Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Stuck in a hole

How closed is the American mind?
No, don't misconstrue my question. The Americans are quite open-minded and liberal in varied areas of relationships, traditions and culture. But how come they know zilch about what is happening beyond their four walls?

None of the news channels talk about international issues unless it relates to the American army elsewhere. It doesn't matter if Chile and Liberia elect their first woman presidents. The matter of high priority is what Isaac Mizrahi did to Scarlett Johansson.

How long would it take to include just a line about what's happening around the world in between those traffic updates and the rescue of a cat caught on the roof in Hudson? Or maybe I am watching all the wrong channels :(

I met this nice American and we were discussing movies and I said I love Clint Eastwood movies. Eyebrows raised, he exclaims, "So they watch Clint Eastwood movies in India too?" :-O
Why is that so hard to believe? In fact, I feel even a B-grade Amerian movie star has a small fan following in India.

I still remember the conversation I had with the infamous college senior Mr.W. He was treating us, his juniors, in C'not to a hot afternoon lunch and he entertained us with his anecdotes from working in Sweden. (Or was it Switzerland?) One of his colleagues, a French dude apparently said that they (the Europeans) are scared of him, the Indian. Why?. "Coz you guys know not just your history but ours too". How true! :D

Guess I rambled off track too much. What I wanted to say is, it doesn't hurt to know about your neighbours. Even if they lead boring lives without dishwashers :)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Writers' Workshop - III

This week, we were given 5 random words and were asked to use them in our work.
The words : Conspiracy, Theory, Paste, Episode, Silence.
All I could manage were limericks :)

Don't write in haste.
It always amounts to waste.
Coz they stab and bury
Every novel theory.
Better to cut, copy and paste.

Deep in the Land of Sound
Lived Silence, Lady of No Bound.
Left with no choice
She married Mr.Noise,
Ever since we haven't seen her around.

"It's a conspiracy not episode", screamed Roy,
The Quintessential Boy.
"When I said 'I do'
I didn't mean dishes, did you?"
His wife grinned and sat coy

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Four Play

Having not left home the entire week I finally managed to get out and visit the mall this afternoon.

While walking and talking on the cell with mon cher ami, we were wondering why most foul words are four-lettered. In fact even 'foul' is 4 letters :D Apart from that F word and C word, I know many ordinary words that smell like a rotten egg in many households including 'Blog', 'Beer', 'Love', 'kiss' , 'Shit' and certain names :)

Sigh. Another 4 letter? Naah, that's just my legs crying in pain after 5 hours of window shopping. So am off now to cool my heels and watch the exciting game b/w Patriots & Broncos.

Till then, Tata :D

"Head" Pongal !

Akkarai Seemai Azhaginile edho enngaLala mudinja "Thalai Pongal" kondattam :D

Iniya Pongal NalVazhthukkal!

[Our modest celebrations on foreign shores. Happy Sankranthi/Pongal!]

Friday, January 13, 2006

Wisdom from Down Under

You can change a man only when he is in diapers.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Writer Workshop - I

It isn't easy being a housewife.
Not when you're a software engineer who pens verses.
Not to another software engineer who is buried under streams of code.

So when I heard about this writers' workshop that meets every Thursday at our local Barnes & Noble store, I just clapped my hands in glee and twirled myself :) This is a small and cozy group that meets every week to do what they love best -- Read & Write :) The group is quite an eclectic mix from a high school kid, to artists and editors and a bored housewife :D

The first 30 minutes or so are spent in reading our homework. Oh yes, we have homework. At the end of every session a 'prompt' is chosen and we write on that prompt. Everyone reads their story and we exchange ideas. Then another prompt is chosen for the evening and we go to our corners (within our minds, ofcourse) and write on it. This is quite fun coz in 30 minutes you have to come up with some kind of article... a story, a verse or a short essay. It could be of any genre from fictional, philosophical, funny to horrific. It's all upto you. And then we read those loud to the group, listen to their comments and go home one happy kid.

It isn't exactly a critique session but I love it just the same coz you realise there are so many windows to that one room and they all show a different view. One of the homework prompt was "End of the World". And this is my very feeble attempt on it.

