Monday, December 31, 2007

The Year that Was .... 2007



So, another year comes to an end. WOW! that one went by pretty fast - seems like just yesterday that it started. And it is already that time when all those "top 10" lists are popping up. I also have one such "list" to make - thanks to Preethi's Tag. I will come to that shortly - maybe tomorrow - starting a fresh year with the "what I want to dos and bes".

Now is the time for thanks and reminiscing all that went by in 2007.

It was a very nice year for me and my family. Loads of happenings - all good ones, with out major loss - which was anticipated but left a vacuum like none.

The Year began with us moving to this apartment where we are - a smaller one in comparison to where we lived before, but one that definitely made us more happy. Who ever said "Size Matters"! The Late winter and early Spring months saw us enthusiastically planning for our upcoming India trip.

The summer months just fled by - April and May - partly spent in India - with one of the biggest events in our family - my BIL's Wedding. I got a very cute little sister - not co-sister. It was so peaceful to see the satisfaction in my father-in-law's face - seeing his two sons settled in life. Made me wish god that I also be blessed with a "full" life like he had - one where he is contended with all that he has been blessed and not keep cribbing for what he never had.

It was very painful coming back here, but it was lessened to a lot by the knowledge that in 4 days my parents were joining us - for a short trip. Finally, one of my long pending duties was about to get done - getting my parents to the US and showing them places around. It was one of the best quarter we ever had in the US - when they were here. 3 months of fun - at home during weekdays and on weekends roaming around the country - and amma's tasty tasty meals every single day.

It was during their stay here that we got the bad news. My beloved Patti passed away on the 12th of May. She was in a bad state - so death was definitely a relief for her. Though we knew all this- her loss leaves a vacuum in us that probably nothing will ever fill. All family members would joke saying that somebody should make a chip out of the memories in her brain - a wealth of information it would contain. Now all that is gone with her. She was that one bonding factor which brought the scattered members of a huge family tree together - some willing some forced - but now even that driving factor is gone. It saddens me to think of that each time.

When appa and amma left in August - it left such a huge void in our lives that it took us nearly 3 weeks to get back to normal. Life seemed all the more dreadful staying so far away from close ones. It made us want to wrap up things here soon and rush back.

Both the Mr. and Me changed jobs this year - went to places that were much better than where we were - giving us good joy. I got to do the work I always wanted to do finally and also had a good "gang" of girl friends at work.

August also saw the birth of cute lil 'S' - my dearest friend 'S's daughter. October welcomed the son of R and G. All happy newses and cute pictures floated around.

God blessed us both with good health and the needed wealth to keep us going this year. All our family is safe, healthy and happy - giving us the needed assurance. My in-laws' dreams came true. My parents' were satisfied with their trip here. So, in all a good year. With loads of thanks and gratitude to the Uparwala!

I take this time to thank all those who were part of life this year and are continuing to be a part the next year. Thankful to all those friends who were there for me in times of need, there when I wanted to share a happy news. And thank god for good health, peace in the family and contentment in the heart, and for helping us out anytime we faced an issue or problem.

So, with a happy heart I close one more year. A year filled with zillions of memories, some stored in pages of diaries, some in "forever memory", some on calendar pages, some as photos on our scrap board and some on my blog.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snowed In

It is snowing or rather blowing snow very hard outside. For probably the first time this winter, we have had this much accumulation (about 5-8 inches of snow, says the weather channel) - I beleive them - don't want to confirm it by testing.Seeing this - no Kohls, no Meijer, no Namaste Plaza - the Mr. said with a stern face.



So, we let out creative juices flow and the result ...


Mine



The Mr's Master Strokes



I took a couple of pics from the balcony, braving the strong winds ..




What was once our "Hara bhara" garden.



Am I glad to be on this side of the "Post" and not the other. Who ever said "Grass is always Greener on the other side"

Want to come home? Have a Seat?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Second Tag

Sorry Preethi, for the huuuuuuuuuuuge delay in getting to this. I am sure you understand and forgive me .... after all isn't XMAS the season for forgiveness :) hee hee ....

Okay now moving on to my Tag. This probably will be the most quirkiest thing I have ever written on my blog . LOL.

1. How do you feel after a one night stand?

Oh! I would looove it if it was anyone in the list .. Yesudas, Asha Bhonsle, Shreya Ghoshal, KK, Sonu Nigam, SPB ... the list goes on..... Wait - hold your horses, before you get me all Judged up - according to Wikipedia .... one night stand means ... A one-night stand is originally a single night theatre performance (usually a guest group on tour) ........ and i did not bother to read beyond that ;).

2. Do you ever get used to wearing a thong?

Nope ... would not want to try one too :)

3. Does it hurt?

Would not know ..

4. Do you know when you are acting crazy?

What do mean by "Act" ... ain't I crazy all the time ??

5. Does size really matter?

Well depends on the "thing" whose size we are talking of :)

6. When the bill comes are you still a feminist?

After marriage, I carefully choose to ignore that word for a lot of "beneficial" reasons .. hee hee

7. Why do you take so long to get ready?

Half of the charm is in the anticipation .... so make them wait :)

8. Do you watch porn, too?

"Too" - does that mean you watch it ????? Preethi - you never told me !!!!

9. Will something from Tiffany’s solve everything?

Depends on WHAT needs solving ..

10. Are guys as big of a mystery to you as you are to us?

Why even give that much of a thought about them :) .... Too much time waste to think...

11. Why do you sometimes think you look fat?

Sometimes ???? these days it is alwaaaaaaays and no matter what i do ;)

12. Why are you always late?

See Answer 7.

13. Does it bother you when we scratch?

Yewwwwwwwww .... the mean thought gives goose bumps..

14. Do you wish you could pee standing up?

Never ... i love sitting when given the chance :)

15. Why do so many women cut their hair short as soon as they get married?

Nope - no idea... never done that before.. Well actually i think - guys give us enough trouble and it falls off on its own, why bother cutting it ?

16. How often do you think about sex?

No Comments ....

17. What do you think of women who sleep with guys on the first date?

hmmm... are you that desperate??

18. Would you?

Nope!

19. Do you realize every guy wants a girl just like his mom?

I know for sure he does not "want" a girl as old as his mom....

20. Why does every woman think she can change him?

hmmm.... no answer - guilty as sin !

21. Does it matter what car I drive?

Nope ... as long as you let me drive it too :)

22. Do you ever fart?

Shhh ..... some things are best unsaid ...

Phew..... that was some Tag :) .... I enjoyed it though ... thanks Preethi...

Photo Sharing

It is ages since I have been wanting to scribble here and have not got time. I wanted to write about our Thanksgiving holiday in Miami and Key West, wanted to complete the Tag Preethi gave me and many more ... but have been so very busy at work and quite ill with the temperature change (miami was 85F , Detroit is 25F) ... Anyway, this excuse of busy is always there in everybody's live.
I think despite being caught in domestic and official affairs , you should take out some little time for yourself - that time where nothing else but you and you alone matter.
Since a very long time, I wanted to write about this - Photo Sharing.

There was a time, say about 5-6 years ago, when the only photographs that people every had of themselves or trips or families were the printed ones - and it was a pain scanning these photos to share with friends or relatives. But with the advent of the digital cameras - sizes ranging from ones as big as a watermelon to ones as small as lemon - sharing photos has become the most easiest thing in lives. And with free photo sites and chat windows that enable file transfer being every so common, there are probably millions of photos being shared and viewed right at this moment.

