Happy Festivus, to the rest of us! :-)
Monday, December 21, 2009
Happy Festivus, to the rest of us! :-)
Friday, December 11, 2009
- People who complain about bad roads in India, should drive in Madison in winter! Seriously, they can now give stiff competition to the mud roads back there. The slush and ice are driving me nuts and I feel like I am traveling on a maatu vandi. Atleast back home, your brakes don't stop working.
- In the same vein, could someone just take all the snow away? I am sick of it already and it's just December. There's about 3 feet of snow sitting pretty on my patio right now. My body is built for Madras - wearing even one sweater is a big deal for me. Oh I wish I lived in Florida.
- I've realized that I wear yellow gold earrings, a white gold diamond ring (thanks S), a platinum ring that somewhat resembles a wedding band (thanks Viji Athai) and a sterling silver chain. Nothing matches! I think I would do well to get a new set of everyday wear jewelery - preferably from Tiffany. Wow this is far cry from the girl I used to be - who hated jewelery of any kind.
- A watched phone never rings. You can add this nugget to the treasure chest of wisdom that I have bestowed upon all readers over the years. And also a constantly refreshed mailbox, never gets new mail.
- Despite not being a Christian, I love Christmas (Disclaimer To Appa : Except the Jesus part of it. I still firmly believe in Venkachalapathy) Well decorated trees, beautiful ornaments and gifts! What's not to love about it? I really wanted a tree at home this year, but then no-one visits me. And it would be pretty sad to throw a Christmas party by myself for myself. But I have been playing Secret Santa at work though. It's been a fun week, finding small gifts at my desk each day. And all so beautifully wrapped. All my gifts have been going in store bought gift bags.
- I wanted to write something about Super Mario Galaxy, but people are telling me that there' are too many obscure references to Mario in th blog. So I will refrain from talking about it. Except to say I only have 18 stars left to capture before I finish the game in entirety.
That's all folks. Have a rocking weekend!
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
As you all know, a trip to India is in the offing, and one of the highlights of the trip is that I get to meet my cute nephew/cousin A (Yeah our family relationships are pretty weird) From what I see in the pics, A is the cutest, sweetest, most good looking baby in the world (despite resembling his father! :-)) So I wanted to buy something for him and I headed into Toys R Us. After stopping for awhile in the Wii/Playstation aisle, I figured I would head into the preschool/infant section and be spoiled for choice. Boy was I wrong! What's with the toys for kids these days? Why do all of them have 1000 small loose parts that are definitely going to get lost 5 minutes after opening the toy. And why do all the toys make some sort of noise? My expectations were simple - I wanted to get something for A to play with, something that endures for atleast a month in entirety. There were a lot of walker kind of toys, but I didn't want to get those since his parents might have some definite ideas about that and buy that themselves. And for the same reason, I didn't want to buy any DVDs since his parents may have some rules about the kind of DVDs they want for their child. (Though I was sorely tempted to buy Blues Clues seeing the kind of publicity it gets on TV shows) Ultimately I chose to buy a Leap Frog product that makes a noise, but seems to be reasonable (atleast as per my standards). And also I like the ads on TV for Leap Frog and really think they are edutaining. And while I am at it, what's with all the pink and glitter for girl babies? I dream of having a daughter someday, whom I can dress in a pink frock and a bow, but isn't there something as too much pink? And I was also buying a baby doll for one of my aunt's friends. Most of them were cute and lifelike and said Mama, Papa and giggled to a good effect. And then I saw them. Pooping baby dolls. Ewwwww! Really, do kids like them? And more importantly do you want your kid to play with doll poop? Ewww!
And I was sorely disappointed with the service at Toys R Us. I walked to an employee and asked her for suggestions to get something for a 6 month old boy. Her only remark was to comment that I was in the right aisle before politely walking away. Contrast this with Barnes and Noble where I have been thrice to get books for babies and toddlers. The staff there were very helpful, walking with me across all the aisle and pointing the different kinds of books and what babies might like. And to top all these, I realize that the Leap Frog toy that I bought in Toys R Us is almost $8 cheaper online and in Walmart. Makes me feel silly now, taking the pains to go to Toys R Us. I have half a mind to return the stuff in Toys R Us and buy it from Walmart!!!
