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March 18, 2007

Personal finance!

Short break from regular post ->

Found this in Anupama's blog...my visual DNA :)



Regular post continues ->

Now, there's a title you would not see again on my blog posts :)

So, my (comparatively) financially-aware husband decided to start a small investment club here, a pretty informal weekly gathering where we brainstorm financial ideas, discuss strategies to become rich in a few weeks and regularly implement ideas to save money and the world at large. I wish! Anyway, we do manage to meet as regularly as possible (movies, icecreams and napping have higher priority, of course) and discuss personal finance and related topics. k updates his blog (yes, it has been revived from it's semicomatose state and is now trying to hobble back to life, please provide incentives to revive said space :p).

So, inspired by his blog valiantly fighting for life, I also decided to revive the financially side of my peaceful brain (which has been largely dormant, one could also use adjectives such as doltish, dumb...you get the point) and
voilĂ ! we have a presentation!



Also, I made this nice pie chart with our controllable expenses divided into nice wedges, spent a good one hour on it, didn't want to miss a chance to brag although I did have to remove the chart out of the presentation because this is on the big, bad www....shudder!

Back to comfortable dormancy. S'long.

March 15, 2007

Marriage, workplace and related 100% nonsense!

Their hands remain locked in an intimate embrace throughout the get-together. Now and then, she smiles at a joke and leans casually towards him, gently touches his shoulder and shares a private joke with him-a small family secret just between them-and he smiles indulgently. When dinner is served, he stands in line for her, chivalrously balances two plates and hands one of his plates to her. She says something along the lines of “Thank you, dear” and he replies, a look of serious concern on his handsome face, “I took some extra salad for you, you do like cherry tomatoes, don’t you?” And he is right. How can he not be? They are the perfect couple. They are pleasant, charming, absolutely in love and totally faking it.

While it is nice to imagine rosy sequences like above, real life is more like this:

He drives over the speed-limit because they are late for the party. She holds on to dear life and promptly requests that her husband slow down, now! She cares for her dear life even if he doesn’t! His response does a good job of matching her sarcasm. And finally they arrive at the party. They immediately go separate ways as if the party has just relieved them of their almost unbearable prior company. They eat standing away from each other and they don’t know if their spouse has eaten yet, perhaps they don’t care. They sulk and prefer silence to social niceties like nodding and uh-uh-ing at appropriate intervals. They drive back in silence.

I guess, most of us fall somewhere in-between. We have some good days and some not-so-good ones. And for couples like us that work at the same office, there are several interesting ways to extend a fight. Summarized below are just a few examples:

1) We now have a set of virtual channels customized just to enable and further our arguments! Hey! I can ping him on chat, send him an email or walk over to his cube to tell him what I have already told him on the way to work – “You are wrong!” And surprise, he can respond back, again, with “No, You are not.”

See? Not only have we enriched our lives by spending more quality (fighting) time with each other, we have found meaningful ways to diversify the channels along which our arguments flow!

2) Then, there is the drive. The drive to work, the drive from work, the drive to lunch and back where we can further analyze and reiterate our points of view. Good food and good chemistry! Now, who can beat that?

3) Now, ask me how else we are contributing not only to our marital entertainment but to the good of everyone and I will tell you – we car pool! That means, we get up on time and go to work at the same time and leave at the same time. This seemingly innocuous activity has further strengthened our bonds. We can now have healthy arguments with each other like – “I need to be at work for a meeting at 8.30AM” and pat comes the reply, “It’s already 1 AM, I don’t think I can get up in time for your meeting.” See how we have so many more interesting riddles to solve? I mean, how boring is it to drive separate ways and come back in the evening to spend an hour describing the day’s activities to your spouse! Nah, we like to have healthy discussions about when we wake up, go to work and return, everyday! It’s like vitamin pills for a marriage!

4) And if you are an organized woman like most women are, who truly believes that "Cleanliness is next to Godliness", even though it's a cliche, maintains lists and classifies chores as his, hers and ours, firstly, you should rename your lists to be more specific like - his chores inside the house, his chores for the yard, miscellaneous cleaning activities, her kitchen chores...(getting carried away, focus now!), secondly, you can now ping him on chat once an hour and remind him to check his tada-list, how cool is that?! You have thus proven that you are a successful house-keeper (home-builder? Whatever the current catchy phrase is) while still being a career woman! Three cheers to you!

And in conclusion, I recommend that couples work together at the same office and marital stress will be a thing of the past!

And thus ends my essay (of course, it was fiction! What did you think? :p) titled: “Short-term and long-term effects of workplace on married folks!” or “Why couples should work together!”

Note: Until brain returns back to sanity and writing returns back to tolerable, do please put up with bits and pieces of nonsense such as the above. Thanks.

March 14, 2007

Whimsical Raconteur has moved!

Well not exactly, am still at http://whimsicalraconteur.blogspot.com but protected.

Please email me at whimsicalraconteur@gmail.com for access to my short-story blog or leave a comment to this post with your gmail-id. Thanks.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

March 03, 2007

Interactions!

Strange how people "connect". I watch k interact with his friends, lifelong buddies and wonder if they ever discuss anything seriously. To an outside viewing the interaction, all he picks up are cues that point to a superficial, "fun" group dynamics. I mean you don't have to greet each other formally and proclaim your everlasting bond, but at some point in your relationship, you should have discussed something with seriousness, perhaps something that makes you vulnerable, something you did not dare to discuss with anyone else or perhaps something like "Will she say yes?" :)...because that's the kind of talk that brings people closer together, right?

Maybe not. k tells me that's not how guys interact, at least not by discussing deeply personal stuff and being comfortable in the pregnant pauses, but by making fun of each other and hiding emotions behind verbal spars and "jolly" talks. He thinks I live in a world entrenched in drama, my friends (especially women) and I playing our roles to dramatic (uptight?) perfection. He does not mean to say that we are in any way superficial in our interactions or overplay our responses deliberately, just that we are by nature drama queens and kings. We discuss esoteric topics like parallel universes and some less esoteric ones like the meaning of life; we discuss feelings - "You hurt me by saying this", "In a few years, will we remain this close?"; we discuss the ubiquitous R2I confusions; we talk about friends that were once close to us - "He hardly calls anymore...", "No emails from her for the past six months :(" and at times, we indulge in idle talk, empty chatter and plain nonsense (ah! How I miss my Bitsian days).

You get the idea. That is my typical interaction with my friends. So, when I watch k talk to his friends, it's a very strange phenomenon (to me). They go to great lengths to make fun of each other, exchange some well-known "gaalis" then proceed to discuss and laugh about topics ranging from the incredible to the downright ridiculous. To understand this type of bonding, I once decided to join in on the "fun", I tried to keep up with the jokes and trivial talks and laugh and bond. But, I guess I tried too hard because I sounded silly to myself (you know the little voice in your head that talks to you simultaneously when you talk to others? Well, it said, "Ramya, you sound silly" and signed off). I guess it will take a few more iterations before I perfect the art of this style of friendship.

Because, hidden beneath the banal talks and jibes, I do sense a kind of bonding. Not the weak kind. But then k would say I am just dramatizing things.
© Ramya Sethuraman, All Rights Reserved.