I keep getting photos from friends atleast once a week, if not at a rate more than that. There are some very small things- pretty annoying things which I wonder why people don't even bother to pay attention to. They are a bit time consuming tasks but then without these I feel that the whole purpose of the photo sharing is lost. They are:

  1. Half of the photos will not be rotated - so when you transfer your photo from the camera and it is upside down or oriented in the right side direction, you just upload it the same way. Is the looker supposed to get his head corrected or lift and rotate his laptop to view the photo ? Do you really think anybody would look further down the snaps if he/she finds such annoying snaps often in the list that you send ?
  2. There is not one word of caption - describing where the photo was taken and who are all the morons smiling at the camera in the kodak moment ? Not everybody who knows you - is acquainted with every single human in your life - but maybe if you put a line there -"My sis", or "My friends" .... it would make things more interesting and maybe more meaningful.
  3. The whole purpose of having a digital camera is to be able to click 4-5 snaps so that one of that might be a good one. But when you transfer all the contents to a website hosting your pictures, why don't you spare a moment to take out the "trash" ones. Often you will find snaps where there is probably only 1/4th of somebody's leg showing up or everything else being in focus other than the intended subject. Is it too much to ask that you remove these and only upload the good ones ?
I am not a 'Great' professional photographer - nor do I proclaim to be an expert at the art of renaming, filtering and rotating photographs. But when I do share photos with somebody, I take the pains of doing the above 3 - because I know that if am to generate atleast a spark of interest in the recipient - these are the minimum I should do - else my email would also go to the most common place where most emails are found - "TRASH".

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tagged!


Yahooo! Finally I got tagged. I never thought this day would come. For more than 2 years I have been blogging but nobody has every tagged me..... I am so happy.... Thanks a tonnnnnne Preethi.

Rules of the game: Link to the person that tagged you, and post
the rules on your blog.Share 7 random and/or weird facts about
yourself.Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links
to their blogs.Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving
a comment on their blog.

Okay now for the Tag. Well, it certainly is a tough one - 7 weird/random things about me. Hmm... I really don't know what to write. They may not be weird things - in the sense that maybe everybody does or have these things, but then here goes.

  1. Okay the first thing that comes to my mind is my weird obsession to "note" every single happening in my life. I always have this insatiably desire to write down almost every single thing that happens in my life. Right from when I woke up, to what I ate, whom I met, what I spoke, what I am feeling, what I am wearing.... oh! it just goes on. I took to the diary writing habit - much to the dislike of my parents when I was about 14 years old. Even today when I read those diaries I feel there is probably this one part of me that has never changed. Even those days I would start off "I woke up at 6 today ..." or " the vendakai upperi today was fantastic..." or "I am feeling so depressed today" or "I wore the red skirt I love so much". And this one line too " I have been wanting to write down sooo much but have not found time. Wish there was some way that every thought that goes through my mind gets recorded on paper somewhere automatically"! I think i will find this line no matter which year's diary I read.
  2. I am scared of darkness. To this day, I need a light somewhere in the house (which I can see) when I go to sleep. I get scared of ghost movies, ghost images and all. I saw one ghost movie when I was about 11 or so, where this ghost springs from a box - and for many months to come I was scared of the flush tank in my bathroom. About 3 or 4 years ago, I decided to be extra-ordinarily brave and went to see "Raaz" in the theatre. For 6 months, the very few inconsequential (from the perspective of a horror-movie lover) scenes, where i kept my eyes open while watching the movie haunted my dreams and waking moments.
  3. I am my worst enemy. I can preach to thousands of folks about confidence, can boost anybody spirits, can talk for hours about other's issues and try to provide solutions - but don't have an ounce of self confidence. I cannot convince myself to be able to strong in doing anything. I always need somebody who can tell me - Yes you can do it. Each exam day morning in college, found me sitting near the telephone in the hostel - amma pouring "energy tonic" into my ears. Later it even came to a situation where my juniors would come to wish me and tell me that I would do the exam well.
  4. I find it very difficult to be "interested" in some hobby for a long time. There was a time when I read books like crazy. In school, I was the only one who would borrow books from the library during exams. But then suddenly I seem to have lost all interest in books.
  5. I love anything and everything related to "girly" stuff. I love dressing up, wearing matching stuff, shopping for matching stuff. I love decorating my books with cute patterns or stickers. I love putting up nice posters in my house, cutting out images from magazines and scrapbooking them. I love wearing jasmine flowers in my hair (I miss them soooo dearly here in the US). I love pattu sarees and jewellery (mostly costume and a bit of gold). I love wearing bangles - glass, plastic, metal. I enjoy being a girl/woman and love the vibrant colors that we have in our dressing. In fact I think I played with dolls and choppu for the longest - even when I was in Class 6 or 7 !!! That is one reason I have never been able to like western clothing where all colors seem so bland to me. If you have been reading my blog for long, you should have read this.
  6. Oh! Have I written only 5 till now ? It seems like I have been writing for ages....That brings me to another weird thing about me. I love elaborating. I cannot be poetic or write like writers do, but with my very limited vocabulary I can elaborate on a situation, event of a feeling. I used to write long long letters to my amma while in hostel and loved getting her letters as they reflected my nature exactly. I would describe everything from the menu in the hostel to all conversations we had, to all activities that we have planned and so on. (Does this look like Point#1 itself?). I guess I got it from my grandmother (amma's amma) - who could describe about a single room for nearly 30 minutes - and a room that she probably never even visited.
  7. I hate to write this about myself - for it is something I am really trying to change about myself. But then a blog is a place where I need to be candid - what is the point in sugar coating things and exposing only the "BEST" part of me - right? I - don't know how to put this - think I have some fixed set of ideas - mostly driven by regional/caste/gender prejudices. Let me try to explain - okay stuff like - Malayalis are this way, bengalis are this, tam-brahms are this - they do stuff like this ... and so on. Many a times I have been proved wrong - and learnt my lesson. So, I have stopped judging people based on where they come from, what they eat, where they grew up or what gender they are.... but old habits do sometimes kick in. Well, to be fair to myself - it is not always the "wrong" thing that I think - I even think of the positives.
Well there - my life is a open book now.... naah! not really... just how do you know all the above trash is true ... hee hee kidding... But boy - this is probably one post I really really had to think a loooot before I wrote.

It certainly was so nice to be tagged - thanks again Preethi.

Now to tag my friends...I would like to tag Chandrika, Kumari, P.Sirisha, Prathibha, Ram, Venu , Deepthi , Sarada and Subha to write 7 weird/random things about themselves.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Chrisma - Task#1

Ah!..... Got it - Got reminded of one of the tasks. It was given to probably the laziest person in our group - my dear friend R.
He was asked to go to each and every body's desk, early in the morning, ask respectfully if they wanted tea or coffee and bring them their choice and serve it on their desk.

We all derived great fun pulling R's legs and had great rollicking fun seeing him do this. Each one of us ordered werid things - horlicks, boost, bournvita - of course none of our wishes were satisfied :P .....


Powered by ScribeFire.

Chrisma

The Christmas season has already begun here. All the streets in downtown detroit are getting dressed up with the finest of wares - trees, wreath, lights, bells and what not. In the Mr's office lobby - they have cleared up the entire area and set up about 20 christmas trees each one decorated uniquely and brilliantly.

As I walked past the fine exhibits, I got reminded of "Chrisma" - the game I played only once in my entire life - the christmas of 2004. I got to know of the existence of this game about 10 years ago, when I noticed and very beautiful statue in my cousin's room and she mentioned that her "Chris child" had given it to you.

