Thursday, December 24, 2009

Feliz Natal

Merry Christmas to you all.

May this season serve as a reminder that the old has passed, there’s a new beginning.
It's a time for rejoicing in all that we see
A time for living, a time for believing
A time for trusting, not deceiving
A time for giving, a time for getting
A time for forgiving and for forgetting
A time for hating and fighting to cease.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Good Morning USA

'The best part of life is when your family becomes your friends and your friends become your family' -
What struck me the most about this report? certainly not the fact that Diane Sawyer is quitting GMA but rather the above remark. Is that what we aspire for? probably not, not consciously for sure but inevitably it happens and the journey people make from friends to family and vice-versa is truly remarkable and one to be cherished.

The few moments before I get on to the daily drudgery of work these past few years, I've spent with GMA, the drone from the show's anchors, Sawyer included have kept me company while preparing that cup of chai, through grabbing a quick breakfast or skipping it, through checking email and on those rare ocassions of searching for the keys!

Of course, I like the drone, it is very info-entertaining and will continue to be the show I watch in the morning, (if the cable works!) the little tidbits, the music and the little break for the local station with the weather which helps me make that oh-so-important-decision of 'Do I need to carry my tall umbrella to work!'

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Deja vu

I'm still around, for anyone still checking! and of course, of late my thoughts are limited to 140 characters, not more. The word hectic is such a good excuse, I always use it as an excuse for not returning someone's call after having not called in the first place for months, for not crossing off items on my to-do list, for not cooking... well, you get my point, the list is endless.

And then there was the move, that was really hectic!

The best time of the year is here and if I ever get down to buying a Christmas tree then there'll be some pictures, if not there will be some thoughts if not in 200 words, then in 140 characters for sure.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What is my middle name?

I could probably have a number of middle-names associated with me but for today, ‘procrastinator’ seems to fit me just fine!

It is Sunday’s like this when I have no clue where I am headed, not that Monday’s are any better! I don’t really want to ‘set the world on fire’, not just yet but often times when a ‘choti si asha’ goes up in flames it’s probably time to start over, reassess or not. Could going with the flow take you anywhere?. Life of course takes the path that it’s destined to take however ever, whatever ever we may do to change it's course.

I admire people who can admit to what they are feeling, to just get done with it! I could do that on my anonymous blog but never where people know me! Bottled up would have described me perfectly for most of my life, but probably not as much anymore and despite all I am a through and through sucker for happy endings.

The list on the left can’t be comprehensive; one very important item is missing and maybe a million others ... I’ll probably redo it when I need another excuse for procrastination like today!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

what might've been

Was watching an old episode of One Tree Hill yesterday and was struck by this voice-over.

'It has been said that the saddest thing a man (or woman for that matter) will ever face is "what might've been". But what if a man is faced with what was, or what may never be, or what could no longer be? Choosing the right path is never easy, it is a decision we make with only our hearts to guide us. But sometimes we find our way to something better, sometimes we fight through the regret and the remorse of our mistakes, our malice and our jealousy and the shame we feel for not being the people we were meant to be and that's when we find our way to something better or when something better finds its way to us'

Saturday, October 03, 2009

An Engineer's hippocratic oath

Our convocation was held on Dec 8th, appropriately there was some kind of celebration in office too complete with a gourmet dinner, of course I did not think twice before skipping it! It's also the feast of Immaculate Conception, which is celebrated on quite a lavish scale in one of the parishes in Mangalore city.

We paraded around in our graduation gowns, ready to throw our caps in the air and posed for all those photographs although I must admit to have not seeing the output! Then came the dinner and most importantly the feeling that this part of the journey of our lives was just about done.

I don't quite remember if this was the exact version of the Engineer's oath we took, 'I solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to the service of humanity...', however since the person standing next to me seemed to have made up his own version of the oath, I think I was grinning silly more than actually reciting the oath!

It was an honor to receive the graduation medal and certificate from Dr. H.S Ballal and Dr. Ramadas Pai(I hope I've got the names right!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Who lived in 110?

Apparently, no one did, until we came along! I think it was a last minute allocation. The room was tinier than a jail cell, seriously! okay, I have not spent a day in a jail cell, but I am willing to bet it was!

Anyway, it did not matter, we had the best of neighbors and it was still the I Block and we could get to the common phone with ease! Despite all, I think I spent the least amount of time in the hostel in my second year!

The one particular memory I have is of our attempt at cooking aloo curry in our room, now why on earth would we attempt to cook anything that had aloo in it, while the mess had an eternal supply of that particular brand of vegetable, is beyond my comprehension. I think we spent more time arguing on whether the onions needed to be washed before cutting and cooking them, than the actual cooking time and you can guess which side I was on!

