December 27, 2007

Investing in Happiness.

My mom and I were having a late night discussion on happiness after watching Transformers (How is this relevant? It just is; movie-induced stupor sometimes brings out the subliminal into focus and trust me, there is more truth in that than meets the eye ;) So anyway, as we talked I realized how much of her happiness she has invested in others. I guess, to a certain extent, that holds true for all of us, doesn't it?

It's like we divide our big pool of happy thoughts and feelings and make little bundles of it that we hand out to people to manage. And once we have done that whether we feel completely at bliss is no longer in our control. It's the people who hold our little bundles that control our happiness and in extreme cases, we lead lives determined by these people, even a moment of happiness or the lack of it is not in our hands...

I guess it is unrealistic, humanly impossible to expect to control our happiness completely. Part of what makes life interesting is the unexpected events that occur in our lives, the unpredictable actions of people around us and our own imperfect selves and how our lives are intertwined. A healthy mishmash of all this and we have those surprising, lump-in-the-throat, touching moments that take our breath away...but sometimes we lose track of how much we have invested in others, how many of those packets of joy we have handed out to others, possibly even to those who don't deserve to hold them...the challenge is to hand them out cautiously and take back what should rightly only belong to us...

Yada yada. Too heavy for a post-christmas post :)

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to y'all!

December 22, 2007

My christmas gift to myself!

Got mahself zis new pen!, would hardly do justice to it unless I put it to paper and so...

December 14, 2007

To-do list.

So, I made this long list of things to do because chores were piling up and mainly because my vacation started yesterday - k says it's a difficult time for him when I am sitting at home doing nothing! Hmm...and I always thought I'd be a dainty darlin' house wife :p

Anyway, I made a neat list on the magnetic pad on our fridge.

k came home for lunch and saw the list and added his 2 cents to it :)

December 04, 2007

On being awkward.

It's not like I have a penchant for being awkward. It just happens. I have come to the conclusion that this is how God intended me to be, awkward at times, able to converse decently enough at other times thereby showcasing my average intelligence. I am more eloquent when it comes to writing (really, if you have heard me talk, you would agree too), but then scrambling for post-it notes in the middle of a dull conversation just to scribble something intelligent on it seems a bit extreme to me. Plus these kinds of situations have the potential to make a passably awkward person seem like way out there! You know what I mean?

Dull conversation.

"Yes, yes, it is quite cold these days...blah blah"

Brilliant flash of words.

and then, rush, scramble, scribble-scribble and produced with a flourish, a yellow post-it note with an intelligent repartee scribbled on it - doesn't seem to be the solution to the issue.

I particularly excel at being odd especially during introductions. At the Indian store,

"Hiiiii Ramya!"

"Hi so-and-so, this is my mom. Ma, this breathlessly-happy person is so-and-so"

And then I smile. Breathless maami smiles too. Mom can't stop smiling. And the floor cracks and I fall through an endless magic pipe which takes me to the end of the world!

I wish. All that happens in the time that I imagined all that crap is that we are still doing the smiling rounds. And then mom makes a brilliant opening,

"Neenga Madrasla enga irukeenga?"

Whew! That should do the rounds at least for the next few minutes.


"Oh Mylaporeaaa?"

"Enga atha ponnu kooda anga thaan irukaa"

And so on. Meanwhile I zone off and imagine I published a novel! Gosh, that would be like a dream come true. But then, what if the book sold just one copy? Hmm...I could ask my friends and family to buy a copy, that would make it 20-25 copies maybe...need to sell at least 75 more...

I look up to see breathless maami watching me intently. So, I do the routine thing. I smile.

"Enna Ramya?"

Hmm, that didn't work. I assume an intelligent mulling look and quickly study my reflection in the glass door. Nah, that just looks like I am constipated.

My mom helpfully chips in, "Neengalum enga veetuku varanum!"

Oh, ok. We were apparently in the middle of "Enga veetuku kandipa varanum" routine.

So, I don't get it. I actually like social get-togethers (In fact I like it much more than bowling or skiing or the zillion other things that k is crazy about). And I am definitely not bored when I am discussing something interesting with the very same maami. I actually like talking to her. The problem is with the more regular, mundane conversations - introductions, casual hi-byes, overly polite invitations that both of us don't plan to keep up - that sort of thing. That's when I zone out and act all weird.

The more odd situations happen at work. Somehow cross-cultural conversations take on more vibrant colors than regular desi conversations. The other day, I walked over to a~'s cube to discuss a boring bug. I reached a~'s cube and found a~ and r~ guffawing loudly at some joke. I didn't hear the beginning of the joke (I bet it was one of those jokes that I won't "get" even if I was there from the beginning). So now do I kinda' slither back to my cube pretending I never walked over? Wait for the loud joke to end and then interrupt with my bug? Or do I hang out, acting all nonchalant - "Yeah, I don't laugh at silly jokes", maybe I can join in and laugh and it won't sound so fake?

I didn't do any of these though. I just stood there. I didn't even twiddle my thumb. Just stood there. Now you would think this is enough to put an end to the loud joke. But no! They start discussing Ipod nano. I rack my brains trying to come up with tit-bits I might have read about the ipod-nana....nope, nothing. Blank. Just ipod? Anything about Apple? Jeez! I am incapable of constructing impromptu bits of logical conversation! So anyway, an eternity later, the other guy left and I stopped trying to think of something to quote from Steve Job's commencement speech at Stanford.

For the next time, I am planning to go armed with a classic knock-knock joke. That ought to work.

November 25, 2007

Bharathidasan's poem...

கூடத்திலே மனப்பாடத்திலே - விழி
கூடி கிடந்திடும் ஆணழகை,
ஓடை குளிர் மலர் பார்வயினல் - அவள்
உண்தலைப்படும் நேரத்திலே,
பாடம் படித்து நிமிர்ந்தவனின் விழி - தனில்
பட்டுத் தெறித்தது மானின் விழி,
ஆடை திருத்தி நின்றாள் அவள்தன் - இவன்
ஆயிரம் ஏடுகள் புரட்டுகின்றான!

He sits in the court-yard
down-cast eyes engrossed in study;

She arrives, a flower in a cool stream,
casting her gaze upon the handsome vision,
overwhelmed by a desire to imbibe the moment;
Rising from his notes,
his glance falls upon doe-like eyes;

Startled, her bashful hands guard her slipping veil,
as a thousand pages flutter past!

Having a resident Tamil expert enables me to go crazy with my translations! My mom remembered the last four lines and the first line of this poem by Bharathidasan. She said her Tamil Professor's words still echo in her head :) And to make up for my lack of originality (w.r.t writing poems), I attempt to translate what I admire in the original...

Some of the allusions and charm in the original Tamil poem have been altered because of the translation. Apologies for the same.

Note: The Tamil font here is best viewed in Internet Explorer. Personally prefer Firefox but not sure how to get Quillpad and FF to join hands!