In the December of 2004, our team members decided that we would 'play' this game for a week. There are various variations of the game and you can create your own rules. This is what we had decided. One morning the names of all the team members would be written down in chits and each one would pick a 'chit' - that person would be our 'Chris Child'. We had to give 'tasks' to the ChrisChild and if he/she performed it, we were also to give a gift to our "child" - the catch being - all this has to be done without the Chrischild knowing who is Ma/Pa is. During that one week, each one could take one chance at guessing who the Chirsma/Pa is. If it turned right - then that pair of Chrisma/Pa- ChrisChild were out of the game and the Chrischild earned a "brownie" point. If it turned wrong - the Chrischild would only get tasks and no gifts.

That was probably one of the best Christmases I ever had. We had such wonderful fun. Initially people were not being sportive and giving tasks, but once the heat caught on - it was like - who could think of the most ingenious task for their ChrisChild.

I had planned for this game very lovingly and my Chrischild turned out to be somebody who really did not appreciate the beauty of my gifts and it turned even sour for me when he guessed my name before the game was over. My ChrisPa on the other hand turned out to be a good surprise.

Strange I always prided on my memory to be really good, but now it fails me badly - I can hardly remember what tasks I was given or what were some of the best tasks. Maybe in time I will remember a few and then will jot those down.

Thinking of that wonderful week brought a smile on my face today morning and for a long time I thought lovingly of the fun days spent in that project - which till date has been my best one in all my years of experience. I doubt if I will ever get a team as good as that - or a time as good as that.


Powered by ScribeFire.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Happy Diwali!


Wish you all a very happy and prosperous diwali. May this festival bring joy, light and happiness into your lives.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

An Evening in Paris - no Detroit!



For the first time in the nearly-2 years that we have been in this city; we went out for a night event in downtown. Detroit downtown is very notorious for the unsavory crowd that it hosts. There are dark tales out there of numerous shootings, muggings and what not. Till about 6 months ago, the Mr. would not even venture to step into the downtown, even during daytime, even if he was paid a million dollars. Of late, the air that comes from that part seems to be nice. We keep hearing of how "good" things are getting, how friendly the surroundings are being made, how the burnt out buildings are being replaced by something that is close to normal.

It was when my parents came here and we had no choice but to tour them the city we lived in - that we visited the downtown for the 1st time. It was not that bad - but then it was mid afternoon on a warm summer day too. A month or so later, my company arranged for a tour-de-detroit one warm fall evening - it was this tour that gave us a bit more confidence about the sanity of the place.

When the Mr.'s buddy gave news that Russel Peters was going to be in town and the show was in downtown - I guess our fears no longer mattered. We were "introduced" to this stand-up comedian by a friend of ours who played one of Russel's videos for us. We laughed till our sides split and became instant fans of this Canadian born Indian 'racial' comedian. Majority of his comedy is based on the different races in the world. If you are not too touchy, it is wonderful. He makes fun of just almost all the races in the world - particularly Indians.

So, there we were - the first to arrive at 7 PM - in Music Hall for the "live" comedy show. Till about 7:50, there was hardly any crowd in the hall. We began to wonder if it was a good decision - this sudden braveness! We did not want to be caught alone in the huge hall - just with a few unwanted characters. But within the next 15 minutes, the entire hall was filled - mostly with "ABCDs". We were probably the only Indians ( born and bought up in India and been here just for a couple or more years). Gosh! I never knew Detroit hosted this big a crowd of Indians.

Needless to say, the show was fantabulous. My stomach and throat ached badly that night and the next morning to - from all the laughing (in case you were wondering about something else). The drive back was also not scary - as the downtown was crowded with folks.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Gosh! I cannot believe that it is a year since last Halloween. I got reminded of it when we visited S's house two weekends ago and saw a teeny-weeny pumpkin waited to be painted , in their balcony. S's daugther ran to us saying - I am going to paint my "punkin" red. I am going to paint a black "punkin". Oh! kids are so adorable...

The Mr. dutifully got out the trinkets that he had purchased at the $ store last year and so cutely arranged them. He even 'created' cobwebs. See this!


These are some of the 'rich' houses who celeberate Halloween in a really big way! We captured these while we were attempting to do some "fall" photography in a really "posh" neighborhood nearby.

Happy Halloween to you all!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Why the Cashew nut grows out of the fruit?



The Mr. and I are supposedly photo freaks - it is almost mid October and we have not got a single "Fall" photo - can you believe that? I guess "Fall" is falling behind time this year. Well with temperatures still in late 60s and early 70s what do you expect. For two days it was in the 50s and a couple of over-eager Maple's started to change color - but that is it! No forests of "flaming" trees or lawns covered with mounds of red, maroon and yellow colored leaves....

Every day when I drive to work, I see these 3 single trees proudly displaying their colors - each one alone admist all other lush green ones. It reminded me of a story that I read in Tinkle as a little kid - how the Cashew nut came to be outside the fruit!

One of the many blessings that my lovely parents gave me as a kid - was my reading habit. There was no dearth for books as a kid. Amma would ensure I got one of my most favorite book as one of my birthday presents. And every fortnight I would get the new Tinkle. Ah! I miss those thick bound Tinkle books in my bookshelf. I would read, read and re-read all those stories for years together. Okay, enough of straying off the point. Now to the story.

In a bit forest there were all kind of trees, Oaks, Maple's, banyans and so on. There was also one Cashew tree. Every year when winter melted and spring start, the trees would slowly start to bloom. All the trees would start blooming at the same time, except of the Cashew - which always bloomed first. The trees were angry at this. They felt that the Cashew was trying to steal limelight by blooming first. They complained to the Forest King - who chided the Cashew for not being a part of the group and blooming along with the others. A sad Cashew said he would try and bloom along with the others next year.
The year ended, winter swept in - robbing away all tress of their leaves. Soon, the last of snow melted away and lo - the Cashew was already in full bloom, the other trees had barely managed to start regrowing their leaves.

The forest god was furious! He said that he would not take the Cashew's impudence anymore. He plucked one of the Cashew's fruits and stamped on it. A small seed popped out. The forest god threw the fruit at the Cashew and said - "Let it be remembered that you disobeyed my orders! May your seed always grow outside your fruit!".

So, that's how the Cashew Nut came to be living outside the fruit!

Mmmm.... let me go and grab an handful of those spicy Masala cashews that we bought last week!


Powered by ScribeFire.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Boys and Girls



Often I wonder how is it that god has made boys and girls as unique and separate in nature as they are. When we are born we are just two human beings - then how does that distinct "boyishness" or "girlishness" come into us on its own. I don't think parents teach the toddler of a year how to "behave" like a boy or a girl.

Couple of weeks ago we had a couple over for dinner. They brought along their 1 year old son. Within seconds it became evident that all of the Mr's precious plants and our beautiful decorations that were within his reach were in grave danger.
Despite taking all sorts of precautions we ended up with two broken souvenir glasses. The kid would not stay still for a single minute - needed constant monitoring and would lay hands on anything that was within his reach.

Couple of days ago Mrs and Mr C dropped in for a little chat - and brought along their cute 3 year old daughter. All the 3 hours that they were at home, this doll just ran around , making conversations with me, playing by holding my hands or jumping up and down on the bed. She admired all the beautiful artifacts in our bookshelf and commented on them, but did not even touch them. There was nothing to be cleared or cleaned when they left.

Makes me wonder just how do boys and girls be so different inherently. Mom-in-law's reminisces - She had to tie the Mr to the sofa when he was a toddler to get even the minimal of work done - else he would break up everything he could lay hands on, or stuff anything that would go into his mouth. I can't recall my mother complaining anything of that sort about my childhood.

