Monday, December 29, 2008

Feminism...

How many of you women out there have been at the receiving end of that classic pigeonhole defining statement "OH. You're a FEMINIST"
(preceded by curious cocking of head to one side, followed by understanding nod with almost sympathetic look - usually from a man you've only just met a while ago)


I did, a few days back from a rather nice boy I'd just met once before. We were all in the midst of a conversation about what bachelorhood pleasures women thought were acceptable for their husbands to still enjoy (watching porn being an example) and somehow we veered into a topic that made him do the pigeonhole thing with me. I got the classic "Are you a feminist" question and my response was the usual 'whatever' shrug that I reserve for snap judgments.

Thing is, indifferent expression notwithstanding, the question apparently does get to me, cause in my last post I made a rather open threat to slap anyone who called me a feminist again. And P (1 of the 2 regular readers on this blog) asked me why. What was wrong with being a feminist, after all?

I have to admit, that sort of took me by surprise. I've simply become SO used to the negative connotation that goes with the word, esp with the body language described above (which smacks of "I've figured you out. You're one of them.") that despite what Wikipedia has to say about the term, my association with the word was no better than that of an ignorant layman.

So I'm going to have to finally admit that me (and most women I like) are feminists after all. (And, yes, I can ALSO say it without having to hide behind a group of like minded women).

Because I would be as ashamed of a man who needed taking care of, just as I would of a woman.

Because I believe we all need to know how to cook (men and women alike) because it's such a basic survival requirement. Conversely, I don't find it 'incredible' that a man cooks despite being a man.

Because I believe neither of us is better at something than the other regardless of predefined roles (women aren't necessarily better at parenting, men at earning money).

Because I believe men have as much a right to take time off work and get a break for a few years as women do.

Because I don't believe in burning bras even to make a point. (They're too darned expensive)

Because I believe men are entitled to whatever stereotypical activity gets their adrenaline pumping (sports/ porn) before AND after marriage. Just as women are entitled to theirs (shopping/ not keeping a perfect house) before AND after so long as it stays within the limits that their mutual consent has set.

Because I believe that the GRAND proposal (an elaborate plan + a ring that costs 2 months worth of pay) and the whole "you need to send me chocolates/ flowers/ fluffy bears coz I'm a woman and you're a man and that's just how it is" and also the "You should know what I'm thinking even without my saying it" should ALL be taken off the list of mandatories that men are expected to provide.

That does make me a feminist, I guess. So label/ stereotype me all you like. I promise not to bite. Or even bark. Regardless of how YOU meant it, I'll choose to hear it for what it is. A good thing.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tradition ...

Holds a special place in the hearts of our parents and their generation. Perhaps to some extent in mine (mid to late 20s to take the vagueness out of the definition), but is much less incident.

Tradition manifests itself in the form of little habits that despite a genesis that is usually rooted in fairly irrational beliefs, become so deeply entrenched in a way of living that they come to be de rigeur and even expected.

Some traditions acquire a meaning that is bestowed upon them by the person who practices them. (Category 1)
Like when praying before a meal becomes a way of saying thanks vs. a way of randomly stringing together a known set of words. Like when shlokas, whose meaning is understood and hence which serve to communicate thanks, apologies and the like in a repeated standardized form vs. (again) random words in a sing song voice. Like when touching the feet of elders to ask for blessings is faith in the ability of unconditional love to make good things happen to the recipient vs. repetitive back bending to ensure no adult ego in the room is offended.

Others just stay, not cause they're welcome, but cause no one thought to ask them to leave politely. (Category 2)
Like (and this is obviously very personal) not praying when menstruating or not touching freshly laundered clothes for fear of polluting them.
Like having to wear symbols of being married (the mangal sutra, the toe ring, the sindoor) even if it doesn't influence your love or respect (or the lack of thereon) for the man you are married to.
Like fasting for somebody else's well being coz you believe that putting yourself through misery will bring happiness to someone else. Like how all of the above and most others are conveniently limited to women.
(No I'm not feminist, and I promise to slap the next person who stereotypes me as such)
Like believing homosexuality or atheism is sinful and will land you in hell. (See, this one's not about women alone.)


There's others that aren't even justifiable no matter how personal a POV you spin them into. (Category 3)
Like not letting a certain class/ section of society near a place of worship or a source of water for fear of contamination.
Like paying another family in cash or kind (also fondly known as dowry) to have them take your daughter in and bestow the oh-so privileged position of wife (bless their soul, wouldn't I absolutely lack meaning and identity without that label they're willing to give me after I take on their family name, and sometimes give up the first name I was born with?) on her.
Like finding it acceptable to kill someone or shun them from a family they were born into for falling in love with someone outside the community.

The thing is, apart from category 3 traditions, I'm indifferent to the others because they're just so personal in nature. It becomes tough to classify something as right or wrong unless it does physical or emotional harm to a living being. Or unless it constitutes a violation of someone's set of beliefs. And starts to intrude into their lives, pointlessly so.

Which is a battle we're constantly fighting with our parents' generation. I know of friends who've called off healthy happy relationships because of parental disapproval over the issue of a different community/ religion. Of friends who dread going home even to their own parents because it means donning an identity that is now SO far from who they are that it just feels like cheating on oneself.

And who mostly give in, because the parents in question don't leave tradition to choice, but turn it into emotional leverage, putting the child in question through utter anguish.

What's sad is how little education or claimed progressiveness has to do with it. That the same parent who proudly boasts about his child having entered the big league with a masters and a settled life in the US of A hangs his head in shame while hesitantly informing the social circle that the kid is marrying someone outside the community.

With my own parents, I've had the chance to sometimes be pleasantly surprised at how much they've opened their minds to a newer way of looking at things. Yet, there's things I still haven't managed to change their mind about. Like even if they'd not raise a fuss about the religion of the person I'm about to marry, they'd still create a huge fuss about me sitting through my own wedding ceremony if I'm in the middle of my period. Like even if they're in agreement with compressing the 1.5 day ceremonies into 1 hour of the core basics, they'd still be very upset if they found out I don't plan on wearing the Thali (Mangal Sutra) or the ring that signify that I am a married woman.

The thing I've realized through the small victories and the disappointments is this.
More often than not, making the effort to talk parents through a certain rationale to shed adherence to a tradition is worthwhile. While at times the clashes involved might feel like repeatedly banging your head against a wall, there are times when they will surprise you with their ability to understand and embrace a new way of being. While at times you may leave the room with a sense of utter failure wondering how you'll ever end the imposition of nonsensical rules on your life, there will be others when you'll have scored a big big victory for the generation that is to come. And for that, your children will thank you :-)


P.s: Dear you know who, this is inspired by and for you. :-)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Testing 1..2..3..

Wow. It feels physically weird to be writing after this long. One would agree that 1 page summaries at work DO NOT count. But even if typing the words doesn't feel as alien, it's almost like I've forgotten blog-speak, perhaps even blog-think!

The past 2 months have been like a whirlwind that just rushed past. So much has happened. So much of it was long due and admittedly, more than what I bargained for just happened without warning.

It's been about 2 months since I last ran, yet my mind and body have felt as if mounted on a non stop treadmill every single day. I've woken up every morning almost falling out of bed, wondering what else I've got lined up to 'finish' that day or what meeting I have that morning. Finish/ wrap up/ close out is becoming the new buzz word. Every minute of every day, work and for most part of non work, has been an investment in a task that needs to be concluded.

But updates aside, let me, for now, treat this post with the respect that's due to an "I'm back!" post.

I'm back to writing. Even if it means whining sometimes, or a hurting hand at others. Even if it means there's still a significant chunk of life that cannot be narrated here.

It didn't take much to figure out when it had to happen. Like most things that we discover our love for, this one had to make the need for its presence felt through its absence. :-)

Hence, I'm back. And all that. See ya around!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Goodbye. For now anyway.

Shutting down this space until I'm ready to come back and write in the open. Thanks to all who read and to all who comment. Be good, stay safe and well and keep smiling :-)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Diwali!

Although I'm not big on festivals or the stories behind them (The people in my life have stories aplenty of their own, enough to keep me engaged :) ), I do love the happiness they bring into people's life all of a sudden.

Like my friend S who has, for the last 2 days, been super excited at the prospect of Diwali. And not even coz she's doing anything special. Just the thought of family back home opening presents from her and the thought of Diwali makes her happy. It's irrational. And that's what I love about it. I may not always understand it, but I love it :)

So my mum calls me to ask what I'm doing for Diwali. I tell her not much, same old (aka nothing). And she asks me if I bought anything new. I'm all "What?".

Amma explains that we usually buy something new for Diwali. "OH!" I say. Time perhaps to unfreeze the spending freeze I've put myself on. And promptly buy myself a much needed pair of sandals, 2 to be precise. :D

(Psst.... I almost bought a bag too. I must be turning into a woman!)

