Thursday, December 31, 2009

This one's for me

You seriously think you could do it? Ha ha ha! Next year, say less and do more.

As for 2009, let's catch a last glimpse from the window, and wave good-bye :)

CY 09 Q4 Analysis

Could this be any easier?! I could copy and paste this one as is. But I'm saving myself the trouble by staying consistent with my habit of laziness. All in all, I was a total failure in my eyes this year. Lost some more gray cells and gained even more cellulite. As they say in मराठी, खायला काळ, भुईला भार. "Useless" doesn't cut it. It's one of those idioms that loses its crux in translation.

The only things that saved our marriage and sanity made this year worthwhile were our two little angels...

Mojo


Phoebe (spelled Fibi for the fear of it being distorted beyond recognition at the local vet's)


Love you, my darlings... how I wish I could get you a home with a BIG yard to run amok!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Worker's dilemma

1. No matter how much you do, you'll never do enough.
2. What you don't do is always more important than what you do do.

The story of my life!

* The "do do" phrase always reminds me of Chandler.
** I think this applies not only to a worker but to any random responsible person.
*** Thanks, Peeves, for listing this one for me.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Has it been so long

...that I need a cellphone reminder to tell me that it's our anniversary today? Well, I could blame it on the weekend full of chores and no time for ourselves that made us drop dead in the bed last night--no energy for even thinking about today.

I woke up this morning, let Fibi out, and snuggled in with you only to have Mojo jump around and sniff and settle on us, breathing heavily into our ears. So then I let Fibi join in and jump over us too. As I pulled myself out of the warm, comforting husband-and-dog-pile-on-the-mattress and headed for a bath, I noticed the phone blinking and wondered irritably what other task I was supposed to do today--only to be surprised by the anniversary reminder. After which I ran to you excitedly, passing on the reminder. Some hugs and kisses and rather childish lovey-dovey wishes later, we got back to chores. Which involved you feeding the dogs and me getting ready and playing with them until it was time to drag my sorry ass to work. All the while thinking about having one whole day at home, with you on the sofa, me lying in the bean bag, snuggling with the dogs, watching a silly sci-fi movie, and NOT DOING OR THINKING ABOUT DOING ANYTHING ELSE. Sigh!

We've spent all these years doing something or the other (work, watching movies, pigging out on food, long drives, household chores) and always postponing important things like attempting to have a healthier lifestyle and having more time off for 'ourselves'. Maybe it's time we start focussing on those things now. Otherwise we'll always be tired and whiny even after weekends. We'll have a happy anniv, hon, some day.

Till then, here's the pic of the year:
We're doing a good job of hiding those hideous tummies, but we still look a li'l horizontally stretched, don't we?

Chill, sweetheart, it's just a reminder of where we are and where we want to go back to, which is this...
I've merged the images, but the rest is all reality--only 3 years and a dozen kilos earlier. Just like our current reality is close to the Michelin Man.

Ok, stop throwing things at me. Focus, focus!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My little baby

...just turned into a young lady. At 7.5 months. Gone are the carefree days of puppy-hood. Heck, it's time to use Carefree ...err if she was human!

I now understand what MM keeps yapping about. Sort of.

Baaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwllllll!!!!!!

(Runs away in angst.)

How can you drag yourself

...out of bed every morning, when you have one of these curling up beside you?

This one even tries to knock me off my pillow.

They're the bestest dogs in the night--they sleep on their own mattresses and never wake us unless the door is closed and they want to go pee. But, come morning and our bed beckons. They love to snuggle in with us and thereby toss away any plans we might have made to wake up early. And we want to wake up early to walk them. So they can pee and poop to their heart's content. Outside. But they've already done all of that in the balcony before snuggling in with us. You see the vicious circle here? Gah!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thought of the day

The flip side of good weekends is that they make Mondays seem unbearable.

~ Me (sigh!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Commuting is ok

... if you have such sights to distract you from incessantly cussing the morons ahead of you or their ugly car decors or bumper stickers.

It's also the reason I don't repent buying an overpriced apartment. It's all about the location and the beautiful views it offers almost every day.

Oh, did I boast about the neighborhood yet? Here goes:
... all within 3-5 kms from our house, and some enroute office.

All this, and no scientist or defence official in the family with whom I could gain entry for a peek inside these awesome organizations. Sigh!

Monday, November 16, 2009

My husband

...is officially the best husband of the week. (Dude, you've got to do more than that to be the husband of the year / millenium / lifetime.)

I was on leave this Monday because I had to finish a lot of chores that I couldn't do over the weekend. Because I wasn't online all day, my dude sends me this link in an offline message. Knowing that I drool all over the guy. Smooches, hubby. You are the best.

For those who cannot access the link and just because I can't have enough of him, here's Gerard Butler.
[Nicked from 'ere: http://www.photos-room.com/812/filter/newest/author-158/2/]


Ooooh, and as if that wasn't sufficient, he also sent me Mattie the mutt
...who is promptly going to adorn my cellphone wallpaper.
[Some angel posted it here: http://www.ecosalon.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/mattie-the-mutt.jpg]

I guess one whole day of doing chores and watching half a movie and the ending of another that we both wanted to see was worth it to get such sweet gifts from you. Mmmuaah!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Escapism

A couple of years ago, we bought a beautiful house in a beautiful locality. However, like all things that get old, we're now bored of it. The structure is one of the things we plan to change. A couple of walls in the house are unnecessary and make the space look small. So we want to bring them down.

But there's a problem. The house cost us a bomb, and we don't have money to do much else. So what did we do? We hired really cheap labor, who would do the job for us. No architects, no engineers, no masons required. All these guys need is food and a place to poo and pee. They're awfully slow, but steadily doing their job. And we all know that slow and steady wins the race, right? Right.

So here's what they've accomplished in the past couple of weeks. That's 400 mms long and about 60 mms wide. Impressive, huh?!

They believe in doing a thorough job, peeling down layer after layer of their target. So, of course, the color and putty comes off first. It does look like we're renovating, doesn't it?

All that back breaking work tires the crap out of them. They don't even have a decent bed, so they sleep in whatever little space they can find.

Oh, and while they were at it, they realized that the mattresses were no good. They were too fluffy and gave them backaches. So off came all the stuffing. If you don't provide us laborers with good living conditions, we'll make things comfortable for ourselves, thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Indescribable

Apologies to my non-MaraaThi audience, but here's a heartfelt मराठी rant that I can't translate.

आज माझ्या desktop वर गाण्यांचे folders sort करताना काही मराठी गाण्यांचा dump सापडला. कोणाकडून ती copy केली, कधी केली, माहित नाही, पण त्यांत ही दोन गाणी एकाच folder मधे, एका पाठोपाठ होती:
  • ऐरणीच्या देवा तुला ठिणगी ठिणगी व्हाउदे
  • ढगाला लागली कळं
तुमची नस्ती का चीड्चीड् झाली?

Sociophobia

This morning, I leave my cellphone for charging and then forget to carry it to work. A while later, the husband pings on GTalk, and asks me to try and remember where I left my phone--he thinks I'm clueless about the exact location of all my important stuff... it is true sometimes, but not always. So I call him to save time and the effort of typing. He doesn't realize his phone is ringing until I say so on chat. Then the bugger has excuses for low volume, yada, yada. [Snigger]

Then he offers to hand over my phone on his way to work, which is really a detour of about 1.5 kms. I tell him to ring up a colleague who lives nearby and pass it on with her instead. He totally avoids that situation by begging me to let him come and give me the phone. I try reasoning with him. The colleague not only takes the same route to the office and can pick the phone from home (hubs doesn't have to make any effort), but also sits in the adjacent cubicle and so meets me at least once a day (I don't have to make any effort)! That, however, is not good enough for him.

He just wants to hand it over himself so he can come and see me (do not judge, people, there is no romanticism here). The truth is, he always tries to avoid situations that involve interacting with people. I am not even remotely close to being a social butterfly, but I mostly do stuff that's necessary or if it helps (like in this situation). To conclude, driving extra in peak traffic conditions, burning fuel, waiting at the office gate, and risking being late for a meeting at work is all worth avoiding that painful 30-second call to an acquaintance. Now, if the acquaintance had a pet dog...

the phone would be promptly delivered to their residence, even if takes an extra couple of kilometers :P

PS: I too try to wriggle out of most social situations , but pointing fingers and making fun of the spouse is totally a "duty" in the marriage contract I wrote up in my head.