Welcome to my world! A world of no boundaries and nonstop music; music more chaotic than what you've ever heard. When Big Papa yawned and expanded our family we went ballistic. I don't know when that happened as it was much before Time was born. Ours is a world where everyone has their space and we had lots to spare should one need more. We have our little holes, our dusty friends to exchange dark news...Well, you could say it is a magical dark and wild world. Atleast it was like that until the Big Voice boomed "Let there be light" and brought a bright end to the world as I knew it.

Tomorrow's homework is on 'Orphan'. Once i figure out what to write, I shall post it here and torture you.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Yup, I thought I would say ouch but then I was pleasantly surprised!
Waxing your eyebrows doesn't really ache that much. In fact you hardly feel the pinch. The downside? Well there isn't exactly a lovely shape like what you would be blessed with if you had sat through 10 minutes of threading but hey! I am happy that I am no longer the long lost cousin of King Kong :D

In fact the stylists in the salon treated me with reverence when I told them how all my life in India I have only threaded my eyebrows. They gushed "Oh dear. That must have been like hell" and I smiled and cooed "Oh no, it is a breeze".

Anyways having impressed them with my persona cool, I then proceeded to change my hairstyle. After flipping through many pages and not finding one snap of a girl with a broad forehead and non-existent nose sporting a sexy hairstyle, I called it quits and moved to step 2. I gave my hairstylist a Bambi look and sighed. And it worked ;) She went on to say how I look like a pretty 14 year old girl in my long hair and that I would look prettier and mature with a shorter haircut. Muhahahaha!

Why put off till tomorrow what you can spoil today has been my life's motto. So after another 30 minutes in The High Chair, I walked out a changed, cropped and cute woman(Now that I am mature and all growed up, I no longer Girl. I woman!) with fingers crossed that Amma doesn't throw a fit from across oceans. Either way, I guess she can't do much :D

Monday, January 09, 2006

Are you Patriotic?

Well The Mr is. And having learnt very early in the relationship just how much he 'lurrvees' Futbaal, I crossed over too :)

Saturday was D-Day. The first Playoff between Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots. Inspite of the freezing 20 deg F temperature, Gillette Stadium was brimming with fans, jumping and screaming for Brady's boys (Jumping to keep themselves warm I guess).

Though a late convert I did my best to transform our home into a mock stadium by making a Red & Blue (Official colours of the team) poster which did move The Mr to promise me a box of chocolates :D But then I wanted to do more so dressed in blue & red too :) That did have the desired effect as we won 28- 3.

My favorite moment was ofcourse when Asante Samuel intercepted A jaguar pass and ran with it for a touchdown. A long 73 yard run. And we celebrated the victory with rotis and a lip-smacking spicy Mushroom gravy which had The Mr in tears :)

Like they say here in New England,
"My wife said it's either her or Football. Gosh I will miss her lots"

Saturday, January 07, 2006

An Unsung song

Make a joke and I will sigh
And you will laugh and I will cry
Happiness I cannot feel
And love to me is so unreal

And so as you hear these words
Telling you now of my state
I tell you to enjoy life
I wish I could but it's too late

-- Paranoid, Black Sabbath

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Rope Necklace

Little Princess looked across the room. To the corner where they lay. The little shards of glass which were once a beautiful crystal ball. Her confidante when dark clouds came to visit The Man's kingdom. It wasn't a game The Man liked to play. Though she hoped one day he will sit next to her, hold her hands and gaze into their future together. Happily.

-- *** --

It was a breezy morning when The Man walked in on Little Princess gazing into her crystal ball. Her face bright among the shadows thrown by the ball. Little Princess looked up, smiled and called The Man inside; into her world of magic and love. And then she froze. Just like the face of disgust that froze over The Man's face as he walked away.

-- *** --

Little Princess looked deep into the mirror and smiled. The pearl necklace on her neck grinned back. Small white gleaming crystal balls on her body. Nobody ever understood her. Not the King. Not The Man. Not even her crystal ball. A shadow crossed her mirror image. Someone did. But all that belonged to a different era that no longer exists. Just like the crystal ball. She stared at the wound in her hand. The one she got when she tried to throw away the remnants. Her crystal ball was gone but the scar would remain. As a testimony to what she lost. And what she gained.