That's pretty much for the pictures of the rooms we lived in, in MIT unless someone is willing to enter the nicer New Ladies Hostel or the Old Ladies Hostel (that name cracks me up to this day, there's a comma in there somewhere... you can decide where to put it!) to click pics of our rooms there!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

If tomorrow never comes

A familiar face was missing when I went back home the last time, my grandma passed one day before I was scheduled to depart from the US, her favorite line to me was 'mote jaije, yeh burgainche jevan!' (you should become fat, this morsel of food is for kids). As much as you think you may be prepared, you can never anticipate how death affects you.

This is almost another one of those morbid sounding posts, so stop if any talk about death scares you! I have been pondering this thought since a few weeks, how fascinating would it be to write your own obituary? Ted Kennedy Jr, delivered a beautiful eulogy for his Dad, no doubt he wrote it by himself, however was there anything else his Dad really wanted to say about himself, his final word?
If I were to write an obit and knowing me, you'd probably need to take out a full page in Udayavani or Rakno (Konkani weekly)! The best part it's a work in progress, I can keep editing it.

That brings me to another thought, as I was writing about MIT and Manipal and all the growing up we did there, I realized that the memory of receiving that call on that fateful Sunday morning of Easter was still crystal clear in my mind, although the conversation itself wasn't. It was ironically the day before April fool's day, the day before our sessionals.

How unfortunate is it for a young girl to write an ode for her friend while still in college? (It was published in the year book along with his sister's own eulogy). I remember trying to confirm that it was the Sujit I knew, since there were many other kids with the same name in their class. The church bells were ringing and my tall lanky friend from Sunday Catechism was no more. The circumstances were unfortunate and it affected almost our entire batch. The service drew hundreds of our batch-mates and our Late Parish Priest (who spent most of his life as a principal of a college) had his heart in the right place when he almost gave us all a lecture on how to live a good life, how not to disappoint the people who love us.

Having studied in an only girls school, Sunday Catechism class was our first opportunity at male friends and he was among the first, the last bench of the notorious girls! vs the last bench of the troublemaker boys! One each from each row have already passed on to a different world. From awkward teens to competitors in coaching class to drifting apart ever so slightly in a professional college environment, yet managing to catch up on some of those hour and a half journeys into College on those early Monday mornings.

I'm sure they are all in a better place today, we will all be... one day.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A penny for me and a dollar for you

I was at the clubhouse today with an intention to watch the game (federer vs djokovic) on the big screen tv, but since someone else was watching some other game I decided to wait it out by the computers with my book for company. That's when I noticed them, a small baby sleeping soundly in her pram beside her Dad who seemed focused on noting down telephone numbers and filling in multiple forms online. On a closer look, I realized he was going through local employment classifieds online. I did not want to pry, but was close enough to see his screen without meaning to.

Anyway, when I decided to get out of there, he noticed me and brought a smile upto his face by way of greeting and as if on cue the baby started fussing a bit. As luck would have it, he seemed done and he greeted me verbally and started a conversation. Information was revealed that his daughter was 4 months old and that he was going to be out of a job next week and hence was looking for work. There was no mention of the lady but I'd like to assume she was back in the apartment. Southerners are known for their strong family bonding, more than the rest of America.

He spoke about health-care, struggling to make ends meet yet his attitude was positive, cheerful despite his plight. I know there are a lot of people in similar, maybe worse shoes the world over, but he chose to talk about it to me, there are so many such heartbreaking stories I've come across out of my limited volunteering work, yet each one touches you more than the other. I found myself praying to God so that he finds a good job and that they are kept in good health. That is all I could do today... unfortunately.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Bhagi Monthiche fest

Not wanting to sound redundant, I searched through my archives and found that I had posted twice before on September 8th. Well, the titles are pretty strange! but then they were not specific to this feast.

Of finger licking!, Eating right? I think I should start reading into my archives more often, it should provide an insight into what I was cooking, writing about back then ;'), probably not very different from now? Anyway, that in itself proves that this feast is a pretty big deal, more like was for me right now! although back home it still is.
You know the drill! kids offering up flowers in procession, the distribution of stalks of paddy and then sugarcane to the kids, preparing the novem jevan out of the rice distributed in the church and coconut milk (a specific combination of thick and thin), odd numbered dishes of vegetarian food and finally the most important of all, the entire family eating together. More than the event that this feast celebrates, it is the linkage with the harvest festival that makes it an event for the mangalorean Catholics, much like Onam, Pongal in other regions. No special significance is attached to the day here in the US and there is no special mass either.
This is where I digress from the topic in the title of the post, like I do ever so often! 

