December 10, 2011

The way I am.

So in my family, we have this term "AKS". I am not really sure who came up with the acronym but it stands for "Aala kandaa samudram" and it denotes the trait in some people that makes them dance to the tunes of someone. The someone can be someone we met by chance or a visitor or a relative dropping by for the evening. If you are an AKS, in a few minutes, you would act as if your world only comprised of this new person and their every wish is your command.

In Bits slang (actually, it is a pretty common slang), we had a "sort of an" equivalent -- Kadalai. A senior once explained the difference between talking and kadalai. If you cut classes for your "talk", it's kadalai. If you forgot to say hi to your friend walking past you, it's kadalai. If you just skipped dinner at Meera bhavan for the talk, it's kadalai. Or if you came running back to the bhavan to make it just in time for the 11 PM curfew or stood there begging the watchman to let you in without signing, yup, definitely kadalai! Anyway, AKS is sort of kadalai but platonic in nature.

An extension to being an AKS is being someone who wants people around all the time and I firmly belong to this extended circle. Sometimes, I think I should return back to India to see if I feel more comfortable just hearing people around me...but that's another story.

Once k (unfairly, if you ask me) blamed me for making him overly people-wanting just like me. He doesn't get why there are certain things that I just won't do alone (and I tell him, (wo)man is a social being, the last I checked -- not just virtually social!) like eating alone.

Now that we are on the topic of eating, it demands its own paragraph! The standard rule in our house is that dinner is a family affair. Everyone needs to be at the dining table, books and tech-toys put away, the idea being that dinner-time is a congenial, healthy together time where we eat leisurely in peace and share some food and laughter. In reality, it turns out to be a time when k or I make up ludicrous stories to keep r~ from pouring the sambhar on herself or warning her for the 98th time that she or Simba will get timeout if she insists on washing her face with apple juice but you get the point.

Going back to the eating alone bit. I don't think men are made to eat alone. Eating is what I call a together activity like going to a coffee shop or cooking. In the case of cooking, I make an exception -- I either cook while on the phone or like cooking with k. He doesn't think that's a great idea. He likes having the kitchen completely to himself when he cooks (like a King (who cooks) or a Chef)!

(Reminds me of how girls always go to the rest room together while I haven't heard a man ask another if he wants to use the rest room -- k especially doesn't get this.)

I don't like watching movies alone. I don't even know why that is because you are focusing on the screen not on the other person but that's the way its wired in my brain.

I don't like walking into a new place (work is fine but if its to socialize then it's not) alone.

I don't like staying home or staying anywhere else alone with baby. It's ok if the other adult is just staring at the ipad or reading a book, it matters. Coming to books, that's probably one of the few things I don't mind doing alone.

Basically the "together" list gets pretty long and sometimes I wonder if its the AKS in me that wants to share the activity with someone else or if there are other women out there who are like me. I don't think its growing up in India that's the reason for this umm...trait because k is perfectly fine doing his thing in his space, alone (with his ipad). It's not one of those psychological single child etc thing either because I grew up with l~ and my parents spent a lot of (if not all) their time focusing on their kids...I guess its just the way I am :)

November 23, 2011

Exploring Atlanta...Wild Animal Safari

Last weekend we went to the Wild Animal Safari in PineMountain, GA. There is a nice walk through where you get to see the Siberian tigers, baboons, hyenas (some of them below) and then the fun part of the trip -- the striped bus that takes you through the Safari where you get to see the wild animals up, close and personal and feel them (for those that dare to do that) through the windows! The giraffe with its long neck craning inside the window to grab the whole bag of treats was probably the highlight of the trip!

Siberian Tiger...

Llama llama, red pyjama!

Giraffe and k's hand!


k's favorite -- a 5500 pound rhino!

November 17, 2011

About women & proving themselves.

When I initially joined IBM, I would tell k, "We have to reach on time in the morning and that means 9 AM sharp" and k, well you know, he likes to linger and blink and tune out and drink coffee s-l-o-w-l-y and basically do anything in his capacity to not acknowledge that the sun has risen and yes the day has indeed begun! So, after realizing where I was with the time requirements and where k was (we drove to work together), I compromised and said, "Ok, 9.10 and not a minute later than that. We gotta be at work by 9.10!" He sort of agreed because I guess he just didn't  have the energy for a full-fledged fight early in the morning!

I never got how k could be so casual about OUR NEW JOB AT IBM! I mean, we have to PROVE OURSELVES right? My mind would scream and his mind would give me one of those, "Have you gone mental ?" looks!

And thankfully after a while, he started working from home and I didn't have to negotiate our morning leaving time again. Now that I am again a new employee, I have all the same rules that I applied when I was new at IBM. I have to reach on time, I can only leave after 5 (4.45 may be ok if I don't have much to do that particular day), I can't take too many sick days (Yup, just told my body not to fall sick) and so on. And k still doesn't get that -- the whole "proving myself" bit. A few weeks back v~ and d~ had come to Alpharetta and v~ was talking about something similar at her new workplace and k goes, "What is it with you TamBram girls and proving yourselves at work?!"