Anyway... I'm here to say, regardless of my beliefs, I hope this is a wonderful time for everyone who is looking forward to it. I hope all of you meeting family and friends have lovely reunions and get gifts that are either
a. what you wanted
b. something you can live with coz it was gifted with love or
c. possible to exchange easily :)

Happy Diwali ya all! :D

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Exercise your vote...

....dear Reader.

Nothing as significant as the US elections, but given this year comes to a close in about 3 months and I'm 2 dishes short of my resolution of 10 new dishes every year, I'm inviting your votes on what 2 things to cook next.

Being vegetarian is the only constraint.

Kindly leave your vote.

Thanks and Regards,
(Bordering on Nigella's talent AND well on her way to Nigella's size)
Ms. Tic

Edited to add based on comments: Dear lovely wonderful comment putters, note that I live in a kitchen where if i'm not careful I can get a ear detached from body due to many shelf like things jutting out from random walls.
Additionally, I do not own an oven, baking thingamajings, fondue serving equipment and such things.
What I DO have is a mixer, some non stick woks and a microwave oven. Also conventional gas.
Just letting you know so you can keep your vote ...err... actionable.

Lou to all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Project reconstruction commences....

It was the deeply insightful comment of an anonymous person on my last post that made me sit up and realize - not only was life truly turning shittier by the minute, I was being rather open about putting it all out there in a public forum.


Now I don't usually mind it, given this is MY space etc. But having come to see myself as a fairly happy person in the last 1 year and having enjoyed all of the new experiences that came my way - the travel, the cooking, the dramatics, the blogging etc, I realized that it would be a rather sad way to go if I let the crappiness of the current situation overwhelm me.

So although, I thought for about 2 days about shutting down the blog until whenever things get better, I have now decided I won't.

Instead I will keep you updated on Project Reconstruction aka taking things into my own hands and fixing every thing that has gone wrong recently. One by one. Even if it takes 3 months to accomplish.

Task 1: Move out of current residence into new one. Nicer place. Lovely room. Close to work. Has full time maid who cooks OMFG brilliantly. And a flatmate who is a good friend of the Penguin.

To be done by: 15th Nov.

Task 2: Get new tooth restored. Make the movie hall pay for expenses incurred. And come clean on the tooth story with my mother when I meet her in India next weekend.

To be done by: End Nov.

Task 3: Take care of health. Avoid cold drinks. Alcoholic or otherwise (I've spent the last 2 days nursing a brutal sinusitis attack after sleeping on 2 mojitos dunked in ice). Run 3 times a week. Get back to meditation. 2 times a week.

To be done by: End Nov. Once rhythm is established, try to incorporate into routine with minimal disruptions.

Task 4: Get proactive about fixing things unmentionable here. I know there's a way around this situation. I just need to stop sulking about the negatives and focus on the positives.

To be done by: End of year.

Task 5: Keep up anything that is good about life. Keep painting, blogging, cooking and not driving away the people who love me.

To be done: On ongoing basis.


There. Remind me of this if I whine again. I'm starting to hate what I'm turning into, so help me through this will ya?

Good week to you too.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Teething ...

This is to officially confirm that by Friday the 30th of October, I will have a swanky new tooth that will look just like its sisters and brothers (?!?!?!). Apparently unless I let someone really close, they can't tell the difference. As of now, that would be ALL people.

So. Hence. Therefore.

YAY! :D

*Also this Dr. Leong's clinic has the most god awesome dentist. My root canal didn't hurt one bit. If you live in Singapore, this is THE dental clinic for you :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Enough is enough..

I've had it up to *here* with flatmate issues, really.

One has to leave brown muddy foot prints all over the bathroom floor while another has to insult me to my face on my birthday and walk away. One has to lecture me on how I'm being done a favor with the immense advantage my living arrangement provides while another has to do an unanticipated turnaround from close friend to cold foe in a matter of minutes.

And for all that people say about how *scary* I am, not once have I had the courage to stand up to one of them and tell them they were being unfair or unkind, curt without reason or just plain weird.

We're usually like that. The bitches that bark but can't bite.

We holler and make ourselves heard in every work forum. We earn the titles that suggest harshness, cut throat attitude and a lack of heart. We're easy to judge and *figure* out. We're the ones who react instantly. Who lack tact ever so often.

And yet we'll put up with all kinds of crap from the people who don't deserve to be put up with. Instead of asking them to shut up and take a hike, or to behave like a polite and decent human being, we'll meekly listen, assuming that being a pushover in this situation is making up for being a bitch otherwise.

And with that last curt, bordering on polite email from my flattie, I was done. We've recently figured out a way to convey our feelings to one another without getting emotional. It's called email. I tell her to keep the dishes cleaned and at the corner of the kitchen. She asks me to leave my shoes neatly stacked outside the house. It keeps the emotion out of what can become a stupid emotional fight between 2 women. I appreciate it. That and the fact that she doesn't ever hold a grudge. It's a contrast vs. anything I've faced earlier.


And yet today I reached official breaking point. Our last few emails stayed civil, and yet the insinuations kept piling on. Each time I told myself to put up with it coz it's just a matter of some months until I move out, and I kept feeling worse about being such a pushover.

But today, I wrote off a 3 page letter telling her exactly how I felt. About how, sorry but, she was just wrong about somethings. Without getting emotional about a single thing.

The Penguin was SO proud of it. We almost decided to put it up here for how well it was written :) and then decided maybe it was too mean to do that. So we didn't. But I read my letter like 10 times. And felt good with every single read. For how, once in my life, I'd actually stood up to someone outside work without chickening out.

(No one at work will ever understand this part of me that carries guilt so easily. So I don't expect any cheers from them. But close friends know how I'll live with being miserable coz of things said to me by people and yet not say anything until I've reached breaking point. So if you feel like going all "haha, you? chicken?" then you're just not one of those people)

For now, I just wanted to put it out here. Ms. Tic stood up for herself. And she's a proud girl for it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My maid stole the milk carton and more gah things from the week that was ...

As the earlier post alluded to, this has been one of the crappiest weeks ever. Physically, mentally and intellectually. Don't ask wise ass questions like "what's the difference". I'm pissed off enough as it is.

Most recent manifestation of a bad week was when I woke up this morning to find that the fresh milk carton I'd painstakingly stored in the fridge (tea with any other brand/ kind of milk tastes like custard chai. I don't know if you'll even get it. But it sucks.) had magically disappeared.

Now I KNOW I'd had that milk only starting Wednesday morning coz my tooth was sore until Tues morning, and I KNOW a carton lasts me a full 5 days esp. when my flat mate is away (she is. it made it easier to manage the kitchen this week what with not having to eat leftover sambar for 4 consecutive days in an attempt to finish it without waste).

My incredible powers of deduction hence lead me to believe (Gawd. I'm reminded of work by the way I wrote that and it's bringing on a new wave of GAHness. ARGH.) that the only person who could've accidentally (on purpose?) thrown away the milk carton is my maid who comes in once every 2 days.

And because of her stupidity, I had to gulp down 2 glasses of the only liquid there was at home - Cold Chocolate Milk. Although it might just help the cause of the very painful pimple that is appearing on my forehead, it did very little to soothe my pounding headache, the kind I've been waking up with throughout this week.

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There's times that you question your own abilities, ask yourself pointless questions like "why did I have to be constructed this way?" and revisit all former assumptions about your own strengths and abilities simply based on how rarely they've manifested themselves recently.

Usually, these are times that one goes through for good reason, coz it leads to a nice kinda change post the baptism through fire. I'm sensing however, that this isn't one of those times. Simply put, I don't see an end in sight to the constant questioning of my abilities that I've begun to experience.

And everyone knows that's pretty much the bane of a smart person. (Yes. I do think I'm smart. No shame in being honest about it.) To get to that point where they feel like all they do is make mistakes or not live up to expectations, coz they're usually fueled by the *belief* that they are smart, and hence having to question that *belief* so often is just bad for their well being, often resulting in a vicious cycle of "I'm pathetic at everything I do".

I wish I could say I know how to fix this. But for now, I can only muster the energy to sigh about it. Maybe I'll get productively cracking on it soon.

Maybe I won't. Or Can't.

Sigh.
========================================

I have incredible respect for people who say very little. (Unless of course it's someone I'm dating coz my annoyance with the exclusion from their life starts to override any respect the thriftiness with words might have evoked.)

I have read frustration expressed (in many forms) over verbal diarrhea that people that subject others to. I used to be (not that I've completely ceased to yet) someone prone to talking a LOT as well. My 1st boss was a man who by his ingenious methods (read - develop impatient yet kind look on face when Ms. Tic starts pointless rambling) made me curb the evil evil habit. It's one of the many things I respect him most for - being able to change me in a way that didn't make me feel smaller and made me want to get better all at once.

