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?

August 08, 2005

Missed Moments...

Not of moments that fill our reminscences, but of moments that were meant to be special but slipped away from us even as we stood with our eyes wide open, moved but not attempting to move, to grab that which could have been...a precious moment now diminished to a chimera, perhaps a lost friend, a soul mate who never did become one, love fading in the blink of an eye, a meaningful silence relegated to nothingness, perhaps a smirk where a smile should have been?...that which was meant to be but could not be.

As I trod along the well worn path that we call life, for an instant I think of a person, a moment, an event that could have meant much more to me than it does now and I still think of it because hidden in a nook of my heart is a small voice that reminds me at these instants that the magic that was to be was lost because I did nothing to make it concrete, to guide it to perfection - I probably let the fleeting moment pass and pass it did with just a wisp to remind me of what could have been...

I think of a friend I had in School - a sweet, gentle thing with a smile that always brightened my day...ages back and her memory lingers behind to remind me perhaps that we were meant to be friends for life? I think of friends who have come and gone, mere guests dropping in and straying away and wonder if I should have held on, if I should have said something more...if we were meant to be exchanging stories of our lives, clasping hands together, discussing our days on a lazy Saturday morning with a steaming mug of coffee and a phone cradled on our necks...perhaps, I remained silent and so did (s)he and perhaps as I think of them, they think of me too...?

We laughed, we talked and we failed to hear the clock as it chimed out to us, but when it was time to part, as the decisions of our lives seperated us from each other, I remained silent and so did (s)he...Missed moments that are mere moments now because I stood rooted to the spot grinning back at them as they waved their goodbyes and stepped out of my life, maybe if I had stepped out then, I shall have more than a missed moment to recollect?

August 07, 2005

The ship that never sails...

Let's see if the significance of the day will help me melt my writer's block ;)

Wise men of today suggest yoga, calisthenics, exercise, hobbies, even fengshui as a means to relax, to diminish the sharp edge, the restlessness, the worries that seem to suffocate us at times...and I have one of my own remedies to add - a day spent with friends. While my friends range from those who just drop in once in a while for a quick coffee to those who would listen to my very boring rants about my life and the trivialities that seem to rock it, for hours together, all of them end up cheering me up and leaving me in good humor and a general feeling of well being.

Talking is therapeutic, atleast for women and some men, and the lazy, relaxed, sometimes even meaningless chit chat that I indulge in with friends is something even the thought of which conjures up a relaxing, soothing image - a luxury that the responsibilities of life often don't give us time for. While some find solace in solitude, I find solace in the company of friends...there's something about the hum of a comfortable conversation interspersed with quick bursts of spontaneous laughter that puts my mind at ease...and long after the sun sets, the freshness and friendliness of the day lingers behind long enough to brighten up yet another day.

Meaningless worries and yet he listened;
Jokes that hardly amused and still he laughed;
A comforting arm when I most needed it;
An understanding smile that wiped my tears;
I can write a hundred lines and yet do little justice,
to convey the magic that friendship is,
From a grateful friend to another,
Thanks for being my friend.

August 05, 2005

Vetti Vela!

The latest website to join my list of most admired web endeavours is the Wiki, the first being Google (of course!).

Yesterday, inorder to complete my daily dose of vetti vela, I looked up Lexington in Wiki and learnt some fascinating new facts about my city (My City is always Madras but for the purpose of this discussion, let's call Lex my city), one of those being that a peanut butter factory in Lexington produces the largest quantity of peanut butter in the world! Then I looked up some more stuff and somehow landed up with this wiki for Madras Bashai and this one is hilarious especially the places where they seriously quote (I almost imagined a TV News-reader style monotone and a poker face) the meanings of the words "Isthukinu" and "Keesiduven"!

Then I switched back to Google (those guys are Gods!) and it said Google could answer commonly asked questions, so, I tried,

"Population of India" and there it was, the first line of the search results proudly declaring "1,080,264,388"

I tried currency conversion next and typed "50 USD in Lira" and that worked. I did not have much luck with currency exchange rate for Indian Rupees though, my search string "50 USD in RS" did not give me the answer in the first line, neither did "50 USD in Rupees", so, I added the magic word -

"50 USD in Indian Rupees"

and sure enough, there it was - "50 U.S. dollars = 2 173.9414 Indian rupees"!

Yes, am sure all of you are bubbling to thank me for this treasure house of information, you are most welcome :)

August 03, 2005

NRI babble.

We all love to talk about it, don't we? The same old question - If we go back to India for good, which city would we pick? There's the immediate answer that software engineers normally give, "Bangalore, of course!" but then I have been hearing increasingly disturbing comments on life at B'lore from friends (including IBH's post)...unmanageable traffic, maximum population of two-wheelers(!), pollution problems So, then we discuss Delhi and Poona briefly and decide one is too north and the other also too far away from home, then I greedily eye our own Singara Chennai, hoping a late but powerful entry would do the trick but the ignorant claim it's too hot! I mean come on, what's a little heat compared to living in Chennai? (well, not exactly little but still...)

And so the conversation goes, the question often is not whether we will shift to India and when we will do it but always the place just because it's more fun to fight over our preferences on where to live I guess. Bus (yes, that's his Bitsian name!) finally put an end to this conversation by deciding that we will live where our career takes us, the better the job satisfaction and the job and ofcourse the $$$ (or Rs.Rs.Rs...), the better the place...well, that's one way of looking at it, but for now, it's just more fun to point at a city in India and wonder how life there would be...our kids going to dance class together at KalaKshetra in Madras or all of us eating pizzas on a Saturday at Infy, B'lore, taking a crowded sweaty train in Mumbai (shudder...this reminds me of what one of my friends said about Bombay - if you are really rich, I mean reaaallly rich in Bombay and say buy a sea facing 2500 sq.ft house with a nice little garden - I hear this is impossible - and a mercedes there, in all probability you will get a call the next morning from some underworld Don! Bombay is a no-no for me because of this scary little story!...which also reminds me, I asked one of my friends what was so great about Bombay and he replied, "Well, we can have all the chats we want from the road side bhaiyas, even with distilled water if you so wish and then we have the queen's necklace" - well, now, why didn't he tell me that earlier? :))

...yes, I know it's highly improbable that all of us here will settle down at the same place in India or will send our kids to the same dance school (I guess we send the boys to the Karate class? Maybe just some early IIT coaching classes :))?) but it's my imagination and I can take it wherever I want :)
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