February 27, 2008

Going, going, gone!

Claiming that I suffer from a writer's block somehow makes me feel vain, like I am a writer or something. So I shall say that I have been hiding behind this beginner's mini-block-series, sort of a poor man's writer's block like so,
...hoping that the inspiration for my next story is just around the corner. Anyway, I got some time to myself after several months, so I devoured a bunch of desi chick lits and then managed to cough up a story. At least the mini-blocks are gone for now. Whew!

Here goes, enjoy the masala!

February 22, 2008

Tag! You're it!

Tagging is this quirky thing that we bloggers do, isn't it? Now, why did I feel compelled to say that? Firstly, it makes us feel like we belong to this neat clique - we blog! Yeah! That sorta thing. Secondly, it sounds techy and cool, not as much as it used to but still it falls somewhere in the category of Web 2.0, wisdom of the crowds, folksonomy and all that.

I find tagging pretty challenging though. Sometimes tags rock, they are just what you wanted to say in your blog but didn't want to sound too conceited and self-involved; enter tags and you have a legitimate and humble reason to ramble on about yourself, not that am against rambling, oh no, that's what keeps the women-folk and some men-folk sane at times! But then, there are times when the tags are just lame. Then, I am not really sure what to do. I have to answer the tag for the aforementioned reasons that bloggers are cool and all that but then I just don't want to. And the sticky point there is, I have to tag 28 more people and make them experience the same discomfort!

Anyway, this tag by dear a~ was different in the sense, it was an entertaining brag-a-tag :p

The rules of the tag are
: Post 5 links to 5 of your previously written posts. The posts have to relate to the 5 key words given (family, friend, yourself, your love, anything you like). Tag 5 other friends to do this meme. Try to tag at least 2 new acquaintances (if not, your current blog buddies will do) so that you get to know them each a little bit better.

I mean, come on! Who doesn't like to quote from their blog posts? (No, that's ok, don't bother nodding yes, the question was not meant for you :) So, I thought I would stumble upon precious memories, notes from self that would change my life, brilliant observations and such from my previous blog posts. Oh well, at least I had fun while I thought those thoughts believing them to be true!

The easy bit first, I tag:

* bus (mainly because he hardly says anything even semi-personal on his blog and hasn't written for a while!
* k - in a desperate attempt to revive his blog, which is taking its last few breaths...

Not a thought-provoking bit of prose or anything but at least it's funny!

Lost in translation

My all time favorite. I guess I can say that (since nobody else will :p)

Harmony in disharmony

In a rare moment of honesty, I penned down some thoughts about myself...

Scribble, scribble...

Your love:
I could say something lofty or meaningful like I love dancing and I love to write, my life is meaningless without...but (am not really in that mood and...) nothing beats writing about the balancing dance we call marriage, a post about my love, clueless and lovable, as he always has been (Gosh! That's gotta be the sappiest thing I ever said on this blog, so not me!)

Did I do something wrong?!

Anything you like:
To dance, to write and to be merry :)

Shades of her.

Gosh! That almost felt like the oscars announcement to me. Such excitement and talk about RS!

Umm, apologies for the same.

February 19, 2008

My life and associated trivialities.

I had a delicious three days off! For matrimonial purposes, Queen of dreams and Shopaholic & baby, what more could a girl ask for?! k has taken to giving me these really strange looks whenever I tell him that I finished a novel in a day; I bet, one of jealousy and associated evil thoughts! Just to prove a point, he finished Man, woman and child in a day, for the second time. But he doesn't know that (that it was his second time) 'coz he doesn't have the sort of memory that is needed to recollect and realize that a movie/book has already been viewed/read. In a way, that's pretty cool, I mean, delightful books will always remain delightful and surprising till the end. You can watch the same old Friends and Reba re-runs and laugh each time Chandler/Van says something funny. I laugh anyway but the fact that I already know the joke and the first laugh is over takes away some of the fun out of it.

