May 31, 2006

Economics and Shopping and Patio furniture!

Shopping. Do you know how to say that? You have to stress on the "p" and forget the "g", so, it reads more like "shopppppin"! Now that we know how to pronounce it, we can proceed to the story of why I hate shopping for patio furniture. I'll tell you why:

1. Either the furniture explodes
2. Or they are sold out
3. Or they only are available fully assembled

Anyway, the story with our old patio furniture was that it had kind of exploded on us, I mean literally exploded into little pieces. They tell us glass expands in summer. Duh! As if we didn't know that! Still, we bought a patio table with a glass top which promptly expanded and burst. One night we had a nice, blue tinted patio set sitting outside peacefully, the next afternoon it lay in small bits in our back yard. So, we took pictures and took the chairs and the table frame and asked Lowes for an exchange. I think the guy at Lowes was kind of shocked to see the pictures and gladly gave our money back.

This time we went to Lowes looking for a patio set that wouldn't explode and we saw the cutest swing set sitting there. It was love at first sight but before we could do our little family-happy-dance, we made out the word SOLD in bold written across the canopy. So, we asked one of the Lowes employees when the next batch would arrive. "Umm...I don't know but I can tell you if the Lowes at Richmond carries these. These pieces are selling like hot cakes." We were disappointed but willing to fight it out and so we waited for him.

"The Lowes at Richmond carries four of these!"

Yipppee. So, we rushed to the Richmond Lowes, a replica of the Lowes at Nicholasville and there it was, our cute little swing set, swinging gently in the wind. So, we rushed inside the store to pick up our packaged swing set before they also sold like hot cakes and we didn't find any. We went straight to customer service and dragged a guy who looked knowledgeable aside, "We can't find any of the cute swing sets!"

"Umm...yeah, these come assembled. We recently sold a bunch of them. You can rent a truck and take them as they are!"


"Yeah, it's like $19 for an hour and a half...if you rent a truck, that is..."

Yeah, we got that.

So, I put on my best i-am-a-lost-but-cute-puppy-look and turned to k.


"But I really like the swing set."

"If you look at economically, it's a bad deal."

Huh? The way I am looking at it now, it sounds like a cute deal to me and quite economical at $69. I really have to improve my lost-puppy look.

"But this is perfect, I can make tea for us and you can read your fin magazines while sitting in the swing..."

I imagined making tea in a nice, hand painted tea pot (Bed, Bath & Beyond has really cute ones) and serving them in matching little cups and saucers (we got a set for our wedding reception and they are really cute although the cups are really small, each holds about 4 spoonfuls of tea)...I broke out of my reverie at his emphatic no.

"No. We can't spend 1/3rd of the cost on shipping, it's just not wise."

So, I turned to the wise Lowes man, "So, how much do you charge for shipping?"

"'s really a better idea to get a truck..."

"And if you ship it?"

"It costs $60 ma'am."

Now, that's "economical". $60 shipping for $69 swing set.

And so, I walked out of Lowes hating shopppin and economics and patios in general. Maybe if we buy a new sofa set also, I can convince k to rent a truck...or maybe, as one of our office colleagues suggested, we can buy a truck. That's $30,000 for a $69 swing set but hey, we save on shipping and we can always transport mulch, that's what he tells us :)

May 24, 2006

Catch My Point?

Some days, nothing interesting seems to be happening, so we go in search of the out-of-the-ordinary. So, that's what I did today and I found this:

So, maybe I should just carry a towel tomorrow because after all, A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have! He is one of my favorite authors which reminds me I have to buy the Hitchhiker's collection some day.

Have you ever come across the phrase, crossing the rubicon? I hadn't until today and strangely, while reading a technical article on javascript. Since I had decided to spend the day in such critical pursuits, I looked it up:

Crossing the Rubicon: Irrevocably commit to a course of action, make a fateful and final decision.

And then I looked up a few more phrases I had come across recently and since I have nothing else to write about, I am posting them here, hoping you find them as exciting as I did (yippeeee!):

Occam's Razor: the simplest of two or more competing theories is preferable.