Talking about shopping for India, buying something for Appa has been an epic fail! :-( My parents never ask anything for themselves. Don't get me wrong here, they make me buy plenty from here, but everything is for someone else. When it comes them, they don't want me to buy anything that costs more than $1. So I was pleasantly surprised when my Dad, for the first time in his life, asked for something without my begging and cajoling. He said that he wanted a couple of good quality T shirts, which are collared and had a front pocket (for the times when he is in a veshti). So the next time I am in the mall, I figured I would check the out the T shirts and to my horror I found that none of the T shirts had a pocket on them. I became desperate and yesterday when I was in Kohls, I saw collared T shirts with a pocket on them. I called S in glee and discussed which size would fit Appa and then I noticed that they were full arm T shirts! I sorrowfully called home and told him I would buy shirts instead, which he didn't want. To cheer me up, he asked me to get a 2010 diary for him, the only stipulation being each day had 1 page dedicated to it (My father is an avid diary writing for decades now and he needs a lot of space for the kind of details he maintains in his diary) Again, after scouring Barnes & Noble, Borders and the likes I failed to find him one. So finally he asks for the DVD of a movie called "Seven Times Seven" that came in the 60s or for Laurel and Hardy DVDs with some specific episodes. Again, unable to find the movie DVD and the required episodes are spead over multiple DVDs which cost $45 apiece if at all they are available!
On the subject of buying things for India, I am really at a loss for what to get for everyone. I think people who lived in the US a decade ago had it easy, coz these days anything I mention has people going "Oh we get these in India now." Well, I am giving up on buying anything for anyone this time, due to the lack of time and monies. It makes me feel a little sad because I used to love getting stuff from V Mama when I was a kid. But then, you people get everything in India now right? :-)
Ok I have to sign off. Gotta go and buy random crap to take home :-)
Monday, October 05, 2009
- I have become so much more lazier in the last few weeks! Seriously. All I seem to want to do is sit/lie on the couch and read/watch TV/play on the Wii. The apartment cleaning has dropped to half of what I used to and I haven't stepped foot into a grocery store the last 3 weeks. I think it had a lot to do with S staying home. Either his laziness is rubbing onto me or he is spoiling me to bits :-) And the gym that I was so regular in going to - I haven't set foot in it for the last 2 weeks. Since S is now off to Ohio, I have decided it's time for a change and I started cleaning the apartment yesterday. I have also packed my gym stuff in the car so that I can drive right upto the gym after work. Now that it's all written in black and white, I am now accountable to the blog (and the few readers stringing along for the ride)
- In contrary to the above point, my hobbies and activities has increased tremendously. I take French lessons every week and I can feel my French improving considerably. I am able to make up simple sentences and starting to grasp the complex grammar. I need to ramp up on the studying at home though. Apart from that, S & I are taking swimming lessons every Saturday. I had a sort of breakthrough this weekend and I was able to swim 1 whole lap. I am really really pleased with that. My endurance is pretty bad though and I am exhausted after the 1 hour lesson. Anyhow, the fact that I can now swim for however long my hands and legs keep up and tread water shows that I am making good progress. Again need to get into the pool more often. Usually S and I just stay longer after every class and practice, but I think I need to go in once more each week. If this weren't enough, I decided to take art lessons from a local artist. I don't know why, but I have always had the itch to sketch, but I never do anything about it! I have just had one lesson, but I am enjoying working on my homework. Time will tell if I continue with this or just quit. (S nearly had a heart attack when he saw how expensive sketch books and the umpteen pencils that I bought cost. So he might force me to continue lessons till he sees some return from the investment. And S, FYI I am buying an easel too. :-))
- Appa is mighty skeptical about all these and feels that the money spent on all these would be better off sitting in the bank. Well I don't blame him, I have always quit on everything that I begin. The tennis classes in my 3rd and 4th standard, carnatic music lessons that I took for more than 5 years, multiple crafts and embroidery classes during the summer holidays, glass painting that I took up in Hyderabad, the tennis classes that I took last summer in Madison and so on. So I really need to not quit and show him. (I know I really have a great attitude :-))
- You know the JC Penney Salon that I used to heart? Well I am over them now. On Saturday I decided that I absolutely needed to get my eyebrows waxed and called them to get an appointment. I usually get my pedicure at this small place nails place in the mall. They are really good, but I was getting grossed out by the napkins they used. So I thought I would try JCP and took an appointment for a pedicure too. When my eyebrows were done, the pedicure person was guiding me to her station, when this rude person at the billing told me I would have to pay now for both services. I agreed and I was whipping out my card when she told me the amount due. I staggered visibly because it was way more than what I had expected. I berated myself for not checking the cost of a pedicure before making the appointment and swiped the card. And then she asked me if I wanted to leave a tip, in front of the person who was going to do my pedicure! Tell me if I am wrong gentle readers, but isn't a tip something we leave after the service is done depending on how well it is done? I had no choice but to give her a good tip and hope she was worth it. To break any suspense, she was worth the tip, but the pedicure very blah for the price I was paying. So all woman readers of my blog, avoid pedicures at JCP like the plague.
