Monday, December 03, 2007

Black friday.

I was here, in the glamorous united states since I was 22. That is for eight years for people who don't know how old I am now (LOL) and I've never been out shopping on a black Friday. One of my dear friends who wanted to go shop with me ditched me for a skiing trip to a nearby tourist spot. Determined to find out what the hype is about, I planned a trip with Appu, my childhood friend turned husband's colleague's wife. The colleague also happens to be a childhood friend of mine. Anyway, Appu and I spent the whole night in a typical "preteen sleepover" kind of a way in anticipation of black Friday by straightening our hair with a new styling iron I'd purchased. We were all set to hit the roads at 5 am. My agenda was to go to Toysrus and pick up some little princess dolls for Aarti and get a price adjust on a pair of Dale tiffany lamps I'd purchased a couple of days ago. I planned to buy Cinderella, Belle and Ariel the mermaid. The savings I was looking at were $24. i was hoping for a $30 refund on my tiffany inspired lighting.
So here's how it went. My car was parked in the ruthless cold of Best buy parking lot since 8 pm of the previous night. Santu was the 100th person in line to get some gadgets. I was not used to take out Sarat's car (who promised to take care of Aarti whole I shop for the cheapest deals known to humankind!) and so Appu and I got into Sarat's car, drove to wal mart where Kittu (Appu's husband) scored a slow cooker that they might never use for $5 and an Elmo toy that he decided to return the next day for $10 after staying out of home like Santu since 8 pm the previous night. My hands were almost twisting in that cold and my spine could feel the heat of the cold through four layers of clothing. We swapped Sarat's Infinity with Kittu's Camry. Thus Appu and I headed to Toysrus around 5 40 am and the door was literally busting with the rest of the world that had set out to find the cheapest deals known to human kind except that most of them didn't find what they wanted just 30 minutes after the doors opened and there was a line to the cash register that would put a Freebie line to shame. All I got was an Ariel little princess toy and Appu picked up a fisher price lap top at a savings of $15. fast forward to 7 30 am and both of us were out of the stores with a combined savings of $23. That $23 costed us a good night's sleep, almost two hours in a bee line to that god forsaken cash register, a head ache, a day out of our thanksgiving weekend and an upset stomach for me.
Now, please don't get me started on that $30 I was counting as a refund for my Dale Tiffany lamps. I could have paid $100 more for both the lamps if I'd waited for black Friday. So, if I saw the glass as half full, I actually learnt that I saved $100 by not shopping on black Friday.
Since I was out in the mall anyway, I roamed around for a couple of hours and probably burned some calories at the cost of a toddler crying for mom at home and a husband clueless about what is happening. Santu, in spite of being out since 8 pm didn't do as well as he thought he would. So girls who played dress-up should probably not complain.
Black Friday is a scam. A trap to lure innocent buyers. An utter waste of time and money. These are the words of wisdom that ring in my mind as I am typing this blog which adds one more thing to the things that have costed me on that fateful Friday morning - sanity and emotions.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Om Scanty Om.

*******Spoiler alert*******
Don't tell me I didn't warn you.
Okay, here's my second look at Om scanty Om, the second baby of Farah Khan.
What is scanty here? Everything moi says. Logic to begin with, Originality, creativity and believability added to it. And the scantiest of all is the presence of Shanti that is minimal and overshadowed by none other than our King bhayya.

First things first. Deepika, the new model turned actor on block is unbelievably believable. Her dusky complexion, graceful dance moves and that dentfric smile makes a straight gal like me yearn for more and the icing on the cake is that she manages to act. Being an ardent admirer of Waheeda Rehman and her classic high cheek bones, I found Deepika a beauty fit to hold a candle to none other than late Guru Dutt's muse.

That six pack Salman claimed to have lent Shahrukh doesn't fit on the latter as perfectly as it fits on the former. Those pics you folks have seen floating around the world wide web are heavily - yeah, you are right - photoshopped. His item Darde disco fell flat except for Sukhwinder's soulful voice. He looked thin but not sleek and I did not understand why he had to try so hard. People watch him anyway. Don't you people??? And he doesn't really require to sport a six pack.

Shreyas Talpade has more to do than our good ol Shanti. And he did it well. Kirron Kher did a good job acting overacting. LOL. Her philmi maa attire is adorable in a strange way.

Now to the story line. It is a formula one straight out of 70s. Many of Farah's tricks looked stale and downright copied. From Dhoom tana which looked like a rip off from her Cousin Farhan Akthar's "Woh Ladki Hai Kahan" to the title track which reminded me of some Amithab's song it was all recycling. No marks for creativity. No, not even a half.

"Titles like Phir Bhi dil hai NRI" and "Main Bhi hoon naa" got meek responses from the audince. Moi says they were okay. I have seen a lot of Farah Khan on Indian Idol season 2 and the way she talks irks me. Her dance moves are very creative. Her direction is entertaining but anything else, it is'nt.

KK's song rocks. Music rocks too. Arjun Rampal doesn't have much to deliver.
The session where Shahrukh imitates Rajnikanth is where I laughed. that was done well.

I wondered aloud the other day that Om shanti Om is a very childish movie. My kid brother, a die hard Shahrukh fan, jumped in defense and said something like ' I did not go to the movie to become a man. I wanted entertainment and got the bang for my buck" Well, if you are like him, you'll like it. If you are like me you won't. Because all said and done, OSO is a very childish movie.