PPS: Dear hubs, if you read this before you leave home, please don't get mad. I love you. I still want my phone to see you before you go to work; I can't wait till you come back tonight.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Recognition

Today, when I coordinated with some people and set out a plan for some necessary chores to be done, the husband said:
"My sweet little resourceful [insert mushy pet name]"
"You are awesome"
...without me asking for it. Or making him do it in return for a favor.
Much improvement, I say.

Maybe I need to do a post about all the things he does, without being asked. Actually, it's been on my mind since a long time now, but laziness and the resentment against him for things he never does unless asked hold me back. Will make an effort to get over that.

Random weekend plan VI

Update: what actually transpired

Saturday:
  1. Hope to wake up early, prepare and eat breakfast
    Woke up early, prepared tomato-onion-oregano-omlette-sandwiches and gobbled 'em up (hubs loved 'em, of course!).
  2. Make a trip to the bank while hubby gives his bike for servicing
    Did some of the banking chores while hubby gave his bike for servicing and then we scooted from that oft-overcrowded place.
  3. Attend my Katthak class on time and not make silly mistakes
    Attended my Katthak class (on time!) where we began a new song in the Bollywood section (Aaja Nach Le--title track).
  4. Rest for a while and do some housekeeping
    Goofed around for a while, felt hungry by 15:00 and so headed to Vaishali for some sinful lunch. On the way I got a Calligraphy pen and some ink, whipped it out at the restaurant and showed off like I was an artist, but all I really did was scratch the paper until it tore. (The shopkeeper did tell me to work the nibs until they gave in and started doing as they were told.) Later, went shopping for some doggy stuff--got those collar+leash things, nail clippers, and a few snacks.
  5. Walk the dogs separately and then walk by ourselves or go for a longish drive
    Goofed around some more, but didn't take the dogs for a walk--the heavy meal had slowed us down. The hubs began to cut the dogs' nails only to realize that the clipper wasn't very good.
  6. Prepare dinner or order in and bathe the dogs while it is delivered
    Made an excuse out of getting the clipper exchanged, bought some more snacks and a Train Your Dog CD instead, and rushed to the Baskin n' Robin's where we really intended to go :)
  7. Sleep early without gawking at the telly like a zombie
    Stuffed with ice-cream, we came back, brushed like good li'l kids (brushing aside the temptation of letting the nice, ice-creamy taste linger) and cleaned up a little before hitting the bed; also, no TV!!
Sunday:
  1. No choice but to wake up early, cuz I've booked tickets for The Informant @ 09:00
    Didn't I say we had no choice? Also, I cooked up my own recipe of corn-bhel, and needless to say, the hubs loved it. The poor chap eats and appreciates anything I make on a whim I am so cool at making junk food! The movie was good too, although it's the sort that you need to pay complete attention to. You'll find it boring, or won't understand it unless you hear every dialog. Matt Damon is among my favorites: the Ocean's trilogy, the Bourne series, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and now this--good range of characters.
  2. Rush to the dance class
    This was postponed to the evening because my teacher was out of town, but she eventually cancelled it after she got stuck in the train on her way back :(
  3. Rush back home and freshen up
    We did rush home, but to my gran's and then my mom's place, for lunch instead of dinner. Mom made rataalyacha khees (a preparation of sweet potato) for hubs and batatyache kaap (potato made with the same formula as these) for me. There's nothing as gastronomically satiating as gorging on a special dish that you think your mom makes best.
  4. Rush to the FoC event to meet Unmana and to give my old techie books away ('donate' is too pompous a word)
    I got late for this and eventually missed it. I started in my car and called up Unmana to locate the exact venue, but those FoC folks had wrapped up the event and left by that time :( The carton of books will now rest in the boot until it's given to people who can make use of it. Hmpf!
  5. Rush to my mom's place while hubby gets his bike back from the garage
    Yep, this was done, although in a different order. And I must mention that the hubs slept over at mom's for over an hour and a half, while I had to run home to let the maid in--who neither turned up, nor called!
  6. Rush back home in the hope of finding some time to rest
    I did rush back home, but there was unrest in the household after that. The dogs had scraped away huge chunks of two different walls inspite of being muzzled, for which they received a little trashing and a really long time-out. I know that doesn't work on dogs, but that was all I could do to not beat them to death. I swore I'd get crates that same evening and locked them up everyday. The hubs, however, did not think it was a great idea and avoided their dreadful fate by just being non-cooperative.
  7. Prepare dinner and eat if I have enough energy to even care for food (a good idea would be to have it at mom's place!)
    And guess what we did again? It was BnB, encore, tonight!
Pray I follow through and not toss the plan outta the window. Been doing that too often. This post is really my to-do list. Must take a printout in Arial Black, 72 pt.
Ooh, I really did take a printout, but then the only time I looked at it was when I tried out the Calligraphy pens and tore the same paper :P

Counting my blessings

Thank you, God,
...for blessing me with a fresh supply of cool water in the office rest room yesterday. The winter that's just set in brought along some nasty boogers, and the sun that's still blazing (through late mornings and afternoons) made them dry up and encrust the inside of my nose. It felt like I'd just flown over from a Siberian desert. (Of course, I wouldn't know for sure unless you send me enough money to go there, would I?) If it wasn't for the water that not only melted the boogers, but helped flush 'em out, I'd have gone about all day feeling like a rhino with a newly sprouted horn (not that I'd know that for sure either).

Thank you, Dog,
...for spraying me with a fresh supply of your nasal fluid this morning. I've been praying to God to help me find some inspiration to wake up early and feel invigorated. You are the answer to my prayer. I couldn't ask for better.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

After the birthday rant

I could feel the effects of venting even as I was writing this post. Inspite of not wanting to work, I came to office around 08:30 so that I could put in half a day's work and then leave. That plan went for a toss and it was 16:00 by the time I actually left...

I had begun to write this post the day after the rant, but I got so bored writing it, I knew it would put any reader to sleep. So I cut out the boring "what happened" crap. As I said to a friend who sent a sweet email wishing my worries away, all those unhappy thoughts were drowned in cake and coffee and 4 hours of non-stop chit-chat with friends.

Then yesterday, another friend read that post and said, "I think we all need something to be sad about." Is it necessary to say she had a point? My problem is, why do I choose my birthdays to feel that way?! I guess, like my dad says about my mom, "she's happy to be unhappy." Sigh! Why do we have to grow up and turn into photocopies of our parents? Especially in those aspects that we so abhor?! Why can't we simply inherit or imbibe their good qualities? Shrug.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Birthday

...and I feel like shit. I'm tired of myself. Of my lack of drive and determination. Of not knowing why I am here, what I am supposed to achieve. It's been about four years since I've been truly inspired to do something and had any motivation to pursue it.

Also, I've been feeling pointless since many years now. I could be dead any moment and nothing would change. My mom would probably lose all urge to live, but that's just because she is my mom. Dad would be shocked but he would move on, just like my husband would. Everything else would pretty much be the same. I think at some level I like it that way. To just pass on quietly, without causing anyone any hindrance. It's so frustrating to go on living not knowing what you want. How do people do that year after year?

I've been wallowing in the cesspool of such thoughts for so long now. I'm gonna die in it. Maybe I want to. Move on to a better place. But I know that there isn't any. I'm here this moment for a reason and it's right in front of me, but I am unable to see it. Or maybe I'm running away from it. I'm surprised at how weak I turned out to be. How lazy and how inept at doing what I should be doing.

----------------------------------------------------

I like to be left alone on my birthday. To introspect, to relax and just be myself (which, nowadays, is having my huge ass stuck to the couch and flipping through TV channels), and to sleep like there's nothing else to be done (which mostly only translates to a siesta). I hate to go visit people or have a party. Except for the couple of gatherings with friends back in college. Or a small treat at the wada-pav outlet. I'd rather sit at home all day, eat Maggi and read a book, and then indulge in some nice coffee before going off to sleep. Or maybe spend a whole day driving around in a car all by myself (which wasn't an option until recently).