November 17, 2007

Mr. and Mrs. Iyer

What is it about the wild and the unpredictable that inspires a kind of wonder? Is it an illusion that movies attempt to create just because, is different, curiously romantic perhaps or is life worth-while because of these strange, inexplicable moments created by a different class of men in a different set of situations? Consider the dependable husband who works nine to five and takes his wife out maybe on a Saturday to a movie, his attempt at the art of "romancing" - his character is often discarded as the mundane, the ho-hum role in a movie worth five minutes of screen time. That's understandable I guess because this poor guy's character is so common in life. Every second or third man probably does that. But then, consider the rash and undependable college chap who sports a never-shaven-before chin at all times and now you have a character worth focusing on (or at least used to be before that too became routine)!

Or consider the pensive, intelligent wild-life photographer who falls in love with a traditional Tamil Brahmin girl in Mr. & Mrs. Iyer. Now, we have a story! And what a story it is! The tangible chemistry that fills the space around them leaves me mesmerized each time I watch the movie. I watched the movie a second time today and it reminded me of Bridges of Madison County (a woman quite contended to be a wife to a husband who loves her the best he can, the only way he knows to love her and enter the "mystery-man" who she can relate to in a way she knows she never can with her husband - now, there's something that doesn't happen often in life or does it?)...what is it with wild life photographers anyway that make them so special? All the travel makes them perceptive, sensitive, intelligent in an irresistible sort of way(?). In movies at least.

The scene in the train when Rahul Bose leans towards Konkana Sen and she stutters and speaks incoherently while trying to mask her own feelings is so real...I can almost feel what she feels at that moment.


"That's not the way my name is pronounced, you know?"

"How is it pronounced dear?",
with a smile to kill.

"Meenakshi. Meen in Tamil means fish..."

"M e e n a k s h i...",
there can be beauty and tenderness even in the way a person says your name. And Rahul Bose says it the way a lover would to his beloved. A wistful sigh, a whispered melody, unsaid dreams, in that one word.

"I have that lens in my eye lens"

and we understand the turbulence, the conflicts Meenakshi experiences just by catching a glimpse of her eyes. Words cannot match what she emotes. Each time I watch that scene, I hold my breath wanting them to say something, anything at all, to hug tightly, to weep on each other's shoulders...

Or the other train sequence where he describes his next photography assignment to Meenakshi and she asks worriedly,

"Will you be alone?"

He watches her closely and asks, "Why do you want to know that?"

And she looks away unable to admit what she feels for him. A few minutes of conversation later, she asks the same question and he says,

"Alone. Unless you come with me..."

It takes a strong woman not to agree to go with him, that moment...(and somehow if she had agreed to go with him, the essence of the scene would have been lost).

Or the scene in the forest,

"The caretaker told me you had packed and left..."

And he asks calmly, "And did you believe him?"

Now, that's romance. Classic. Subtle. Powerful.

November 15, 2007

The I-dont-know-why...look

Having your in-laws stay with you and working at the same office makes for some interesting situations. So, for the past few days, k has been working pretty late into the night. Every evening k's mom makes hot tea for all of us and "bete ka raah dekhkhe" she waits for us to return back home. And she is pretty disappointed that her poor lil' son does not get to drink his evening tea. I understand now where k gets his "I-prefer-to-be-served-while-staring-at-favorite-spot-from-couch" attitude.

Anyway, in the afternoons she has super-thin rotis, daal and subji waiting for us. Past few days I have been driving home alone for lunch (There is no way I am going to eye a subway when I have this kind of food waiting at home :p). And today too, I drove back alone and after lunch, we packed a hearty meal for k.

After I reached work, k's dad called up to remind me about their India ticket booking. And then he asked, "Did Kamal have his lunch?"

I walked over to k's cube and saw that he was with his manager, no doubt discussing the numerous bugs in k's code (To be fair, he is a much better programmer than I am but for the purposes of this narration, it's more fun to assume otherwise :p).

So anyway, I change my mind and am about to walk away when the evil-me in my head (rubbing hands in glee) tells me to go ahead anyway and interrupt their discussion. So, I walk over and k acts all I-don't-know-why-my-wife-interrupts-me-when-am-busy-at-work and ignores me. So, I clear my throat and go, "Hey Kamal"

His manager stops talking and they both stare at me. I get the feeling k is getting ready to throw his "Do-I-know-you?" look, call it intuition but am pretty sure I got that right, considering that I have now been exposed to almost all of his "looks", you know the ones that go all hyphenated...So, k and his manager both give me the "Duh, don't you see this video bug is far more crucial in the grand scope of things?!" look.

And then I say,

"Your dad called me to remind you to have your lunch."

And I look pointedly for a second at k's perfectly packed lunch bag and then walk back with a flourish to my cube, but not before I catch his manager grinning at k and k's face just beginning to turn all flushed and sheepish (surely in the realization that he should perhaps not ignore his wife the next time she interrupts him. Especially not with a "I-don't-know-why...etc" look :)

What fun. Work rocks, sometimes.

November 12, 2007

The Art of Entertaining.

I miss the simple world. Where people said what they meant and meant what they said. Where words stood true to their meaning. Where things were black or white...

I was watching Shree 420 with my family (Finally I have enough people at home to count as a solid family, somehow 2 just didn't cut it) and the simple scenes and clean humor brought back a kind of old world charm to life. Where people could laugh at Charlie-Chaplin style routines and dialogues were simple yet powerful and could evoke merriment without double-entendres and...loudness. I enjoyed seeing the "Do aane ka theen-theen aane ka do" dialogue for the umpteenth time.

Anyway what I miss are not just surreal moments on screen; I miss the life our parents describe. Where people would sit on the thinnai and talk, when people had the time to do it. The time to not be so self-absorbed. My mom says my thatha often said, "Oorar kozhandaiya ooti valatha, thann kozhanda thaana valarum", I wonder if people still believe in that adage? It seems to me, we have a dull and defined formula we have imprisoned ourselves with - Study, get a job, car, then the American dream house and then kids-daycare-job-India-trips... later, we will probably find ourselves right where we left...wondering if there should have been more to "life"?

My parents often used to talk of times when my patti used to cook for the whole town. My thatha had this habit of bringing home unexpected guests for dinner and while my thatha and his friends talked into the night, my patti would somehow manage to make dinner for the household (which was big to begin with - my thatha's sister and her kids stayed with my thatha, patti and their three kids) and the additional guests. Sometimes they didn't have enough to cook that night, but they somehow managed to cook and feed good food to the family and guests. And this was daily routine. This art of entertaining.

It seems to me, we are losing this art. While adding levels of convenience to our own routines (Can you please call before you come? How about a potluck? Can we get together weekend instead of weekday? I doubt I'll have time to cook on Monday!), we have lost the spontaneity and I guess...simple happiness that comes from sharing, from putting in a heart-felt effort to please someone expecting nothing in return.

After all, what is defined as happiness I guess is just the ability to lose oneself in a be so involved that our senses are engrossed in that one thought and rhythm, like cooking. What better than the colors, texture, little measurements and aroma of our kitchens to create the zen that we read about in magazines?!

What if the whole point of the meeting is to entertain, to attempt to bring a little bit of joy to someone else, to kick back and settle down to the comfortable sounds of laughter and good humour. Not with an agenda - not for a baby-shower, reception or a "planned" event in a "planned" life. Just a get together to meet.

