December 25, 2005

Flaky thoughts for christmas (pun intended)!

'tis the season to be jolly, tra la la la...

Yeah. Blame it all on the season. Strangely, its been sunny so far, which makes me happy, but poor kids, I hope it snows a bit tomorrow just so they'll see atleast a partly white christmas. So, here are a few random thoughts off the top of my head - nah, we won't go further than that for now!

- It's quite awkward when you are the only girl at a (desi) party with 15 other guys and then a wise guy decides to make that observation, aloud. And suddenly there's this hushed silence for a few moments and then I begin to wish yet again that I were a guy!

- Sometimes, I think I've said too much but it always feels better having said too much than too little :)

- It feels good talking to your dad-in-law and laughing together about your husband :)

- Sometimes, people put this random thought in my head and forget about it. And then I spend a considerable amount of time wondering about it. Two weeks later, I mention that to the very same person, assuming (s)he has analyzed the issue from various angles and has several insightful remarks to add to it, and then (s)he goes, "Huh? Did I say that?". And then ofcourse, you can't admit that you have been thinking about it all the while and then you go, "No, I just made that up" and then after a while both of you don't know what you are talking about!

- Being frank has its benefits. Don't ask me why I said that now.

And before flaky becomes crazy, g'nite y'all and a merry christmas to all of you!

December 22, 2005


I am a list person. I like to make lists. Nice little lists - todo lists, grocery lists, why-I-hate-you lists (aww, come on, I don't mean you!), what-should-I-do-with-my-life lists. I also like to make resolutions. I don't mean lofty, unrealistic resolutions like "I am going to be a better person from today", "I will become more beautiful from today" - those are just downright silly.

I mean achievable, realistic resolutions like:

  • "I shall not check email for the next three hours."

  • "Even if I do, I shall not reply to any of them."

  • "Unless they are addressed just to me."

There. A nice set of realistic resolutions. That was just an example, they are not really my resolutions. What? You don't believe me? OK, just to set the record straight, here goes a list that I am working on since New Year is almost here.

  • Exercise regularly, atleast three times a week.

  • --Unless I am sick or very sick. In which case, noone can force me to carry over the backlogged exercise hours. And unless the weather is bad - bad weather puts me in a bad mood and I really dont want to go the gym with a drooping face and upset people there - yes, am all for 'good karma' :)
  • Learn to play the keyboard or learn to dance.

  • --If I can find a good teacher and still afford the class.
  • Improve housekeeping skills.

  • --Provided k also improves accordingly.
  • Lower expectations - don't be demanding on your friends.

  • --Provided they understand that mostly I don't expect much and even when I do, I make very reasonable demands!
  • Read more, read different books - ok, no disclaimers here, I plan to do this. No, I am absolutely not hinting that I am any less serious about my other resolutions. Just that this one is close to my heart :)

  • Remember to call in-laws every weekend.

  • --Unless I sleep really late the previous night. Am sure they don't want me to wake up early to call them and then fall sick :(
  • Transition gracefully into this phase of life, face growing "old" with a cheerful face.

  • --Yeah, yeah, all the same, there's nothing great about turning 27. No, I will absolutely not have a birthday party. You are not invited.
  • Don't make stupid resolutions.

  • --Unless I really want to. In which case, I shall consult this post to help me decide.

There. Nicely done. Will post my updated list in a couple of weeks. Gosh, am proud of myself - all organized and focused in life. Are you? :)

December 19, 2005


Quality time spent watching a movie. Twice. After a long time. And a Hindi movie at that ;)

First a mention about the music that embraces the movie throughout, perfectly complementing the moods and emotions portrayed - an excellent job by Shantanu Moitra. It's hard for me to pick a favourite song, each excels in its scope, creating the right effect.

Piya Bole - endearing...touching. Surprising how the characters of Lolita and Shekhar and how they depend, relate to each other - as friends, as something more...becomes evident through just one song.

Kasto Mazza - I love the little chorus that the children sing while waving from the train...a song about beauty that only love can create.

Soona Man Ka Aangan - hurt and love that causes it - powerful.

Kaisi Paheli - Dazzling performance by Rekha - a glimse into the exotic world of the rich and glamorous!

Raat Hamari Toh - A woman in love, scorned by her lover - beautiful even when teary-eyed - haunting!

Hui Main Parineeta - Mesmerizing. The essence of a wife, parineeta. The scene that precedes this song is my favourite scene in the movie. His possessiveness, her tears, the magic of the day and they all come together in a beautifully picturized moment...

Music, the notes played on the piano that brought them together is the one place Shekhar takes refuge in when he fears he has lost his love - the angst, the pathos, the raw energy that he manages to convey through music creates a connection that words would have failed to convey.

Excellent performances by Saif Ali Khan (he just keeps getting better!) and Sanjay Dutt but ofcourse, our show-stealer is Ms.Vidya Balan, stealing many a hearts with her grace.

Enough said. Watch the movie!

December 15, 2005


When God made me, he must have put an artistic finger to the tip of his aristocratic chin and said, "Let's see...what shall I do different now? Oh yes, let me make her just a wee bit more awkward than the rest!" Now am sure God would have used a more mature-sounding-word than wee but we'll be satisfied with wee for now.

Anyway, God then happily went on to make other human beings who now have their own problems to deal with. But, we shall not get distracted. We shall dwell on the wee bit that God decided to bestow on me! You see, normally, I do a pretty good job of camouflaging this wee-bit that lives within me, let's call it "wee-me" for the sake of simplicity. So, wee-me normally is happy being in a placid, dormant, vacant kind of state - you know what I mean? (Kinda' like guys responding to questions on philosophy and life when NBA is on TV) And then suddenly, especially in a crowd of people (especially at work), wee-me pops up all happy and cheerful and I become this ghastly, awkward being that am embarassed to associate with. Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration but do you know what I mean? (Please say yes!)

And then a strange phenomemon takes place. I run out of things to say - intelligent rejoinders, funny jokes, lukewarm assents...nothing! I just stare and look dumb and its as if they are talking in a language that I cannot understand. I mean, come on girl, say something...anything (like that episode in Friends where Ross's mind talks to him and then he ends up saying something really stupid) - in my case, I just wish I could say something stupid.

Anyway, if I could, I would run back to the day that God stood tapping his chin and I would have put forth a strong case to make me a wee bit more say, artistic, beautiful, funny? :) (Now that's an interesting thought - me making a case for making me, even before "me" was created - that's it, that's got to be the stupidest thing that someone ever wrote on the www) But then, if I had that kind of power, I would have probably asked to be a boy ;)

Seriously, this post is so absurd, am surprised you read through it fully, thanks :)

December 14, 2005

Clumsily yours!

Do you know why men have easier lives in general? Because they are smart enough to not make life complicated, as women do. And why do women make their lives complicated? I have a sneaking suspicion that it's in their blood (I say "their" as if I don't wish to be a part of this conclave - I wonder why?!) Maybe it's the challenges we thrive on, the challenges that if life is not accomodating enough to offer to us, we create for ourselves!

At each stage, it's almost as if it is a competition for them, a competition in which participation doesn't count - you win or atleast act as if you are in the lead (Notice the use of the third-person personal pronoun? That's because I am still trying to figure out where I stand - do I want to be a part or do I want to stand apart? :)).

A career-oriented go-getter tut-tuts when she observes the homely wife, cooking - a job, which in my opinion can be equally challenging and worthwhile if you chose to make it so. And yet the woman throws a barely concealed look of disdain at the other. A slim and beautiful single girl talks to the visibly pregnant woman in a tone that pretty much says, "God knows how you do it! Thank goodness, I am not in your shoes!"

Why? Why this need to establish that she is placed in a much more fortunate position in life than the other? I have often wondered and while it will be unfair of me to generalize, I will say that I have observed this often enough to put this post up (after all, it is my blog :))...

And a short-story that dwells a bit on what I have tried to clumsily summarize here.

December 11, 2005

The "what-do-I-do-with-my-life" crisis!

Maybe it's the season - all white and flurry, making my mind confused and muddy!
I guess it's quite normal for a girl (I shall not say woman, not just as yet!) of twenty-six to be feeling a touch of the "what-do-I-do-with-my-life" and "these-hyphens-are-awfully-hard-to-read" crisis. OK, the latter is not part of my dilemma, just an experiment to see if am any good at making up long hyphenated sentences. Am not.

But, that's hardly my concern now, I mean the hyphens. My circle of concern concerns bigger issues (Gosh! it's really confusing to read a sentence with a noun and a verb that are the same word. I just have to stop re-reading what I write and get on with this post!) Anyway, the past few days, I have this feeling of drifting along aimlessly, floating towards nowhere, and if I get lost, will someone care to notice? As a tiny speck of this universe, we all make our marks in our own little way or so wise words tell us, don't they? (Atleast Mitch Albom does - The five people you meet in heaven).

Well, am not really sure. Am I making a mark? By doing what? Going to work, writing code, talking, cooking and doing every little bit that adds up to form a mundane , oh-so-ordinary, typical work-week of an Indian software engineer in KY?

And then I think, I am just being ungrateful, not thankful enough for what He has given us. Not satisfied enough with the miracles that life has to offer and has already offered.

...and now, here I am once again, in the middle of nowhere, looking around me for an answer, hoping that I would not have to spend a lifetime to figure out what it is that I wanted to do with my life. Hopefully, I am doing or will soon do what it is that am meant to be doing with my life.

