February 28, 2006

Act 1, Scene 1.

Life or the little bit of it that I have experienced, is an interesting stage with little dramas unfolding every now and then. The scenes that are enacted on stage affect the audience in different ways depending on whether you are seated in the front row rooted to your seat and eyes locked on the stage or the last row shouting your throat hoarse making sure your noise is heard or you are one of those ushers standing at the door yawning - the same old scene for the umpteenth time. It also depends on how closely you relate to the drama on stage and to the actors themselves. And just like every play ends, every little drama in life has a closure, eventually the curtains do come down and the lights go off and sometimes we forget it ever took place.

And then there are times when I wonder if I am seated in the wrong row or maybe if I am acting a role not cut out for me or perhaps if I am in the wrong play altogether!

I just hope, when the curtains do go down, the little scenes that I played a part in and the little scenes that changed me have a meaningful story to tell.

Or as the quote in my template quotes - "Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act -Truman Capote". Have always wondered about that.

February 26, 2006


I: "Vedavalli"

k: "Tamil Goddess's name. I can't even scold her. Next."

I: "You go!"

k: "Krithika"

I: "Dont you know someone called Krithika?"

k: "Yeah, I still do, so?"

I: "No nooo, that won't work, haven't you seen Boys? After twenty years, when you meet her and tell her your kid's name is Krithika, she will wonder if you loved her all along, didn't tell her and named your kid Krithika. Nooo sire."

k: "After twenty years? I still am in touch with her!"

I: "Oh, anyway, how about Ragini...ooh I like Ragini."

k: " ok but then people will call her Rags!"

I: "So?"

k: "Next! I like Catherine!"

I: "We can't name our daughter Catherine dude!"

k: "Yeah, I was just saying I like the name. Why are we discussing only girl names? What if we get a boy?"

I: "Srinivas."

k: "Back to God names!"

An oft-repeated discussion at home. No, am not hinting anything but then it's always fun to plan in advance, especially when it comes to important things like naming your kid. Catherine is good...I actually like Florentyna better :)

February 24, 2006

Twenty Seven!

One more year come and gone. Happy Birthday to me :) Yes, I did get a lot of the, "so, are you like 46 now?" and "Hey, know what? Am still only *random-number*..." and all that fun stuff.

This time, we didn't have the oh-so-predictable coke-chips-cake party with friends. You know what I mean? People come because you called them, they probably did not even remember that it's your birthday. So now that they have come, they are thinking of when they can leave without being rude because the next day is a working day. The card has been passed around, people have signed it, unrecognizable music is playing in the background and the some people have been brave enough to smear some cream on your face (on the tip of your nose, if you are a fussy girl, I usually got a whole bunch of cream on my face, hint, hint ;)). Ah, traditions! Now that the traditional activities have been duly completed, people are standing around in bunches waiting for the first person to leave and then there is a mass exodus!

Anyway, this year, I decided to do away with all that. Its more fun when people actually remember to wish you and ask you why there was no party.

So, what have I accomplished in these twenty-six years? If I were to vanish tomorrow, how many people will think of me? Have I left a mark behind or did I just exist? Few questions that birthdays challenge me with every year. I guess I get apprehensive not because am growing older but because I know I have to face these questions again. It's like Morrie asks Mitch (Tuesdays with Morrie) "Its like there is a little bird perched on my shoulder, asking me each day, 'If you were to die today, would you leave peacefully knowing you have done all you could have done?'" or something to that effect. And I guess the fun part of life is that the answer is -no, you have not done all that you can and that's why you live - you can do so much more and the drive keeps you going. The need for a constant challenge to feel alive, maybe we are just made to be restless, to be seeking and searching, lucky if we find inspiration and ideals to keep us occupied this lifetime, not so if time was not so gracious a host.

So, farewell to 26 and its lessons, goals, dreams and emotions - all in the past now, but also a part of me. So long and thanks for all the fish ;)

February 22, 2006

What shall I name thee?