What if we meet just once and forget to look at the time? If it's late, it is and maybe we just don't care? Maybe we don't have an agenda planned for the next day, maybe we just eat ice cream and settle down for another movie? And maybe we just relax in good company...

To talk. Of simple things. To eat. To laugh. To entertain. That's it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

November 05, 2007

Lost in translation.

k's mom: "Why does your mother call me mummy?"
RS: "She does?"
k's mom: "Yeah, mummy, mummy, that's how she calls me"
Just then, my mom enters the kitchen and says, "Oh maami already made tea"

I have an aha moment and I attempt to resolve confusion. After hearing my explanation,

k's dad: "So younger people can call older people maama and maami?"
RS: "Yes, also older people"
k's dad to k: "So younger people can call older people mama and maami. Like we say kaaka and kaaki"
k: "No" (he usually refrains from playing 20 questions with his parents and my mom. He goes back to staring at his favorite-vacant-spot-on-the-wall from the couch)
RS: "Also older people..."
k's dad: "So everyone can call everyone maama and mami?"
k's mom: "Whose maama?"
RS: "Not everyone..."
Meanwhile, k's mom and dad laugh at their joke, "Whose maama?" (Kiske maama?)
k's mom: "So, if Deepak kaka and Mahesh kaka are in the same room, we would have to say Maama, maama, maama"

K's mom and dad giggle again.

(I am reminded of a very similar conversation earlier that week,
k: "Ramya's patti..."
k's mom: "Patti?"
k: "Means grandmother..."
k's mom: "So it is patti and patta?"
k (looks confused): "I think, wait a minute"
And after fifteen minutes we resolved that confusion.)

(Yet another conversation transpired like this:

RS to mom: "Amma nee kathala oatmeal saapdu..."
k's mom: "Teri mummy ko abhi oatmeal chahiye?"
RS: "Subah ko oatmeal khayegi"
My mom: "Adhu awkwarda irukum"
RS: "Yen?"
My mom (shaking her head): "Subha veetla edukku naan oatmeal sapadnum?"
k's mom: "Teri mummy ko oatmeal nahi chahiye?"
RS: "No oatmeal for anyone!")

Back to the current vernacular topic of discussion, I wait for them to stop laughing and then explain again,
"Younger kids and older people can call older people maama and maami"
k's dad: "Ohh, like uncle and aunty"
RS: "Exactly!"

A day later, we were getting ready to leave the house and k's mom had to call my mom; she hesitated for a few moments, cleared her throat and said, "Maaaami!"

And that moment is when k decided to stop-staring-at-vacant-spot-on-wall and take a few pics :)

October 24, 2007

Words of wisdom

and how I never learn!

Remember how the hallowed "they" always told us,

"Don't talk to strangers",

"Don't fall in love" and

"If you do fall in love, make sure it's with someone who is so similar to you, people should assume he is your twin brother! Same religion, same caste, same color, same nationality, same creed..." (what does creed mean anyway?) and then "they" also said,

(with a huge sigh) "If not, at least make sure he is compatible w.r.t geographic proximity - South Indian in my case (or Madrasi for the Bombay folks)!"

But then what did we do?

We went ahead and did just the opposite. Not intentional, I assure you. We fell in love with a, Gasp! "different" guy! We also married him! Shudder! And he is not a South Indian! Swooooon!

Ok fine. That's done. We turn to the next page cautiously with a mighty resolve to follow the few remaining wise words that they might have to offer to us:

"Don't invite your in-laws or parents to stay with you in the US during winter. They will get bored out of their minds and you will run into a dry non-creative patch where you will be unable to entertain them with your antics any longer and you will run out of places (or $$$) to take them to!"

So, you would think by now, we have realized the importance of said words and we will religiously follow them? Naaaaaah. We are the same, surprisingly, we never changed! And so, we invite in-laws to stay leading well into the snowy season!

Guiltily turning to the next page, we read...

"Whatever you do, make sure you don't mix and match people from two households; much as you expect that to be a happy confusion, it will be more of a households joining hands to point out what can be improved in you and your spouse's lifestyle!"

And that is when, we decided to become smarter. No, we didn't exactly follow the last bit of advice with the huge warning sign (reminds me of the "How to...for dummies" series); we did actually end up inviting parent and in-laws to stay with us, in the US, in winter, at the same time! So, how exactly did we become smarter?

We stopped leafing through said book.

October 23, 2007

Can this be any more random?!

It's one of those days - dark, wet and muggy, the kind of day that Voldemort would probably choose to make an appearance. But, today is also the kind of day that can inspire a tragic short story to come to life - I can see it already - it would have all the elements of a compelling love story and just when the reader is silently praying that the lovers unite, an unexpected twist...umm, also torrential rains, add a few strikes of lightening to that! And in the end, not one of those sordid unexplained accidents or deaths, this would be realistic - a tragedy unexpected but real, like the tears that would fall from every pair of eyes that read the tale! Ah...if only I could weave such a colorful tale!

On second thoughts, I'll pass. Way too much effort on a day like this howmuchever it might attempt to inspire. Ever notice how some parts of our lives are favorites for story tellers? Like train journeys, haunted houses, village feuds, broken marriages, one ever writes short stories about software engineers and computers, doctors yes, engineers...naah. I asked an oncologist who happens to be in my dance class if ER, House, Scrubs are realistic or way exaggerated to make for interesting viewing and she said, parts of it are real, the trauma, patients and injuries and the fantastic love stories and affairs that go with it are pretty much what do you call it....masala :) Come to think of it, there is one movie made about us folks, Office Space! When I saw it several years back, I couldn't relate much to it, I need to watch it again to see if experience in this field has changed my perspective enough for me to crack up (like my colleagues do) while watching the movie.

Since I have come this far with my random jumble of thoughts, I might as well add another unrelated insight. Is it just me or are Indian American teenage+ girls super funny? I mean, in a nice way. Somehow I don't remember Indian girls in their teens and early twenties being so light-hearted and seriously funny! Or perhaps, this is still a culture that is different from my own and like anything new, it attracts and flaunts its positives initially. The girls who learn dancing with me somehow comment on the most random things and make the sort of observations that I would have never imagined - like Chandler (in F.R.I.E.N.D.S) does - and I often end up...giggling with them. Last class, we were umm...."disciplined" by our teacher,

"Girls, really! Who started this giggling session?!"

Long pause.

I hesistantly reply, "Aalll of us" - notice the stress on the "All"? All my rusty school-time defenses rose to the rescue :p

"Ok, at least that's the right answer. So anyway, concentrate now!"

Woohoo - escape!

There's this other medical student in class who loves to give me a hard time,

"Are we going to be wearing this costume for Sunday?"

"Jeeez! Ramya, you get a D grade in dance and in costumes too!"

And the other time my teacher gave me her old pair of salangai, she says, "What now, you are like her favorite student or something?!"

And so I said, "In any case, you rock, you are the most advanced student in this class! AS for short, so I'll call you ASSSSSSSSSSSSSS!"