And a few days back, I told him about this new girl who had joined our work place who said the same thing pretty much word to word and she was not even from India. And this time, it made me wonder too -- is it a girl thing? The strong need to prove herself at work because...because what? Just the fact that she has been hired (after multiple challenging interviews) is not good enough an indicator to people that she is good at what she does? Or is the default assumption that she will be taking more time off because of kids/family etc since traditionally she has come to do that? Maybe the 'pat in the back' for working hard is more important to us for some reason. Come to think of it. We do thrive on words of praise, don't we?

Gotta go now. Have some "proving myself" business to take care of!

November 07, 2011

GATS Diwali 2011

If you asked me what my ideal tiffin would be, I'd say it is 'Chai and Samosa'. It doesn't matter if we are in Atlanta sitting at the sad little fast food place near the Children's museum or if we are sitting at home lazing on a weekend evening, I always want Chai and Samosa. I suspect this has something to do with my cafeteria visits in Bits (we always put it on our tab and the bespectacled old man there would extend an aging ruled notebook where we would scribble our names yet again because we didn't carry cash in, which was almost all the times we went there :p)

And what does this have to do with the Greater Atlanta Tamil Sangam? They served Chai and Samosa! And that, for me, is really reason enough to declare that I enjoyed the programme! Their lunch was decent and the programmes initially were luke warm. There was a huge crowd and they had to get extra seats in to seat everyone. Just after I had texted S~ saying the programmes were just ok, someone named Vijay came on stage to announce a dance show and after that we were pretty much glued to our seats (save the Samosa, Chai break). The take on the old MGR songs reminded me of what we did for the Lexington Tamil Cultural Association...some patterns never grow old. The super singer final was also well organized, the MC was funny and lively and the contestants sang well (I initially thought the MC was joking about how you can't really tell the younger contestants are American born because they sing without an accent but he was absolutely right, they sang as the song should be sung -- neat!) We stayed for almost 5 hours (and I had told k we would probably  hang out there for an hour or so) and surprisingly r~ enjoyed the show too (which is saying something -- 3 yr old, 5 hours in an auditorium, know what I mean?)

I am glad I set aside my Saturday to go see the programme! I mean with samosa and hot masala chai served in the evening, you can't really go wrong, can you? :)

November 01, 2011


Once in a while, I scramble to organize my thoughts into a meaningful post and those times, I just find it easier to write down a list of random thoughts and questions from my head because then, they have had their moment of 'notice' and then they can exit gracefully or stay behind for more conversation. So, here goes:

அ I am always caught by surprise by people who don't tend to be as inclusive as I am. I am using the term 'inclusive' very loosely here to mean including all kinds of people (no, not talking about racial bias here). If I were arranging a get-together at home and an acquaintance showed even a little bit of interest, I would have already handed out the invitation to her -- to me, the more the merrier is true in most cases. But, a lot of people, I am learning, tend to be cautious inviting people into their groups. I don't know if it has to do with insecurity or a basic lack of interest in reaching out to new people or just plain laziness. Perhaps there are other reasons -- I don't know because I can't read their minds. All I see is the wall.

ஆ And continuing the same thought, I can't think highly of people who don't have the courtesy to respond to my time with theirs. If I send you an email (nope, not talking about a forwarded joke sent to a group of 80 people), I expect you to show me the courtesy of a response. If you can't spend the few minutes it takes to respond to my email, phone call or invitation (nope, not talking about edge cases and personal crises here), then I don't really have time to be your friend.

இ If you notice people carefully, you can at least get the gist of what's going on in their heads, sometimes :p The other day, I was at r~'s school talking to her teacher. She smiled and talked and smiled and talked for about 15 minutes and it was almost time for us (the parents) to leave when I mentioned I had a few questions to ask. And then I watched the smile slowly recede from the corners of her face to somewhere midway and it stood there frozen. She didn't really have time for questions, it said. And she says, "Yes, sure" and I try to speak through the disconnect staring me at my face. Has that ever happened to you?

ஈ I feel like doing a million things at once. Even as I am doing a few of the million things, I think of a few more things to do to make sure it says an even million.

உI cut my hair shorter thinking it will be lesser work and maintenance. It's more. Now, I get to spend 5 minutes straightening the fuzzy ball of hair that surrounds my face, no gravity to pull it down (always wondering if I will end up like Joe from Little Women). And before you know it, I'll be one of those women spending 15 minutes every morning wearing makeup. Ha! Caught you -- that never happening!

ஊ I read a beautiful book yesterday -- The help by Kathryn Stockett Glad to have read a book that made me cry. How can you be glad at something that makes you cry?