- On other note, my love affair with McCafe Iced Latte is ending since I have found out iced Filter Kaapi tastes much better. Of all the pots and pans that I dragged all the way from India, I am most thankful to the filter. Now if only I could get Coffee Day coffee podi in Madison.
- While I am at it, what's it with people who describe themselves with their sun signs? "I am a typical Scorpio" blah blah. So now apart from listening to their rambles, I need to look up Scorpio or Taurus or whatever too? Or do they think I am as jobless as them to know Linda Goodman from cover to cover. (You didn't think I would have a post without a single judgy, condescending sentence did you? :-))
Monday, September 28, 2009
He sat at his desk, looking at his computer and muttering to himself. Doing the same work day after day for years now, was not fun. Especially not if he got blamed by almost everyone for just doing his work.
Hope came floating down the clouds to his desk. "Yo Fate, Wassup dude?"
"Hope, nobody speaks like that anymore. I wish you would stop watching old teen movies from the 80s and then talking like them!"
"Oh come on Fate! Don't be such sour puss."
"You are one to talk Hope! You got it so easy. All you have to do is go to people when they are depressed and just promise them good things in the future! I am the one that has to make things happen according to this big fat book of rules! You think that's easy?"
"Take a chill pill dude" said Hope before floating away to find someone cheerier to talk with.
Fate rolled his eyes and opened the huge book. "14th September, 14 September", he hummed trying to get to that page, flipping furiously. He put on his bifocal glasses and peered down at the first entry.
"Make Sandhya Krishnamoorthy meet Mark Danial Raj so that they can fall in love and get married." His first reaction was one of relief. It was no fun starting the day with making someone fall in the bathroom and break their leg and hearing the entire household curse him the entire day. Making people meet was much more pleasant.
He quickly looked up their stats on his computer. He sighed with relief on knowing that they both lived in Chennai. At least he didn't have to hijack planes and cause train breakdowns to make them meet. Yeah Fate liked this sort of work better. Unfortunately, he wasn't a romantic, so he made soul-mates meet at the line to the restroom, at the auto stand where he was haggling with the auto driver for 5 rupees, or in the early morning when she didn't have her makeup on. So when people tell you that they met when they were reaching out for the same program guide at a concert or when they were both enjoying an early morning swim, you know they are lying sometimes.
Fate's first instinct was to make them meet at a temple before they left to work, but then he remembered that Mark wouldn't want to do that. He then looked up more details about both of them. Sandhya worked as a software engineer in one of the big MNCs in Sholinganallur and he was into sales and moved all over the city. This is easy peasy, Fate thought. He would just make Mark go to Sholinganallur on work and he could bump into Sandhya when they both go to the same restaurant for lunch. Maybe he could spill some coffee on her or something. He started tapping on his computer to set that event into motion.
To say Mark was irritated was an understatement. He had been with his company for a longish time and he had a set of fixed clients. Today his boss had been adamant that he go to this company in Sholinganallur and give a sales pitch. He had been to that company many times before and they had expressed no interest whatsoever in buying anything. He didn't understand what had changed for him to go and try again. His boss must be getting senile, he decided. To top his misery, his bike had been with the mechanic for the past 2 days and he had to use a call taxi to make his rounds.
"Pradeepakanth Down Down" Mark was jolted out of his reverie. He noticed that the taxi had stopped and there seemed to be a huge crowd with pickets and signs blocking the road. He got down from the taxi trying to see what was happening. Pradeepakanth was a leading star of Thamizh cinema who couldn't act to save his life. His movies always had heroines who were half his age and most of them were Bollywood rejects. And for his latest venture, which was to be a huge budget colossal one, he had managed to convince a leading Bollywood actress (after whom he had been lusting for almost 7 years) to act with him. Now these people were protesting that he doesn't encourage Thamizh actresses and were blocking the road until he changes his heroine.
"Saar, these people will not let us pass. Let us take a U Turn when we can and get back into the city. Otherwise we will be stuck here forever." Mark agreed with the cab driver and they turned back into the city.
Fate's face crumpled. He hadn’t accounted for dharnas and for Indians' talent of protesting anything and everything. He had wasted half a day because of this. Maybe he could have them both eat some roadside pani puris and then have diarrhea and meet at the hospital. (Like I said, practical but hardly romantic) But then, if one is writhing in stomach pain, one would hardly be disposed to conversation with strangers. Then a (figurative) light bulb light up over Fate's head and he started typing furiously on his computer.
Sandhya received a call from reception "Ma'am there is a flower bouquet for you." She was surprised; no-one she knew would ever send her flowers. When she went to the Reception desk, there was a glorious bunch of flowers - lilies, carnations, gerberas, roses all arranged beautifully. She took it to her desk and examined it. It came with a card that said "From your admirer M" and a cell number following it. Sandhya smiled and picked up her phone.