And no matter what forum it is, I find that people are not only more drawn to listening to, but also take much much more seriously the words from the mouth of a person who is measured with delivering them. Sort of a less is more phenomenon.

Do you ever feel that? Esp. at work? That you respect the quieter people much more than the talkative ones? Do you?
==========================================================

I saw her again yesterday. At the bus stop. She got into a bus and we didn't make eye contact. We never do.

Ever since we had that fall out (which i haven't spoken about for what - 1.5 years now?) I've wondered if it's really possible to hate someone as much as she despises me.

Now I don't LOVE an awful many people. But I've rarely hated anyone with a vicious hatred that I've been at the receiving end of. In fact the only person I can think of having hated muchly is this guy in B school who had this constant lecherous look about him and it felt sick to even have to walk past him coz you could sense that he was mentally undressing you. But really, other than that it's doubtful I've hated someone so much.

You know the weird thing? Every bloody time I bump into her - at the coffee machine, at the elevator - and I attempt a smile, she looks straight through me as if I didn't exist. For all my alleged bravado, I've never once mustered the courage to ask her why.

And here's the thing. Every one of those times I go back home baffled and admittedly affected by her behavior and without fail, that very night, dream about making peace with her.

Every single time. About 4 times in all now.

I'd try to rationalize that maybe it's a sign that I should try, but instinct tells me even attempting it is stupid and pointless.

But then again, so weird to be affected so much by someone who doesn't even matter, just coz they dislike me.
===========================================

I miss this stupid bird who has flown the nest from Singapore. When she was here, we'd have the coolest things lined up to do over weekends. Friday night cook ins. Wine. Movies at home. Bringing other friends over. Once a week I'd be gahed out by something and she'd make me dinner at home and we'd sit quietly and watch mindless TV. Weekends were filled with going to the library, eating out at nice places, going to the beach, even inane things like picking up Filmfare at Mustafa.

Sometimes we'd get sick of each other and just keep the distance until the next morning when we'd make the customary call to plan the day. We shared the kind of proximity that lets you discover exactly what you love and hate about each other. That leads to fights that make you question if you'd ever speak to the person normally ever again and yet makes you seek the solace of their company when all else seems to be going wrong.

She made life bright and sunny through a phase when I didn't know where life would go. Taught me how to smile through it all and crib my heart out for cathartic relief.

I want her back.
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I'm flying out on work again next week and you know what my biggest fear is? That my fake tooth will break and fall off as I unsuspectingly chew on something crunchy forgetting that the corner incisor is indeed fake and temporary!!!

(How do you communicate something as stupid as this to the people you work with and NOT have them fall off their chairs laughing at you? )

I need someone to remind me constantly. That is of course, when I do eat the vegetarian food they will sparingly produce to oblige me. Gah.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Crap week. Crap week.

More tomorrow morning. Very sleepy now. But it's been such a crap week.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The house bunny

was my last ditch attempt to cheer myself up last evening. heh. as i entered and left the theatre i carefully kept my eyes on the ceiling thing that connects door to wall and guess what - It DIDNT snap and swing into my face!!!

The movie was AWFUL. But yay to facing one's fears!


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

You know you're losing it when ...

Instead of thinking "Is this the right thing to do" you start wondering "Is this what's expected".
---------------------------------------------------------------

Also is it weird that I want to go see a movie in the hall near my place (not where the free tooth extraction happened) but am too scared coz I'm freaked out from my last movie going experience?

On second thoughts, perhaps some symmetry in the gaps in my teeth wouldn't hurt that much.
Ha ha indeed.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Argh.

You know how sometimes so many things about a day are absolutely peachy?

Like a nice relaxed lunch where you don't have to say much (except narrate stories of your broken tooth, perhaps)

Or 9 hours of sleep the night before. Uninterrupted by weird dreams.

Or getting to eat really good chocolate cake thanks to someone's birthday :D

Or even being able to browse through the supermarket at your own pace and pick out cool things to cook in the next few days. Sigh.

And yet there is that *something* that has inevitably set your day, week and month off to a bad start. And there's so little you know can do about it.

Except grin and bear it. And hope for sundry other things to distract.

Yes. Hope we shall.

Argh. The sore tooth was bearable, feels like.

Monday, October 06, 2008

She burns, breaks and bruises - The saga of a weekend well spent

I feel like I owe you guys this story after my unintended hibernation of the last week. So let me get straight to it!


Saturday morning: AR and I have fab plans to make Palak Paneer for the 1st time ever.

As the lovely Mogambo's lovelier friend from LA, the all American Sarah taught us, we planned to make it from 1st principle - read boil milk, curdle it, put weight on resultant matter in muslin cloth and cut into little cubes.

Post title would suggest that this encounter went horribly wrong, but rest assured, the paneer was unlike ANY I have ever eaten. And no, this isn't my richly textured sarcasm forcing itself out of the straitjacket I've imprisoned it in (another story, for a day when I have no better ones to tell. Today ain't one of them)

The gravy seemed to be taking shape quite nicely as well, and in a moment of sheer genius AR and yours truly concurred that the twist to Palak Paneer that sets it apart from ordinary (said with slightly condescending tone) gravies is that you grind up the mixture in the mixie AFTER it has cooked - you know, for the perfect taste and consistency.

This, if I may be allowed to gently bring to your notice, was the moment that my planetary alignments shifted a wee bit allowing the ever so purposeful Rahu/ Shani Inc. direct access to Ms. Tic's well being. The course of events that followed in the day are testament to their (Rahu/ Shani Inc's) weekend productivity.

1) BURNS:
As I carefully held down the mixer lid with deliberate pressure, knowing that the mixture inside was scalding hot, and turned the dial to ON, the lid decided to do a little jig of its own, defying gravity and jumping merrily into the air, splashing ALL 5'8" of me AND the kitchen around me with spinach gravy. Boiling, no less. Needless to say, my clothes saved me, esp. the fact that I'd decided to abandon shorts in light of having a male friend over, and was wearing pajamas instead.

My hands weren't half lucky and the nook of the elbows had it esp. bad. Thankfully, what felt like OMFG at the moment, calmed down after repeated applications of a pack of frozen peas and all I have to show now for the incident is a small brown black scar on my left elbow.

Not too shabby, except a glance around my kitchen at the moment made me wish I could dunk ALL of it in Ariel and leave it to clean itself. So AR manned cooking the mixture (most of it escaped unjumped from mixer) and added taste to it, while I cleaned through what can only be described as ingenious methods to get spinach stains off the weirdest nooks and crannies of my kitchen.

2) BREAKS:
After declaring the output of a slightly cursed exercise fit for consumption, we proceed to excitedly lay the table when a nice big plate (ceramic, NOT unbreakable) decides to slip past my sharp watchful eye and lands on the floor with a thundering CRASH.

AR proceeded to clean this one up. Anyone would have, given my spinach infused self was sad enough to inspire sympathy in the stoniest of hearts. And AR has a good heart. Really. (He shares the cookies from his Subway meal with me ALL the time. What else is that if not a kind heart?)

3) BRUISES:
Hopefully this will go down in the history of my insipid life as the most happening accident to happen to me. Hopefully. (Looks up meaningfully at the sky, with semblance of gentle nudge)

We head out for a movie, me and some family friends that I quite enjoy spending time with. To watch Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Seeing as I am a fan of Scarlett Johannsen and of Woody Allen's understated humor, it seemed like a must watch at the time.

When I look back at what followed, SO many IF's come to mind. IF we'd picked the movie hall they suggested, instead of my suggestion. IF I'd only held my restraint and sat quietly when the movie started. IF I'd only closed the door differently. IF is however, what some tacky fiction author rightly deemed - a 2 letter word for futility. *Pause for Dramatic Sigh*

Fine, I'll get on with telling you exactly what happened.

As the movie started (I will refrain from taking name of movie hall), it occurred to my light sensitive eyes that the door to the hall was still open. Given how full of initiative taking I am (boss and other important people at work, you ARE still reading, aren't you?) I marched up to the door to close it myself.

This is one of those air conditioned office type doors that have a speed control mechanism, that 2 part thingamajing that connects the door to the wall at the very top.

So as i proceed to shut the door, I hear a resounding SNAP and before I can figure out what just happened, I notice my tooth rolling onto the floor. A prelim check of my mouth with my hand suggests bleeding where the tooth struck my lower lip before gracefully slipping out onto the floor. One of the uncles I came to the hall with sees the commotion at the door and follows me, thankfully armed with a handkerchief (that later boasted of blood stains only an Ariel can clean) and we proceed to diagnose the problem with help from the theater staff and a first aid kit.