Directions and dreams...
While I wouldn't care for that kind of selective memory loss, I suppose I suffer from one of those memory losses anyway - the inability to remember roads/directions and by extension any attributes associated with what we call, "Local Geography". I mean, I really do make an effort. I watch pretty carefully when k drives to weird places but I just can't get the map to stay put in my head! But 10, I believe, is the magic number. If I have driven to a place ten times, that'll do the trick! Gaaah, I wish I could have my own limo and driver; Ok fine, a good car and a driver, like in India (minus the traffic jams and stuff). So cool. Day dreaming is fun. Actually, I might as well wish for a nice desi canteen, actually any canteen that serves veggie food also (just anything hot) at our work place, one of the disadvantages of working in a small university town is that the office is not considered big enough to have all those sweet things other bigger offices get - on campus gym, day care, multi-cuisine canteens - like in MSFT, God! I envy them! Imagine hot samosas with tangy chutney and a hot cuppa coffee at tea time!

Cooking and cuisine...
The past long weekend, I also had a chance to ruminate on my cooking skills. I used to like to cook and experiment, especially experiment and try mixing spices and strange ingredients to known dishes just to see what it would morph into it. Umm, ok so that doesn't sound so appetizing, but it's real fun, you should try it sometime. Add cashews to cabbage curry or cinnamon to your rasam and also remember to establish the well known rule of woman empowerment - "No complaints at the dining table about fresh food that is cooked that day" - I guess, it's kind of ok to complain about left overs, somehow that's not as bad as spending a good chunk of time toiling and sweating in the kitchen (more like 30-40 mins tossing stuff while on the phone but still...) and then having the guinea...I mean person sitting in front of you tell you, "I think the coconut did not get crushed fully...". So anyway, I don't know what happened, but after the preG visit (Duh! Keep up, willya?), I have lost the fascination I used to have for cooking. As a result we have been frequenting just about any restaurant in and around the Lex area...just in case you are too, here are a few tips:

** Vindaloo is not one of the dishes you should try out at Tandoor

** Green curry used to and still rocks at Bangkok house

** Drunken noodles might have fish sauce or not, am never able to figure that out at Iching, get a different waiter each time! Lo Mein is a safer option if you are a vegetarian.

** One restaurant, I won't mention which, served us nice, juicy melted plastic with out vegetable patia (Oops! Didn't mean to give it away...) and when we pointed it out, we were served four hot gulab jamoons with a heavy dose of apologies. Oh well, I suppose all that hot jaggery sauce will melt the plastic, no harm done.

** I like dahi wada in Curry house...hmm, but I also like it everywhere else :p

** If you order carry out for less than five bucks at Masala, take cash with you! There was this one time when k and I were starving and ordered samosas and realized we didn't have cash! We could have asked that guy to make it a non-carry out but then that's just plain awkward.

** Still haven't come across anything yummier than Ravioli de portabello at Olive Garden. Their salad rocks too.

** At Joe Bolognas, the generous mayo served on their garden vegetable pizza is so sinfully delicious, you'll forget that you are eating something that's not exactly good for you :p

Chic (lit)...
I have come to the conclusion that I am the only desi woman-software-engineer that comes dressed to work like a day off at home aka bum! Everytime I catch myself in the office mirror, I tell myself I should be err...better dressed if not exactly "chic"! And reading books about Becky Brandon (Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic series) only makes me feel more ignorant and dull. Would be fun to spend loads of dough on the latest Gucci, Prada yada yada out there and turn a few heads, know what I mean? Somehow I have this sneaking suspicion that if I were a working woman in India, I would dress better... ;)

Girl friends...
I wonder if wives have this secret desire to make their husbands their girl friends, at least part-time. I guess, when we don't have access to a girl-friend, school chum, best-girl-buddy for a long time to chat, discuss guys (that was in college but you get the point)...and all that nice stuff with, we turn to our better halves to fill that void in our lives. Maybe I just made that up, that void bit, but it kind of makes sense. Of course the husbands don't take kindly to such suggestions ("Let's have a spa day together", "Let's do our eye brows together" or even, "Let's get matching new hair styles"...), but would be nice if they tuned in to our inner selves, explored their feminine sides and indulged us once in a while...ok, that was a lot of nonsense, but face it, you can dig out the little sliver of truth buried in it, cantcha?!