*giggles* Apologies but you see this is what cultural shock does to you!

October 18, 2007

Weird post.

I feel weird. No, I mean I know I am weird (Gee, thanks!) but I feel weird today. You know the way you feel alone even in a crowd sometimes? Or the uneasy feeling in the stomach and heavy head when you drive to work having slept less than 7 hours the previous night? A kind of lonely stressed-need-zen feeling. As if not many people in this world have the time or inclination to actually "relate" to you and really, they don't care. Whatever is so important to you receives maybe a small nod of acknowledgment or a tiny pat from others, if you are lucky. Fair enough, everyone has their own life to lead. But isn't life mainly about men and women, about fights and laughter, tears and hugs? I somehow am not able to distance myself and my goals from the people around me.

I do care.

I just don't get the argument about "not caring what people think", how can I not care when the basis of my existence is these lives around me? What pleasure will an artist receive if he performs to an empty theater? How can applause and words of praise be separated from the sense of gratification he feels? Seriously, it's like turning back triumphantly after a strike and noticing that there is no one in the bowling alley to give you a high five. Remember that old saying about great minds that discuss ideas, ordinary minds, events and small minds, people? What if there were no other people, of what use are the ideas? ( Hmm, maybe the person who said it had something simple in mind like "Don't gossip" when he said "people" :p)

I wonder if I should experiment with a new "me", you know just glide along, tra-la-la...and be at peace, alone or in a crowd, just doing what I want to do, for myself. The new "I" would not be all emotional and dependent (reminds me of "How to lose a guy..." - clingy, needy, what was the third one? Whiny?) on people. I suppose, "I" would then like to ski down a mountain just for the thrill of it and I will possibly hang a photo of that on my wall just for myself (I don't really like to ski but what the hell, this is the new "I"), be chill when a friend forgets my birthday or another hasn't talked to me for ages, wouldn't really care if I haven't had a heart-to-heart talk in ages...

Blech. The new "Me/I" sucks.

Sigh. Some people are beyond repair.

Meanwhile, thank God for the blessed lady (arrived by courier from India yesterday!) who has come to stay with me - she gets to hear my retarded thoughts for now and you all also, many thanks for your patience :)

October 08, 2007

Andal - a composition.

Ages ago, s~ and a~ decided to get creative and I decided to piggyback on the brainstorming process in the hope that some of the good stuff gets into my grey cells also and the result follows:

s~ wrote:

kOdhai avaL, pEdhai avaL,
thenkiLai rAdhai avaL;
soodi koduththAL avaL, nAdi thudiththAL avaL,
ranganai koodi mudiththAL aval.

rs~ wrote:

Daughter of the earth, infatuated so,
O, Radhai of the South,
who touched and sanctified,
pined in impassioned anticipation,
and became one with Rangan!

a~ sang!

October 07, 2007

Saawariya, Om-Shanti-Om & Aaja-nach-le!

After the excitement of Chak de, I am looking forward to Om Shanti Om, Saawariya and there's Aaja Nach Le too...

Caught a few sneak peaks of Saawariya on Sony TV - Rishi kapoor's son, Ranbir Kapoor and Anil Kapoor's daughter, Sonam Kapoor introduced by Sanjay Leela Bansali!

Om Shanti Om - namma aalu movie! SRK with a new image...can't wait to watch! Somehow reminds me of Hugh Grant in Music & Lyrics...

Yash Chopra's Aaja nach le trailer - finally she is back!

Another movie that is definitely not commercial Bollywood that seems like it would be worth watching...Vanaja

Vanaja photo from website:

October 02, 2007


I wish I could write poems,
two lines to talk about you and me?

If I could only sing,
a song that's ours even when there's no us?

A rough sketch on a panel to remind me of your smile?
But, my hands remain still, the panel blank...

I thought our goodbye would be more than sad smiles and tear-filled eyes,
more than a firm hand-shake and a quick "Good bye".
Did I see it in a movie?
The long-drawn embrace and my face buried in your shoulders?
A smoke-filled reality that never was?

How then can I remember you? Your silly grins, your crooked nose,
your unkempt locks, falling over laughing eyes?

Perhaps, I will.
Now and then, when I close my eyes, or look into the distance.

Perhaps, I'll still hear you talk and laugh.
Now and then, when I sit in silence, or moments before I sleep.

I wish I didn't. But, I do. I do remember you.

S~ suggested "Memory", I initially called it "Old times", maybe I should call it "You"...have no idea what to call it now or if it's even worth searching for the right title...wrote it as I thought of friends who have left, romance somehow found it's way in; I am cursed, I can't write without my writing heavily doused in romance...oh well, whatever.

September 30, 2007

Cutest photo ever...

captured by yours truly :)

Back home from a whirlwind DC and NYC trip!

September 21, 2007

Relaaaaaaax, am not cool!

I think all of us need a nice, hearty throw-up session once in a while, a sort of emotional purging so we can "letitgooooo" and get on with our lives. I don't know if you noticed, but I think I am done teetering on the edge of insanity; I have official moved over to the "other" side. No, not to Voldemort's camp, silly! I mean just in life, I think it's high time I ack the fact that I am a bit crazy. Although, this does not give you the liberty to do the following:

You may not give me a "girl-over-the-edge" look and say "Relaaaax" in that annoyingly slow and stupid fashion, especially not at social get-togethers. An example might be:

A one-year-old is running around the house, darting under tables and tripping over legs and I watch her with a little bit of anxiety that is probably apparent on my face and then I hear, "Relaaaaax, Ramya, she will be fine". Jeez! I am relaxed, lady! If I relax anymore, I might go into a coma!

This happens quite often with me, maybe, people (mostly women, I wonder why) realize subconsciously that the word "relaaaax" ticks me off and they just want to experiment to see if I would completely lose it!

"The house is one fire!"



Sometimes, it's as if k has fun watching me become uncomfortable. He does just the things that would make me look like a nervous, over-the-edge, control freak. And then the above mentioned people would go, "Relaaaaaaaax, Ramya".


I have this uncanny super-power (ahem) to observe myself as not-myself :p And I notice I do that more often when am in a mixed social gathering - close friends + not-so-close friends + cool people + not-so-cool people. k, who considers himself cool will do a "cool" act and the not-so-cool people will immediately turn on their "righteousness-radars" and go tsk, tsk. And then the "me" that is watching "me" goes, "Uh oh, social gaffe alert, social gaffe alert!"

In my mind, somehow this will all turn into a big social blunder and k and I will be ostracized and we shall pack our small belongings and walk towards the village...hmm, well, not exactly, but I remember watching that scene in a movie (Thambiku enda ooru?) and that image stayed back with me. k thinks it's stuffy to say the "appropriate" things and do the "deemed-right" acts all the time, he thinks veering off-path once in a while adds spice to monotony. I agree, most times, except when the "not-cool" people go judging and tsk-tsking. I don't know why that bothers me. It does. Probably because I slipped and fell on my head, when I was 3. :p


I also get nervous before we head out on short/long trips. I have sudden mini-panic attacks like "Who will water all the plants?" (That have been ignored largely, all their life, have gotten used to the fact that they will be watered only once a week and have managed to thrive in our house :), "What if a crisis come up at work and they need me?" (Let's see, the last time that happened was...never!), "What if something happens to the house?" (The "something" remains a vague blob in my head, undefined)...k says I am a homing pigeon. Maybe or maybe because I just don't like driving. Especially on long trips. Doesn't matter if am driving or am in the passenger seat. I prefer to take a flight with all it's inherent risks anytime.