One time an aunt threw me a surprise party and invited all my college friends over. It was nice, but we were all a bit awkward with the dancing. I, however, felt a bit betrayed that my friends would keep a secret from me. Especially 'cause the aunt was sort of fun to be around but not really close.

It seems like fun today, because I came to the office and forgot my phone at home. The coming to office part is not fun, though. I usually don't mind working on my birthday, but today I really wanted to stay at home. Which is why I was pissed off in the morning. When I slept last night, all was well. But I kept being woken up by my dogs in between (they kept trying to climb into our bed; it must've been cold) and then everything went downhill in my mind. I woke up with a really heartfelt frown and kept sulking. Every little annoying thing snowballs into a nasty mood if it's your birthday (well, that's true for me on any other day as well).

Thursday, October 08, 2009

CY 09 Q3 Analysis

This one's quite simple. All plans to turn any of my previously mentioned hopes into reality have gone out of the window. I started working on it with gusto, and tried to keep track once or twice, but by now all my energy has run out and I have given up.

I want to give it all up, actually. I want a whole different life, but I'm stuck with the choices I made. One choice in particular. I could shrug it all off and be free, but that would put a whole bunch of people in distress. And I can't afford anything more weighing on my conscience. So I'll try and stick it out, clinging to my leftover sanity.

I won't even bother with an analysis at the end of this CY, because it would require me to explain in great detail what a fool I am. That is common knowledge to people around me, and I think I'll spare the internet from this gyaan.

Isn't it true international integration

... when dancers of African and north-east Asian origin
perform a Bollywood routine
choreographed by Californians of Indian origin
on an American TV show
produced and hosted by people of European origin (English, to be precise)
judged by English and American people
and cheered on by a bunch of Americans?

So You Think You Can Dance rocks! Thank you, Nigel.

(Yes, yes, I'm way behind the times... I'm watching season 4, which was aired way back in 2008, but which is being repeated on one of the channels only now. I can't even remember which cannel, 'coz hubby dearest has programmed it for recording, and we watch those at our convenience, skipping the adverts. BIG yay for Tata Sky+!!)

Also, in a way, the decked-up Katie reminds me of Effe.

On a side note: what do you do with a husband whom you've invited for a romp in the marital bed (like RNM says), but who prefers to watch a 2-hour session of the aforementioned program instead?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Patterns and numbers

I just noticed that my number of blog posts
... in the first year
= p1 = 12
... in the second year
= p2 = p1 x 2 + 2 = 26
... in the third year
= p3 = p2 x 2 + 4 = 56

If the pattern continues
... in the fourth year
= p4 = p3 x 2 + 6 (or 8, I could twist it the way I want ;-))
... which means I could write 118 or 120 posts this year. Hmm. I hope they aren't all fake posts like this one.

Also, the pattern will surely not continue the next year onwards, 'coz there's no way I can write 256 posts in a year. Well, unless I decide to write about the number of boogers I pick in a day, or day to day reports about the quality of my dogs' poop, or the decibel levels achieved when squabbling with the hubby (did I beat my mother's score yet?).

Friday, September 04, 2009

There's no hope for me

"It is by not always thinking of yourself, if you can manage it, that you might somehow be happy. Until you make room in your life for someone as important to you as yourself, you will always be searching and lost."

~ The Bridge Across Forever

~ Richard Bach

[Obviously, the emphasis is mine.]

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Encore

When we relocated to Pune two years back, I was overwhelmed, but it all eased out after that trip.

So, when the monsoon set in this year, we couldn't resist the temptation to do an encore. The last time, it was my uncle and I who introduced my hubs to this piece-of-heaven. This time, it was the hubs and I, passing on the experience to my friend gudiya. Oh, and to our pups. They mostly ran wild whenever their feet touched the ground, all those scents driving them crazy. We also managed to walk into a stream of sparkling water trickling from the hills. We sat on some stones there for a while, and then also took the pups in for a few minutes. They weren't particularly looking to run away, but were definitely not very comfortable in the chilly water.

This is where we made the first halt, just in case the pups wanted to do their business.


The view ahead was inviting.


Yes, I'm hiding behind the car. I don't want to traumatize you with a view of the rolls of fat.


Further ahead, we made a wrong turn, and went on to the road that joins Lonavala (where we had been a couple of times last year). Just as we were about to turn back, we noticed an open plain to the right of the road. We pulled over and prepared the pups to step out safely (put on their body-belts and harnesses).

That's gudiya entertaining them until we got the food ready.


From where we stood, this was towards the left


... a little further left


... straight ahead


... and to the right.


We went closer, and then I grabbed the camera from the hubs' hands.


He doesn't know how to take pictures with a better perspective, and he won't take any free advice. Did I have a choice? Look at that valley. Isn't that more interesting that the plateaus above? :P


There was a ridge right across, and many tiny waterfalls, or springs, if you may.


A gorge across the valley.


Gudiya was clicking away on her Sony camera-phone, while the hubs kept the pups from falling off the nearby cliff.

After feeding the pups (and making sure at least one of them peed and pooped) we turned back to our previous destination--Tamhini ghat. It was another 10 kilometers from the point where we took the wrong turn, but we were in no hurry to get back. We drove up to the point from where the road winds down the mountain into further towns and villages.

That's the sun-kissed landscape


... as seen from here :)

On the way back, we halted at a new shack for snacks. After being stuffed with kaanda-bhaji and chai, the hubs refused to drive. So it was me at the wheel for the entire 150-km trip that lasted 7 hours. But I ain't complainin', baby!

Monday, June 15, 2009

CY 09 Q2 Analysis

And guess what?! I completely lost track after the last analysis. It's almost like I gave up on disciplining myself.

So the follow-up goals-analysis goes like this (Plan | Jan-Mar | Apr-June 2009):
  1. Spend at least an hour a day for /with myself, doing one of my favorite activities: walking / reading / swimming / hiking / meditating (something I confess to not have done in the past 2 years due to sheer laziness)
    Laziness continues to rule my days, but I do swim more often now (twice or thrice a week, without actually dragging myself to do it!), and have also joined a Katthak class (yay!) and I practice the bols more heartily than actual steps :)
    The Katthak class continues, swimming has been abandoned. But for good reason. After a long search and a seemingly-longer wait, we got home two lovely Dalmatian pups. And since then we discovered that time flits past faster than the speed of light. Walking has resumed with the dogs' walk every evening, although I really want to do mornings with them. Hiking will begin only after they're 6 months old, when they (and hopefully I) can make those attempts at putting staminas to the test.
  2. LOSE WEIGHT (I won't set unrealistic goals, but 5 kgs would be good start--see how I choose the smallest battle possible? heh!)
    I did lose a kilo in February, but I didn't count how much I put on before I started losing. Also, I think I regained that kilo or more during March, so the next week or so will be spent huffing and puffing so that when I land on the weighing machine at the doctor's in about a week, I'll have lost another kilo.
    This is totally off the chart by now. In fact, not only have I surely gained that one kilo back, I've put on even more. (If that's possible with me still fitting into the same clothes.) I'm totally disgusted with myself, but I wonder when I'll get to the point where I feel ashamed with every morsel I ingest and every lethargy-filled moment I spend on the couch watching TV.
  3. Proactively and efficiently do more than just what I'm told to do at work--I make plans all the time, but never really see them through... this year, I'm gonna break the habit (not a hope, but a promise)
    I'm a tad slow on this one until now, but should pick up because I'll be setting my goals for FY10 soon. And I installed ManicTime to keep a tab on where I while away my time (not that I didn't know, but seeing the numbers actually drives in some shame, so I try to keep away from distractions).
    ManicTime is forgotten, but I continue to do better than before. Work is automatically keeping me on my toes. Or maybe it's the pets. I begin any time between 7:00-9:00 am and am almost done by 3:00 pm, which is when I have to rush back to the starving canines. Then a couple more hours in the late evenings, mostly because I have meetings then.
  4. Be forthright with everyone without being rude (this is a hard one, especially when all people want of you after 2 years of marriage is to make babies... AAARGHH!)
    Hmm, there haven't been many situations where I'd have to use this, but that would be because we mostly avoid most kinds of social situations. Also, this is difficult to do with elders, especially relatives and in-laws. People my age or younger would get a piece of my mind if they bother with this topic.
    Also, people expect women to provide the family with all sorts of culinary delights after marriage. I hate cooking when I'm supposed to do it. So after getting my brain wrapped around the fact that no one can coax me into it, I've started cooking more frequently. The inspiration being a little more inclination towards savings and health.
    After many calls with my MIL where she went on about how having our own kids is better than having pets, and me passing on the phone to the hubs to avoid the topic, I finally managed to say "I don't yet feel like having kids," that too when she asked the specific question. The best part was that one fine evening, the hubs got so pissed with her pestering that he yelled at her to not repeat the same dumb question each time we call. He's my angel at times. Muuaaah!
  5. Make at least two long road trips (not just the lousy 100 / 200 kms to Lonavla / Panchgani)
    Already started on this one. It's not too easy due to the lightening of pockets that comes along with it, but one a quarter is not bad, is it?
    No further trips in this quarter, because we had to take the pets for their vaccination shots almost every weekend. We do plan to make longer trips after they're 6 months old. Which means another quarter gone. In the meanwhile, we do plan to go for the usual monsoon-induced long drives :D
Not bad, eh? Even if I say so myself. (I don't believe in torturing myself to achieve things.)
This update didn't exactly come out as I had thought. I had my undies in a knot, because I almost didn't achieve anything I set out to do. But writing it out made me realize that I haven't completely failed. I think a huge thanks is in order for the pups, because I can use them as an excuse for almost everything.