S~ and I were discussing the nature of relationships and he talked about relationships that have no name, some relationships that cannot be morphed to fit into a predefined slice, some relationships that lose meaning or gain a personality it doesn't possess if you try to categorize it...

And I wondered if there are indeed some relationships that we have failed to identify and classify. I wondered if it is the nature of the relationship or the inadequacy of our expression that failed to pick a name.

And today, as I talked to my Doctor about my general check-up and we discussed my health, I realized just how much trust I was placing in her hands. A stranger, yes. But a stranger that I shared something about me that I would hesitate sharing with a friend, yet placing a trust on her that would seem out of place except there. How do I categorize this relationship, that lasts just those moments spent in a bright and shining clinic room behind closed curtains?

I recently watched "Under the Tuscan Sun" and while the movie itself failed to leave a mark on me, I recalled a scene from it, an old man who comes daily to place flowers by his wife's grave and every day, he would look up and nod at Diane Lane as she watched him from her verandah. A glance of familiarity and empathy that lasted for a fraction of a second but that she looked forward to every day...a feeling that lasted only for those brief moments each day and yet it existed, it was real. What would she call this relationship?

And that made me think of all those people with no names that we run into every day at work, that we greet at the grocery store, distant aunts and uncles that we talk to for fifteen minutes once a year but take comfort in the fact that they exist - people who play a small but comforting part in our lives.

Here's my curtsey to them for completing the circle of my life. And a curtsey to all the people with names, that fill my little circle with meaning.

And as I am wont to doing, here's an article that left an impact on me, only vaguely related to this post. I just hope those nameless relationships in my lives won't go away like Paul, I hope I get a chance to say what I want to say to those people with no names. And even more so with the others...

February 17, 2006

Wickedly yours!

In general I would prefer to be a boy. I have expressed this several times in the past, have even blogged about it (nah, it was not that great, so I won't bother to post a link to it). But then there come times such as Feb 15th when it's almost fun to be a girl.

You see, guys have this huge memory problem. They forget what they should not and remember what they should forget. How did this guy get out in the test match played a zillion years ago between Zimbabwe and yawn...SriLanka - pat comes the answer!

When is my birthday?

" are a Taurean because you are beautiful...wait, you are a Gemini..heh heh, of course because my mom is a Gemini..."

And this, when I am a Piscean. Yes, I know that's exaggerated a tad, but who cares? :)

Anyway, coming back to guys and Valentine's day - it's fun to get a really cute gift on Valentine's day. Sometimes, it's more fun to not get a gift. Then you get to trouble your guy with meaningful remarks, harmless insinuations and innocent-sounding questions, reminding him each time that he forgot. He forgot!

(I am in a devilish mood now, oh come on now, don't tell me, you don't feel like being naughtily evil once in a while!)

So,when he forgets, don't waste that opportunity with silly emotional dialogues like, "How could you forget?!", that's all old school and it doesn't work anyway. Instead, you can send him a link to related blog posts to remind him that he forgot or if you are in the mood that I currently am in today, you can plan something more elaborate!

So, you have a little gathering and you can ask one of your girlfriends, "Hey, what did you guys do for Valentine's day?" and then ignore her answer and then launch into your pre-planned response, "Oh, my husband forgot to give me a gift for Valentine's day. That's ok...poor thing has so much on his head..." and then sprinkle a little bit of, "Oh yes, I gave him a gift!" and "He loved it...poor thing felt bad that he forgot, you know?"

And just loud enough so people in the room get to hear it. And the evil me is all the while gleefully rubbing hands in my head. The satisfaction of that set-up is something that a cutesy little gift can just not give you!