எ Earlier, I missed India. Now, I miss India and my friends in Lex. Does that mean I miss India less since some of my 'missing' quota is taken up by Lex? I don't really miss anything else about Lex and I would really miss the food and the events in Atlanta if I were to move back, does that mean  I should subtract some from my overall 'missing' quota? Can there be a quota for 'missing'? Does it become 0? Ever?

ஏ There was this girl I know who teased me with this boy I know and then married that boy. Is that weird? I have always thought that was a weird thing to do. Maybe all the teasing made her realize she would rather be the teasee than the teaser.

ஐ And talking about that girl reminds me of how I cannot be comfortable in the presence of some people. Usually these are the people k terms, 'street-smart'. But, he claims he is 'street-smart'. Either he isn't or my tolerance has improved. I doubt it's the latter. Sometimes, I think 'street-smart' has 'cunning' and 'suspicious' for siblings.

ஒ And being suspicious of people's intentions all the time makes me exhausted. I have always taken people's statements as true and well-intentioned. Double guessing their intentions is not something I like to do. I am told I need to do that to be 'street-smart'. Yeah, I think I'll just stay naive. Thank you.

ஓ What happened to good comedy in Tamil movies? You know, like the Kadhai scene in Kadhalikka Neramillai or 'Rasam vechaa porum' by Nagesh in Galaata Kalyanam?

ஔ If you work in India, can you have garam chai at 4 PM and a samosa or two?

ஃ Ok, I need that garam chai now. Heading home. Have a good day, dear reader!

October 27, 2011

Deepavali 2011

The Children's museum in Atlanta has become one of our favorite hang outs. r~ treats the place like her second home. Last weekend, v~, d~ & baby d~ had come to visit us and we took them to the children's museum, the kids had a blast. Every time I would ask them, "Ready for some playdough?" Two excited voices would reply, "Yes!", "Ready for the water table?" "Yes! Yes!", "Ready for painting?" "Yessss!" :)

After they left, I realized how much I missed the company of friends. K seemed to have missed people too for he talked non-stop initially and interrupted me several times to share anecdotes with them. Feel that bitter-sweet taste in my mouth now -- that I have good friends and had a good time last weekend but can't meet them again unless I drive 5.5 hours.

Yesterday, we went to the Swaminarayan Mandir here to celebrate what was left of Deepavali (Sitting at my desk watching the Facebook timeline fade with messages of Happy Deepavali is not my idea of "celebrating" Deepavali). When we parked there, I was...awestruck. Pretty much. I saw lanterns floating into the sky just like in Tangled. We got out of the van and just stood and watched for sometime as the red lit lanterns floated slowly into the sky...and in the background, the white marble temple changed colors. The water in front of the temple reflected the flickering lamps decorating the steps of the temple and the lanterns floating about. And on either sides of the water area and in front of the temple were a sea of people waiting for the fireworks and aarti to begin. The lively music and fireworks made my day feel almost like Deepavali.

We ate Indian food (also amidst a sea of people) in a tent after standing in a long snaking line. We sat on the grass and ate because every available single spot on the table and the chairs were taken up by desis or food! r~ had a blast.

(No, I didn't record this smart phone yet, Siri still being shipped!)

That's life for now...exploring the place because we left the people in a different place...

October 10, 2011


Gloom and doom lately -- First the news about Steve Jobs and now Jagjit Singh. Even the weather seems on the duller side.

Wishing for peace and good news...

September 28, 2011


I am a planner. I plan parties, get-togethers, gifts and just about everything and put in a lot of energy and time into it. I like doing that. I liked planning and preparing for the arangetram, the job change, the city change...the life change. But sometimes, I feel like I should take a break and just experience life the way it is. Without the looking ahead and the constant churning to shape the future course of events.

K often points out that even before he has completed a chore, I am on to the next one, planning what needs to be completed next. And he is right. I am uncomfortable being complacent. I understand complacency is different from being at peace and I can do the latter without bringing in stagnation in my life. But, I find it hard to draw a line between the two. Sometimes, I have to consciously tell myself to enjoy this moment, this point in space that I am at, that I seemingly architected but probably had more to do with powers higher than me and words difficult to comprehend like destiny and the universe. But, I like to think I had something to do with it because it makes me feel a little bit more secure in this world of uncertainties.

I have no idea what tomorrow will bring but I can pretend to choreograph a part of it to my liking because well, that is all I can do. If that pretense of control leaves my hand, then I am vulnerable and I don't necessarily want that realization dawning bright and clear on me -- as long as it's somewhere in the back of my mind, that's fine and I can continue to plan and architect my life. In little ways that are important to me. Now, if only I can add the taking-a-few-minutes-to-smell-the-flowers bit...

September 19, 2011

Exploring Atlanta -- Puppets!