Ever since I can remember we have always had toddlers in our house - all the while we lived in the quarters in vizag. First it was the twins - Ramu and Shamu - not a moment of peace when they would come home. I would always have to run behind them to ensure they were not upto any destructive - to themselves or the house. Then there was Sravani - docile as a lamb - all she wanted was the Vessels basket and she would quietly spend them time on her own, with small conversations with us in between.

The way boys and girls think is also so distinctly different. I am sure all would have read the forward about how a man and woman think diametrically opposite about the same situation. Here is how it goes -
The husband comes back home in a very pensive mood. The wife is worried and tries to cheer him up but he hardly responds. She begins to think of how their marriage is doomed, and that the husband is tired of her and probably wants to end the relationship and so on. She backtracks all the incidents between them to identify where she went wrong. She writes down pages of this in her diary. There is just one line in the diary of the husband's that night - "India lost the match!".

It is no wonder that books like "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" are so popular...

A small snippet of conversation that evening that Mrs and Mr. C came home - Mrs. C came into the kitchen talking to me about something when we heard Mr. C asked my husband - How much did you pay for this? Immediately Mrs. C asked - What are you asking about - the couch, the tv stand, the bookshelf ... so on? Mr C looked at her puzzled and said - No, its the Time magazine - did they buy new furniture ?

We had a good laugh at this "boy" and "girl" thing!


Powered by ScribeFire.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Dhamaal

I think the creativity in me, if there was any, is slowly dying. I just can’t seem to think of anything to write about. The moment a small idea strikes my tiny brain, some big wave crashes it off dismissing it as something non-essential.

Ah! Well just because it pains me to see the blog I so lovingly nourished until now empty for more than a fortnight – I thought I would write about the nice movie that we saw over the weekend – Dhamaal.

I cannot recall the last time we saw a hindi movie and truly enjoyed it. I stopped reading reviews of movies on Rediff – because almost every movie that is being churned out these days seems to be getting only a 1 star or max 2 stars. I could not bring myself to see ‘Chak De’ for the fright of having to bear him for 2 and half hours; though colleagues gave excellent reviews of the movie. This one, we bought (yes – these days the concept of renting seems to be lost in our grocery store – because there was only a 50 cent difference in renting and buying the n number of DVD copies that he made), because more than one person had vouched for its ability to make you laugh so hard that your stomach ached.

Well, my stomach did not ache – but I did laugh a lot while watching the movie. And as usual, no credit for originality here – the movie is a mish-mash copy of two very funny English movies – ‘It’s a Mad Mad World’ and ‘Rat Race’ – but one definitely has to give it to the 4 stars for bringing the best out of a copy. Ritesh Deshmukh, Arshad Warsi, Javed Jaffrey and Ashish Chowdary are brilliant comedians. Not many praises for the last one – but he tags on well in the group. I have grown to love Ritesh’s comedy – each and every movie I have seen of his – he has given a superb performance (no matter what the state of the rest of the movie is). Arshad – his award for the Munnabahi series speaks for himself. His timing and dialogue delivery are too good. Javed Jaffrey is a brilliant star who has not been given enough recognition I feel. As the bhondu, always-speaking-the-truth, innocent younger brother to Arshad – he gives a wonderful performance. It is his simple performance that steals your heart. No ‘acting’ this guy does. You just feel this is what he is.

Sanjay Dutt provides the ‘brawn’ and star power to the movie. Asrani is a bit loud and could have done better than just slapping and yelling.

Vijay Raaz (well known as PK Dubey) comes in for just a small scene – but steals the show – undoubtedly. His dialogues and the way he has rendered them is hilarious!

There are very few moments in the movie where you are yawning or feeling – what the hell am I watching this movie for – which according to me is one of the best credits that can be given to a movie being screened these days.

A very nice timepass movie!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Happy Vinayaka Chaturthi!

Wish you all a wonderful, happy and prosperous Vinayaka Chaturthi.

Some Prasadam for Puliyaar(i love this name of vinayaka a lot) at our home.


Oh! I miss home so much today. Called up home with tears in my eyes, missing amma's kozhakattai (why can't mine come as nice as hers ! ), appa's poojai, the whole atmosphere at home.. I would help appa make the poonal and dress for the mann puliyar that appa would rush to buy first thing in the morning. Amma would hurry through making neividyam, while continously prodding appa to get ready and do the pooja. After giving one final "bark", he would go to bath, come out fresh - viboothi, veshti and all and settle down for a full one hour pooja.


In the evenings, we would visit one or two pandals where they kept huge huge vinayaka statues, end the day by visiting a couple of relatives and exchanging kozhakattai.... Oh! I miss home.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Disgusting!

In conversation with my in-laws today morning, Amma gave us the ‘Disgusting’ piece of news – that J’s (J is the son of their family friend) wife is 2 months pregnant. Well, I am not the hard-hearted kind of person to hate kids and such “good” news – but why do I call this disgusting? Listen to J’s tale.

J came for vacation from the eternal mallu paradise “Gelf” (one of those Middle Eastern countries – any place in the Middle East is called “Gelf” in Mallu land) for about 45 days. Our wedding happened to fall in those 45 days. Exactly 20 days after our wedding, we got the news that J’s wedding was to be held in 2 days time – we were pleasantly surprised! Chat mangni Pat byah – we were not even aware that J was looking out for a bride. Ah! Well – all’s well that end’s well. He got married, stayed with his wife for what – 2 weeks and then flew back to his land of freedom!

Another 2 weeks later comes the news – she is Pregnant! Oh! Well – the boy ‘did his job’ right! Now there would be no pressure from anybody to take his wife to Gelf with him. “Intelligent Bloke”! While waiting for the kid to come out, the Mrs joined an MBA course in some god forsaken college in her mom’s place – Coimbatore. As soon as the baby was born, she handed it over to the dutiful in-laws in Mannarkkad (about 2 hours travel from Coimbatore) – and went back to her safety cocoon – the excuse was a perfect one – She is studying – the “poor girl!”. For about a year and a little more, the father (J) did not see his son – did he really care?. The mother was busy studying – she was to become the next CEO of the coconut factory that was to take Kerala by storm!

The kid grew blissfully unaware of his parents. The poor old in-laws – of course loved bringing up their grandson – despite aches and pains did all for the little kid.

For their second anniversary, J decided to be generous and sent for his kid and Mrs to join him in Gelf. We were there at J’s house when this news was shared with us. The in-laws were telling us that the Mrs was going to get ‘trained’ on how to handle her own son in a crash course of 15 days before she flew to Gelf. It was like the orientation session when you join a new work place – getting to know each other – Mom and son. Hopefully it must have gone well, for the next thing we heard was that by early June she was in Gelf.

After 2 years of marriage and a kid – the Mr. and Mrs. finally felt the need to spend life together. They must have visited Bodha Gaya!! Guess they did not like the joys of a family life – he got her pregnant and chucked her back to India again!

I just don’t get it. Why the hell did they get married? To just produce babies like hens produce eggs? India’s population is already high – it does not need your productive contribution!! People have babies – but don’t get married just for that reason. And if you do decide to have a kid, take some responsibility for it. Not just produce one, throw it off into your parents’ hands and have a ball of time.

What kind of maturity has been displayed by these two adults? It takes ages to get to know each other, plan and decide what you want to do with your future, take good and mature decisions that enable you to have a happy life. All they have spent together is probably 4-5 months ( in bits and pieces) – is that enough to make such big decisions as kids?

I may not be the epitome of the best life led of earth. I may have made many mistakes myself. But atleast I believe in the fact that ‘Quality’ in life is more important than ‘Quantity’. Marriage is not only about two people getting together, giving birth to an offspring and go about trudging thru life’s path. But yeah - all said and done - what is sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!