The box office, I understand, begs to differ. But I think that is just desperate janta watching the best of the worst. Definitely not a Shahrukh kind of a hit.

OSO will be forgotten for a lot of reasons. I would, however, remember it for one thing for ever. It is Aarti's first movie in the theatre and she was a doll. With a bag of pop corn in her hand and her little mouth busy chewing, she did not just stare at the screen with animated eyes but she also looked like she was enjoying what she was seeing. This one, probably is another one of those who do not want to become a man/woman watching a movie.

I was better off reading that two and a half hours, had it not been for Aarti;-))

Friday, October 26, 2007


I recently met a person who'd cleared his CA driver's license the 5Th time around. That was one time higher than me. I thought I'd blog about the nightmare I called "acquiring a license to drive"
People who know me know that I am a girly girl. I never really bothered to learn to ride a bicycle or a bike. Let alone driving a two wheeler, I was paranoid about crossing the road. Now I am talking about the good old Indian roads where you just walk past all those lorries and city buses madly honking at you (and those honks fall into a bedlam of a gazillion honks that flood your ears while your eyes look at the expanse of a jam like traffic moving at a pace possible only in action movies!)and wish for a miracle to reach the other side of the road in a single piece.
I heard people quote intelligent sounding sentences. "you are a handicap if you cannot drive here" an older man opined. "except that no one will pity you"
Well, I think he was right.
I was bent upon getting a license more to get rid of the people who haunted me in my dreams asking "do you have a license yet?" than to get rid of the "handicap - no pity" situation.
Sarat didn't want to teach me. yeah, the cliche of the first quarrel with the spouse. We'd actually had our first quarrel already but he didn't agree anyway.
I scheduled for an instructor to come and teach me by patiently calling all the numbers I found in the yellow pages, zeroing on the most friendly sounding fellow.
The D day dawned and I got out for my first lesson, and the second and the third till I found the guts to drive all by myself. I'd taken a good 8 months and three instructors in the process of "learning" to drive and already flunked a test one of my instructors took me to in Hayward.
Then came the time when Sarat thought that I could do the driving all by myself.
My second test was a miserable failure that lasted a good three minutes. I drove out of the DMV and heard a guy honk from behind, before I reached the signal. The examiner thought I was too slow and the rest was history.
My third time was pretty cool I though. At least till the time we completed the whole test and got out of the car (which meant that there were no critical errors) but the anti climax was that I was too fast. The instructor, a young Asia woman, called my husband and told him about the escapade of a driving test and refused the license as she thought I'd not drive in the stipulated speed limits.
It was time for a new written test that was more like one of those reading comprehension tests in CAT. The questions started pouring. Every time a person saw a car in eye shot, they would ask me the million dollar question. "Sp do you have your license yet?"
God knows how I tried to avoid any and all conversations and people that had a potential to ask me THE question. I spent quiet a few sleepless nights, virtually driving in my dreams that I dreamt with my eyes wide opened while on my back, staring at the ceiling and trying to sleep.
"It has just two controls, the gas and the steering" a well meaning friend tried to cheer me up. "It is not rocket science" a relative observed.
I had to take it opon me to prove that I am not "fine motor skill" deprived. I tried for the fourth time, which, surprisingly turned out to be the final time, the lucky time, the celebrating time.
This was four years ago. I never go on long drives. My driving destinations on a regular basis are the Bart station, the mall, the grocery store, the library or a few places that fall under the jurisdiction of the city of Dublin and Pleasanton.
It is a relief to have a Driver license when a store manager asks for an identity, it is a blessing to have on those days when you want that Quiznos sandwich bad and there is no one around to drive you there. It is a privilege to have when you want to hit that store that has the most happening sale before the bargain queens hit it. Most of all it is a boon to have when someone asks "Can you drive?"

Sunday, October 21, 2007


A young boy's original thoughtfulness translated into Queen's English.

Tears - Dual role of happiness and sorrow.

I wish nothing is really lost in translation here!

Vanity or Sanity?

Okay, I should not have tried to rhyme just for the sake of rhyming and now since I am outta that one word title, I could as well think of fancier ones like those beloved bollywood titles. That reminds me of how RGV mocks those awfully long ones. "hum aap ke dil me rehte rehte aap se pyar kar baithe!!"
Anyway, let me stay on track.
Valentina is a very smart woman. She is a great mother, a professional, avid gardener and manages to read when ever possible after walking that 100 pound horse that she calls "Max" ( Who is actually an adorable chocolate lab) and watering her garden with a manual hose every evening.
Notwithstanding, she does some not so smart things sometimes. Like coloring a 20 month old's finger nails and toe nails with a bright fire engine red nail polish. Now it gets to a point of concern for me when that 20 month old in question is my own daughter.
And the not being smart doesn't stop there. She pulls a lip gloss out of her pocket and gives it to Aarti, who in all seriousness mocks applying it to her lips.
"okay, you'll not find her in the bookstore" My smart friend foresees my daughter's future for me. "she'll be in Sephora buying make up and taking up modelling assignments later on"
fast forward to yesterday's afternoon when I went to buy a book in the airport. Interestingly enough, Sephora is right next door to the bookstore. I walk out of the store and point at Sephora and tell my little Brother what valentina thinks about Aarti. "Good for her" My brother exclaims. "I hope she will grow up to be in Sephora since men want trophy wives. Not intelligent ones"
We get into an argument about that.
Later one he says " trophy is okay, but a woman really needs to be mature"
I think about the whole thing long after the incidents which triggered the thinking. What matters more? Looks? Brains? Maturity?
What ever the answer is, I hope Aarti grows up to be the only woman in history who is a Noble laureate (in some fancy subject like Nuclear Physics) and Miss Universe at the same time.
Well, well....I am a mom and every mom has the world's best child!

