Thursday, December 31, 2009

Aal Izz sooo Well!

It was in late 2007 that I bothered to take the pains of going to the cinema theater and watching a movie - I promptly blogged about the movie since it was Aarti's first movie ever. Two years hence I, once again, bothered to haul my 'movie watching disdaining' butt to the theaters, this time to watch 3 Idiots, and here go the after thoughts.
3 idiots is one of those impromptu decisions. I was expecting to go watch AVATAR in iMax and actually have a couple of tickets tucked away in my sling pack but who knew 3 Idiots would be the first in Q? Actually, till the date of it's release I wasn't even aware of a movie named such. I am still in a positive hang over after the movie, and for the benefit of my readership (if any, ahem), I shall steer around specifics of the move and keep it spoiler free - which in other words means, I want to keep the review as abstract (or confusing if you may!) as possible.

One thing stuck me and kept on bludgeoning me all through the movie - the impossibly young look Aamir Khan, the mid-forty lover boy had. I am sure the rest of the world would agree with me. If age could be defied, Aamir knows how! Could be genes, could be soft focus lenses or could just be healthy choices and yoga and marathons - what ever it is, Mr.Khan makes his Khan counterparts look like chachas and maamas - his ofcourse!

And then goes the story line giving equal footage to all the 3 idiots in question. Sharman Joshi - hope I spelled him right - is a serious kind of an actor - had his last name been Bachchan or Deol, he'd have been the next hottest heir on the block but hopefully, talent would compensate.

Madhavan narrates the story - the look he has for his friend Rancho is priceless - kind of like the look Aarti had for Tinker bell and Peter Pan in Disney Land. Bebo got something wrong - the make up maybe - but who could blame her when she was cast opposite the fountain of Youth? Who could sustain such competition??

Bomman Irani needs a honorable mention - his character is awfully awesome - hats off to Raju Hirani to have conceived Virus and Rancho in his brain.
The music is scored by the guy from Parineeta - he did a good job. Specially with the title number. It aptly described the awe Farhan had for his friend - the only down fall being Aamir's screen presence. It was so strong that despite the powerful characterization of Rancho - all I could see hear and breath during the three hour run time was Aamir and Aamir alone.

Chatur Ramalingam, the new comer, performed like an ace - his distorted speech left the audience in splits. His expression were priceless!

3 Idiots is cinema that can make us proud as the biggest movie industry of the world. It focuses on entertainment while very subtly leaving a pleasant linger of the lesson it tries to impart.

Watch it once, twice, thrice and you'll probably not get enough of it!










Resolution

I have the state of the art Resolution. Not the Mega pixels kind, but the New Year kind that you make and break. I thought I resolved to lose 10 pounds last year. I have 10 more to lose in this one. So I should not bother about that. This year, I officially announce my resolution to blog every day - at least one line.

The commitment to this one is on display to the world wide web brethren. Be curt with your comments. Throw rotten eggs if I don't keep up my word!

LOLZ

And the main message for December the 31st goes -

Wishing all a very happy and wonderful New Year ahead. The clock struck eight - and the cuckoo cooed eight times. So, I, the superstitious gal, would want to take it as a wonderful omen granting good health, joy, luck, success, wealth, peace and such to all my - you get the idea - world wide brethren, family and friends and not just the ones that come here by choice and chance.

:-)


Monday, December 21, 2009

Steel Unicorn - a short story.

Disclaimer - all characters and incidents in this story are a fragment of my fertile imagination - any resemblances to people you know is a coincidence.


SHITTY FIRST DRAFT.

During my summer vacations, I loved playing in the generous yard in our grandfather's cute little bungalow with the humongous sky light - the one that formed in the center of the ceiling of a living room that was kept empty, saving the stool like bench that lay casually on side of the room, rested against the wall. The sky light was like a celebration of the elements though it resembled more of a hole created by an imaginary object falling on the carefully arranged tile roof and the sun, moon, stars and rain sifted themselves through the generous crevices of a cast iron frame. I often looked up at the frame, and wondered what purpose it served. It was definitely not there to stop the elements, nor was it particularly soothing on the eye (ruling out the possibility of an aesthetic) but it was there, like a crater, or a void on an otherwise perfect layout.

I enjoyed sitting there an gazing at the sunlight that haloed into the house - enjoying freshly squeezed mango pulp or reading the children's supplement of the Daily chronicle. Only one thing interrupted my idle thoughts- my uncle - the steel Unicorn. Unicorn was a tall, athletic man. with sinewy lean muscle shrugging on a teenager like body structure. He was a bachelor - a bachelor past prime (especially in Indian standards) at the age of thirty six. There were stories circulating about his bachelorhood - some blamed it on a failed affair though I could not, for the life of me, imagine this grump of a human being ever smiling at someone, let alone falling in love.
Unicorn despised idling, and laughter and gestures of affection. He had a strange nonchalance towards kids of all shapes and sizes, his nephews and niece included. He seldom spoke, except when addressing my grand mom for a second helping of rice or vegetables as she patiently waited at his table during his lunch. Unicorn ate like a bird - daintily picking on the fluffy rice sticking out of the spoon and cleared his plate without wasting a morsel of food.

Once in a while, as I idled away in the sky lighted living room, sitting crisscross applesauce on the stone- tiled floor that was grouted with uneven strips of cement, he used to stop and clear his throat like he wanted me to notice his presence in the room. I used to look up in an attempt to make eye contact - He would briefly look into my eyes and look away and hurry into the dining room to have his lunch.

" She should find better things to do with her time" He would speak to an imaginary being as my grandmother served him his meal "The girl squanders her time away" making sure that the conversation between him and his imaginary friend would be loud enough for me to eavesdrop on.

I was eleven and a half - a gawky little creature in pre-puberty. The aperture between my front teeth bothered me to no end, though the dentist assured my mom that it was just a matter of time that it would disappear. I was in a hurry to get rid of it. Just like I was in a hurry to grow at least a couple inches less as tall as Farah, that middle-eastern looking, drop dead gorgeous, most famous girl from the middle school who, owing to my huge misfortune, shared my class and bench with me. Unicorn scared me - but he intrigued me more than he scared me. I would sit on the bench trying to pronounce the tongue twister of a new word out loud as I'd read the Chronicle and notice Unicorn's shadow and peek at him through the corner of my eyes, still pretending to read. He would clear his throat and glide past me in his awkwardly agile gait.

To be continued.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

New reads

The book was on the BN bestseller list for a long time - for a reason. Utterly optimistic and beautifully written. One of those books that you finish off in a go - even if it means you are skimping on your beauty sleep.

The predecessor of a chick-flick romantic comedy. Reading a British author made me realise how Americanized my English became over the past decade. Good for a weekend on a porch. Light heated, cliched - but fun.

The most remarkable thing about the book is the author - who penned it when he was 21 - Ben Shapiro, all of 25 years now is a man with strong values and will, though he came across as a little prejudiced towards the "Democrat" presidents and wannabes. Easy read - thoughtful, thought provoking and relatable to the "Indian" mindset.

You cling to my clothing
Like an extension of my being.
Your smiles and your tantrums
Amuse me to no end.
You fill my house
And my heart with a special light.
You give me happiness
In abundance.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Dress-up.

The other day, when entering into an enthralling retail therapy at walmart to load some daily essentials, I saw an older lady stride gracefully ahead of me - she wasn't your average older lady, may be she was, I am not sure, but she didn't seem like one, or dressed like one I should say. Her pants and tunic were a rich, deep purple, a hue that could put our own Barney the dinosaur's shade to shame - and her hat was an elaborate red, looking like a disguised Christmas tree sitting on carefully curled blond tresses - sequins, feathers and all that. I thought "Red Hat society" and wanted to approach the lady and say a nice thing or two about how gorgeous she looked had it not been for the burden of lugging along a 30 pound toddler on my hip and pushing the over sized cart. There was no way I could keep pace with her without running after her and making her feel stalked.
I gave up glancing longingly at the satchel purse she was carrying on her arm - a basket weave purple and red, made out of the seat belt material that I once saw advertised in a mag as practically indestructible and the current trend.
The lady, the attire and the accessories alerted my like a can of coke and I chanted the name "red hat society" in my mind like it were a mantra.
I give myself a lot of credit for psychic abilities. I was once told by a psychic (no I didn't make this up) that I was like her in a desperate attempt to make me agree to get a reading. I did not cave in By the way! Anyway, the psychic abilities in question are being discussed since the name "Red hat society" was something I'd heard while flipping channels and landed up on the shopping channel which is a very safe and entertaining option for time killing. I heard the show host mention the name red hat society and didn't hang around enough to figure out what it was.
Anyway, this lady, as I'd learned consulting Google later on, is indeed an ostentatiously proud member of the red hat society, a group of older ladies who dress in purple outfits and red hats and meet up for socials. Wikipedia listed the origin and how the society came into being. I was very much amused by the creativity and zeal behind the idea of dressing up like little girls would, in an attempt to pretend play, in a self-reminder sort of way, that no matter how old we get, we always hold on to the child in us. During my initial days in the USA, I was endlessly fascinated by the idea of celebrating Halloween by dressing up and actually going on the streets asking for candy! The whole idea was so out of the box - kind of like something a person like me would think of - spooky, and crazily funny. When I took a stroll on the culde-sac and sported moms and dads in costumes like pirates and Greek princesses, I had a feeling of taking a time machine and going back in time to watch fantasy characters. The whole experience was out of the world and one of a kind.
Dressing up holds a very symbolic meaning to me - unconsciously, we put up an external appearance in a 'look at how I am feeling' sort of way. We dress up for celebrations, dress down for shopping and undress - well, you get the idea - I was talking about showers dirty minds! LOL.

rated pg 13.