I should probably title this post, "Exploring Alpharetta" but I know there is much more scope if we catch the train to Atlanta :) Yesterday, we went to a puppet show, "The Ugly Duckling" at The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta. I wondered if r would have the patience to sit through the show and was surprised that she did. To my relief, even before we entered the theater, I found a lot of parents with squirming toddlers and knew I had reached the right place. The show was bright and loud (in a nice way) and they had a really nice stage setting with musical instruments built into the stage itself. The puppetry form was "Overt puppetry" where we can actually see the puppeteers manipulating the puppets. The lighting and sound systems in the theater are pretty sophisticated due to which they could pull off a stunt where the puppeteer blew a firefly (like light) from her hand and they filled up the entire ceiling (tiny lights that were supposed to be fireflies) -- that was magical for the kids (and to some of us)!

The puppet we made
The last time, we took the train to Atlanta (Marta) to the Children's museum and as a result couldn't really pick a restaurant of our choice to eat, which made some of us (yes, that would be me) cranky (I had to eat cold veggie burger in Atlanta. I mean, come on! I am in Atltanta, I should be able to find a desi snack place with hot snacks)! And so this time, we were planned. After the puppet show, we ate alu sandwiches with hot sauce which k had meticulously packed and I even packed coconut water in case I got tired (you can never tell with my thyroid gland)! Then we went to Chattahoochee national park by the river and walked about 1/4th of the trail (just a few minutes actually) before I started feeling tired. So, we just sat by the river sand and let Rads play with simba and her ugly duckling (The puppetry center had a small workshop where we could make ugly duckling puppets with the kids -- an awesome idea! r loved it!) puppet.

Glad I can actually go to a show and actually take r with me -- low stress deal! If you are in Atlanta, drop me a line and let me know what kid-friendly places you like or even better, if you are in Alpharetta, just drop by home :p

September 15, 2011

On moving and moving on...

This post has been a long time coming but glad to write now about it. The past couple of months have been eventful -- quitting IBM, preparing for interviews, arangetram, moving to Alpharetta (or should I say Alphapet? So many desis here, it could be Alwarpet ;) and leaving Lex and Lex, I guess, is the focus of this post now. The rest will find their way to this space sooner or later!

It's true that I was ready and I do mean, really ready to leave Lex after 11 years of making it my home. There were a multitude of reasons for my wanting to leave Lex but having said that, there are a number of reasons why Lex is, to reuse an overused adjective, pretty awesome! It's been a few weeks here and I still haven't found a library as attractive and close to home, or a Kroger that's 2 mins away! And I truly miss Joseph Beth, our defacto hang out place for the past several years now.

But a place is after all a place and it's the people really that matter. And people are what I miss most about Lex. It's not like I dropped by my friends' homes every other day but weekends usually found us in a friend's home or them in our home and it was...good, familiar, home. Even if some weeks all I did was talk to them on the phone, it was knowing that people who knew me for my quirks and craziness(es) were nearby should I need to see them. The wise folks online tell me it takes anywhere between a year to two years to call a place your home, sometimes never. A year seems far away now. I asked k if we should call a friend's contact here, you know, just to make new friends and he said, "It should just happen else it's artificial" :p

So weekends here find us in the mall (there is a carousal in the mall and a train, a real train for kids!) or Hotbreads (paav bhaji and veggie-puffs) or India plaza (yes, they have the latest Tamil movies) or in one of the umpteen Indian restaurants here, all of which are a stone's throw away. Fill friends in on this equation and we are set for life.


It is harder to reach out to people and make friends as we grow older and for desis here with siblings back in India, that becomes a necessity. Friends are our family here, right? And with work being more challenging (and fun -- which translates to time consuming because you spend more time working for two solid reasons now!), I wonder when the whole forming-a-community here will work out. The moving is easy (k would disagree since he did all the work). It's the moving on that's harder. Perhaps, like k says, it will happen one day, naturally and without any special effort on my part. Who knows? Meanwhile, a glimpse of Alphapet :)

Need I say more?


Really neat restaurant where k and I had our rare couple-lunch-- Never enough thyme.

August 30, 2011

On long weekends.

If you are in the US, you know that long weekends are a big deal. An extra holiday means a lot to 9-to-5ers. People start talking about it right at the beginning of the work week and conversations always include questions on "the long weekend plan". The plan, that's the next big deal. If you know me well, you also know that I love to plan -- for today, for tomorrow, for the next 5 years, for myself, for k, for r and so on. So, that's 2 things that I like -- an extra holiday and planning. Somehow, add it together and it doesn't always get me as excited as one would logically assume it would.

After more than a decade here, I am always a little bit apprehensive about long weekend planning. Do we drive 6 hours (Arrrrrrg!) and spend loads of money to get super tired at some nerve-wracking amusement park with scary rides? Or we can drive 7 hours (Arrrrrrrrrg!) and get even more tired after a day spent trekking and camping. Now, truth be told, I haven't done much of either and it's not that I am not a nature-type-of-girl (I guess I am not) but when I have a precious extra day, I don't want to plan business into it. I want to plan nothing for that day. Actually I'd rather "not plan" because in this day and age, "plan to do nothing" has its own connotations like no-technology, no-TV and more such nos that we impose on our selves to prove that we can be happier by taking fun stuff out of our lives -- its all about not being dependent, including being dependent on being happy, if that makes sense.