Late night profoundity.

Okay, I break my own rule of a single word title for lack of expression. Should mention Phillipa Gregory's expression though when she speaks about Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth 1.
"One Queen who broke her heart for love and an other who broke her soul trying to avoid it"
That one sentence was worth all those midnight hours of reading.
I am off to buy more of her books.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Blessed are those who give with out remembering and take without forgetting!

What meaningful words??

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


It was a nice evening. We were celebrating Shailu's first time visit to the bay area after she had moved to Texas and had her second child, a second girl. We wanted all the kids to come and pose for the camera. All of us were startled, some of us aloud, and some of us silently, at the sight of all the kids gathered together.
It was a nice evening as I'd mentioned. An evening of reunion and celebration. An evening of home made food, over stimulated kids howling at the top of their lungs and running around and grouping together to pose for our cameras and in the process letting us all know how truly blessed we are by their presence in our families. An evening of conscious realisation of how cozy, lovey dovey couples became moms and dads and cherished life's better things.
Picture : Front most, Aarti in her traditional attire (orange parikini) Anvita in her purple Pj's, Pranavi seating left to her (in lavender top) Vivek the baby of the gang (in the baby chair)
Extreme right is Atharv (orange t shirt) Sivani is black and white and a "say cheese" smile. Priyanka, the lil girl standing(full head of hair) The guy in specs far away (kush) Nimeshika (behind Anvita) and Shailu holding her second daugher (Anishka)
Missing are Advaita, Swetha and Srinath.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


A town in coastal AP, India. Mid 90s.
A young girl. Probably 18. very Attractive.
Lanky, long smooth hair and loose fitting clothes. Her oval face accented with a pouty mouth, what someone described as a painter's nose and shining eyes that are not very large. Her slim waist looking almost non-existent in that loose fitting dress.
She stopped at an ice cream booth with a group of people on a busy railway platform. Looked like a family, or probably friends. She looked like she lost a bet, or she was probably celebrating something over a cup of ice cream with those people around her.
She took those ice cream cups from the vendor, her slender hands with perfectly manicured fingers stood out, painted an unusual lavender shade. Almost purple, and handed them to people around her. Finally it was her turn to enjoy a cup of ice cream. She suddenly paused and took a long look at a lad, poorly dressed, behind a poor looking man, probably a traveller to the east in one of those passenger trains. She didn't seem lost in thought. She quickly grabbed another cup of ice cream, paid for it and bent over to hand it over to the lad that was watching her. The moment the little boy had the cup in his hand, he peeled off its lid and started enjoying the ice cream without giving her a second glance.
People around her said something to her. Some of them looked at her with admiration. She didn't seem to care, for she was lost in that moment, relishing that satisfied look on the little boy's face, whose dad could not have afforded that expensive treat for his son.

I was 5. May be 6. In first grade. I had a guy in our class who soon left the school. His uncle used to get him lunch during lunch breaks. His uncle, probably 25 ish at that time always treated me specially. He used to look around the class and come to me to say hi. A very kind person he was. The way he talked to me and looked at me made me feel shy, perhaps a little special. One day he carried with him a hand book that had "thumbs up" logo on the front. An all red book that fit in the palm of his hands. On one side were a series of pictures where the famous Kapil Dev was hitting a six on a ball. On the other side were pictures where he opens a thumbs up bottle, drinks it and lifts his thumb up in endorsement. The whole class went berserk at the sight of this book which mimicked these actions like these were played on a screen when the book was held snug in the palm and the pages were flipped at a speed. This man came to me and gave me the book, all for myself when a group of kids glanced at it longingly. That day I took that book home and showed it to my mom and had it as one of my prized possessions thought I didn't know much about cricket except that the man in the book endorsing thumb's up was Kapil Dev. It was sure a novelty item back then. This memory will never leave. I still remember the man. How he looked, the length of his hair touching the nape of his neck and his tall lanky body. For his kindness, I do not have an explanation. Probably just a liking for a five year old little girl.

Chiyo. The protagonist of Arthur Golden's novel "Memoirs of a Geisha".
One simple incident changes the course of her life. A gentleman stops to spend a few moments with a nine year old girl and buys her a couple of treats. The Girl, in Koyoto Japan, coming from a tipsy house by the sea, with a sealed fate to serve as a maid in her Okio because of an attempt she makes to embrace freedom.
The chairman gives her a coin and asks her to buy a treat. This little girl buys her treats and sacrifices the change that could have bought her rice and fish for a month in a prayer to be a geisha so that she could entertain the kind person that had stopped to spend a moment with her.
Chiyo becomes Sayuri in pursuit of her love.

