Sunday, March 30, 2008

Trivial trivias

These are few uninteresting things about me that I have been blackmailed err tagged into writing by Mind Curry. So if you feel you have wasted your time here then kindly proceed to Miss Scissors house and put in a word and a wad of cash and she will take care of him rather creatively!! (Serves him right too for tagging my usual victims err I mean taggees hummpph!)

So here we go....


I am a menace to the movie industry because I watch too many movies on DVD :p But the last movie I saw in a theater was “Taare Zameen Par"


The Appeal, by John Grisham


Scrabble and Pictionary! Pictionary being my fav.


Reader's Digest, National Geographic, Time, Savvy, Femina... (all these are kept at our office Gym so I get them free)


The smell of Earth after the first rain. The fragrance of Jasmine flowers and Rajnigandha. The way babies smell and many more….


Birds chirping in the trees...sounds of water flowing and waterfalls... and the sounds of the forest.


When I see poor kids and when I see people stricken with terminable diseases.


Is it Friday yet?


Kanti Sweets at St Patricks Complex on Brigade Road.


Natasha...but I will be magnanimous and let her Dad also have a “small” say in the matter :p (Do I hear someone say "Divorce court?)


…scratch my head and wonder what I would do with it. I am not used to the lifestyle of the rich and famous.


I am a Bengalurean duh! We are genetically reengineered to drive fast and recklessly on non existent roads.


Yep!!! Two very stuffed animals. Stuffed on rice, mince and veggies and anything else they get under the table from me and bro. I never got into the habit of sleeping with stuffed toys. My only aim in life as a kid was to sleep in my parent’s bed.


I am plagiarizing MC’s reply here "Cool till it gets scary."


I don’t have a car as I beg, borrow and steal from the other people in the house. But the first car I drove was a Maruti Van.


Water followed by Fruit Juices and Tea made by me.


..... work for Wildlife conservation.


Yes. I love Broccoli!


Brown, to match my eyes.


Too many to mention but the places where I have stayed a decent amount of time is Pala, Changanassery and Bangalore.






If I put my hand under the bed, I will get a joyful lick from one of the doggies who sleep there sometimes, chumma just like that when they get bored of occupying my bed




Morning person.


Who cares? Any which way you can!! I luvvvv eggs!!!!


Hill stations, parents homes in Kerala, my room, the hammock in my back yard, the swing on the giant tree in front of my house...


Hot Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice cream!


Vanillas with sauces like Strawberry, Mango, Raspberry but no chocolate please. I don’t like anything in chocolate flavor nor do I like Chocolates!


And this tag goes to…


Monday, March 24, 2008

Selfishness or ignorance?

S is a suave and charming Management Graduate from one of those top B Schools in Europe. J my chechi (elder cuz sis) is a 24 year old H R Manager, good-looking, confident, well educated and smart. They got married last year.

S had met J a year ago, swept her off her feet with his charm and keen interest in J's likes and dislikes and then proposed marriage. J accepted. Soon after they were married and flying all over the world on vacations. He believes in saving money to have a good time you see. She was happy.

However there is a hitch in the story! For an intelligent girl like her, it didn’t take too long to deduce the hollowness in her man and her marriage. She realized that she had never got to know the real him because he had hurried courtship and rejected her suggestion that they go steady for a while and get to know each other. His contention was that they would, like other married couples have to work at their marriage and iron out the creases.

After the wedding and the honeymoon came the time when the couple had to live together like two adults and that is when J got the shock of her life. J had nothing in common with S. He loved sleeping during weekends while she wanted to explore the Art Galleries, take in a play or two or catch a movie like they did during their courtship days. He was a changed man now. A stranger. All her attempts to get him involved in other activities also failed. All he wanted was to work hard and party hard.

S considered himself Mr Universe and had married her to be his Miss Universe as she is very pretty. And as long as she played the part he was happy. And she did that in the beginning, dressing up for him, posing for photographs he would display on his Orkut account. But an intelligent girl like her soon tired of posing and getting dressed up for get togethers. S was not a bad man. He didn’t ill treat her. But she had nothing from this marriage except loneliness. All she had was a husband who worked from morning till night and partied during weekends when he was not sleeping.

Sometime back she called me up from Delhi and chechi and aneeti had a heart to heart talk like we used to just before this rascal came into her life. As she cried her heart out and we talked, she made peace with the fact that this was not what she wanted with life. She would divorce him. I didn’t oppose or support her decision. I just lent a ear…something her husband should have done.

