Opinionated Solutions to Life's Problems

Lots of opinions, Lots of options, Lots of hidden answers to Life's convulated questions.

Location: California, United States

LIKES: India, Music, Math, Dance, Advertising, Statistics, Optimism, Dreams, Strong opinions, Rains, Bike rides, Caribbean Sea, Jamaica, Waterfalls, Swimming, Stray dogs, Full moon, Tagore, F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Junglee sandwich, Phone talks, Jasmine flowers, Short work meetings, Fridays & Saturdays, Chocolate ice-cream at mid-night. HATES: Sweet tongued liars & Bitter tongued liars

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Of Hibernation Rights and Birth Rights

If bears can hibernate in winter, why can't my blog hibernate in summer?

Arre sorry bhai, announcement thoda hindi filmi police jaisa late hai par I was away from the blog for a while coz of Summer-- go tell her, she is to blame :p (BTW, I think Summer is a gal coz each Summer has her own unique essences, her own vibrance and her own set of moods AND when she is sweltering and hot, she makes every guy come out and show off his abs!)

I also want to say a big thank you to Daddy's Girl for writing this. Meri rukhi sukhi zindagi mein bahaar aa gayi yeh post padh ke *shy smile like a fresh dewy madhubala in chalti ka naam gadi* "Aaj madhosh hua jaaye re, mera mann raise to three...Bina hi baat muskuraye re... (you get the point)

It feels great knowing that there are people out there who actually can see sense and feel my passion for life through all the clouds of craziness on this blog. This blog is truly an opinionated place, the only place where my opinions rule, the only place where I can offer the whackiest solutions without being asked, and perhaps the only place where I won't be judged for what I truly am...so thank you once again for this wonderful award... ( I am almost thinking of taking that contract that ajay devgan gave me for writing his filmfare awards speech, acha hua nahi sign kiya, he would never have used it anyway...weirdo).

So, while I pack my imaginary bags and get ready to disappear once again for a while, past few weeks mein life ka bulletin yeh hai

1. I discovered the joys of "aunt" hood...ab mother hood ho sakta hai to aunt hood kyu nahi?

Also discovered a few other random and surprising things like

2. Even a human being who is less than one hour old (yes, ~ 60 minutes old) has a personality all his own. When I held him for the first time, I probably went a little too near the window and he sneezed--loud and clear- and then twitched his nose AND frowned to show disapproval of the inexperienced "holder"-- all this within a few seconds. My conclusion: Respect every individual whether this person is a 100 minutes old or a 100 years. Age, status, or gender has nothing to do with respect.

The other conclusion?

Every person needs their space-- even someone who is 16 days old. Let me explain. The same little person as referenced above was crowded by 11 over enthusiastic chachi's, mami's and mama's (for non-indians, chachis, mamis, mamas are an assortment of aunts and uncles related in a thousand different ways) with sounds of "how cute", "look at the cleft on his chin, hayyyyyy kitnaaa sweet hai". He tolerated it for a total of about five minutes and then he wailed so loud, the 11 voices fell short. So there. Give everyone space. Yes! even a 16 day old little person deserves it :)

3. This summer I grew my very own tomatoes (just waiting for them to ripen a li'l more and then I will make the tastiest bruschetta ever... I also have the prettiest little yellow roses in town :-) This IS an achievement considering what one of my friend's mom told me a few years ago, "You have a big brown thumb, no wonder flowers are wiped off from the face of the garden you tread upon"...while you think about that comment (BTW, it came from a 40 year old to a 14 year old), I'm going to make some arrangements to parcel the bruschetta 8000 miles over to M aunty for her supper next Sunday ;) *evil grin*

here's some other tidbits about my upcoming escapades.

I am off again on one of my "fultu relaxation and waking up late" trips, this time I am going here ... will disappear again for a while, but it's all for good...go enjoy the summer yourself and I am going to pack my bags for real now.