So usually, I feel a sense of being in a race when the long weekend approaches -- like I am lagging behind if all I want to do is sit at home and do nothing (which actually amounts to quite a bit if you have a 2 year old, so, you might as well head out, but that's another story) . For me, doing nothing is fun. Sure, traveling the world sounds like a great eat-pray-love kind of thing to do but usually am not in the mind frame for that! Sometimes, I just want to organize my house more, sometimes, I just want to watch a movie or act silly with r or my favorite (you know, do nothing) which gets like a C rating if say, traveling the world is A+. Add to this the fact that k is a traveling-the-world kind of guy and you can literally see me wishing the extra day away but for the fact that the day has so much potential :p

On a related note, I wonder why long weekends were never such a big deal (or come to think of it, even a deal) in India? Is that because we had many other exciting holidays to look forward to which weren't termed long weekend but in essence and were actually significant for a lot more reasons than just an extra day off? Or was it because I never had to work in India and hence have no recollection of workdays and time off work?

So go on, ask me. I don't have a plan for the long weekend. No, I won't drive. No, I don't want to walk 3 miles and climb 2 miles to see the most breathtaking waterfall there ever is in this universe. No, I don't want to not check FB and twitter (am sure there will be a day when I will impose these rules on my family, this weekend is not it!) I just want my extra day to be just that -- a sweet 24 hours where I don't have to do anything or nothing. I can be in the land of the peaches and the onions and smell the roses or not. Maybe I will open an account at our local library and check a to do or maybe we will continue watching 180 (which seems like a good Tamil movie so far). Or not.

(I guess I just need a break after the interviews and the arangetram and the move and the new job but I stand by what I said -- no long weekend plans! There, I said it.).

August 04, 2011

2 more days to go...

For my arangetram!

Oh boy!

July 28, 2011

The Google Guys

Read an interesting non-fiction book after ages of dwelling on chick-lits -- The Google Guys:
The Google Guys: Inside the Brilliant Minds of Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin

It is interesting enough for me to consider another non-fiction before some chick-lit inevitably draws me back!

July 27, 2011

June 09, 2011


I like to celebrate occassions with cakes and I like checking out bakeries in Lex to figure out which one would work for what I have in mind :) So far, I have tried Brown's bakery, Maggie's bakery, Spalding's bakery, Graeter's and this time I am going to try Mondelli's bakery for k's birthday cake.

Finally managed to organize my highly disorganized photos on my laptop (which will be going away soon, since I quit. Can't stop grinning when I say that :) k helped me do it after I spent half an hour looking for the Avvaiyar paati photo (below)! Anyway, here is a trip down cake-memorylane:

k got this for me from Caramanda's
My favorite cake from Spalding's bakery for r's 2nd birthday (Avvaiyar paati)!
From Graeter's -- icecream cake
Mackenzie's bakery Chennai -- also for r's 2nd birthday!
Old Taj Mahal hotel -- you guessed it -- also for r's 2nd birthday
Home made by me for k's birthday!
Another special cake for r's first birthday!

June 07, 2011

I quit.

Been thinking about this for a long time and finally decided to go for it. Told my manager yesterday and sent a formal resignation note today. So, it's bye bye IBM for me. I am thinking of taking a break from work till August so I have a fresh start after my arangetram.

Let's see what I can do with the extra time in my hands :) Ideas?

April 28, 2011

About old thoughts.

I read somewhere that mostly our minds just go in circles spending a majority of its time focusing on already repeated thoughts and images. And those of you who know me know that this is indeed true for my mind. I have expressed the same few thoughts in several different ways and have probably come up with a few novel thoughts along the way. Few and far between. And of the thoughts that I often revisit, there is this one thought that often manifests itself into my mental space in the form of an image.

That of an old couple. What is wrong with this image, you ask. It shows that k and I would live to grow old and live to grow old together. All is well.

Now add a few accouterments to this image -- like a heavy grocery bag, snow fall and a walking stick (if you tend to be dramatic like me). Now, the color of the image changes significantly -- it's gone from pleasant pastel shades to a sort of undefined grey (if you are with my mental process still).

And this is the image that I keep circling back to in my head, every now and then. And the thought that goes with that image is that, I don't want to be that person. No really, I have no issues growing old (I believe, I have aged pretty well so far and plan to continue on the good beginning). My issue is with the loneliness and helplessness that I associate with that image (No doubt you pictured a happily chatting couple maybe pulling a grocery cart instead of carrying the heavy bag but stay with my image, will you? Makes my story telling a bit easier). So, my problem with this story is that I don't want to be the protagonist (Yes, k can be the protagonist when he makes up a story and when he puts that in a blog of his own!) here -- that old woman with aging hands, struggling to carry the grocery bag, hating the winter that she hasn't acclimatized to (in the past umm...40 years) and wishing she were in a warm, familiar place instead guessed it, Madras (Oh! You didn't? Ok, catch up with my archives and then come back here for story time!)

