Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Some changes are for the best...

I’ve been toying with the idea of reviving my blog all over again. It needs a facelift of sorts. I started blogging around the time I quit my last job. Well, this time I’ve quit or rather been politely been told apna rasta napoo …. I have plenty of time on my hands and so little to do, so let me utilize this time to do some things I always liked to do and wanted to do.

Today is one heck of a rainy day. It’s been raining all day today and all of last night--must be mayhem on the roads. After a long while, I felt like sleeping in and did just that. Woke up well past noon happy and contented, tucked in a nice little lunch, and here I am writing my next post.

I’ve been married nearly two months and how time flies. We’ve moved into our new home and slowly ever so slowly things are falling into place. But all of it has been a little bit of anticipation, some fun, a few differences in opinion, mom and dad don’t think this is right, and some times we nod in unison and viola a decision is made. At the end of it all, we smile at each other with a tremendous sense of achievement.

I love the fact that I have someone to share everything with everyday. There is a whole “other” to think of every time you think of doing something. I know I have someone who will support me and someone I can lean on when tired and fed up with day-to-day nonsense. Unlike peers, colleagues and friends, Anand is not quick to pass judgment over my actions. He helps me reason out things. We are complete opposites and we tell each other that ever so often! “And that my dear is what keeps us going” is Anand’s line.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

An Act of Kindness

The passing of a granduncle last week brought to mind an act of kindness that I will always remember and a flood of other memories.

Several years ago when we were only visitors to Madras and not yet residents, we would spend two weeks of our summer vacation at my paternal grandparents house and then go to Kerala to spend a whole month with my mums side of the family. And, no visit to Madras was complete without a visit to Mathuachen and Mariammaammai’s house.

One summer, like several of them before it, we landed up in Madras to be spoiled and pampered by my grandparents and forget about everything else. I remember we reached home early in the morning. It was the eve of my eighth birthday and the heat was beginning to get to all of us. My grandmother had picked flowers from the garden for me. She knew how I loved flowers and had wrapped them carefully and put them in the ref and told me I could take it the next day.

Ammama was diabetic as far as my memory goes back. But she never gave up a sweetmeat or pastry if one were in front of her—she would much rather eat all the sugar and take an insulin shot than let the sugar pass. If anyone goaded her about the all that she was eating, she would give them the silent treatment!

That summer, she had worked hard at readying the house for us. Never satisfied with what the maid had done, she would push the cupboard from its place to get to the dust below where it stood, drag the chairs from their regular resting place, or pull out the carpet and give it a vigorous shake. After all the exertion, she was dehydrated and very ill by evening. My uncle took her to the hospital to give her a couple of bottles of saline to get the zing back in her. All of us were expecting her to be back the next morning so we could celebrate my birthday and everything was planned.

But things were not meant to be. Before sunrise, uncle called home to tell us that things were not looking right and Ammama was sinking. I remember dad taking us to the hospital saying we were going to visit Ammama and she was very ill. And before noon Ammama was gone. Everything after that was a blur. We bought her home and everyone was busy arranging everything for the funeral the next day.

Later that evening, standing by the front door I watched people walk in and out. I saw Mathuachen walking toward me. He had been there helping with everything. He gave me a package and said “open it”. And I did. I saw bars of chocolate in it. And he said “Happy Birthday, Priya!” I was ecstatic. I was happy. I was thrilled that someone had remembered. I remember looking up surprised at his soft and smiling face. I have no idea who told him to this day. And I remember him for this simple act of kindness or call it pity. But he cared and that is all I care.

A kind old man who enjoyed the simple things in life. You always had a joke to share or a story to tell. You are gone from our midst but you will always be in our prayers. Knowing you, I’m sure there are plenty of people saying the same thing today. We will miss you.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Post from the Present

Been ages since I blogged. Only posting that has been happening is to and from FTP sites at work! A lot has happened since I last blogged. Some of it I want to forget in a hurry and other thoughts will linger on and then be forgotten.

I’m practically cutoff from the rest of civilization during the week—been bad about returning calls and text messages, sorry K, L, and P—but I’m going to change that. I’ve wanted to learn piano for ages, but just never had the time or patience. The only time I tried, I gave up after a month. What about learning to play drums, hemm? That will be cathartic, something to let off some steam at the end of the day—maybe what I need to do is a session of kick boxing or krav maga twice a week!!! F, I know your guitar experience was not so great, but what say?

K, thanks for arranging everything so we could all meet up. That was fun. My turn next time. Some soul-searching session that was, and that was refreshing.

Me dreaming about a vacation I want to take later this year. Two weeks of solace and peace of mind. No client calls, no yes sir and yes ma’am, no schedules and status reports to maintain, and no emails. Will plan starting July 1st.