Music: Zindagi mein to sabhi (Mehdi Hasan) and Hawa mein udta jaaye mera lal dupatta
Mood: Peppy

Monday, June 04, 2007

Yeh Dosti Hum Nahi Chodenge or ?

A few weeks back I got an email that made me smile so wide, I almost put Julia Roberts to shame. The email was from P, my best friend from school. P and I became thick pals from the time that she landed in my school around class VII. She had joined my school from this really hip and happening school that didn't have classes beyond class VII. She sat next to me in class and we got along famously. We hung out together and chatted on the phone in the evenings discussing about the cute guy in the class next door. Till the time that she got married (when that happened, I was doing something as unglamorous as studying for my final exams in third year of college) ; we kept in touch.

When her email arrived, I was elated. I opened it and read it through a couple of times just out of pure joy. She had written about her husband, her home, her kid, her sister, and her parents. I replied back immediately asking her about herself and what she was doing. I also wrote at length about myself and my life here, what I had been upto for the last 7 years.

She wrote back to me the next day saying that she was still in the same city that we grew up in and her current home was just 10 mins away from her parents house. She also left her mobile # and wanted me to call her.

I called her the next day and it was great hearing her voice after such a long time. We talked for a few minutes about our everyday lives. I spoke excitedly about my job, my overflowing social calendar, and how I was still very much in love with all the co-curricular activities that I did as a school kid. She told me about her kid that had just started going to school and her husband who was ever busy with his family business. I asked her about her love for music and whether she was still pursuing it. She said she was too busy. I remembered her passion for designing as well and asked her whether she still pursued it, again she said she was too busy. I chided her mockingly and she just laughed it off saying, "I am just happy taking care of the home".

After this day we talked a few more times, but I really didn't have much to talk about. She didn't know much about current topics or what was happening around the world. There were no interactive discussions or opinions being exchanged. It was becoming more like a one way dialogue. Surprisingly, I wasn't feeling the same way I had thought I would feel in talking to such an old friend.

It felt strange because I still have friends that I had from my nursery and kindargarten, I still get along well with them and they have grown with me all through these years! So what happened, in case of P and me? Did we grow apart coz our paths were too different? Why is it that I don't enjoy talking to her anymore? Why does it feel like it is just a formality to keep in touch with some friends and an absolute pleasure in keeping in touch with some?

A thought crossed my mind: What is better-- To part as friends with happy memories or to carry on a friendship just because you used to be best buddies a long time ago and friendships are supposed to be for life, right?

Music: Chanda re, Chanda re from Sapnay
Mood: Too many things going on & not able to cope up but kinda happy

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

(Khatti) Meethi Yaadein (Sweet Memories)

I was in the midst of creating another fundu slide for the upcoming team offsite, getting all tangled up with trying to put in audio in the most creatively challenged boring powerpoint.

And then just out of the blue I got this sudden urge to have amla. For those who don't know what amla is: 1. I pity you 2. you have missed out on the tastiest food on earth second only to the God of foods- chocolate.

Amla is this small innocent looking green fruit. But put it in salted water and in three days it transforms into this heavenly tasting thing. One crunchy bite later, you are one happy person.

As a kid I remember running out into the patio when the sabjiwalah came by and frantically waving to him so that he could see me and stop by our house. And then the pestering would start. If my mom would buy a quantity less than 500 grams (~ 15 oz), I would make my eyes all wide and say "Bassssss??" (Only that much?!!!) Then I would follow my mom into the kitchen and not leave her side until she had washed and put in all the amlas in the glass jar. Then came the most difficult part- waiting. It took atleast 72 hours for the salty water to penetrate into the amlas and really I learnt to be patient during these testing times. And then after the long wait I was rewarded when my mom reached way up on the kitchen cabinet and pulled out a nice juicy amla for me.

It's funny how just a fruit has so many memories entwined around it. Now that I think back on those days, I think it was not just the amla, but this whole ritual that I shared with my mom that made it yummier.