"Dei* Mahesh, I know it's you who sent me flowers!" Mahesh was her cousin who was 2 years younger and was one of her best friends. He had a misguided sense of humor and had tried to pull her leg on various occasions. Once he had his friend call her cell and pretend to be her boyfriend. Unfortunately she got scared and gave the phone to her father and much confusion had ensued. She found it hard to believe that a third year engineering college student had so much money to blow on a prank, but who else could it be? She smiled at the thought that, she hadn't fallen for his prank this time. She crumpled the card and threw it away, convinced that the number belonged to one of his friends.
Fate threw his hands up in despair. He was angry with all the Maheshs of the world whose sole purpose of existence was to thwart his plans. He mentally made a note to submit a written request (in triplicate no less!) requesting that Cupid take care of such matters in the future. Most people credit such things to Cupid anyway and only take Fate's name when something bad happens.
He chewed on the back of his pencil, thinking of some sure shot plan for them to meet. Then it dawned on
This was a Friday and that they both might seek some form of entertainment that night. He dug into both their Orkut profiles and learned that they were both kamal Hassan fans. A quick check of the Satyam Cinemas website showed that there was a new Kamal Hassan movie that they both hadn't seen. Fate smiled gleefully and tapped out some instructions.
Mark's cell phone rang cheerily and even vibrated for an added effect. "Machan**, do you want to catch Unnaipol Oruvan tonight at Satyam?" Mark gave his assent almost immediately, he was always ready to watch Thalaivar's movies!
Sandhya got a text message from her best friend "i m bukin tics 4 unaipol oruvan, u in?" and she replied in the affirmative too.
Fate was happy with what he had done so far. Now all he had to do is make sure Mark's friend bought 2 extra tickets and Sandhya's friend be unable to get tickets. This way she could buy the extra tickets from Mark and they could sit next to each other.
Mark's friend got off from work early and surprisingly his boss didn't have anything snarky to say. Thanking Luck (and not Fate), he zipped off to Satyam to book tickets. But when he went there he saw a huge red "Houseful" board for Unnaipol Oruvan. Fate was surprised. He didn't know that Kamal Hassan's movie was a big hit (considering that in the past, Thamizh people never had good taste and preferred no-brainer masala movies over intelligent meaningful cinema) All was not lost though, he remembered Luck owed him bigtime and thought this was a good time to spend his favor chips. He went to find Luck and persuaded him to get Mark's friend some good tickets for the movie.
Sandhya's friend Preeta stormed into Satyam in an auto one hour before the movie was supposed to begin. She surveyed the "Houseful" sign and thought about what to do. She had spent her first twelve years in Delhi and fancied herself to be half-Hindi (much to the amusement of many people whose real mother-tongue was Hindi) She had a propensity towards "Indhi" movies and looked longingly at the poster of "What's Your Rashee?" She resolutely stood in line to get tickets for that movie and assumed Sandhya would understand.
Fate was trembling in his seat now. Not only did he have just 4 hours to make them meet, he had also wasted the favor that Luck had owed him by getting tickets for Mark. As he was contemplating his options, Preeta had an inkling of doubt. She knew Sandhya loved Kamal Hassan and might not be pleasantly surprised when she got here and found she was watching a different movie. She whipped out her phone and called Sandhya. "Hey tickets for UPO is sold out, want to catch a Hindi movie instead?" She was greeted by loud vociferous expletives from the other end and she discreetly moved out of the line to get tickets. Mark's friend saw her and finding a way to flirt legally, approached her and said he had some extra tickets to UPO. (Although he didn't have 2 extra tickets technically, as 2 other friends were now on their way to Satyam after he called and invited them saying he had 2 extra tickets. Yeah he had never heard of "Bros before hos") Preeta fluttered her eyelashes and happily accepted.
Soon the curtain fell and everyone was seated. Sandhya smiled at the clean cut young man sitting next to her and Mark was thrilled that the pretty girl sitting next to him was smiling at him. Fate heaved a big sigh of relief!
After a year, the wedding reception of sandhya and Mark was happening at the Grand Ballroom of GRT Grand Days. They both stood at the dias, greeting their guests and smiling for pictures. A friend who had come upto to the dias to give them his gift, asked "So how did you guys meet?" to make small talk. Sandhya gushed and said "Oh it was just a simple twist of Fate actually!"
Far above the earth, Fate started laughing hysterically at the irony!