September 8th was like a July 16th, the feast of Mt. Carmel, the day when we attended Mass and received brown scapulars or it was like those First Friday's of every month when the non-catholic students would get to play and we had to go to the church nearby for Mass. Teacher Joyce would macho up and be the pretend policewoman with her stud moves (hand signals to stop the traffic)! It was a sight to behold, a short petite teacher holding up traffic at a busy junction for minutes and queues and queues of girls in blue uniforms crossing the road! or the times when we had to mandatorily attend the 'Way of the Cross' on friday's of Lent in the College Chapel during our lunch hour. I do wonder if the Catholic institutions in the city follow all these customs to this day..., okay I agree September 8th can't be compared to any of this!

Wish you a Bhagi Monthiche fest, i.e. a Blessed feast of the Nativity of our Mother Mary.

On a footnote, Infosys started operations on this day in Mangalore 14 years ago and it became their second development center after Bangalore.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Room 206

My thoughts and memories are kind of juxtaposed right now and hence the chronological order of these posts will probably not make much sense, yet my goal is really not to document every single detail but rather those that are worth capturing and of course if my mind lets me. If I had to write about every single event from my four year stay in Manipal, I would probably have to quit my job which pays me to live here!

I don’t think I’ll ever forget that Sunday, a couple of bags were packed and we hauled ourselves into the cab that took us to Manipal. It was a day that will be etched in history forever, okay I agree, in my history only! On getting to the hostel blocks, it did seem like I was put up in a nicer looking block than the person I traveled with. The dinghy room, the fact that the best bed in the room was already occupied, the knowledge that my roommate was a keralite (call me racist if you may but this was my first time out on my own and familiarity does not breed contempt, although I did know that the third roommate was a school-mate) did not improve my mood that was slowly plummeting into an abyss faster than the elevator ride to the top of the tower of the Americas. It was only in the II year that I realized the true meaning of dinghy, we’ll probably get to that or not.

                                                                                      A view from outside, that corner room was ours.
The ‘how I came about being allocated Room 206’ is an interesting back story too. The nuance of room allocation was something I learned only after spending about two weeks getting to know the girls, including religion and region. And yes, I do believe those factors played a significant role in determining your room-mates. Our floor was pre-dominantly occupied by Konkani speaking girls, all speaking it with different accents, the GSB Konkanis from the area, the GSB Konkanis from Kerala and the Mangalorean Catholics. Most of the rooms had all GSB Konkanis, all Mangaloren Catholics, a couple of NRI girls with a girl from Mumbai and some mix and match like in our room.

Back to that first day in the hostel, I decided to leave the bed in the middle for the third person and plopped onto the hard bed in the corner facing the door opening, there really wasn’t anything to look around for, the custom desk and chair for each of us, the steel wardrobe and the whole row of bathrooms on the corner of the floor certainly did not look inviting. I unpacked the bare necessities and joined the others who were looking for a store to buy some more other bare necessities from! Trudging back from Kamath’s, which was right opposite the basketball court, I found more familiar faces and then ended up in the mess, it was called Ananya (it means single or unique). Rows and rows of wooden benches and tables lined the mess, aloo paratha and tea/coffee was on the menu and it was something I’d never eaten before and for some reason with the whole first day in hostel mood, I have always considered aloo paratha to be something I do not like! this is my probably my opening to mention that aloo was the staple diet in all our hostel mess's right upto the fourth ;') I promptly traveled back home the next day as we did not have a few hours! And that was just so classic of us from around the area, we could go back to our comfortable beds into familiar surroundings while the rest of the girls had to tolerate missing home, some bit of ragging on the weekends and could never complain.

My keralite room-mate was the sweetest girl I knew back in the first year.

MIT and Manipal was the place where the transformation happened, from a teenager to the twenty-something’s.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gulping down Beaver Lake!

I think the weather of the past few days was the tipping point and the fact that most folks here seemed all set to resign themselves to a life indoors at the first signs of the fall season! Of course, we will not be joining their ranks anytime soon and are taking a few shots at the highly famed outdoor life here. This post will only talk about a few realizations from yesterday, I admit August is usually the month for realizations, but we'll get back to August and all of its life pondering questions at a later point!

This was my first shot at jetskiing, not counting the kinda jetskiing from years ago at the Calangute beach. The brave ones, me included signed up to jet ski while the others rented a very uncomfortable looking fishing boat! (well, for the only reason that no other boat was available to rent)

A few of my realizations!
1. I can't ride a Harley-Davidson nor a jet ski, my good ole' scooty is perfect (although she doesn't belong to me anymore!)
2. The water in Beaver Lake does not taste any different from the tap water in my apartment.
3. It took me precious seconds, maybe about 10-15 to realize that I could actually float with the life jacket on.
4. Rafting actually seems like a lot more fun and safer option (the life-vests were more snug too).
5. I can still talk coherently when I think I am going to drown!
6. Speed thrills until the realization of being surrounded by vast expanses of water on a speeding water motor bike with cranky waves cranks up the nerves!
7. Knowing how to swim, it would do wonders for my slight water paranoia.
8. A fishing boat with a steam engine can notch up a good speed too, but it's no good for your back!
9. I can narrate the Cinderella story to a bunch of grown-ups with ease!