Kindness, whether it is a teenager buying an ice cream for a little boy, a five year old girl moved by the affection of a perfect stranger or a protagonist form an oriental Cinderella like story choosing her path of life, is a very profound quality. I hope every one can be at the giving and receiving end of it to make this world a better place to live.

Friday, July 13, 2007


I am trying to think about what I am going to write while my fingers dance on the key-board. Hmm..let's see. Should I just go with the flow and see where the blog leads to? Let me try. I'll name it at the end. Hope that will be a little easier.
Okay, let me reproduce a teenager's poem. I am not sure how much I remember.
A song of melancholy,
A sigh of grief.
A hope withered away by the strong wind of ego.
My humble heart, heavy with thoughts of all sort.
The radiant byegone days.
They inspired me in many ways.
A fact that pierces my heart like a thunderbolt.
That you are far away from my reach
but courage is what my ....preach
For the future's store (is this Macy's or something??:- LOL)
my hopes I restore.
Life is not what I have thought
(scratching head)
and love is not the thoughts I have brought
from the false world of fantasies.
......(okay I give up)
(can't remember!!! Rolling eyes)

A tear down my cheek shines
And whispers to me we are parallel lines.

Yeah, I know very childish, amateur. I should refer to my journal and update the forgotten lines.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


We didn't plan the viewing of "sagara sangamam" last night. It just happened and I magically got glued to the screen with a plate of idlis in my hand.
I remember bits and pieces of the movie from the first time I'd seen it in 1984. It was my brother's first movie in the theater and so all of us remember the movie very much.
I like flash backs. I particularly liked how the director handled flash-backs from two different perspectives (the male friend and the female friend)
For anyone who has not seen the movie yet, it is a classic. A movie on the lines of "Maaya Bazzar" in the sense that it would never bore you whether it is the first time or the nth time you are watching it.
The characters are believable. There is this young woman, clad in kanchi pattu sarees , sporting a red dot on her forehead the size of a dime and a wonderful smokey eyeshadow accenting those Kohl lined eyes. (Who would guess that 23 years ago , a regional Indian movie would sport a make-up trend of 2000s?, Any way I better not drift into the make-up artist's skill)
She is a connoisseur of fine arts (photography, poetry, music, prose and dance) and is as traditional as she is cultured. It is a bit weird thought that a contributor for Illustrated weekly of India would say "I always am with you" to her friend when he asks for a reassurance"
Let alone the lousy English lines and this woman is everything a man desires for but a moron of a husband abandons her for her lack of riches. The same moron later on returns to see her settled in life with a man she falls in love in the mean time.
It doesn't happen that way though.
Balu, short for Balakrishna, convinces her to walk in her husband's foot steps and he drowns himself in intoxication and ruins a lifetime that was previously spent in pursuing Bharatnatyam, kuchipudi, kathakali and Kathak.
These bosom pals never meet after the woman leaves with her man, till at least 18 years. The man who sports the couple's picture in his suitcase and prays for them on their every anniversary fails to keep in touch with them for 18 years.
Now I think I should stop being the Virgo I am and talk about what worked for me.
Of course, the smokey, Kohl lined eyes and a face that can launch a thousand ships. You need not be Satyajit Ray, I realised, to find Jaya Prada superlatively beautiful. The icing is that she manages to act.
The characters and their names. Madhavi and Balakrishna to me the symbolism of the platonic relationship between Radha and "child" krishna. Very subtle, very suggestive of a divine romance.
Kamal Hassan's understated performance. The expressions that don't make your stomach churn with their drama and obvious hints. The absence of monotonous monologues trying to explain the audience what the characters are thinking and a fresh and innocent background score (by Maestro Illayaraja) that sets the mood.
The cotton kurta-pyjamas of Balu and the jhola of Suryam make them so believably next door.
And finally a comedy track that is woven into the main theme, expressions that make you feel involved and scenes that leave you feeling intelligent are a few reasons the double load of dishing was worth in the morning after that unplanned indulgence of watching a telugu cinema.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


It is fun to celebrate anniversaries though it is not as much fun to count years and age gracefully.
Our 8th. It is amazing how time flew. It wasn't long ago that I was this naive young bride that had travelled to the other side of the world searching for her identity. I became a wife, a mom and a complete woman. The girl that day dreamed and loved romance novels has transitioned into a woman that runs a house hold and a mom that nourishes an offspring.
I have mellowed, matured and learned to love in the true sense of loving. I do have my down falls, my flip sides. But I did grow.
Friends and family called us to wish us today. Geeta, Sudhakar and his family and santu got us a cake and we cut it at the strike of midnight.
Sarat and I didn't hold hands and talk sweet nothings. Love is not in the back seat. It had just blended into the background of our lives. It has aged and its flavor has enhanced. We didn't exchange gifts, we didn't even exchange cards, we probably didn't even exchange glances. We did a lot of things together though. We ran around Aarti together to feed her. We walked her in the park together. We are parents and Aarti has added a new facet to our love.
That friend of mine, Avi, called me from Dubai. There is going to be a new baby on the block in February next year. I am very happy for him.
Life will go on. There will be paradigm shifts. Things around us will change. I'll probably take for ever to lose those post natal pounds and Sarat's crowning glory will probably start to turn silver in the next decade. Time will change things.

Some things never change.
Family celebrating together, parents chasing their off springs to feed them or driving them to piano classes, Friends calling friends from across the oceans or two people in love looking in different directions but still staying connected.

