Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Our Kinda Day

So today has been set aside for blogs. And Megha, I think you rock. No, people, I did not just say that because she mentioned my blog. At least, not just because of that. But seriously, have you read the stuff she writes? You will not even question my rock statement if you did.

So I'm supposed to go ahead and name 5 blogs that I have "discovered", I read daily, and I would love to recommend. Here goes:

Ek Cup Chai
- A fresh look at all things Boston.

A Cerebral Outpost - She can have you rolling on the floor holding your sides in literal pain. And yet you will quickly straighten up and eagerly read on.

Travels With A Centipede - Please get over the creepy crawly centipedy feeling and read his stuff. I did, and now I'm a regular.

Malignant Humour in My Head - A penchant for creepy stories with lots of dead people and murders and a ghost or two thrown in. I miss the spooky stuff sorely when he actually talks about normal stuff.

A Twilight Fairy
- She blows me away with the stuff she suddenly pulls out. Cycle ki Sawari and Pushp ki Abhilashas are some of them. She also has a blog about all her fun/finn times. Check it out.

I also go and pay my daily respects to the Kings and Queens (Patrix, Megha, Alpha, Anti, Shub, Ash, Sanguine,..) who have reigned over desi blogland for a long, long, time. And also my favorite not-so-desi ones like Dooce, who in my opinion, is talented beyond comparison.
So well er..Happy Blog Day everybody!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Definition Dilemma

Listless. This is changing, that is changing. Have you ever felt unsure about how you should feel? It’s all new to me.
And then, thanks to random play (or shuffle as the latest version calls it), Amit Kumar croons to me

“Kaisa lagta hai?”
As I try to push away the image of Salman Khan’s questioning, trying-to-be-soulful eyes that immediately spring to mind, the answer comes along in Anuradha Paudwal’s lilt
“Acchhaa lagta hai..”

And surprisingly that sums it up quite well. And as Nagma's face and body seem to have faded from memory, I let the song play to completion.

So sometimes it only takes one corny Hindi song to put things in perspective? Or am I plain losing my marbles?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Hunters

Isn’t it great that a hunter doesn’t have to negotiate with the prey? Imagine proposals going between hunter and prey, offers being rejected, and counter-offers being made.

“An arm and a leg”
“An arm and a leg and your meaty behind”
“There’s no other prey around, I’m the meatiest in your range, take it or leave it”.


Instead, you corner the prey and it’s yours. No mind games, just winning or losing. Now imagine two hunters. Easier to spot a prey and quicker results! Assuming of course both hunters prefer the same kind of meat. And that brings me to the beginning of today’s rant.

We are house-hunting. And that is a great word for it, because the stalking, spotting, chasing and pinning down which is the natural process of procuring a house is akin to actually hunting for prey. And the hunters here prefer very different kinds of meat. In fact, one is a vegetarian and gets preoccupied with fruit picking every time they are hot on a chase, much to the annoyance of the other. One had been raised in a city, and is hence crazy for wide spaces with big trees, while the other actually grew up surrounded in acres of tree-filled gardens and in some senses might have had enough of it. One hunts for project-potential. His eyes glint at the prospect of tearing down the kill and preparing a dish that is all his, very noble thought but time-taking and slightly risky. His fingers itch to line up all his tools and toys and get to work on every part of the prey, an endeavor that might well take more than a couple of years, that will require unrelenting dedication and patience. The vegetarian looks for a quick, nicely prepared green salad with the parmesan already sprinkled on top and a silver spoon on a napkin on the side. She will be able to have her salad right after buying it. All crisp and fresh it will be! In all fairness, she is not very concerned about where the greens came from, whether it will be a good crop every year, whether future crops will get the support they need, whether it will be a well watered field and least of all whether the drainage is public or private. She accepts that these are important, but they don’t govern her every waking moment.