The Man. She caressed his furrowed forehead. What passed through his mind? Did the policies of the Seer Fraternity and the Kingdom's troubles weigh him down? Or was it her love for magic? Why did she find it hard to sleep? She caressed her necklace. A rope would feel softer. And it would lift her away. Far from all the madness. The Draught of Eternal Sleep. The Man snuggled closer to her in his sleep.

She closed her eyes. Not tonight. Tonight, the pearls shone brighter than the rope.

Waging a Losing Battle

This is not going to be an easy post. But then no post of mine has been easy excepting the nonsensical ones :) On our way to Shaws to do the weekly groceries, The Mr and I argued about everything under the Sun from Hinduism to Symbolism to my lack of understanding of the Holiness of New England Patriots :)

So how important are symbols in our life? Take the beaten-to-death "Thaali/Mangalsutra sentiment" of cinema. Somehow not just in the movies but even in our lives we are ruled by the sacred thread. If I recall the old movie 'Kandhan Karunai', there is a scene where Lord Muruga explains the reason behind 'thaali' & 'metti'(toe rings) to Deivanai. The Man walks with his head held high and when he sees a woman with a 'thaali' he realises she is married and it is a sin to want her and the reason men wear 'metti' (toe-rings) is coz the women walk with their heads bowed and the first thing they see is a man's feet and they can know from the toe-ring if he is married or not. Wonderful if only the men didn't make women wear the metti too.

But when you introspect, the thaali is nothing but a symbol of the union of man & wife in holy matrimony. Does wearing it constantly prove your loyalty to your husband? Why is a woman who doesn't wear it considered an arrogant girl with no respect for culture? So if a thaali is to show the world a woman is married , how are the guys doing it? (The Mr claims that his forlorn face gives away the fact that he belongs to the 'hen-pecked' kind' :D)

I still can't understand the logic. I mean, when you get down to it, it is but a personal choice. Whether I choose to wear it or not. What I feel for my husband can't be and shouldn't be quantified and shut within one gold chain.

And please this has nothing to do with women's lib. Thaali is but the tip of an iceberg. In our society, we seem to have this invisible wall around us; a wall built of just stereotypes and symbols; where it doesn't matter whether you trust & love your husband as long as you wear your mangalsutra and metti(toe-rings) for all the world to see.

Or maybe it is in our psyche to dwelve on the symbol and forget the spirit? Just like the black idol in the temple . It is always easy to converse with God when he is in one of those many shapes we like to put him in - as Ganesha, Shiva, Muruga. Somehow the symbol evokes more piety than a shapeless, invisible being with life-altering powers. My form of prayer is having a conversation with The One wherever I am. Even while chopping onions. He could be in the knife at that point. But no one would call me spiritual unless I do my daily puja.

So what is the point of all this? I don't know. I don't wear my thaali while I am here coz I don't think it defines my relationship with The Mr. And he wholly agress with me. But my family back in India doesn't feel it is a good idea. And I don't blame them. And after a few discussions on the 'evils' of not wearing thaali, I just caved in. It is easier to wear it and be the quintessential Indian woman than put my family through the rigmarole of answering every raised eyebrow that claims their daughter is 'too americanised'. Sometimes I wish I were stronger but when I listen to my 80 year old Grandma complain ever so softly about her little girl not wearing anklets/metti, I somehow feel this is the least I can do to make her smile. My battle can wait.

Does that make me a hypocrite? A coward? Can't really say. Coz this isn't an easy solution and it won't happen overnight. And yeah, next time please make the thaali in a light weight, trendy style. Atleast that way it won't weigh so much on my neck. Literally.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Nuggets for a long year ahead

I just finished The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants series and I like it. There, i've said it aloud :) And these are few of the quotes scattered all over the book. As for the source, just google. I am too lazy plus NY2006 resolution was not to change that state :)

Somethings have to be believed to be seen.

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

Before you crticize someone you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them, and you have their shoes.

Time is what keeps things from happening all at once.

There is no remedy for love but to love more

Not all who wander are lost.

Luck never gives;it only lends.

Love is like war: easy to begin, hard to end.

Sometimes you're the windshield; sometimes you're the bug.

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Got that?

Of the 36 ways of avoiding disaster, running away is the best.