* - Sorta translates to "Hey you guy"
** - When translated, it means brother in law. But for unknown reasons, it's a term of endearment among Thamizh males
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
"I am Mythili Raghavan" she said again, keeping her last name intact. If someone pointed a gun to her head and asked why she faked her name, she would have no answer. Except perhaps wanting a change, a chance for change. She wasn't ready to go home, be transformed and marry one the several clean cut young men her parents had picked out for her. But she didn't want to carry the burden of the her life on the flight. It was easier to pretend, to fit in.
She smiled at Akash and spoke first.
"So do you work in the US?"
"No no, I am a musician, though technically I am lawyer."
Akash chuckled at his own wit. "Well I have studied law and technically working in my Appa's law firm as a Junior lawyer. Appa is a very famous lawyer in Chennai. You must have heard of him too - the famous Rangaswamy Thiruvengadam. But my interest is mainly in music. So I have told Appa strictly that I will work in office only from 9 to 5. After 5 I want to devote myself to music."
Shruthi was amused at his act of rebellion. She hadn't even finished smiling, when the next question was shot at her.
"So what do you do?"
In her panic, Shruthi said the most safest thing she could think of.
"Umm I am a software engineer. I was sent onsite by my company for 6 months and now I am going back home. So what kind of music are you interested in?"
The minute the conversation turned to music, Akash's whole frame seemed to exude some sort of exuberance. He talked about Carnatic music, Hindustani, fusion and even rock and heavy metal. He went on to discus music theory and casually mentioned the many many books he had read on that topic.
Shruthi gaped as her amusement was replaced with amazement. She listened intently, as Akash put various things in perspective and tried to teach her to understand Carnatic music.
The conversation flowed like water and she found herself talking, discussing, arguing. Whenever the topic became personal, she developed her fake personna further, garnished with many fine details. She talked about her 2 brothers and how they doted on her. She talked about Hinduism and her faith in Ranganatha Perumal. She ranted about working with computers all the time and how sometimes she felt the need to connect with other people. Her obsession with orkut and now facebook. And when he vehemently slammed smoking, she nodded in assent and added a bit about how she particularly she hated women smoking.
Shruthi was surprised at how easily she had fit into being Mythili. She wondered if she would have been Mythili if she had made a few different choices in the past. And judging by Akash's smiles and adoring glances, it was obvious that Mythili was a big hit. Akash and Mythili had the same upbringing and they lives were wound around the same things - Madras, filter coffee, Kapaleeshwar Temple, T Nagar. They had lofty aspirations, but they were mostly vertical.
Soon the flight landed in Chennai and they were at the baggage carousal. She got her suitcases first and turned to him to say her goodbye. He looked at her with an awkward grin. He wanted to get her phone number, email address or something, but he wasn't the kind of guy who did that often and he wasn't sure that Mythili would appreciate that sort of forwardness.
Shruthi sensed the gamut of emotions that was running through his head, as if his forehead had some sort of ticker display. What could have been is always magical, seemingly perfect; and reality can never come even close to taht. That was the gift that Shruthi planned to give Akash. He would always remember Mythili and the journey and he would think that if it had worked out to be more, it would have been perfect.
Shruthi smiled at Akash and walked away without a backward glance.
Edited to Add:
1 - I don't understand
Readers, I am in a quandry here. Initially I had wanted a Part 3 to conclude this story. But this ending really seems to finish the thought. So do you guys want this to be continued or do you want me to stop here? If enough people want another part, I will put up Part 3 next Tuesday
P.S I have another story lined up after this. So keep checking my blog :-)
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Shruthi glanced up and looked at the display board with a blank stare. Disheveled hair, dirty torn jeans, a huge backpack on her shoulders that weighed more than she did - she looked like any other Indian going home for a vacation. But she didn't react to this announcement with groans or any visible dismay like everyone else. Lately, things had a way of not working out for her and this just fit the sequence. She lugged her huge bag and walked towards the counter.
"Amma, my flight is postponed. I will be in Madras..."
She glanced at the young man on the phone. His chaste thamizh with a definite Iyengar twinge seemed to take her home instantly. She closed her eyes and stopped for a moment. She felt like a smoke - the simple act of bringing the light to the cylindrical smoothness of a cigarette would take her places that are universes away from Madras, Amma, Appa and the realm. She often used smoking to rid herself of the Brahmin guilt that she had been brought up on - touching an egg, looking a plate of chicken, drinking, a Bindi less forehead. The guilt that racked her thousands of miles away, and years after she left the cocooned home she was born in.
The woman at the counter told her that she wouldn't miss her connection in Brussels to Chennai. Shruthi walked back to the seat in a trance. Resting her forehead on pillar, she mused on her life. It wasn't so much misery as it was disillusionment. She was tired of life at the ripe old age of 26.