Which brings us back to the red hat society. It seems that ladies under 50 need not apply - or may be they could, if they are willing to be under age and wear pink hats.
I wish I had the creativity to think of red bikinis - I meant sarees - or salwars. Okay, forget it:-)) I am happy I have a blog entry which doesn't look like a kid going trick or treating - or so I believe - you are free to disagree ;-))

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Nonsense.

What do you blog about when you actually have nothing blog worthy? What do you blog about when the laptop is broke and the pictures you uploaded are in an inaccessible hard drive?? What do you blog about when the pleasure centers in the brain crave for hot chocolate and moist cakes and your bathroom scales is screaming in horror every time you step on it??
What do you blog about when the toddler puts a ban on 'laptopping' and insists on sitting on you head every time you open the slow functioning, prehistoric 'substitute laptop' that dies the moment the electricity plug unplugs?? Does it help your creative juices to flow when your Brain is slug as a snail and your thoughts are as creepily slimy? When the Blue bird comes hopping on the dandelion laden lawn with drying patches like a bald head and looks around for food, it kind of reminds you about your own quest of finding a ponderable thought to think aloud and to blog about.

Say what do you -? When the block happens to a writer as petty as you??

Quote

Being modern is an attitude, not an attribute - Aarti's mom.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Never failing!

On a day to day basis, a lot of things disappoint me - not that I am hard to please, may be a little I am, LOL, but when my hubby doesn't call if he is getting later than the time he mentioned or when Aarti wants to go on a Telly marathon I get it - disappointment - loud and clear. Now, there are things that never disappoint me - like A R Rahman's music. His music always makes me feel better, livelier and happier. Just the other day, when the slow, solo number Dheemi Dheemi in Deepa Mehta's 1947 Earth (performed by Hariharan) was playing in Santu's car stereo, I gazed out of the window and found the otherwise mundane and blah looking hills covered with dried grass very very beautiful. I almost felt a dopamine kind of surge that is associated with being in love. I was relaxed, happy and strangely content at the end of a jam-packed, monotonous day. All due to a random Rahman composition. The song, along with unexplainable joy bought with it a series of reminiscences - The way I listened to the album on repeat whole day when it debuted and the way Rahul Khanna swept my world off my feet with his charm and good looks and the way the lyrics and the rendering of the lyrics made me feel perpetually in the feeling of realising being in love.
I had to dissect the experience in my usual signature way and I pondered over the lyrics. They say that 'Your body is a sensual and soft smell, and when you are near me, how can my heart not get enticed??' Okay - this is a loose translation, kind of like a 'think aloud' admiration of how well the physical attraction of a courtship amalgamates with the emotional attachment to a person. Curiosity led me to check out how the song was pictured. It was the usual, no frill, artsy Deepa Mehta way where Nandita Das and Rahul Khanna (sigh) ride doubles on a bicycle in what seems to be an endless journey thru blah surroundings. In my own imagination, I envisioned a slow motioned run of the Heroine thru the woods while the Hero sits on the grass gaping admiringly at her. May be a Johar or a Chopra would have done justice to the hopelessly romantic number - and no offense to the realistic Mehta style.
Anyway, I just seem to have realised that a physical aspect to a man woman attraction is almost like the soul of a relationship. Is it not this extra element that distinguishes our relationships with our friends/siblings from that of our loves?? And to celebrate it, we have the likes of Rahman, Akthar and Bhansali. If you want to feel a soul stirring joy, listen to the song - I promise - it won't disappoint!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Balderdash in the attempt of rhyming.

I love fresh flowers in my vase
And my daugher's warm embrace.
I love painting my finger nails
and Department store sales.
Sales that have steep discounts
So that they don't empty honey's bank accounts.

I love well made meals.
And sparkly high hells.
Birds in my backyard make my day
they fly in to fly my blues away.
The Telly brings its happiness too
While I watch the re-run of Friends
And my kiddo watches Winnie the pooh!


I like smiles on faces
and meeting people in new places.
Travelling I love as well
as long as there is no farewell
That needs to be said to new found friends
when the joyful journey ends.


I love singing songs
writing poems and sing alongs.
My blog, I like scribbling here
As much as it might appear.
But one thing makes me as glad as can be
Whether you agree or disagree -
I like your comments
So keep them coming
and I shall find more things I love
In the process of a writer becoming!

ROFLOL.

It's late night and I obviously need sleep:=))

Monday, September 14, 2009

All I want.

I tucked away the baby tooth
Wrapped in a tissue
Under my pillow.
And made a wish, not for money!

The fallen eyelash
Was collected with care
Placed on my left hand
And blown away gently -
I made a wish, not for fortune.

The rainbow appeared pretty and bright
I made a wish as I shut my eyes tight
Not for a name, not for Fame.

Each year till I grew up
Old enough and impure too -
I wrote a note and made a wish
For Santa to deliver on Christmas eve.
I wished not for toys or gifts

As I blew out the birthday candles
And counted my years and blessings
I made a wish - but not for jewels
Or cars or vacations.

The shooting stars appear now and then
Prompting me and tempting me
With a promise that my wish be granted
And so I wish, but not for success.

I wish upon everything wishable
I wish I wish with all my heart
Not for Gold, nor silver too -
All I want is simple and true
It's love and laughter and being with you!

The fairer sex, the weaker Sex!!

I have a obsessive compulsive disorder - of following the copy and jingles of TV commercials. As a kid I used to sing for an audience in my class, the now obliterated Cadbury's Dollops Ice cream commercial. "Say Lops" - it goes and ends up in a sexy male voice concluding "Don't just say ice cream - say Lops" LOL

Recently another jingle for Walmart caught my ear. A husky female voice sings


- How lovely to be a woman
The wait was well worth while
How lovely to wear mascara
And smile a woman's smile -

while the focus lies on women of all ages applying makeup and choosing from the brands at Walmart. Indeed, I realize!, that it is lovely to be a woman. To have endless options in dressing, accessorizing and making faces up while the males around us can at the most have options for their laptop bags, dress shoes that come in shades of brown and black and probably sunglasses and wrist watches. The fairer sex seems to have a royal treatment in this department - the getting dressed department. But as I sing the catchy tune of walmart commercial while stirring the streamed rice, I realised that being a woman is not always lovely, or about wearing mascara or even smiling - since being a woman can be a vulnerability that can be exploited. A pain than can be excruciating depending on what part of the world you are fortunate or unfortunate enough to have taken birth in.

Consider genocidal Darfur for instance, where rape is used as a weapon to terrorize women and entire communities. Sadly enough, no woman or girl is safe there, or some of the male dominated countries where women are more of wall flowers or door mats or meagre channels of having male heirs. Sadly enough, the instinct to look at women as objects to satiate sexual hunger is predominant in all cultures and countries. It is still unsafe for women to travel alone after a certain time of night, no matter where she lives. Women are looked down upon as sexual objects and not as human beings.Birth of girl children is mourned - All this in the current day and age, very very sadly.

As I ponder about how much fun a woman has shopping for shoes and handbags, I wonder how many women out there actually walk miles bare feet and lead lives without ever knowing that they could have their own handbags to carry their money. On one hand I see the four friends in Sex and the city, living empowered lives and looking for love and lust in the big Apple and on the other I read about sexually assaulted underage girls in Godforsaken places like Darfur. While I feel extremely fortunate and blessed to have the privilege to think my thoughts and live my life on my terms and not on the man's that I am married to, I feel the necessity to reach out and give something to the other human beings of my sex. Please make a difference - donate to educate a girl child at www.ashanet.org or to one of those UN relief camps in Sudan or just think of dropping off your outgrown wardrobe at a local abused woman shelter. Reach out and help and then putting on mascara or wearing stilettos becomes optional, since feeling good is the beginning of being beautiful.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Baba, the Blog Baba...

Mr. Amithab Bachchan, the man himself and my Blog idol and Blogbaba - as I fondly call him replied to my comments to his 506th post, two of them actually, that I posted on the same date - comments to his 506th post on september 9th 09.

laxmi addanki says:
September 9, 2009 at 10:02 pm
Blogbaba -
Been waiting for this since your last post

Much love
L addanki.


ab says:
September 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm
waiting for what .. another post well here it is …



laxmi addanki says:
September 9, 2009 at 10:08 pm
Don’t fret about the Urban Legend history of stanford Blogbaba - Sometimes the underlying message is more important than whether it is a fact or a fiction. Our elders tell us lots of stories - we get the message but dont really bother to check whether thier anecdotes are facts or fiction. Sometimes we derive more pleasure in finding other’s mistakes than our own. LOL. When you call us your family, the need to explain your genuine mistakes ceases.

Your messages are always precious. I cant get enough of them.

Luv
L addanki.



ab says:
September 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm
thank you yes .. it is good to read the good even if there is error

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Priceless.