I can almost feel the sweet and sour taste while I go back to putting my audio file together. I am totally going to take a detour to the indian grocery store this evening and hunt for my favorite little green fruit! And mom, I am calling you tonight :-)

Music: Mann Mohana Bade Jhoothe (Seema) and Tere Bina (Guru)
Mood: Nostalgic

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yeh ladka haye allah!

So a really good friend of mine met me on messenger yesterday. Though I was chatting with my manager on IM, taking a call about a maha boring release next month; and eating a juicy orange--I jumped with joy seeing this particular friend pinging me nice and early in the morning.

It was cause for joy, this friend of mine (hence forth refered to as K) had almost disappeared since her marriage six months back. Before that, during her courtship period, we exchanged a lot of emails and met up a few times to share her nice khatti mithi baatein on chat.

So yesterday when she pinged me I was waiting to hear some more chatpati baatein from her about her really romantic married life. Though, what I got was some rukhi sukhi dukhi kahani!

For starters, here's the story so far-- K met M about a couple years back through a family friend and it was a typical arranged marriage with the ladki dekho ceremony and the ice cream and the hot steaming pakoras and all those good things.

After a few of such meetings, they finally decided they had enough oily namkeens and got engaged. And then, in her own words, it was bliss. Hours were spent on the phone, talking about how perfect they were for each other. Evenings were spent going for long walks in parks and watching the sunset together. Aur dekhte hi dekhte D day aa hi gaya. They got married and went off to an exotic island for their honeymoon.

Aur yeh rahi yesterday's conversation snippet:

K- Hi, do you have some time to talk?
Me- Hieeeeeeeeeeee :D, Long time buddy, kaha thi tuuuuuu (yeh raha tera virtual thappad!) lol
K- :) sorry yaar, I was very busy, just aise hi
Me- Busy, ahhaaaaa, kab de rahi hai khush khabar ;)
K- Chod na yaar, are you busy now or can we chat?
Me- Not busy at all (hope the engineers on the call and my manager didn't hear that- I don't want the 79 ft scenario again, very soon in my life :-/)
K- Just wanted to talk to you about something personal
Me- Sure dear, tell me

The rest of the conversation was between the two of us so wouldn't want to share it here, but the crux of the matter was that K pointed out an issue she had with her husband M that irritated her to no end. All through her courtship period, K observed that M always paid her all the attention. Even when they were out anywhere and she saw the hottest of women pass them by; M's attention never wavered away from her face. Never did he look at any other women when he was around her--it was as if the world was made up of little children, men, and unbelievably old grandmotherly type ladies. There existed just one young beautiful girl in this whole wide world and her name was K.

This ridiculously hilarious picture was shattered after a few days of their marriage when she found M checking out women who looked like clones of Bipasha Basu. After a couple months more checking out continued (it was more like ogling K insisted), when M brought his standard down by looking at clones of Divya Dutta as well.

So, that is the story of M and K. And here's the big question in K's mind. Why do men look when they know that they have safely conquered the woman's heart and she is now under umar qaid = marriage? Why do they make her feel like the hottest girl on the planet during courtship and then make her feel like she resembles Lalita Pawar's daughter after marriage? What changes?

My simple answer for her was: It's their genes. Men have to look, its coded into their DNA. It is really hard for them not to have a roving eye but they somehow manage to successfully do this in the wooing phase. Once that is over, they breathe out and start living their normal life again--- how? By checking out every single eve on their radar :)

What do you think?

Music: Kehna hi Kya (Bombay)
Mood: Happy

Friday, March 30, 2007

Honesty in Adversity

So, it feels great to be back on the ground...not from the high flying clouds but from deep down below, 79 ft to be precise. The air smells more fragrant and I now have a happy springy walk when I log off at 6 PM, rushing inside the elevator and then whistling 'Raindrops keep fallin' ; while a confused desi with disbelief writ large on his face looks at me like I am undressing inside the elevator or doing something as ridiculously impossible as that.