Such is my life. I am beginning to think the three days off and all that free time kind of messed with my head... :)

February 11, 2008


I think I heard this phrase in Hatari (the cute movie with the elephant...) ages ago and I can't find a word that better describes the past five months of my life. k's parents stayed with us the first three months, my mom joined them the last month of their stay and stayed another two months and my dad joined her the last week! He stayed for a whopping five days with us before he left with mom and we managed to arrange their sashtiabdapoorthy too :)

Some key observations, notes to self about the previous generation during US visits (call them preG):

* If you think preG is going to take a look at your life style and go, "Whoaaa! You guys rock!", you are mistaken. Totally. Understand that they have been living a particular way the past 50-60 years of their lives, there's nooo way they would take a look at you and say, "Geee! Wish we could live like that!" Nope, the house and the car don't do the trick :p

* preG thinks we are a Bhakasura generation, judging us, among other things, by the size of our coffee mugs.

My dad - "Idhu ennadu ivolo perusa? Soup bowl madiri?"
Me - "That's ma's coffee bowl..."
Mom (immediately pipes is) - "They make me have coffee in this big, fat mug, I didn't have a choice!"
My dad - "I am going to courier a dozen ever-silver tumbler-dabara sets as soon as I reach Madras!"

* Dads, especially TamBram ones like to spend. Letting daughters spend in front of them is a NO-NO! In walmart, after half-an-hour of quick shopping for chocolates, pens and other gifts for relatives and friends, we stood at the checkout line and...

My dad - "I will pay. I know my Master card works outside India."
Me - "No"
My dad - Repeat
Me - "No"
Finally, I start snatching the credit card away from him and he pulls it from me. By then the checkout person has finished arranging the items neatly in bags. k looks embarrassed, my mom used to similar situations stands patiently and watches. k tries to mumble a plausible explanation to the counter guy, "Umm, they are fighting over who has to pay". The counter guy seems un-amused. So, anyway, the moral is that just because you earn, don't assume your dad will let you spend. He is the bread-winner of the family. Period.

* Moms don't like dishwashers. They dislike our cookware even more.

Mom - "Ramya, you could have at least bought a few decent stainless steel cooking utensils!"
Me - "I have them, ma"
Mom - "No, I have to use the same vessel to make tea and more kuzhambu"
Me - "We have several others..."
Mom - "But they are in the dishwasher. That is why I said, the dishwasher is useless, you anyway have to rinse, then why load the dishes in again?"

The other day, I took my mom to Williams-Sonoma at the mall.

Mom - "Ohh! There is the vessel I have been asking for to make tea for 1-2 people!"
Me - "It costs $125"
Mom - "Idhukku thaan naan sonnen, India evlovo better, pesama India vanduru!"

* The concept of BPO. This is unique to our family, I guess.

Me - "Appa, I will bake a cake for your birthday..."
My dad - "Why, we can buy it from outside..."
Me - "Illa, I can bake decently, I like to bake..."
My dad - "Have you heard about the concept of business process outsourcing? When you can get others to do it quickly and efficiently, why put in your energy and time to do it? As it is you are so thin..."

Which brings me to another of preG's favourite topic. About how I need to gain weight.

After showing my dad my Salanga Pujai dance DVD, my dad says, "Now I know why you are so underweight. Reduce your dance classes, eat more, you need to gain weight..."

My mom - "That's why she had that pain in her foot, because she is so thin..."

Unfortunately, I sneezed, both of them chime in, "See, you need to put on weight. 110 pounds is a joke! Then you won't sneeze so often!"

* Landlines are essential.

Mom - "Why can't you have a land line?"
Me - "We have 2 cell phones and we work at the same office..."
Mom - "Still, you should have a land line, so we can reach you there also..."
Me - "But I carry my cell with me at all times..."
Mom - "You should have a landline."

So yes, landlines are essential.

And so on, if I can write a booklet about my parents, I can write a mega-serial about my in-laws stay but I'll reserve that for later. Our house has been a whirlwind of activity the past five months. And now it's back to just us and our not-so-great utensils that we will use to cook what we can after the five-month break.
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