Yes, I agree there are several glaring loopholes with my grey image -- grocery shopping will all be done online by that time (as k was kind enough to point out), we might be enjoying the snowfall inside the house in front of a fireplace and possibly with family/kids instead of standing in front of Kroger. All that good stuff. But, that's not my image. Mine is that of husband and wife who often say, "We thought about moving back to India, we just never did. And then, the kids got old. And then, it was too late." I don't want to say that when I am 70.

So, what's stopping me now? For one, the lack of a concrete vision and plan. What do we do after we move to India? Where do we work? Where do we live? For better or worse, my dad is responsible for instilling a constant need to plan and map pros and cons and I continue to do that, all the time. So, why haven't I mapped this out? I guess life gets in the way. Initially, you are a student (FOB, if you will) caught in the excitement of America, then you focus on getting that job with that big company and then it's marriage, house, kids. All big stuff. Good stuff. But then, this old thought swirls in front of you, reminds you of what you have forgotten in the moment (which might be a good thing after all) and exits. It keeps this up until you finally decide to focus on it and do something about it. So, what have I done about it? Thought thoughts :) Thinking is a good thing, isn't it?

And then there's the whole people business. Even on regular days, I like to know that people besides me exist in the background. And since I work from home most of the time, this means, I really like having a nanny at home and the fact that maami comes home to cook twice a week. I miss the general bustle of conversation that is ever present if you live in India. I guess it's something as simple as just hearing people around me. Hardly a reason to wrap up and go. But go figure my mind!

Anyway, more thoughts about this later. For now, I do entertain the mental image and think of ways I can fix it. Who knows? Maybe even if we were in India, the image would probably not change -- our kids would probably have come to the US anyway...but I still can't imagine us living in India without people. And someone "people" seems to be the missing ingredient in my flawed picture anyway. Will update if the mental picture decides to change to that of a healthy old couple walking briskly along the Florida beaches, a vast expanse of blue for company and a golden retriever running behind faithfully ;) Somehow, my mind is not up to conjuring that image as often as it does the other grey image :)

April 19, 2011

Sunshine for mama.

So, I have reached out to my laptop to write something several times in the past week and each time online distraction got the better of me and I ended up website hopping/tweet hopping/status hopping and not getting down to writing anything at all. But today, I have some inspiration to hold me in place -- I have a new friend (all of 8 years old). And she has drawn these delightful little characters for me to pen a story for her. So, here goes!

Once upon a time, there lived two puppies named Happy and Glad. They were neighbors and the best of friends. Every morning, as soon as the sun woke them up, they would rush to each other to play and sing and dance until their mamas called them home for lunch. One day, Happy woke up as usual and rushed to kiss his mama goodbye to go and play with Glad. But, when he went into his mama's room, she was sitting very quietly in her room and she had her eyes closed. Happy grew very concerned, "Are you not feeling well, mama?", he asked. She smiled and said, "It's the change in weather. See outside..." and when Happy looked, huge raindrops fell and the sun was nowhere in sight. Just then, Glad and his mama walked into the room. Glad's mama got some warm soup and treats for Happy's mama. The two puppies stood worriedly in a corner as they watched their mothers. Soon, Happy's mama was sipping on her hot soup and Glad's mama said, "Why don't you both go and play in your room? Soon, the sun will be out and Happy's mama will be all better!" And so, the two puppies trotted back into Happy's room to discuss the events of the day.

"Do you think mama will be better soon?", Happy asked. He looked outside the window and said, "The rain makes me so sad. I wish the sun would come out and mama would feel better again."

Glad wanted to make his best friend feel better. Suddenly, he had an idea! "I know how we can make your mama better! Let's bring her some sunshine!"

"What a great idea!" agreed Happy.

"But how? It's raining so heavily outside!"

Glad said, "My mama and I got an umbrella to walk to your house. Let's take that and go looking for some sunshine!"

Happy agreed. He was happy that he could do something to make his mama feel better. So, the two puppies carried the umbrella and went looking for sunshine. Outside, it was drizzling but the sun was nowhere in sight.

Just then, they saw Friendly, the pig rushing to his pen.

"What are you two doing in the rain?" Friendly asked.

"Oh! We are looking for some sunshine. Do you know where we can find it?" asked Happy.

"Hmm...I didn't see any since morning. Why don't you both stay warm and dry inside and we can all go looking for some when the rain stops?" said Friendly huddling close to Happy and Glad under the umbrella.

"Oh! But, my mama is sick because of all the rain and we need the sun to make her better!" cried Happy.

"Oh! Don't be so sad, little Happy. Let me think. Who can help us find some sunshine? I know! Let's ask Wise, the bunny!"