These daily cares
Newspapers and junk mail
Cluttering the crevices of the house
Piles of dirty dishes
Deshelved toys and craft supplies
Needing to be picked hour after hour
Meals to be cooked
Beds to be made
Heaps of clothes filling the hampers
Calls to be answered
Mails to be replied to
Barthday parties, weddings, baby showers
Countdown for weekends
Planned trips
Strolls in the parks
Playing the first teacher to kids
Cleaning the countertops
while hating the grout
Scrubbing the toilet bowls
Vaccuming the carpets
Not even mentioning
The dusting, the mopping, the shopping and chopping.
Who says a home maker doesn't work?
She just doesn't get paid for it!!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Lessons.

Two luscious slices of 'no-egg' pineapple birthday cake, a whole heap of fine china by Lenox and warm e-wishes and phone calls from friends and family later, I am in full creative form and writer's block is as many blocks and blocks away, that it is not anywhere in my eyesight. For now I call my ramblings as "Lessons" but I have no clue where my thoughts would lead me.

As days progress and you age - you kind of notice that everything around you has an age and a 'past prime' stereotype. Some of us succumb to the pressure and try to hold on to the teens or the twenties. Some of us age - in the truest form of aging as in having a broader perspective and understanding of things around us. Some of us refuse to grow up physically and mask ourselves with layers of make up and proactive skin care. Some of us refuse to grow up mentally and fight about why our gifts could have been better or thoughtful-er or costlier but all of us age irrespective of whether or not we choose to accept it or learn form it.

Learning gets me to what I wanted to talk. Being into the third decade is somewhat like "now we are talking." you are not too young or naive to be a teenager nor you are really in that senior category. Occasionally you get mistaken for a twenty year old too - reminding you that you are not ancient as you think you are and the candles on the cake will not pose a fire hazard to the house as you jokingly put it:-) LOL. I think you also get to kind of think about what you'd learnt over the years. Lessons. Here's a laundry list of what I think I'd learnt form the years I put behind.

Kindergarten - you don't give a closed book to the teacher if you'd finished your work on the fifth page after scratching on the first four.

1st grade - Being popular with the teacher doesn't mean that you have to gift the b'day present (your mom got from your dad) to your teacher (It was a sleek stainless steel pen - thankfully I spared the matching watch - or key chain (cant recollect)!)

2nd grade - You are only as popular as your math score.

3rd grade - When your crush is the class topper, you have tough competition - from the fellow crushers and the crushee alike.

4th grade - Being a teacher's pet comes with fine font.

You could lead the life of a 32 yr old in your head when you are 16, but the friends around you are 16 physically and potentially younger mentally.

10 th grade - (when your short story gets rejected by Young World (THE HINDU))
You are not necessarily writing master pieces - and no, your own opinion about your work doesn't count.

18th year - money is the root cause of all evils, pleasures and accomplishments (upon receiving the first real time paycheck)

16 th year - You cannot not turn down a person just because his proposal was a hundred paged, three languaged piece of art.


19th year - Losing family is devastating (lost both my grandparents - and my pet)

20th year - Love is like being on dope (I thought)

25th - you are still young enough to be stupid to look at a chunky stainless steel wrist watch as 'pretty'.

30th - Being a mom is a full time emotional and physical job.

28th - Pregnancy is a ticket to pig out.

23rd - First wedding anniversaries are hallmarks of a successful marriage.

More to come - need to crash now:-))

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Seventeen Dresses

Red and yellow
On a creme background
Definitely a frock
Perhaps a butterfly print
Young enough not to remember in detail
Just old enough to remember.

I thought I had this in
Till a moment ago,
Now my grey cells need some boost.
May be I shall come back
Once the memory does.

A chocolate brown skirt
with tiny flowers
Really tiny.
A creme shirt
With a collar??

Navy blue satin
Piped with off white
Cut into an umbrella pattern.
White shirt with pin stipes
Birthdays were a perpetual countdown
and loads of fun!


This one's a traditional number
Aquamarine garden silk
With self brocade
in endless frills
the perfect long skirt
with a monochromatic blouse.


Dress again - in a pale olive print
with a black contrast yoke
and pin tuck detail.


A very unusual lavender
with blue orchid kind of flowers
A mock over coat
and a crisscross thread across the chest.

This one blanks out too..
Just blanks out.
Shall come back once it unblanks:-)

The most glamorous one of all
and may be the costliest
a jeans skirt with suspenders
and a cherry red blouse
I remember being called
Princess Diana!

Fuchsia skirt
With a black and Fuchsia top.
Mandarin collar
cute as a button.

Navy blue again,
this time a kurta and salwar
15th it was
proud and tall.


Sweet sixteen
in an over flowing hot pink number
traditional, modern
utterly 90s.
Geeky, gaudy
Hopefully pretty!


purple Georgette
The color of cadbury's dairy milk
Painstakingly smocked
one of a kind
Made me feel as delicious
as the chocolate itself.


Eighteen - coming of age
well almost
In a yellow silk saree
with a hot pink detail
And gold border.
light as a feather
Proud as a lion
young, alive
and full of promise.

Nineteen in an understated
Khadi cotton salwar kameez
with kutch work detail
black on whitish grey
The taste, the personality
and the person evolving.

Twenty came with a
tobacco hued outfit.
tone on tone
as sophisticate as it could get
expensive and utterly delightful
and that should sum up the seventeen dresses.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Reformer

When you and I were busy
Counting our monies
Fighting our ego battles
And scheming our ploys
He felt the plight
And the pain
Of a virgin widow -
A little girl yet to celebrate her first decade
That had her head shaved
And covered with a white shroud like muslin veil
Mourning the death of an unknown husband
That could have been her granddad.
He raised his voice
And steered his conviction
To make a difference.

When you and I
Were educating ourselves
To equip our lives with degrees
To feed our little tummies
He thought about us as humans
Surpassing color and creed
And fought our wars
For a world
Where We'd be judged by the content of our character
And not by the color of our skin.

When you and I were fooling around
living our childhoods and adolescence
In flying kites and dreaming about crushes
He stood up for our freedom
With non-violence as a weapon
And bared his chest
To bullets of hatred
And shed his blood
For a free nation.

They lived their lives
Like they were not theirs
But ours.
They fought, they thought beyond themselves.
They come and go in all places and nations
Like guardian angels
Like Knights in shining armours
To make fairy tales out of our selfish lives.
They walk on our earth like beacons of hope
They reform.
You and I rejoice.

Mystical

I walk on endless expanse of silver sands
That unfold before me like dreams
Creeping into a relaxed being's slumber
Creating and recreating infinite images
Happy, sad, mystical and magical.

The weightless froth embraces my feet
And licks my toes, stinging me
With its electric cold fangs
Much like the pain of a saddened vision
That penetrates into an innocent snooze
In the form of those endless images.

The waves overlap one another
Confusing me with their endlessness
I falter to gather
Which one begins and which one ends.
Thoughts come and go
Like those vicious waves
Dazed, I look around
not knowing where to start - or to stop.
Thoughts - like waves, like their froth
And the sand that surrounds them.
Everlasting,
In an ironical existence
That shall perish.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Closing doors.

I visited the website Illuminations.com this afternoon to see what is left of my favourite business after our local store at the plaza was closed. The website said that it was thankful of my interest in their brand but with the recent economic uncertainties, they had to make the difficult decision of closing their doors forever. Strange as it might sound, I felt a weird sadness creep in though it had been a while since I grew out of the Illuminations shopping syndrome.

As a young bride and home owner, Illuminations seemed to be an alter ego to my off beat taste. I found the whole philosophy, product range and great customer service very attractive. I used to follow their sale patterns and buy loads of sconces, candles and other unique knick knacks. Lot of my friends used to ask me about my shopping finds and I'd slowly and surely acquired the status of an interior decorator in my own right. The candlescapes and the accessories the store carried were like none other and they inspired me endlessly to build my own creativity around what the store had to offer. Later on when I shifted focus form being a homeowner to a mom, I weaned off my Illuminations habit, but every time I was in the mall, I used to go to the store and check out their cool interiors and always desire to make my home smell like their shop. In a way, Illuminations helped me find my own voice, expression and aesthetics and spread its fame far and wide when I made it a point to gift their startlingly life like floating candles (often shaped like flowers and leaves) to my mom and aunts. Even to this day, I pride my collection of candles shaped like slices of watermelons and fall leaves. Now that I might not be able to replace them, I am sure I'll cherish them a little more.

As I ponder further I realise that closing doors is more like losing something more than a lucrative business. Just like Illuminations came to represent a lot more than a brick and mortar store, many businesses that find form out of some one's vision and passion, are more like human beings than money churning ideas. When I was a teenager, my family had to take a difficult decision to shut down the local newspaper our family owned. I knew from the day it took form, that it was my dad's way of realising his love for writing, journalism and making a difference in a little way than to make money out of advertisements and subscriptions. True to his passion, he ran the paper more like a charity than a business and at some point, the costs raised and the profits sank and we had to close doors on a very precious and passionate dream. From then on, I kind of mourned every business failure as they came to represent more than loss of dough, they were loss of dreams.

Just recently, a cozy little restaurant that served authentic north Indian food closed its doors owing to some lease issues. We went there frequently and four months after the doors are closed, I still miss Jeet's fluffly naans and yummy vegetable sides as much as I miss my mom's food.

