Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A new template ...

That brilliant splash of autumn colors on the new template is a picture clicked with a regular camera at Central Park, NY, on November 7th, 2007. And now the entire template has been revamped to "Fall colors" ... reds, oranges, yellows and greens...

I cannot sleep cause I've been staring at it lovestruck for a while now ... Wat a beauty!

p.s: (Just to be clear, the regular camera belongs to a very special Ms. Mogambo and has been broken, replaced by her fiance and lost again- who will break this family jinx? - the mystery continues...)

Edited to add: In the spirit of giving credit where it's due, my inspiration to do this was Ms. Penguin

Monday, January 28, 2008

I love ...

- Mornings that start with music of the best kind ... read "Kholo Kholo" from Taare Zameen Par and "Sakhi Piya" from Khoya Khoya Chand ... no one in the bus can figure out what mad person would grin SO much on a Monday morning en route to work .. :-)

- Early morning dreams that tell me my life will turn out exactly the way I wish it to ... I lou!!! They're hilarious in their own way because of the impossible scenarios they make true, but that's probably why I love them so! :D

- Playing song games with Penguin and IceCreamBoy. No really. It's too much fun. I give them random words they need to contain in songs, "Antaras" sans the tune and they need to compete to figure out the song, I play the starting 15 s of songs from the last 4 decades and they have to guess which one it is ... the more arcane, the better the competition gets ... I spent the weekend at Penguin's place cause it was too depressing to work alone at home, and seriously I had so much fun playing in breaks and getting pampered by them both - chai at my desk, inspirational DJing by IB and amazing homemade breakfast that Penguin cooks up. I love these guys!!!

- Discovering interesting people across the world. Like last night I read this post Chandni wrote about herself way back, and realized this woman's like a twin living in another part of the world... I even have little silly quirks that are the same as hers! And after 6 months of reading Ganju's blog, I discovered he's my senior from B School! That the MadMomma is a friend of a friend! I love love love that the world is so small, and the blogworld that let's me discover exactly how small :-)

- This blog. :-) Getting back to writing is the best gift I gave myself last year. That and the promise to travel and cook and read and more. And the chance to talk about all of it. The most wonderful thing about blogging is something I described to a friend, about how this growing courage to speak up online slowly seeps into real life too. Being a braver person and less afraid of judgment is fulla awesome! Who wouldn't love? :D Oh, let's not forget the awesome people I've gotten to know through this medium. Years from now, I'll cite this as the thing that brought about the turning point in life in many ways. But years from now. Not now :)

- My amma. I'm putting her through the worst kind of pain right now and giving her sleepless nights worrying about my future .. all this for reasons beyond my control. I wish I knew how to handle this any better. But I don't. I wish there was an easier way to let her know I understand what she's going through dealing with me and that I see no other way for it to be right now.

But she doesn't read this blog and I'm too proud to say it to her on the phone (when we do get time off from arguing with each other over the hot topic of the season - my marriage - more like the non occurrence of it) so she'll never know. She'll only continue to wonder how between a kind reasonable person like herself and my mild mannered father, they managed to produce the stubborn willful daughter that I am.

And coz I can't face her right now on a medium that doesn't let me hang up on will, I'll travel to India on work next month and avoid going home to Bombay. Sigh. Did I mention I love her?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Today's fortune ....

"You and your wife will be happy in your life together"

Yeah, after THIS incident, my fortune on Orkut sounds just about right ... I'm tired of saying Alas ... Sigh!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Right .. so an eventful start to the year ...

Indeed it has been. In more ways than can be described. Not that that's ever stopped me eh? So here's what the year's looking like .. so far and now on ...

- Drama: (No, not the kind I'm an expert at! The REAL thing! Theatre and all!!) The last play production I worked on was in engineering college and ever since although the intent's been around, initiative just never overtook my lethargy.

I remember thinking at the end of last year that new things need to happen in life, beyond the singing and blogging and cooking .. and Voila! an opportunity to asst direct an independent production comes knocking at my door (my inbox is more like it - but I live in a virtual world and it's all the same to me!) :-)

I won't get into details of the how and why and when, suffice to say that 6 hours every Saturday and Sunday are now spent at drama rehearsals and the medley of short stories goes on stage end May 2008.
(Did i just jinx this myself? Do i believe in the concept of jinxes? Wh00 knows!)