But they set out hunting together every weekend and sometimes during the week too. Sniffing around. They have a referee with them, who gets a portion of the kill when we are done with this chase. But the referee is not my friend - as I am reminded every so often by my fellow hunter. Along with a warning to never fall in love with the prey. All is lost if that happens he says, we don’t want the prey strutting around knowing your heart beats for it. But I am afraid he did not pay heed to his own warning. And I think the man is in love, though he protests and denies. So I am just glad that he usually falls for something only for the good reasons. We will hopefully get lucky and have some great meat, with the salad as a side too. Ah, that would make a good meal and I sure have built up an appetite for it. But for now, we continue to cross our fingers and sniff the air.

Friday, August 12, 2005

B(P)eachy Memories...

We were at a beach house over the weekend. In the company of three other couples and another couple of people who are not a couple (Though they might get there, that guy is fighting a losing battle and we watch, amused). It was a rusty old house but it had this spanking new pool table in the basement and a grill in the back yard and the women found out that sending only the men to “check out” a place is maybe not the smartest idea. But still, we gabbed, waded, grilled, played, ate, drank and made merry. The best part was the sea of course and we spent hours on the beach and I’m still peeling, but it was so worth it.

Watching the sunset standing hip-deep in water, I went into that expressively vulnerable mood that one can go into while standing on a sea shore watching the sun set. I turned and yelled to the hubby standing in the water with just the tips of his toes in water “It’s gorgeous, na?”. You might have imagined me leaning on Mr.Gabby’s shoulder or something like that, sorry to send that image down the shredder. The group was packed and ready to go. As I waded back to the others, my thoughts sped back to my very first beach trip. It was in Vishakapatnam, a coastal town in Andhra Pradesh. I was there with my cousins and zero adult supervision. What a trip that was! Sliced mangoes with salt and red pepper smeared on them, (sold for a mere Rupee) clutched in our sticky hands, running in and out of the water, dunking and pushing crossing all safe limits, chasing each other and the girls yelling so loud I think only the stray dogs could actually hear us. As I lead my second-cousin, a guy known for his gray eyes and thick brown locks, a very rare and treasured commodity in the land of chocolate skin and ebony hair, deeper and deeper into the water I stopped short and squealed out in pain. The pain in my right foot was excruciating and 15 minutes later, I was sitting on a stone baby dinosaur in that park called Voda that borders this beach with my second cousin gently pulling a 4 cm splinter out of my foot. Once done, he proceeded to give me a foot rub, checking to see if it was all okay. My other cousins, bored by now with this typical Gabby-drama and no longer having the satisfaction of seeing me wince in pain, started to move away. And this suited us just fine. And there, sitting primly on a baby dinosaur with the backdrop of a golden sunset, with her foot and not her hand in second-cousin’s hands, Gabby received her first ever romantic proposal. Very nice, I remember thinking. This is what the 2nd-last chapter of every Mills & Boons describes! And at this point ladies, let us pause and note the power of the wet tee-shirt/shorts combination. Yes, even on a lanky 14 year old who had yet to possess anything worth writing home about, it can turn an average guy’s head, like little else can. Or at least push him over the edge if it was a little screwed in the first place.

I laughed. Not a yes or a no. Not even the “Will you wait for me?” that I had actually rehearsed in my mind. Because suddenly, it wasn’t so much fun anymore. The excitement had been replaced with fear...I had this sudden urge to talk to my Mom... or maybe it was a shallower reason, the high of the chase was over. I don’t know. I do remember him writing me long letters after that vacation. And then he decided to visit us. Panic clouded my thoughts for days, till I told my parents about it. They laughed their heads off. I am guilty of hiding the part where I led him up the garden path of course, but hey I was 14 then, and I am telling you all the right version now, aren’t I?

“He waded in after me, however deep I went, you know” I tell Mr.Gabby as we pile into the car.
“I’m sure” he says, gesturing to dust my sandy feet before getting inside.
“He wrote me a poem” I added. “It was very good”.
Adjustment of radio station.
“Don’t publish it as your own.” A delayed response. And not the right one.
“He told me he wanted me to be happy. Even if it wasn’t with him” I say.
“Too nice. You would have clobbered him.”