Bleeding stemmed, apparently what i was left with was a broken incisor that endowed upon me a very pirate like look when I smiled my camera smile (WHAT! Everyone has one! Doesn't mean I'm vain!) and cosmetic calamities apart, left the gum raw and open, making it ultra sensitive to even air. Over the next 2 days, of course, I realized food and drink would also set off the pain, and slow down what was seeming like good progress en route to putting on some weight by the time I see mum in October.

They of course, promised to pay for damages. Although, I'm not quite sure how to claim damages of the intangible kind. The fact that even with a temporary filling before we figure out whether this merits a root canal or straight away a crown, it sort of affects how much and what I can eat, and the time I'll have to take off from work to get the dental work done OR my time over weekends, as if that counts for any less.

I guess, all I can say is I'm glad it wasn't someone else, and it wasn't anything worse. The sight of the dangling contraption post the incident made us all realize how much worse it *could* have been. So I'm still saying my thanks that it was a tooth, and not an eye that me or anyone else lost.

Needless to say, the body has been recovering from the mild shock it was subjected to and I've been sleeping more than ever for the past 2 days. Will be back at work tomorrow, hopefully not too affected by the aircon.

Now, if anyone from my family is reading this, you do NOT tell amma this happened. I've requested aunty and uncle to keep this quiet and I'll be damned if I add Mom to the list of worried people.

Also, if I don't pick up the phone for long periods of time, it's cause I'm sleeping to recover from the exhaustion of the incident. Please do not worry (although I do love you extra cause you care enough to :-)) .

Couldn't have asked for a better comeback post no? :D

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Do you remember?

(Warning. Mush alert. Read at your own risk)

The first time you felt a tingle down your spine at something he said that made you see him, well, differently?

The first time you realized that conversation with this person felt so, so essential. Like air. Or water. How going without it for too long could induce actual physical pain?

When you'd smile so much through conversations with this person that your cheeks would hurt, and in masochistic fashion, you'd always be asking for more ...

When you could finally fit your feelings into one of many popular stereotypes, and lame as it sounded, it just felt, well ... RIGHT at that point in time?

The first person you confided in about your *story* .... and how much you loved hearing it yourself?

Getting to know his friends, the genesis of his stories, stories that occurred when you weren't around, stories that make him who he is ...

All the firsts? From saying the words to holding hands, from encountering his first real flaw to the first (def not the last) fight that you eventually got past?

Your first holiday together? Walking around holding hands, sitting by the beach, savoring the feeling of being free and attached to someone, all in one...

Feeling comforted by not having to pretend. Not feeling afraid to be yourself around someone. Not holding back from displaying the eccentricities that make you YOU.

The thrill of getting him his 1st birthday gift from you ... and knowing it was only the 1st of many to come....

Being able to talk about inane illogical mad things that existed only in the world you two shared. Having your own private language. And knowing no one else would have it...

Thinking back then that you didn't ever want to forget how the present felt ... wondering if there was some way to preserve the feeling, to freeze time so you'd never have to ask yourself if you remembered.

Like you are now :-)


Edited to add: Kindly to not mistake this for a personal post. By and large, every one of us who's been in love ever, has felt all of the above, regardless of where the relationship finally went. That's all I was trying to say. And although this sounds as though from a woman's point of view, men aren't incapable of feeling this. Really. :-)

Sometimes....

You're just thinking to yourself how you're bored of the music you listen to when out of the blue, on some random TV series you hear a song you LOVE and haven't heard in 2 years. And almost as if quenching extreme thirst you dive into your music collection and dig it out from somewhere on your computer, sitting back and going *SIGH* once familiar tunes begin to play .... Finding Luka Chuppi from RDB was like that. How come no website has the lyrics after the words run out and the Ni Sa Ni portion starts? I can't sing along without learning that. :(
===========================================

The simplest things bring the most happiness.
Rain.

Music.

Fresh herbs - mint, basil, coriander.

The internet - esp. when practically all of your closest friends live far away from you. Read - another country. (And no I don't mean Malaysia.)

And consequently Skype, Google talk et al.

The knowledge that *some* of them will not be as far sometime from now.

Finding the right gift for someone. (Uncrackable for me. No Penguin, yours doesn't come close)

The reassurance that *certain* inspiring people will stay in the organization for a long time.

Being able to say what you wanted to say exactly the way you wanted someone to hear it.

The smile on the face of a usually grumpy friend who reserves his smiles for occassions that you binge on unhealthy food and lessen his guilt at having done the same. You know who you are. :D

The stranger who smiled back at you on the bus.

The lady at the parlor who in the midst of plucking your eyebrows asks why you're smiling so much (making you smile even wider coz there's really no reason at all).

The colleague who enquires about why you look so cheered up while leaving work at 9 pm and all you can tell him is "I'm going to cook something cool today! :D" and see the flabbergasted look on his face.

How your kitchen smells after. Comforting and yummy.

Being able to sleep 10 hours straight. And feeling well rested thereafter.
==============================================

No matter how much you try to keep someone happy, no matter how you invest every ounce of energy into doing the things you thought would keep them from worrying, you realize, all too late that being worried is simply second nature to them.
That for once, it's not about you. It's about them.

==============================================

You have so much going on inside your head, that you want to put down 3 posts in one evening. Will you, or won't you?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Wednesday...

A Wednesday is an amazing movie. Watch it. Please. For the sheer power of the performances. For how moved you will be by the monologue at the end. For how angry you will suddenly remember to be when you realize that you're practically a prisoner of your worst nightmares - the death of those you love. For a simple plot brilliantly executed.

Watch it. Do.

Friday, September 19, 2008

You know what's exhausting?

Combating stupidity. That's what.

Kill me before that kills me. Please.

UGH.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Surprise is what you feel when ...

One fine day your body gets tired of how much you've been ignoring its silent protests and decides to teach you a lesson through more tangible (hence painful) signals and as a result you cannot do anything BUT slow down.

As you walk down the road in a foreign country, you hear remarks that you thought could only be directed to a woman in your own country and had long relegated to non existent, given how pampered your current country of residence has made you. And you still find it in you to turn around and give your fiercest, nastiest glare to the assholes in question. (Doesn't help. Makes me feel better. EOM)

Your mind finds the ability to accommodate the wishes of another, contrary to your own notions of how stubborn you are/ were. Grace with giving in never comes easily to people who have had their way most of the time, but when it starts knocking at the door, politely asking to be let in.... that's something!

That place in your heart where bad things - rage, disappointment and even the intent to inflict pain - once resided, seems to have shrunk. In its place you find instead, the ability to forgive and forget. Wonderment indeed!

Sometimes, your mouth makes sense even before your mind does. And you realize that the same pattern exists between your fingers and your mind. And you always thought (!) you were a fast thinker. Sigh.

Age old insights are proven true. Again and again. And again. Like how giving feels awesomer than receiving. Like how doing good begets good things. Like how everything absolutely and completely happens for the very best. Like how if you give people the chance, they will show you the very best within them. And then some more.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hi?

Haven't seen the face of this blog for a while now (come to think of it, haven't seen *that* one either. Or *that* one. Alas. But also hurrah! :D) Have been at work a LOT, socializing a BIT, and sometimes nursing a sore hand/ shoulder. Eyes have suddenly gone red from an allergy, and are now kohl-less and rendering the face pale and sickly looking. People who see me everyday ask if I've been crying. If all is ok.

Err. All is very good indeed! It's just a phase where time's passing me by and things are getting done at work and outside, but the time to sit and reflect has just not stopped by. Also my kohl-less eyes are not exactly a sight for sore eyes. (bwahaha!)

What's weird is, through a time that would've normally sucked the energy and happiness right out of me, I'm making jokes and laughing it all off. (bad jokes still qualify as jokes. Cause I say so. Ok?) When did I develop a sense of humor for torture, say?

In other brilliant news, a bird erstwhile thought to have flown the nest might be flying right back. Other important things and stuff are coming up. A very very good friend's wedding to attend. AND some ultra cool projects at work. Life will be wonderful again. Yay!!!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Oops!

It's been 4 days since any real cooking occurred in this house. The flatmate made this thing I hate over the weekend and I ate it for dinner last night, and the night before. That much lazy came. Imagine!

Today was to be decidedly better.

Something, anything had to be cooked. So pasta was made. With cilantro. And lots of garlic for flavor. Yummy!

Wine was poured. Into one of 2 special glasses picked up from ChinaTown SFO.

Lights set to a mellow yellow. (OK. They're always dimmed. There's 2 yellow lamps only anyway)

And music was put on. Light. Breezy. Sigh. Yeh... tumhaari meri baatein ...

Cool breeze floated in through the windows. Lavender scented oils emanated their fragrance into the cozy confines of this room.

It was indeed a sigh moment.

And then an sms arrives from a number unknown "Happy Ganpati! ..."etc etc.

One resounding OOPS sounds goes off inside head for having consumed garlic AND alcohol on the eve of a festival!

Post which the wine drinking and pasta eating resume, of course.