A self-fulfilling prophesy: a prediction that, in being made, actually causes itself to become true.

A self-authorizing language (sound familiar?): "That is, if you’re smart enough to read it, you’re permitted to know what is being said."

On to lighter stuff, one lady at the University actually showed me what this phrase meant (tip for maximum effect - hold the hand straight up while walking away as the person is talking to you! - atleast that's how she did it):

Talk to the hand: contemptuous and urbanized way of saying that no one is listening.

Water Under The Bridge: used to refer to something that is over and gone and so not worth thinking any more about.

One of my friends kept using this and finally, I had to look it up (I didn't tell him that I nodded all those times without knowing exactly what it meant, though :)
Moot point: A debatable question, an issue open to argument; also, an irrelevant question, a matter of no importance.

Another one of those phrases that cropped up at work when someone said, "Am winging it here..." and the phrase went over my head as it filled with colorful images of birds and blue skies:
Wing it: To improvise.

Here's one that sometimes applies to me literally and figuratively
Bad Hair Day: a day when everything seems to go wrong.

And here's what you, the reader and I, the writer will exchange now at having successfully completed (reading/writing) this post:
High Five: A gesture of greeting, elation, or victory in which one person slaps an upraised palm against that of another person.

May 18, 2006

Just like that!

I have to, have to finish reading Da Vinci Code a second time before tomorrow because we are going to see the movie tomorrow and I am only on page 40!


Visits to the dentist are turning out to be fun nowadays. This time the dentist asked us how long we were married and then he said, "Oh just six months, so, you guys actually like each other still? That will change soon!" And then we both grinned while silently panicking inside. Atleast I did.


"How Opal got kissed..." reminded me of my College days. Of course, no similarity between my College days and what happened in the book but still, a teenager narrating her College traumas and high points reminded me of Bits and my teenage life in general. So, on a whim, I wrote a campus love story, just like that. It's not a great story or anything but just something that left me satisfied once I finished it. Don't ask me why. Some of you bitsians out there might recognize the setting ;)


Scrapbooking is fun. I have always wanted to try it out and I am finally making my own scrapbook now! Yay! I kind of lost it in the n aisles dedicated just to scrapbooking at the local Michaels store. I wanted to buy everything in those aisles!

May 16, 2006

The Art of Gifting.

Remember the times when our friends used to make elaborate plans to hide our birthday gifts from us? When they used to arrange treasure hunts leading from under the trash can to behind the television in another friend's place? When we used to unwrap layers and layers of newspapers to unravel a gift which turned out to be a brick and then the real gift would be given to make up for the sheepish grins on our faces? Remember the art of gifting? Scented sheets of paper, lace and ribbons, verses and silly limericks, photo collages and greeting cards? Remember the gleeful, excited expressions on their faces as they would tell us how they fooled us, how they hid the cake from us, how they let us believe that they were playing volleyball when they actually shopped for our gifts?

No? I do. From Bits-Pilani to UK, the fun part of birthdays was finding, guessing and opening these gifts. I enjoy gifting as much as I enjoy receiving them. I like matching wits with the person I am giving the gift to, surprising them with a gift, watching them take really bad guesses at what the gift could be.

In Bits, for one of my birthdays, my friends had made up an elaborate schedule of my day's activities with a clock showing the time for each one of them, and the activities mainly included me kadalai-pottufying with the guys I was currently being teased with! My mom happened to read the card years later and although she seemed amused, it was embarrassing all the same! For each one of our friends birthdays, we would excitedly discuss what all we could kottify on the greeting cards, what gifts we would buy for them and how we would pull their legs...

I guess as we grow up, we no longer find the time to indulge in such trivialities and its quite impractical to expect every birthday gift to be unique and worth remembering...Me? I still enjoy gifting, I wish gifts would be more than professionally gift-wrapped boxes hurriedly bought and prepared an hour before the birthday party (I have done that many times :) I wish...I wish many more things :) but for now, I am happy for the rare, thoughtful gifts that I receive and give, the ones that speak to me because of the time and effort that has gone into making them...