If you're in town, you shall be invited. Pls to grace with kind presence! :) (Or not! :D)

- Storytelling: This one continues from last year. Seriously, reading stories to 4 - 6 year olds at the Library is the best stress-buster there ever was. :-) For those of you with kids in the age range, do land up on Saturdays at the kids' reading section at half past midday if the kiddos are game for a fun story session :-)

The most exciting start to the storytelling this year was a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle that the library gifted me for being a wonderphool volunteer and storyteller :D
(Pls note: They have many many volunteers and I go twice a month when they ask me to turn up for English reading. Do NOT walk up to the storyteller and ask if she's Ms. Unpredictable. It doesn't sound particularly flattering esp if being enigmatic and complex isn't appealing to the lady in question)

On special request from Mogambo, the jigsaw puzzle shall be saved until her wedding in March when the 4some (Mogambo the bride, Superman the groom, PuppyManohar the best man, and Unpredictable the err ... best woman :P) will solve it together and gift to the newlywed couple :-)

Who would've thought reading to 4 yr olds at a library could end up in so much unrelated fun :D

- Travel: One mini trip in Feb to Malaysia and Cambodia with the b-school gang, something we've had planned for about 2 months now. Another to the West Coast of the You Yes Yay later this year (in keeping with the 'one big trip a year' tradition, and with the kind grace of my one year visa which expires this October!) and sundry others back home and on work ... varrry exciting no? :-)

- Spanish: I've been promising myself this 'one new language' thing for a while now. After mild deliberation and alternately swinging between French and Spanish, I let Wikipedia decide for me and hence the most populous language it shall be!

This language thing gets relegated to the 2nd half of this year though, there's WAY too much happening right now. I'm barely managing to sleep and meet friends over weekends and anymore will be overkill! But someone chase me for this in June ok? (wat a hopeful indeed!)

- Cooking: I've promised to learn one new recipe, one for each of 10 major Indian states. So there's Avial from Kerala, Gojju from Karnataka, Undhiyon from Gujarat, Sabudana Khichdi from Maharashtra, Koftas from Kashmir .... emmm .. someone help with the rest?

(Wat an enthu pataaki no!!)

So that's the 5 biggies for the year. Not so much resolutions, more like things to remember this year by. I'm going to hold myself to them, if nothing else, the impending shame at breaking a public commitment will ensure i follow through with them all! :)

And on a related note, something that captures the essence of what I want this year, and every subsequent year to be is this post by Chandni, more so cause it articulates exactly what's been running through my mind for some months now. (Chandni, I don't know how or where you found this, but I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN!!! It's like he took the words right out of my mouth!)

And while I'm indulging in self-rant anyway, here's a post dedicated to your's truly in response to my question "What does 'Alas but hurrah' mean?" to an earlier post on the same blog.
Talented bunch of boys, aren't these? :-) If randomness is your thing, then this blog is IT.

Tata my lovelies! Good night and sleep well and in case I haven't said this already, have a wonderful new year!!! :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Alas indeed ...

In a random survey conducted yesterday in a room of about 10 men and 10 women, 8 out of 10 men said they wouldn't consider going out with me for 1 of 2 cited reasons:

1. I'm too quiet (LOL?)
2. Variations of I'm too scary/ I'd yell at them (Appallingly unoriginal or eerily consistent?)

Also note that of the 2 men who did, 1 was my dear N who cannot see me in any other manner but fraternal and the other was this nice but polite dude who said yes to pretty much every woman he'd ever spoken to before, in the spirit of being nice and all (yeah, doesn't count!)

Life is an alas indeed. Sigh.

Well, even if I'm doomed to dying alone, I can be assured I'll go quietly and with a mind unburdened of grudges, having unloaded onto the objects of my grudges by yelling at them.

Silver lining? No? Oh well ....

Edited to add: The statistical expert (ahem) in me woke up this morning and realized I need to point out, 10 men doesn't count as a stastistically significant base (30 is the bare minimum) so don't go concluding that 80% of the random men in this world would not go out with me. It could be true, but please note that conclusion would be independent of the story above :)

Also edited to add: Wow. This seemingly silly post might actually end up with the highest comment rate on my blog. Ever. Whoever would have thought that the alasness of my life would be such a motivator. More Alas!