Yes, try writing at 12.00 AM and you can sound just as confusing as me. I promise :)

December 08, 2005

என் மனதை திருடியது...(Captured my heart...)

I blame this post entirely on Subha who leaves to India this week :)

What is it that captivates my heart thus? Is it the sweet fragrance of home? The familiarity with which the delicate white petals nod at me? The dance that captures the essence of everything alluring and pristine, as the wind whispers to them? What is it about the sight of jasmine flowers that delights me and fills me with a feeling that I know not I possessed? A feeling of nostalgia, familiarity and home...

"How come you don't demand jasmine flowers when you are here?", he asks.

I don't know. I associate "here" with the white that is reflected all around by a cold blanklet of snow, not with the whiteness of flowers peeping out from pretty braids that steals my sight, as I go around the navagraham one more time...

It's hard to explain. I stayed in Bombay for four days last time when I visited India. Each day, as I travelled the city so involved with itself, so busy, so hurried, I looked for a sign, a glimpse of something that would remind me of home. My eyes would scour through the forever thronging crowds, for an echo of a familiar thamizh word, for a glimpse of a well-worn silk saree, for a wisp of a closely woven string of mallipoo, for the smell of home.

I don't think anyone understood why I frantically looked with unexpectedly watery eyes, at the rows and rows of stalls outside SidhiVinayakar temple, at the seedy stalls lining Andheri railway station, at the peddlers selling trinkets at Chowpatty beach, searching for the familiar woven straw baskets of little piles of malli and jadi poo, the cool wetness of the green leaves in which the flowers are wrapped and the smell of my kovil, my mother and me, a part of me that I left behind...

I don't know whether to believe in omens, probably because I am too young to have seen many of them in my life. Perhaps we have to be away from home, away from our comfort zone, to keep our eyes open for omens. But, in those four days in Bombay, I believed that my prayers, my beliefs, my feelings existed for a reason and someone up there heard the desperation in my little voice, among a sea of such similar voices...

I went home that day, to find a neatly wrapped green package sitting for me in the kitchen counter, held together by a fraying brown thread. The sight of it filled me with an inexplicable sense of happiness. I could not explain it...I clumsily and gratefully arranged the flowers in my hair - Was I being silly? Maybe. Sentimental? Yes.

But, I think I began to believe more, that day.

December 07, 2005


Today I did something stupid. Dont start smirking and acting all smart now. No, I dont so stupid things everyday. Anyway, we had this demo to show to our boss's boss's boss' know how that goes. Until half an hour before the demo, everything was hunky-dory and working as best as it could. Then I had this cool idea. Why don't I restart the server just to you know, clear things up, start afresh, just before the demo. And that's exactly what I did. Restart the server.

Only, the server did not restart. It said, "Publishing failed". This message confused me as much as it does you now. What publishing? I was just restarting, what are you talking about? So, I laughed a little laugh to myself, in an attempt to act all cool and professional (although there was no one around but me to notice that), and I closed my editor and every other window that was open. Clean slate. That's the key. Start with a clean slate and everything will fall into place.

In your dreams! I tried to launch my development environment and start the server and a different error popped up this time, "Unknown errors, no server found!".



How can you not find a server, you dumb machine? The server was there, alive and kicking a minute ago! And then k walks along breezily, quite a contrast to my state - nervous, cold hands, almost sweating (and like Veronica Lodge says, I never sweat, maybe I glow a bit :)) and says, "Problem? Why don't you try to delete the server and install a new one?"

I don't like people suggesting silly stuff to me when am in a deep soup. Firstly, it's based on the assumption that I am dumb and did not try the silly, simple stuff first. Secondly, it just wastes time because I have to understand what the person is saying, get annoyed, snarl all the while thinking of a solution to my original problem. Anyway, before I could snarl, another colleague walked along and now it became a kind of show - "Server is broke, lets all watch!"

To cut a long story short, before I broke out into hyperventilations, the server decided to chug back to life.

...and then people tell me, "It's just a demo, stop stressing about it!"

December 05, 2005

Just a lil' hug!

When my dad said, "There is a world of difference between us and them", I believed he was wrong. After all, how different can human beings be from each other? And if they are from the same country, really, how can there be a world of difference? Isn't that an oxymoron or something?

Anyway, the funny part of this story is that I am beginning to believe my dad was right (as always!). Especially if I take the world to not literally mean the world outside. Think of it as the world within us and it kind of makes sense.

But, I am not writing this post to discuss how North Indians(or West Indians as Bombaites like to be called :)) live in a world different from ours (meaning us thayir sadam and no-chapathi South Indians). I am writing this post because sometimes, if I really keep my eyes open and my prejudices locked away, I feel I can absorb much more of the goodness in people and cultures...

I am digressing. What I really want to talk about can be summarized in a couple of words - "A hug"!

I mean, how hard is it to hug someone? A friend who stands at the airport waving goodbye and looking morose, my mom when I visit India after a year, my dad because he always gives in to what I say, however unreasonable :), my brother because well, he is just a kid to me...countless instances when I could have hugged and said more than what I could convey by mere words. But, I did not. And then there are times, when I just want to hug someone, spontaneously but I dont.

I am just not used to it! Its awkward for me to take the initiative and hug! Take k for instance, he hugs easily and comfortably - his friends, his parents, even my "You are an angel" pillow! When I saw him and his sis initially together, they looked like a Bollywood raakhi-psenti-types bro-sis pair to me :)

...but then in retrospect, I think about it and wonder, maybe a hug could have pacified what a hundred words did not, maybe a hug would have meant more than silent tears shed in silence, maybe a hug would have said, "I'll miss you" better than a bouquet of roses? Maybe.

November 30, 2005

!(single) anymore!

When you are married, you just have to realize that you are not single anymore! No, really, read that one more time and you'll realize I am not just trying to be funny and doing a pretty miserable job at it, am trying to convey a point here...I think :)

Last evening k & I were driving back from work and I was talking nonstop about what I did in the day, what profound realizations dawned on me between 9 and 5 that day, how I have decided to turn over a new leaf (usually once every four days) and such thought-provoking stuff when in the midst of one particular animated monologue, I said, "You know, atleast I am single and don't have kids and all..." and then went on to complete a number of related thoughts.

Normally during these conversations, I take care of the talking bit and k does a good job of listening or atleast saying appropriate "uh huh", "hmm" and "ok"s at regular intervals, a pretty good imitation of a patient listener if anything. That's besides the point. I noticed after five more minutes of talking that I did not receive the expected "hmm" and "ok" this time. So, I turned around and he just gave me a long hard look and said, "Ramya, you are not single."

So, that was one big oops. Then there was this aunty who told me out of the blue, "Ramya, you know, once you have kids, your husband will become a wall!" and I happened to mention this in passing to k's dad. He didn't seem particularly bothered and just mentioned that I got to be smart about what to take to heart and what to filter out. Two days later, k was talking to his mom and she asks him, "Is Ramya still worried about the wall thing?"


Like I said, sometimes you just have to realize that you are not single anymore!

November 28, 2005

The color that speaks to me.

No. I am not talking about the pink that might remind you of Paris Hilton. I am not talking about the pink splashed all around Legally Blonde. I am not talking about the frivolous, superficial, inane shade of pink that you might associate with giggly teenage girls.

Now that am done with my defensive disclaimers, lets get to the bottom of this business. My favourite color is pink. I even have my yahoo mail customized to pink. And that's not because "its so cute!" or such reasons that I cannot even remotely hope to relate to but...

I do love the shade of rose the sky dons at dusk, a glimmer to remind a tired soul after a hard day's work that romance still awaits, that rosy dreams still can come true, that magic lies hidden in sudden moments of clarity...

I love the pink that rises up a blushing face...

I love the pink of little fingers that hold on to your finger so tight, you never want to let go...

I love the shade of rose that colors my dreams, they remind me of sweet memories yet to be...

and I love the images that pink paints in my head - a happy place, smiling faces, music to dance to and love all around...

Can you blame me for my rosy indulgence now? :)

November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Rambling.

Sometimes life just doesn't make sense, does it? It's not often that we step back to reflect on what is relevant in a context bigger than our immediate surroundings. And when we do, sometimes we are left wondering if we were better off without this bit of reflection.

I don't write about politics, for no other reason other than the fact that I am quite ignorant when it comes to current affairs and such. But, once in a while, I browse through newspapers and then wonder if it's just easier to stay ignorant.

Mindless incidents, meaningless acts of violence splashed all over the front pages...sometimes we have to dig deeper to remain sane amidst all the insensitivity that there is.

...and still in all the madness, if we look long enough we might catch a glimpse of something that still tells us all is not lost. I am rambling now...for now, I guess we can start by being thankful for what we have and what is not yet lost.

Happy Thanksgiving ye'all!

November 22, 2005

Did I do something wrong?!

4.45 PM. She looks at the clock and mentally calculates the time it would take for him to reach home from work. 15 minutes. Oh well, maybe make some light tiffin and heat up the tea she had made in the afternoon. He would be delighted for sure to see hot food waiting for him. The thought makes her smile.

She pours a bit of olive oil, mustard and cumin seeds, flecks of garlic and watches it sputter. She carefully fries the onion pieces until golden brown and adds the tomato slices to the pan. She glances at the clock again.