So, the three friends went looking for Wise, the bunny. By then, the rain had almost stopped and the skies were looking more blue than grey.

Wise, the bunny was outside his house collecting some tools to do some gardening. When he saw the three friends, he said, "Happy, Glad and Friendly! How nice to see you! I would call you all in for a cup of tea but I am all set to work in my garden! Care to join me?"

Friendly said, "Oh! We are looking for some sun to take back to Happy's mom. She fell sick because she got wet in the rain and she needs some sun to feel better!"

Wise scratched his head. How could he tell poor Happy that he could not take the sun to his mom? So, he thought of an idea. He picked up a wooden pot that he had set aside to plant some flowers and said, "Let me help you in your quest! Come with me!" And so, Happy, Glad and Friendly followed Wise as he led them to a pool nearby.

Wise pulled Happy near him and pointed to the water in the pool, "What do you see there?"

Happy looked confused, "Water?", he ventured.

"Look carefully, what do you see?"

And so, the three friends peered into the water. And Lo and Behold! There it was, the sun!

"The sun!" They exclaimed together.

"Yes, the sun", agreed Wise, "Now watch carefully, I am going to coax the sun to travel with you to your house!" Saying that, Wise dipped his pot into the water and pointed to the sun's reflection, "Now, I am going to close this pot so the sun is safe inside. Give this to your mama with my regards!"

The three friends thanked Wise and skipped back home. When they reached home, the two moms were happily chatting away in the porch. "Mama, mama!" Happy called out excitedly, "We bought some sun for you so you feel all better!" Saying that, he handed the pot to her.

Happy's mom laughed and winked at Glad's mom. "You did! That must explain why I feel all better now! I'll keep the sun safe with me! Now run along and play while the sun is still out!"

And so, that's what Happy, Glad and Friendly did. They played till it became dark and the sun set but they knew their special sun was all safe and sound with Happy's mama!

March 09, 2011

The wall.

I wonder if people read blogs anymore. In this time of status updates and millisecond micro updates aka tweets, do people have the patience to read personal blogs anymore? I ask because there was a time when I used to read blogs and the only blogs I seem to be reading now are technical ones. Instead, I log onto Facebook and stare at my wall. Now, the wall is many things at once. It's sort of a buzzing microcosm of lives (reminds me of Michael Crichton's 'Prey'). Much like Jack's beanstalk, there is no limit to its growth. If you run out of new status updates to read, you can always go back in history and read what people thought two days back (If explained to someone a decade back, they might have questioned the very sanity of why one would do that). And here we are, trying to cling on to the wall while at the same time peering over our shoulders to stare at the drama unfolding elsewhere on the wall.

Prey    meets :)  Jack and the Beanstalk

I guess in a way, our virtual life has brought us back full circle. Man was and will always be a social animal. Perhaps earlier, he dropped by a neighbour's house to catch up on the little town gossip and lives of others and later; he dialed a bunch of numbers to do the same over the phone. He then progressed to chatting and developed a whole new language to do that. And now, he has multiple ways to share his life with all those people. Which is fun, come to think of it. Who doesn't like talking about themselves? And now, I can share my thoughts on my wall or tweet them and I have the satisfaction that I have sent me 2 cents out to the world at large to ponder upon.

This new way of virtual living raises some interesting questions. How does a person maintain a sense of mystery about him (assuming he wants to)? A friend of mine has not gotten herself a Facebook account. Still (I know!). She considers it a waste of time. Hmm, can't say I entirely agree with her. I follow technical pages on Facebook and I find a lot of useful information there. Even my workplace holds virtual conversations on Facebook! So, back to the mystery question. FB is addictive, we all know that but it also sorts of blurs boundaries that earlier existed in traditional settings. Take our workplace, for example. My colleagues are my facebook friends and know that r~ made a bookmark in the Morris book shop last Saturday, for example. And that little bit of info, somehow changes their perception of me. I am not sure if that's a good thing or not. It makes people seem more human -- all these random bits of trivia about them...

There's the whole long tail argument. If I were a salwaar-kameez clad, modern but tom-boyish teenage girl who likes languages but hates Math and also likes Savannah from Savannah, I might just find someone just like that on FB and then we can start a fan page with an uncommonly long name :)

And then, there's the whole twitching-fingers syndrome -- the urge to constantly stay up to date on the happenings of the wall. I wonder if the constant (albeit) slight adrenaline rush when we are privy to a new information bit will make our normal life seem a tad more boring? Nothing is happening every second of the day (except maybe your 2 year old let water flow from the sink to all the restroom shelves and let them soak the soft bathroom mats...oh! Long story!). And then, there was this article I read recently about how FB actually makes people sadder because they keep comparing themselves (some unconsciously) to the happy pictures and delightful wall updates and thinking their own lives don't match up (which is unrealistic, no one leads lives smiling with their face smushed to their lovely child's cheek all the time -- the next second, the child, for all we know, took a nice dab of blue paint and marked it on both their faces...)