"Shruthi, I have packed some of the rettai-appalam1 that you like. I have put it inside the cooker so that it won't break, remember to take that out when you reach. Apram, I have given a Tussar silk salwar material to the tailor to be stiched. Can you go and get that from him? Remember to wear that for Diwali. Enna da kannu2, I feel so bad that you won't be here with us for Diwali. Appa and I are going to feel so bored. Can't you do your B.E somewhere in Madras, or atleast India? Do you have to go to the US for that?"
"Excuse me, is this seat taken?". She motioned that it was free and took the laptop that had been previously sitting on that seat. She opened it and absently started looking through some old pictures. She opened the folder marked "Freshman year"
"Shroooti, what do you mean you've never had a beer before. Wow!! Ok, you've got to do this atleast now."
She flicked through the album, a picture of her chilling in Miami, with friends at the sleazy bar near the university, skiing in the Poconos. Then she saw picture of Jason hugging her. She smiled when she thought of Jason - her first love, her first kiss. The first guy to notice her and reached out to her breaking the wall she had built, the one who ignored her awkward accent, the one she thought she would love forever.
"Shru doll, we must absolutely do the France thing this summer. Imagine us biking through France for the whole summer. You gotta come with me"
"Hello Appa, this is Shruthi. I don't think I can come home this summer appa. My Professor wants me to do this summer project. It would really be a good opportunity for me to do research. Ille amma, not everyone gets an opportunity like this. I will be come home next year though, I promise"
The break up with Jason was ugly. She couldn't believe that he had cheated on her in the 2 months that she had been to India. She had mourned the loss for an entire year before moving on.
"Passengers of Flight JW149 to Brussels are requested to get ready for boarding."
Shruthi looked up with a start, she hadn't realized that 2 hours had gone by. She gathered her things and her thoughts got onto the line to board the flight.
She squeezed her huge bag onto the overhead bin and plonked herself onto her seat. Her mind picked up the thread from before and she started thinking about about Mike. She had been dating Michael for more than 3 years, and had been living with him for more than a year. She loved his blond hair, blue green eyes, his easy way of talking and the way he made her laugh. They had had an amazing time together in the sunny apartment they were living in. They shared an love for the outdoors and went out almost every weekend. Her happiest day was a few months back, when he had proposed to her on top the mountain they had just hiked on her birthday. She said yes almost immediately and had loved wearing the huge diamond ring.
"Excuse me, I think you are in my seat", it was the thamizh speaking young man she had seen earlier in the terminal. She muttered her her apologies and started to get up. "Oh that's ok, I am not very keen on the window seat, I can take the aisle seat if you want" Shruthi smiled her thanks, and settled back into her seat.
She glanced at her bare left hand and sighed inwardly.
"Shruthi kutti3, you are 26 now. Appa and I are worried about your future. You know you are our only child, we want someone to take care of you after we are gone. Why don't you talk to this boy Sridhar? He has done his BE from BITS, Pilani and his MS from Stanford. He is working for Google in California. It seems California is a nice place with lots of Indians. Appa and I can visit you after your marriage. Just talk to him once no?"
"Hi Shruthi, this is Sridhar here. Your parents gave me your number ..."
"Shruthi, Appa pesaren4. Why did you tell Sridhar that you are not interested? Amma is in a shock ever since his parents called us. You know about Amma's heart, why do you do this ma? The doctor says her condition has worsened and he can't perform the surgery unless her palpitations reduce. "
"This is insane!! How do you expect me to "understand" that random guys call my fiancee with an intent to marry her? I understand that your mother is unwell and I agree that we need to postpone the wedding till when she is better, but only if your family knows that you are engaged. You can't expect me to just lay low and not make any noise in my own home when you are talking to your parents or one of the "guys". I am sorry, When I said I would marry you, I meant it, but this sort of baggage is not a part of the deal. This is over"
To be continued..
1 - A kind of papad
2, 3 - Terms of endearment
4 - Speaking
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Why do you spend $300 more each month to stay in DC Apartments, while GB apartments are cheaper and also all Indians live there?
Wow, this is a longg answer.
How come you didn't get any scholarship or any tuition waiver for Grad School? You know, my chitappa paiyyan's onu vitta mama oda thambi did not have to pay any tuition fees when he did a PhD on Bollywood heroines in 1968.
How come you & S don't stay together all the time?
Warning: Asking this question would lead to a very very very long rant about the economy, education loans, USA, the Masters program in general, so on and so forth
Oh you still want an answer? Well, here's the short version - the economy sucks, I had to do my Masters, education loans, can't sit at home and be a housewife and be happy, hate USA, want to go back to India.
Why do you buy fresh flowers for your home?
Why do you go to the Aveda salon to get a haircut when CostCutters is 70% cheaper?
Why do you wax your eyebrows when all other Indian women get them threaded?