Soon after the divorce, Chechi met someone nice and the two are going steady. S is left scratching his head wondering why she left when he had given her a nice plasma TV and Foreign Vacations! He is resigned to the fact that he will never understand women.

But that’s besides the point of this post. Chechi is yet another victim to something that happens every time. Guy likes gal, pursues her…shows his best side to woo her and doesn’t give her time to get to know him as he is in hurry to net her. Then he marries her, drops all pretenses, girl gets a shock to see the real guy and then…..the inevitable.

Things turned out well for my chechi. She is from a well off family, educated and employed, articulate and good looking. But most Indian girls are not so lucky! They get stuck in the marriage and plod on adding to the number of "successful marriages" that India so proudly boasts of!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

An Easter of despair!

Sometime back we got glad tidings of a bumper crop from relations in Kuttanadu. And then... murmurs of anxiety as the unions refused to allow the use of the harvest machines. Then the summer showers came and the anxiety gave way to wails as their crops died before their very own eyes...drowned in the paddy fields.

I wanted to lash out. Then I saw this post by Kochuthresiamma and decided to link it here instead. She has written about the situation so well. I am so mad!!!

Welcome to Goons Own Country!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday musings...

Do you remember the computer jokes that used to come around in the early days of IT? Even we got them and we shared it with our friends in school.

Girl 1: Heard this joke? Back in the good old days a Hard Drive was a long trip home.
Everyone: Ha ha ha ha ha
Girl 1: And a Cursor was a profanity
Everyone: Ha ha ha ha ha
Girl 2 whispering to Girl 3: Hey what did that mean?
Girl 3 whispering back: I have no idea.

I then went home and consulted with the tech gurus and got the answers for the crowd waiting with bated breath back in school. By then some new joke about new and old terminology would surface and we would go back to the pretend game.

Then came pre teens and books like Mills and Boon…a little more solid than the baby food called Enid Blyton and the cycle repeated again.

Girl 1: Did you read Twilight Passion? I think the girl was stupid to get pregnant!!
Girl 2: Absolutely!!!! err but how did she get pregnant?
Girl 1: ahem err I mean, you kids won’t understand.
Girl 3: What do you mean ‘you kids’?? We are in the same class!!
Girl 1: No baba. I am not telling. I don’t want your mother coming with a fight.

The reality was that even she didn’t know and wouldn’t be caught dead admitting the same. I marched right back home and confronted my mother who was left very red faced and distracted me into another topic .

Pregnancy was a hot topic in class as we entered early teens though none of us knew how it happened. It was fashionable to talk about the the problems of girls getting pregnant before marriage after reading about the same in Femina and Savvy and other women’s magazine. But no one knew how it happened or thought in that direction. There wasn’t much to arouse curiosity or questions in a convent school.

Love was a simple emotion for us then. People in love held hands, give each other gifts and maybe a kiss as shown in on TV and since TV viewing was strictly limited and censored we lived in the ignorant bliss till a Harold Robbin happened and if we were not caught with it.

Then my aunt was enlisted to tell me about the birds and the bees and it was like a bucket of cold water being thrown on the lovey dovey couple we picturised. I refused to believe that the lovey dovey couples who looked so cute would do something so dirty. I was so mad at my aunt for bursting my balloon! Wasn’t there anything sacred left in the world anymore I wondered!! Having told me the basics, my aunt then proceeded to soften the blow by telling me how it was natural for two people in love “and married” and that that is how “married people” expressed their love blah blah. The emphasis on the word ‘married” was like a hot branding iron on my young mind and it sort of reassured me, as at that age growing up and getting married was a zillion years away!

Then came 10th standard and by now most of us knew about the birds and bees and had lost all interest in it. We were all young South Indian ladies by now and our talks mostly veered around career options, clothes and make up and Hollywood and Bollywood stars, though not exactly in that order.

This period also had its moments of comedy when a Nun gave us our first and last sex education class just before we left school. If the Nuns wanted us to be perpetually scared of men, then they succeeded with that one class. We looked on in horror mouth agape, as the Nun told us how a guy cannot stop if he is aroused and has to complete the act!! We were immediately reminded of the legend of the “Gurkha” who has to kill someone once he unsheathes his knife. Petrifying!

Today we laugh hysterically when we talk about that class, but we also gratefully acknowledge those nuns for saving countless young girls from falling into the trap of wily guys who knew how to play with the emotions of the Indian girl, most of whom were used to being second class citizens in their homes and grateful for the attention. The Convent gave these girls self esteem and self worth and more than a decent education and this is why there was/is a craze for Convent education.