So, between the "relaaaaaaaaax" and the "cool-k-doing-cool-things-that-uncool-people-don't-get-that-inturn-makes-me-nervous" (well, there's also the homing-pigeon-routine but grammar and scary images of my English teacher prevent me from sneaking that in :p), I think I am certainly losing it. But people often don't "get" this. I tell k all this and he gives me a concerned look and says, "Do you want to take up yoga?"


September 13, 2007


Lust-laden fire scorches my soul,
As taunting glimpses of your face dissolve in the endless skies;

Destroy, I must, the maya of sinful desire,
Or I pray that I should breathe my last;

Possessed by passion, my body yearns for sacred fulfillment,
Mistress of my desires, do alight to quench my thirst;

My heart ruled by you, my being forever tainted by the beauty of your youth,
Night falls pregnant with passion, dreams leading it into dawn;

My existence shaken by the whirlwind of desires,
Rescue me, Oh Goddess, rescue me!

Taken quite a few liberties with the interpretation. Apologies for the same. L~, this was more difficult that the previous ones, would have been lost without mom's help :p

Not sure if I should drop hints or it's going to be a snap for you guys. It's a Tamil song. That's my first clue :)

Clue2: Setting of the song:

Clue3: Theme of the movie

On love, ego, fidelity, obsession? and how music ties it all together...directed by K.Balachander.

PS - Answer in comments!

September 05, 2007

On Food & Khana & Saapadu!

So, we had a fun long weekend at Smoky mountains - 4 participants of the previous generation and b&p, k&I - needless to say, there were quite a few interesting incidents :)


* Every trip only revolves around one thing - FOOD! k & p~ started planning the menu a month back and the two cars that were driven to Gatlingburg had a greater propotion of food items than people! Our menu for our 2 nights and 3 days stay at the cabin -

  • Sat Evening (Gatlinburg Cabin) - Home-made sandwich with tomatoes, cucumbers - cut just so small, potato slices and seasoning
  • Sun Morning - Poha - made to perfection by k and a pot full of chai
  • Sun Afternoon - Tacos - sour cream, black beans, cheese, salsa and lettuce, Grilled Corn/Pineapple/Tomatoes/Green Peppers
  • Sun Evening - Bhel - made Bombay style by k again.
  • Mon Morning - Chai, fluffy Khari biscuits dipped in chai (yum!)
  • Mon Evening - Olive Garden!
  • In-between our meals, we managed to go on a sky-ride, use the hot-tub and jacuzzi in our cabin, celebrate p~'s birthday, go hiking and play mini-golf!
* Back to work now, and k & I are learning to adjust with the daily stream of comments (some straight-forward, some tongue-in-cheek) on our food habits and life-style in general:

  • "Don't eat old food. Food has most nutrients when eaten fresh" - which translates to cook fresh food for lunch and cook fresh food for dinner! k's mom manages the lunch turn and dinner falls on k and me, which we are managing without major incidents, till now :p
  • "Don't leave vessels in the sink." - which translates to load dish-washer two-three times a day!
  • "What are these old fruits/vegetables/frozen food items doing in the fridge for more than 2 days?" - means buy if you intend to cook/eat it today or tomorrow. Day-after is a stretch!
  • "Too much rush in the morning...." - means, wake up earlier, you sleepy-heads!
  • "Don't waste food! Don't save it for tomorrow!" - means eat it all today or cook to precision - there is no maid to give away all the extra food to!
  • "Too bland", "Too cold", "Too gooey", "Too spicy" vs "Food! Cool, let's eat!"
* But, it's been fun going home to people wanting to see us, who greet us with 26 questions every evening as soon as we step inside the house, who talk to us (and want to) late into the night and have hot and tasty tiffin and lunch ready for us, and listen to our boring lectures about what is healthy/harmful, what rules should be observed in this strange land that they have made their home...

Makes us feel wanted and not so alone, after a long time...solitude is fun, only for a while though before it translates to loneliness...know what I mean?

August 30, 2007

On ILs and assorted irrational fears - 2

  • k's parents reached Lex last night! I gave his mom a bouquet of roses! P~'s parents also came with them! It was all one happy reunion!
  • My dazzle-with-dinner attempt met with lukewarm responses - k was really sweet and tried to mask it all with, "Dinner was good, Ramya!" So, A+ for his effort :)
  • Made tea without much fiasco this morning while k slept in (took a day off!)
  • Slept after 1 AM last night - talking to ILs, so feeling pretty woozy...
On a different note, been obsessed with this song lately...totally resonates with the strings of my's called "Friends forever"...

August 28, 2007

Fun with PJs and IMs.

kamal_shah@....can I say this ..
ramya_sethur...u say it like this

The fun part (Apologies to my English never know!) of chatting with your spouse at work :p

On a disconnected note (Aren't they always?) -

"A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her. - Oscar Wilde"

Wonder what (all) Oscar Wilde meant by that... :)

August 24, 2007

On ILs and assorted irrational fears - 1

Now, am a pretty nice girl, wouldn't you agree? Patient, smart, accommodating, obedient, not your typical speaks-her-mind, tells-off-husband-sometimes, impulsive, sometimes dominating, unreasonable? modern wife...right? RIGHT?!

Well, ok, most of that is a stretch. I am probably more of the latter than the former (in my defense, I am supremely patient, just watch me at the dentist's office!)...but I still can't figure out why am so anxious about a visit from the MIL and FIL. I mean, they like me (ha, ha, very funny but no they did not say that because I threatened them, they meant it...I challenge you to get "the-best-DIL/SIL" certificate from your ILs...there!). So where was I? Yeah, so they like me, really. So, why am I so nervous about their visit? You would think I party all-night long, have breakfast in bed without brushing my teeth and roam around in mini-skirts and tank-tops all day long! But no. I wear nice salwaar-kameezes with big bindis and bangles, sarees (if I have one of my girl-friends over to help); to work I wear jeans (without holes) and full-hand t-shirts (always so darn cold in the office)...I cook edible (read healthy) food and am a good wife or at least try real hard...ok, least try to be one.

So, why am I biting my nails down to their skins? Well, I don't really bite my nails, but you get the picture...

Anyway, k is tired of hearing this from me, so you poor folks need to tolerate my emotional outpour over the next few months.

* I wonder if FIL will hate my Bharathanatyam make-up? Especially my scary kohl drenched eyes...

* I wonder if MIL will think am spoilt 'coz I get up late on weekends...and not so early on weekdays either (well 8 is pretty decent, if you ask me)...

* I wonder if they will be ok if I ask k to do the dishes on the days I cook...

* Which reminds me, I seem to have forgotten how to cook! Are laptops allowed in the kitchen?