What puts me off reproduction - II

The sheer ignorance and arrogance of "experts" who are supposed to assist in / be responsible for the ultimate moment--the miracle of life. Fucktards.
Reading it was enough. I don't have the strength to write it all out again. Go over and check Rashmi's story at The Mad Momma's. I pray that Rashmi wins the good fight. I bow in respect to the woman's calm strength and conviction.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dear Richard Bach

I've thought about writing to you countless times, but I never really could string my words together. As I woke up in the middle of the night, I couldn't stop thinking about you. I had a sudden urge to read Jonathan Livingston Seagull all over again. I frantically searched through my cupboard, and was disappointed to not find it there.

And then I saw the Messiah's Handbook. I'm always at a loss for good questions at such times. I think I asked "Do I still have any love left inside me?" I think I meant "Am I capable of being in love again?" This was my answer: "What if all these levels inside you are your friends, and they know a lot more than you know? What if your teachers are here, right now? Instead of always talking, what if for a change you listen?"--I want to! But at the moment I have so many thoughts buzzing inside my head that I need to get them out to feel calm again.

[Incidentally, I also found some verses I wrote a couple of months ago and this answer also addresses the same!]

Every time I wake up like this, thinking of you, or with an urge to read your words, I am a bit spooked. I wonder why this happens, and I imagine having a direct connection with you, and I worry, is everything OK with you? I have goosebumps every time I think that some day you will pass on from this world. Although we've never met/spoken, there's this strong bond I feel, which makes me sad at the thought of no longer having you around.

So, before the possibility of you reading this is forever lost, here's what I needed to say:
Thank you! Thanks for being what you are and sharing your thoughts with us. As innumerable people must have said before: your words have had a huge impact on my life. They've helped me through many rough times, and have given me profound joy and peace whenever I felt I was losing faith in my self.

[My mind went blank for a while here.]

I've been wanting to meet you, knowing fully well that there is nothing I could contribute to your life. I only wanted to express my gratitude, but I know I would have been at a loss of words in your presence. So here it is: thanks a million for existing during my time on earth :)

Love and regards,
Pallavi

PS: After I wrote it all out, I asked "Will this ever reach Richard?" To which, I got "Know that ever about you stands the reality of love, and each moment you have the power to transform the world by what you have learned." You did really hear my first question, didn't you?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The part of me that no one sees

... is Troubled


You are compassionate, caring, and soothing.

You like other people to depend on you...

In fact, you don't feel right unless you are helping someone out.

Underneath it all, you feel the burden of everyone's problems.

Without your guidance, you fear that many people's worlds would fall apart.

You like to feel in charge, even if it brings you a lot of stress.

What's the Part of You That No One Sees?

Yes, hubby, I can hear you mumble "bossy bitch." This post just proves your point. Now go get that batter so I make appé and dosas to feed our ever-hungry stomachs :P

Thursday, April 02, 2009

CY 09 Q1 Analysis

Because I don't want get to my planned mid-year analysis and be shocked at what I haven't achieved :P

So the goals-analysis goes like this (Jan-Mar 2009):
  1. Spend at least an hour a day for /with myself, doing one of my favorite activities: walking / reading / swimming / hiking / meditating (something I confess to not have done in the past 2 years due to sheer laziness)
    Laziness continues to rule my days, but I do swim more often now (twice or thrice a week, without actually dragging myself to do it!), and have also joined a Kathak class (yay!) and I practice the bols more heartily than actual steps :)
  2. LOSE WEIGHT (I won't set unrealistic goals, but 5 kgs would be good start--see how I choose the smallest battle possible? heh!)
    I did lose a kilo in February, but I didn't count how much I put on before I started losing. Also, I think I regained that kilo or more during March, so the next week or so will be spent huffing and puffing so that when I land on the weighing machine at the doctor's in about a week, I'll have lost another kilo.
  3. Proactively and efficiently do more than just what I'm told to do at work--I make plans all the time, but never really see them through... this year, I'm gonna break the habit (not a hope, but a promise)
    I'm a tad slow on this one until now, but should pick up because I'll be setting my goals for FY10 soon. And I installed ManicTime to keep a tab on where I while away my time (not that I didn't know, but seeing the numbers actually drives in some shame, so I try to keep away from distractions).
  4. Be forthright with everyone without being rude (this is a hard one, especially when all people want of you after 2 years of marriage is to make babies... AAARGHH!)
    Hmm, there haven't been many situations where I'd have to use this, but that would be because we mostly avoid most kinds of social situations. Also, this is difficult to do with elders, especially relatives and in-laws. People my age or younger would get a piece of my mind if they bother with this topic.
    Also, people expect women to provide the family with all sorts of culinary delights after marriage. I hate cooking when I'm supposed to do it. So after getting my brain wrapped around the fact that no one can coax me into it, I've started cooking more frequently. The inspiration being a little more inclination towards savings and health.

  5. Make at least two long road trips (not just the lousy 100 / 200 kms to Lonavla / Panchgani)
    Already started on this one. It's not too easy due to the lightening of pockets that comes along with it, but one a quarter is not bad, is it?
Not bad, eh? Even if I say so myself. (I don't believe in toturing myself to achieve things.)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Stealing a bloggie game / tag / meme / whatever-you-call-it

... for the first time ever, from Double-Dolphin, my one and only commenter for the past few months. Thanks for this, dude! I sooooooooo wanted to do a fun post today. So here goes...

AGO S.I


Everything in the world may be endured
as much as you please

No matter how rich you become
you are disbelieved

A myth is a religion in which
you don't stop biting your fingernails

A verbal contract isn't worth
a good five-cent nickel

You can observe a lot
that would suffice


Here are the rules:
  1. Go to wikipedia
  2. Hit "random"or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
  3. Set the title of the first random wikipedia article that appears as the title of your poem
  4. Go to "Random quotations"or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
    • Select the first three or five words of the very first quote on the page for the first line of your poem
    • Select the last three or five words of the next quote on the page for the second line of your poem
    • Select the first three or five words of the third quote on the page for the third line
    • ...and then use alternate quotes until you’ve made it to the last quote
  5. Go to flickr and click on "explore the last seven days" or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days
  6. The fifth picture, no matter what it is, should be your poem image; this is optional
Here's what I did could do:
  1. Accessed to wikipedia
  2. Clicked http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
  3. Set the title of the first random wikipedia article that appeared as the title of my poem
  4. Clicked http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
    • Used the first three or five few suitable words of the very first quote on the page for the first line of my poem
    • Used the last three or five few suitable words of the next quote on the page for the second line of my poem
    • Used the first three or five few suitable words of the third quote on the page for the third line of my poem
    • ...and then used alternate quotes until I made it to the last quote
  5. Flickr and Picasa are both banned in my office, and so are most of the picture / photo websites
  6. ... so I simply used a picture that I had just stolen download from my arty friend's blog this week, because I wanted a picture even though this was optional
Of course, the freaking title has nothing to do with the image or the text that follows. Drat!