Because waxing is better! Duh! But seriously, this is quicker, cleaner and virtually painless. And no, I am not worried that my whole eyebrow would just get waxed away!
Why don't you like shopping, like all other normal women do?
Why are you always talking about wierd shows like Arrested Development, Parks & Recreation, when the only show that all Indians like is Friends?
Why don't I ever see you and S at the Indian fest/local temple events/Hindi movie?
You know, all of you that know me in person, or could possibly know me in the future, should have a printout of this FAQ in your wallet!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Didn't like food which was spiced too mild.
Her mother forced her to eat beans, okra and peas,
While all she wanted was cakes, pies and brownies.
She hated her school that forced her to read,
When she got out at 4 she truly felt freed.
Her teachers had nothing but complaints about her,
She would amount to nothing was her parents' biggest fear.
She had no time to play, run or climb trees,
She was forced to study despite her pleas,
Weekeneds were spent on classes - swimming and dance,
There was no time to be free, to frolick and prance.
Then she grew up and got herself a job,
And met a man who made her heart throb,
They bought themselves a house with many a tree,
They truly were happy, as happy can be.
One day on your youtube, she saw an old song,
"It's from the 80s" she exclaimed with a sigh, long!
"I had so much fun when I was a kid" she said with a tear,
Forgetting school, vegetables and despair.
I guess it is true, what they say,
Black and white days seem better than today,
We wear rose tinted glasses looking back at yesterday,
Today is never enough, try as hard as it may.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
- My house is squeaky clean - right from the anjala potti to under the bed and couch. I even went around the house picking scraps and dust (since someone "accidentally" broke the vacuum cleaner the last time I asked them to vacuum the house). There are fresh flowers in the vases and the house smells great! And yet there is no-one here but me - not even visitors :-( As S keeps commenting (a la Vivek) "Yaarume illada kadai la yaaruku tea aathara", I keep cleaning the apartment
- These days I seem to hate watching chick flicks - I even prefer watching movies like Terminator. I was getting worried that romance was dying in me. Then I came across this video and it made all gooey inside :-)
- I feel like I am neglecting the fine art of poetry. I want to keep a book of poems on my nightstand and read one each day so that I can get beautiful poetic dreams :-). Any suggestions? (Yes, you and you, the only 2 readers of my blog)
- Is it me or do new sitcoms really suck? I mean I caught a few episodes of The Bill Engvall Show and New Adventures of Old Christine - and they both were bad. And even sad. Of course Parks & Recreation rocks. And I am guessing Shut Up Sit Down will be equally awesome it's created by the makers of Arrested Development. For the uninitiated "Arrested Development" is the BEST show on tv ever! If you haven't seen it, go to hulu and watch it NOW
- Like I said, go watch Arrested Development now, I am going to do the same
Friday, July 31, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
1) I will miss the food here definitely. Even for a vegetarian, there is so much of delicious food available and not just American. Will miss pancakes and waffles (the ones at IHOP, Perkins n Waffle House as well as the ones I make), cheap Chinese restaurants, Chipotle and other such Mexican places, McCafe, Burger King, P.F Chang, the awesome sandwiches at Subway, Potbelly, Milios etc, the awesome deep dish pizza at Old Chicago, Olive Garden (the bread there is heavenly) and other similar Italian places - these are just a few.
2) My car. Owning and driving a sedan as opposed the hatchbacks in India (I know there are nice big cars in India too, but I can most certainly afford only a Santro or Swift when I move back)
3) Driving at 80-100 mph on a deserted highway in the night, with just the radio for company. I love driving through the night on road trips with S. Stopping at the McD at 2 in the night for dinner, watching the sun rise across the horizon. Again, I love road trips!
4) A lovely apartment that overlooks the woods. The view from my patio is sooo amazing. I love sitting on my patio with a book and a nice tall cold drink.
5) My awesome French tutor. I have been learning French for a couple of months now from this French girl who is studying at UW. I like learning a language better when I am not in a class and when there is no fixed syllabus. The lesson just flows based on what I want to do that day.
6) Ok this is a bit frivolous, but people here laugh at my jokes! Really they do. The most inane comments and sarcasm cracks them up :-)
7) Fast internet, Wii and other such things unavailable in India.
8) The fact that I am able to return something if I am not happy with it. And actually getting money back and not store credit. Sometimes, reading all the reviews in the world does not guarantee that you will like that product.
9) I like that most people on the street have a smile for me and take time to say Hello and Good Morning. The world is certainly a more beautiful place with more smiles.