Picture time again… Some all time favourites.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Random Thoughts

And I will go where my heart leads me—or so I like to think. And live life on my terms… I like saying that. I’ve probably said these things too often and I’m not sure if I believe all of it. Too often I think it is spiraling out of control and I’m taking a nose dive into nowhere. After all, if you don’t dream it, you will never reach it. But the super confident and always-on-cloud-nine feeling can sometimes take a holiday.

Two months into the year and nothing much other than work is happening. I promised myself some quality time with “me.” Made even bigger promises that I would take up photography more seriously—hmmm! But the very thought of that comes too late in the day on my only day off for me to do anything about it. And a part of me is just lazy and only I can be blamed for that.

I remember the time I was walking down Fisherman’s Warf in SF just looking at half a dozen things that people were doing to make a living—spray painting, dancing, sketching and drawing, fire juggling, stand up comedians, musicians, hawkers (didn’t get to see the famed Bushman!). Maybe they all have other jobs and this was their time out.

I was awe struck by this spray painter. He had on a pair of goggles and was dressed in baggy pants and a T-shirt. Around him were a few dozen paint canisters some rags, pieces of paper, and a boom box. It was about 7 in the evening and he was working by a small lamp. He waited for a crowd to build, and once a small crowd had gathered, the artist was a picture of concentration. With some techno music playing in the background, he began working. His hands were flying across a board that was his canvas with precise strokes or half strokes, a smudge here and an extra coat of paint there. Occasionally he paused to swap cans or tear a piece of paper and hold it at an angle to form some shape or shade the image. And voila in fifteen minutes or less he was done. He brought to life the Golden Gate Bridge by night. There was the bridge in all its splendor basking in the moonlight and a silvery reflection of the moon in the bay and city lights. And to think he did it all with cans of spray paint; this guy was simply amazing. I had never seen anybody painting

That day and a few days later I remember thinking, why am I doing what I am doing when there are a zillion other ways to make a living.

I don’t think I can paint or be a photographer and make a living. I like the trappings of a comfortable office and the feeling that I am actually doing something productive during the day and sometimes nights on end. It’s all about being in that comfortable zone with whatever you are doing. But some time in the future, don’t know when, I want to do a street act and see how successful I am at it.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I Value My Independence More Today…

Been two months since I last blogged… Sooooooo much has happened in the past couple of months. Been busy as a bee, that and snatches of laziness kept me away from my little cozy nook in cyber nowhere. Well, that’s another thing there was just so much happening I didn’t know where to begin. The New Year is here and I have made no resolutions… what’s the point when I never even make an effort to live up to it! Looking back at the year that was I couldn’t have asked for a better ending.

After clocking a few thousand air miles across the length and breadth of America and the final home stretch, it is good to be home in time for the holidays, I’m glad I’m around things that are familiar to me. I had a rollicking time while I was away with its share of ups and downs—-but more ups than downs. Met some of the most interesting people ever—-some of them absolute characters I will remember for a looooooooong while to come. Got to see some interesting places and cities and did some absolutely wacky things. I miss Thursday evening Beer Club sessions! Miss the bars and how late they are open.

I miss some of the independence I had, which I learned to cherish and appreciate even more after visiting some of my kith and kin at NJ. Ok that’s it! That’s what this post is going to be all about. I’m going to put it down anyway even at the cost of becoming a social pariah among my own people if they end up reading this post (F, initially I thought there was something wrong with me, but after I spoke to you, I knew it wasn’t just me. Hey, I’m a goner, but…!)

I was happy to meet some of my aunts and uncles and cousins at NJ over Thanksgiving weekend. I was meeting some of them after 3 years or more and some others I don’t even remember how long ago I met them, and others I was meeting for the first time. It was good to be around them during the holidays and I got to eat an Indianized version of the traditional turkey dinner, yummm!!! Got some shopping and sightseeing done and hungout with my cousins. Visited a client in NY—-an experience in it self and enough to fill another post, if I have the time.

After spending around 10 days with them, I was almost glad to be out of there. I am grateful that they had me over and took me around and everything, but by day 10 I needed my space. I’m not surprised that we get labeled as being clannish and clingy. In all my ten days there, I found that most of the time everyone tended to hang around other Indians—-actually Malayalees mind you not even Indians from other states. It’s almost as though a certain sort of xenophobia envelopes them and they so don’t care about mixing with the rest of the population and are happy milling around people from their own district in Kerala, forget the country. And to think these are families that have lived in America for 20 years if not more. What has living there taught them? Yes, preserve your culture and traditions, but they’ve shut themselves out so much that they probably be victims of culture shock when they visit India!