5.00 PM. He should be home anytime now.

She carefully cuts the sides of the bread pieces and tosses them into the pan. A bit of salt and paprika sprinkled into the pan and tiffin is ready.

5.10 PM. She arranges the table, heats up the tea and wonders why he is late.

5.20 PM. By now, she has run out of things to do. She arranges the plate in the center of the table mat and starts tapping on the table and biting her lips.

5.30 PM. Three calls to his cell phone. No answer. The office phone redirects to the voice mail system. Whom else could she call?

5.45 PM. She stands by the little window by her front door and watches her breath frost tiny circles on the glass window. A tan colored car drives past. Not an acura. Why is he not home still?

5.55 PM. Two more phone calls to his cell. By now she begins to panic mildly. Did he wear his seat belt? How could a 15 minute drive take more than 45 minutes even if New Circle is packed? Should she call someone?

6.00 PM. She hears the garage door open. He walks in with a buoyant "Hi!" and a few seconds later, stands doused in water, dripping onto the kitchen floor.

He looks at her, confused more than ever,
"Did I do something wrong?"

November 20, 2005


And that's Trelawny, Cho Chang, Harry Potter, Moaning Myrtle, a wannabe Harry Potter, Hermione, Ginny Weasly and Snape from left to right - just after watching HPATGOF (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)!

We planned for three weeks to reach the theatre an hour and a half early and landed up five minutes before the movie began and had the first row just to ourselves, but in full costume to our credit :)

I must admit, more than the movie itself, it was the numerous emails discussing costumes and times and the anticipation of it all that made (many of) my day(s) :)

November 17, 2005


The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri, is a book that would do well in my small library collection. It's powerful, thought-provoking and realistic enough for me to relate to it at different points in the narration.

Let me touch upon a few scenes that lingered behind in my head - one particular scene is where Gogol, an American born Indian, has dinner with his American girlfriend's parents. He is impressed with their style of entertaining - expensive cutlery, candles, good wine, a casualness different from the hustle-bustle, almost disorderly way of entertaining that he has seen at his own home. His parents always invite more people than they can seat, always eat the last and act like servants in their own home. Contrastingly, at the American household, the guest list includes a tasteful mix of a few artists, entrepreneurs, family friends - just the right mix for an intelligent dinner conversation...

And that got me thinking, what is wrong with a bit of disorderliness? Why must we have the right cutlery and the right silverware and the right wine to entertain? What if children run behind their parents creating cacaphony all around? A fun get-together does not have to be smooth-sailing and orderly all the time, infact the fun is in the disorderliness that a crowd generates...

Anyway, that's probably the difference between how I think and one day, my American born child might think!

All said and done, a must read. Be prepared to be impressed and confused at the same time :)

November 15, 2005

Just how close are we?

How do you define closeness? How do I know if you feel as close to me as I think you feel? Or if you are as close to me as I am to you? What defines the line that demarcates just friends from close friends? And do we cross that line at the same time in our journey together as friends?

What defines a perfect understanding between two people on where they stand with each other?

Some questions that this well-written article raised in my already confused little head :)

On an unrelated note, here is a short love story :)

November 11, 2005

Of love, marriages and romance!

Marriages are made in heaven. I am a changed person since my wedding. We are like two peas in a pod. True happiness eluded me until I met him...You have to be in looove to understand what I am talking about...

OK, that's about the amount of drivel that I can dish out even for a bad joke :) How do people end up saying things like that? Maybe if I lose a, I still won't! Anyway, it's high time I wrote a post dealing about love, feelings and such, now that I am married and all and also because our very own alaguraj said something to trigger a few thoughts - after all, k and I are now not unique individuals but a union of two souls, completing each other (remember the scene from Jerry Maguire?), aren't we?


We are still individuals, we still have our own "different" preferences and we still fight! Fighting does not make a relationship any more imperfect than it already is. I, for one, would definitely question the validity of my relationship if I did not have a solid, honest-to-goodness fight once in a while!

I also cannot understand people who don't have time for friends because they are married. What kind of an excuse is that? To me, each is a relationship, as powerful as the other, each demanding that we invest time and love in it so that it grows! They are parallel roads that do not intersect, atleast in my world.

And since today, I have decided to put my foot in my mouth, I shall proceed to do so completely. I cannot understand certain assumptions made about married people (I don't like the word, couple much). If Mr.X is not coming for a trip does not automatically indicate that Mrs.X will also not come along. Ofcourse, Mrs.X would probably enjoy the trip more if Mr.X sticks along but one does not preclude the other!

I read about five pages of this book called Conscious Commitment or Conscious Dependence or Conscious whatever and it said, people in a relationship tend to develop an unhealthy co-dependence on one another (yes, the author seems to be a fan of the prefix "co" and in general, any word beginning with "co"!), where each begins to develop a dependence on each other for things that don't require a dependence. I plan to take a good hard look at this "Co" thing from today!

Having voiced all these strong, modern, independent...nonsensical kind of thoughts, I do admit that when I am 50 and aging gracefully - smooth silver bun, an aristocratic pair of spectacles perched on my nose (somewhat like Mrs.McGonagall, without the cloak, like a plump Mrs.Grundy in Archies, you get the picture) - I would still want to cook hoping my husband will find it tasty, I would still want to have as much fun ruffling his hair playfully, I would still want to complete his thoughts and words even before he does, I would still want to argue with him about loading the dishwasher...

And the conflict between the practical me and the romantic me continues...

November 10, 2005

My Perfect Day...

Time is a cunning companion. Too little of it and you are over-stressed, too much of it and you know not what to do. Today, time decided to be generous with me. I emailed, worked, ate and time stuck with me, my faithful companion holding my hand. So, I decided for a change that, instead of clicking "Send" on yet another hardly necessary email, I would spend some time introspecting. That sounded too dull for me and so, I decided I would build a day for myself - a perfect day.

If I were to make a day perfect, within boundaries of feasibilities, how would it be?

Waking up with a smile on my face because the alarm clock shows 10.30 AM. Stretching and yawning luxuriously without wondering if I am late to work...

Hot filter coffee and golden brown toasts with a generous cover of marmalade. Sweet and crispy cornflakes in a colorful bowl nearby with one of those cute little bottles used for serving milk...

TV during breakfast - even Vanakam Thamizhagam will do (I don't ask for much :))

Sunlight streaming through the white delicate curtains, lighting up the faces of the people in the room, brightening their smiles and caressing their cheeks - people I love around me, relaxed and happy...

And that's how I would like my perfect day in Lex would begin! And just when images of my perfect day swirl all around me, time runs away from me...maybe some other day, I will build the rest of my perfect day!

November 09, 2005

Makes sense?

If I were you and You were me,
I would hold on to you tight and never let you go,
but I am me and You are you,
and I look away when I see You and
You wonder why!


If Today was the day I met you,
If Today was the day we held hands,
If Today was the day that held magic,
Maybe Tomorrow I will count the stars with you
and not wonder why yesterday there were no stars at all to count!


If everyday is an adventure,
If every moment held magic,
How would I know,
if life is boring or not?


If I had a wish to make,
I would say to Him,
make not him my best pal, my buddy
but me his soulmate, his one and only.


And that's with just one day of fever and cold. Thank God, I am recovering now :)

November 08, 2005

On a sleepy autumn day...

Solitude and Silence speak to me today, of days of yore that have shaped my past; Yellow autumn leaves fall sleepily down, each whispers a tale from my life; Of friendship and love, of moments spent in company, so delightful, so merry, we had not a care or concern; And now an adult, how often do I look back yearning for a time when I was not one?

November 07, 2005

Personal legends and me.

After a long time, I found the time to finish a book! This is one such book that people tend to question you about with raised eyebrows, "You haven't read that book?!"; and then you try to think of quick, smooth responses that help you garner what little is left of your dignity. Ofcourse none comes to your mind and you just pretend to look baffled, like Joey demonstrates in Friends :)

Anyway, the book raised quite a few questions in the moments when I usually think of profound questions - just before drifting to sleep. A central concept throughout the novel was the search for one's "personal legend" - a goal, a destination that we strive for throughout our lives, that defines our very reason for living. And when we strive to attain such a goal i,e our personal legend, all of nature and higher forces that we don't necessarily perceive, join hands in helping us achieve our personal legend.

Quite a thought, that, although it raises quite a few questions - why just one "personal legend"? Does everything around us really help us achieve our personal legend if we wish it with all our heart? What if my personal legend varies from time to time and what if I am not able to realize what my personal legend is?

I'll just ponder about that when am sleepy again :) For now, am just happy with the marudani on my left hand - my mini-personal-legend for diwali :)

November 04, 2005

Gifts that count...

While I would like to lead a life of fun and frolic, uncomplicated and almost superficial, sometimes I find myself questioning the purpose of everything. While I cannot answer the purpose of life - why are we born? To be a tiny part that completes this cosmos in its own little way? Every man is born with a purpose, we just don't know yet what it is and maybe spend our lifetime finding out?....existential questions, that I have not found easy answers to.

And along comes a time, when I find the need to do something meaningful, a sudden urge to make a small difference in someone's life, an urge I have yielded to a few times in the past, not always. And a wedding gift helped me contribute what little I could while my life moved on, in harmony with several others in a direction that I could not predict, destined by a larger consciousness.

