March 24, 2008
Now that the big day is over, I am looking forward to a bunch of fun weekends - visit to the new Ikea at Cincinnati, Priyadarshini's dance performance, Georgetown kite festival! All the little things that come together to create the cultural scene of our little town. I guess these would be the moments I miss most if I were to move to Seattle or India!
Ok, enough chitchat. on to fundas! By funda, I mean something that you speak (usually while advising others) and believe that it is the whole truth and that you will never behave contradictory to your maxim. This is usually delivered when you have stated a feeling or thought of your own and the other person wishes to contradict it. And my addition to the whole scene is that the funda is wrong, mostly (I have to add that disclaimer or this would become another of those fundas that will eventually be proved wrong!)
Consider this setting. I am sharing some ideas about safe cooking and cleaning - what utensils to use, what cleaning ingredients to use and so on and the other person goes, "Gee Ramya, lighten up. You only live once! You can't keep scrutinizing everything like this...live life a little!"
Ah, a plethora of fundas, in case you didn't catch it,
funda1 -> "You only live life once!"
funda2-> "You can't keep...live life a little!"
That night, I wondered if I was indeed scrutinizing life a wee bit too much and made a list of ways to lighten up - I take advice seriously and somehow each time, when people say something, I assume they are saying it because they really (really) mean it! Anyway, several months later I find the funda giver's kitchen listed in the "safe green kitchens magazine" - model kitchen of the year! And I am told, "Oh you should really consider switching to...safer, non-toxic...blah blah!" What happened to living life and scrutinizing?! Those would precisely be the fundas I am talking about! Well, there is no such magazine but you get the point?
I could give several other examples with fundas like "I would never do that because..." and eventually the funda falls flat because the person went ahead and did just that! The problem with this whole deal is the initial funda makes you go, "Whaaa...did I really say something that bizarre?!" and you actually begin to believe that some thought ought to be given to this funda since it sounds so...point-blank and authoritative!
But, I guess "giving fundas" is in a way addictive. So much fun to declare with certainty that you would do this and not that, most certainly not! It shows such conviction and decisiveness. Not so much when you go ahead and do that instead of this but then you had fun giving the funda and no one is really monitoring your fundas enough to say "Hold it! On this date, you said this...hence proved wrong. Yeah!"
Sometimes I wish I had the time to do that. Just for the fun of it!
March 19, 2008
And suddenly, pfffffff!
The other person gives you the looking-away-nod also known as the sideward-nod. You know what I mean? She is nodding as you talk as if to say, "Yeah go on. Am listening..." and slowly, her gaze shifts elsewhere. So she has this sort of sideward tilt to her head and she is nodding but definitely not meeting your eyes. To me, it's the equivalent of pouring cold water all over me in the middle of the conversation. I find it hard to carry on but then am in the middle of a sentence and it feels like unfinished business to stop. So, I lamely finish the sentence and grudgingly also turn toward the object of her attention.
So, I ask myself if am a boring conversationalist. Not really. I mean, I have talked to people who obsessively talked about themselves and I have nodded and actually listened (not the guy trick - say "uh uh" and continue doing what you are doing under the incredibly silly assumption that the person talking to you thinks you are listening!). Anyway, if I were to semi-objectively rate myself I wouldn't call my conversations boring. They are not refreshingly stimulating and thought-provoking at all times but then whose are?
And honestly, I have never given the sideward-nod to people while they were talking to me. It is really rude if you think about it. Maybe the person you are talking to is unable to focus for long, then they are not really being rude, they are just being...distracted, I guess.
So remember, people (women...like me) pay a lot of attention to your little gestures and body language. So ditch the sideward-nod. Perhaps you could do something polite like saying, "Erm, excuse me, I have a sudden urge to be away from this conversation. My sincere apologies." instead!
March 14, 2008
- My first random thought is about growing up. Is there a cut-off age when we are supposed to consider ourselves all grown up? The reason I ask is, I certainly don't feel grown up. An uncle I know, who is 42, seemed offended when one of my friends called him "Uncle", my friend is 24 years old. A couple of 50-something-maamis in Lexington did not approve of "aunty". So, really besides the 60-something people (what are they called?), septuagenarians and octogenarians does anyone really want to be considered a grown-up? The other day, I went to a puja at a maami's place. After the puja, I talked a bit to the teenagers there (because some of them were dancing with me for a cultural show - remember I told you, Lex desis are getting all spruced up for Dr.Kalam's visit?), and then I talked to an American Indian 20-something girl and then turned to all the 40 something maamis with the intent of making similar excited conversation. I talked to the maami who invited me and then clung to her like a kid! I really did not know what to say to the other maamis! I actually felt a bit intimidated. The experience was all very strange. k told me that was all cool, "It just means you can totally relate to your kids, won't that be cool?" Hmm, yes. But when does a girl make a transition to maamihood? At 30? After a kid? Would be nice if all of us get one of those notices saying "You are all grown up now lady. So suck it up and act like an adult!"