Be it large corporations or little cottage industries, closing doors have a lot more to them than making a difficult decision in tiring economic times. They leave back the same void and pain a person would leave back when they exit the stage of this world. So Illuminations that advocated the idea of 'living by candle light' would always represent to me a light source that bought me joys of simple beauty and accomplishments. And just as with every closed door, I hope another window of hope is opened to illuminate the darkness to its Founders and employees and all forcefully and tearfully closed doors across the globe.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

High Spirits

Being a teetotaler, I always wonder what the hoopla surrounding getting drunk is. As a kid I watched the Telugu classic Devdas and could not for the life of me figure out why Devdas resorts to drinking in a self destructive attempt to forget Paro nor as a grown up could I understand why tons of liquors of all sorts get sold out in all kinds of brick & mortar and virtual stores surrounding me. Just the other day I was watching a realty 'event management' competition being aired on HGtv and noted with awe how Kim Kardashian's party that was being managed by an aspiring group of wannabe event managers was mainly focused on alcohol. The host actually went to the extent of saying that the hallmark of a well organised party is abundant spirits - the spirits that come in bottles and intoxicate us by the way.
I always proclaim about my addictive tendencies. The moment I read a book, I usually read a dozen in a month and the moment I gobble up an M&M it is usually a fist full following suit - so though I belong in the ultra-modern and progressive immigrant category, I never ventured into enhancing my spirits with the aid of spirits. Call it principle or being past prime (isn't entering 30s being past the official youth?)
but I remain a alcohol virgin if you discount the couple of times I swallowed the few drops of wine like it were some kind of acid, in an attempt to belong in the group of friends that I'd accompanied to the winery tours.

Growing up, liquor was pretty vile to me. We used to come back home from school by a three wheeled carriage called rickshaw that was pulled by a guy named Doctor. Yeah, Doctor. So Doctor was this typical labourer, riding a bunch of school kids back and forth from the school. Consuming arrack was characteristic to labourers. I always used to look for tell tale signs of intoxication when he used to come to pick us up though he was a really nice and always a sober person. Watching educative dramas on DD 8 was probably an influence but I used to freeze the moment our rickshaw passed through the arrack shop on the way back to home form school. Usually, I would find a guy eagerly consuming the evil potion and with my overactive imagination, spin a story about how he'd go home and beat his wife and kids up in the state of intoxication. Liquor -the bad, horrible liquor was the epitome of evil for a 10 year old back then - a couple of decades later, I see that the way I look at alcohol donned a humorous twist to itself, but the impact and the evil it comes with remains the same. When I first came to the United States, my hubby took me to a cruise party that was commemorative of a successful project at work. I met a young woman who'd talked to me for a good half hour - she looked normal to me - normally loud and enthusiastic. But it took me time to realise that this is a woman under the influence of alcohol and in realty, my husband filled me in, this woman is a reserved and quiet person. Just the other day while on a camping trip to Mendocino, when our group was awake past normal hours and creating slight noise, the camp patrol guys came up and reminded us that we need to keep our voices low as a courtesy to other campers. We apologised and obliged. When the guys told the same to a louder group that was camping opposite to us, a lady took offence and started hauling abuses at the poor guys. It was F@%(, after F*#( after - you get the idea, and unfortunately enough, the lady was drunk. Cops, apologies, cries and drama later, the group was allowed to stay in the camp site. Had she not been drunk, she'd have considered the request with dignity and abide by the rules of the land but it is sad how taking ourselves into a so called high can actually plummet us into a real bad low.

Spirits usually come in a package deal I observed. You buy one and you get being 'out of control', 'destructive', 'evil', 'out of better judgement' and "ill health" as gifts with purchase. I'd personally known of a common friend who lost his life to a drunken driver and heard stories about people who abused family and dwindled their earnings and savings in pursuit of high spirits. I don't give a spit in the toilet if it is social drinking or obsessive compulsive drinking - Alcohol in all forms and potency is evil spelt in another way. Don't we see the occasional celebrity mug shots in the DUI cases? How could you ever come to respect someone who can drink and drive and potentially jeopardize lives around them??

I don't know what it is about alcohol or any other substance abuse, but I do know that it is as bad as wars and weapons.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Fruits

Saturday morning was a classic weekend one. All of us - my husband, my little girl, my little brother and I - assembled in the family room adjacent to the kitchen and started talking about things in general. Our focus shifted to the fruit trees in the backyard since the door leading to the backyard was kept open to welcome the crisp morning breeze and the sounds of nature inside. I went and picked up a pear and walked in promptly to slice it and have my breakfast while we caught up on why Aarti wanted to go to the park last evening.

"She thinks she can find babies there" I said. to which my brother replied "what??"" in a perplexed tone. I proceeded to explain why. The other day when Aarti and I were in the park, she spotted some toys in the sand. "Whose are these?" she asked. "could be some kid's!" I answered. "Why did they leave them here?" the interrogation continued. "May be they forgot".
"Why??".
"May be they don't like them or they got bored or they just forgot" I gasped for air answering. She didn't ask any further questions. Relieved, I walked back home with her. It took some time my 'florescent light' brain to understand why she wanted to look for abandoned or forgotten babies in the park. The kiddo thinks that if a ride to the hospital cannot get us babies - as I tried to explain to her - a walk to the park might - since she is utterly optimistic about some mother getting forgetful, bored or having a sudden and strong dislike to her baby that she might decide to leave it wailing in the park. I was kind of charmed by her thought process but couldn't explain yet again that babies are not toys and they don't get abandoned.

The baby conversation with my brother took new paths. "It doesn't happen here - finding babies in parks" I continued. "Oh wait - every time I am visiting India I find at least a couple of stories about babies abandoned in trash, public transport or even in molehills like it happened in our small town the last time I was visiting. Apparently some moron of a mom abandoned her brand new little boy in the bushes on a mole hill where he gave up on his battle to survive. I remember how I lost my appetite the whole day and wondered how countless couples across the globe would kill for that stork to visit their household. "Isn't it ironic?" I though aloud with a tinge of philosophy creeping into my tone when my hubby entered in holding an apple that had fallen off from the tree. "Some people back home cannot afford fruits" He announced. Look at the pile that goes into the compost bin here - he pointed out. It was an easy smiley. Perfect fruit, Bron by robust and fertile trees, intended to give us the nourishment and pleasure of their form and taste - much like babies that come into our lives and nourish our souls and make our houses delightfully messy and our routines hopelessly hopeful.Both the varieties, the ones borne on trees and the ones that take form in tummies are blessings - day to day things that we take for granted as they occur around us in abundance. But the day they dwindle, we realise how one should be lucky to have them around and to enjoy them.

Saturday was a perfect start - for a ponder, for and a realisation of how blessed I am for the fruit I enjoy. Here's hoping that we all feel blessed and lucky for the little ones we have in our lives and here's also hoping that we realise new life of all sorts in as divine as God's presence. Here's hoping further that there would be no childhoods wasted in toil and abuse, no parenthoods wasted in 'taking for granted' and no morsels wasted without being enjoyed.

God bless everyone with Fruits of love.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Reading

Call it logic or lack of things to lament about - but writing about reading seems to be the perfect sequel, especially in this 'lack of' situation.

Lahari the Internet friend who seems to have so much in common with me that I'd have married her if she'd proposed, tagged me on a chain mail of sorts in face book. Now the networking site in question is more of a faceless book for me since I cannot for the life of me make out heads or tails of it and everything everyone said and did in my friends group is promptly reported on my profile page.

"Minnie is friends with Mickey" it would read - right under my name

and add "Minnie commented about Mickey's photo"

and "Minne is upset about it being Sunday afternoon already"

Minnie - "Don't call me on my cell - I left it at the office"

Minnie - " I think I have my ....okay, I'll edit that since it is my imagination - and no - I am a teetotaler, on the verge of being a vegan and I am not on dope - read caffeine since it is what I think it is - dope!

Okay, now I feel like I am stalking the 44 friends and have known them inside out in the few months of being on FB (- more than I could ever imaging knowing my significant other into years of marriage,) just by being on that goddamn site and I for one thing, cannot understand why I still stick my butt around there. Now that makes me the mystery, kept in a riddle, wrapped inside an enigma I claim to be - and makes face book my elder sister - assuming she's a she, since women have more complexities than men do, mostly! Ahem!! LOL and they seem to be directly proportional to age.

Anyway, the chain mail asked the bunch of friends it got tagged to to list 15 books that would stick with them for ever - which kind of gingerly gets us to what I have assembled here to preach about - reading!

I had to answer. It was about reading!

I effortlessly remembered 15 books I read and that might not necessarily stick with me - but they did definitely influence me in a small or big way. Lahari came back saying the she knew I read a lot. Now, this is where the mystery comes into play.

Actually I don't read a lot. My cousin Nalini will perhaps walk away with that accolade , since she is easily the one that reads. A lot. I kind of read in between lines a lot. That probably makes me feel and look like I read a lot and that explains all this blah blah. LOL.

Jokes apart, I think reading is a great way of being able to think and feel and evolve - and just like the many genres of writing, there are many forms of the good ol reading as well. Reading maps, minds, lips, messages, hearts, codes, abstract arts, life and of course the more straightforward ones like magazines, letters, books, texts etcetera. And just like every where else, the quality reigns over the quantity. How would I ever have imagined knowing how to tell polarized sunglasses apart form their non-polo counterparts and known more about Bernard Shaw to Ben Affleck if I'd not read about them somewhere? I think even reading correspondence helps. I think I'd learnt a lot of new vocab form this kid who's apparently slogging to clear CAT, though he declines it - since he sounds more like a young man mugging a word list than a young man.