Never ever try to cut this nasty piece of thing and remove the seeds inside with your hand. I don't even think i would have touched a couple of seeds yesterday while trying to make the "Mirchi ka Salan", but the damn thing burned my entire hand - the whole night!
Uff so much for trying new recipes ... !

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thanks ...


When I first started blogging, I had to ping the Mr. everytime I posted a new article, asking him to go and read it.

Then I sent the link of my blog to a couple of close friends - who would often mention something about what I had written in their emails. It gave me a lot of happiness - to know that there was somebody who regularly visited my page. In fact, they would "bug" me to write if I did not write for a week or so - I love you girls for sticking by and inspiring me to write more ...

Slowly I started to visit other blogs, dared to leave my comments on a couple and was so elated when she regularly visited my blog and dropped a comment or two.

Then came Jihva food events and the few times that I would shrug off my lazy shroud and cook up something to participate in it, I would have a few visitors dropping by and leaving sweet notes on my blog. That is how I got to know this lovely lady, whose food pictures and unique recipes are just out of the world.

And today, she gave me my first blog award! I am soooooooooooooooooo happy ... (add more o's to that so) ... Thanks dear friend for this honour.

I would like to share this and pass on the happiness. I would like to give this to
Kumari - she was the reason I started blogging.
Ram - a dear friend who writes good articles
Hampa - the organised nomad
Gomathi - who writes from her heart.
P.Siri - she keeps dropping rare pearls on her blog.

Firsts ...

"Firsts" in life are so special and will always remain a dear memory. Suddenly today I got reminded of many of the Firsts in my life.

The earliest "First" I can remember now is my first cycle - which I got when I was about 8 years old. I can recall very clearly appa teaching me how to ride it, how i would take the bike out when we moved to a new place in order to "impress" people and make friends with them.

The first "thing" that I made - of course with appa's help - was a kaleidoscope for my S.U.P.W(don't ask me the expansion - it was just a "timepass" class we had in school) class, when I was 10.

Strangely I don't recall a bit of my first flight alone when I was about 8 or so. Those days it was cheaper to take a half ticket for my flight, than appa or amma coming to drop me at Chennai (for vacation) - take a week off and then come back later to pick me up.

I remember my first trip alone in the public bus - when I was in Class 8 - to amma's office which was at the other end of the town.

My first Barbie came a bit late in my life - in Class 8 - because that was when amma and appa could afford to be a bit extravagant - but it was welcomed very lovingly though late.

I remember noting the date (i think it was March 25th) of the first "ring" our first telephone gave in my dairy. Those days having a phone in your house was so rare.

My first scooty - when I close my eyes, I can picture it exactly as it looked - i got it on July 12th (the b'day of a close friend - who became a close friend during that year).

My first BPL taperecorder came home when I was about 15 or 16. It was the best companion I had through the 4 years of college.

College gave me two of the most lasting firsts in my life. My first touch of fame(like I never knew before or have known after), and my First (and everlasting) Love ...

It was a Thursday morning - the second class of the day - when the marks for the Chemistry paper were given out - the 1st set of exams I wrote in college. This mark decided the fact that I topped the exams - I was #1 in college. I was so elated - I wanted to shout out loud - call my parents - jump around in joy - and all I could do was write a few "Thank you" notes on the last page of my book to God and my parents with shaking hands. This started a series of firsts - and I left college with 4 grand medals and a photo on Page 3 of "The Hindu"! To this day, I don't know what the hell happened to me in those 4 years of college, which made me perform well in those exams. Some say - I was just purely lucky - and had no real talent! Hmm... I wonder...

I don't remember the day when I saw my first love - how strange - we interacted with each other in such a causal manner, talking about the time for a class that we attended together - not knowing that 3 years later we would become the most important person in each other's lives.... I remember our first fight - over a silly red shirt he wore one day. I remember the first time we held hands. I remember our first movie - the first song we heard together....

There are some bad "first" memories also - which teach you the most important lessons.

I remember my first "lie" which landed me in huge trouble - when I was in Class 6 or 7. It embarrassed me in front of my mother and taught me a very big and important lesson - it is always better to speak the truth and face the consequences that tell lies and get caught in a tangle of more lies trying to support the first one.

Sometimes life becomes too busy and I don't make note of a new "First" and it slips out of my mind too. It saddens me later to think that I missed on it. Life is just one - every single thing that happens in it is so remarkable - I wish I could make a note - a written note of every single thing that happens to me.. Atleast all my Firsts...

Blue Blue Blue ...

I am just so tired of feeling blue since about two weeks. Just nothing seems to be giving constant happiness (guess there is nothing of that sort). The Mr. has started saying amma's dialogue "Why do you have to overanalyze things so much? Why do you think that things have to be so special for you? People lead lives just like this . Wake up, eat , get ready , go to work, come back, cook, spend time with family and sleep. Why does this have to be so difficult for you?"

I don't know .... Sometimes I feel it is my own self who makes myself feel so miserable. I always have this "something missing" sort of feeling. What is it - I can never put my finger on it! Grr.... I am beginning to dislike my own self...

I am missing folks at home, missing my childhood, missing andhra , missing telugu, missing college.... just practically everything. Amma and appa who have gone back to india - don't exactly give me a comfort feeling of wanting to go there and 'settle' down. (I wonder - will we ever get 'settled' in life ? What is settling in the first place?) . And there seems to be no point - other than money and a personal comfort life - here. But are those two things not the most important in life ? I don't know ...

A friend of mine - could say - ex-friend - called me 'Ms. Polambal' (Ms. grumble). Guess that is what I am - a big crib-pot .... TCHA! What a stupid post!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What’s in a Name?


Quite some months ago, the Mr. got a forward about “The Secret of Mallu Christian Names”. We laughed and laughed and even today it is a standing joke at home. You can read it here.


Over the weekend, we were browsing some sites and came across a Mohanalal program being organized in many parts of the
US. As we scrolled down the site, we came upon the names of the Contact persons and broke into a riot of laughter. Why? See this:


Why in the world would any set of parents name his or her child this way? People who know the meaning would not. People who don’t – well I don’t think it is such a fanciful name that anybody would yearn to name their baby.

One evening as the Mr. was signing out at the security gate, the guard asked him how he would pronounce the name of the person who had signed out just before him. The Mr. read it – “Ishith”. The Guard said – Yeah I wondered why would somebody call their kid “I” “Shit” ! Americans generally don’t care for the extra “h”. So, I become “Vidiya” instead of “Vid(H)ya”. I am sure Ishith’s parents would have never dreamt that he would grow up and go to the US of A and he would be made fun of for his name.

Reading all this – I guess it is safe to go with time-tested and well known ‘existing’ names, instead of being smart and trying to come up with new ones that might fire back on you sometime.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Upma Kozhakattai




It is long since I participated in a “JIHVA” event. When I saw that the ingredient for September was Rice – I knew it would be too bad to let the chance to participate go by.

Rice is the staple food in most of the South Indian homes. Personally I feel that there is nothing to beat the smell of freshly cooked rice – the whiff from the white pearly steam that comes out when you open the lid of the vessel containing rice that you put in the cooker or from the vessel that you cook directly on the Gas. Ummmmmm heavenly. When it is hot, just plain rice with a dollop of Ghee mixed in it also taste like the best food on earth. Rice that has been stored for a day, eaten with thin curds is considered one of the best ‘cooling foods’. Then there is my all-time favourite – Thair Chadam (curd rice). There would probably be no Tam-Bram who does not like this ‘symbolic-recognition-of-tamilians’ curd rice!