P.P.P.S: A friend asked me this evening if i was speed dating (based on the story above). Emm .. let me clarify that I was NOT. (I don't judge anyone who does!) I was with a bunch of friends I don't spend a lot of time with and seriously clam up around for many reasons. So I understand that their impression of me is exactly what I want it to be. For those who mailed/ msged me out of concern, I'm not upset or anything close to it. Just clarifying :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Coffee bytes ...

There's something to be said of a cup of coffee with its trademark bitterness.

Only one who can down it and enjoy it with that vile streak can actually know and love coffee as it is. The rest who try to sugar it down aren't really drinking coffee no?

I wonder how coffee feels about this ...

Can coffee feel?

Monday, January 21, 2008

I'm learning about conversation ...

A few things than can be done to make someone feel at ease vs. feeling like a failure of a conversationalist .. once in a while .. (when one is feeling extra generous maybe?)

Nod along:.... or at least raise eye brows once in a while. This assures the 'talker' you haven't died of sheer boredom at their stories and encourages them to continue to tell you more. When you give the 'talker' the very serene yet very blank look, it's the non verbal equivalent of saying "Bugger off, you're stories are BORRRING, I don't want!"

(Unless you want them to shut up, in which case, staring stone like at them should pretty much do the trick)

Smile: ....maybe, just maybe, offer a hint of a smile when they're trying to tell you funny things or trying to amuse you? Bridges are usually built in this manner with unfamiliar people. It's laughter that brings souls together at least in the beginning of an acquaintance, so dole it out in generous amounts. Too tough? A mere smile then? Thanksverymuch! We all know expensive they are .. so thanks for sharing ...

(Unless the 'talker' has an appalling unfortunate sense of (non) humor, in which case you really shouldn't be around them too much, and the stony expression is SO the way to tell them that. You keep right at it! Bravo!)

Contribute: ... meaningfully so: You know how they taught us that to be successful at group discussions, one needs to take off from where someone else left off so it offers the illusion that you were actually listening? Surprisingly, the rule doesn't only apply to GDs when you're cracking B school processes. It also applies to real life situations, so apparently when someone says A ... I must try to say something that's connected to A (hopefully A isn't so dreadfully dull / esoteric / complex/ irrelevant that I can't possibly think of a way to contribute or build off it) and that's how it all works! Brilliant!

(That's when we call it a conversation btw .. when we talk to each other ... not when we talk alongside each other... that's just a dual monologue ... NOW U know :-)

I'm just saying, you know ...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

In home cooking ...

It's been about 10 days since I cooked and ate a decent meal at home. I've lost my appetite recently. Stopped running. And blogging, in case anyone was keeping track. Exhaustion is catching up. A hectic travel sked is on its way here. It'll be another few weeks of living out of a suitcase, forgetting toothbrushes everywhere I go and literally feeling my system go toxic with all the outside food.

So I'm glad to record that today, after almost 2 weeks, I cooked up a nice meal with rasam (tomato lentil soup of sorts) and cabbage and peas sabji (vegetable dish). The rasam had cilantro. (Baby V, are you listening?) And more tomato than tamarind juice (Mum threateningly wagged her finger in my face last time and went "Too much tamarind makes your bones brittle, use more tomato, not tamarind." as I shuddered from fear of falling apart any minute.) The sabji didn't have dhaniya and chilli powder. Too much lazy came, alas, to put all that.

But I feel content. Tummy wise anyway. :-)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Anybody there?

Hello anybody who's been visiting and the subset that's wondered where I've disappeared. I'm only here to say
a. there's way too much been happening and it's left me with seriously little time (sometimes inclination, I admit) to blog.
b. Work is 'hecticish' and even as I type I'm in a terrible serviced apartment in Manila just having gotten back from work.
c. The hand issue is back to bite me. I've been type chatting way too much and lugging around heavy suitcases (Did I mention Manila?) and so my right hand is begging for mercy .. serious begging .. so I'm being merciful for now ..

Normal blogging will resume in 3 days or less. Take care and ta! till then :)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Idiotdom in all its glory ..

9 am: Step into office reminding self that meeting with the boss is at 1 pm.

**Spend all of the morning beautifully assembling everything that is due to be sent out. Miss lunch at lunch hour and slot it for after the meeting at 2 pm**

1 pm: Expertly wrap up work and mail out to boss documents as planned (feeling supremely smug at perfection and punctuality)

1.01 pm: Check calendar to realize meeting with boss is actually slotted for 4 pm.