Indeed, I'm nothing if not shameless. (Amma would've hung her head in shame, alas.)

(Speaking of which, Amma calls at the very moment to tell me she's stuck in traffic near Chembur/ Sion. Have to confess that even in the course of our 1 hour long conv intended to distract her from the traffic outside her window, not once did I let it slip that errors of oceanic magnitude had occurred on this precious day. Why make her unhappy thus, I ask?)

I stand by the stmt on my last post ref this topic, btw. So long as I don't indulge in husband beating (not that there's one to beat up yet) or co human abuse post alcohol consumption, I'll continue to assume I'm still blessed. Garlic and wine intake be damned.

Happy Chathurti everyone! How did you celebrate? Tell tell!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

How mistaken is ....

The notion of work life balance - which by its very definition implies work is separated from life and that there needs to be a balance between the two. Whereas you could actually love doing something so much that doing it gives you happiness that blurs the lines between work and life and all you see is one large activity system - namely life

The notion of being a good boss - which carries baggage such as expected perfection and knowing the answers to everything. When in reality it's easier to connect with and feel confident around someone who has as many questions as answers, and thereby is learning just like you are, and hence feels like he inhabits the same planet that you do. Someone who can make mistakes and sometimes go "Oh really? I didn't know that."

The notion of picture perfect relationships - where mutual respect and fondness need to be spoken in a language of mutual admiration and glossing over flaws. When in reality, nothing can come close to personifying security as 2 people who can make references to apparent flaws inherent in the other without flinching.

The notion of being a couple - where togetherness is taken so literally as to turn the best of individuals into one entity, very akin to siamese twins. When in reality, nothing is more admirable than 2 individuals who can share a life without having to do everything together; who can RSVP to spur of the moment drinks invitations without having to consult with the other, can pursue creative interests regardless of whether the other participates or partakes or not. Who can be as much at peace with the idea of *me* as with the idea of *us*.

The notion of faith - where how much you believe (and consequently how much you'll get blessed) is measured by how many trips you made to your designated place of worship or how many rituals you followed post a bath (on non menstruating days, no less). When in reality, being a good person (involving NOT killing someone who prays at a differently constructed structure, or thinking lowly of them) to those around and trying to up the *happy* quotient of the universe is likely to bring up your own *happy* quotient.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Rock on ..

We all appreciate good cinema, esp when it's a deviation from the norm. Esp so, if the deviation hasn't left the movie half unbearable (like say a Jodha Akbar). So when a movie that's more than half decent comes your way, you better go catch it.

Rock On, which admittedly comes tinted with shades of DCH, is about 4 guys and their love for making music. Somewhere along the way, the story makes space for 2 wives without reducing them to pretty caricatures and within an interesting format of skipping between the past and the present, keeps you fairly engaged for about 2.5 hours. Add to the mix some hummable music and a very real sounding screenplay that skips past melodrama and stays on the sane path, and you have a movie that's definitely worth your buck. And your time.

Personal favorites include Farhan Akhtar in his acting debut - love his sincerity, Prachi Desai of Kasam se fame as his wife - she's real and gets a chance to act without the camera zooming in and out of her face K serial style - and does a pretty good job of it too. Not to forget Purab Kohli as the Sameer from DCH sound-alike with his impeccable sense of comic timing.

Also am still stuck on Phir Dekhiye, find the lyrics and the song here on chandni's blog. I recommend it as she does. Also love Yeh Tumhaari Meri baatein.

A special mention of the scene where Prachi finally speaks her mind on how she's been left out of her husband's life for as long as she can remember. It struck a chord simply cause where we come from, I know it would be a socially acceptable way for a wife to *adjust* without ever complaining about it.

Likely to elicit questions like "you have the perfect life, what else do you want?", it's something many many women would just grow to be ok with, although in reality there's nothing quite normal about sharing a space with a husband when you're not involved in the stories that make up his life (and vice versa). Why else do we have flatmates if not to lead individual lives under the same roof? Don't need a husband for that no?

Although, to be fair, he does come around too soon post her outburst. A normal guy would've taken a while to confront his own demons, much less admit them to his wife asap. Just saying!

And here's a tribute to a friend. We all have our phases. Of being whiny, gwumpy and FredFlintstony. We still are one big happy family. Really! :D

Good night ya all ...and Yabba Dabba Doo!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Whiny Ms. Tic..

Currently has the least right to whine about anything at all.

But is crabby and tired. Is overeating over and above her usual quota and hasn't run in 10 days. N says metabolism won't be as forgiving in a matter of a few months and he's right. Fat is starting to say hello. Quite rudely at that.

Is missing having the Penguin in town and dreading having her leave for good for another city. Is at a loss as to how to make up for the loss. Cannot say this to the Penguin's face since has strong streak of stupid pride that holds back from expressing affection with those who matter most. Is quite stupid like that. (The penguin reads this. Yes she does.) Is hoping the penguin will just never bring this up in person and pretend it was never written.

Misses Mb muchly, but is happy about the general direction that things are taking. Hasn't replied to one very imp mail yet but is hoping actions speak louder than words.

Is exhausted. Too exhausted to cook. Or even go over to N's place to talk. Just slumps into bed and watches mindless TV and sleeps early and wakes up late. Is just so tired from all that travel last week. Good week. But tiring week. And this one, despite no travel, isn't being kind either.

Is very close to losing the sparkle in her eye and the happiness in her smile. For this week anyway. Later will surely be better. Always is.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

10 things to say to 10 people...

Ref this tag from way back ... I'm pained and frustrated today and want to say things to people, but cannot to their face. So here is where I'll vent. Not fully but. Somewhat only.

1. I want clarity not confusion. I want trust. I really wish you'd just let me be sometimes. ARGH!!!

2. I know you think what you're doing is noble. I don't think you see, however, how all of this affects someone who matters to you. You won't. He's stoic beyond your wildest dreams.

3. I lacked intent with you. I'm sorry about that. I started to get angry, and I'd have been more disappointed about how things went if it hadn't been for this realization that came to me suddenly last week. Hope things are better soon.

4. It's the one rule of playing your role that you can NEVER violate. And you've done just that. I just hope the next one year passes without event. Else I won't ever forgive you.

5. Not one of our vacations gave us the chance that one evening gave us. In so many ways I was happy I moved out of your daily life when I did. I'm worried sick about you sometimes, but you have her now, and for that I'm glad.

6. Things will work out. They have to. Bad things cannot happen to good people. Def not to wonderful, incredible, magical people like you. *Hugs*

7. I promise to make this as easy as possible to deal with. I do. But you made me question how tall I am. How can I ever forgive that?

8. I don't get how your response to the question could've been as non committal as it was. Such a let down coming from you guys of all people. How to place trust in people now?

9. It is me or is it you? How will I ever know?

10. Ah finally you get what you deserve. Congratulations indeed. :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Silver linings...

Funny that the last post that dwelt on silver linings was written the last time I came to Madras.

This, in my own words is the city of my heart, the city I love and feel an incredible warmth for every time that flight lands on the runway. Irrational and illogical as my love may be, this is the only city in India that I've never lived in that I know localities and roads within. I spend inordinate time looking through the google maps version of the city's layout in an attempt to be as familiar with it as long time Madras dwellers are. I may not succeed as I'd like to, but I sure love the stunned look on my originally-Tamil-but-born-and-brought-up-in-Bombay mother's face when I rattle off routes and directions in Madras. Love it. :-)

And as all raving about good things brings, I brought upon myself the worst kind of jinx. (very becoming would be a post on the strange connection jinxes share with me). I had close to the worst weekend EVER in Madras this time. And the worst thing for someone like me who likes ranting about it and getting it out of my system was, there really was no one to blame. How do you place blame when a series of misunderstandings results in you spending 2.5 hours on a footpath by a crowded arterial road in the city, sitting and waiting to figure out your next course of action?

You don't. You seethe and fume and kick yourself mentally for having rejoiced like you did at the thought of landing in Madras. At sharing that information (pointlessly at that) with some 10 other people at the cost of being laughed at, might I add?

Nothing, absolutely nothing this weekend went as I'd hoped.

But this isn't a post about cribs. (Didn't I magically lead you into believing it was, with 2 paragraphs of ranting? I know. I'm talented like that)

It's a post about silver linings. Through the worst, most disastrous events in my rather uneventful life so far, I've been taught that there's a bloody good reason for everything that happens. No really, someday when I tell you the story of how I've discovered the most happiness and the most incredible friends through what seemed like the worst unending seasons of misery and general bweh, you'll understand what I mean. About silver linings, that is.

Like this weekend, just before I left for Madras, I got in touch with this commenter friend person and realized she lives here and made plans to meet up and spend time with her. All this, 2 hours before my flight took off! And it turned out to be such a godsend!!!