I love receiving gifts, it's just a really pleasant feeling to think that someone spent the time thinking of what you would like and choosing something that they thought would bring a smile to your face. Which is why I am not a big fan of registries - they are practical just not romantic enough for me! Anyway, my bro, L decided that it was high time I did something useful in life and gave me a unique wedding gift - he volunteereed on my behalf to financially support a child's education for life - throught the CAF - Child Aid Foundation.

And now, I sometimes open my cupboard and take another look at Madhu's photograph - he is a bright child - I have a copy of his report card that the director of the organization, Dr.Goswami sent me promptly - he is a bright child indeed and I intend to do what little I can to keep seeing those grades from Madhu...maybe he will grow up to be someone great, someone who will make a difference thousand times more profound than i have made today...

November 03, 2005

Babies r us?

I want to write today. I haven't really decided what to write about but since I wish to write today, write I will! And what have we here? A nice little title for this post, so let's proceed without further adieu or ado (be gone, you purists!).

I wonder if my life would be a tad better were I to behave with friends as I would with a baby. I don't mean, "Aren't you a darling now?" kind of baby-talk - I intend to dwell on a slightly more serious trail of thought :)

What if today, I wear my heart on my sleeve? What if I am an open book for all to read today? I smile when I want to, I frown when someone makes me frown and I say what I feel. Wouldn't that be an uncomplicated way of living our lives?

I don't think if what am going to say will hurt you, if I don't like something, I just say it! Out with it - end of story. After all, if we all just say what we think, we probably would end up hurting each other much less, don't you think? No disguises, no appearances tailored to fit a certain category of people...I am constant, no inner currents running through my head, I am not smiling because I have to and I am not covering up a flinch because I don't want to appear so sensitive; I am who I am.

Well, I am who I am and now I am hungry, so off to lunch where I begin to live as the new me (well, atleast for today!).

November 01, 2005


"Om Shuklam Bharatharam Vishnum Shashivarnam Chaturbhujam..."

The strains of Vishnu Sahasranamam begin the day for us. Deepavali begins at 4 am with my thatha waking up early morning, followed by mom and dad and the happy and busy bustle of the festival begins while my brother and I try to catch a few more precious winks before being woken up by my parents. After having gulped down our bed coffees without my thatha's knowledge, we sluggishly sleep walk outside in new clothes...

I wish I could wear a pattu pavadai today, I wish my mom would make me up early morning today, I wish I could hear the sounds of pattasu (crackers) outside so loud that I cannot hear what Vijay is saying on Sun TV...

The sight of crackers and sparklers wake us up and we rush outside, appa shouting behind us to wear slippers...L pounces on the sarams - the 100 walas, Lakshmi vedi and such while my mom and I am quite content with Kambi Mathapu (sparklers) and the milder variety, in general. The men of the family compete with one another in bursting it really 5 in the morning?

I snooze the alarm for the third time as it frowns angrily and announces that the time is 7.50 AM. My dad's phone call reminds me that today is Deepavali. Our "Thalai Deepavali", and yet the day looks no different. I play Vishnu Sahasranamam in the hope that I can recreate a bit of the feeling that comes with being home on Deepavali. Other than that, the day is the same, the microwave beeps every now and then to remind us of our coffee getting mild aroma reminds me of our filter coffees at home...

And after the pattasu session begins a day of "Sun TV yil mudal muraiga..." (first time on Sun TV) trail of programmes. A sumptuous breakfast in front of the TV and the phone calls begin. Kausalya perimma, Arundathi, Amma's kovil friends, my friends...the list is endless and yet each phone call is yet another affirmation that love and celebration is in the air...

We drive to work and I can't stop thinking of home. My gmail shows me a bunch of ecards from friends and relatives and I see each one of them and reply to them. The day progresses slowly, the only signs of celebration are the few balloons left over from Halloween and I look at them and wonder when I can experience the luxury of being woken up early in the morning to celebrate with my family on Deepavali...

It's not just my family that I miss, it's the whole package - the spirit of cheer, happiness and giving- my mom gives a new saree, gifts and boxes of new sweets to Malliga, the ladies selling flowers outside the temple; everyone is smiling and colorful; the roads bear remnants of crackers burst enthusiastically by youngsters as if it is joining in the celebrations; ghee melts in my mouths as yet another sweet is thrust into my mouth by my mom; my dad fusses over me to dry my hair because he thinks I will catch a cold; I fight with my brother over what TV channel to watch...and the sounds and sights fill me with a sense of peace that I am yet to find here, today...

October 30, 2005

The Art of Boxing!

There! This picture just to clarify what I mean by "boxing"!

I normally stay away from girly posts, just because I am not really a girly girl and often cannot identify with, "I need a break, I just have to go shopppin' today and unwind!" And yes, that is pronounced "Shopppin".

Anyway, this post is not about shopppin', it's about my penchant for boxes. I am hoping I shall find a kindred soul somewhere out there who will identify with the need to organize things into little or not so little boxes. So, this is how the story begins. I discovered that our local dollar store sells these really cute christmassy boxes and they come in different sizes too!

Again, let me reiterate at this point that I do love reading about Becky in Sophie Kinsella's shopaholic series but I am not and can never be one myself. Mostly, I think shopping is a chore like doing one's laundry (I really hate doing laundry). There's only so many cute dresses that I can look at and coo, with my hands on my cheeks, "That's so cute!".

But you will find me in a store rummaging through different sized boxes, finding the perfect one to store my bangles, my bindis and such trinkets. You will not find me cooing ofcourse, but you might detect a certain glint of indulgent pleasure lighting my face. Anyway, I did pick up a few more boxes this weekened and thought I should post some pics for those who are yet to appreciate the importance of "organizing with boxes!".

October 27, 2005

Of Distractions and Duties.

During one of my long chats with mom on the phone, I lamented about my need for more gray matter. I told her I felt dumb especially after sitting in a meeting where everyone had some interesting new idea to offer while I nodded my head in a knowing way and pretended that I was a 122 times smarter than I felt. My mom replied in that wise tone that moms tend to assume when they advise their dumb daughters,

"I think you are too distracted. You just got married. Not everyone in the meeting just got married".

While I pondered on the delightful possibility of a touch of logic in that declaration, my mom continued,

"You had LTCA, Tamil classes, your reception-party, blogging(!) just have too many irons in the fire. Maybe you need to concentrate on work now and not get distracted like this."

So, I sort of convinced myself that I was not actually born dumb, I also tried to sort out a few other questions in my head. So, let's first distinguish between what we are supposed to do, our duties and our distractions - I would assume, in Bits, my classes were what I, as a responsible student, should have attended and OASIS (our culfest) was what one could term a distraction. In Lex, LTCA was probably a distraction and my work was what I was meant to concentrate on. You get the picture? Now, if I rewind a bit and think of everything that has meant a lot to me, it all had to do with the distractions and not the main course (Its easier to categorize chapters of my life this way as main course and dessert - yes, very insightful of me, thank you).

I mean, the really enjoyable and sometimes really meaningful moments of life - what we call "defining" moments - were these so-called distractions. I remember the night outs during OASIS, not my classes. Maybe we live life, as k put it, for these brief breaks of adventures, the rest of life is just something that takes us to yet another "distraction" and each distraction enriches our lives more, makes it more memorable for us. But then, we need to give our daily routine its due credit. It's because these daily chores are such a bore, that we enjoy our adventures, our distractions so much so that we look forward to the next one. And this thought helps us live through our humdrum days, a spark that brightens our dull nights and makes us yearn for more.

So, here's my big thank you to all the distractions in my life. May I never have so few distractions that I actually concentrate all my energy into the daily routine of things!

October 24, 2005

More Monday Madness.

Monday came. Monday left. I have no idea what transpired in-between. The weekend continued to live today, inside my head. I continued to live in the past. And poor Monday drifted away unnoticed. You see, our sleepy little town has little to offer by way of entertainment on weekends. So, comparatively, last weekend absolutely rocked! We had the best get-together cum reception party! The kind that you think of, in bits and pieces on weekdays like today, and laugh to yourself while your office colleague tries to watch you unobtrusively with a kind of mild curiosity because you see he is also in a daze; it's Monday for him also!

Anyway, here are a bunch of random thoughts (just tell me, when are they not? I hate predictable adjectives!):

* The fun part of getting to know people better is the strange chemistry that it leads to sometimes. It's quite simple, really. Normally, we interact with people we move along with all the time in familiar patterns. We know person x behaves so and we behave accordingly. When we interact with people whom we don't meet on a regular basis, we (or I) don't have a planned reaction-response pattern leading to quite a few unpredictable interactions. I mean, it's not like I plan a response for other people, it just comes automatically. Anyway, this uncertainty makes the interaction pretty interesting, if you look at it objectively.

* People like to categorize other people, slot them into nice little boxes - "she is quite a serious girl", "he is very shy" and so on. Irrespective of whatever labelled box people put us (me?) in, I get tired of it after a while - bored of being a stereotype holding the torch for that category. At different times in my life, I have been categorized variously as being silly most of the times, serious always, and a recent addition to the list being that I get tensed at the drop of a coin (Come on, I am allowed a cliche' once in a while!) No matter what it is, I get bored of it pretty quickly and then try to jump categories without making it look artificial. I mean even a funny guy will someday tire of hearing his friend say, "Gosh, you crack me up, man!". Anyway, to my credit, at-least I have experimented with more than one labelled box and maybe will get to test few more stereotypes soon.

* People are fun.

