in candid mode, the most difficult picture to shoot is that of lovers kissing. Even though this is the most sought after, this is also the most difficult. First of all, you can't predict a kiss and then you have so many settings in the camera to get the shot right. So you can imagine my surprise when somebody happily posed for me while kissing his girlfriend.

I was at the Manga and Sci Fi show in Paris. The man was wearing a Spiderman mask. After posing for normal pictures, he pulled his girlfriend to his side, raised the mask and kissed her. He wanted me to capture it. It was mostly like the movie except he was not hanging down and clean shaven like Tobey Maguire.

Tags: Photos

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

At the end of the previous movie, Professor James Moriarty(Jared Harris) received the remote triggering device from Miss Adler(Rachel McAdams). So the sequel opens up with a bomb blast in Europe. According to Dr Watson(Jude Law), when the world attributes the reasons for the mysterious bomb blast throughout Europe to anarchists, Sherlock Holmes(Robert Downey, Jr) has a different theory. So begins the intricate game between two brilliant minds to outdo another. Miss Adler is killed in the first few minutes of the movie and there are other characters like Mycroft Holmes(Stephen Fry), Madame Simza(Noomi Rapace) and Mary Morstan-Watson to fill the void.

In the sequel, Guy Ritchie expects the viewer to be familiar with the ways of Sherlock Holmes. So there is no voice-over while Sherlock Holmes evaluates his options when cornered by the villains. Hence the action is very fast, confusing the first-time viewer of this series. There are two enjoyable things about the sequel - the game of shadows between Holmes & Moriarty and the action scenes. The entire plot can be likened to a chess game between Holmes and Moriarty where both of them try to weaken the other by hitting where it hurts the most. Holmes tries to thwart the diabolical plan of Moriarty while Moriarty tries to weaken Holmes, physically and emotionally. The chess board also prominently comes into the frame at two places - when they meet for the first time and during the climax. 

Guy Ritchie is brilliant while executing the action sequences because of the way he chooses to speed up certain segments and slow down others. On top of this, the judicious use of background score helps immensely. The two action sequences that stand out are when Holmes & party escapes from Moriarty's factory to catch a speeding train and the climatic fight between Holmes & Moriarty. When Holmes, Watson & Simza runs through the forest to catch the train dodging bullets and cannon balls, the motion slows down to highlight the speed of the bullets and destruction caused by the cannon balls. In the rush, Watson leaps into the air, apparently to avoid an obstacle, and a bullet grazes his coat. The emphasis is on the coat flapping all over the place and the bullet grazing. But how does a man with a limp execute a perfect leap? We don't ask that question because the visuals are too powerful. When Moriarty's man picks up the rifle to shoot, the music stops and all you can hear is him blowing air out of his mouth before he takes a final shot at the escaping party. The climactic fight happens in the mind of Holmes and Moriarty. So there is a lot of back and forth between the reality and the imagined fight. When Moriarty punches the wounded shoulder of Holmes, you are actually sitting up in excitement because of the way it is shot. While the action scenes are good, the flip side of the movie is the slow pace between the action scenes. Eventually, the movie ends up as a tedious wait for the next action scene.

Robert Downey, Jr and Jude Law has already established themselves in their respective roles with the first installment in the series. They continue to do their act. They bond well on the screen. Robert Downey, Jr uses slapstick during action scenes reminding you of Jackie Chan. Jared Harris as the cool calculating Moriarty does his part well. Stephen Fry and Noomi Rapace has nothing much to contribute towards the movie.

Wait for the DVD. The action scenes are good. But that alone doesn't make it worthwhile to make a trip to the movies.

Language: English

Genre: Action

Rating: **

Friday, February 3, 2012

Books: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Raoul Duke and his attorney Doctor Gonzo drives to Las Vegas for motorcycle race and then a drug conference. They start from California on a convertible loaded with drugs. In the next few days, they are high on drugs, committing felonies and imagining things. All these told in the first person narrative of Raoul Duke forms basis of this novel written by Hunter S Thompson.

During the first few pages of the book, you are interested in the narrative. The protagonists does a lot of absurdities under the influence of drugs. This evokes laughter. The vivid description of their hallucinations are also funny. But as you progress, it is excess after excess. The protagonists are never sober. They try hard, and also succeeds, to get high again when the sensation begins to subsides. After a while, the book turns repulsive.

I have not figured out the purpose of the book. If the purpose of the book is to highlight the indulgence of the era, then it has succeeded. If there is any other deeper meaning, then it is lost on me. If you have read this book and was able to figure the message, do drop by and comment.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Photos: Flower formation

At the end of the performance, the girls opened their fans and stood in a formation that resembled a flower in full bloom.

This was taken during the Chinese New Year Parade in Paris.

Tags: Photos

Photos: Flags, Glasses and Makeup

At first, it was the glasses caught my attention. I felt it was big for her eyes. Then I noticed what she had done to her eyelids.

This was taken during the Chinese New Year Parade in Paris.

Tags: Photos

Photos: I want to tell you a secret

I don't remember what they were looking at. But their pose seemed too good to let go at that time.

This was taken during the Chinese New Year Parade in Paris.

Tags: Photos

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Photos: A girl with a flag

This was taken during the Chinese New Year Parade in Paris.

Tags: Photos

Symphony in the Metro

Just when I thought the worst part of the winter is over, there is an alert for snow during the winter. Apparently, the winter has only started. I wish the weather was more predictable. During last winter, it snowed mostly during December (of 2010) in Paris. That made me think I can survive winter if I survive December. It is February today. The temperature have now dipped below zero after remaining above it for all of December and almost all of January.

The most interesting part of dipping temperature and changing weather is traveling by the public transport i.e the omnipresent Metro. During normal days, you find zombies with distinct and strong smell of deodorants on the way to work. With winter, the scene changes slightly. The zombies and their smells are still there. The difference is brought by the coughs. Somewhere in the compartment, someone starts coughing. It is not a loud sickening cough but a low-toned cautious cough, loud to bring comfort while not too loud to make others uncomfortable. Just when that someone finds his comfort and stops coughing, another person sitting far away does his/her coughing act. When this stops, somebody else picks up this act. If you listen carefully, it is like a symphony conducted by an invisible maestro.

Using the public transport makes you susceptible to all kinds of illness associated with the change of weather. I was advised to wash my hands after traveling in the Metro. Until now, I have not followed this golden advice. As a result, I fell sick last week. What did I do? I decided to work instead of staying at home. The grand scheme was to spread the illness to everyone at work. But damn it! These guys seem to be disease resistant!

Foot note
If you are my boss, please keep the following keywords in mind. "fell sick", "work", "instead", "staying at home".
If you are my colleague, send the link to our boss and tell him to read the footnote no matter what...

Photos: A good listener

This was taken during the Chinese New Year Parade in Paris.

Tags: Photos

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