It didn't matter from which strata of society the girls came from. Most were sitting ducks for smart guys due to the street savviness denied to girls by segregating them from guys and the taboo on mixing with boys. The Nuns were/are a big help in this kind of social set up even if it means that in their zeal they ended up dissing all guys as bad. Considering the fact that the percentage of gentlemen to cads in India is very low, I wouldn't blame those Nuns at all. It is better to be paranoid than sorry when you are an Indian girl.

A salute to all those Nuns who run convent schools. Inspite of all your doddering and gaffes in matter pertaining to love and relationships, your concept of every child being a gift of God helped millions of Indian girls in ways most people will never know or appreciate. It is no point promulgating laws to help the girl child. She has to be nurtured too and for most Indian girls their first experience of nurturing comes in Convent schools. God bless you all and may your tribe increase and teach the girls because your values will never become outdated and we have a long way to go before the Indian girl child comes into her own.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The best of both the worlds!

It’s been almost four months since my trip to Singapore, Indonesia and Bali. I have been to Singapore as a kid, so this as my first visit as a grown up. Indonesia and Bali and even Singapore to an extent has left an indelible impression on me. I feel a strange impulse to go back there again. I think it was the Bali countryside and the polite Indonesians…but the place tugs at me for some strange reason. I was analyzing this the other day and I realized that what really struck me about these places was that though some of these Oriental cities and towns were as modern as any European or American city and town, they were strangely very homely! The people spoke their own language and though they wore Western clothes, their Oriental culture was very evident and entwined in their lifestyles. These places had achieved a very “local modernism” unlike India where being modern means aping the West.

Their unique traditions were seamlessly blended into daily life without being too overt or too covert. Like for example when we landed in Singapore in the morning we went to this small Breakfast place in the airport run by an elderly lady. The small restaurant was very well done up, but the lady was praying in front of a small altar. A tiny non obtrusive altar. She continued praying at her own pace and it was so interesting to watch her that we didn’t disturb her. She finished her prayer and then made us sit and made small talk while she cooked breakfast for us. I couldn’t believe I was sitting in the Changi Airport!!! Her demeanor was matter of fact like a mom cooking in her kitchen and she was not too friendly or aloof. I felt right at home!

Later in the day when I went into Singapore city with my friend, I noticed that guys don’t look at you like they are seeing a woman for the first time. They do look, but it is a polite appreciative look. In front of a KFC or Mac joint (I am not sure which), there was this huge crowd of young Singaporeans sitting on the sidewalk. The guys merely glanced appreciatively at us and we felt emboldened enough to look at them in their faces, something I would never do in India. Some gave us a friendly wink, we grinned right back…in my case it was a thankful grin, a very thankful grin for the appreciation and the fact that they respected me enough as a human being by not taking me for granted and approaching me. What an awesome awesome feeling!!

As soon as you land in Bali, you see small coconut leaf baskets, (the type we make small footballs with in Kerala), with food, flower and other offerings like incense, kept discretely around the airport. These are offering to Gods. The Balinese follow a Ramayan based Hinduism, which is very different from the Hinduism practiced in India. It is more like Buddhism actually and again very personal and unobtrusive but very evident. You got to see to understand.

The Balinese men are so respectful and the more dashing among them are to be found at the tourist places like Kuta. But again, it was looks of appreciation towards us, sometimes they asked names and no more and by the end of our stay, the whole crowd of guys that hang around Kuta had nicknamed us Miss Bombay! It’s not like we had beauty pageant winner looks, but merely their way of identifying us. Bombay is synonymous with India here. The moment they know that you are Indian, there is a feeling of camaraderie, as India is synonymous with Hinduism, the Balinese religion that they are fiercely protective off. Please don’t expect them to identify you as Indian, as not much is known of India here. Subtle hints about your Indianness will make people regard you a little differently from other tourists. And we used this to great advantage :p

When I hear our elders complain that their grown up kids and grandkids would rather go to Veegaland for Onam and Vishu and Christmas, I begin to appreciate the Orientals and the importance they give to their customs and culture.

All in all a very nice and warm experience. I wish India will also go the Oriental way when it is a fully advanced country. Right now our people are beginning to shed their Indian-ness real fast and our lifestyle is more or less like that in the US of A. Wish we could find work, life and cultural balance like the Orientals.

Friday, March 07, 2008

An irksome threesome!

Arun and Suraj (all names changed) are both techies in the Development Center of our company. I know Suraj as he is my eldest brother’s junior. Through him I got to know Arun too. Arun also happens to be Suraj’s batch mate. Suraj recently got engaged and will marry in May.