A couple days back as I was driving back from work, the traffic as usual was terrible getting on to the freeway. Ab mera ek narcissist logic yeh hai ki whenever I leave a little early from work, the whole of the company feels like leaving early, just to catch a glimpse of yours truly, so traffic jam to hona hi tha ;) On a more logical note, it was 5.30 PM the prime time for everyone to be on MY freeway.

As I maneuvered through the crazy traffic I thought of my first few days in the US. I always noticed how far away every car is from the other while waiting on the red lights here in Awesome Amricaa. This display of discipline and consideration for others almost brought me to tears. Okay fine, I wasn't THAT emotional.

But still, I was filled with admiration for all these people- of different shapes and sizes, ethnic backgrounds and ages following the same cardinal rule- respect on the roads for everyone else. Just as the lights turned yellow, brakes were gently applied and cars were stopped very much behind the white line (as if it were some kind of lakshman rekha). Pedestrians crossed the street with happiness on their faces- casually chatting not even bothering to look both sides before walking through the busy junction. All cars lined up uniformly- one behind the other, keeping a comfortable (read: at least 5 ft) distance between the other, patiently waiting for the light to turn green. I was shocked. Pleasantly shocked.

Just yesterday I had seen the autowallah shouting "abbey khisak na jaldi" at the scooterist who cut him from the wrong side. In return the scooterist pressed his shrill but potent (read: ear splitting) horn a few times as if it were a way to reaffirm his stupidity. Just yesterday, I had seen the old and feeble lady cross the road running as fast as she could wildly lifting her hands in all directions as if to say "stop, please, don't hit me". And the 20 something young and brash idiot almost running the poor lady over in his gleaming maruti esteem. Just yesterday, I saw a bunch of school children at the pedestrian crossing waiting for the endless stream of traffic to stop even though their 'walk' sign was on and the policeman shouting for the traffic to stop while simultaneously averting the two cows that were grazing on plastic bags happily in the middle of the busy road.

And the very next day, here I was 8000 miles from home, suddenly amidst order, discipline, and silence on the roads. In 24 hours, like magic the whole scene transformed into this serene world where no one got agitated and reacted angrily on the road. No one tried to cut corners on the road in a wild race to finish first. And, no one really acted like they owned the road or maybe like their father owned it. I always compared the orderly traffic of USA to India where the cars almost touched each other on red lights and the accelerators were pushed hard even before the light turned green.

And then I saw the same americans scurrying and pushing each other during the thanksgiving rush in malls and parking lots. I was completely in denial. This cannot be, I said to myself. These guys aren't supposed to behave this way. These are the same people who queue on red lights so methodically and drive with a sophisticated air. How can that Chevy cut off that Toyota Camry like this? The parking spot clearly belonged to the Camry guy, didn't he give his indicator for it too?

And then it stuck me. What matters is what your attitude is when you are faced with a difficult situation. When there are plenty of parking spots available, being courteous is easy. When there are just a handful of cars waiting on the red light, parking a few feet away from each other is easy. What happens when the situation is not so convenient? What happens when there are a hundred cars vying for ten parking spots?

So, let me ask you this question. When in a difficult situation, do you still remain honest or do you cheat? Do you take the easy way out or stick to your ideals?

As for me, I find it difficult sometimes to stick to my values. It is not easy being the odd one out. The one who might be labeled the spoilt sport just because she doesn't want to cut through the line for some first day first show tickets; Or the one who is trying to get the highest grades just because she didn't pass around her answer sheet during the Statistics class test and didn't 'share' her knowledge with friends.

But most of the times, I've stood my ground. I strongly believe in being honest on the road and following traffic rules. Invariably I think of my days in India. I think about the times when I was zooming on the roads in my new Santro during my late teen years and the crazy traffic surrounding me.

I am also reminded of those times when everyone around me almost connived against me by deciding to break all traffic rules. And believe me, it takes a lot of courage to stop at the red traffic light in your car when there is no policemen present and hoards of people are honking and shouting for you to move forward. It is embarrassing and de-motivating.