But some of the quotes do make a meaningful / fun poem when mashed up together like this:
A verbal contract isn't worth a good five-cent nickel! Beat that!!
...and what can I say, I'm very mythical :) (Line 3, you dummies!)

Beautiful quote(s)

... that I came across when I was hunting for Calligraphy courses online.

"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value."

"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection."

~ Thomas Paine

I don't whether they were quoted in continuation, but they do seem to go together.

(Hubs, you got to think about the second one.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Attempts to focus

...at work are bound to fail when you have AR Rahman's music playing through your headphones. It wants to make you hum along, it makes you want to dance with abandon, you begin to grin like a fool (at the awesome sound effects), your fingers automatically leave the keyboard and start tapping other objects around you, and then you end up getting weird looks from coworkers or passers by.

What's more, all thoughts about crappy product defects and their even crappier descriptions simply seem untouchable and you feel silly about wanting to be at your desk in the first place. All motivating thoughts that you've brainwashed yourself with... the ones about how you like your job, how essential it is to be proactive, innovative, and that you should strive to work better than you worked yesterday... all go down the proverbial drain.

Sigh! Could someone please pay me to simply listen to the genius?

And for the record... I think the Jay Ho / Slumdog Milllionaire score is nothing when compared to Roja, Bombay, Taal, Lagaan, Saathiya, ... What about an Oscar for each of these?

Like TMM or someone else said on her blog (can't find the exact post), our medicore is their best??!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Personal quotes

"It is very difficult to work with the imagination of things whose reality the brain has ascertained through the sense organs. We accept our imaginations very easily until we ascertain their existence in reality. It takes an effort to convince the brain that we can, or we already have, magnetized our imaginations."

This is something I wrote about 4 years back. When I found it in one of the many lost treasures a cupboard in my home, and read it again after so many years, I was like... huh?! What was that all about?! Now my poor brain has to go fetch its meaning from the many repressed memories. :(

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A friend, a brother

He's leaving for Seattle this evening. Vacation over, time to go back. My college-mate-good-enough-to-be-bro R, who was away for 4 years. Whom I met after 6 long years. Who hasn't changed a bit--physically. There's quite some change in his thought process / attitude, though--he acknowledges that.

So what's to write about? Well, I don't know... I'm missing him already. We only met for a few hours, but it was nice... just like we were back then... ourselves. As our short conversation on GTalk was ending, my eyes turned moist. He hasn't really been in touch all these years, except when I repeatedly bothered him over emails and rare phone calls. But I know there's a bond. I know he'll be there for me if and whenever I need him. He might judge me, criticize my behavior, even yell at me if I act real crazy, but he'll be around in my hour of need. We haven't spoken about these things at length, but it's just this connection I feel in my heart.

We're quite a contrast--I'm short, plump (ok, fat!), and giggling-away-to-glory; he's very tall, skeletal, and always pretends to be serious (actually he's the one I'm giggling at!); but I believe like to think we enjoy each other's company. During college, I would often be found goofing around with the guys in our group, while the other girls sincerely attended lectures. I don't smoke or drink, but I would always hang out with these guys who did. I don't think they were ever bothered, because I was cool with things they did, and didn't try to correct them all the time. There's nothing to be proud of here, but it's just the way I was. And certain people, I always felt an affinity to. It was never spoken / expressed, but we just knew. R was is one of them.

There's another thing common among this group of college mates. None of us got to marry the ones we were in love with, back then. We either broke off, or were made to break off (intolerant parents), or just gave up when the relationship went long-distance (moving to different locations for work and life ahead). R is the last of that set of people. The intention of his trip to India was to get married with his girlfriend of 6 years, but the same old story happened with him--parents not being ready to accept the relationship. One of them gave up and the relationship ended. It bothers me as much if not more than it bothers him. He underplays such significant events in life, and this time, I was torturing him with questions--hoping that he would open up and vent--no such luck, though. Anyway, hope he gets over it and has a better life ahead... I'm more concerned because he lives alone and has a social life, but not many "friends." I can't say it matters, because when it comes to really personal matters, I too don't share a lot with my friends, but it's always good to have them around. To know that they are in the same city and can spend time with you when you need it.

Ok, that's enough burbling. I'll be lucky if R reads this through the end. But it doesn't matter. I had to write. I had to do something to stop myself from brooding. And crying under the weight of all those memories. Love you, R. Hope to live closer to you some day. Because you're as weird as I am... a different kind of weird, but weird enough to be my bro.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Good news and bonding

My ex-boyfriend's long-since-awaiting-the-ex-status-wife called yesterday. They finally reached a settlement after about a year-long wait. Her bloody asshole husband never turned up on all the days that the court had summoned him. Then finally things got settled in her favor. That was easy because she didn't ask for alimony or anything. In my opinion, the most important thing she lost was time... good time she could have had, had he not decided to screw it up. How can time be compensated for?

Anyway, she was relieved that it was all over. I was damn happy for her. We'll have a small party this weekend--by ourselves. Sometimes, we gain friends in the strangest possible ways. I'm glad I know a beautiful and strong girl like her. Cheers, P!!

Update: Hubby and I met her one Saturday--a lunch and movie gig--and it was so much fun to be with her. The blasted arse of a guy through whom we know each other... he said nasty things about her to me, and even nastier things about me to her... thankfully we had more sense than to believe the fucker. We disregarded any of his statements and met secretly; I'm glad she accepted my invitation.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Belated wishes for a long-lost friend

Almost a week ago, on Feb 21st, me and hubby happened to go out and have chhole-bhature. While waiting for the food to arrive, I narrated to him the story of my school lunch times.

I had a friend named Jasmine, who used to bring the world's most amazing puri-bhaaji in her tiffin. She used to like the pohe mom sent along in my tiffin. So, when this combination occurred, we used to simply switch tiffins and gobble up the goodies.

Although we were part of a 20-strong gang of girls from our division, Jasmine and I always had lunch by ourselves--for all the 3 years that we shared our school life. I think we gravitated towards each other because we had both transferred to Mt. Carmel from other schools. During the last year though, her ex-schoolmate Gita (now Carmeltie) used to join us. I was sometimes jealous because of their comfort level with each other ;-)

Anyway, the point is, I thought about Jasmine after a long time on Feb 21st, which was her birthday. I realized this coincidence only a few days later. Somehow I do remember her birthday, and although I haven't met her in years, every time I pass by the area where she lived, I feel tempted to go check whether I can trace her back.

Dear Jassi, wherever you are, I wish you a very happy birthday and a fun-filled life. Lotsa love.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I overdid it

I have a habit of underplaying issues--mostly at work, I'd like to think. The past two weeks have been crazy: I'm supposed to document changes made to a product in its first patch, and I have to collect information from a lot of people. The trap? Nobody seems to be quite sure of what they're doing or saying! I have been chasing people, literally (shuttling between 3 floors of the office building) and virtually (over emails), but there isn't much coming out of it. It's a sorry situation and in some cases totally unacceptable--developers and QA not verifying the material I have written, and giving me a sign-off. I keep wondering what is wrong with people? Why can't they want to do the right thing? How can they agree to deliver half-hearted, shoddy work? Why can't people put more time and efforts into planning, and set aside a buffer for things that go wrong?
Anyway, I think about these issues, put them aside and try to do the best I can with what I have. I've been pushing so many things to the back of my mind that it all comes out in the wrong ways. Last night I cried myself to sleep. I hit the bed but was just not able to transport myself to slumberland. There was a little quarrel I had with hubby in the evening too. So he wasn't trying to cuddle me into sleeping. When he finally held my hand I just couldn't bear it and shed all those tears and snot. I think I slept dreamlessly, but still did not feel rested in the morning.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Fart-(maceut)-ical babble

Last night, I slew a cockroach with a broom. Battered the most disgusting creature on earth to death. A big, ripe, fat roach.

This morning, as I woke up, I noticed another smaller-sized but adult cockroach lying dead on the floor near my side of the bed.

Me: Look! Here's another dead roach!
The hubs: Yes. All your farting must've killed it last night.
Me: Wow! I didn't know my fart was so effective!
The hubs: Of course it is! We should fill it up in aerosol cans and use it as a pesticide.
Me (thinking to myself): Imagine how many millions of dollars the pharmaceutical companies will pay for my fart! I should patent this killer production mechanism. What a great way to kill your enemy... with your own fart! Ha-ha! Plus, it's eco-friendly, like kangaroos, I guess!