And to top it all, can you imagine getting pecked by these ugly looking fish? (luckily I was not) and I don't think it would have felt like getting a pedicure!
p.s: Most important, I will be forever grateful to the person who saved my life.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What's in an email id?

I remember getting my first email id, two teenagers in a not so tiny cyber cafe on Light House Hill Rd in the Lobo Prabhu Apartments, I think it was called Cyber Delight and the rates for using the internet were hourly. Hotmail seemed like the one option, it was owned by Sabeer Bhatia then, anyway after trying for a bit we both ended up with some pretty good usernames for our email accounts. I desperately wanted an email id with both my first and last name but had to make do with just one of them and a combination of some other initials.

I’ve gone through many email accounts since then, some really obscure ones on rediffmail and indiatimes too! Today, despite having multiple email-id’s for various specific purposes, the usernames for most of them are something I have no contention with, except for a couple. Try as I may to retire that one email account, I have not been able to do it after starting the process about six months ago or maybe I’ve not tried enough. And then I think of the reason why I want to kill that email account, it’s not like it has some stupid name like cutegirl666! or is linked to some significant other who is no longer significant! Spam should be a good reason but then there is no surefire way to avoid it too.

Ever since I got my first gmail id on 6/28/04, it has trumped all and I receive *some* of my other personal email into my gmail account. Unfortunately, I do not have my very first email account today, due to the restriction that hotmail had in those days of logging in every 3 months, and it’s unfortunate because it had some important memories. Memories I know should be in the head although I think today most memories are on all kinds of servers around the world!

‘I have the helmet of God while in pursuit of fame and happiness all the while being slender and fair’

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The ugly truth about the proposal with a hangover!

It seems like forever since I did one of these multiple movie reviews.

Two rom-com’s and one com on the table! That’s their classification, not mine.

First 'The Truth', which in my opinion is not as ugly as it is made out to be and I’m not talking about the movie here. I think whatever is wrong with the ‘Ugly truth’ stems from our need to google for every single thing in our lives and a convoluted belief that we can't do without it. Can I use the eggs beyond their expiry date? how do I overcome a lingering cough? and of course the most important of them all... advice. Of course, I am guilty of all this too and my web history is something I'm not proud of!

Except in this case, it’s not google, it’s the once sensitive bloke from P.S, I love you, Gerard Butler, to the now sexist TV personality doling out advice to women on the supposed ugly truth. And sucking on his every word is Katherine Heigl, she can certainly do better than the role of Abby, although I must not forget 'Knocked up'!

I think there’s no truth in this movie, it’s just demeaning to the female population and well if there’s any truth then it sure is ugly. Of course, the checklists, control freak are claimed to be classic modern women attitude but is that the justification for this version of the truth?, eating tricks, hair truths!, dirty jokes in the workplace that should ideally be limited to someplace else?

Despite all, it had it’s funny moments and will manage to make you laugh which is probably only just what you really want from a movie, without applying your analytical skills! Again, Why did they fall in love?

'The Proposal', another rom-com sure was a better watch despite being predictable, but the chemistry between Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock… so not there.
And why is it always yin to yang, for once can't it be yin to yin?

'The Hangover', is a 95 min movie which seemed endless, that about sums it up, but no, the tireless charade through Las Vegas, the baby, Asian thugs, Mike Tyson and the protagonists… phew, what were they thinking? Stu was the only saving grace, who broke up with his long time cheating girlfriend. Lost tooth withstanding!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Chaddi Peter

A conversation with a friend on social networking turned to orkut and then to the one community I was a *owner* of on the site which is the only one reason for keeping my profile active and finally to Chaddi Peter, certainly not a delectable conversation turner but to cut to the chase, and boy do I love chases! Okay, okay, it reminded me of this post that has been languishing in my drafts folder for weeks if not months and it concerns St. Peter guarding the gates of heaven!

I think most Mangaloreans would know or have heard of Chaddi Peter. Sounds like an exaggeration? Would it be appropriate to say that most students in the city of Mangalore know of him? Or I could narrow the pool to students of a particular mighty all-girls institution and possibly students of a few co-ed and boys colleges too.

Chaddi Peter, a permanent fixture at the gate with his khaki shorts, whichever way he certainly has an envious job, not that I envy his job but I’m sure some would. His job profile does not match St. Peter’s at the gates of heaven to a T, his focus was more on making sure the girls didn’t slip out and even more on making sure that the boys did not sneak in although I must admit, I have not knocked on heaven's doors yet, so I can't speak for St. Peter's job!