Arun met Beena, a girl in Suraj’s project a few months back. It was love at first sight for him. Now… Suraj treats Beena like his little sister. When Arun asked Suraj to act as match maker between the two, Suraj baulked as he felt that Beena was not the kind of girl for Arun, a guy known for his escapades in the Institute. Suraj told him so point blank too. Arun’s efforts to convince Suraj that he was no more the reckless guy he was in college fell on Suraj’s deaf ears.

Arun came to me for help, because if Beena was like an younger sister to Suraj, I was like his grandchild. Which means he acts like a concerned grandpa with me. Suraj though a little exasperated at my involvement, explained with great patience that Beena though a modern gal, was not the type of gal he was comfortable associating with Arun, who was well known for his numerous girl friends and exploits in college. Arun is one of those smart and brainy guys. I guess the word here is “chick magnet” :p

Arun is terribly hurt that Suraj, his best friend never understood him, especially since he knows Arun well and would never associate with him if he was the kind of guy who played around with gals feelings. Arun’s gal pals were willing volunteers in his activities and besides that was over four years ago. Arun was the single straight guy like every other guy since he left the Institute.

My eldest bro thinks that Suraj is being a unfair. My second bro thinks Suraj is right!

I am just feeling so bad for Arun and the nasty trick History seems to be playing on him.

( Something that will make ad people smile. And since I have been there done that, I found it absolutely hilarious and very very creative!! Creative dept rulez, down with Client Servicing!! :p )

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Fraud kundry mallu!

I was reading this nice post by Jina and something struck me. I am a fraud mallu as they come. But there is a difference between me and other expat mallus. I am a fraud kundry mallu!!! What I mean is that, all that I have experienced of Kerala, is village and small town life. Put me in Kochi or Trivandrum and I will be totally lost.

To me Kerala is the land of my ancestors and rolling rubber estates, gentle paced village life, ordinary country folks, a life revolving around the Parish and sowing and reaping and rubber paal collection seasons.

I know nothing of Kerala city culture, or the colony culture. It is alien to me. Last time I was in Kochi was about six months back for the wedding anniversary of my aunt and uncle in an old colony in Kochi or Ernakulam, I am not sure. They had settled in Kochi after selling their land in Moovattupuzha as both their daughters now studied in a city women’s college. I stayed at their brand new house for the weekend and my cousin sisters took me visiting to their friend’s houses in the colony. I was greeted with great friendliness by the other girls, a little younger to me.

They were more modern than the girls I am used to seeing in my village. They were nothing like the Bangalore mallu NRK girls. But they were nothing like the little Kerala town girls too.

There was clearly as lot of tensions between the groups of girls in the colony. My cousin sisters took me around the place and to the ice cream joint in the colony. Other groups at the place eyed us warily. There was a clear distance between the groups of girls. I walked over to one of the groups, much to the dismay of "my" group and exchanged pleasantries with a girl who had particularly nice bike. I took the bike as an excuse to start a conversation.

Most of them were on the defensive. When they saw that I was merely being friendly they sort of relaxed. I have seen this from city girls coming from Kerala to Bangalore. The moment they realize here in Bangalore no one is going to judge them by their hep or or cool factor, they relax and become friendly. It is a sort of defensive action that most people here will understand, some will pretend not to understand and some will leave comments calling me bitchy like after this post :p

I walked back to "my" group and they seemed surprised that my head was intact. Perhaps they expected it to be chewed off. I asked my cousin sister why there was so much tensions between groups and my cousin said that these girls and them were not on the same wave length. I am sure the other girls felt the same way :)

There was an expat Gulf group in the colony and a business class group too. A lot of competition existed between houses too and my aunts immediate neighbor was not talking to her neighbor since they bought a more expensive car!!

Maybe this was a small group of people and not representative of the bulk of Kerala city folks...but I found the whole thing damn funny!

I was the common denominator between some of these group during my stay here as I have other family friends too in this colony. I was greeted with great joy at every home, but my tiny efforts to tear down the invisible boundaries came to naught. People saw me off at the gate with great affection but were reluctant to walk with me to the next house. Damn sad.

The mentality was so bewildering! Non mallus on the other hand were welcome in every mallu home, but amidst themselves, these mallu city folk had a clear invisible line. It was a colony of strangers...of islands, yet most of them spoke the same language, ate the same kind of food, went to the same church, temple etc etc.

Totally bewildering situation and set up!!

Thank god I am a fraud kuntry mallu!

p.s I am reiterating that this just a one off experience. But then this was my only Kerala city experience too.