Over and above the sundry factual details like being able to borrow her charger (coz I left mine back home, yes. sheer brilliance, that is me) and being able to go over to her place for human company when all my usual friends were helplessly sucked into last minute plans that didn't involve yours truly, it was being able to spend time with this delightfully positive person who floored me with how easily she's blended into a new life with her husband and his family, and is so keen on "managing my own home" that she wakes up every morning to diligently cook lunch for them both, declining her MIL's offer to help. (Gah. Don't go all feminist on me. Her husband cleans the house every weekend - I'm just trying to point out how happily self sufficient they are despite the chance to hire household help, or even take help from her in laws who live just downstairs.)

I know unmarried friends who refuse to care for themselves, relying on house help to pull through their lives, relying on outside food for sustenance when the maid doesn't come in a single day. Their bathrooms stink and turn brown, kitchens with days of uncleaned leftovers host mega roaches and I'm about to throw up, so I'll stop right here.

Amidst all this, it's just so refreshing to see people our age who don't find it beneath themselves to tend to their own house and health. A, I'm so proud of you. Your family is lucky to have you, no matter what they might have led you to believe (your maternal family, hon) in the past. Stay as you are and bring out the paints and music to boot :)

Some other thingamajings went not quite as per plan this weekend, but in the interest of keeping private matters private, all I can say is, the things that affect us most do so cause they matter so much. And just realizing how much they matter is the silver lining to the seemingly imperfect consequences they may entail.

That, my dear reader, is the profound lesson for the week. Go have a good one. Go.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sometimes....

It's not about you at all.

And as unused as you are to it being this way, you care enough to let it be. Not about you, that is.

Growing up, I believe, it's called. :-)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Oh yayyy!!

I just got my 1st ever personal credit card. After yearssss of persuasion from friends, after not being eligible with my 1st year salary and all that, I finally have it!! A CREDIT CARD!!! Oh yeah!!

Oh oh! I can collect miles on this! N is the best credit card advice giver EVER!!! :D


*Mogambo - pls note. Adequate pride is came I hope*

Thursday, August 07, 2008

It's almost here ...

The rain.

The weather outside is simply brilliant. Cloudy skies, almost completely dark at 5.30 pm, calm cool breeze flowing through my room and the anticipation of the smell of rain on earth.


Why can't it be like this everyday?

It's started now. The sound of raindrops going pitter patter brings a smile to my face, always has, even through the worst times.

At home in Bombay (I refuse to call it Mumbai, sorry) I'd sit by the huge windows all the time during what they called preparatory leave - the 25 or so days before engineering exams that you're granted to cram everything you refused to even look at through the rest of the term coz you were always too busy doing ... err... things and stuff.

I'd have morning tea, read through the newspaper (yes, I did that once upon a time) study through planned time tables, sip tea again in the evening listening to the latest music on the now antiquated music system - the latest in bollywood sometimes Rafi, Lata and Mukesh ... all of this while sitting on the granite ledge near the window.

And when it was about to rain, clouds would gather all over the horizon, outlined by the hills that separated Thane from where we lived and amidst the darkening gray, the outline of the hills would suddenly vanish.

Which is when we knew it was about to pour.

We'd rush to the windows in the bedrooms and take in almost dry clothes from the line before the rain got to them and feel victorious as the 1st drops of rain hit the window and got steel rods instead of clothes. :-) (Bro and I stopped short of a hi-five most times, it would've shattered the cool facade we had going around each other)

The rains have ever since, never ceased to delight.

Do you have this thing that nature brings to you whenever you're asking for something to smile about? The rains have always been mine. Through it all.

When I failed to get through my 1st ever job interview while 33/74 classmates did. (Don't judge me. That kinda stuff was BIG for me back then).
When I was sent away to the then dratty madras for an internship with no one to keep me company. It was bang in the middle of friggin summer, the Madrasi's ultimate nemesis, and it rained for the 1st time in YEARS. (I still claim it was cause I asked for it to. Fine. Snigger if you want.)
Whenever I so much as wished for it back in Bangalore. And many many more times here in Singapore. From nursing an awful day at work (admittedly not many of those) to nursing a broken heart. Amidst colleagues going "God. Not AGAIN!" when they looked out the window and saw it darkening to when people shielded their heads and ran for shelter as if it was acid itself dropping from the sky. (It's water. You drink it. How bad can it be??).

The rains made my day, no matter what.

Now change that to the simple present tense while I enjoy the view outside my window :-)

Have a lovely day...

Edited to add: Nothing like hot Kadhi Chawal to make a brilliant day brilliantER no? :D

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Moving on with making a difference to the world...

Before I get into the details of tips on saving water/ electricity etc, I want to take a moment and point out how utterly jinxed my existence is sometimes. Only the last post started with "No one's sick around here" and here I am on sick leave from work with red eyes, a bad headache and some chills. Am I not being thankful enough for good things that come to me or should I just stop talking about them in public? I'm not sure.

So moving right on. Things one can do in their daily lives to save water and electricity so this generation doesn't have to worry about whether or not to have children, given resources in the world are being depleted at an alarming rate. (Tell me i'm not the only one who keeps debating this in my head?)

- For those of you who use the aircon as you sleep: Here's some terrific tips on using an air conditioner wisely. You don't have to be a saint and give up sleeping in cooled environs, you can be smart, though. The one I particularly identify with is about keeping the room well sealed when the aircon's working. Ensuring all doors and windows in the cooled room are closed most times, esp through the heavy duty night hours, can bring down your monthly electricity bill by at least 10%.
In a time when cost of essentials like food are going up, this is a chance at savings that you simply cannot ignore!

- While cooking whether on conventional gas or in a microwave: Here's some tips on how to get most fuel efficiency while cooking. I particularly like the tip on keeping the burner of your gas clean so most heat is absorbed by the cooking vessel vs. the accumulated residue on your burner and the defrosting of frozen food before putting it on the gas. Very relevant to Indian households and cooking methods (which is most visitors on this blog).

- For those who drive: Here's tips on fuel efficient driving. I have a friend who carefully notes down the mileage he gets on every run and once informed me (with the wise, all knowing look, of course) that the only reason he doesn't drive at impressive speeds is cause it compromises mileage and hence fuel efficiency. Made me check out more details on google. And it's all true. It may not be as exciting to drive anymore, but it'll ensure the earth lasts somewhat longer if we can all do this. :-)

- Saving water: Btw, do you know there's a water crisis imminent upon us all? And there's so so many things we can do, little shifts in our daily habits, that can save up to 25% of the water we use on a daily basis. Go on, read about them here. And apply them.

- There's other random tips you can google more on such as ensuring you wash fewer bigger loads in the washing machine vs. multiple small loads, drying clothes physically vs. using a dryer (when you have the option, not all american households do, I get that), ensuring water heaters are left on for minimal time before you go for your shower and switched off right after, ensuring fridge doors are well sealed and aren't left open for too long.

That's mostly what I have for the day. Oh! I *must* allude to the earlier post on saving food in keeping with the spirit of this post :-)

Just to point out, none of the above cost you money, and are all easy to do. I know there's not too many original thoughts up there, and you could've googled those yourself. But how many of you have actually googled these before, huh? HUH?

Yeah, that's what.

Good night!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

No one's sick round here ...

... so don't ask why I'm cooking Khichdi, like this co worker asked when I told her I plan to make this Gujju food thing tonight. Khichdi's also made when you get home really late from a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg day at work, cause it's quick and simple.

Once I started, I figured might as well go the whole hog, and so ended up cooking Khatti Aloo (potatoes cooked in tamarind gravy so they have this awesome sourish aftertaste) and all.

Here, take, I really don't have the energy or enthusiasm to write more tonight. It's been a long day. Did I just say that?

Monday, July 28, 2008

What kind of person are you at work?

Are you the kind who's intensely conscious of what people think of you?

Are you the kind who's afraid to be seen relaxing coz you think it might reflect on you professionally?

Are you honest about your cynicism on certain issues? Even with those junior people considered 'impressionable'? Esp. with those you play boss to?

Do you suck up? Or delude yourself into believing that agreeing to everything the boss says = leveraging on their rich experience, even if you disagree? (we still call that sucking up, you know no?)

Are you afraid to refuse to do things you're asked to do when you don't see the value in them? Afraid people will think you are incapable vs. unwilling?

How much of yourself have you changed ever since you started out at this job? How much of that is good change?

Have you stopped questioning while you were once curious? Stopped wondering about the right thing to do, when you once challenged directives?

Does it just feel easier to go with the flow and let it be management's call instead of belaboring your point and convincing them, turning the tide? Do you find that tedious? Or refreshing?

Do you cringe when someone tells you "my boss thinks...." and make that their primary argument when they're getting paid good money to use their brain to conjure up arguments of their own?

Do you LOL secretly when you hear this clueless person who has no solid facts to cite and so prefixes big adjectives to their nouns when they do public speeches? Like "This initiative will REALLY step-change the future of this business..."...do you?