* It's the cleaning afterwards that's not.

* I like people who are comfortable with other people having fun their own way. I mean, one person's fun might be another person's "Oh, that." but it's just nice if we can get together and be comfortable with each other's individual ways of having fun - something like I like to clean the kitchen and you like to clean the hall, let me not try to make you clean the kitchen - now, that's what I call a disgrace of an example (I really need to clean the kitchen and the hall now). What am I saying here? Will someone kindly explain? :)

* Sometimes, during a normal conversation with someone, let's drag k here (just because it's fun to pull his leg :)), I tend to make a statement, call it an observation, if you will, that is 95.8% true. So, k responds with "Oh, is this what you mean?" and proceeds to answer with whatever response he can muster while watching a given sports channel on TV. Now, after listening to his response, I realize that what he understood is not what I exactly wanted to convey (the remaining 4.2% of it, that is) but now, I am too bored to correct him and our conversational veracity stands at 95.8% now. Is that acceptable? (Do any of you remaining readers out there have any idea what am talking about? :)

I apologize profusely for this nonsense and wish you wouldn't look at me (or my blog - must we dwell on trivialities now?) in that really weird way.

October 20, 2005

Story tag time, folks!

Another story tag, thanks to Anupama, this one's quite interesting 'coz its a story building exercise! Read below, enjoy and discover if you have been tagged!

He thought it would be an ordinary journey. Standing behind the pillar he watched the train snort arrogantly into the station. With each snort he was reminded of his grandfather's words "You will fail in the city and return penniless"; with every heavenward whistle, he heard his cousin, "Don't worry. Come here and I will get you a job at the construction site." Now he had a 34-hour journey to prove one of them wrong, and he expected the excitement at the end of the journey. He looked at his ticket once again: compartment S9 berth 23.

Pushing his luggage under the seat, he sat close to the window. "Papa, when will you be back?" - his four year old daughter Munni asked innocently. He stared into those soft brown eyes of the motherless kid. He held her frail palms in his, through the window. "Munni, Papa will get you a nice gudiya from the city..Say tata," his sister spoke to the kid, to avoid an emotional outburst. In a minute, the train pulled forward, and Munni's little fingers parted from between his. "I need to go..", he thought, "I have to, at least for Munni's sake.."

And here goes my trail...
The humid summer breeze and the rattling train coaxed him into an uncomfortable state of drowsy consciousness. He dreamt that Munni ran away, the closer he ran to her, the farther she was, like a mirage. He woke up with a start and squinted at his watch.

"What is the time please?"

A smallish woman, a meek voice as if she was scared that her existence would annoy someone. Her only noticeable feature was her rather large, expressive eyes.


Something made him look at the woman again. He had stopped noticing women long back. Ever since Meenakshi passed away...

and now I tag,
Parth to continue this story tree :) Read below the dotted line for rules!

(Everything below the dashed line above should be copied and pasted with every accepted tag)

This is a Story Tree and is best nurtured as follows:
1. A blogger can add only 90-100 words (not more or less) at a time
2. All previous snippets of 90-100 words need to be copied before the new set of 90-100 words are appended.
3. Each entire snippet should be linked to the respective author (and not just the first sentence or so)
4. Characters, scenes, etc. can be introduced by an author
5. Bizarre twists, sci-fi, fantasy sequences are best avoided.
6. A tag must be accepted within 7 days else the branch is a dead branch
7. After appending 90-100, the Story Tree can be passed on to at most 3 bloggers.
8. If more than 1 branch leads to a blogger, s/he is free to choose any one of them but cannot mix the snippets of the individual branches.
9. The Story Tree is best left to grow than concluded
10. Please attach the image of the Story Tree below with each accepted tag (the link address can be copied and used).

October 18, 2005

The Unblocking.

What does one do when one feels bored?
One tries to write a delightful little story.
What if one thinks one has writer's block?
Then, one writes a story, maybe not quite so delightful, but a story nevertheless.

And that's what one is doing now.

Do check out what one has to write :)

October 16, 2005

The dance of fertility!

A blur of twirling colors, the sound of anklets dancing in tune to garbha raas, shimmering bangles, dangling earrings and colorful dupataas compete for attention. I feel energy all around me, even in the exhausted smile of the woman who has been dancing for the past twenty five minutes non-stop; she is dressed in a beautiful black and white traditional garbha costume, siver bangles adorn her hands upto her elbow, long matching earrings and a silver choker necklace dazzle in the bright light - she smiles as she dances, not missing a beat, her hands and legs moving in perfect coordination...I watch her, mesmerized...

The garbha-dandiya programme was a feast for the eyes, I danced more than I imagined I would and it was not really that hard to follow. k, needless to say, had a blast. B, P & S danced away to glory too :) I learnt some interesting facts about Garbha - thanks to info from Bus:

"The Garbha Dance dance in western India is performed around a pot containing a lamp. The word "Garbha" by which the pot as well as the dance is known is etymologically close to the word Garbha meaning womb. In this context the lamp in the pot, symbolically represent life within a womb. This custom is also indicative of fertility worship."

and wiki's page on garbha says:

"Garba" comes from sanskrit word "Garbha Deep". the closest meaning of "Garbha" in English language is "inside", as inside of an earthen pot which people still use to store drinking water. The word "Deep" is diya, with a burning cotton wick in oil in an earthen small vessel. Women would put this "Garbha deep" in the center, as a symbol of Shakti/Goddess. And in rhythm to the prayers/bhajanas they dance in concentric circles while clapping, around the "Garbha Deep" or "Garabo". Though dandiya raas is also somewhat associated with garba, it originates from a totally different root. Dandiya raas was traditionally performed by men only...

That's my update for tonite...hope y'all there survive the Monday morning.

October 15, 2005

A lot is being said and done about this issue. Here's my little bit of contribution (thanks to Kiruba). Feel free to use this image.

October 14, 2005

The Anatomy of a Fight

It's thirty minutes past my lunch time and a hungry stomach inspires weird thoughts - has to be something to do with the stomach-brain connection (don't tell me you haven't heard about this!). Anyway, I decided to ponder on the "Anatomy of a Fight" while my stomach growled in tune to my thoughts. The fight we shall discuss now is your typical girl-boy, hum-tum kind of fight.

So, one pensive night, P and I were discussing the birth, life, death and after-life of a simple honest-to-goodness fight between the Mr. and the Mrs. The simple logic behind why women fight is as simple as this - A woman will let off steam for issue x when issues that cropped up the previous week - y and z - have not yet been resolved. I mean you don't need a Masters degree in anything (except maybe Psychology) to understand that, do you? For the still-slow-on-the-uptake-men, let me explain with an example. The husband (boy friend, honey, cheechu or whatever appellation that you choose to bestow on your dear one - by the way, if cheechu is what you call him (or her?), you really should try reading the "Fat book of cute names") did not load the dishwasher on Monday. On Tuesday, the whole kitchen stinks with a pile of dirty dishes. You see, a woman is a very patient creation, kind of like a slow volcano. She will tolerate and be patient and go about her tasks as if everything were normal but you better handle her when she is dormant or well, good luck buddy. Anyway, On Wednesday, the pile remains and the woman cooks dinner, wipes the stove clean and tries to act as if everything is normal because she, being smart, knows that nagging is not cool at all. At this instant, enter the man, whistling a not-so-pleasant tune and he switches on the TV - let's say a nice sports channel is on and he settles himself on the couch - with a packet of chips and the laptop for company.

Several chemical, personal and emotional reactions occur at this very instant and the woman decides to break her little-noticed vow of silence. How dare he not set the table and set himself down in front of the TV? Has he no responsibilities? yada yada; you get the point?

Now, you, my astute reader, know as well as me that the real reason for her outburst is the pile of dirty issues, our old friend, issue x and not the TV, issue y.

Now, is this so hard to understand? As simple as y and z, leading to outcome of experiment with x being the catalyst. S'all a matter of simple chemistry :)

October 11, 2005

Breezily yours!

Really, how do they do it?! Here I am washing my already cold hands, just waiting to rush out of the even colder restroom, when two of my colleagues walk in, laughing and talking. Well, to be accurate, one woman is a colleague and the other my boss's boss's boss. She (the big boss) makes eye contact with me as she waltzes in and I study my freezing fingers shyly, incapable of making even the most mind-numbing stupid conversation about the weather! The laughing and the talking stops for a few seconds when I stand still, having emitted nothing more than a mumbling sound - a feeble "hi" that came out more like a belated burp.

Not wanting to let go of the flow of her conversation, my breezy colleague, who, I must say looked quite breezy walking in casually (as if she were chatting with her teenage cousin), briskly picks up on the thread of the previous conversation about the weather, softball, recent releases - topics that I could have spoken coherently for at-least 15 minutes. And here I was rushing out while hoping I never ever run into my boss's boss's boss while in the restroom. The point to be noted here is that my colleague barely knew our big boss and still managed, for lack of a better adjective, a breezy conversation. Starting today, am going to learn to be breezy, cool and casual in all my conversational encounters with all women I barely know, professionally speaking ofcourse. Also men I barely know. Period.

October 10, 2005

Purposeful thoughts from a clearheaded lady.

I know that's a really silly topic for this post, for any post for that matter but am tired of seeing confused thoughts and random feelings on blogs (such as mine) and I don't really like to refer to myself as a woman (or a maami or an aunty!), so lady I am! Men (Guys? Boys? somehow they all sound cool compared to women or girls) may scoff at posts such as these - little do they know the issues that haunt women-folk like us (lady-folk just sounds moronic)!