Being Thanksgiving day and a traditional get together, I wore the only salwar kameez that I took with me. I like wearing salwar kameez it’s one of the more elegant outfits, but skipped the dupatta. And I was really tickled when an uncle of mine asked “Don’t you have a dupatta?” God help them, which century are they living in? Anyone worried about my modesty or lack there of, cause I didn’t wear a dupatta, can go fly kites for all I care! And that was just the beginning of a string of events that found me off keel for a few days.

While at home, I’ve been out until 2 a.m. without having to give hourly updates of my whereabouts! Little did I know that going into the city was going to set so many phones ringing. I had a total of six missed calls and half as many voice messages asking where I was. As though that weren’t enough, this paranoid uncle of mine calls my boss god knows how many times and leaves a message asking me to call home. What in hell was he thinking??? Will always remember this as one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I would like to believe he is worried about me and all of that, but there are limits even to paranoia!!! When I asked him later about why he called so many times he said he thought I lost my purse and phone and numbers. Felt like telling him this is only freaking NY, I speak the language and can get around or ask people, I’ve been in countries where I didn’t speak the language had no phone and had to walk half a mile asking for directions. They really don’t know when to let go, I guess.

Wow this is turning out to be one of my longest posts ever!

Yet another incident really left me thinking as to what had become of these people. My 20-something cousin and I were pulling out of a parking space when she looked out at the car next to us and cursed “Damned Asian! He shouldn’t be driving a Benz.” Looking out I saw the driver next to us, a guy with Mongoloid features. I was shocked and I asked “Did you just call him Asian?” And she just said “yeah, that’s what we call them.” What’s become of them, that was bloody racist, brash, and disgusting. Somewhere down the line she had forgotten her ethnicity. What did she think she was Caucasian?

Been mulling over everything that happened and am finally able to put it down now. I know the kind of reaction I will get if I talked about it at home “You were a guest and so…blah …blah …blah.” But I guess I just put up with it while it lasted. That’s another thing we are famous for putting up with all kind of BS. We just let things be without caring or taking a stand. And for letting things be, we deserve what is dished out to us. And now I’m in an absolutely shitty mood…but glad I got that out of my system.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

For Fans of The Great Indian Laughter Challenge

Here is a great one...
and another one.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

It Just Wasn’t Meant To Be…

I decided to head to the mall for a change… And boy did it teach me a lesson.

Well, first I was deciding how I would make my commute… So the adventurous part of me screams "take the bus"—taxi was just too easy—so map and address in hand I headed toward the place where I have seen a couple of people wait for buses. I asked at several stores for a bus number that might take me there, but had no luck. I found myself walking one way and then the other when people directed me—this wasn’t getting me anywhere. Well I wasn’t giving up just like that. And I was very very determined to find this bus stop, any other day I would have given up my quest long ago.

Heck, no one knows where bus stops are. I wouldn’t blame them entirely. If they had more conspicuous boards, people would know where buses stopped—then I figured there were signs it’s just that they were lost in a million other road signs along the sidewalk. But that didn’t help either, cause I didn’t have the bus number yet. So for the nth time I walk up to this guy and ask for directions and he gives me a bus route book, God bless him! From the book I figured, if I walked for about 2 kms, I would reach the bus stop for bus number 30/238, which would take me all the way to Barton Creek Mall. So I started walking stopping occasionally to take a picture or two and check the map, I think about how Austin doesn’t have a mass transport system and how stranded you feel if you don’t have transportation of your own.

My feet were beginning to tire. I’ve been walking for one and a half hours now, but I push myself to walk the last block. I’m glad when I finally see the sign and the dark green wrought iron bench—the only sign that it’s a designated bus stop. I sat there for five minutes. Looked up the book, yes, I was in luck my bus was scheduled to arrive in five minutes. I see some newspaper on the bench and another sheet of paper on the bench, but take no note of it thinking it’s something someone probably forgot. Ten minutes have passed and my bus hasn’t shown up. While I wait and watch, this guy walks up to the bench and bends down to pick up the sheet of paper reads it, mumbles something and keeps walking. Now I was curious. I pick up this piece of paper and wham like a slap in the face in big print I read something to the effect of Bus number 30/328 not operating on that route from Nov 5th. I let out a curse, several actually, and look upward and ask WHY ME?

And that was it. I took out my phone and called a taxi and went to the mall. While in the taxi, I was thinking of all that had happened in the past couple of hours. I was just not meant to ride the bus today. And no prizes for guessing how I got back from the mall, taxi, of course! But do I want to try it again….. hhhmmmm? I don’t know.

Maybe I’ll have better luck on a Satruday!