- Next random question - do you guys know how to make a blog "by invitation only" but at the same time allow people to request readership? I am getting bored of editing my short story blog everytime I submit a story to a magazine (it's that nice image on the right-hand side in case you haven't noticed - don't tell me that, I'll be heart-broken - just click it :-). I have to save the story as draft because I don't really know what the publishers mean when they say, "Can you confirm that your story is not published anywhere else?" Sometimes they specify "online". So anyway, I made my short-story blog "by invitation" only, but I fear my small subset of readers will quickly exit if I provide such major incentives to not read what I dish out. So...any suggestions? How can I restrict membership dynamically? Oh and please do let me know if you want me to add your email id to the reader list. Muchos gracias!
- My third question - I want to self-publish a book about my "going green" obsessions. I am working on a website currently. But the thing is, if I publish through amazon, then I have to pay them 75% of the cost of the book, I can't even set the price of the book less than $8 or I make a loss! I checked out lulu.com and a few others but I guess that's the price you pay to buy "presence"! Any smart ideas?
March 07, 2008
I reached a few conclusions in life.
- Oatmeal sucks. I know I claimed it was a super food to my mom, made her switch to oatmeal for breakfast and proudly declare that I eat oatmeal for breakfast to people who enquired about my breakfast - well, there are not really that many that enquire but I tell them all the same. But the dirty little secret that I am privy to is the fact that I completely, honestly HATE oatmeal. It tastes like nothing. And if you add a bunch of stuff to it to make it better, it only comes off tasting even more awful. And that is the truth.
- Tiffin time sucks next. You know, around 5 - 5.30 PM after you have driven home from work, that time. That time is what I miss most about India. No jasmine-like idlis with molagai podi, no hot crispy bread upma, no rava kesari, no hot chola with bread, no nothing. It's the same - toast and jam or on other days even chips and salsa and thank God, a cup of coffee or tea. I really wish I had better tiffin options. Yeah, you can stop giving me that look "Cook!", I just don't have the energy to cook anything remotely edible at the end of a long day! No, I don't want cold fruits and ready-made processed crap. I want hot food! Is that too much to ask? Apparently it is...
Any ideas? Let's see...(since I am in the mood for bulleted lists)
- I could write a novel like Rowling did, sitting in a cafe or was it a train and imagining super-fantastic characters,
- Or maybe I'll write one of those natural-living-green books but then I'd have to eat oatmeal everyday and not yummy crispy-creme donuts...
- I could work real hard and become rich, does that still work?
- I got it! I need a life event! I keep reading about life-changing events that umm...changed people's lives forever, again. I mean, Lisa Jewell, my new favorite author, got kicked off her job, that was a life event. And then her friend challenged her to write the first three chapters of her novel, she did, sent it to ten publishers and forgot about it. And one of them called back! And she became a famous author. Like that. But, I really would not like to be fired. I like my job (All the people I know say that, I guess it's a sorta ego thing, maybe you don't want the other person thinking "Poor old so and so, look at her stuck with her job", or maybe they really like their jobs, I mean, I can't complain about my job - I fought with my dad to switch from Bio to CompSci. Except some days I think, "What am I doing stuck in a little cubicle with my hands freezing in spite of the wristies when the sun is shining golden bright outside and so on...you get my point?).
March 06, 2008
Photo by Eric Thigpen
Each face in the audience mirrors the quickly changing emotions that dance across her features. Happy as a baby, angry like the Lord Shiva - each expression on her face arrives in a flash and remains for a mesmerizing second before exiting gracefully and yet each abhinaya stays behind in the viewers' eye taking them along its journey. Such is the power that Priyadarshini Govind's dance exudes.
At the Bharatiya Temple and Cultural Society, Priyadarshini started her BharataNatyam recital with a dance depicting femine energy, the Devi. She followed her first dance performance with an equally compelling recital on a woman waiting for her lover, the Cosmic Lord of dance, Shiva to come to her. The second half of her performance covered a wide range of emotions - the love of mother Kausalya for her dear son, the baby Rama; the mischievous invitation that a lover extends to her beloved; the pain-filled wails of a mother who has lost her son in the battlefield and finally a thillana, a fast dance that provided a fitting finale to an evening of scintillating dance moves and perfectly choreographed steps in tune with the musical instruments and the song that accompanied each piece. An evening well spent with dancer Priyadarshini Govind and accompanying artists, Maheshwar, Natarajan, Subramanian and Narayanan.