Here's hoping we never become so busy that we forget the Art of Gifting.

Quick aside, I just finished "How Opal Mehta got kissed, got wild and got a life!" - witty, funny, charming and even satirical in some places. Me likes!

May 14, 2006

Kamal's Karmic Kafe!

Did you get your good karma for the day?!

Hmm, nope, definitely need something more fancy like "I'm lovin' it!". It's got to be a jingle. OK, that comes later. First, let's cover the basics.

What is kamal's karmic kafe?

A place to hangout - coffee, snacks, exotic Indian cuisine, free hand reading by our residing karmic expert, browsing, soothing Indian music, a peaceful decor, in all a place to create good karma.

What's on the menu?

We don't serve dosas, vadas or gobi manchurian, no Sire, none of the usual stuff. We serve daal bhati, Rajasthani kachori, pani puri, bhel puri bambayya ishtyle (you can even request the waiter to talk to you in bambayya) and anything Indian-vegetarian and edible that falls under the category of "exotic".

So k and I brain-stormed a bit (I vaguely remember having a conversation about this with our Lex "measuredly-impatient" poet :) and we thought of a gypsy-Indian "expert" who would read hands for free and predict the future with reasonable accuracy :) Pleasant music (no bhangras or fast beats), a few "selected", "relaxing" books that are deigned suitable by the kafe's staff so you can relax on the barcalounger and read them, board games, chess boards (no Risk or Pictionary), pastel shades ("Rajasthani decor!", k chimes), un-hurried waiters and a general feeling of drifting about in good karma and peace. You get the picture?

If you don't, take a look here!

We will of course have signs that read,

  • "Remember to talk in hushed tones lest you should disturb the good vibrations."

  • "If you are rude, you will be charged a 55% tip so we can dispel the bad karma you created!"

  • "Children are welcome and are possibly the only customers who are allowed to create high decibel chatter."

  • Oh, also, we don't count calories!

  • Please be kind, we have one laptop, don't hog internet time!

We are exotic, so we will ahem...tend towards expensive but we make up for the price by all the goodness we plan to create ;)

So, what do you think? Will you want to be at KKKs? Lil' bro tells me that acronym is taken, so let's call it 3Ks for now :)

(Note: An idle mind is a bad-but-creative-ideas workshop)

May 08, 2006

You see what I see?

Let's just face it. We are all just selfish. Maybe not at all times, but we have been at sometime or the other and we will be in the future (to give us some credit, most of it is with us not even aware of it). If you don't agree, check with your best friend. Because no one else will tell you to your face that you have been selfish :)

And why not ask yourself? Because your "self" holds the same point of view as you. You are both watching the world from the same vantage point, a place that comfortably supports your assumptions, actions and conclusions.

If we had been bestowed with the ability to consider a situation from everyone's point of view, we would probably never be able to reach a conclusion because they would all conflict with each other. And so here we are, stuck in our single points of view, surrounded by close ones who also see through similar points of view and we have nice little conflicts, differences of opinions and such.

Also, as flawed as we human beings are made, we tend to narrow our points of view and adjust it based on our own emotional attachments and prejudices. That's why my mom thinks I am never wrong when I tell her I had an argument with someone :) So, as I get older and climb the long ladder of wisdom (man, I still can't see the top!), I realize the world or even my little world with little people around me (yes, that's how I visualize it in my head, a small circle around me and tiny people standing around me - like a Lex-Lilliput :) will never see things the way I do, the parameters that zoom in and fade out parts of their view have different priorities attached to them and so, my little world and I just can't see the same things the same way!

What's all this long winded story about really? Just a reminder to myself to not expect people to see as I see - my skewed representation of the world :), and even if I can't help but expect, then to just accept the difference.

Photo from

May 05, 2006

Why RS hates documents.

So normally I am in a pretty unfrazzled, peaceful state, sort of like a calm Vesuvius. I look dreamily at people and things around me and in general am filled with love for the world and its inhabitants and then a few things come along, quite small if you consider their place in the whole scheme of things, and then I am calm no more!

