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!

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