Does it kill you to see grown up folks shedding every ounce of integrity and changing stance each time the big boss disagrees? Omg, are you one of them?

Do you also lament seeing bright young people who were hired for their "fresh perspective" so easily giving up independent thought process to blend in and feel more accepted?

Do you like the people you work with? Would you get through a whole meal with them and enjoy yourself even? Look forward to being around them socially? Do you feel like they're people you can trust?

Do you see people around you with oodles of potential, all smothered by the opinions of the person they work under?

Do you include in your conversations that quiet girl who always takes the corner seat at dinners/ lunches and doesn't say much ? Do you notice her at all?

Do you treat others with respect and in turn earn some for yourself? Do you command it or demand it?

What kind of person are you at work?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Koftas!!!!

We made Paneer koftas!!!

(AR called me all sorts of complimentary things when I hmmed about the idea of making koftas over communicator, that I had to invite him over to help me make them and eat them.)

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves ok? OK.

The gravy without the koftas ..



And WITH ...

They tasted incredibly good btw. Just as good (probably better than!) as they look!

That's the 2nd of 10 new things for the year down, btw! (The 1st was Gojju from Karnataka, rbbr?)

And you have a good night too!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oohh..

Wat a yummy cabbage sabzi was made. Slurpppp!!! :D Such perfect amounts of salt and masalas and leaving on the gas until perfect green brown. And had with 3 day old Rasam (we don't waste food even if the person we live with cooks to feed an army) is just PURRFECT comfort food.

*I'm putting down cooking as one of my top 5 things to take mind off ..err... issues that threaten to make me rant. I know! I'd be a good person to live with!!!*

Also my mother is just the coolest uber nicest and sweetest human being ever. We just had this conversation and she just swept me off my feet with her attitude towards things. I want to give her one full standing ovation for being her.

*She won't really know I did, living in another country and all that. But enough to put the thought out here, no?*


Also AR gave us a belated birthday gift. And it was indeed a Wat A!!! Pottery set with full rotating base and air drying clay (not to be eaten - going by pack instructions. Dammit! When will they let me eat clay I ask!) and PAINTS. YAY!!! I have a weekend project. I'm going to make candle holders with the clay and all.

*Anyone know how air drying clay holds up to melting wax? Find out and tell me before I burn down the house? Thanks!*

And now I shall proceed to do some painting. So see, this friend and his colleagues recently succeeded in displaying Chinese letters on an LCD screen (I have cool friends like that, yeah!!!) and in keeping with my tradition of giving away badly (but lovingly, mind you!) painted objects as gifts to friends (coasters/ pen stands/ jewelery cases are the norm) I've wanted to give this one something nice as well. So I'm gonna paint his name in Chinese on a tee and gift it to him.

*No, it's never too late to be my friend. Yes, I love them all almost equally. Almost being the key word. :D*
**If N starts to rant about how I've never cleaned his room in the 5 years we've known each other so well, despite cleaning some other rooms in the same hostel and blah, just ignore him, ok? He's a ranter like that, that boy.**

Ok good night!

Bweh.

Is exactly how I feel most of the time now.

Life outside work is settling down to a state of same -old and I DON'T LIKE. I'm constantly thinking of what to do next to spice up things and make life meaningful, but as of now drawing one BIGGU sized blank.

Also, I'm sitting on the periphery of decisions that others are making about my life and trying hard to stay calm and peaceful ...

*breathes deeply, once... twice... thrice....

.....gives up and goes back to huffing
*

As you can see, *that* isn't going too well at the moment.

What the F is with me and sitting quietly that will just not go together? Ok, I have to promise myself that I need to put something down on paper for the next 6 months on paper by this weekend. Else I'll go without sweets for all of next week.
(Shudder, Gasp, Shudder!!!)

And on that cheerful note, I say goodbye. Someone's about to break some top secret news to me. Why like this so much suspense and not knowing in MY life WONLY? WHY???!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

For the sake of bloggish correctness...

You know how sometimes you just have to say this thing that's on your mind, no matter how late it is and how tired you are?

-------------------------------------------------------------------
When one writes a new ..ahem .. piece on their blog, it's called a new post, NOT a new blog.

Hence,

A blog: A distinct website with a distinct URL

A post: Every entry on the same website (aforementioned)

Net: Many posts do a blog maketh. Many blogs DO NOT a blog maketh (recursion is not a concept at work here)
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Just needed to get that off my chest. Whew!!

Ok. Good night!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Faith ...

Is simply a matter of staying fearless despite the absolute loss of control...

Fearlessness ...
...is a reality only when one can confront the idea of losing things that seemingly matter most to them and yet not flip completely at the thought of the worst possible outcomes. And when one can honestly say that the calm comes from being calm, and not from sitting and awaiting the storm.

Chandni wrote about faith some time back, and consequently I've revisited the notion - why I have faith and how much my sense of sanity depends on it. Faith exists in my life cause in situations where I really cannot influence the direction that a situation is taking, I need to believe that a larger force out there is managing my life when I'm not and that it will take me to a good place because of the good Karma I've accumulated. (Don't tell me how inane you find the notion of an educated person saying all this. Even if you're thinking it. You have your belief system and I have mine.)

My faith is hence tested to the hilt when put in a situation that I simply cannot control, and yet want to stay fearless through. When all I am is a passenger in the backseat. Not the person at the wheels. (There's only so much back seat driving even a usually control freakish me can indulge in.) My destiny is tied to another's. It's a notion that would normally leave me feeling frustrated and helpless.

But once I manage to honestly internalize the notion of faith, I think I can actually find it in me to sit back and relax, perhaps even enjoy the ride with the bumps and potholes, without so much as blinking. Much less freaking out or palpitating at the thought of the worst case scenario. Just telling myself that even the worst cannot possibly be that bad.

I like. The feeling of fearlessness, that is.

Where do you get your faith from?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Have you ever?

Walked out of a movie hall right in the middle of a movie?

I've done it twice before (Khoya Khoya Chand & one slapstick I don't recall the name of). Yes, it reflects low levels of tolerance. (You really don't need proof to conclude that about me, my mother and close friends will tell you).

What I did not anticipate was walking out on an Aziz Mirza movie without even making it to the intermission. Kismat Connection could *NOT* have been more disappointing.

I blame Jaane Tu for setting too high a bar in an enjoyable movie experience. Not a brilliant movie, not a masterpiece or a work of art. Just a movie where you could feel for the characters and *fall in love* vicariously. (When Jai, on noticing Aditi being kissed by the *other* man, freezes and lets go of Meghna, you understand, as he does, for the very 1st time, exactly how he feels about her.)

But Shahid fell in love with Vidya Balan without so much as breezing past my heart, let alone touch it.

No spark.

No fireworks.

Zilch. It didn't even leave me curious as to what happens next. (Any wonder I calmly walked out?)

You'd expect better of 2 reasonably good actors and the director who gave us Yes Boss and Raju ban gaya Gentleman, yes?

Perhaps *not*, as is amply proven when you watch the movie.

I suggest you go watch Jaane Tu a 2nd time instead.

I plan to.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Will she ever retire?

My mother, ladies and gentlemen, aged 54, in a job that leaves her with little time for herself on weekdays and a family that eats up most of the rest on weekends has gone and enrolled herself for a Diploma in HRM (Human Resource Management) through correspondence.

Base goal is to take 2 exams this year (Dec 2008, Jun 2009) with 5 subjects each with whatever little time life has to offer.

Stretch goal is to attend classes when possible (close to where we live, thank God).

You'd have to conclude - either my mother is a woman who sees the world as limitless OR I'm putting her through so much anguish with how I live my life that this was the only way she could distract herself from daughter-imposed misery.

I sincerely hope it's the former.

Kudos to her either way!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Coz I had a bad day ...

There's a weight sitting on my shoulders today. It's the sum total of many little things gnawing at me and pulling me down.

Some jet lag.

Some sadness at the vacation being over.

Some at situations that were within my control but that I messed up anyway. Some of them affect me. That's OK, really. Some of them affect others. That's pissing me off.

Some at situations that really aren't in my control but whose ensuing poor outcome extends its shadow to people I love, and is unfair to them.

Some of it is an oncoming cold and a pain in the throat (not neck, surprisingly, after all that literal baggage I put my shoulders through on this trip) and a feeling that I'm about to fall sick - for like the 11th time this year.
(Mom, if you're reading this, I'm exaggerating. It's more like the 3rd time. Also don't call me about that email I wrote you this morning, I don't know how to talk about it. Yes I'm a coward.)

Some of it is my tummy reorienting itself to the Asian food clock, mostly kicking and screaming.


I refuse to succumb to an UGH day like this. Know what I'll do? Something I've wanted to for 2 weeks now - watch Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. :-)

Yes, I'm shallow like that. Atleast i'll sleep happy.