I remember this one particular incident (I think it was the Hindi hour, certainly it had to be since it was the most yawn inducing class we had) when we were contemplating slipping out through the side entrance of the Bendur Church but then his stare made us stop and turn right back. So, technically it was not an incident and well, girls will be girls and had discovered other ways of breaking out of the campus (hush, hush). Of course I’ve heard of sob stories narrated, the devious little plans hatched to sneak out and even more interesting were the stories of those trying to sneak in.

It has been a long time since I visited my Alma Mater, the place where I literally broke through the shackles, although I must admit the process started sometime in the 7th Std! and came into my own. It sure was one of the best places to study in Mangalore and I believe it continues to be. The gate policy could well have changed over the years but the familiar figure of Chaddi Peter was proverbial when I drove by the college a few months ago.

To Thomas (a.k.a Chaddi Peter) and to St. Agnes (Deus Fortitudo Mea), the second Catholic Women's College in India, you may not be heaven but you certainly hold some of my fondest memories. How did this post turn into a love fest for St. Agnes, ah well… that's the thrill of the chase!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I don’t get Apollo 11

The Eagle has indeed landed and I will not be dwelling on conspiracy theories rather the fact that I don’t quite get Apollo 11 as much as I do Apollo 13! Of course this is purely personal and has nothing to do with the stereotyping of my gender or my generation. There could be the geek factor or lack thereof but then that could be discounted due to my fair bit of interest in anything that flies, no not anything! gadgets that fly, strike that too, planes it is. I dream of Jeannie, X-Flies, JAG should be proof of that, just don’t ask me for the how and why!

Another pretty obvious factor is that the event happened before I was born, but then so did the World War, so did West Bank! On the other hand is Apollo 13, forever etched and its fascinating portrayal of the turn of events by Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Kevin Bacon, Ed Harris and 'Houston, we have a problem'. Brilliance overflowing.

Not to take anything anyway from One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind moment!
(The feminists would have been all over that one if Armstrong used that statement 20 years ago)

Neil Armstrong’s footprint on the moon.

Here’s my own little moon moment!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Peter man no more!

He named his mansion 'Neverland' and he apparently used an anti-aging chamber (if such a thing exists!) the man who refused to grow up is no more.

My tryst with Michael Jackson began with the 'thriller' and how could anyone not be amazed by the brilliant performer that he was (he had darker skin then!). My mom sure was. The opening sequence of 'Black or White' with Macaulay Culkin was played over and over when it was released. The head shaking and the disobeying parents part I guess was just so fascinating to us kids! I even picked the picture of his 'Dangerous' album cover from my bro's t-shirt as the project for my fabric painting class! Heal the World and 'We are the World' were the most popular songs for any kind of group singing in school.

The dichotomy of MJ is hard to understand but then why would normal people want to? Who is a celebrity without their crazy share of eccentricities but somehow in this case it was harmful to others too. Dangling a baby, child molestation (I know it was alleged but why settle? and his statements where he talks about 'Sharing the love' seem damning)are inexcusable. And then are the not so nice Urban Dictionary words that seem to have spawned out of the whole situation, face masks, bleaching, prescription use and bankruptcy all in the same breath.

When the news broke I had an inkling and then TMZ reported his death almost immediately without any confirmation & the rest is history created by twitter along with the buzz on the celebrity death in 3's phenomenon!, the news channels and all of us.

Despite all, he was one of the greatest performers of our time and one of the most well known persons in the world today.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A painter for a day

Amidst production support and warranty support activities, the Community Service day was something to look forward to but who would have anticipated the hoops that employees of *certain* companies had to go through to be a part of such an enriching activity! I did get though the hoops and later realized that I was the only one representing my company, good for me and it’s really a shame that no one else from my organization wanted to be a part of this!

Community Service day is a yearly event with a number of options/groups that one could register for including Habitat for Humanity, Horses for Healing, Youth Bridge. I had initially opted for the Food Bank of NWA which involved shelving and packaging of food but then as my luck would have it, they were overloaded with volunteers and I got a chance to move to the ‘Rebuilding Together’ team.

All I knew of the event was that we had to gather by 7:30 AM at a local lady’s house with specific instructions on what not to wear. The bottom-line wear something you are ready to discard! After completing the formalities of signing up, sticking up name tags on the front & back of our shirts (so that someone can holler out your name when you are about to fall off a ladder!) we were all set for a make-over. Our project was to rebuild Linda's house, a modest two bedroom house which had seen its fair share of wear and tear. The officials from Rebuilding Together explained the process of selection and eligibility criteria for such projects including low income, county boundaries etc.

The group was divided into two, one with the hammers for the exterior work and the rest with the brushes for the interior painting. I was generously drowned in sunscreen so thought I’d pick up the hammer but the paint brush seemed to be calling my name. I did think painting was a relatively easy job but changed my view after an enormous amount of taping, roller painting (this was the best part), intricate edge painting, ceiling painting (no fun when you have to stand on a ladder and paint right above your head!) and a little bit of exterior painting too.

