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.
© Ramya Sethuraman, All Rights Reserved.