* Can I lounge for a few hours everyday (after work, after a tough day of blood and sweat, err bits and bytes...whatever, pot-ae-to, pot-ah-to) in my PJs...watching Reba or Still Standing?

* Can I....static....overload....core dumped.

August 21, 2007

The moment has passed...

Ever felt lost in those scenes that seemed to steal the words from your heart? Mesmerized by the magic of the moment...when the dialogues seem perfect and somehow familiar? Like you have heard it before in your dreams, in your own wistful musings, in another lifetime perhaps?

"When you love someone.
You say it, you say it out loud.
Right now. Or the moment..."

Long pause...when he stares right into her eyes, as if searching for something...a glint of understanding? An affirmation? For those few moments, the sounds of the waves hitting the shore die down, the boat's motor stops roaring, just silence and a comfortable warmth as they look at each other; the sun ripples off the waves and fills everything around them in a golden haze...and a heartbeat later, the boat passes under a bridge, he swallows hard and she looks away, breaking the spell...the sun shines on them again but, the moment has passed.

"... passes you by, yeah."

Or the succinct, powerful, absolutely-madly-irrevocably-in-love declaration by Robert to Francesca:

"This kind of certainty comes but once in a lifetime."

Just perfect.

And just like life.

August 16, 2007

Won't you stay back?

This sucks. People, hear me loud and clear. If you want to leave, don't get to know me. If it's too late for that, then at least don't be my friend. Jeez! Is it too late for that too? Then at least don't become a close friend! Don't have a good sense of humor, don't make my days any easier, don't relate to me, don't listen and please act distracted when I talk. Frown and interrupt, talk obsessively about yourself, act lost when I express a vague thought and delight in my little blunders.

What brought this on? One of my colleagues at work is leaving for good! He is fun to work with, cracks me up with his jokes and is smart! So, I thought if all the people around me who make my life a bit more pleasant, a bit more fun start leaving, where does that leave me?!

Aside-->Wait a minute...even if that happens. Internet is not going anywhere. I can still blog. And my blogging friends will still exist no matter where they move to. Gosh! Don't you just love technology at times? You guys rock!

Somehow, email doesn't quite work when we really want to stay in touch. It is really a mode of impersonal communication, I can think of several misunderstandings that originated from emails. So many of my close friends have left or perhaps I did. But, the few emails I get from them (usually piggyback-emails congratulating, commiserating, announcing significant events) only make them more distant than they already are. A sudden flash of a smile on a teenage kid I once thought was one of my best friends in Bits fades in and just as quickly fades out as I finish reading,

"Hey, happy birthday! Have fun machan!"

No unread emails.

Oh well. Life goes on. Just that sometimes everything seems to go still for a moment when a fond memory, an impulsive hug, the glint of a tear when we parted...unspoken words carried away by the wind alight unbidden...and then it's business as usual.

August 10, 2007

A journey with many stops...

So, our predominantly singles gang in Lex has now jumped teams and most of our members now fall in the to-be/just/recently married category. For someone who has lived here for the past 7 years, this is another of those changes that I initially need to make adjustments to accommodate, and then adjust and finally assimilate. I remember a comment I heard recently that the real friendships are forged during your College days (For some reason, this reminds me of "Musthapha Musthapha..." from Kadhal Desam - I saw it in Bits and loved the experience - a bunch of us lit candles although it was forbidden, threw paper bits, it was riot!) but I have gained some meaningful experience and hopefully a few long-lasting relationships after Bits...In terms of social life and relationships, living in America has been quite an interesting journey for me.

GOLU @ my apartment.

In 2000 (the year I came to the US), I had no idea that I would be sharing a one-bedroom apartment with a 30 year old woman from Hyderabad who had spent several years living in N.India and then Canada and had an almost fanatical urge to keep everything squeaky clean (let's call her R~), a 20 year old from Hyderabad and a 22 (25?) year old from Madras. So the 4 of us managed to co-exist in that apartment for about a month when R~ decided she had had enough of us and she would prefer the apartment to herself. So, we packed our few belongings as R~ scrubbed the kitchen floor and we shifted (one of my many moves as a student) to a 1BR apartment in another block. Life was all hunky-dory. The 3 of us decorated the apartment, unpacked as much as we could (I kept most of my Indian dresses and winter wear in my humongous "India-suitcase") due to the limited closet space. I learnt to cook (still remember the first dish I made -a pulav with peas, three spoons turmeric and less salt, k taught me to make maggi and tea!), kept my first Golu, and was thrilled about it. My gang was predominantly Telugu-speaking and I picked up the language fast and even watched a couple of movies (Murari?, Manasantha Nuvve...). And wished I could also watch Tamil movies at times. Unfortunately the small Tamil gang at that time was pretty closed, under-grad friends who didn't seem like they were accepting new members :p

Never thought I would learn to even stand upright on skates!

Several exciting, stressful, happy - trips, fights, confessions, talks, moves later, I became friends with a Marathi/Hindi gang. Around this time I shared an apartment for a short time with a memorable room-mate, a 65 year old Bengali lady who stored a huge fish in her fridge everyday - it was always there, stored above the vegetable tray - I stopped storing anything other than milk in the fridge, I also stopped cooking at home. How I came to stay with her is an interesting story, about my not having an apartment and being declined temporary accommodation from all the senior Indian girls in the apartment complex :p Anyway, by then, I had moved away from my earlier gang, just a general drifting-apart in some cases, conscious moving-away in others and I began to fit in with my new gang. I wished I could speak/see/hear some Tamil though. Finally, k probably bored of my constant complaints suggested that I start a Tamil Cultural Assoc (at that time the Indian Students Association frowned upon regional movie screenings and any thing presented in a language other than Hindi/English), around that time I remember meeting D~ (my first impression of him was "Gosh, this guy is critical of everything in Lex!" - he found it strange that we did not have dinner in big groups and sometimes ate alone, he mentioned it about three times the first time I took him to Walmart and I thought he was a strange sort of guy! D~, by the time you get to reading this post, it would be pretty old anyway, so am hoping this will kinda slip by unnoticed :p), so anyway, I had my first real conversation with D~ about starting a Tamil Cultural Assoc and the rest as they say is history (Yeah, yeah, I like to gloat! So what?). Finally I had my beloved mother-tongue all around me and I reveled in her embrace!

During my trip to Arizona (for some reason, I had an impulse to try out pigtails :p)

Around 2003, I had a good mix of Hindi and Tamil speaking friends and then a Gujarathi (Yes, I insist on the "H") room-mate. More drifting-apart, fights, make-ups, messy birthday parties and impulsive road trips later, I now find myself in a predominantly Tamil-speaking mini-community. The surprising outcome of organizing cultural events is that I got to know the mamas and maamis in Lex and in some strange, comforting way they filled a gap in my life - I still missed my parents and relatives back home, but now I have people to remind me of them, to ask me where I purchased the pattu podava I am wearing, was it one of my marriage sarees? Someone to say, not unlike relatives back in India - "You should drop by more often, we are at home only, come and join us for dinner sometime..."