What, you ask, are these seemingly innocent but actually vile and devilish contraptions that make my goodness vanish? I will tell you - they are called documents. I have a certain dislike for filing documents, filing taxes, filing for my H1-B, preparing my documents in order for travel to India, and although I may start with a mild dislike, it soon escalates into a bubbling, swirling ocean of hate and ill-will to the whole world in general!

You give me a "You're weird" look and wait for me to proceed. So, let me go ahead and prove you right. So, I set upon the simple task of scanning my passport and other documents for some visa related stuff. The rules insist that I scan ALL the blank pages in my passport and I do, dutifully, patiently, I might even have whistled a little tune as I swapped the paper out of the fax machine, with panache. And I scan 30 pages and return back to my desk where I anticipate that I will say a little "ta-dah!" when I receive the scanned documents. I don't say "ta-dah" though because the first page of my passport came out like this - a general black blob.

So I still manage to smile at it as if the fax machine was just playing a little trick on me and scroll down to my picture in the passport and am shocked to see a scary-chandramukhi version of me, digitally morphed and ugli-fied (yes, I make up ugly words when am angry)

I can imagine the poor lawyer who takes a look at my photo and drops the sub she holds in her hand, in alarm, and down goes the onion, tomato and all!

So then I ask wise hubby dear who seems to have somehow mastered the art of filing documents (he is positively filled with glee when its tax time) and he says, "Huh? You didn't scan them in color?"

Yes, of course, silly me, I should have known all along, scan the damn document in color, as if I had asked him, "duh, what is 10 times 10?" And so I take the silly expression on my face and my silly self back to my sorry cube to do the whole thing AGAIN!

And that, ladies and gentleman is why I hate documents. I rest my case.

May 02, 2006

The perfect moment.

Have you experienced the perfect moment? Maybe not with the perfect person or while in a perfect relationship, but still perfect? I think fate, destiny, big guy up there, whatever you would like to call it, has painted a perfect moment with every two people in existence. Probability determines if their perfect moment will occur or not (Yes, I am reading God's Debris now :) So take you and the girl who sat next to you in tenth grade, whom you had a tiny bit of crush on but now are not aware of her existence at most times, I bet He charted out a perfect moment between both of you, just that it never happened and so, she is right now driving her minivan to Walmart while chiding her four-year old about his eating manners while you are sitting with your Mac on your lap and reading this post :)

Sometimes though, the perfect moment does occur and you suddenly get a glimpse into the person talking to you, a shadow of hidden sensitivity, romantic musings peeping out from heavy curtains, a child-like innocence about him that you had failed to notice earlier...perhaps, it drizzles outside, mellow and friendly, perhaps the setting rays of the sun make his eyes look almost golden-brown and you hadn't looked into them closely enough, perhaps what he is saying makes more sense to you than what anyone else has ever said to you in a while or perhaps you both share a smile because you find the same insignificant incidents funny...

Maybe the person plays no significant role in your life now or perhaps the relationship is all but forgotten, buried among several others that have taken precedence, but you know that the moment passed, you both shared it and it was perfect. You would not want to change a thing about it.

So, I tried to think of my perfect moments (because there are a whole bunch of imperfect moments in my life now, most of them concerning our car) and I came up with - a telephone conversation that lasted almost four hours well into the night - a talk that covered old friends and new ones, crushes and college stories, the past and the future; yet another long girly telephone conversation, I was probably fifteen then(finally my mom made me disconnect the call), the perfect compliment given to me in an auditorium as I rushed past with a thanks, hardly registering it then (well, more of a perfect moment for me); an email that answered a question that had seemed very important to me back then; a smile shared in the dark blue light thrown by the movie screen at a joke that I cannot recall now; an inspiration, a wink, a few words...

And I know even if these have passed and may never happen in quite the same way again, many more are yet to happen, waiting to surprise me (and until the car gets its catalytic converter and other parts that I cannot name, these are the kind of random posts you are going to get from me :)
© Ramya Sethuraman, All Rights Reserved.