A little googling also told me that it's good for my blood pressure.

PS: You've been warned.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The way we're bloody brought up

What the wife does:
- Wakes up early in the morning and cleans up the mess she and anyone else has left behind
- Prepares breakfast (6 months into the marriage and she's still trying)
- Lovingly wakes up the husband instead of jolting him from his sweet slumber
- Feeds him the breakfast while gobbling it up herself because she's a slow eater anyway
- Drives him to the bus stop 2 kilometers away because he won't wake up early enough to catch the bus that passes nearby
- Comes back home and finishes the necessary chores before leaving for office

What the husband does:
- Wakes up just a few minutes before it's time for him to leave for / begin work (consistent habit irrespective of marital status)
- Doesn't even bother to fold and put back his bedsheets
- Finds and issue with the work at hand and starts becoming irritable

What the wife does (in the meanwhile):
- Wakes up and gets ready (two years into the marriage and she's already given up on the breakfast and most other things)
- Tries to hug and kiss him from behind his comfy chair and gets a "don't disturb me" thrown at her... when all she wanted was a goodbye before she left for work

What the husband does:
- Comes around to pacify the disappointed wife, but she says something about leaving her alone and him going back to his favorite task
- Actually goes back to his favorite task after throwing a "fuck off" at her
- Then he is seen sulking on the bed because of some problem caused by some third party which affected them both because of his attitude

What the wife does:
- Bangs the door and leaves in her car
- Stops a few paces from home and simply listens to the radio wondering what went wrong and how many times this scene will be repeated
- Since there's not much she can do alone to improve the situation, she sighs and heads to work hoping that she'll forget all about it and continue with her bloody secure life

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lucky 'levens

February 11 seems to be a day of significance for me or people I like(d).

This day, 14 years ago, I met my first boyfriend (whom I totally disliked then, btw, just like I do now).

Today, I helped ("pushed," to put it in his words) my lovely hubby earn 11 grand before 11 am on the National Stock Exchange :D (and I'm still gloating about it)!

This is also the day when The Redneck Mommy is going to meet her new son for the very first time. I'm soooooooooo happy for her and Boo, Fric, and Frac. Congratulations, you beautiful people!

Pssst! And guess what? This is my 111th post :D I'll be grinning for the rest of the day. She'll understand why.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The witness

A fun conversation from How Long Till My Soul Gets It Right by Robert M. Alter and Jane Alter (Yes, that's my current dig. Apart from Through Time Into Healing by Dr. Brian L. Weiss.)...

"I had so many thoughts, feelings, and scenarios playing through my mind during meditation that I couldn't meditate at all."
"How do you know you had all those thoughts, feelings, and scenarios playing through your mind?"
"What do you mean?"
"Who knows, and is able to report to me, that you had all those thoughts, feelings, and scenarios playing through your mind?"
"I don't know what you mean."
"Are you confused right now?"
"Yes."
"How do you know you're confused? Who knows that you're confused?"
"I do."
"You know that you're confused?"
"Yes."
"And who's reporting it to me?"
"I am."
"And what are you reporting that you know?"
"That I'm confused."
"Who's 'I'?"
"I am."
"And you're confused?"
"Yes."
"I thought you just said you're the one who knows that you're confused."
"I do."
"Well, which is it? Are you the one who's confused or are you the one who knows he's confused?"
"I am confused, but I also know that I'm confused."
"Then you're two beings. You're what you are, which right now is confused, and you're also something inside that seems to know what you are, and that knower is not confused."

Of course, the response was: "Now I'm really confused." But the point is the previous statement. So perfectly put!

Also, as I was typing this, the conversation somehow reminded me of the twisted yet amazingly simple style of Joseph Heller in Catch 22. Not that the books are comparable. Just the way he presents his scenes from every character's perspective. I couldn't complete that book in one go. I guess I picked it at the wrong time--when I was busy preparing for my wedding, and during all the train travel involved. But, another try shall be made some day.

My heroes - II

Aren't they yummy? I'm yet to see mischief better depicted in a person's eyes ;-) They're sooooooooooo perfect for Fred and George! I really wish I had known people like these characters in real life. Nicked the pic from here. Try your luck here; the site isn't working for me at the moment.

My heroes - I

This is why I love Calvin: "Actually, I've got the same questions about God."

And my hubby is EXACTLY LIKE HOBBES in the rightmost block on the center strip: "See? See why you are on the 'bad' list? Insults!."
Bloody ass. He does the same... only quietly, during one of this many talking-to-himself phases. Hmph!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Phone abuse and gender bias

I saw a couple of missed calls from an unknown number on my cellphone last evening. When I tried calling back, the number was busy, so I didn't try again.

This morning, the person calls me again and I realize it only after I see two missed calls. So I call back and he picks up at the second attempt.

Here's how it went...
Me: Hello?
Caller: Kaun baat kar raha hai? (Who's speaking?)
Me: Aapne phone kiya, aapko pata hona chahiye. (You've called, you should know.)
Caller: Maine missed call dekha. (I saw a missed call from this number.)
Me: Aapka call aya tha, jo maine return kiya. (You had called earlier and I tried to return the call.)
Caller: Accha, kaun bol rahe hain? (So, who's speaking?)
Me: Aren't you supposed to know that when you are calling a person?
Caller: Theek se sunai nahi de raha hai. (I can't hear you clearly.)
...and he cuts the call.

In a couple more minutes, he calls again...
Me: Hello?
Caller: Kaun baat kar raha hai? (Who's speaking? [Again!])
Me: Arey, aapne phone kiya to aapko pata hona chahiye na ki kisse baat karni hai?! (Dude, you called, you should know whom you wish to speak to.)
Caller: Accha, aap kahan se baat kar rahe hain? (So, where are you speaking from?)
Me: (Too exasperated to continue in Hindi) How does it matter where I am? You've called, you should state your identity and purpose before you say anything.
Caller: Teri choot marunga. (I'll fuck you. [Or something to that effect, or worse, I didn't care to imagine.])
Me: (Previously half-asleep, now too dazed to continue) Bloody asshole! Fuck off!!
...and this time I cut the call.

What I should have said occurred to me a few minutes later: "Kyu, teri maa ki khaali nahi hai kya? Jahan se aaye ho, wahin waapas chale jao to accha rahega! (Why? Isn't your mother's [vagina] available? It'll be better if you go back to where you came from!)"

What pisses me off is the first abuse that comes to mind is that of a woman's genitals. Which should ideally be held sacred by one and all because they are the very gates through which such bastards enter this world. And why aren't men's genitals ever abused like this? Because we women don't stoop to such levels. (Most) men are nutjobs!

I had checked last evening itself and am pretty sure I had not dialed his number even by mistake. My phone keypad is usually locked to prevent such things. This conversation should have ended with an apology on his behalf and an "it's alright" on mine, if he accepted that it was a genuine mistake. Or, a simple "bewakoof" from his side, which would have resulted in me calling him an idiot, and that would be the last exchange between us.

What he did simply proved his worthlessness as a human being.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Serendipity

...was aired this evening
...four years after first hearing about the film, yearning to watch it, and not being able to
...this very evening!!

This is either the best example of mixed signals that the universe throws at us, or probably the most clear signal I've ever received.

'Nuff said!

Amusing relationships

Letter from an over-possessive, micro-brained girlfriend-soon-to-be-wife (character 1) of a boy (character 2)
...to his virtual-ex-girlfriend (character 3) who mistakenly thought they were soulmates (they probably were, during an earlier lifetime, but not for this one):

Hi [name of character 3 in small-case],
how are u ?
anyways It's a pleasure to share with you all that I am tying the nuptial knot on [date of character 2's doomsday].with [name of character 2 in all-CAPS]
i m not inviting you just informing you.
n we both don't wanna see you again in our life so plzzzzzz....................
n i think u will understand wat i want to say
thanks n good bye
[name of character 1 in all-CAPS]

...verbatim, excluding real names for obvious reasons.