My very first car, my cute '93 Camry which I lost in an accident :(

Talking about relationships, I enjoyed working with the professors @ UK, I remember having interesting discussions, academic and otherwise with my professors - my Math TA prof, my Statistics-TA prof, my advisor. And I cannot forget the day when the wretched lady in my department insisted that I had forged my professor's signature on my defense slip and perhaps, I would never be allowed to get a degree. In retrospect, I think I shouldn't have cried and depended on my advisor to sort it out, I should have handled it myself. But, he was an angel that day, who convinced her that I was a good student who deserved her degree :p God bless him (although he made me edit my project report 11 times - each time the proposal would be smudged with red lines - "Dangling participle", "Active, not passive!", "Wrong use of the word 'example'", "The density of red on this page is too high for me to continue!").

Guess who managed to graduate!

Anyway, coming back to Tamil, k's complete sentences in Tamil surprise me every now and then. All my years at Lex, I yearned to experience my mother-tongue and finally it had come true. k says I tend to exaggerate when I tell him how all my life, I have wanted to learn and be near Tamil, as if "she" were a real person, a friend I sorely missed...I don't think he believes my story that I cried for weeks together when we shifted to Bangalore from Madras in the 80s, I sense his mild skepticism when I tell him, 5 years later no-one was happier than I when we shifted back to Madras; I insisted on taking Tamil as my third language in-spite of 5 years of Kannada and Hindi and I actually did pretty well (thanks to my mom's help with essays on Bharathiyaar) :)

So, believe it or not, I know "exactly" what the phrase below means...perhaps I needed to be away to realize how much I missed it...Bharathantyam and living-in-Madras are other example s of this same feeling (Not only am I repetitive, so are my feelings!) but that's a whole new post!

"தமிழுக்கு அமுதென்று பேர், இந்த தமிழ் எங்கள் தமிழ் இன்பம் உயிருக்கு நேர்..."

Talk about digressing! I started writing about marriages and friends and landed up in languages! Gosh, I can think of a million other things to write about my student life here but it's lunch time and am starved! Anyway, I discovered some old photos and thought I would add some visual touches to my disconnected reminiscence.

Life...can be strange at times. Memories too. But, in a comfortable sort of way.

Fall in Lex (when we were still students @ UK)...a season when our sleepy little town explodes in colors!

p.s - apologies for the spelling mistakes in Tamil.

August 03, 2007

A birthday song!

To fond memories, friendship and fun...

Happy Birthday to you...

Happy Birthday to you...

Happy Birthday dear Dinesh, happy birthday to you!

August 01, 2007

If only...

Words. Slippery little devils. That's what they are. So often, I open my mouth to express a wish, a thought, a feeling and the little devils twist and turn and change flavors so that I end up saying not entirely what I felt, sometimes not at many lifetimes would I have to spend before I say exactly what I feel right when I feel it, when it would make the most sense, when it would convey the feeling it ought to convey? Instead, I churn and chew and mull over the same thoughts and emotions until the perfect little train of words that ought to have conveyed what I felt are lost in the dark, and am left with cliches, awkward pauses and silences bereft of their meaning...and I sit staring at the old email, holding a phone receiver that is silent after the click at the other end...wondering for the umpteenth time if I should have handled it better...

Sometimes, what we call "advancement" might just be another step backward...of course, a million unopened proposals floating over the web and 143s cluttering chat messages claim otherwise, but nothing beats an honest, face-to-face conversation where expressions and gestures fill in the gaps where words cannot...when I know by his walk, the way his eyes linger over seeming nothings, the way he breathes, when he knows exactly what he wants to say and I hear him say it, sometimes with words, but equally well without...ah, but what we do instead is convince ourselves that a phone call a month or a few lines emailed in a hurry between meetings to a loved one will fulfill the purpose that reading her face and laughing with her will...

We are a lazy bunch. We want to communicate and not commute. And so we type what we think is an email that is as good as a personal meeting, a chat that supposedly reflects what we think, even a telephone call that tries to share our thoughts...and we misread the silences, the symbols, the unspoken words...and before we know it, it's over - the connection and the relationship with it has ended even before it began. But, the memory remains. Like an old scar that never quite heals, a dull pain that surfaces to remind you of the unfinished chapters in your life...

If I had instead talked to you, standing in front of you, holding your hand, watching you as I said the words that painted my thoughts, would you have understood?

PS - Don't worry if you don't get what am saying, sometimes I don't get it either :)

July 26, 2007

Harry Potter @ Joseph Beth!

The line outside Joseph Beth...we got the book @ 12.35 AM - time just flew!

Inside Joseph Beth, before 12 AM, k trying to mimic a crazy teenage HP fan...

k being all nice...

Inside Joseph Beth...

Harry Potter is a phenomenon that I wish had lasted much happy childhood memories, we wish to re-visit it just one more time and it's always over too soon...

People from the "big and busy" cities in the US, visit Lexington and then tell us, "Gosh! This is a small town, I would be bored here!" I can't explain to them what makes life interesting for us, Lexingtonians...not with a convincing flow of arguments anyway, it's just not one particular place or event, it's a sum total of small bundles of pleasant happenings (which often cannot be explained to be understood - like trying to explain to a person who doesn't read books, what it is like to stay up late in the night, immersed in another life, almost as real as this one)...and standing in the long line around Joseph-Beth the eve of of a Harry Potter book release is one such event...

This time we reached pretty early, 11.10 PM and took our time watching and sharing the enthusiasm of kids and adults dressed as colorful HP characters...Fred and George, Mad-eye moody, Tonks, several Harry Potters, Hermiones...gosh, you have to be there to know what I am talking about...I would be way too restless to stay @ home and count every minute until the precious book reached me!

It's small events like these that make life interesting for me - Georgetown Kite Festival, Shakespeare Festival, Harry Potter book release @ Joseph Beth, Garba-Dandya during navratri @ the temple, plays @ Danville...small traditions that make a difference, that help to strengthen the tenuous bond that desis have towards their adopted home towns...

For me, FRIENDS, Everybody loves Raymond, Full House reruns and more recently Reba and Still Standing fall into the same category; if I ever go back for good, these will be among those things, however trivial, that I miss about life here...

Oh well...anyway, still can't get over the fact that the HP saga is over. I just cannot believe how Rowling managed to create a world so fantastic yet realistic, how she managed to etch class differences in society (goblins and wizards), everyday life and work (Ministry of Magic for example), romances and tragedies in a world so unlike our own yet making us live and feel and cry with the characters as if they really existed...I wonder which other book will make me forget my sleep and stand for an hour in front of the book store?

July 23, 2007

Harry Potter update.

350th page.


What if someone blurts out the ending?

Will not check emails/text messages/orkut scraps or attend to phone calls until page # 760.

*begin incommunicado-by-choice*

Tue 7/24 Update: Finished the book @ 1.30 AM last night!

No more Hogwarts, charms, spells, crazy plants, crazier teachers and lovable witches and wizards :(((

This is like the time "F.R.I.E.N.D.S" and "Everybody loves Raymond" ended...I feel like crying :(

July 16, 2007


I blame this totally on L~, he wanted me to translate this song for his Northie friends! S~ gave me the "wedding-altar" interpretation for the first line, my mom helped me with the remaining meanings...