Hmm...let's see! Reading a spiritual book puts things in perspective - gives us so much clarity and reading Irving Wallace is a pleasure of a different kind. There is most certainly a whole new world awaiting people who are willing to open their eyes to new signs arranged in perfect perecision.

Like I said, I don't read as much as I want to or have to and I feel that it is a shortcoming that I'll regret for a long time and I also feel that reading literature in several languages makes us that much more evolved - sorry for the over use of this word! I never understood why they had three different languages in school while growing up. the first, the second and the third. Now as I become a traveller and drop my jaw and let it touch the floor when I see so many different languages that are so much more different than the ones I am used to and comfortable speaking, I realise that afterall three languages is not really a good or a right number. I think, ideally, we should get our hands on as many literatures as possible. Like they say - life is too short to be little. So better catch up with all the reading back logs.

For now the Faceless book reports that Minnie - "is kind of peeved - at the lack of a friend's imagination.

and Laxmi Addanki say "that gives me the cue to my next gyaan column"

Laxmi Addanki - "Imagination it is" and "Facebook down, down!"

Why do I get a feeling that you are not interested in reading anymore???

May be it is just a feeling.

Retiring - uninhibited, unedited and un-peeved.


Aarti's mom from the Sunny land of smiles and cynicism (contributed by Moi)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Writing.

There is something magnetically attractive about writers or writing - or anything that has to do with writing, like copy writing, journalism, songwriting, blogging or any of the other forms. That probably explains why the protagonists of most of the Hollywood chick flicks do something on the lines of writing for their living. Take Matthew McConnohey (spelt phonetically - sorry too lazy to double check) from "How to lose a guy', Richard Gere to from "runaway bride" to the hero and heroine in "Confessions of a shopaholic all are craftsmen of words, genre no bar. It just made me wonder why and how we are so charmed with people who create dreams and whole new worlds out of words. I am sure Shakespeare will stay here long after all of us are gone, courtesy his craft and so will the folks form the new pack like J K Rowling or Javed Akhtar.

In my free time, which is getting endangered these days, I hop from one blog to another on the Internet. Shail, the babe who celebrated her half century recently seems to be more appealing to me than the twenty somethings that lift lyrics of off famous songs, books or movies to describe themselves in their social network profiles. Why is it that we find expressive people to be more attractive? Is that a new sex appeal or was it always that way and no one cared to ponder??? - A few questions cross this small, restless mind!

Or wait, it is probably, perhaps - totally me! It is my take on attractiveness arguably. But anyway, since this is my blog and I am free to write what I want and edit what I don't (in comments..He he!) I shall go ahead anyway!
When I said I like Amithab Bachchan's dad more than him, I earnestly meant it. It was not in a bit to sound like I look down upon big B and his all-consuming stardom. I personally feel that expression in the form of words in say, as divine as expression in the form of creation - as in the beauty of nature and seasons around us. So the parellel here between writers and our heavenly father is intended. Not that I feel I fall into that category (someone said I am too humble for my own good - and that someone is absolutely wrong!) but don't words do that to you?? If you are this far into this blog - I know you are nodding right now!!

So writing - what was the purpose of all those descriptive and imaginative essays we'd written as children? Was it just meant as an academic exercise or was it a way of unleashing us to us in a subtle way? May be, writing in a way is like raising the curtains to our inner selves and souls! May be it is a way of making us aware of who we are and what we want. Expression - no matter the form - is probably what makes us distinct form other living beings on this planet. And writing, not just the type that tops the New york Times best seller list or ends up in the groovy tunes a musician generates, is a slice of divinity. Consider a small stickem note you'd write to your significant other or an email to a good old friend or even a journal you'd maintain to remember your cousin's birthday - they are all tit bits of joy. Writing is a soul bearing activity and it should be practiced and encouraged.

Writers - not just the ones that are rich or famous but the ones like you and me and Aarti - are all beacons of light to a better world filled with better expressions. Keep at it and look for it. Blog, jot down in a journal or may be graffiti??? No, not graffiti! Just kidding!

Long live the alphabet - the universal one!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

London Love

People who know me well know my belief about being connected to the English land and language in my previous life. It is this exact belief that led me into believing that there is no way I would hate London - the first stop of our Europe Travel. Years ago, I read a poem in our Gulmohar graded English text named "Upon the Westminster Bridge"


Wordsworth opined that the Earth had nothing else better than the view from the Westminster Bridge to show. So as an eleven year old, I was determined to see the fairest view of all, in a way heart fully agreeing with Mr. Wordsworth and believing in what he said though I didn't see an opportunity to see beyond the outskirts of our little town, let alone the continent. But years later, I actually migrated to another continent, albiet a different one than I aspired to see and called it my home. Anyway, it comes to us naturally - and we erase boundaries, overcome territories and make a mark of our own without ever worrying if where we are is where we actually belong. And thus, we weave a strong bond with our adopted Nationalities. I met one such woman as I set my foot on the land of "Great Britain" - a stocky middle aged woman dressed in a formal suit a bit too long for her short frame. Her thinning hair was pulled back into a limp ponytail and she wore her face as badly as she wore her dress and attitude. From the side, I could not for the life of me figure out who she was - if she was a man or a woman or a passenger or an airport personnel. As I looked around for a pen to fill my customs papers in the UK port of entry, the woman approached me - talking to me in an almost disconnected way. Her accent was thick and sounded more like a regional Indian tongue than Queen's English. "Yesterday only I put pens in all these places" she mumbled. "Greedy people. They come to this country thinking all is free here" I opened my mouth in an attempt to say something like "nothing is free" but gave up since I quickly realised the futility of agreeing or disagreeing with her. " I work only part time", she went on, "last week a person committed suicide since there are no jobs here - I don't know why people come to our country and take away all the jobs" - By now, I was looking or pretending to look into the customs form. She didn't leave me alone. For some strange reason, she thought I was there to snatch away her job. I tried, rather proudly, to flash my US passport to her. She was probably naive enough not to understand that I call another land of opportunity my own and am not in the least interested in encroaching hers. Irony people - Irony. One brown skinned person to another in a land that belongs to neither - and all the natives walked past me without even caring to give me a dirty look or an appraisal if I am a potential "opportunity snatcher"
So, long story short, my fellow Indian had the audacity to indirectly call my tribe (and hers funnily enough) greedy and encroaching. With a broad grin and a mind that mentally jotted down the conversation, I left the place, striding safely away form the tortured old woman.

The Airport looked surprisingly similar and the city, even more. It reminded me of my favourite - amchi Mumbai - not amchi per say, but if London could be amchi to a seemingly new immigrant working in the Airport, Mumbai, a part of my motherland could most certainly be Amchi. So, London and its resemblances to Amchi Mumbai is mind boggling. As our shuttle lumbered through the paths of the royal city, I looked around to spot individual homes just like I'd do in Mumbai - and just like I'd do in Mumbai, I didn't find any of those here as well.

London was pretty ordinary - The roads were cramped and dirty. In the afternoon as we ventured out to find a place to eat, I almost stepped on dog droppings - eeks, I know - but I am not sure if the Amchi London brigade is responsible for the droppings, or the non cleaning of droppings after dogs rather. I was already falling out of love of London. May be the country side will stir my soul - I wondered, not willing to drop the 'previous birth connection' theory with the land of cricket.

I skipped my half day city excursion and cuddled up in the cozy blanket with the Twilight series, courtesy Holiday Inn, and let Wordsworth be a wordsmith, or a confirmed Patriot, or may be, I should give him the benefit of doubt. He is generation "A" and gen X need not necessarily agree with him:-))


Notwithstanding the ordinariness or the eerily familiar layout, London still remains to be the heart of the land of Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes and J K Rowling, and if nothing else, the way the language sounds form the mouth of a inhabitant is worth the price of admission. Long Live London, Long Live Love and Long Live the London Love.

More random ponders to come:-)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Michaelness - a tribute!


Last Thursday, while on a domestic long distance call with my Sister in law, Santu my brother called me on the second line and dropped a little bomb of sorts. "Michael Jackson is dead" he announced - without even caring to say hello - in a voice that sounded low and shocked. The emotion was coming from a confirmed MJ fan and was rightly justified.
I let out a sigh and felt a surprising gloom, since I did not know MJ either as the world class entertainer or the eccentric wacko he was alleged to be. MJ was a rage when I was growing up. Every person in the Indian film fraternity were in some way influenced by him so much so that there was a mass flattery of MJ that went on for decades together - flattery as in imitation. All his beats and moves were diligently copied and his costumes and backgrounds were passionately plagiarised by all directors, choreographers, music directors, their assistants, competetors and neighbors:-) MJ was known more far and wide than Amitabh Bachchan was perhaps, since the remote villages of regional India doesn't watch much Hindi movies but their regional stars and lyrics chanted "MJ" like a mantra and made him well known across the subcontinent, language and literacy no bar!
A friend form high school used to listen to his songs more religiously than he'd say his daily prayers. Once he wrote the lyrics of "Beat it" for me to consider the depth, pain and emotion in them. I saw where the friend was coming from but it did not occur to me how huge this Michael Jackson guy really was.