Rice is also considered as an auspicious food item. In Kerala, it is the first solid food that is given to a child. When the Child is 6 months old, there is held a ceremony called “Choorunu” – all the family members assemble in a temple (usually Guruvayoor) and feed the baby solid food for the first time – rice and paruppu.

The recipe I am going to share is a snack made out of rice primarily. It is one of my favorites. Thanks to amma’s trip to the US – I was able to get the recipe from her, in person.

Ingredients


Plain rice (eg. Sona Masoori) – 1 cups

Thoor dhal – 2 Tbsp

1 Tblsp Pepper seeds

Soak the two for about 20 minutes, wash clean and spread it out to dry on a towel. Add Grind the dried rice and dhal coarsely.

Note: If you want to store this powder for using it later, make sure the rice and dhal are bone-dry before you grind them.

For Seasoning

½ cup grated coconut

Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp

Split urad dhal – 1 tsp

Red chillies – 3-4

Salt – to taste

Curry Leaves – 4-5

Asafoetida – to taste

Oil - 2 tsp

Heat oil in a Kadai. Add the Mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add the split urad dhal. Fry them gently till they turn brown. Add the curry leaves and split red chillies.

Measure 2 cups of water for each cup of the mixture and add to the kadai. Add asafoetida to the water and let it boil. When it starts to boil, add the coconut. After a minute, add the dry mixture. Cook on medium heat. When the rice and dhal mixture is cooked well, take it off the stove. Cool it a little and then take small portions of the mixture and roll into small balls.

Steam the balls in the cooker, like you would steam idlis. After steam starts to come out of the cooker, reduce the flame to medium and cook on for about 4 minutes. Hot Hot Upma Kozhakattai’s are ready.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Customer Service



Disclaimer - This article in no way is aimed at throwing opinions about a particular race of humans. It is solely based on my experiences and my version of the events.

I always thought i did not like Italian food. But during our endeavours to get amma-appa to sample different cuisines I found that I did like the Salad , breadsticks and Eggplant Parmiggiano - a bit too much - and even started to have a craving for it.

So, I dragged the 3 of them to Olive Gardens yesterday evening to satisfy my palate, when this incident happened.

We had often heard of excellent customer service in most American restaurants - we got our chance to experience one yesterday.

We had ordered , amongst other things , a veggie pizza. This was the last item that the waitress was due to get. When she first brought it, I saw some wierd moulds of things on it and got a slight suspicion and asked her - She apologized and took it back and came back immediately. Kneeling down in front of our table, she apologized profusely that the cook had made a mistake of giving us an "Italian Sausage" pizza and that they would take the pizza off our bill and give us a free pizza. After ensuring that it would not affect her own salary, we said Yes.

About 10 minutes later, she came back with another pizza and a big smile "Hope this one looks as good as what you wanted". It looked fine. When the Mr. started to cut slices, we realized they had made a mistake again - this was as a Pepperoni pizza ... Guess it just was not our day. She was appalled at this and took it back. She came back and after apologizing profusely asked us to choose some desserts which they would give us for free. We were already so full and did not really want anymore, but still we took a "Tiramasu".

Seconds later, the manager came back - took up a chair and sat in front of us. "I am so ashamed of what has happened. It is not as if we run a French restaurant, we must know how to make a good pizza atleast. Please give us another chance to serve you better. The next time you come around, just call me personally - my name is Betty - I will make the pizza myself for you. I am going to take the whole bill on our name, however since Michigan laws prevent us from taking off the Wine charges, you will have to bear them".

We were so impressed by the honesty with which she spoke. She took the entire blame on herself and made amendments for a loss which we actually did not incur. No doubt , we were not entirely satisfied with the whole episode - but the way the waitress and the manager behaved did not leave any black mark about that restaurant in our mind. We knew that any other time we would not hesitate to be back there again.

This incident brought back to mind a couple of others that had happened few months ago.

The first one was at an Indian Grocery store. This one served Samosas and Chats to be eaten there itself. We ordered two samosas and instead of taking it home decided to eat it there. They had not given us any sauce with the samosa. Since they had chutneys prepared for the chat, we asked if we could get some. The owner rudely said that they don't give free chutney for Samosas. The Mr. said he would pay for the chutney. The owner got annoyed and said - There is so much hard work that goes into preparing those chutneys, we cannot spare them for giving it away with samosas just like that. We tried to explain to him that we were willing to pay - but he just would not listen. It put us off so much that we decided never to go there, even if we were lured by the good chats that he made.

The second one was at an Indian Restaurant. We had ordered Masala Dosa - the dosa he gave contained huge chunks of potatoes that were only half boiled. We did not complain during the meal - put aside the potatoes and ate the dosa (Enna pannaradhu thalai ezhuthu ... kya kare apna kismat kharaab tha). But when the waiter came to take away all the plates, the Mr. could not hold himself and just casually mentioned the same to the waiter. Immediately the waiter turned defensive and said - Masala dosas are supposed to be made that way only. ( The other statement he did not say, but was evident on his face was - if you did not know this , then you morons should not have ordered it). We were not complaining or making a fuss, neither where we looking at getting our money back. All we were doing is making a suggestion to him - why could he not have taken it a bit more graciously? All he had to say was - Oh! is that so ? Sorry sir, we will take care of it next time - he does not loose anything right? After all he runs a restaurant to serve us customers only - he does not do any charity to me?

A Customer will be willing to pay the money, if he feels it is justified and worth it. No person would want to cheat and get free food or service. All he expects is to be treated good and be given his money's worth. Why is that so difficult to understand? Why is it so difficult to give a smile to your customer and apologize if something went wrong? Don't we do that ? If you made a mistake in your work - don't you say sorry to your boss or co-worker?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Expressions



Carried stopped by at my desk today morning and gave me a cute little “Thank You” card.


All the ladies in the office – which was quite a number , about 20 or so, got together and arranged for a ‘Baby Shower’ for her Last Thursday. It was lunch in this place called “Country Buffet” – where you can “eat-all-you-can” for just 9$. Unfortunately, as usual, the choice for Veggies is limited – though the dessert table pretty much compensated this deficit. All of us were quite generous and had given her really good gifts – a Stroller, a rocking and musical swing and couple of dresses.


What I loved about the whole thing was – how eagerly she opened all her gifts and how she did not hesitate to show her real feelings. She had tears of happiness and gratitude in her eyes and she looked at each one of us when she said her thanks. Often I have noticed this about Americans – they do not feel ashamed to show out their feelings in public – especially the good ones. If you are wearing a nice dress, or some piece of jewellery that they liked, they will not show their appreciation with big expressions and loud “Oooh!s” and “Aaahs”. If they are happy about something that happened, they would talk in length of their happiness with animated faces. If they meet somebody after a long time, they would not hesitate to give a warm hug and shout out loud. If they are too happy, they would not mind crying out in the public – warm happy tears of joy.

Coming to the act of today morning’s – when was the last time you saw somebody hand you over a “Thank-You” card for something that you did? It is such a small thing but it makes so much of a positive difference I feel. There was definitely a smile on my face when I got that card and read that hand-written note that she had put in it.

Expressing oneself is so vital for relationships to bond further, I feel. Mostly Positive expressions . Sometimes it is better to keep negative expressions in check.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Movie Weekend

It was Amma-Appa’s last weekend in the US. The depression has already started to sink into me slowly – a week from today there would be so much emptiness in the house. I guess this was a hidden reason why none of us wanted to do ‘Something’ over the weekend.