So, can anyone else guess the song? :)

Like a cool breeze, she touched the house/wedding-altar, but not the cot;
Slender and beautiful like the moon, yet her skin singes when I touch her;
Was there ever a sky that refused to listen to the melody of Bhoopalam?

Like droplets on a lotus petal, the lord and his wife live together;
Why the need for garlands and drum beats, when you wish to live as friends?
Bereft of a meaningful relationship, with no closeness or emotional ties, tell me,
Oh flower, what is your life like?

Life is not a stage, to depart after the drama ends;
Neither is our relationship a river, to change courses ever so often and continue on its journey;
Even the silver moon travels with the sky, why won't you come with me?

July 15, 2007

Harry Potter...


Umbridge is as "supremely annoying" as portrayed in the book, Sirius as comforting a presence, Voldemort as nasty an adversary and Hermoine, Ron, Fred and George as cute and dependable as ever :)

Luna Lovegood was awesome!

And of course Harry rocks too!!!

How am I going to wait until 21st?!

July 10, 2007

25 going on 30!

I hear the late 20s are the time when people are most confused (besides midlife crisis), when they vacillate between early 20 something kids and well into 30s parents with kids :) They yearn for the carefree life of the bachelor(ette), late night parties and impulsive decisions. But, the secure, comforting family of three with an adorable toddler holding on tight to the mom no matter how much you try to entice it with chocolates also paints a sweet picture. We wish we could be certain of what to do with this thing called life, like the aunty and uncle we spoke to recently, knowing exactly what they want to do, and, we also know that comes with wisdom that only age can bring along. So, where does that leave us? The people who check the 25-30 box on forms hoping they could curtail their age in that box for a little more time? The to-be-married/just-married/no-kids/SINKs/DINKs?

We still remember the not too distant past when we woke up on snowy mornings and having missed the School bus, trudged along in the snow to teach an 8 AM Calculus class. Why, we even remember the day we stood in the long visa line, with friends from our colleges and even parents, from morning till next morning! And of course, we remember our college crushes like they happened yesterday...we remember how Oasis used to be, how KSR and TRS taught so well but we still didn't get into IIT, no matter BITS turned out to be loads of fun anyway...

And we also know we are standing on the brink of something life-changing - a cliff overlooking an ambitious yet scary future, promising elements of a cosy family life, with little kids gazing at us adoringly, a time when the person the kid refuses to leave is us...not them, and also bits and pieces of unknown paths - a mishmash forming our destiny, the future we hope to experience but can never be certain until the moment is upon us to be the present...

And walking along this path, we often look back, wondering if we could just linger a little longer, but at the same time yearning to experience the treasures that our journey will bring...and until we cross that distance, we remain the elusive 25-going-on-30 people; don't worry we'll get over this together!

And to those people who fall in the 20-25 group, you know the kind that goes, "Oh man, you'll be 30 in a coupla years!", I wish I could say, "Wow! And you are still 23, I must say, that is quite an achievement, your parents must be awfully proud of you!"

But I am a nice girl, I am not rude, given most situations. So, in the infinitely greater wisdom that the few years have given me over this astute 23-year-old, I would nod and smile. Also with wisdom. Ah, such pleasure to possess such wisdom :p

Hey you! Big Three-O, am all ready for you, bring it on, baby!

Uhh...take your time though, not in a hurry!

July 08, 2007

Chennai 40508 VolleyBall Tournament!

Three days of intense volleyball, hoarse cheers, starbucks coffee and dinner outside! Remarkable team work and some stunt shots by the "Mokkai brothers" won the game for them!


Yet another volleyball trophy to add to my showcase collection!

A~'s slogans deserve special mention:

- "Anjukapram aaru, appu adichaan kumaaru"

- "Twinkle twinkle, little star, Sujan is a super star"

- "Dhumm adicha poga varum, Kamal adicha kalavaram"

- "Marathukadila school da, Bharath aalu dhool da!"

- "Lakalakalakalakalaka!"

- "Ilaya Thalapathi (Vijay), Vazhga!"

"Sakkai podu potoma !!!
mokkai pota thanguma !!!!!!"

- "Rakai molaicha parapomda !!
mokkai adicha sethom da !!! "

- "Bit adicha pass da
nanga adicha closee da"

July 04, 2007

My muse.

There was a time, not long ago, when words would flow gently, uninterrupted, from my thoughts to my hands, when rain or shine neither interrupted nor distracted my earnest attempts to string them into sentences...what happened to those words now? Why do they hide in the dark at the smallest pretext - a passing cloud in the sky, a passing phase in my life...?

Nary a phrase nor a word,
Not a sound echoes in all the silence.
Where lies my muse?
Where hides the thrill that perfect words bring?
Who imprisons the epithets that colored my lines?
What of the delightful train of lyrical phrases and melodious clauses,
that chimed along, in tune with me?
Oh, how you dwell in darkness!
Perhaps the whimsical winds, the capricious clouds,
the showers that alight without a call are to blame?
Perhaps, you shy away from the colors of nature?
Did they not embellish your presence once,
why then do you shy away now?
What use is your silhouette when I seek to limn a portrait?
If I seek thee on a bright and sunny morning,
my muse, would you care to return to me?

June 26, 2007

Story time!

Silambattam, as in this, not this :p

Kept thinking of KamalHassan in Thevar Magan as I wrote this story :)

June 19, 2007

Over the hill?

So, k turned thirty and unlike me, my husband loves to celebrate his birthday with a bunch of people, so, we rented disco lights and amplifier from Doo Wop (our local music store), ordered cake from Maggi's bakery, pizzas from Joe Bolognas and we were all set. We had a blast! But, what made the party more energetic were the group of 20-somethings from the University (Yes, I get to say that although am still in my 20s - not for long though :p) - ready to dance into the night and linger over silly conversations, which was such a rare treat for me...

Anyway, seeing them reminded me of my own early 20s and I was pretty much like them - wanting to try new things out, always ready for a road trip, talking to friends late into the night...not that am very different from that now. I still do like talking to friends late into the night, I still like going on road trips, but now everything has a clearly defined boundary. The friends that visit have a set time allotted for the visit (the concept of "lingering" long forgotten...or what we call "Daira podardu" in Tamizh :), the road trips that we plan are anything but impromptu and people have their own preferences, some of which they would rather not sacrifice even for a day. So, everything has to be planned - where we eat, when we eat, where we visit, even a visit to a coffee/ice-cream shop has to be co-ordinated prior to the trip...

Sooo, where does that leave 25-30 somethings like us? The 9-5 people who look forward to weekends to relax because their weekdays are monotonous and in the process of relaxing creating yet another monotonous-routine for weekends...?

I don't know. I guess in a way, this is the life that we worked hard for but we had just pictured it differently...

All I know is that I am grateful to the unexpected visits, the long conversations, the late-night parties and the "lingerings" that still manage to occur in my life :)
© Ramya Sethuraman, All Rights Reserved.