I think somewhere along the line, women have made a mistake about entering the workplace! No, I am certainly not for sitting at home and donning a glorified title of home-maker - I mean with dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and a hundred other facilities at home, maintaining a home is just not what it used to be. What am trying to say is while I sometimes find the need to establish clearly that a woman is an equal in a relationship, I wonder if we would have been better off just doing what we used to do centuries ago. Now that we have entered the workplace, we have a slew of new issues to tackle - the glass ceiling effect, child care, working-couple-family-management, balancing work and home - is it all worth it?

I do want to do something meaningful in life, something I can look back on after a 30 years and feel that I have achieved something but is a busy 9 - 5 career the only way to do it? I am not a big fan of part-time working either - all said and done, we miss out on important meetings, peer-programming experience and the nice juicy promotions and salary hikes - a part time working mom just does not get the importance that a full time salaried employee gets and with reason. So, that leaves us with another alternative - work from home, start a business, write a book, just do it from home, where you can still be doing what really matters - spending "quality time" (isn't this word over-rated?) with your children!

Monday mornings have a strange effect on me, so also Friday afternoons - maybe it's just me! Right now - I just have to get back to coding my client interface!

October 07, 2005

The bliss of familiarity, spirituality and such light Friday topics!

Getting married gives you a lot of food for thought. Right from the people you meet on your flight to India to little things that your in-laws or relatives slip out, carried away by the excitement of fleeting moments - they all become tiny bits of memories that I call upon during moments of pensive recollections.

Coming to one such instance that keeps popping up in the most irrelevant of circumstances, during our reception in Bombay, my in-laws were positively glowing. One reason for their pride was that three out of five people who came to greet us said that I looked like a Gujarathi bahu; to quote them - "She does not look like a South Indian at all!", "You brought home a Gujarathi bahu!". Firstly, why is this of any significance? And secondly, whatever its significance, it was making my in-laws really happy.

So, I wondered, why is it that we burden familiarity with so much more importance than it deserves credit for? We manage to wrap relief, comfort, even happiness all in that little bundle and when it unravels and it's blissful cloak falls apart, perhaps we discover that it's just what it is - plain old familiarity! I confess, I am guilty of leaning towards familiary, resisting small changes that probably meant no harm just because...well, this is what I know, have grown up with and this is what am comfortable with!

Anyway, somehow this trail of thought seemed to be connected in some way to the topic of spirituality - what we believe is God and spirituality, and I realized, I am inflexible when it comes to changing my established and definitely incomplete, inadequate(?) faith/belief system! I may not know to name the ten avatarams in the dasavatharam kept in my Golu, I may not know to recite the Vishnu Sahasranamam without consulting a book but what I know and believe in is still important to me and somehow I am uncomfortable with anything else and here's a very well written and thought provoking article on a similar vein that brought about this introspective revelation on a Friday!

October 05, 2005

On Traditions.

It's that time of the year again - golu padis have been dusted and brought out, golu bommais carefully unwrapped from yellowing and crumpled newspaper bits and gingerly brought down to the main hall where amidst sneezes, fights and discussions on what is the best way to arrange the cricket field wicket keeper or whether the chettichi should be to the right or left of the chettiar, the golu gets ready for public viewing. Things were pretty much the same in our case, except that we gingerly unwrapped Abroad-Packers' (Mylapore) carefully wrapped golu bommais from my suitcase and we couldn't manage a cricket team this time...maybe next year :)

B & P, k and I ambitiously set about to arrange our golu padi last night and while k jumped about impatiently attempting to arrange as many big dolls as possible in the least amount of time, P and I decided to be smart about the process and we debated, carefully analyzed and reasoned out a place for each doll, deciding to go with symmetry and aesthetic pleasure rather than time-efficiency...ahem!

Nothing like waking up in the morning and sleepily greeting our cute golu bommais with a satisfied sigh at a job well done!

And here's a small collage of our wedding photos - thanks to my cousin Arundathi, who had 'em delivered to us in a CD the same day :)

October 02, 2005

Short Story and Set of Seven Tags answered - Whew!

Feeble attempt at answering RTD2's and Senthil's tag - my short story in 55 words - The Wish!

And before the story, here's the list of people I tag (whom I fear will not read this post till the end - I don't blame 'em :))
I tag:
Lakshman (L) for the less-than-55-word short story...


for the seven's list (sorry, you have to read below for details)! Good luck answering 'em folks - too bad, you guys can't blame anything on jetlag :)

* * *
And here's my 55 word short story.
* * *

Another such feeble attempt - my response to Agnibarathi's tag!

Seven things you plan to do before you die:

1. Visit Srirangam - for Sri Ranganathar and Andal
2. Visit Guruvayurapan Kovil, Kanyakumari, Singapore
3. Improve my Tamil writing and reading skills!
4. Learn to play the keyboard
5. Write a book (that people will read :))
6. Learn atleast one style of dance (quite an aragorai now - bharatanatyam, swing and samba!)
7. Learn to swim (another aragorai area - can float and if lucky can manage a few butterfly strokes)

Seven things you can do (or am doing or have done!):

1. Cook edible food
2. Being independent (more work needed but getting there)
3. Yoga (just wait another week!)
4. Read regularly
5. Go to India atleast once a year (or for good :))
6. Keep myself mentally active, involved in something meaningful, useful, charitable...
7. Visited Kerala!

Seven things you say most:

1. Naan enna solla vandenna... (What I was going to say is...)
2. Chumma (Jus' like that)
3. What's up?
4. That's why I said... (mainly to k :))
5. Nariya vela iruku (have lotsa work to do)
6. Krishna...
7. Do you understand what am saying?

Seven things you can't do:

1. Bungee jumping
2. Sky diving
3. Staying silent (for a long time - Really! I like to talk :))
4. Saying no without making it awkward or uncomfortable
5. Bear a grudge silently (I usually confront the person)
6. Cook phulka rotis :))
7. Be the perfect homely wife!

Seven things that attract you to the opposite sex:

1. Humor, ability to enjoy small things and laugh easily...(manam vittu sirikardu)
2. Talent
3. Raw Energy
4. *Good looks and a healthy build (I mean let's be reasonable here!)
5. Flexibility - No must-haves, cannot-dos...
6. Eyes (difficult to describe - need a post for this!)
7. Good English!

Seven celebrity crushes:

2. Jonty Rhodes
3. Vijay
4. Brad Pitt
5. Surya (in Gajini!)
6. Aftab Shivdasani (in the cadburys ad!)
7. Karthik (in Mouna Ragam), Arvind Swamy in Dalapati

And if any of these seem vague or silly to you, I blame it squarely on jet lag!

September 30, 2005

Prologue to a bunch of wedding tales!

Ahh...simple pleasures of life, putting your pen to paper or fingers to your keyboard and writing a new post! It takes a trip to India to make you miss things you take for granted here. Few other...what I call..."small freedoms" like eating when you want to eat, dressing in crumpled pajamas during the day, ordering your fiance (now husband) to do some work around the house - all a big no-no in India, irrespective of whether you stay at your place or your in-law's place (I can't wait to post about this particular experience!).

Am kind of bursting to write about a whole new range of hitherto un-approached topics, maybe I should just sit down and write a novel that I will force my close friends and k to read once a month. Anyway, here goes some crazy list of thoughts, observations and anecdotes -

*** It's not fun to make phulka rotis in your in-law's place when your husband is guffawing away to glory at a hardly funny joke on the Great Indian Laughter Challenge on TV. It does not matter that I am just making the small round thingies while my mom-in-law is actually making the phulkas. Life's just unfair. For instance, why couldn't my dad ask k to make idlis when he was at Madras?

*** Relatives try to feed the bride and the groom approximately 3.5 times more than they can digest. Maybe they can't stand the fact that the bride and the groom are slim and fit and they want 'em to be really round and fat? Also, it doesn't matter even if it's basundhi - there's only so much of it that you can eat!

*** Speaking even smatterings of the spoken tongue in a land earns you brownie points that you cannot earn with a well-written five-page essay in English!

*** I had a most interesting conversation with an uncle for a couple of hours without realising that his son was considered a prospective match for me a few years back. His son is now married to a Romanian. He said, "Now, I know what I missed". That made me quite happy for some reason.

*** No matter how many times you have sworn to yourself that you will not let the makeup lady dab, douse and drown you in makeup like in your cousin Sheetal's marriage, she will manage to make you look like a white terror with red lipstick. The consolation is that k had so much makeup on, we made quite a ghostly pair in the reception!

*** It's cool to have a movie star like Crazy Mohan turn up at your wedding and having people whisper and point excitedly at him. I mean someone else just stole my thunder for a few moments, but's just cool :)

*** One of my many realizations after this trip - I cannot live in Bombay (except if we can afford a flat at Nariman point and have a cook, chauffeur and a maid (you can stop laughing now. Thank you.)

*** Although every young couple fears that wily vaguely related uncle with a caustic tongue and a sarcastic tone to match, these are the people who add color to a wedding. They are the ones that create memorable impressions worth recounting! Oh boy, I can't wait to post about the villain of our wedding - our very own local Pran. Somehow, these characters gain more distinct expressions, gestures, mannerisms and the story gets more punch as we repeat it for yet another awed audience!