The painters were mainly responsible for three rooms, walkways & some bit of exterior, two coats of paint later and it was a beautiful sight to see. The exterior group had a hard time mainly due to the sun and humid conditions; they did a brilliant job of siding, fixing up the windows, doors and replacing a bit of the roof too. Of course the amateurs could not be compared to Nate but the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures were proof of the phenomenal work we did.

The day ended with an after party to celebrate and learn about the accomplishments of all teams with food and games.

Yes, I did get paint all over me and in my hair. I ruined a pair of pants, shoes and shirt but I could not have been more content.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It is a bisi day!

I've heard that Bisi bele bath is one of the most authentic food items associated with Karnataka, it certainly is not true for Mangalore or the Mangaloreans I know but then the coastal area has its own unique cuisine and most often does not associate with the rest of the State. Whatever be the reasons, I tasted bisi bele bath thanks to a 'work at home' week during the snowapocalypse that happened last Christmas in Seattle! A bangalorean colleague so kindly cooked for nearly 15 of us and that was my initiation to bisi bele bhath.

On an extremely hot day today, I decided to cook Bisi (hot) Bele (lentil - toor dal) bath (rice/beaten rice). I used the recipe from aayis recipes, I liked the fact that she used poha(beaten rice) instead of rice and I did eat only the poha version before. I've followed the recipe except for the jaggery (ugh!), tamarind & curry leaves (lack thereof). It does take a while to cook the toor dal without a pressure cooker (a situation I need to rectify soon or probably not!) and of course the frozen cut veggies made my job easier.

Her version is not spicy and mine wasn't either, so attribute bisi to the weather!

Monday, May 18, 2009


If blogs had feelings, my blog would feel that I was acting all step-motherly towards her and all motherly towards twitter! It's a good thing that neither has, if at all a reversal were to happen or if I ignored both completely.

Well the mother comparison sure is a poor one, it can't happen.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Painted Nails and Stiletto Heels

Yet another International Woman's day has gone by and while the significance is beyond an exclusive section on Times Of India, TV/Talk shows on Breast /Cervical Cancer and a few public awareness campaigns against attacks on women, it does seem limited to just that.

The woman in the title of this post is not only the pub going, loose and forward woman. It is I!
It is my reference to the urban, professional woman who earns equal pay all the while trying to balance the high heels and a pepper spray. I agree, the intersection of these two groups will be a mammoth figure.

She is the woman of today and while there exists a Moses' separation of the Red Sea between the various categories of women be it urban or rural, single or married, she still deserves her rights. Was it divine intervention that has made the fairer sex also the weaker sex? I don’t believe so, Adam did eat the apple of his own free will! The very fact that we need a Women's day is rather demeaning to the women of this generation, it is a reminder of the injustice that has been sown on this section of the society and continues to be sown to this day. I use the term injustice for lack of a better word, it portrays everything from poor working conditions to lower wages to the harassment she faces in the domestic scene and the workplace.

While it has been difficult for me to fathom the division, it exists although my hoops maybe quite different from the newly married woman trying to satisfy the dowry demands of her in-laws! Having almost never come in direct contact with this injustice, never been treated differently be it at home or in school or at work, recent events in Mangalore have brought out the intolerance of a section of the community towards *this woman*, it's probably their way of showing that we too should not be left out - injustice for all!

I should not have to fear about impressions. I should not have to fear showing a bit of skin as long as it is not vulgar, I should not have to fear going out to the pub for a drink, after all I know my limits and its legal (Drinking is not taboo in my community, be it Men or Women and I really do not think I am a potential for AA , I should have the right to decide for myself!) !, I should not have to fear about the religion of my companion or about the jewelry I adorn . I could go on and on about the fears, my point being there are already too many glass ceilings that need to be shattered without having to worry about appearances to a small fringe group of people with undue influence.

While the Mangalore pub incident happened, I was not surprised to hear differing views from supposedly likeminded people, my own classmates, with almost similar academic influences however differing domestic influences having more radical views and almost outright in their support to the fringe groups, who do nothing but spew violence on women. The infighting within the NCW on the subject is probably to be expected too. If Women can't stand up for Women, then who will? How can one not condone such attacks whatever be the circumstances that led them to a pub? And while I doubt the impact of the Pink Chaddi Campaign which I found oddly repulsive, almost promoting perverseness I understand the psyche behind such a campaign . It is not an age to be a doormat, dormant and although I may not be a feminist I am vocal, I'd like to stand up for my rights and not having a firsthand experience of the real evils against women including but not limited to dowry abuse, female feticide, female infanticide, sexual harassment, I'd like to see some change. If only I can be the change that I hope for!