I can give several such instances. Say, he is watching a game and you interrupt knowing you probably should not (somewhat like Kate Hudson, when she asks for a diet Coke in How to lose a guy in 10 days!) and then he just doesn't respond or responds with, "Not now, it's a touchdown!" and then you have your little plot! After the game, you can always tell him how rude he was to you (Of course he wouldn't remember a word of the conversation that ensued during the game), so feel free to spice-up the conversation, and then he will try to bribe you,

"I shouldn't have said that.." (with a sufficiently forlorn look that fools no one but we play the game anyway :)

And then you say, "I felt hurt..."

And he goes, "Let me make up to you by cooking tonite!" and if you are lucky,

"And doing the dishes!"

And then you can say, "Ha! Caught you!" (in your head, not aloud!) and aloud you say, "Ok, if you think that will make you feel better..."

and then walk slowly towards your novel, snuggle back into your favourite position on the couch and relax.

It's all the way you play your cards!

Gosh, What has gotten into me today? I sound like one of those wily, scheming wives in bad Tamil movies! Am going to make up for these thoughts by cooking a good dinner tonight!

February 15, 2006

Valentine's day bloopers :)

*** video removed, you are too late :) ***

Posting this when k is playing his volleyball game blissfully unaware of the fact that his little Valentine-blooper video has gone live!

So the story begins with me trying to surprise k by picking three hindi songs that begin with the word "Piya" and translating them to English as a Valentine's day gift (if I can call it that). The three songs I picked were Piya tose naina lagi re, Piya bina piya bina and Piya bole piyu bole.

He doesn't know that the songs I have translated are Hindi songs, so he tries his hand at Tamil, tries to create a song with "kanmani" and a selected few other words that he has probably heard often in Tamil movie songs.

By the end the hour, I am wondering if he is working on an assignment or I am! All said and done, quite an entertaining little experiment!

In the video, the initial lines he is struggling with are:

Beloved! my eyes have met your,
Who knows what happens in the future?
Holi is here, bringing with it its colors aplenty
But, without you, Holi seems just empty,

a rough translation for:

Piyaa Tose Nainaa Laage Re, Nainaa Laage Re
Jaane Kyaa Ho Ab Aage Re, Nainaa Laage Re
Ho, Aa, Ho, Aai Holii Aai Ho, Sab Ra.Ng Laai
Bin Tere Holii Bhii Na Bhaae, Ho

I keep diverting him to the word, "Piya" hoping he will get a clue, all in vain :) In the end, he hums, "Piya tose" and then quickly gets sidetracked with "Holi".

February 13, 2006

Rang De Basanti (*Loads of potential spoilers*)

"Ek Onkar..." meaning God is one...A haunting prayer, the Golden temple filling the screen - a treat to my eyes and ears. Completely mesmerizing!

Closely linked to this scene - Kiran Kher has a black string tied to her middle and ring fingers and it comes loose and she knows something is wrong...the shadow of concern that crosses her face says it all.

Amir Khan has done a great job, which I have come to expect of him. His punjabi accent is delectable, his flirting skills excellent in this movie :) Love the scene where he calls her "Gulabo" casually and she responds smiling.

And coming to the "she", Alice Patten has done an amazing job! Realistic, charming portrayal of a passionate student caught in circumstances that changes her life!

Siddharth - has a heavy role in this movie that he carries to perfection! Loved the scene where Sharman Joshi (Sukhi) accuses him of using them and he collapses against the rock, his cool, dont-care facade broken by his friend's words. Absolutely loved him in this movie (didnt know he went to DAV too and my batch, '96) - imagine that)!

Madhavan was a pleasant surpise (somewhat like Karthik in Mouna Ragam...). Waheeda Rehman excelled in the scene where she almost trips and falls when the officers stand outside her door, conveying the news that she never wanted to hear.

The first half of the movie reminded me of Dil Chahta He and Bits more than anything else; the second half reminded me of Lagaan and Mudhalvan.

The whole theatre cracked up at the "cow" joke that Kiran Kher delivers to Amir Khan, busy talking to their cow, "Chup kar abhi nahi tho vo kal doodh nahi degi!"