Sigh. I am the VERY personification of idiotdom galore!!!

**Last seen at 1.15 pm walking down to Cedele with copy of Kartography in hand. Meaning to eat pasta salad in joyous and wondrous company of self. Life is not THAT bad after all. :)**

Monday, January 07, 2008


Arrogance ... there's the kind that's defined as displaying overt and unacceptably excessive pride at owning something. That's our classic Webster definition.

But there's another kind. The kind that lets you take for granted things that seem easy to come by...

Like you have this incredible relationship that happened out of the blue, and when you've settled into it 1-2 years down the line and realized the other person still loves you like crazy (know what I mean? Still hangs on to every word you say, still smiles to your smiles, can't have enough of your stories...)

And one fine day you find yourself suddenly thinking "Wow, I'm wonderful and lovable. I'm probably super precious and awesome. (I must be for this person to love me so much no?) Having THIS is SO easy. BUT I want THAT. OUT THERE. Damn ... single life was so awesome. Do I really need this badly enough? Don't I have better things to accomplish than sit around making *this* happen. I have dreams, ambitions, the works. WOW, THERE'S A WHOLE WORLD OUT THERE! WTF AM I DOING TRAPPED HERE!"

{This even if 2 years ago you'd have given an arm and a leg to find someone you could simply talk to without having to tune your frequency to someone's, without "adjusting" ur povs to sound acceptable to them (know what I mean?) and spark with (you crack a seemingly idiotic joke, they laugh from deep down and vice versa, you like listening to their stories and vice versa, you like telling them your stories and vice versa, you care about their welfare and vice versa. Many many many many little yet significant vice versas those.....) }

Or you have this fantastic job. That elusive thing they call a dream career. You know you're doing well. You know you're loved by the boss, the colleagues, everyone. You know you have good stuff in store for you. They like you. They seem to wanna keep you.

One fine day Mr (Ms?) Arrogance visits. Suddenly you're thinking, wait, I don't need to slave anymore. They all LIKE me. In fact, they LOVE me! This is SO easy. I don't need to exceed expectations anymore. I'm IT! I've made it! VAO!!! I'm here to stay!

{This, even if two years ago, you waited in line nervously to see if your resume was one of the 20 that this company picked out of a gifted batch of 250, experienced exhilaration at being picked to interview and AFTER the interview, to find that the job is EVERYTHING you thought it would turn out to be, and thought to yourself "I'm never ever gonna screw this up! Never. EVER"}

Have you heard about the theory of 3 pillars?

(OMG I had to dig into old emails to find something I'd once written about this 3 pillar theory. I must really love blogging to have subjected myself to that!)

The theory says that there's 3 pillars in all our lives - health, relationships and success: And that even if we have 2 of the 3, the third continues to haunt us with its absence, endowing a strange feeling of incompleteness. Also endowing us with a strange arrogance wrt to the pillars we ARE gifted with. Leading to emotions of arrogance expressed above.

There's a section of people who know exactly when they're being stupid enough to let go of something wonderful ... when they're cognizant of the heady feeling that arrogance brings along, and the consequent "idiotdom" they will be tempted to indulge in.

These are the lucky ones, cause the cognizance brings with it the will to keep from losing what they have .. they use friends to put sage advice into their bloated heads, use memories from a deprived past to understand how badly they once wanted this and how much they'll regret it if they lose it as easily as they plan to.

Then there's those who experience the said arrogance over possessing a certain pillar with a casualness that's surprising to those who are deprived of it. Especially when they're oblivious to how tough somebody else is finding it to acquire the very same thing that they're taking for granted.

This is when screw ups occur. Royal screw ups. When people act like utter fools and give up the one thing they once had, to go after the one thing they thought was more important (coz they didn't have it, duh?!) ...

I wonder how it feels after one has achieved what one chased after with a blind vehemence and lost something else in the process, I wonder if all such 'lost' souls are lucky enough to be blessed with another chance to find anything close to what was lost.

Maybe losing what we value the most is sometimes the only way to understand how much it meant when we did have it? Maybe that's the only way we'll never make those mistakes again? Maybe, just maybe, it's life's way of imparting practical lessons that theory can never quite do justice to.

This is my theory. You've had your own practicals no?