Time changes everything - appearances, expressions, points of view, people, opinions, tastes, likes, dislikes. Actually, the whole nine yards. With a single exception. True love

Thursday, July 05, 2007


I know I am bad at remembering names. This girl was called "Bujji" at home. I never cared to ask what her real name was. her younger sister Sridevi was my classmate form 8Th to 10Th grade. One summer afternoon of 1990, Bujji came into my life. She was dressed in a skirt and a blouse. Her stroll was scary. Her feet pointing sidewards and her head tilted on an angle facing upwards. Her lifeless eyes wandered in their sockets and a pair of shaky hands felt my face as she talked to me. My heart skipped a beat and my stomach knotted from feeling her hands on my face.
I used to visit Sridevi's house quiet often from then on, clutching a chewing gum in my hand. Bujji would come to me the moment I entered their house and feel my face with her hands. Her lifeless eyes filled with a light that told me that she liked me. She used to take the chewing gum and thank me.
This girl loved to laugh and sit beside me with her body arranged in a strange angle and her shoulder resting on mine.She loved to talk as well. She used to get upset if her sister asked her to leave. She used to beg me to stay back for a little longer when I was ready to leave. She was so full of life. So uncomplicated and so easy to please. Give her a chewing gum and she would fumble on the wrapper and pry the gum out and into her mouth, chewing it away with great relish and a funny sound.
A facet of Bujji made me very happy. Another facet made me very sad. She must me thirty years old now. (I am not in touch with her sister anymore.) She must probably still be the same uncomplicated, fun loving, bubbly girl that I met seventeen years ago. She must probably love bubble gums as much as she did back then. Would she be married? would she have kids? I still think about all these things and it's been 15 years since I last met her.
The fruity smell of a chewing gum puts a smile on my face and my eyes become a tad misty sometimes thinking of Bujji. I admire her for the way she looked at the world!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Avinash is my friend. A very dear friend close to my heart. Actually I didn't realise this till I was friends with him for a couple of years. He is just as tall as I am and is very proud of his frail resemblances to Salman Khan. I personally think he is better than Salman. My lil sis thinks so too and so I am very sure:-)
Anyway, this Avi is so much fun to be around. He talks so fast that it is sometimes a pain on the ears. But he has this perfect sense of humor and impeccable language and expression that could make him the next Pulitzer prize winner if he'd venture into writing. I recently had to read one of his mails thrice before I realized what he was trying to say (and had to refer to the dictionary thrice)
Well the idea is to tell that he has the vocab of a CAT aspirant. I see myself copying a lot of his humor and expressions and that is the best way I can flatter him.
One day he came to visit me and confessed about something that was bothering him. It was then that I realised that he considers me to be a very dear friend to actually come and discuss his personal matters with me and ask me for advice.
He used to say "girls like you should always get flowers, chocolates, fragrances and diamonds! And since the latter two are out of my reach, I'll get you the former!" Yeah, we earned a lot of revenues to Cadbury's with special reference to Fruit and Nut and every time I look at that chocolate bar, I am reminded of Avi.
This guy had something in his blood that made him fall in and out of love - perpetually. He used to bore me with his escapades of amor. It was an Anglo-Indian girl once and a very pretty and level headed girl (I approved of her as well , for once) and once it was a Banajara girl who used to sell fire wood on the platforms of Tandur station . Well, this time around, he just used to write to me about how pretty that girl looked and how much pain he saw in her eyes!
By pain I remember. He is a very sensitive guy. He would not get mad at anyone - okay, he didn't get mad at me anytime and if someone knows me for long enough and are not mad at me , they are saints!
He is hitched now. Is not in India anymore just like me and from what I've heard and seen (in pictures) his leading lady has a personality to match. He still jokes with me about how he wants Sarat to join him on his terrace over a glass of Vodka and cry his heart out for being married to a person like me"
"Tell Sarat that my offer is still open" he pokes fun at me, Everytime we talk over the phone.
He was born on the 13th, a Friday. I always forget his birthday which is a couple of weeks before mine. No matter where he is in this wide wide world , he calls me on my B'day and scolds me for forgetting his'
It is 5 years since I last saw him. The last time I talked to him was 4 months ago, but something about him is so magical that I think of him a lot and often. he eats like a pig. Was a boy scout and played hockey at a professional level. He is a voracious reader that had introduced me to a lot of books that I cherish till date. he taught me what unconditional friendship is. He is the one person that I can connect to, instantly even if we are out of touch for years. He can make me smile just at the thought of him.
Avi my dear friend is so unlike me. He is rugged, an extrovert and a very interesting conversationalist, he drinks and can't survive without chicken.But we are so bonded that we could easily be long lost twins separated at birth. I often tell him that Sarat is for love and Avi is for friendship. I hope he takes that seriously.
Avi had made me feel like an Angel on quiet a few occasions. He is truly the purest form of friendship anyone could ask for.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