Rakeysh Mehra (Director) and Kamlesh Pandey (Story) have come up with a really innovative theme tying patriotism, history, religion, college life, corruption, love...I can go on. The movie has some flaws, if you want to nitpick (beating up the people organizing a peaceful demonstration, the shooting at the end...) but the good and great scenes more than make up for it. Kunal Kapoor and Atul Kulkarni create magic on screen when they fight and when they embrace. Several scenes made my eyes fill up...

Some movies are such that several days after you have watched them, the scenes, dialogues, music keep playing in your head and its as if you just go about your day floating superficially and the reality is whats in your is one such day for me, Rang De Basanti is one such movie.

Music to dance to, to hum along with for a long time to come - another great job by A.R.Rehman (Luka Chupi, Roobaroo, Loose control - like all of them for different reasons!).

Loved the last scene with Siddharth and Amir Khan, "Saala Nautanki"...and as Sue puts it, "Sometimes the breeze carries with it sounds of laughter..."

"And of tears, beauty, music, passion...and sprinkles on us the magic that only the Indian silver screen can create."

February 11, 2006

Warning - a womanly post!

I am not a parent and I will never know exactly what it feels like to be a parent until I have a child of my own (That was my original title - On being a parent - I changed my mind). That's what everyone says. Our generation is such that getting married is increasingly being viewed as a commitment, a decision irreversible, final and hence to be taken with utmost care, so much so that people seem to be missing out on the fun of the whole process. Single guys and girls seem to be scared to commit.

Easy for me to claim, you say. You are married and have put the tension behind you, you say, shooting me your best accusing look. True but that won't prevent me from observing and commenting :) But, I digress. I want to write about being a parent, on caring for a child, which brings me back to fears that our generation (which of course includes me) seems to entertain enthusiastically.

Someday I will write about that but for today, I just changed my mind again. What I really want to talk about is about a woman and her child. Really, by now you should have given up on expecting what I really ask you to expect at the beginning of a post :) Anyway, here goes more 1 AM randomness.

Which woman is ready to have her first child really? We are all apprehensive, scared, nervous wondering if we are ready to handle the "responsibility". We, who have been selfish all our lives, now worried for the first time that we cannot get up when we want, do what we want and live a life without planning ahead - a movie today, hang out with friends tomorrow, eat out the day after - and what happens when we have a baby?

We view it more as an event that will curtail our freedom, force us to shoulder responsibilities that we are not ready for, because we are too busy taking care of ourselves!

And so we have the sixteen year old who baby-talks with her older friend's child and then wonders how she manages it all, "I can never do that!", she convinces herself in her mind; we have the twenty year old woman who looks at the diapers, stroller, burp cloths and shakes her head to herself, "I have a lot of time left for this, am just not ready!" and we have the twenty-six year old woman carrying her sister's three-day-old baby in her arms, looking at its reddish little face, hardly distinguishable features, clump of black hair on its tiny head and wondering, "Gosh, is it time for me too? How will I ever prepare myself for this?"

And then one day, its your turn - pregnancy, baby, diaper and all. And I guess, that day, you know you are ready when you hold your child close to you for the very first time! (You better be!)

And vaguely related to this outpour, k & I were exchanging childhood stories and how our parents managed to put up with us and I recalled this image of my dad sitting on his scooter, reading kumudam under a dim street light, right outside KSR's IIT-mathematics class (in Nungambakkam?)...he was always waiting for me outside but somedays I would be fifteen minutes late, some days half an hour late and I would walk out with my friends, discussing topics that surrounded a fifteen-year old's world...very rarely, I would stop talking when I walked out, say bye to my friends and for a few seconds think about what I did to deserve him. Very rarely though. But, today, for some reason, the memory hit me with full intensity...