I took them around for a round of last window-shopping and we all sat and watched a couple of movies, while munching some tasty and crispy vadas that amma made. Ulundhu vadais are my favorite. This time for a change we added crisp cabbage into the dough and it was so tasty. It was probably for the first time that all 4 of us were sitting at home and watching a movie end to end. Just shows how busy we had been the past 3 months, ha ha, because before amma-appa came to the US – watching a movie at home was almost like a daily ritual.


The first one we saw was ‘Prestige’. I have been wanting to see this movie since a long time. Of late I have become a huge fan of “Hugh Jackman”, so have wanted to see this movie for that precise reason. And it turned out to be a really “Magical” experience. One of the often used dialogue in the movie applies a lot to the audience – “Watch Closely!”. Yes, you must watch closely else you will miss the essence of the movie. It is a tale of two magicians, their magic tricks and bids to out-do each other to declare their “Prestige”. The movie starts off with the explanation for what “Prestige” is all about and why it is so important for a magician - A magic trick involves 3 parts : ‘The Pledge’ – where the magician shows a simple thing and promises to turn it into something extraordinary; ‘The Turn’ – is when he performs the extraordinary ; but that is not enough for it can be done by almost anyboy – what matters most is the last part ‘The Prestige’ – where the magician performs something so shocking that it holds you spellbound and makes you acknowledge his “Magic”.

The movie shifts between the present , the past and, the past in the past. So, be sure what you are knowing what you are watching J. I have always felt that there is a mystical feeling in stories that are told as a flashback. The lead characters have played their parts marvelously and pretty convincingly. The role of Scarlet Johansson seems to have been patched into the story. Well actually that role is quite significant to put across one “Particular” point (I won’t divulge that – for it will give the movie away) – but the director did not utilize it well. The director has built the suspense in the movie very well, surprising the audience with the explanations at every stage in the story – giving one piece of the jigsaw puzzle each time – and finally revealing that one most important heart piece at the very end.

If you are the kind of person who loves to guess what happens at the end, there are enough clues sprinkled all over the magical journey to comprehend what is cause for the “Prestige” of the actors. A “Must-See”.


The second movie is one that the Mr. and me have seen quite some time back and we liked it so much that we got it for Amma-Appa to watch. A fantastical comedy called ‘Groundhog Day’. The tale is all about how one day keeps repeating again and again and nobody but the grumpy, self-centered protagonist can realize it. The first 25 minutes of the movie is very puzzling, but it slowly sinks into you. He attempts, initially, at finding out what is happening and then moves on to unsuccessfully ‘use’ the situation to make his producer fall in love with, then sinks into frustration at not being able to change the situation, and finally decides to utilize the golden “Opportunity” given only to him to “Do good for others” – something which was never a part of his personal agenda before. A very heart-warming tale set in a small town in Philadelphia, with all simple real characters – is what the movie is all about. Bill Murray plays the lead character – does a good job of it- though I wish his face would show more emotions instead of wearing the same expression for every scene. Andy Mc Dowel is the cute little producer he falls in love with – her “Bunny teeth” grin and Cotton candy hair just manages to charm you. A Feel-good movie, this one is.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Oh So long!

It has been ages since I wrote anything here. I somehow am facing a huge block in getting a topic to write about here. Just about anything I think of does not seem inspiring enough to write about – or may I am not even thinking of anything … Everytime I visit those wonderful bloggers who regularly update their sites, I feel so ashamed of myself – for letting those friends down who open my blog atleast once in couple of days to see if I have written something there…. But it just is not happening… Anyway I decided to shake myself up and atleast write about what’s been happening in the recent past to me..

I finally did it! I changed jobs – got rid of all the murk that had got over me in my previous work… remember these “Queen Crib” posts? I quit my last job on Jul 27 2007 – a very significant and remarkable day in the calendar of my life’s events. I bid farewell to the place – not physically – that I was working in for the last 6 and half years. Though I had been wanting that for – oh so long a time – when I finally put in my 2 weeks of notice – it all seemed quite strange. I was feeling a bit nostalgic and sad! I guess no matter how bad a thing is, if you have “had” it for a long long time, you feel atleast a small twinge when you let it go. And it was not as if my company was Bad – just that I happened to be at a wrong place at the wrong time and working under the wrong person. Pity unlike Maths, two negatives could not make a Positive … no wait I have 3 negatives – so there you go – that proves that I did the absolute right thing by quitting that place.

Wish I had had a break – alas! – I had to join work on the Monday after itself – Jul 30. In a way I am not complaining. The new place, like anything new in life, seems fine – for now (oh! Oh! Hope the Mr. does not read the last two words … hee hee). A Small firm – giving one more visibility – loads of Indians around – all the more to chit-chat with. Works looks ummm fine for now. Come on – my inner self tells me – you should grown up and be mature… drop that “for now”. Because there is nothing in life that is “Forever”! What is “for now” is what is needed. Who cares about “for later” or “for ever”!

On the Personal front – things are pretty much the same – wonderful …. Early mornings start with all four of us sipping delicious teas, sitting on the couch, and watching “Putham pudusu” and Solomon “Pappaya” (as the Mr. calls him) – on Sun TV. Then the rush hour to office – while appa so sweetly packs fruits for us and amma makes smacking breakfast. Then starts the counting –down to time to leave for home – evening tea and snacks – arratai arrangams (our discussions) – walks around the apt complex to shed calories – or appa-mappilai’s swimming trials . Ah! Life is bliss!

In all this, I am stuck with the problem of not being able to think of anything to blog! Upon popular demand (read as request from 2 loyal friends) – I am posting this … hoping that this would act as the needful “kick on my butt” and make me write more ..

PS - the Garfield image is how I am behaving right now!


Friday, July 06, 2007

Fruit Picking @ Blakes Farm

The last weekend was a very memorable one. We had a very unique experience, which I was unaware of for the past one and half years. We had been to a place called Blake’s Farms. It is a family owned farmland where visitors are allowed all year round to visit and pick any of the seasonal fruit/vegetable(s) that is (are) growing there at that time. These are available for purchase at a reasonable price. Thanks to the Mr.’s friend – P – we came to know of this and went to experience it last Sunday. The Strawberries were almost at the end of their tenure, the cherries were starting to catch the attention and the raspberries and sweet peas were in their “mid 30s”! What a ball of time we had.

It was the first time any of us were seeing a strawberry or a raspberry plant – so that itself was more than half of the excitement. And the other half was the sheer joy of plucking those wonderful fruits from the small shrub like plants – and occasionally popping one or two into the mouth and biting into the juicy berries. They were so unlike the ones that we buy from the store. They were much softer, juicer and sweeter than any that I ever had eaten.

I have never seen my parents so happier in any trip. After coming back home, appa remarked to the Mr. that he had the best time of his life and that he would prefer any such ‘natural’ trips than the ones to visit concrete jungles. Seriously what nature has to offer, not even the best creations of man can beat I guess.

After having “worked hard” for nearly 2 hours in the warm young sun, we sat down to have the best picnic lunch in the world – Amma’s Lemon rice and Thair chadam. Why does food always taste so much better when eaten inside a park or beach or some outdoor location? There was a small shop there at the farm selling doughnuts, cider, some picked vegetables, fruits, jams & jellies and fudge. This was the only place giving as little fudge as you wanted to buy. All other places I have been sells only big slabs of 1 Lb and nobody is interested in “intaking” that much of calories!

We are hoping to go there every month to catch the latest produce and relive this wondrous experience. See our booty for this time.


And this are the muffins I made out of the raspberries.