Many more posts to come and a few tags to be answered, until then, this is your finally no-longer-single lady signing off :)

September 02, 2005

World, Women, PMJs and related issues of vital nonsense.

So, I've been doing a lot of deep thinking lately, actually, not really. I have been doing very little thinking of significance lately and those few thoughts have contributed to this eclectic post.

Firstly, what is the world coming to really (I mean for the female kind just in case you have lost context)? Yesterday P~ and I had a nice dinner at S~ and K~'s place and we were on our way up to see their new stereo system when I turned back towards the dining table on a sudden impulse. I noticed two dishes with tasty curd rice and grapes in one and paav bhaji in another and they were left open (uncovered) and I asked, "Shouldn't we first cover these dishes and put it in?"

That, in itself is bad. I don't want to become one of those dainty, preppy ladies with color coordinated dresses to match their home decor! You know the kind that say, "Ahem, Can you please leave your slippers out before you step in?"
(- Sure, they have mud cakes and assorted gooey mess sticking to the bottom, So, I will do just that. Also, should I also have a quick shower and then step into your heavenly abode?)

I don't mind being dainty but the rest is just not me :) Anyway, as soon as the words left my mouth, P~ moved involuntarily towards the dishes to cover them up. That's twice as bad. What has happened to the women of today? Modern, career women like P~ and I should not be moving involuntarily towards the kitchen at a guest's house to cover dishes, clean them, dry them with small, white hand towels with teddy bears on them :( To our credit, we both did drop a bit of icecream on to the carpet there (by mistake!) and did not really care much about it.

Another quirky incident was at a Thai place that we had gone to for lunch. The lady there knows us well (this is not to say that I do not cook at home - I do and I maintain that even if you do point out that she knows my first name (almost), city of birth, my fiance, the Company I work for...and such trivia about me). Anyway, a friend blurted out to her that I was going to India and all that and she immediately pointed to my pregnant colleague standing with me and then at me and said, "Ohhh, lamya (she has a problem with the r), next your turn, next year you come with baby girl to eat here, no?"

Now, that's a nice embarassing little conversation there. I grinned widely and pretended to have a mouth full of fortune cookie bits and then attempted a quick feminine giggle (that was a disaster but that's a whole new story there). So, anyway, since the lady at the Thai place has already started thinking of a baby girl in my family, I thought I should too.

So, I pinged k (on chat) and here's a quick transcript:

me: So, have you thought of a name yet?
k: uh huh (means he doesn't really care, normally).
me: I don't like the name Kamal much
k: yeah, me too (I doubted that was a sincere answer but he probably did not want to make me jittery before marriage and that folks is PMJ (pre-marital jitters.)
me: L~ says Kamalan sounds better, rounder (is that a word?)...
k: uh huh.
me: That'll be a nice knock knock joke!

-Knock, Knock
-Who's there?
-Kamal and who?

k: Bye (Quite frigidly, now that I think about it!)

Sagnik's headlines seems to be having a really adverse effect on my joke telling ability - many apologies, Sagnik! Anyway, around now, am supposed to be affected by the PMJ syndrome, so, kindly excuse me while I jitter about a bit for a day before I fly home :)

August 31, 2005

From behind the curtains...

All set for the journey (by flight and other emotional ones), you would think.

You would also be totally wrong.

Nothing and I mean nothing (why do people do that? I mean repeat the very same word twice with just an and in between - I just did that for emphasis and it's quite silly, really!) prepares you for the tension, clashes, the occassional episodes providing comic relief (in the form of a vaidehi maami or Rajesh maama), constant ISD calls demanding immediate responses to questions that you have no clue what the answer is - How many men and women compose the guest party that is arriving from Bombay? - I have no clue, sorry, neither does k (and they are his relatives!). My dad being the patient, slow moving, mellow person that he is will obviously wait for 24 hours for an answer. Ha! Right, he would! About as much probability of that as me waking up at 7 every morning!

Also, those-about-to-take-the-leap, beware! The number of silver articles and must-buy not-at-all-useful items will be exceeded only by the number of sarees and veshtis that have to be bought!

Even deciding on the songs that the light music people will play on the day of the reception has become more of a chore and less of a fun-task with demands pouring in for old and new Hindi and Tamil songs from my bro (L), k, his sister and my mom! Try cutting down a list of 100 songs down to 30 at the sametime satisfying everyone!

And then there is the unlimited, unspecified set of rules that will be quoted about who has to buy what and when. The groom's side has to buy this and that only but not anything else and the bride's side has to buy n number of sarees and n+1/x number of other random articles and so on and so forth. One of my relatives refused a saree because it had a blackish tinge to it and black is a no-no color for marriage!

...and in-spite of all this, I can't deny that there are many moments of sudden delight, longer moments of happy expectations and idle hours of rosy musings...interspersed with several hours of pure analytical problem-solving!

And that concludes a quick outpour of thoughts from a bride-to-be.

August 30, 2005

What's that again?

Tell me again, how many lies does it take to make a marriage happen?

I am beginning to think 1000 is not the number. I am at 0 now but am beginning to think maybe that I should be less of a prude and increment the counter up, up and up to eventually get rid of my Miss status! :)

August 23, 2005

Same day 5 years back (minus a 11 days)...

A quick diversion: Take a look at the Bitsian BLOB awards idea (thanks to Rathish)!

August 12th came and left and I forgot all about the day when I stepped into Lexington airport carrying among other suitcases, a heavily bandaged suitcase with some of its contents - a blue parachute coconut oil bottle, a couple of stainless steel ladles, a few heavy networking books - peeping outside for the world to see.

"You got a dirty old luggage from India and that's why it tore! I suppose you want to fill in a complaint form now?"

Those were pretty much the exact words spoken by the lady at the Atlanta airport when I showed her my suitcase which was very clearly torn by a sharp instrument all along its sides. I remember an old American airport attendee helping me out (bless his soul) - he helped tape my suitcase with a heavy duty plastic cover. The two Indian boys who were talking to me until then had to leave because it was time for their connecting flights. After the suitcase episode, I used my $10 calling card that USIS gave me during the orientation, punched in the numbers given in the instructions behind the calling card and told my parents in a breaking voice that I was fine and had reached Atlanta.

After the phone call, I had a sudden urge to cry for many reasons but did not. I did not know how to get to the terminal from which to board my connecting flight to Lexington. Hari, a bitsian senior recognized me and waved to me much to my relief - my guardian angel must have sent a familiar face - he must have noticed the expression on my face because he asked, "Shall I come and drop you at your terminal? Are you ok?" I said I will manage, thanked him and my lucky stars and stumbled into the train with my hand luggage.

I caught sight of another bitsian, m~, at the waiting lounge and he bought a hot cup of cappucino for me which I gratefully gulped down. He introduced me to his sister and her husband and their little kid which did a great job of lifting my spirits.

At Lexington airport, two guys had come for my pick up - s~ and s~v. They lifted my almost unmanageable suitcases and put it in the trunk of the car. I struggled with my seat belt and looked through the windows at the tall buildings and the well maintained roads. They dropped me at apartment D 202 and both my roommates were not in. I sat in the sofa and stared at the creamish walls of the empty room.

I had reached Lexington.

That night, a tall, lanky, bespectacled chap curiously counted the books in the huge pile behind which I sat silently unloading my remaining suitcases and said, "I know this girl has come here to study!"

Jotted down these lines after reading a series of related posts (and a related movie - Swades) IBH's, phil's and solilowkey's.

August 22, 2005


I've been a bit busy the past few days as a result of which my simple yet profound thoughts did not find their way into yet another rose tinted post.

Ha! Sure sounds good, wish it were true, "Oh, I have been so busy, I really do not find the time to blog!", with a little toss of my head - sure sounds good in my head :) The only thing I have been busy with is cleaning the refrigerator and the carpet - there is something to be said about the after-effects of cleaning, everytime I open the fridge now and a tiny glint from a polished surface inside winks at me, I feel a little glow around me - a pat for a job well accomplished (or atleast accomplished).

I do ramble on, what I am wondering now is about the concept of a couple, you know like boyfriend-girlfriend, fiance-fiancee (kindly add the necessary apostrophes), husband-wife - you get my drift, am sure. I have seen certain common characteristics among these so called couples (with exceptions, as is always the case) - once the word is out that they are a couple now, they go out of their way (or so it seems to me) to prove that, that is indeed the case. I am not against hand holding, whispering sweet nothings, casting loving glances at boy(!) yada yada, but as an onlooker (for lack of a better word), it's sometimes either awkward, unnatural or just plain boring for me! I know am doing a good job of shooting off my mouth here but as a third person, it's just more interesting for me to watch a healthy argument, a little bit of teasing, leg-pulling, even tiffs between the boy and the girl. It makes the whole relationship look more realistic.

Of course, my opinion here (yes, it is an opinion) is as a guest, a politely interested party who is privy to the chemistry between the boy and the girl, maybe if I were to be the girl involved I would be all mushy too (although my friends claim that is certainly not the case - whew!) but since I am pretty confident that such is not the case, I can say all I want here :))

Anyway, bickering or cooing , I guess the dynamics of a couple are way too complicated to be analyzed in a single post, nevertheless, I shall continue to post :)

(...and Coo-chi-coo is what we called the umm...terms of endearments used by such couples back in Bits - that's your trivia for the day - who says blogs aren't enlightening?!)