February 06, 2006


Do you ever run a conversation in your head before it actually happens? I recently realized that I do that a lot! Even for silly little conversations that I know are going to take place, I seem to be creating two little people in my head with a passable likelihood to the other person whom I am going to talk to and me, and the two little people actually carry on the conversation in my head and then the real-life conversation happens.

And this is annoying. Its like you always have to guess the ending of a movie or a book, you don't have to, but you do anyways and often, the ending is wrong or just way off from what the actual ending is! Or as Joey put it, "You are so far off from the line, the line is not a line anymore, it's a dot!"

So, now not only do I have the little people talking in my head, the little people are talking things that real people are most probably not going to talk! For example, if I am going to talk to a girl to invite her for afternoon tea (no, I have never invited anyone over for "afternoon tea" but since this is a silly example, anyway, let's see how silly we can get :)

Me: Hi little person one, how about coming over for afternoon tea?
Her: Ok but I also wanted to tell you that your short story was silly.
Me: Oh ok, which one?
Her: All of them, especially the one in which everyone is laughing for no reason.
Me: Oh but there is a hidden meaning there...did you get it?

And so on, you get my drift? And now I start thinking if my short story was really silly and if everyone was indeed laughing without a reason. See? Unnecessary trails leading to nowhere. Not that I would think important thoughts otherwise, but just that I would like the time to think about not-important thoughts that I choose to think about rather than those imposed on me by myself, when I least expect it!

I think the only way I can beat the two little people to the conversation is by having an impulsive conversation! Start talking to someone about something before I know I am going to do it! Yes, that seems like it would work...

Oh well, now I need to listen to the conversation that the little people (me and k) are having in my head since I know that I am going to show this post to him and since I have to run the conversation in my head already, am doing that.

Excuse me while I listen to k and me talk about what we really will not be talking about!


February 04, 2006

A million thoughts on a canvas...

It's snowing outside, a million flakes drifting down to embrace my world, a million beautiful indications that beauty is everywhere, that miracles happen, that life is worth living, if only we open our eyes to it...

Today, after a long time, I have some time to myself - just the snow outside and me, time to introspect, time to ponder but just now, I don't want to think, I just want to watch the snow fall, to create my very own christmas; I wish the million thoughts in my head would drift away too, to wisps of nothingness or settle down to create a canvas as white, as enchanting, as the canvas drawn in front of my eyes now...shhh, no thoughts today, just the snow and me.

For some strange reason, I am reminded of these lines from a comment posted on my blog, ages ago it seems now, in response to my need for a blank, clear mind, one not so confused, not so jumbled...

Jumble of twine, colorful and bright,
makes your weaving a beautiful sight.
Were your twine, white and sane,
would your tapestry be the same?

A verse that made me smile that day...and today I am back to where I was, revisiting old thoughts, requesting yet again, for a white canvas and I send my yen out to the white world outside, asking them if they will help me weave a beautiful tapestry from the broken bits and pieces that lie abandoned in my head...

February 01, 2006

Books and such.

"Words are all I have to take your heart away..."

And how they take my heart away!

I have been reading a number of books by Indian authors, mostly relevant to Indians settled in America - The Mistress of Spices and The Unknown Errors of our Lives (Chitra Divakaruni), The Namesake and The Interpreter of Maladies (Jhumpa Lahiri) - I can relate to them in a way that I sometimes cannot relate to, in books from non-Indian authors...

Anyway, these lines from The Mistress of Spices stayed back with me (never seen the word "love" used in the plural form)...

Earlier novels that I enjoyed reading, also by Indian authors include The Mango Season by Amulya Maladi and Monsoon Diary - a memoir with recipes by Shobha Narayanan.

While on the subject of books, found this interesting link about the best first lines in novels!

And as k pointed out, rightly, they left out one of the best opening lines of all times:

"What can you say about a twenty-five year old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. The Beatles. And me."

Will write something more substantial soon, when inspiration strikes me :)
© Ramya Sethuraman, All Rights Reserved.