One of the first gifts my hubby (then beau) sent me was a CD man with a remote control and a pack of MJ cds - this was when CDs were still not a rage, at least in the small town I hailed from. Slowly MJ fire caught in our household and thus the die hard loyal fan in Santu was born.
After migrating to the US and making it my home, I'd seen MJ on the covers of all tabloids while waiting in line at Safeway and killing time watching E! channel. The wacko Jacko seemed to have offered more drama, sales and TV ratings than the divinely versatile talent of Michael the King of Pop. The analysis was more about his looks, nose, hair and the skin tone that changed form a radiant light brown to albino white. There were theories and anti theories about his skin disease, his 'not accepting' his race, his suspicious attraction towards children and numerous plastic surgeries. America Loved Jacko, Loved to hate him that is - till his death last thursday.

Suddenly, the icon was gone and the whole nation seemed to be in a mass mourning. All his 'in the closet' fans emerged out proclaiming their love for his talent and their belief in his innocence. The Internet experienced a melt-down with all the love and curiosity everyone suddenly has for him. I am guilty as charged to have done my share of MJ googling and viewing his 2002 interview given to one of those Pakistani media persons. (forgot his name) Every other video on YouTube featuring MJ had more than a ten million views overnight and condolences poured in from far and wide across the planet. It's a week since the legend departed and the world doesn't seem to have come over him or his death yet! Suddenly and ironically, MJ is being noticed for his multi talented personality, his genuine love for children and his troubled childhood that left a deep impact on who he became later on. If Larger than life has a mortal form, it most definitely, certainly, without a doubt looks much like an athletic six foot frame that moved like a machine, sang like an angel and wrote lyrics like John keats. A frame that bore a 'bleached of pigment' face, permanent eyeliner and a head full of long, black tresses, A form that looks strikingly like Michael Joseph Jackson who was mistaken for Wacko Jacko till he breathed his last.
It is very sad that MJ was not around to see the impact his departure had on his well-wishers and fanbase that spreads across the globe. MJ is as universal if not more as Jesus himself. MJ the moon walker, MJ the singer, MJ the lyricist, the dancer and the composer shall stay here marking his territory across the planet much like William shakespeare or Thomas Edison long after his demise.
The power house of talent shall be deeply missed by all his admirers and live an immortal life for generations to come.
The whole thing just reminds me of a few things - the fact that what matters in one's life is not how one lives it but how much one is missed once one leaves and the fact that we are not here for ever and we should live our lives like we mean to live them and the fact that Michaelness is a mass madness that the world will never overcome.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Not sure.

It took me a month and a day to come back with a ponder - isn't it funny how we blame everything on our mood and wait till we have the right mood to do the right thing? I think mood is more like a predecessor to procrastination. I am not in the mood of exercising, not in the mood of writing, not in the mood of reading etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (King and I ishtyle) is the perfect pretext to not to do what are supposed to be doing!

Many things have happened in the past month. I got my gel nails off of my nail buds at home - thanks to the 'never faltering to deliver' Google mata - as Santu my brother puts it. I ran a search on 'how to remove artificial nails at home' and came up with just that - a detailed write up abt how it could be done. If anyone of you is wondering, my natural nail bud is all weak and bumpy now and it would take a little while for it to grow out. Anyway, the costly lesson of 'don't fix what needn't be fixed' is learnt early and right. Not that I'd venture into extreme vanity - but thanks to all the bombarding of 'anti aging' I read in the mags I subscribe to - if I ever have a tinge of curiosity to try a chemical peel or worse yet a face lift two decades down the line, I'll humbly remind myself of the nail fiasco and learn to age naturally. Okay - this is total dramatization of my vanity - I am not as vain as I am curious and that explains my gel nails and slightly overweight body! LOL.

I'd been frequenting to big B's blog. A thing or two to be learnt there. BTW, I am slowly getting myself to believe that this is the man himself and not a ghost writer. It is amusing how he gets upset about criticism - like he'd heard it for the first time. And his misuse of apostrophes makes him that much more real and makes me that much more forgiving about the random mistakes I make in my own communication. All said and done, Amithab Bachchan is what he is for a reason and his blog is evidence. The passion the person has for writing is quiet infectious and kind of drives home the point that a stay at home mom should not have pretexts to not write blogs. Really so!

MJ had passed away last week. My brother, who was evidently doing some monkey business on his new iPhone, called me the moment the news hit the Internet and I was kind of transformed into a mourning mood instantly. Suddenly Wacko Jacko emerged larger than life could ever dream of being - ironically - in his death! The amount of love he gets baffles me and the criticism saddens me - not since I believe or don't believe he is not what he is made up to be - but just for the fact that he isn't being remembered for the right reasons. MJ is a talent like none other and there is no debate about that. And here's to the Singer, performer and Entertainer of the century - "MJ, America misses you more than it thought it ever would!"

On home front, Aarti is getting borderline obsessive about babies. Yeah, babies of the human, animal and insect variety. She seems to take great fascination for 'Angelina Ballerina' (who is a white mouse bought to life in the form of a cartoon BTW) and her infant, unnamed mouse sister and the baby bee that is being rescued by "wonder pets" on Nickelodeon Jr?? and the baby episode on "Sesame street." I know TV is not a really good option for kids and I exercise that option only when I am a wink short of losing my sanity from playing a three year old's playmate for the whole day.In the past month, I lost it, found it and am now in full form. Talking about yours truly's vigor, confidence and love for life. Not really sure what to call this come back of sorts - 'Not sure' may be?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Au Naturel

Perfection has a flip side to it - more often than not, perfect things scream FAKE - like that full bosomed size zero lady that breezes ahead of you in the gym or the eyelashes that look like the fringe of your living room curtains defying gravity and facing skywards. But I was introduced to a whole new level of fake when I got my gel nails implanted. Had I not spent the dough I'd spent on them, I'd have pryed them out then and there and threw them in the trash can never to tread the path of the manicurist's place - ever again. It happened last evening and it happened like this -

When Aarti's dad comes home early sometimes and is in a position to afford to be nice, he offers to baby sit the brat while I can go on a 'what ever I want to do' spree and enjoy myself and my 'myself' time. So last evening was one of those eventful times when I had the luxury to do what I wanted to do without a hyperactive, over inquisitive toddler in the shopping cart, who would want to go to the restroom the moment I get to the farthest point of the store from the restroom. So - I chose to go get a pedicure - only for the third time in my life in the United States of America. Did someone say third time is a charm? So, I ended up in the pedi-chair making small talk with Victoria the pedicurist. There were a couple of ladies that were at the manicurist's chair where a couple of men worked on their hands like physicians working in an operation theatre - focus lights, nose masks and all that! Needless to say, my conversation steered towards acrylic nails - Victoria did all she could do to convince me to have fake nails. Now - if there is a part of me that I am vain and proud about, it is my hands - my arms, my hands and my fingers - as a package deal. It was probably God's way of compensating for my chipmunk cheeks and chinky eyes. And I can never to date - figure out how and why my nails and hair grow like weeds - given the fact that I eat a protein free diet - or almost, practically a protein free one. So you must be wondering why I had gel ones. Well, the other day over the long weekend, when I was in the bowling alley trying to not be the least scorer among my peers, I broke my thumb nail handling the 6 pound ball. I came home and promptly chopped off the rest of my nails to make them uniform. So, while convincing the manicurist that I my nails take no time to grow - a part of me was willing to sit in that chair and give them a try.

The guy used a mini sanding machine kind of thing and got rid of a layer of the tip of my natural nail. By now I much prized fingers were looking like I'd just stuck them in rice flour and didn't care to dust them off. And then, the glue - and the pieces of plastic that protruded from my nail buds like shallow rainbow arches. It was by far, the ugliest sight ever - and I cringed- wrinkled and shut my eyes hard and prayed to get the strength to sustain the foolish experiment I was getting into. There was more sanding, more gluing and filing and finally he caught hold of an instrument that looked like pliers and cut the rainbow arch short. Now the nails looked like cigarettes stubs - short, blunt and uneven. The whole process of the nails was like an hour - an hour that I could have spent in Barnes and Noble, sipping on white chocolate mocha and reading Dr.Laura's latest - but destiny brought me to this chair that was inflicting onto me the horror of one of the many facets of vanity. And then, the real pain came in. The manicurist applied a gel on my nails and made me stick my hand into a pocket like device that was emitting ultra-violet rays. The rays melted the gel and burned my cuticles and I did more cringing, more cussing under my breath and in that royal pain, thought about all the serious procedures Dr.90210 does on women in his famous E! show and the amount of pain ladies sustain to get that perfect derriere, bosom or pillow lips which end up looking like something else that I refrain from describing since I want to be able to keep my language under control.

At the end , my otherwise perfect nails that tipped my perfect fingers looked like miniature duck feet glued over my nails - giving my fingers an over all stocky and obviously fake appearance - so we are not even looking at perfect here - we are looking at just fake!

Mistakes happen and I came out celebrating my adventurous spirit though my heart felt a little heavy and my purse a little light. Driving home, I successfully avoided looking at my nails but wasn't successful enough to avoid the thoughts of what I could have done with the money I'd just dropped on the manicurist's desk.

So, I don't care if it is the harsh eyebrows that ladies draw to look like Brook Shields or the bums that they stuff to look like JLo - They just don't work! Au Naturel is the way to go - the blissfully painless and priceless way to go - in the meanwhile, I am happy to report that my robust nail bud already sports the growth from beneath that thick, clubby, duck feet. Thankfully, I need to look at these horrendous new additions only for a couple of weeks.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Star Struck.

SO what if I do not get as many opinions as I wish to get about my writing. Here's what the Man himself had written to me about a comment I left in his blog.