It is weird what I can remember and what I can't. For instance I can remember things from as early as my kindergarten but ask me what I did last weekend and I might think twice or even thrice to actually remember what I did.
My earliest memories are about a pale girl with soft and thin hair always wearing her shoes on the wrong feet. I remember smashing idlis into powder and then making the powder into little ovals and eating them with sugar.
I remember an old lady who taught us Telugu in first grade. She was strict for an understatement and my poor scores in Telugu didn't make matters any better.
I remember my mom teaching me the language during summer holidays of my first grade. Ever since it was never a problem. As a second grader I sucked (excuse my language) at math. I wish that had improved. It never did. Even today if you ask me how much 8 times 7 is, I"ll have to be silent for a moment.
It is 56 BTW and do tell me I am right.
My third grade was awesome. I was a bright student and teacher's pet and I already had a crush on a guy that was the class topper. In my fourth grade, I remember doing well in sciences and having a knack for writing poetry. In my 5Th, I was embarrassed of a little sister crying every time I went to see her in the KG section. She was brown and lanky and had hair that knotted at the drop of a hat. More often than not, her pig tails used to come off into a nest like structure at the end of the day.
From my 6th, I can write books on what all I remember. My scores, the class toppers, my subject teachers, what essays I wrote in English 2 papers and the benches I used to sit in.
I can recollect in great detail how I celebrated my birthdays, what I wore and what kind of sweets I distributed in the class.
My high-school was the golden period of my life. I was the most popular girl in an all girls' school, I used to sing and dance and paint and win prizes right left and center and wrote a super duper sloppy short story for a leading newspaper's contest for children. I remember the characters, my awkward sentences and blush at the thought of what would have gone thru the mind of the person who read and eliminated that piece of crap (yeah, my language sucks...oops! and no, the pun is not intended!)
I remember copying two lines of a poem from a friend and almost dying of guilt complex when I won a prize for the highest score in the class!
I remember lying about ill health when I didn't submit my geography project in time
I remember how my physics teacher made me stand in the class and tell me what an insult it was for a teacher if the student wrote that electrons have a positive charge (not my fault you know, I write too fast, and at this particular time, I got my basics wrong too! LOL and I hated physics anyway!)
Just yesterday, I finished reading half of a novel not realising that I'd read it before.
last year, I forgot how much I paid to get fans installed in our living room just two months after getting them installed.
I was trying to retouch the paint in one of the bedrooms and can't remember the name of the shade or the make of the paint.
I blanked out at least twice upon being asked my cell phone number.
I don't remember the plots of most movies I watched last year.
Isn't it weird, I do remember the exact shade of the leading lady's Saree in a song from a movie I watched when I was 12.
Memory. I don't know if I have to talk about the capacity of remembering things or lack thereof:-))

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Chauffeur.

The pink city Jaipur. Not quiet pink except for the old town but has a mystical quality about it. I was glad that Sarat and I decided upon Rajsthan as our vacation-destination.
Sarat being the man he is, did not want to enquire how much it would cost us to hire a cab thru the hotel. The cab already picked us up from the airport the previous night.
But I being the woman I am,I had to bother. Can you believe! They charge equivalent of $7 USD PER HOUR and that is not it. They charge you a minimum of 2 hours every time you step out, even if it is just to have a quick dinner that would take 30 mts. off? Certainly.
I promptly told them that we would not need the taxi. What next? Sarat and I were all dressed to take a tour of the city and we did not have a cab to drive us around.
"You are so cheap" He began to argue. "Yes I am" I admitted without shame. But that was not done. I explained to him that Jaipur is a tourist place and taxis should be ubiquitous.
Not having a choice, he walked with me out of the hotel and we found an Auto rickshaw. The older gentleman convinced us that Auto would be a better option since we can shoot the city better (he points to the Sony DV cam Sarat was holding and the SLR that was hanging from my neck)
How did the Auto trip go? Some other time. Now for the Chauffeur.
The next day Sarat traced out a contact who happens to be a common friend. He arranged for a cab. The driver arrived with the Maruti Zen at 8 am sharp.
The Driver. I felt a sharp repulsion the moment I saw him. A thin, lanky and tall guy. Quiet young. Early twenties probably. He had a careless look on his face and his driving wasn't any different.
I told Sarat the moment we got into the car. "Let us ask for someone else, this guy looks like a trouble"
His accent was heavy. He was talking to us in a local dialect. Sounded similar to Hindi but wasn't. Looked like that is the only language he knew. He was surprised that we didn't know that language. More than surprise he actually sounded like he doubted if we are telling the truth about not knowing the language. I subtly rolled my eyes and looked out of the window determined to convince Sarat to change the chauffeur the next day.
He transformed himself form Chauffeur to a Guide. He seemed to know a lot about what is in and around the city. He drove us to a couple of palaces and revealed a grand plan to drive us to a tourist resort that night. He offered to click my camera but I declined politely. He didn't seem to mind about any thing I said, positive or negative.
He was calling me Maddum putting a lot of stress on MAD but then changed to calling me Meim Sahib later on. He seemed to talk a lot and briefed us about his auto biography in a nut shell. He did'nt attend school and so doesn't know to read or write and had an older brother that did his MA. He declared that so proudly and quickly turned back to Sarat and asked him if he could find the brother a job. Oh initial hatred was going stronger by the minute and it was actually not allowing me to enjoy the city.
It was evening and while we were all done with the day's touring and going back to the hotel, I glanced at my left wrist and let out a shriek. My gold bangle bracelet was missing from my wrist.
Sarat didn't lose his cool. "you left it in the hotel room may be" he suggested knowing how careless I am with my stuff. "no" I insisted. "It must be in your make up bag for sure" He added. "NO" I replied impatiently. Our driver looked back and asked what the matter was. I explained to him what had happened.
He seemed to explain the mystery of the missing bangle. Earlier that day I was shopping for bangles at a street vendor's stall in a park that was 30 kilometers away from where I realised the bangle was missing. He told me that he was looking at me trying on the bangles for size and wanted to warn me that the gold bangle was coming out every time I was taking out the bangles I was trying. I did remember this guy standing 5-6 feet away from me and looking at me but I didn't realise that he was actually observing the gold bangle falling out. I felt a tinge of guilt for having thought that he was just making me uncomfortable looking at me.
"I wanted to warn you then" he said. "but you were too busy"
Sarat gave up. "there are no chances of finding that mobile stall at the same place and getting our bangle back" He was sure. "Let's get back to the hotel"
The Chauffeur didn't give up. He drove us back to the park, actually talked to the security guard at the entrance (so that we didn't have to buy an entry ticket again) and went to the vendor straight. He was still there. And just one glance at me and even before I explained what happened, he took out his wallet and gave me the bangle.
I was impressed by his honesty and offered him some money. He refused. I just bought some more stuff and left.
While driving back I looked at the chauffeur from the back seat. He still looked careless to me. Certainly not repulsive this time around.
In the evening we went to that resort. Sarat insisted that he should come in with us. He stayed back for 3 hrs while we were dining and enjoying ourselves. It was past midnight by the time we came back. I did'nt talk to Sarat about changing the chauffeur. I was okay with him.
The next day he drove us thru a short cut to visit some more places. While we were driving we spotted a group of elephants that were being used to ride. Tourists were enjoying their rides on the enormous beasts.
Our chauffeur pointed to a group of Jean clad , goggled young ladies that were riding an elephant and commented 'Chale firangi ban ne"
I thought he was pointing to their hep western dressing and rolled my eyes again for his stereotype.
While Sarat was away purchasing the tickets, he came to me and started talking about how the animals are confined to these narrow streets and how ill fed they are all that. Just then a group of people in desi clothes passed by on an elephant and he exclaimed "Loh, yeh bhi bane firangi"
He was an animal activist was'nt judgemental about the dressing style afterall!