Not sure what to make of all this innovation. Technology is changing. And we, with it. Of that, I am sure.

January 16, 2011

Best Tamil movies.

No, I am not really going to rate what I have seen or do anything original here. Basically, am part of what Bitsians call "Spec & Audi" dept -- part of the spectators and audience :p So, a few weeks back, d~ mentioned that he saw "Uthiri pookal" because almost everywhere on the web, people claimed that was the best Tamil movie made (compared to the other Tamil movies made around that time). And so, I convinced k that we really have to watch the best Tamil movie ever made and so we watched "Uthiri pookal" one night from 12 - 2.30 AM (Didn't really want r~ to watch that movie, so had to wait for her to fall asleep). Apparently Mani Ratnam said if he came close to what J.Mahendran did in Uthiri Pookal, he will be a happy man. Imagine that!

I liked a few dialogues in the movie but I guess I was comparing it to the movies made after that time period and so didn't see anything very special about that movie. I liked the fact that the villain was not overly dramatic and conveyed a lot with a sadistic smile or a nod of his head. I liked the dialogue in the end where his new wife tells him that she may not have the physical strength to overpower him but can easily mix some poison in his food! But anyway, I read a bit more about this movie and then went on to "Mullum Malarum" which some people claimed was even better than Uthiri.. and also, it came with full blessings from L~. So, another late night was spent watching MM.
Mullum Malarum
I also watched MM because I was curious about Shobha. So many people claimed she was a very realistic actress and she died so young and so famous. I liked "Senthaazham poove..." But again, I didn't think (and k definitely did not think) that the movie was a breakthrough, coming of age movie or anything like that. Again, because, I was comparing it to movies made much after it. K claimed i got my overly dramatic tendencies from overly dramatic Tam movies like these :p

Since, I was on a J.Mahendran movie spree, thought I'd try Johnny next. b~ suggested "Moonru mugam". So here is my list so far:

1. Uthiri pookal
2. Mullum malarum
3. Update: Nenjathai Killadhe (watched this today) -- This one is strikingly similar to Mouna Ragam (especially the second half!) Some of the characters were still overly dramatic (Suhasini's brother's wife...) and the comedy track didn't really hold my attention. Not sure why the poor kid had to fall sick but overall, was able to watch the movie till the end. Liked Suhasini in the movie. Again, it was probably a good movie in the 1980s and is still a decent flick.

4. Johnny/Moondru mugam?

So yeah, if you have a Tamil movie that totally changed your life :), do mention and I am going to add it to this list. K has been asking to watch "Guna" for quite sometime because he likes the song, "Kanmani anbodu". Or maybe I should watch "Vedham Puthithu" (which I have watched earlier and don't remember much of it except that it was about the caste system?) The only Mani Ratnam movie that I haven't watched is "Iruvar", maybe I should watch that. There was that movie with SriVidya and Kamal Hassan...shucks, I don't remember the name. She is much older than him and they fall in love. I need to watch that. Someone picked a scene from that movie as their most favorite scene. Hmm.

Random: I liked "Unnal mudiyum thambi" but didn't see that mentioned anywhere. Also, "Devar magan" and "Galatta kalyanam" (but I guess people usually don't consider comedies seriously enough to put it on a top 10 or top 50 list). "Anjali", "Idhayathai thirudaathe", "Alaipayuthey", "Kannathil..." are other movies I would add to my personal favorite list. I need to see movies by other directors!

January 02, 2011

2011: Being myself.

When I was in school, I wanted to be like Radha Lakshmi, sometimes like this other girl Usha-something. At Bits, I wanted to be like other girls I saw -- mainly the confident ones who probably were just like me but just me minus the lack of confidence. And I am now a mom and I still wish to be like other women sometimes. Some, because I think they are just cooler and more fun to hang out with, some for their fearlessness, some for their ability to gel with all kinds of people, some for their accomplishments. But, the more I achieve, the more I want to be these other people and that doesn't give me a break. I don't look back and give myself a pat on the back ever for anything. It's always, now that that's over, what next? I didn't congratulate myself even for the home birthing attempt and tough stint at the hospital for r~. Only, when I saw the note that k had sent me, several days later, did I realize that it had been a difficult time, it was okay to acknowledge that for a second and not worry about the baby and, I had actually done a pretty good job bringing r~ into this world :p

Anyhow, 2011 is going to be me being myself. I am going (to try) to be myself and appreciate what I am and what I have. 2012 can be about being a better mom, better dancer, better wife, better blogger :p 2011 is just going to be to breathe deeply and stay still and be me. The closet is organized, the toys are picked up (or maybe not), the laundry can stay awhile in the washer but it's ok to sit back and watch "Outsourced" :) Really, it is. The show is fun and I deserve the break just for being myself.

Bring on 2011 and let me be me, for a change!

Happy new year to you all! Peace and Love.
© Ramya Sethuraman, All Rights Reserved.