Guys and Gals - presenting to you Mr. Amithab Bachchan and what he had to say about what I had to ask. Mr. Bachchan himself - Oh I so want to believe it! Here's a cut paste form Big B's blog reproduced here by the star struck Moi.

These can be found on his website under comments for post number 388. Mine is the 90th comment:-)

Laxmi says:
May 15, 2009 at 11:17 pm
Hello Amitji,I am a huge fan of Shri.Harivanshrai Bachchan and I think he was a greater talent than all of your family combined. I have a doubt reeling in my head though - so had to wonder out loud - with your kind of a schedule and the demands on your time, do you really sit down to write all these eloquent blogs? If you really do and don’t have them ghost written - I must admit, you’d inherited the flair for words from your legendary dad and I have more about you to love beyond long legs, deep voice and acting talent.
Regards,L Addanki.

ab says:
May 16, 2009 at 2:31 am
Yes Laxmi.. it is me that reads writes, posts everything.. and it is a joy..


What a real joy - I'd never guessed I would so gush over an invisible comment that is supposed to be Big B, awake at 2:31 am :-))

Makes me want to croon like ABBA....I believe in Angels - and in Amitji writing his own blog. LOL

This and that.

A few years ago, I enrolled in a creative writing class that was conducted in our community college. I ended up reading a lot of amateur works and had the opportunity to present a couple of my short stories to be work-shopped in the class. We dissected writings of the class alongside of the short stories form the Best American Short Stories volume released that year.
Anne Lamot had a term for most first drafts that writers and wannabes generate - She termed them as 'shitty first drafts.' So the idea here is to impress upon her readers that acclaimed writers don't just type out what they intend to tell in the first go - in fact, they write and re-write over and over again what they intend to put forth and writing is as laborious as a gestation period to deliver a baby would be - now, she did not say the part about gestation period and writing - it is my original expression;-0
I ended up writing two major, complete short stories that were inspired out of two visuals that I'd experienced around that period. Being the spontaneous person I was, I typed out my stories, did a spell check and confidently submitted them for work-shopping. My stories had a different tone to them - almost a fable like texture and characters and behaviours that were strange to a foreign culture. They both were literary disasters - or so I thought - but at the end of the day, the way I read books changed more than the way I write. Till date, I type out what comes to my mind and seldom do edits - I remain kind of spontaneous that way. But the way I read a book has evolved. I seem to constantly look for what worked for me in the book and what didn't. I found in me a reader I didn't find all those years.
Then sometime after that, a friend of mine sent me a link to his friend's blog. If there is anything that excites me about men, it is their ability to articulate - since men as a species are of the "talk less" or "talk in a confusing way" category. I love artistic men - men who can sing, design, sculpt, dance, act, write etc. So anyway, this blog - that came my way in 2004, inspired me to start my own. Ever since I'd published a lot of shitty first drafts - some of them spell checked and some unchecked.
And when I said I like artistic men, it has to be mentioned that I am a great fan of Mr. Bachachan - not the big B, but his dad Shri. Harivanshrai Bachchan who crossed paths with me during the days of my graduation. There he was mentioned as Amithab's dad - which is a dishonor to a poet so great and eloquent. His poetry reads like a song - a music. The rhyme is so fluid. Anyway, the other day I googled my way to Big B's blog. He had this wonderful poem by his dad on this home page that is taken down now. Why??? I thought the poem was great. Anyway, the new home page had just one quote by his dad - "Main deepak Hoon. Mera jalna hi tho meri muskaan hai" - meaning - I am a light (as in a candle or a lamp) my 'burning' is my smile - Now how is that for a sneak preview??
In all earnestness, I hope and dearly truly hope that Big B has a ghost writer to write his blog. Otherwise, I cannot fathom the eloquence of the man. If he is as busy as he is - is there a possibility that he just publishes his "shitty first drafts" and they read like articles written by professional journalists?? Now - I wish to ask him that if I can ever do. And if he is the actual expression - what can I say? I think I have more to love about this man beyond deep voice and long legs! :-))
On the other hand -Aamir khan's blog reads kind of like mine - shitty first draftish and amateur - and I would in a blink believe that he writes it himself. I hope he does! On a different note, they have hundreds of comments on each blog - and people actually look like they are competing to leave their comments. So it makes sense perhaps to talk when people want to listen. Now if I'd ever have the inspiration to be an actor, it would be to get attention to my being a writer. LOL.
Wouldn't it be cool to have people compete to be the first to leave a comment on your daily ponders - I trust it is and big B is one lucky devil to get all that attention - it is probably cynicism that I do not want to believe that he writes them himself. gawd - what is wrong with me???

I'd found solace in expression - in writing from the day I was old enough to write - and my shitty first drafts document to me - my evolution as a person. Things that are honest - ads, books, songs and blogs make the most impact and my honesty and integrity is put here on this virtual screen in the form of a blog.

If there is one thing that I'd love to do over everything else, it would be blogging and if there is one thing that you all could do for me - it is telling me what you think before leaving:-))
Can I possibly be more clear ??
I retire , hoping to come back and find a thing or two said or thrown at me about what and how I write - if you wish to throw sandals, I wear a size 7 usa - please throw a pair. I'll walk around in them and be ever grateful for your time and thoughtfulness. Tomatoes and eggs will be eco-consciously place in the compost bin. Everything good and bad will be cherished as an encouragement to keep up my blah blah.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My new blog

www.iriseive-inspirations.blogspot.com is my new blogging venture created to feed my love for photography, visuals and words. Please hop there from here when ever possible.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Occupation

Suddenly last afternoon, I remembered the anticipation I had for the movies that were to be aired on Doordarshan every Saturday evening. Sometimes the movies were duds, which we watched without blinking nevertheless and sometimes they are blockbusters - sprinkled with perfect comedies, chart buster music and oh so pretty leading ladies. So, the anticipation, or the movies by themselves are like the mealtimes my daughter and I share at home - sometimes she announces that she wants to eat by herself and she does too - and at other times she comes up with very creative and "ahead of her times" excuses like a hurting stomach or a feeling to barf. Anyway, I sit and suffer through them - much like the movies I'd watched even if they were unbearable.


One such unbearable situation arose yesterday. I went to Aarti, armed with a bowl of Mac and Cheese in hopes to make the meal time easy - now, the tried and tested kid favourite meal is kind of off on our meal table, so I had to haul a little stool, the bowl of food and the toddler that was to consume the bowl of food into the garage, open up the door and arrange a picnic of sorts - all to make her eat her food. Did it work? Perfectly! It was not a breeze, but it worked like a charm and with the bowl of carbs and fat, we got to devour a few more things - sharing, stopping to smell the roses (literally and figuratively) and a ponder or two about the choices we make.

While Aarti was working on her meal, a little blue bird came hopping - obviously looking for food. I scooped some Mac and cheese and put it on the drive way. The bird hopped a few feet backward as if to shield herself away form a potential danger and then she hopped forward, landed a few inches away from the grub and stretched her body and dainty neck forward to to peck at the food and flew away in a hurry - kind of like the excitement and fear I had when lighting up fireworks for Diwali. I used to halt at a safe distance, scoot down with the candle , bend forward to light the fire cracker and run back once the wick is ignited. The birdie then came back with a companion to collect the rest of her find - an identical bird - that I assumed was her significant other. I followed the birdies into the direction they flew till they were out of sight into the back yard of the next door neighbor. Are they probably on the family way?? May be they are! So we kept sharing our meal with the little birdies, and they kept accepting them and Aarti was merry, mighty excited and awe stuck that she wanted to feed them again this afternoon.

After the meal, my little girl and I settled down in the garage - doing nothing! We gazed into the day that brightened and faded as the clouds played hide and seek with the Sun. An occasional screech of wheels cut through the unusual mid-noon silence and a car or truck traced the curve of the cul-de-sac while my little girl and I settled on the floor of the garage gazing into the bright day like we were watching an interesting play or program on television. We sipped on our drinks, walked out on the drive way, identified the many hues of roses that bloomed in unison on our side yard, played with a Roley Poley and made him curl into a little ball and looked for the birdies to come back and collect the remnants of Aarti's rejected Mac and cheese that was heaped on one side of the drive way.

This perhaps, is one of the most eventful afternoons I'd had in my life. Sometimes, having to do nothing puts a lot of thought and imagination in you life since you are not programmed to do things a certain way , in a certain schedule and time. Observing the changing intensity of the Sun, the variations of the depths of color on the spring blooms, sharing a meal with the birds and ants, seeing the excitement and wonder in a toddler's eye as a tiny insect curls into a little ball in defense mechanism - all these things worked wonders on my mind - I seemed to be as relaxed as one would be when pampered in a spa.

While I have tremendous respect, adoration and awe for women who juggle a career and home, I for once felt a deep gratitude for having the luxury of having an occupation like the one I have - an occupation that lets me stop to notice the world and its creatures and lets me spend time with a little girl that will soon be thinking her mom is a nuisance (hope not) while attending her High school prom.
Long live Occupation Homemaking!
:=)









Thursday, April 30, 2009

Titles, answers, opinions, lies and truths.