We became fast friends with the Chauffeur. He was with us the for the next two day. I started to appreciate the idealistic lad in him and discovered the child-like aspect to that rough, rugged exterior - His compassion for animals and child labourers, His secularism when he stopped at a Dargah and told us that he believed in that baba and his love for nature and keeping it clean and his honesty.

It is strange how deceptive looks can be. It is stranger how we judge people on how they look and how they speak. This guy is illiterate but was a lot more cultured than most people I met.

We took his phone number down so that he could be of help if someone we know would travel to Rajasthan.

I am trying to remember his name. I will never forget though, the lesson he taught me. I will never ever judge a book by its cover.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thai Cuisine.

It is interesting how I got hooked on to Thai food being the finicky eater I am. When you are a staunch vegetarian your whole life, it kind of becomes obsessive after a point. I keep on asking the waiter if the veggie soup broth is actually veggie stock. He says it is. I pause and ask "does it have any meat?"
He says. "no" I pause yet again and ask "can you make sure?"
Sure enough, he comes out and announces that he is not sure and I end up coming out to the restaurant eating a couple of lettuce leaves stuffed inside a bun.
Before I deviate - Thai Food. Satya is my vegetarian friend with a twist. She is extremely experimental with food. One day when we were out having a girl's day out, she literally forced me to go try Thai food. Reluctantly and after a thorough scrutiny of what went into the dish I was interested in, I placed my order.
This was some four years ago and Thai food has even since joined my list of favourite foods. I rarely venture into trying new "veggie" (like they have a lot! LOL) stuff, but I do enjoy eating it.
Should probably be that coconut flavour that I am so accustomed to as a south Inidan or just the carbs.
Well, I am on a dinner date tonight again with the friend who had forced this cuisine on me. I am happy I gave in and tried it:-)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Yes, they are usually those muscle men in tight leggings and masks. I am talking about the ones that we meet daily. The ones that have someting special and adorable and praiseworthy about them. These are not the kinds that come and rescue us in danger or display superhuman courage and adventure.
Let me explain.
What do women do when they meet? Yes, anyone's guess ! Gossip. I have no shame in admitting that a part of what I talk to my girlfriends and family is usually gossip. I cannot however get my older sister Seshu to ever gossip. She is firm on her principle. If you are looking around to kill some time with gossip or have some not so nice things to say about people (irrespective of how bad they are) don't ever go to my sis. Come to me instead. We can chat away over a cup of chilled caramel frappuchino from Starbucks.

Okay, jokes apart let me go ahead and list my heroes. Nalini ! She is my cousin. Technically second but has been closer to my heart like my own sibling. Naini has it. The voracity to read and gulp everything anything she can set her eyes on from sci-fi to culinary books. She is definitely my hero for her relegious and deligent reading habbit.

Geeta, my lil sis can get on anyone's nerves with her whacky humor. You still smile though she can be irritatingly irritaing. Her glory is perfection.
Geeta always completes the jobs she takes up (not just finishes them)> Any one can assign a task to her - could be as simple as brewing tea or as complex as making a dress for you. She takes care of perfection like a perfectionist and her organizing abilities are infectious.