But when the light turns green, and you decide to move ahead, something feels right inside of you. Ahhh, now that's what honoring your own conscience must feel like.

Arre what’s this now, I counted almost four cars with single drivers in the carpool lane zooming past me. Ufff, kis kis ko sudharenge ;-)

Music: Mere hum nafas, Mere hum nawa (Farida Khanum)
Mood: Relieved and Happy

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Gaon Walo Mein Mari Nahi

Hey guys,

I know many of you have dropped in to say "Kaha Ho?!" on my blog. For those of you who are thinking that I am away honeymooning here, all I can say is hope you were right.

The truth is that I am buried 79 feet deep down in crazy, omnipresent work! (See the blue font update to know exactly who and what is making me so miserable)

For the first time in life, I've experienced what it is to really pine for a vacation! I am a brave gal and will climb the 79 feet in no time, till then, Ouchhhhhhh , Phir se giri, ab to yeh 179 feet down lag raha hai ;)

See you all soon :)
Still a Life Lover

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Of Taj Mahal Dreams and Chocolates

Seems like 'tis the season of V day posts, humne bhi likh di apne dil ki baat ;)

The root of the trouble AND The height of being cliched

Just yesterday, while browsing through Time magazine, I came across an ad from Incredible India. A black and white picture of Taj Mahal was in the background and the text read: "And to think that these days men get away with giving chocolates and flowers."

Samjhe? If you are really a fan of tube lights, let me explain the profound meaning of this punch-line (*Complete Honesty and Digress Alert- As proud as I am for my agile brain, it shuts down rather mercilessly after midnight and at such challenging times, it is a struggle to decipher witty one-liners. This realization came one night when as a teenager, I was stuck forever on a particular paragraph from a really interesting Mills & Boons novel (ahem) and even this fluff refused to enter my tiny brain* Alert over)

So, for those of you out there who share this personality trait, let me elucidate. This ad simply conveys that these days men get away with just gifting flowers and chocolates to their lady love while in the good old days, the Mughal Emperor- Shahjahan, poor guy, had to build a monument to prove his love for his girl.

This ad really got me thinking. Ab maante hai ki my beauty cannot be compared to that of Mumtaz mahal. Neither am I hoping for a Shahjahan like dude to construct a Taj Mahal for me (Shheeeshh Yaar, Taj Mahal usne apni GF/wife ke marne par banaya tha!).

just feel that love is such a deep feeling and every woman is so unique, then why give the same gift to all the ladies in this world? And, I really like to think that just like every woman, I have a right to receiving a thoughtful gift from the man who proclaims, 'Tum to meri zindagi ho'.

Anyway, leave the Taj Mahal khwab aside, but, chocolates and flowers to express love to the most important woman in your world? It's very cliched, more like cliched raised to the power of lots of power.

Now, don't get me wrong guys and please don't sulk. I am not an Ehsaan Faraamosh kinda girl. And I love, noo LOVE, noooooo lurveeeeee chocolates. And I do appreciate when guys try hard enough. But, chocolates and flowers? Dude, you really need to take a class on 'The use of creativity in romantic expression 101'.

Maybe something that is less expensive than the chocolates+flowers+card put together will do the trick. Maybe it won't. But it has to be something really reallllllly customized---something that just screams 'YOU are the one' to the woman who is THE one for you. Something that is one of a kind, just like the woman that you love. Something that is just perfect---for her.

Work at it guys, it's definitely easier than building a Taj Mahal and you will be rewarded.

And gals, badi khush ho ke baithi ho sab ki sab. There is something that you all have to do also. What? Arre get ready yaar, wear your best smile and your sexy dress---your man is going to ring the door bell very soon. And hey, don't rush to empty the vase, he's not getting you flowers this time ;)

Music: We Have All the Time in the World - Louis Armstrong AND Chupke Chupke - Ghulam Ali (playing one after the other continously, quite a concoction it's created in my head)
Mood: Optimistic