What do you do to unblue a bad day, say?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

2 milestones in 1 ...

This is the 250th post.
And, last Sunday was the 27th birthday Ms. Tic celebrated.

All else is good and lovely and wonderful in the US of A.

San Fran is in close contest with NYC for my favorite city to live in. Brilliant weather, amazing people, and such awe inspiring natural beauty. Even the signature up down roads make you gape in wonder! Yosemite, the 17 mile drive, Carmel and Monterey bay, the bay cruise, the coit tower (heheh funny name that!), wine tasting and walking through Fisherman's Wharf with old friend T and staying over and being all girly and chatty with Mogambo's friend M who hosted us in her house - was all incredible!

LA was nice, but mostly cause I saw it through the eyes of those who made it home for some time and have memories to cherish there. Don't think I'd want to live there. Not really. No.

NY is still as lovely as ever. Central Park and one show of Rent + the mandatory attendance at Cafe Wha is all we had time for.
NY, btw, is also where the birthday was ushered in. Penguin and Mogambo sang and PuppyManohar played the guitar as we all bit into yummy mousse cakes. Nice. Very nice. :-)

So far gifts count is as follows: 1 hair dryer, 1 surprise spa package, 1 set of rattling somethings - perhaps to provide a semblance of melody to my own singing, 2 sets of lovely flowers and 1 Tommy Girl perfume. Call me materialistic - but I love love love gifts. Just the joy of opening wrapping paper makes me delirous. Even if what's inside is one eclair. No really!

{I'll be one of those people who on my wedding invitation will say "Bring gifts, but please wrap up nicely, and oh! I don't want the thoughtless idols and photo frames that you're about to give me as a formality. A nicely wrapped bar of chocolate will do instead. If reading this makes you not want to come to my wedding, then please let me know so food doesn't go to waste. K thanks!"}

And now the Boston leg of the trip remains before i get on that flight (kicking, screaming and protesting that I want to stay here please!!) and get back home to Singapore.

Until then, here's wishing the blog and myself a happy birthday. Happy indeed! :D

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I resolve to....

Remember this?

Just checking on how we're doing so far...

Drama:
CHECK! Play staged and details posted here

Travel:
Cambodia/ Malaysia - CHECK.
Sundry others on work + 1 wedding in Madras - CHECK.
West Coast USA - I leave next week :D Praying that my trip goes well and here's the anti jinx kala tikka to ward off the evil evil eye/s!

Storytelling:
I have to admit this was put on hold because play practice took up weekends. I'm getting back this weekend. Miss the kids.

Cooking:
A late start, but a start nevertheless. I made Gojju last evening, finally! :D (AR called it the best dinner he's had in Singapore so far. Just saying! :D)

More coming up in the next few months .. koftas next, I think :D

Spanish:
I've found an unsuspecting friend who also wishes to learn, but starting next year, so will put this off until then. Instead - I'm going to paint atleast 3 objects to give away as gifts this year. (aside from these).

Aren't you proud of me? I AM! :D

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Too much togetherness...

I woke up this morning thinking about couples who practically merge into a single person and others who manage to maintain individual identities and interests with a nice little world that unifies them. And before I could articulate this myself on my own blog, I read this.

I hadn't even gotten to the whole 'being in the same house' and 'how to define living spaces' piece that Gouri talks about. (Though, for years I've told my friends who kid me on my obsessive cleanliness quotient in the bathroom/ kitchen that if/when I'm married, I'd actually like one extra bathroom if we could afford it and a spare room to go chill out and do my/ his own thing when desired, and yes, I've been laughed at.) For me the frustration is more people who vanish from the radar as individuals and suddenly re emerge as a duo.

Don't get me wrong. Like with entry into any new lifestage (a new college/ a relationship/ a new job) it is understandable if the person vanishes from his/her regular life to experience the beginning of a new phase - the honeymoon phase, as we simply term it. But to go off the radar completely (unless you moved to a different continent, we all get the limitations that physical distance poses) just cause you now are with a significant other is something I don't understand.

Like with most other things that I haven't experienced, I'm afraid to seriously comment on/ judge this phenomenon, cause my judgment usually has a sneaky way of coming back to bite me where the sun don't shine.

Yet, given how much I love my own life and the activities that it includes, I can only hope the people who love spending time with the single me do not have to cope with a 2 become 1 phenomenon when a better half does enter the picture.

And selfishly, given how much I love the individuals I spend time with, I can only hope they can continue to preserve some semblance of the person they are without turning into 2 people overnight.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

disconnected thoughts.. so many of them ..

- All the women I really like/ get along with are scarily like each other. All have tough exteriors that conceal how wonderfully loving they are on the inside.

- There's things inside your head that sometimes cannot be shared with ANYone. ANYone. Not quite the same as demons, but still little thoughts that constitute a significant chunk of who you are but cannot be shared. No particular reason. Just.

- Charolette's line in SATC "Everything's been so wonderful so far. Something bad is BOUND to happen no?" is one I fully identify with. Whenever I'm feeling unduly blessed, I have this crappy "What horrid thing awaits me around the corner" kinda attitude (which again, I don't share with anyone).

- While on SATC, Carrie's sprint across town to meet Miranda on new year's eve is something that totally touched my heart. I can safely say that this one thing in the movie caught my attention and stayed in my mind beyond all the sexy clothes and ring talk. It reminded me of the weekend I fell miserably ill and just landed up at the Penguin's place and lay in bed as she fed me and gave me my meds despite her own weekend plans. What would life be without people like this?

- Someone just pointed out how my professional/ academic life has always worked out as planned. And I realized after how I spent almost 10 years devoting attention, time and energy to planning and working towards it, and it ALONE, if it *hadn't* worked out that way, it would've been quite a let down and an antithesis to "God helps those who helps themselves". So is it any wonder it turned out how it did? And is it any wonder, hence, that the 1st relationship I ever had was when I was almost 25?

- There's this thing about confiding in people that needs a certain level of quid pro quo. If sharing is a one sided activity with none forthcoming from the other end, as much as I can indulge in non stop blabber, real sharing will dwindle over time. Does that happen to you as well?

- Happiness at work is such a huge function of happiness outside. Ever since this play thing gave me something to work towards and look forward to, my mindset at work has shifted significantly. Suddenly I'm more aware, involved and present than I have ever been after the 1st year. And the converse is true. My bluest times outside work have seen me go through mindless phases of no enthusiasm at work (Oh GOD so many people from work read this!!). Does that happen to you? Am I weird?

- There's something about being able to commit. To a project. To a person. There's something to be said of going through a tough tough badass situation with the said project/person and still wanting to have it/ them in your life with no dwindling of intent. I love that something whenever it comes to me. Love it.

Yes, I love green, but this?




Your Power Color Is Lime Green



At Your Highest:


You are adventurous, witty, and a visionary.


At Your Lowest:


You feel misunderstood, like you don't fit in.


In Love:


You have a tough exterior, but can be very dedicated.


How You're Attractive:


Your self-awareness and confidence lights up a room.


Your Eternal Question:


"What else do I need in my life?"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Going nuts...

is a word which now reminds me of pine nuts and basil paste in olive oil (yes that's the incredible smelling concoction they call pesto sauce)... indicating exactly how food obsessed I've become. Not so much with the eating as with the cooking. Every evening (Yes, you heard right) I spend 15 minutes browsing through the supermarket picking up exotic veggies (Zucchinis are my latest obsession) to take home and cook exotic dishes with.

I've cooked 3 types of risotto, 1 from scratch pasta with rosemary and parsley and such items in the last 1 or 2 weeks. Tonight I'm planning on making this Zucchini + Tomato + Potato something in sweet sour gravy to be eaten with rice (hopefully plain, coz after a 2 km run and shower and all that chopping, cooking anymore will be a bit too much I think).

So yes, I'm letting you all know I've gone completely nuts. And not in a good way. My mother might be proud if I tell her though. Who knows.

Also, I really want to write, but work's being a bit of a bummer right now (in a nice way, if you can imagine such a thing. I'm rediscovering my fire at work, so to speak) and between sitting at my desk, reminding myself to sit straight and "lock my neck" (physio's instructions) and spending more than fair share time surrounded by food (at home, outside, everywhere thanks to aforementioned obsession), I'm not really rich on time to write the things that currently threaten to spill out of my little brain.

Also N's left on his annual vacation to exotic European destinations (k fine! they're not that exotic. But Europe is Europe no?) and I'm sitting here fantasizing about my upcoming 2 week break on the West Coast of the You. Es. Yay. Sigh. But I get to laugh at him once he's back coz his vacation will be over and mine won't even have begun! HAH!

K. Bai. Another deadline looms over my head. Bah. The zucchini *must* wait (and its image must really stop making those little circles around my head trying to entice).