August 18, 2005


I believe It's hard to make a movie without glitches and Swades is no exception but when you leave the theatre (or in my case, switch off the TV at 12 in the night) with a tiny lump in your throat and a general feeling of goodness and wistfulness, I guess that means that the director has delivered his goods well.

Swades - a movie targeted at the NRI crowd, or so they claim, but is Indian all the way. I assumed Swades would be a movie about your typical NRI who would return back for reasons that are likely to present themselves in your life and mine but this movie is not that applicable to your typical NRI. SRK returns to a village back in India where even electricity is not a given, where the village post office master does not know what "Internet" is, where privacy is valued less and there are hardly any strangers and what is predominant is a general naivete that we associate with village life.

But, mixed with all this ignorance is the feeling of being in India; Ashutosh Gowarikar does a good job of capturing the simple beauty of village life - innocence, small pleasures of life, little kids running behind buses, a general feeling of communion if you will...intangibilities that remind us of home, subtle and intense at the same time...

SRK is charming and cute, your regular NRI return ;) that any girl can go ga-ga over and Gayatri Joshi has done justice to her role, underplaying it but leaving behind an impression - a mischievous smile, a controlled but passionate speech, sadness and love - she is comfortable with herself and her gestures are realistic and adorable. The scenes with SRK and Gayatri Joshi - the school scene where she asks him to name the five major rivers in India and he awkwardly mumbles the wrong answers, when he does his little piroutte after she turns down a prospective groom - made me smile. Kishori Ballal as Kaveri amma is perfect - genial, motherly, wise and almost angelic.

The songs are definitely hummable (A.R.Rahman) and the title song (especially when seen and heard on Independence Day :) ) does it's job :) - the scenes and the melody leave behind a touch of melancholy and nostalgia...

August 17, 2005


Who doesn't like to receive scented letters with little silk ribbons tied around them, proclaiming undying love, hugs and kisses? And how many years has it been since a friendly postman rang his cycle bell and handed over one such letter to me, winking mischievously? Hmm...that would be 26 years.

Sometimes, what we call progress is not all about progress, it's also a loss of what was precious albeit quaint. Packets of bits and bytes can never hope to replace the essence of an old fashioned letter - what we smell from it is more than the light fragrance of a's the essence of time, effort and thoughts spent in writing by hand what one holds close to one's heart and what one can never hope to speak out aloud...but only pour out in black and white, beside a dim bedside lamp and a window overlooking a starry night sky...

So, here's one such letter, not old-fashioned by any stretch of imagination but a letter all the same, made up of bits and bytes and my muse to tie it together :)

August 14, 2005


Edited my post after reading IBH's post - follow this link :)

Also, for a good cause...

* आज, बहुत दिनों के बाद, मुझे हिन्दी मे लिख्न्ने की इच्छा हुई। कुछ पल के लिए, मेरे मन में मेंरी हिन्दी अध्यापिका की आवाज़ - व्याकरण, स्त्रीलिंग-पुल्लिंग, कबीरदास के दोहें - हिन्दी की मधुर धुन गून्ज उठी...

** தமிழிலும் எழுத மனம் ஆசை படுகிறது...என் எண்ணங்களை பல வண்ணங்களில் அலங்கரிக்க என் கை துடிக்கிறது. ஏன் இந்த திடீர் ஆசை?

Maybe a single language, like a single hue does little justice to the variety of colors splashed in our minds...Is that why silence sometimes convey what words cannot?

Wikipedia says India speaks atleast 30 different languages and more than 2000 the land of variety, emotions, contrasts and traditions, to the only place that resonates with "home", to India.

Happy Independence Day!

* Today, after many days, I wished to write in Hindi. For a few moments, in my mind, I heard my Hindi teacher's voice - grammar, masculine and feminine genders, the dohas of kabir das - the dulcet sounds of Hindi resounded in my ears

** I also wish to write in Tamil. My hands tremble to color my thoughts in several hues. Why this sudden desire?

August 13, 2005

About IMILs, IBs and IJs.

With all due respect, I have a bone to pick with our creator. I do have a challenging and reasonable set of questions composed (or so I have convinced myself), ready to spring it on Him at Pearly Gates. My latest source of irritation and anxiety (I say latest because there have been several in the past, each consuming all my emotional energy at that point of time) is the overly glorified concept of being an Indian Bahu (IB for short).

Shy, demure, blushing easily, eyes cast down stealing loving, admiring glances at her soul mate, her master, her purpose for existence - her husband, excelling in culinary skills like all other such IBs, the epitome of sacrifice, docility and gentleness, a daughter to her in-laws, adept at keeping the house (or home - she is supposed to bring about that transformation, from house to home!) clean and beautiful...and several other such far-fetched fantasies.

I possess none of these traits (ah, I see that you being the perceptive reader that you are have concluded as much based on my past posts). I can cook edible and recognizable food items (if I am in the mental state to do so), I can keep the house as clean as it will be with a once-in-a-month quick sweep of the vacuum cleaner and with occasional (I prefer to be vague here than be embarrassed) dusting sessions, I am as much a daughter to my in-laws as my husband will be a son to my parents (ah, let's see 'em sneak out of this one - 'em obviously referring to the enviable IJs - Indian Jamais) and demure, shy, docile??? OK, we know we are talking about my anti-thesis.

Now, if I think of the plight of IMIL (Indian Mother-in-law), I am not too thrilled about her prospects either, I mean let's assume I am your typical IMIL, just for the sake of argument, I have spent a lifetime bringing up this worthless son of mine and here comes a pretty little thing and she has my son wrapped around her little finger (Now, why am I sounding more and more like one of those mega serials maamis :( ?)

A funny conversation took place this morning between a would-be IMIL and an IB.

IMIL : How are you?
IB : Good, good, good (too much gushing), how are you? (in a more restrained tone)
IMIL : Good

and after the initial customary greetings,

IMIL : So, can you make rotis?
IB : ?!!! I like paav bhajis aunty, I will have them if you will cook for me, IJ says you make awesome paav bhajis.
IMIL :(sportively laughs - whew!) Sure, I will make whatever you want! But I'll teach you how to make roti.
IB : Sure, we will also teach IJ! (Now I know she thinks am the worst IB there ever is :((()

So, in conclusion (yes, there is a point to all this drivel), why has such a grave injustice been done to the IMILs and IBs of the world (err...of India)? Why can't I be a happy, worry-free IJ :( ?

Question number n has been added to the pearly gates list of yours truly.

August 11, 2005

'tis all about Love...

Love, the kind that whimpers and withers when he as much as glances at another woman - all consuming, demanding, unrelenting;
Love, that whispers and soothes, pacifies and caresses, when a small frown even dreams of touching her face;
Love, that blossoms and yearns, unspoken yet unshackled, buried deep within his heart, unknown to her;
Love, that bonds, tying them together in a knot so strong, neither can break free, even if they wish to;
Love, that shines and glimmers, for a few tantalizing moments, ephemeral and tantalizing, making each wonder;
Love, that wipes her tears patiently and kindly, that embraces when she needs its warmth and watches from a distance if she so desires;

I can neither grasp the feeling in its entirety nor stay unaffected, the one feeling that touches every soul yet leaves behind a million confusing, of many faces and forms...

Yes, I agree, definitely sappy. Will do better next time :)

And thanks to phil for this song :)

August 10, 2005

In the silence of the night...

In the cold comfort of darkness, when nobody can judge and right and wrong merge into the same shade of black, when my thoughts surround me, reverberating in the silence of the night, I hear the voice of a young girl, a voice full of hope and verve, joie de vivre in the unlikeliest of places, in the unlikeliest of times - holocaust, Holland - 1942.

It's a long time since I cried after reading a book. I did last night after reading The diary of a young girl. I kept thinking of Anne...this was not like reading any novel where I may feel happy, sad, excited for the characters in the story but after a few minutes, I do realize that the characters are just that - characters given life by the author's colorful imagination, made concrete and realistic by my own imagination - they are not real. But reading this diary was different...a young girl all of thirteen years who shared her most intimate thoughts with her diary and with us, not knowing what fate had in store for her...hell modified as a concentration camp on earth; I couldn't help but feel an indescribable rage against the people responsible, against the injustice of it all...

I wish she had lived to talk about it, to realize her dream of becoming a writer, a great writer...

I wish so many things...and in the semiconscious state between wakefullness and sleep, I thought of many other things, not all of which made sense...

If Anne had been alive now, she would be around 75 years old, would she have been so famous had she lived to tell her story? And a silly little thought popped in my head, if Anne were reborn, then who was she reborn as...could it be me? I brushed the thought aside and thought of the flaw of creation itself...Why would God create us, bestow us with lives that ended, sometimes so unexpectedly? Was he so unhappy with us that he is making us live our unpredictable lives with the constant fear that what we cherish might become a mere memory?

I chided myself for such thoughts but the mysticism of the night and my own confused thoughts prodded on relentlessly...

Take Anne for instance, would she have become so famous had she been alive? Do we only realize what we possess when we lose it? Why can't I just take all I love, everything and everyone I hold dear to a safe haven where noone can lay a finger on them? Silly thoughts, morbid thoughts and the tears hardly dried.

What, after all, is the purpose of life? What are our lives worth - yours and mine? Here now and gone in an instant...will you think of me after I am gone?
© Ramya Sethuraman, All Rights Reserved.