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!
© Ramya Sethuraman, All Rights Reserved.