10) The feeling of being independent and confident that you can do whatever you set your mind to. I see people in their 60s doing a Masters after retirement and people building their own patios and fixing their car. Even after just living alone in my apartment, I feel more self reliant. I know women in India who live with their husbands or roommates and sometimes in laws, have servants to help them clean (house, clothes, dishes) and still complain that they do so much work. I love the fact that I live alone (on and off with my husband), and still I manage to cook and clean and keep my home neater and prettier than most of my friends' in India. I have lived alone for extended periods both in India and in the US and life in the US is tougher hands down and I feel I am a better person for it. I have to thank America for making me believe more in myself and for showing me that I can do it!
I am not giving up my Indian passport, nor am I losing the tingle when I hear our national anthem, but I do have something to say. I love America!
Thursday, July 09, 2009
If you search for accomodations in Door County, you get like zillion options right from tiny motels, Bed AND Breakfasts, vacation home rentals, Resorts and so on. My first choice was a Bed and Breakfast, since the room was soooo pretty and everything seemed so quaint. But most of the ones that had rooms available didn't have any water view and we finally picked Westwood Shores Resort which was one of my last choices. But I am so glad that the other places were sold out - because Westwood Shores was amazing!
As soon as we arrived, we were told that we were upgraded to a 2 bedroom suite. And the first thing we noticed when we entered the room was the amazing view.
The suite itself was clean and had a lot of (tasteful) nautical themed pictures and knick knacks all over. So after loading all out stuff into the smaller bedroom, S and I head out to the private beach in the resort. We spent most of our time in the chairs on the pier, taking in the water or lounging in their indoor pool. We made ambitious plans to take the ferry to Washinton Island and to do a cavepoint kayak tour - but as I said earlier we spent all our time by the water. The best realxing unwind trip ever!
While I am at it, I would like to announce that the Inn at Cedar Crossing has the best pancake ever! When I came home I wanted to throw away the pancake mix that I usually use to make pancakes. S adds that he vouches for the French Toast there.
So if anyone is planning a vacation anytime soon, pick Door County - you won't be disappointed!P.S I have postponed posting the story since I don't feel it is good enough. To make up, here is a post I wrote about a trip that I took 3 weeks back and forgot to post.
Monday, July 06, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
** Watch this space on Thursday for a new feature **
The New Bride
Friday, June 12, 2009
2) Johnny Sokko and the Giant Robot
3) Small Wonder, The Wonder Years - best shows ever
4) Shrimati Ma'am and Shrinivasan Sir tuitions
5) Pizza was an exquisite, gourmet dish
6) Shopping in Bata for new school bag, shoes and socks before school reopenings
7) Hershey's Kisses were one of the best chocolates ever since it came from America.
8) Tv Video games - Super Mario, Duck Hunt
9) Bourbon, Jim Jam and other "cream" biscuits
10) Watching movies on VCR (deck)
11) Going to the library to get story books
(Side note: I know many parents now who complain that their kids don't read. But I remember almost everyone in my class loved reading books. The problem was you were allowed only one book per week from the school library and that would be read in 2 days.)
12) Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Archies, Tintin, Asterix, Enid Blyton, Chacha Chouwdry
13) Birthday parties which usually had cake baked at home, chips and Rasna. And most gifts received were pen sets and sketch pens
13) Bournvita Quiz contest was one of the coolest shows
14) WWF card obsession
15) Playing Trade(Monopoly), Life, Scotland Yard, UNO
16) Hero pens, Bril ink vs Chelpark ink
17) Running and catching, Lock and Key, Ice Boy, Four Corners, King
18) Saravana Bhavan sambar vadai
19) Big Babool and Boomer gum
20) Contessa and Premier Padmini were the cool cars.
Can the gentle readers add more?
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
But I don't want this to be a rant post - summer is finally here! Paying an extra $15 a month for a woods view from my apartment is finally paying off. I wake up to seeing lush green tree tops against the bright blue sky. The view from the patio is awesome and it feels like I am living in a forest. I want to have some pretty flowers in the patio - so if one of the few people reading my blog is a gardner, can you tell me which ones would do well? Husband dear wants to grow tomatoes. Any thoughts on that would be appreciated too
I have also bought a Sega Genesis and a Nintendo NES and I finally have a vintage game system put together. The guy who sold the Genesis gave me his entire set of games - about 20. So far I've played just Sonic the Hedgehog though. The NES takes me back ages. H and I used to spend hours playing Super Mario, Dr Mario and the such. And I used to read Archies comics a lot then. I used to see ads for Sonic the Hedgehog and Sega systems and somehow I used to burn with a desire to play them. So it feels oddly satisfying to play them now :-) Also I now can kick anyone's ass in Mario Kart Wii woo hoo! :-)
I was waiting for everything to be perfect before being happy. But life never is perfect. So I have started enjoying all the simple pleasures - one sitcom at a time :-)