Okay, if you could tear your eyes off the glaring mistakes (or shall I say ignorance) in punctuation and grammar for a minute, did anyone of you notice the mention of doomsday? I hope that said moron (I'm wondering whether it's character 1, or character 2, or both) realizes what (s)he is getting into, but can never really get out of it. Also, do you think women's liberation is finally here? (Not that I give a rat's arse either way.) I mean, the babe writing on behalf of the guy that they "both don't wanna see" character 3 again in their life! Congratulations to them both. For a sloppily ever after ;-)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Lesson of the day - I

This morning, as I switched on my workstation, I failed to notice that the keyboard was kept on the table as opposed to the keyboard trolley where it is normally placed. I went to the pantry to fetch some water, and when I got back, I noticed the logon screen. As I pulled out the trolley to type in my credentials, I noticed that the keyboard was not in there, but above it, where it should have caught my eye. My immediate thoughts were: "Who the hell left it up here? Must have been the cleaning guys. Nutjobs. Can't even remember to put things back in place."

Then, as I typed in the credentials and the default startup applications were busy loading, it occurred to me that the keyboard was there for a reason--to remind me that I need to login before heading out to fill my water bottle, so that by the time I come back, the computer is ready to take my commands. Drat! There goes my chance of being a private detective. I could not even detect a bloody misplaced keyboard.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Is there any such thing as "too many vacations"?

A colleague at snacks yesterday: How many vacations do you take in a year?! Every few days you send a mail that goes "Pictures from..."
Me: Huh?! Really? I usually take only a day's holiday in addition to a long weekend and that's enough for a nice short trip for me. I do the same during the holiday season, and it just seems like I have too much fun!
Later, thinking to myself: Really? Do I travel too much? No, yaar! I always feel like there's so much to do and no time at all!

Even later, this morning, a friend asked over chat about my recent Goa trip. A few minutes after discussing with her, I found myself looking at Google maps to judge whether Pune - Bangalore was a good distance to cover in the car, before my parents shifted back to Pune. I'd like a little visit with them before they do that! Then I thought of checking which cities NH 4 really runs through, and my eyes darted upwards. I soon realized that I was checking whether Pune - Daman & Diu (coastal Gujarat) - Vadodara (where hubby's sister and her family lives) was a possible option for the vacation I am planning in September (again, around the time when there are a lot of holidays anyway).

And then I was like... my colleague really noticed something I didn't... I do think of vacations / traveling all the time! I had to tear my eyes off Google maps and make my brain shut up about "what I'd like to do" and so on. So here I am, about to listen to "Khuda Jaane" in loud-mode with my earphones on for one last time, before I cleanse my mind of all thoughts of entertainment, and get to actually earning my salary. Wish me some peace at work, peoples!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kaanda-Bataata-Pohé

As usual, a recipe (-) instructions (+) tips to let you know what I think is the best way to do it.

Ingredients:
  1. Pohé (rice flakes, 1 or 2 handfuls per serving)
  2. Onions (1/6th the amount of pohé)
  3. Potatoes (same as the onions or a little more)
  4. Green chillies (1 inch per serving)
  5. Ginger (1/2 or 1 inch block)
  6. Curry leaves (4 - 8 leaves)
  7. Turmeric powder (1 or 2 pinches)
  8. Mohri / Rai (mustard seeds, 1 or 2 pinches)
  9. Oil (I use groundnut oil, enough to fry the onions and potatoes)

Tip: Check the type of pohé you have. There are at least 3 kinds: thin, medium, and thick. This recipe requires the medium variety. However, the medium ones might be thinner than actually required, and if so, you'll need to soak them for only 1 or 2 minutes. If they are thick enough, you can soak them first, chop the onions, potatoes, and chillies, and then begin heating the oil.

Tip: Throw the chillies and curry leaves in first, add the onions, and then the turmeric powder so that it doesn't get burnt.

Tip: Sauté the onions for a minute, and then add the potatoes and stir until the turmeric is evenly spread.

Tip: Cover the mixture for a few minutes (while stirring in between) until the potatoes are soft enough.

Tip: Separate the pohé if they're chunked after soaking, and add them to the mixture. Stir until the turmeric powder is evenly mixed.

Tip: Cover for 1 or 2 minutes, stir once more, then cover again, and keep it on a low flame for another 30 secs - 1 min.


Serving tip: Enjoy them with a cup of hot Indian chai / cool chocolate milk / cold coffee. Good for those who simply can't gulp down dry morsels.

Garnishing: You can add shev (pronounced "shave" or sev ["save"] in Hindi).

Serving tip for the health conscious: Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and / or wet coconut meat.

Good for a morning or evening snack. We usually brunch on this.

'Twas time to Goa

...this past weekend, with very little planning. If I ignore the fact that I had arranged for my mom to come there from Bangalore by train a couple of days before and stay on after we left (which included booking a bus ticket and then canceling it and then booking the train tickets). And also the fact that my uncle wanted to join us but had to let it pass, because he had to report to work, which is why my aunt could tag along. Her son was supposed to join us, but declined at the last moment (although he wanted us to pay for his fuel so that he could ride his bike alongside us; bugger). Anyway, we surfaced calmly from all that confusion and hit the road at 2:00 pm on Friday.

We were to follow our neighbor M, who has a home in Goa that he visits frequently. The dude being an ex-airforce person, was probably finding it difficult to restrain himself at ground speed. Which is what I offer as explanation for his Hyundai Getz (1086 cc) being unfollowable by our Maruti Alto (796). Or it could be that his is the Prime make (1341 cc) which is way beyond what we can dream of beating. (Of course I want a better car now! Not larger, just better. Something like Maruti Estillo would do--although I hated its shape initially.) The bugger would hit the brake in traffic and then zoom away in microseconds while we only kept hoping that our little car would pick up enough speed in time to spot him while he navigates the next turn. We didn't see him for about 150-200 kms, which is a little less than half the journey.

To spice things up a bit, I dropped hubby's phone while we made the first halt for tea. Someone spotted that, picked up the phone and rang the last dialed number. It turned out to be my aunt's who was with us. We didn't mind waiting for half an hour for the blessed soul to come by and hand the phone over to us. Hubby was fuming, a tad mildly, but all was soon forgotten, because we HAD TO keep M in sight. Soon after the sunset we left the highway and turned to the villages-and-ghats section of the road. It was pitch dark in a few minutes, and the absence of street lights made it even more difficult. But that was for M, not for us. All we had to do was switch off our brains and pursue him. I was struggling to not let any other vehicle come in between us, because if we missed him for about 4 seconds and he took a turn before we saw him, we'd be lost in the wilderness for good. The network coverage wasn't too good obviously, so he couldn't reach us if he noticed that we were no longer at his tail.

M must have been zooming past 90 kmph on those treacherous roads, because I often had to push beyond 80 to keep up with him. However, I was enjoying the ordeal thoroughly, and so were hubby and my aunt. We were entertaining ourselves with stories and jokes about other people, because we didn't have to give a dang about whether we were going in the right direction. M was our God at the moment. Anyway. We reached Vasco, our destination, around 10:45 pm, and had to part ways because M's home was in a slightly different direction. I went ahead for about 3 kms and noticed a certain building that made me jump. I had no visual memory, but the name struck me as something I heard from my childhood stories that my aunts keep narrating every few months. I immediately knew where we were and where we had to go. In another 20 minutes we were home, luggage and all.

We spent the night at our old landlord's place (where I lived as a child). It was a bad night for me, because the mosquitoes attacked me like they were my soulmates from a past life. What else could it be? They left the rest of the people in the house alone! Grrr.

So. Morning dawned and we had some more conversations with our host about our memorable stay there, more than two decades back. It mostly consisted of my pranks and how I thought I ruled the place. We then headed out to explore whatever we could, without being baked in the sun. Here are some pictures...

A small island, a few hundred feet from the main road that exits Vasco.

A common view around the shoreline villages.

Another larger island, about a kilometer away from the previous one.

This was connected by road, possibly built by the Portuguese missionaries (notice the church to the right), which is being restored now. This is also where we had our first and only interaction with a local drunkard. He approached us asking if we wanted to go see the church. The stench was overwhelming, and his became more aggressive by the minute. We had to shoo him away. He followed us all the way back to our car that was parked on the main road!