Ah, second-cousin, seems like you are better off this way. My husband, he thinks you’re too nice for me. He on the other hand, is just right, which doesn't make him very nice, does it?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Thinking.....

Summer of 2000 was one of the “fun-est” periods of my life. I was in-between Grad school and work, waiting for the elusive OPT card (that would permit me to work in the United States) to be mailed to me, I had little to do except wander around shopping for work-clothes (read: clothes I never wore to work) and attending farewell parties for numerous people I had grown to know so well, some friends for this lifetime and more and some of who I wish I never got to know at all. The afternoons would be spent reading novels and gossiping and doing my nails. Little did I realize that that summer was the last vacation of my life that would be longer than 2.5 weeks. During which I would not need to take 19 hour trips to India or think/organize/arrange my life to painstaking detail for 2 months before the vacation so I could chill for 2.5 weeks. Ah, I was naive and I thought life after getting that thesis to the Grad school after the 100th “suggestion” by my advisor was incorporated, was going to be a ball. I would have more money, more freedom and I would finally be that independent career woman. I soon found out that working full-time does not mean you have more money, it just means you have more expenses. And freedom, that’s a very relative term. But that summer was good. It was also the first time I saw an Oprah show. Now, these are not so bad actually and sometimes you get to see these really smartly dressed celebrities gushing to Oprah while she gushes to them. But sooner or later, along came Dr.Phil and that is when my migraines would start. Now I hear that his own exclusive show named Dr.Phil(!) has been renewed for the next decade or 1000 years or something of that order. WOW, I think. If a man can talk about “tough love” and make that kind of money, what is my Mom doing? She has been a proclaimer for tough-love for as far back as I can remember. “Toughen up” summarized all her standard rules for doing well in life and it was closely followed by “No self-sympathy please.” Whiners were not tolerated and some days when I hear somebody whining and complaining about the situation they are in, or myself for that matter, I wish my Mom could be there just to give this person a good shake. Nobody could do it as she could. I lack that touch. Yes, she would make a great Dr.Phil. Problem is, she hates to interfere in peoples’ lives, unlike me. Now if only we could get my slightly pokey-nature to go along with her, we would have that wonderful, love-to-listen-to-your-problems-and-help, smiling-yet-frowning-in-concentration Dr.Phil. We would be great, I tell you. My curiosity would ebb them on and my Mom would deliver that grand intervention-sermon in the end, when everyone sees the light. We would tour America and make billions. Ah, but that ship has sailed. She is the wonderful homemaker that she is and I just do what I do, accompanied by occasional muses like this. Maybe I will just live vicariously through my children one day. That can be quite a bit of fun. For me. For them, not so much. But they can maybe just “help” themselves. It always pays to have a shrink in the house.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

It’s a Good Day

She was wandering around looking a little lost and a little neglected. She looked pretty in her muted sky-blue printed pinafore, which wasn’t a CoCo or a Ralph Lauren, more like Target’s home brand for kids. It would have been difficult to spot her among the crowds on her appearance alone but like any other child she had her own brand of freshness. A cheery smile lit up her face most of the time. I stopped to check on her. She looked up and I was surprised to see even pensive frown lines on that young forehead - a telltale sign of ups and downs and frowns and tempers. She definitely had her moods this one.
“Where’s your Mommy? Or, your Daddy maybe?” I asked.
“She is somewhere around. I don’t see her much these days” she said.
“What!?” I thought...surprised and perplexed by this response.
“Really? Doesn’t she take care of you?”
“Most of the time, but sometimes she wanders off and returns only when she remembers me.”
“Oh, how responsible!?!” I thought...shaking my head in disapproval.
And deciding that she needed more than a little help, I reached out for her hand. Suddenly I realized how young she was. They don’t even talk at that age - I used to think.
“What’s your name baby? How old are you?”
“I’m called C'est la Vie! And today, I turn 6 months old.”
She raised questioning and hopeful eyes at me.
“Could you ask her to take better care of me?”

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It’s been 6 months folks and though I’m not as regular with the posts as I want to be, I know this is here to stay. Thanks for making me feel so welcome!