Ever since Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai won the pageants in 1994, I was hooked on to watching pageants. The best part of the evaluation to me was always the question answer section where pretty young things come up with intelligent and profound answers for intelligent and profound questions. It is a totally different blogable topic that profound sounding young things end up on modeling ramps, silver screens and multi million dollar commercial deals instead of going on the expedition to eradicate child labor or to embrace the poor and downtrodden. So - everything can look and sound eloquent, meaningful and sincere when spoken or written -which kind of makes me remember my school days - the days when we used to euphorically write about something like "India of my Dreams" or "Charity starts at home" coming up with essays competing on expression and eloquence but it makes me wonder now as to how much of that eloquence mattered in absolute intention and sincerity if the essays weren't evaluated for grades.
I saw Sush talk about her adventure of making a better world for kids and Priyanka speak about "Mother Teresa" as a living woman that she idolizes the most (which made me wonder she overlooked the one main phrase of the question "living woman" in the year 2000. Now, we can argue that Mother Teresa is immortal - but technically, she came up with the wrong answer, used the almost Divine Mother to her advantage and won the Title and then - you all know what happened.!Mother Teresa is dumped for Madhuri Dixit and the sexy siren bared all for the Bollywood camera and marched past her peers in the number game. Now - I do not have anything against ambitious actresses and scheming politicians - I am actually trying to ponder over what we say and how sincerely we say it. It just makes me wonder if we'd say the same things if grades, titles , tiaras and vote banks are not involved.
So do we adorn our opinions with sweet lies to be popular and sound good - or do we speak what we believe in? Recently, Miss California was in news when a judge of the Miss. USA pageant asked her opinion about legalizing same sex marriages. The pretty young thing initially strayed into making an eloquently ulterior-motive opinion but kind of concluded that a marriage should stay between a man and a woman. Now the judge got offended since she said what she felt and not what she was supposed to say and the result was a lost title, bitterness from the gay faternity and loads of criticism. Now if you ask me what I thought about gay marriages, I'd say, I don't really give it a thought - which is true. USA being the free country it is, people should not have a problem with being who they are - If I say I am against same sex marriages, it doesn't mean that I am against people who are gay. I am someone who might not prefer doing it but at the same time I am someone who might not really bother about someone else doing it. I would not belittle a gay person because I am straight and believe that a marriage is between a man and a woman. So anyway, what does Miss. California's experience teach us?? That we are so used to listening to equivocal and politically correct responses that we are not able to give credit to honest opinions??? So is winning going to make us compromise on our opinions and beliefs? Should we try being who we are not - to be who we want to be? Is speaking our mind out when asked for it the last nail in the coffin of our dreams?
There was another contestant who was asked what she thought about Universal health care. Her answer kind of puzzled me and then put before me the a classic example of wanting to win - She, according to me, represents each one of us who are so focused on winning that we craft our responses to make us look like we are there in all our glory and integrity (no pun intended) but winning doesn't really matter to us as long as we have our integrity intact. On a different note, I was tempted to find out if she knew the meaning of integrity.
Here's what she answered - verbatim - to her thoughts about Universal health care in USA.

“I think this is an issue of integrity regardless of which end of the political spectrum that I stand on. I’ve been raised in a family to know right from wrong, and politics, whether or not you fall in the middle, the left or the right, it’s an issue of integrity, whatever your opinion is and I say that with the upmost conviction.”

Okay- what conviction does one see in this response? A conviction to win? Or a conviction to keep up one's integrity?? :-)) I know, I know!! :-))

We all seem to be in a constant quest to be recognised, to be ahead in the race and to be successful and rich - And what is the price we are paying to be what we want to be? What is it that we are compromising on? Our values? Our beliefs? Our opinions?

This whole ponder has made me realise one thing! That thoughts and speeches without actions and intentions are like beautiful bodies without souls. They lack the conscience that makes them true and sincere. May be - just may be if we kick in a little honesty into all we do and say, and a little respect for what others do and say - we can collectively improve the quality of the world we live in. We can probably stop gushing on embellished eloquence and concentrate on plain vanilla truth. In short, if we mean what we say and say what we mean - the world will be a lot less complicated and pure.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

View point.

Here's a thread that was opened on one of the discussion boards I frequent at.
The topic was named 'Funny Neighbors'
For some reason, my intuition stuck me that this was going to be about Indian neighbors before I opened the thread. I once met a psychic at a fair who tried to lure me into getting my psychic reading and I refused. "You are like me hon" she said. "Intuitive". I kind of believe her. I think I have a very strong intuition.

On to topic again - The funny neighbors were indeed Indian.

The lady opened the discussion with something like -

Lady 1 - "Ok first I in NO WAY want to offend anyone, nor am I criticizing. This is just an observation. I have an Indian family who lives next door to me. I have noticed that at mealtimes the mother chases the small boy (about 3-4) around their patio with a plate of food, poking bites in his mouth. This puzzles me so much. Why not sit the child down at the table and let him eat? "

The first reply was something like

Lady 2 - Must not like what mom is making for dinner... LOL!!!

And then someone else chimed in with something like

Lady 3- I would guess that he doesn't like what they eat. I know we had an Indian neighbor once and the food stunk to high heaven. You could always tell when she was home and having dinner.

And the last reply to the thread was a somewhat kind one.

Lady 4 -That must be comical to watch! Lol! I actually love Indian food. But, I've only tried a few things. Who knows what she's poking in his mouth that he doesn't enjoy. :)

End of conversation - or so I thought since I didn't follow the thread anymore. Instead I started my usual ponder of the shocking culture differences people have.

When I first watched 'Titanic' I was kind of upset to see Jack and Rose sneak out and make love. To me love had nothing to do with sex. It bothered me to no end that Rose would sleep with Jack when she was engaged to someone else and then it bothered me further more when she moves on with her life and has kids and grand kids after Jack dies. That was because I was young and naive and did not completely evolve as the person I was destined to be. I was brought up in a society where Brides and Grooms met in a formal setting and decided to get married after one single meeting though I was too scared to follow the same route and made the choice of a partner myself. Pre-marital relationships were a sin to me. I would not in my wildest of dreams accept being in a pre-marital relationship as understandable. I watched Titanic as a young bride. Two things were alien to me - my own personality that was kind of under-developed and hazy and a foreign country where public displays of affection were as commonly spotted as people on the road. I loathed western culture. The loathe grew along with my familiarity to a completely new culture till I met my neighbor V who is quiet older to me. I found a true friend in V though we were from cultures as different as day and night. She dated numerous men before she found her true love. She and I shared only one thing in common - our gender. All else was different. We were from different generations, races, countries, cultures and backgrounds. But that did not stop me or her form being each other's best friend. She would drop her jaw to the floor to learn that me and my hubby were virgins before marriage and I would drop mine when she shared with me her numerous escapades with prospective partners. I slowly started to accept that being in pre-marital relationships is not as bad as I thought it was - though I would not have been caught dead in one and she realised that being in an arranged sort of marriage is not as bad as she thought either though she would not personally consider it in a million years. Now, I had come a long enough way to watch and actually enjoy watching "Sex and the City" without being judgemental about the four ladies and their quest for a completely compatible relationship - love, sex and everything in between.

Back to where the ponder began - to the 'Funny Neighbors' thread - Isn't it really funny that Indians as a culture are grown up on a healthy diet of mythological tales where Yahsoda, the mom of Krishna carries him on her hip and feeds him butter from her hand as she takes him out into the front yard and shows him the Full moon?? We just don't seem to understand that it is okay to let the kid eat by himself or herself. I actually thought that it was funny how westerners leave babies in their nurseries with a baby monitor on. "How cruel" I used to think and still think - not even "How funny" which looks pretty mild in comparison to "How cruel"
When my pediatrician asked me hiding his cynical smile if we co-sleep - I replied rather proudly that we do. It is one of the many things that we are taught to do differently by our culture and co-sleeping is not as bad as he thinks it is. Just like pre-marital sex might actually not as bad as I think it is.

The innocent ladies attributing the "poking of spoon" in a toddler's mouth as the toddler not liking the mother's food is nothing but lack of a perception, a lack that I thankfully un-lacked as I grew up understanding and respecting different cultures. When my third grade social studies teacher told us that coconut oil is used for cooking in Kerala - the whole class did a mock-mass-puke in chorus. An oil that is used to apply to the hair being ingested was a thought to invoke barfing. Now I see Chinese people frying snakes and centipedes and ingesting them when I watch the travel channel but I am courteous enough not to barf out loud. I think it is really not as bad as I think it is if it is looked at from the other person's perspective. Food is food is food. Right? and there is a paradigm shift in all things. Our holy cow ends up on a million American dinner plates - is it cruel? No. We spank our kids - is it barbaric? No!

My father's cousin once told me that we all need to travel. "That is the only way we can understand different cultures" he opined. I was a teenager. I did not know what the big deal about understanding cultures is - now I do or so I think!

I think the greatest thing a person could learn is to learn to understand that there is a vast world beyond our comfort territory and what is right to us might not or should not be right to everyone else.

I actually like the concept of making a child sit at one place and eat. Aarti does it once in a while but for a good number of times I let her walk the expanse of the house while I sub-consciously enact the "Yashoda" episode and feed her my delicious food. Now, if an American neighbor looks at it and thinks that it is because I don't cook well, I should probably shrug it off and go being who I am and at the same time realise that I should let her be who she is.

I think the whole world has an attitude problem - and a perception problem. And by the way - I do not judge Jack Dawson and Rose Dewitt Bukater for what they did any more. I actually have come to appreciate the concept of two souls uniting at a mortal level when love prevails.
That being said, I am thankful that I seem to have come over both my attitude and perception problems:-)