VIBGYOR

This year's summer has been strange. June is only the beginning of summer, but it was hotter than July (which is supposed to be the peak summer month). There is hardly any rain on a day when there is prediction for severe thunderstorms. 60% precipitation looks like 6%. In all this mish-mash of the weather, we had a spectacle yesterday - the most unexpected pleasure - a Rainbow - not 1 but 2!!!




I don't understand why - but sometimes just seeing a very very beautiful natural thing gives so much pleasure that one just keeps smiling for a long long time. Maybe this is why people ask us to go for a long walk when upset over something. It certainly cheers you and lifts the mood up so well. For a long time we four stood there, grinning and just watching the miracle of colors spread over the bright sky.


Friday, June 22, 2007

As I waved bye ….

..to amma today, I was feeling so bad to leave her and Appa at home and go to work.

It is not something new, I agree. For nearly 5 years that I was in Chennai before marriage, every morning I left for work at 7:15. Amma would wake up early and cook for me. Appa would cut fruits for me and pack them. Amma would plait my hair and appa would drop me at the bus stop. And then Amma would be alone at home, waiting till I returned home – if I got lucky I came early at 7:30 in the evening, otherwise it was usually 8:30 or sometimes even 3 the next morning! Yet she would never crib. Whatever time I returned she would have something nice for me to eat / drink. All the house work was done and I would nothing but chat with her, see TV, eat and sleep.

Ever since they came to the US about a month and week ago, life has almost got back to the same routine. They get up and pack fruits for us for lunch. Appa sometimes irons our stuff for us. They make sure all things are ready there for us to leave and when we come back all goodies are on the table for us. They do all this without expecting a single thing in return from us. Even if I were to fight and say I will help – they won’t let us do.

The Mr. and I try to spend every single minute that we can get with them, so that they don’t feel lonely that much. When the Mr. was in a job that let him work at home, he took every of those opportunities to be with them. We spend weekends with them, taking them out showing them how our lives are in the US, share all small things about our life with them, involve them with our jobs and friends – so that they don’t feel left out. But still I feel we have not done enough.

Parents are probably the world’s most unselfish people. Right from when you are born till they die, they do things for you without expecting a single thing from you. Oh! As I write there is a lump in my throat – I do get emotional sometimes thinking of these things. Today is one of those days.

I should have maybe just taken the day off and been with them today. We left home early at 7 because I had a doc appointment. So, that meant that after waking up, I spoke probably 2 sentences to them. Appa remarked – “Neena ippo ponna saangalam thaan varuvela? Romba bore adikkume!” (If you leave now, you return only in the evening. We will be so bored) – In a very jovial way only. But that made my heart squeeze a bit – oh! Why could I not be with them for more time?

It all happens in cycles. My parents left their parents in Chennai and moved to Vizag for a life that was good for their kid and themselves. My in-laws stayed 1000s of Km away from hometown to provide the best life to their sons and themselves. And today we are doing the same!

But the only consolation is that – if it were any city in India I would have not been able to even spend 2 hours with them on any working day, but in the US I have the luxury to be home by 6 the latest – so I have the entire evening to be with them.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

'Man Date'

The Mr. listens to radio everyday when he goes to office and often shares some tit-bits from the news or programmes he listens to. The day before after dinner when we four were walking around the apartment when he told us of a new meaning emerging for the word “Man date”. We all know “Mandate” – means ‘a Must’. But did you know “Man date” these days means – two Gay men dating!

Some ways of finding how a meeting between two men is a Man Date(MD), according to the Radio channel.

If two men are walking in a park instead of jogging – it is a MD. If two men are sitting at a bar and there is no beer in front of them or a TV with sports channel on – they are Man-dating!

Gosh! Just imagine the plight of ‘Straight’ Men who have probably been doing some such activity for years together with a Man Friend or Confidiante of their’s! No two men can ever even sit in a public place and discuss a private conversation without a thought running in their minds that they are being branded as Man Date (ers)!

I googled and found this
article . I could not even imagine that simple things as these would ever be interpreted! Poor Men in the USA!

I Dread the day when such meanings are going to be associated with Women too (not that they are already not done). Imagine meeting a friend after years at the airport and not being able to rush and hug her in front of everybody or kissing her cheek in sheer happiness on meeting her! Or not being able to hold hands while walking along a park and sharing the news in our respective lives, without people thinking of us as 'Lesbians' ...

I am stopping any further imagintion. I would rather live in a world ignoring such things - for now atleast.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Vaji Vaji ...Vaji.. Sivaji



16th was the D-day – the Mr’s bday and also the 1st weekend after the Big BOSS’s movie was released – so all the more special , as it gave the Mr. the “right” opportunity to watch the movie he has been waiting for since about 6 months. Did we 3 have any other choice but to lug along to watch this masala mish-mash that defies any kind of logic that you can ever think of – but always fails to impress audience like no movie ever.

Every time a Rajni movie releases I wonder why audience of all kinds go to see the movie, even if it is just for once. The more intelligent audience would crib after coming out of the theatre but will still land up there the next time his movie releases. Guess one cannot explain the spell this actor holds everybody under.

Tickets were sold at an atrocious price of 16$ and yet the theatre was almost full – for a morning show! I have never seen more than handful of people come to a movie in the mornings in Novi/ Livonia and here was a big queue to just get into the theatre! Thalaiva – un Vazhiye thani vazhiye!

Appa rightly put it – one can buy a ticket and walk into the theatre after the intermission, having read a bit of preview on the internet. The first half almost begins to bore you – when thankfully the intermission sign comes up. The first half shows nothing that is “Rajni” special – it is just an ordinary boy woos girl drama , sprinkled with visually stunning songs and not so-great chords struck by ARR. Vivek dominates the 1st half with his wonderful one-liners and rendition of Rajni-dialogues. Sets by Thotta Tharani are stunning – they make your Jaw drop with amazement.

The 1st song in the movie -Hey Balelakka Balelakka Kaviri is sung by SPB. The tune and music will not fail to remind you of ‘Devuda Devuda’ and the visuals are so reminiscent of ‘Azhagana Rakshashi’ (Mudhalvan) and ‘Konjum Mainakale’ ( Kandukonden Kandukonden) – paintings on the bodies of the side artists, grass that looks greener than it actually is (nice filters have been used), bright costumes and such a huge group of dancers that it took us about 1 minute to even realize that the fairest one in between is Nayantara!

Vaaji Vaaji – is very beautifully pictured. I could not stop but gazing admiring at the beauty and grandeur of the sets and the color of Shriya’s costumes. This is the only song in the movie that I liked.

Sahara pookal – I really cannot understand why at times music directors stick with people like Udit and Sadhana sargam for a song – when they know very well that there are some scales that their voices cannot reach. There is no doubt that Udit is a very accomplished singer – I love many of his songs – but there is a limit to everything. A song that could have been very melodious is reduced to nothing but meaningless shouting by the male singer. I wish they could have made somebody else like Hariharan / KK/ SPB sing this one.

I would rather not even talk of the last song that pictures in the 1st half – “Oru koodai sunlight”. It is best left not discussed.
The second half of the movie is all about Rajni, his gimmicks, his dialogues (though this movie hardly has any of Rajni’s trademark punch dialogues), his looks (the mottai Rajni). He dominates the screen totally. This movie supersedes all his previous ones in the utterly senseless things that this larger than life hero can accomplish – he comes back from death!!! Unbeatable!

The magical creation by some of the biggest names in all spheres of the kollywood industry – Shankar, ARR, Rajnikanth, Vivek, AVM, Thotta Tharani – is good for a one-time watch. And of course Rajni fans are going to love this starry presentation.