On a side note, a few of my female counterparts in office are dressed in Sari today, I don’t know if they feel powerful, confident, I sure would not! I'd be tremendously distracted trying to hold up that 5 yards of cloth!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Movie Review: Rachel Getting Married, A wedding

The title of the movie is catchy enough, unlike the plot which revolves around Kim not Rachel, a recovering addict and alcoholic who spends a trying weekend at home surrounded by her dysfunctional family on tenterhooks, seems familiar enough doesn’t it? 

Kim (Anne Hathaway's)is out of rehab to attend her sister Rachel's (Rosemarie Dewitt) wedding. The family is made up of a doting, understandably over-protective father, a seemingly absent mother, a frustrated almost jealous sister, a dead brother and Kim herself who is supposedly remorseful for her behavior yet who does not show this by her actions. Her remorse seems limited to words and her actions are reckless and hence comes across as narcissistic. The entire movie seems to span a couple of days and this included two rehab sessions complete with the serenity prayer! 

There are some sparks of brilliance especially in the conversations between Kim and Rachel however there is too much chaos all throughout, non-stop singing, dancing, music and toasting! Some parts are extremely sleep inducing, especially the toast at the rehearsal dinner, if so many people gave such long winded toasts at weddings there would be no guests left!

I don’t know why the wedding had an Indian theme. The bride and bridesmaids were dressed in Saris with a rather odd sweater top kind of a blouse, the groom wore a sherwani, paneer was one of the dishes so I'm assuming it was Indian food, an elephant with a chariot adorned the wedding cake and to top it all Kim compares herself to Shiva, the destroyer! Maybe it was some multicultural, the world is flat kind of theme since the wedding was inter-racial although there was never a mention of race which was noteworthy, and then were Asians and South American dancers too! The camera work with the continuous panning of shots makes the movie almost seem like a home video. 

Despite the flaws, the movie would have been a good watch if the conversations were complete, if we'd seen more of the mother daughter relationship which seemed pivotal to the plot and if there was some closure and the unresolved rage was addressed. Anne Hathaway was nominated for the best Actress at the Academy awards for this performance.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Movie Review: In Bruges, A Belgian Vacation

I must admit, I'd not heard of Bruges until this movie. Bruges is panoramic amidst stoned streets, beautiful canals and Flemish/medieval architecture. The movie starts with Ray and Ken who have made Bruges their stop on the request ( more like a demand I guess!) of their boss , for reasons unknown to them. 

While Ray (Colin Farrell) cribs about how Bruges would not impress him even if it was the last place on earth or something to that effect, Ken is literally breathing in the sights and has decided to make the best of this stop all the while contemplating the reason for this particular vacation. Along the way, we get to know about their job as hitmen and about an unfortunate accident that occurred in their previous job. The movie is about the consequences of that accident and the effect it has on their lives. 

The introduction of Ralph Fiennes as Harry, their boss happens about three quarters into the movie. Ralph is like a moth to a character like Harry and it is equally not surprising that he could pull off a Maid in Manhattan. We go through the rather odd pairing of Ray & Ken, as roommates, co-workers and genuine friends who take care of each other despite the odds. We have to dwell on the complex mindset of Ray, Ken and Harry and also the midget, the drug dealing girl, her ex, the pregnant owner of the bed & breakfast all amidst some truly amazing shots of Bruges. 

A few facts
1. In Bruges is not a comedy movie by any standards even though the trailers seemed to convey that bit, there certainly are a few hilarious conversations but not enough to qualify and there's way too many gross death scenes!
2. Colin Farrell is of Irish origin, however it just seems so very weird hearing him speak in that strong Irish accent
3. Belgium they said is famous for Chocolates and notorious for Child Abuse
4. Alcoves is the right word, Nooks and Crannies is good too :) Some good acting, deep conversation, strong characters despite some extreme(profanity, gross/violent scenes) make this an okay watch.

A few good movies

The next few posts are movie reviews (I'm not sure how many at this point), I've wanted to post them before the Oscars but you know what. Anyway, I'll try not to spoil the movie for you, if you have not watched it, however I do not guarantee that the reviews will be spoiler free. 
And yes, to those who asked the lone coconut tree has a story, just no one who can write it yet!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The lone coconut tree...

A new world record!

Valentine's day is an international conspiracy that has come to light thanks to the saviors of our moral values! (those that can't be named) and is allegedly perpetrated by almost 2.2 billion people worldwide. That number is staggering by any realm of imagination and to come to light in the aftermath of a transformation of a *once* peaceful town now turning into national news material, makes me want to use the term 'unfathomable'!