Satya - My hero of Humor. This girl has such a childlike sense of humor. I am splitting my sides when ever I am on phone with her. She can turn the most boring of days into laugh riots. The one major lesson of life I learnt form my dear friend is to laugh at myself. Life is so much fun when you can look at yourself in the mirror and laugh at the person that looks back at you.

Mom - She has to be mentioned when it comes to devotion. This woman is devotion personified. She is easily the most devoted mom, wife and career woman I have ever met. The meticulousness of how she attends to my dad (lucky man) is worth its weight in blogs. Now I wish I had said that about myself.

Okay, let me not be a feminist here. Nor go on displaying my nepotism.
Dean Anderson, my neighbor is my Hero of enthusiasm. He can rip the house apart and build it with this enthu for getting things done. During Christmas time, our street looks like a mini Vegas. Courtesy Mr. Anderson. His RV is taken out 4 times a week and the family spends time trekking mountains and biking on trails.

Heroes. Such a grand word. Yet I come across them everyday.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Don't they say that the sense of smell is the strongest sense of all?
I still remember some smells form childhood. The smell of wet earth somehow brings back memories of playing with rain water that fell thru the open sun window, into the depression created in the center of our living room floor. would be cool to tell Aarti that I lived in a house that had an open sun window which welcomed all the elements into the house.

The smell of seasoning in dal.. Makes me hungry. Also makes me think of evening play dates in my neighborhood. We'd run into the house and smell it in the air. Cummin, mustard and asefotida married together creating the best ever vegetarian side dish. (oky this is open for arguement)

The smell of Petrol. Makes me think of childhood again. Living so near to a petrol bunk made this a very nostaligic smell

This brand named Fruits and Passion has a hand cleansing gel that smells like wild berries. I bought this when I was vacationing in Calgary, Canada. The moment I use this on my hands after cooking or cleaning, I am magically transformed into that crisp winter breeze of Banff National park. what a wonderful memory to rekindle!

I should mention this yucky smell of molasses that stinked the air in our grand dad's town. Makes me think of summer holdiays now. Hmm...Is that not a paradigm shift?

Givenchy Pi feels like Sarat.
EsteeLauder pleasures or Polo Woman makes me feel like a teenager.

Chicco soap is so Aarti these days.

And Yes, the smell of cut grass is alway a smell that makes me feel at home in a foreign country, it makes me feel grown up and in-charge.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


A coach bag - Actually a tote. Big enough to house a tub of wipes and a stack of diapers, lip gloss, car keys, two jars of baby food and a book (to read)

A vanity - with little pots of color for the face and nails. Numerous brushes. A sectioned translucent trinket box containing earrings.

A closet - with an array of bold colored sairs, salwar suits, t shirts and trousers. Not to mention bags of all shapes and sizes to accesorize.

A kitchen - busting at the seams with pots and pans. One for sambar, one for rasam and one for steaming veggies to mention a few.

A pantry - smelling like New India Bazzar. Full of pearl pet jars and spice assortments.

A front yard - blooming with roses - Hybrid tea. Pink, yellow, red and lavender.

A book case - showing off the well read people. From technical to spiritual. From fiction to relegion. A book case that also displays baby shoes and little kinck-knacks. Girly knick- knacks.

A heart - full of emotions, zeal and love for live.

But a Mind - short of ideas to write a blog. A mind that has one thing in abundance - Confusion!!!


It is not funny at all. Aarti takes anytime in between half and hour to an hour and a half to eat a single meal. my right hand seems to be in a perpetual angle holding her soft tip spoon full of mashed rice and veggies sometimes or yoghurt or oatmeal cooked in milk sometimes. Her taste is strange. Or should I say her taste does'nt exist at all. Whether it is cake batter ice-cream from Coldstone or heavy whipping creme from that pineapple pudding I made, feeding her the third spoon always becomes an ordeal. She does'nt seem to care for food at all. Coming from a family of foodies (at least on her mom's side) this is kind of unusual for her.
She loves a couple of things. Green peas and slices of cucumber. She bites into cucumber slices with her front teeth and crunches them away with her gums. The only time I see her restless with reference to food is when she sees green peas on top of the fried rice I make. Now if I steam green peas and feed them with some butter, it becomes a big no no!
Finger foods are always on the floor. She loves playing with her cheerios and sweet potato puffs. If you think cheese or cheetos whould excite a kid, nay, not so!
My day begins with the dreaded thought of feeding her breakfast and usually ends with the guilt feeling of not have fed her a full serving of dinner.
Is'nt life strange? I am, on the other hand, trying to confine my appetite to lose those post partum pounds that keep me from fitting into those lovely pair of GAP jeans. I am subconsciously thinking of food all the time, whether it is about feeding Aarti of myself:-( Thai fried rice from the local resturant, Onion rings form IHop (not to forget the pancakes and maple syrup) Malai Kofta and hot rotis from Sangam are a few things that cross my mind more often than the most common things that are supposed to be crossing my mind. LOL.
Dunno what, you are probably hungry from all those descriptions by now, or you are bored. Either way is a nice reason to open that fridge and do some binge eating.
May I suggest you to bring your food to your computer and tell me a thing or two about increasing and decreasing appetite for my daughter and me (respectively) while you are at your munching!!!!