We headed to Old Goa, looking for the church where St. Francis Xavier's remains are located. We found a spot to park, but the first thing we noticed was a Wax Museum nearby. It's created and owned by a software engineer as a hobby. With no other funding, it is managed by the owner himself (I wonder how), possibly with the money that comes in through exhibitions (which means expenses to move the statues between cities) and sales of candles and other stuff.

A nice map of the world heritage site where the centuries old churches are located.


The statue of St. Francis Xavier inside.

From the pews. Hordes of tourists were thronging in, and I was enraged at the way people were behaving. A lot like what MM wrote in this post. Seriously, all that is expected of you in a church is silence and respect, if you can't give that, why bother entering a place of worship?

The atrium of the church, which was turned into a beautiful little garden with very cute sprinklers. I mean the sprinklers were okay, but their jets flew out beautifully. Notice the large bell at the top--no access to it now.

The flowering trees outside the church. There was a little market beyond, where I bought some cute bracelets. Beside it was a restaurant, which was full of people and almost void of stewards. We reluctantly ordered some food, because we didn't know where we could get anything edible before we ran out of energy. After a painfully long wait, we ate whatever was served, without thinking much. All the while, I was trying to suppress my embarrassment caused by my mom staring are the almost bare foreigners and young locals. It was so hot outside, I wish I'd lose some clothes too.

After lunch, we headed to this district called Ponda, which houses the Mangeshi temple. Mom and aunt went ahead to the main temple, while and a hubby sat in the cool shade of another small adjacent temple. The journey was interesting. We missed a turn just before every destination, and had to turn back a few hundred meters to reach the correct spot. But it was fun! We even had sugarcane juice before we went to the wax museum!

Once the temple visit was done, we headed southwards to find the Colva beach. We had bought a map as soon as we headed out in the morning, and were doing a great job of navigating with its help, except for spots that weren't marked clearly. It was the best me and hubby ever coordinated at driving.

As we entered the Colva beach...

A closer look.

The speedboat was towing paragliders and zoomed away.

Hubs and I were sooooooo excited, and we jumped at the opportunity to do some paragliding. The sun ahd gone down by the time we went up, so we couldn't get a great view, but it was fun. That's me returning from the flight.

A fleeting parachute.

We walked along the shallow coast for a while, ignoring the life gaurds' announcements asking everyone to stay clear of the waters past sunset. Then we lay on the sand for a bit, while mom and aunt had a little nap. We were exhausted by the time we reached home, but we all enjoyed the Baskin' and Robbins ice-cream we took along for our host.

Hubs and I woke up at 5:00 the next morning, changed and rushed to the nearest beach--Bogmalo. It was still dark, and we tentatively stepped into the water, a bit scared when waves crashed loudly and unexpectedly. We were surprised at the warmth of the water and then spent the next hour or so walking in knee-deep water along the shore. Once the sun came up and lit the waters and people started trickling in, we locked the car keys into our finger rings and dived in. To put it in hubs' words, for the next hour or so, we were experiencing weightlessness. That lasted only until the moment we decided to walk out of the water. Then, we were almost drooped with the weight of the seawater in an on us. Needless to say, I involuntarily gulped in a few sips of water through my nose when a couple of unexpected waves pulled me in. The fun part was the feeling of being pushed and pulled by the huge waves--this particular beach was deeper than Colva--you just had to walk in about 7 or 8 feet to be fully immersed.

When we felt a bit satisfied with all the soaking and sinking, and it was time to return, we dried ourselves by the car. Hubby changed in a lonely spot, but I was too impatient to change. So I warpped the front seat with plastic and drove us home. We had to rush through bath and breakfast so we could move on to the next destination: Panaji. Our next hosts were the landlady's son and his family. They live in a prime area of Goa's capital amidst bungalows of politicians and rich people in general. Their own bungalow is pretty well done. I'd posted one of its pictures earlier. Upon reaching there, we spent a while indoors, chit-chatting, and then left for the Dona Paula beach.

It was a bad decision. It was sweltering hot outside, and we spent 20 minutes finding a space to park. To top it, there was no direct access to the water. People could only walk up and down a ramp. As soon as I parked, I bathed in the sunscreen lotion, but I think it had an adverse effect. I felt my skin burning more than ever. Nevertheless, the little market distracted me, and I ended up buying a couple of trousers.

The view on one side of the beach... there were lots of speedboat riders.

The pier with the tiny market on it. It must look lovely in the evenings with all those lights on.

The other side of the pier... so calm, and void of people!

We learned from that experience and headed straight home, abandoning the plan to visit another beach before lunch. It felt so nice to change into cooler clothes and spread out on the sofas and watch TV for while. After a while we had lunch and then napped. It was 5:30 pm by the time we freshned up, had tea, changed and stepped out again. Not such a good time to leave, because it took us about an hour to reach the next beach: Vagator. Our host led us through roads where we saw signposts for almost all north-Goa beaches but went towards none. We thought he was about to take us back home after showing only the signposts. That's when we turned in to the parking lot of the Vagator beach.

This one was shallow, like Colva, and we'd reached there a few minutes after sunset. With no enthusiasm left for clicking pictures, all we did was walk amidst knee-deep water. Then we stood rooted to a spot for a long time, trying to see how long it would take for us to be sucked into the earth, due to the sand beneath our feet being carried away with each wave. In about 1o minutes I was a foot underground. Then, for a while, I let people go their own way and stole a few minutes for myself to talk to the powers that be--for a safe trip so far, a comfortable stay, and the great time hubby was having.

We decided to dine outside, and went to the Delhi Durbar restaurant on M. G. Road. (I just looked it up. We're just not ready to go beyond M. G., C. S., J. N., and I. G., are we? [Only Indians will understand what I'm talking about; if you are one, and if you don't, well, I can simply conclude that you were extremely poor at History. :P]) The food was okay and our hosts were urging us to have more, all the while stuffing themselves. That was the only point where I had to control my sarcasm and not point out how they really needed to eat less, and leave us alone--as it is we are carrying an average teenager's extra weight as a couple (meaning, between me and hubs, we have about 25-30 kilos extra).

Anyway, I also picked up a bottle of port wine (Vini Cola) for a friend, before we turn to go back home. On the way, we made a pit stop at Miramar beach, just to fill up our quota of beaches, and because the night air was so tempting. It was another couple of hours before we actually got to sleep. There was a lot of confusion of who would sleep where, because the house had only two bedrooms and there were 11 of us. We ended the bedlam by taking over the hosts' master bedroom because that would help us wake up early the next day without diturbing the others.

Republic day (Jan 26) dawned without any feeling that remotely resembled what it used to be 20 years ago, and it has been so ever since I finished school. We were ready in time, but spent a few minutes longer bidding farewell to our hosts. I was in a hurry to get us out of the city and onto the highway as soon as possible. Our target was to cross half the distance by noon or earlier. We wasted about 20 kms (and 30 mins) looking for a petrol pump, but that didn't deter us from achieving the target. The drive was almost as good as the one where we followed M. Aunt and hubby took turns sleeping in the backseat, while I enjoyed my time behind the wheel.

We stopped only once, at the Amboli ghat, for breakfast--wada paav, kaanda bhaji, and chai. Here's how the moutainside on our right looked.

Here's the valley on the other side. The roads were winding and steep, and there was average oncoming traffic. I noticed all vehicles from MH01 through MH15, except MH05, and then some (those are registration number prefixes for the Maharashtra state, where each series represents about 259974 vehicles)!

We crossed a distance of about 460 kms in 8 hours. Luckily, we noticed a Mc Donald's drive-in on the highway and picked our lunch from there. I was stuffing my face with a Mc Veggie, fries, and coke, while speeding between 90-110 kmph--not an ideal thing to do, but then I was never a good girl. It was good to have a fun and confident-in-me aunt and a cool as a cucumber (read who-isn't-crazy-about-driving-and-prefers-his-comforting-pillows) husband, who never bothered me even once with such lame instructions as "slow down" or "watch out" or "don't overtake." Bless their souls! The even switched seats (aunt moved to the backseat and my almost-6-ft hubby moved to the passenger seat beside me) inside the 4 ft tall car, while I was speeding at 80 kmph on the highway!! They totally rock.

Special note to hubby: mmmmmmmuuuuuuuuuuuaaaaaaahhhh!!