Well, the above was my literal translation of this news story! warns against...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

5 hours too soon

Killing time at the Mangalore Airport is an almost impossible task, trust me when I say there is nothing you can do, you can't even take a short walk as the entire waiting area is a few sq. feet! Breakfast was on Kingfisher at the only restaurant within the airport, the book and handicraft shop held my attention for only a few minutes and of course the duty free shop was off limits to me (being a domestic passenger).

The only other outlets are a tiny tea shop, an MMP's Cashew and dry fruit shop, Karlsburg - Merchandise for Men!, Centrium foreign exchange where they sell 1 USD for 52 Rs and buy it for 45 Rs, another tiny hangyo icecream outlet which did not make a single sale the entire time I was waiting and a snack shop which sells puffs (a kind of pastry) at an absurd price, I had to ask if a pinch of caviar was added in it, I swear, she looked at me like I was weird! But then I think all airports in India are the same with regard to food, overpriced... And then there is one scanning machine as soon as you enter, I know it analyzes a sample of something, looking for explosives maybe, it was not used and the security guard would not tell!

One fact about the Airport, there are a lot of airline staff, they keep walking around, carry your bags into the airport if you want them to, they are on the constant lookout for people who may be flying on their airline, many might approach you if they can't see the tag on your bag! Don't know if it's a good thing. And of course there is no internet access at the airport, I don't say absolutely, because there are some ways!

Everytime I looked at my watch there were atleast two hours to go, the frustrating part, the delay was announced in increments, first an SMS of a 30 min delay, reached airport at + 30 min to be told that the delay was now 2 hours, then 4, then finally 5! and in this time, one source told me that my flight was canceled! Some passengers decided to harass the airline staff but really it's tough to blame them for the fog in Bangalore. (The flight did not leave Chennai due to the fog in B'lore and we were waiting for the flight from Chennai-B'lore to arrive so that we could depart! Circular effect).

Anyway, All's well that ends well.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dreams... 10 years on

I came across an essay I had written about 10 years ago which helped me qualify for the 'Teen of the Year' Contest, it was titled 'I have a dream and a plan to make my dream come true'. On reading it, I was not surprised to realize that I have still not achieved my dream! or even come close to its realization. The dreams in the essay seemed vague and obscure at first glance but the plans to achieve them were mighty.

I remember being quizzed about the content of the essay as a part of the initial rounds of the Contest and being asked why I did not have a concrete dream for the benefit of myself, rather than the world around me and no, none of my dreams involved world peace! My quest for *those* dreams continues even today and I did not find a single sentence in that 300 word essay (that was the limit) that seemed irrelevant, while it does not prove the vision of a teenager it only proves that while it may be easy to dream, coming anywhere close to achieving them is the hard reality. If I had to write an essay on the same topic today, I would surely need more 300 words, I'd have some of the dreams from the original essay and some with a little selfish goal too and I think the plans to achieve would be more elaborate, I can't say wiser! 10 years somehow does not seem to be a really long time ago!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fashion Wednesday!

This post has been lying in my drafts for more than a month and I was almost going to discard it… it thus has the most un-intuitive title I could think of!

'Fashion' started it all. I can safely say that to date this is the maximum number of bollywood movies I've watched in a stretch. Decided to watch 'Fashion', since one of my classmates had a non-talking appearance, whatever be the reason, I was not disappointed. The movie is set at a good pace and portrays an almost common and plausible story. The actresses Priyanka Chopra and Kangana Ranaut performed true to their characters and it was not set to the usual stage dance, tree song theme!

'A Wednesday' was another movie that has an impressive storyline. I have never really appreciated movies that portray excessive lawlessness, unless it were a superhero kind of a movie. Don’t ask me why, that's just the way that I like my movies! However the flow of this one and the non-paranoid rationale behind the main protagonist's actions are justifiable. Exactly the reason why I could not appreciate Rang de Basanthi, I was watching this movie with a group of people all of whom had already watched it before and seemed to be heaping praises galore on the movie. Halfway through and I was not impressed and I did not change my opinion when the final credits started to roll too. The turnaround from a fun, entertaining story to lives been plunged into a black hole was hard to digest. What was the purpose of the whole act?, All action seemed needless and the casual attitude of young men towards life irked me to no end.

A few other pure entertainers - Jaane tu ya jaane na, Rock On. Mere Baap Pehle Aap - leave your brains out of this one!

I don't want to over-analyze every movie I watch, but I'd like my brain to play a part, for the scenarios to be plausible of course the primary intention of watching a movie should not be lost. I would not watch a mundane portrayal of daily lives, entertainment counts!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

touchdown at IXE

Bold and beautiful was the approach into Mangalore Airport and despite being considered one of the most dangerous airports in India, I don't have to admit to ever being scared, not ever, not even as a kid. The landscape of Mangalore coming into the airport has remained intact, although the same can't be said for the city. Despite my slight aversion towards airports, who can not be charmed by these sights, over and over again?

Construction site of the new terminal