Sunday, October 14, 2007
Does being single really translate into “cornucopia of choices to mingle” or is it “an over-exaggerated fad?”
With God’s grace, I have alluring, altruistic, soigné, illustrious and vivacious friends – a mix of both single and married people. Depending on the marital status, people belong to different school of thoughts. Overall, I am a homebody, but I have a confession to make-- somewhere in my heart, I envy an aspect of the “carte blanche” that accompanies single people. Oops! My entire family just cringed after having read the aforementioned line. Believe me; I can jot down my candidness with such ease because (Thank God!) I am not married to some sanctimonious ignoramus who would be offended beyond comprehensible means because of my ‘sacrilegious’ thoughts. My husband is au fait with where the adulation for “the smell of freedom” comes from. To me, “no strings attached” or “living large as a single” doesn’t translate to “license to go on a dating binge;” what I covet about the single life, is the ability to do what you want when you want without feeling culpably or emotionally torn apart—whether it’s juggling or multi-tasking. The going gets tougher when you actually want to be home and not because you are duty-bound.
Last night, an incident transpired that made me wonder if “being single” is overrated. I woke up at wee hours and realized that I had temporarily lost mobility--maybe pulled a muscle in my sleep or just slept in an incorrect posture. The initial feeling was that of inexplicable fear—“will I be able to stand on my own?” “Will I be able to walk?” Of course, it was the sleep-deprived brain thinking and hence the dramatization.
For the last 15 hrs, I have been dealing with excruciating pain and my husband has been striving to eradicate it - both mentally and physically. This whole episode made me cogitate how people handle such overwhelming situations when they have no one with them. I know this country thrives on dialing 911 but what if the phone is few feet away and you are unable to dial that magic help number. Yes, it can happen. It dawned on to me that those few moments of “it’s my life” or “my way or the highway” that the single life provides you with, is maybe coated with as much tribulation as felicity.
I am not saying that marriage should be raison d'être, but I think the illusion of being single is more appealing than the phenomenon itself. Not everyone lives the life Carrie Bradshaw does on “Sex & The City”- a socialite on a columnist’s salary. That is a completely different story. The media portrays the “single life” to be all glamorous and beguiling, but I believe that is just half-truth.
Copyright © 10.14.2007
“I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life” ~ Rita Rudner
Thursday, October 11, 2007
So, I have been drawing a mental comparison between people with identical first names and dissimilar cognomen. My postulation: people with the same first compellation share comparable characteristics. It could be the persona or the demeanor, but there is that inexplicable common thread created by the almighty. They are not doppelgangers. So, what I am sharing is my candid raw analysis based on keen observation.
Over the weekend, I was at a party in Albany. The host, who is my crony, introduced me to her confrere and posse, including a person named Anu. Five minutes into a conversation with her, I could see similarities between her and my friend Anu, who lives in NYC. They have the same hairstyle, analogous demeanor; they are dead ringers of each other physically and have the exact same style of iterating their point. I could not believe my ears or eyes. Was it an eidetic image? It was enough for my conjecture to morph in a conviction.
At the top of my head, I can think of four “Archana’s,” who I know closely and they all have indistinguishable hair and similar outlook towards life. None of them knows the other one. Isn’t that bizarre?
My list of examples doesn’t end with just these two names, but I’ll stop here. I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but I am convinced-- It’s all in the name!
Copyright © 10.11.2007
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" - William Shakespeare
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Here is a fact: every single Indian I know (from my generation) has at least a friend or a cousin whose marriage unfortunately has dissolved. Mind you, these people were wed to Indians. Not only that but also some of these alliances were arranged by their parents - known family, comparable rearing, propitious omens, assiduous family background check and the groom/bride befit the parents’ characterization of beauty. Such flawless matchmaking and yet separated? Pardon my cynicism but that is extremely astute, right? I have also seen couples (where they sought out their own spouse= “Indian love marriage”) show utmost disrespect towards each other. Their public display of differences makes you mortified for them. Only thing they have in common is the country they come from.
I know of numerous successful marriages between people of dissimilar religious faiths, ethnicities and milieu. Is it just serendipity? I hardly think so. They choose to pick the strengths from each other’s background and let the negative disparities dissipate.
I am not sure if nationalities determine the success or collapse of a marriage; human personalities do. I agree; similar cultural/religious upbringing might make things easier but they do not guarantee a thriving nuptial relationship.
We live in a world of never-ending stress, materialistic awareness and incessant pressure. Seeking happiness has become the prime challenge for most people. Does it really matter what ethnicity your spouse is if you can actually get along?
These again are my two cents. I would be curious to know what others feel about it.
Copyright © 10.04.2007
"Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation." – Oscar Wilde
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Here is how the story commences: my in-laws decided to fly Jet Airways when they visited us this past August. It seemed like the perfect choice—elite airline, professional crew well—versed with the needs of Indian parents, scrumptious food (at least in the domestic sector) and most importantly, great flying time. If I am not wrong, with the stopover in Brussels, the flying time is only 16 hours. Almost magical! I remember thinking to myself, “this is incredible-- an airline for the people by the people. Like India’s democracy.” Okay, another J.D. moment. Anyways, upon their arrival, elatedly I asked my in-laws about their “Jet Airways” experience. They expressed their immense dissatisfaction with the airline.
When my in-laws reached Bombay a couple of days ago, I asked them about their Jet Airways experience on their flight back home. I was hoping against hope that Jet wouldn’t let me down. Au contraire to popular belief, my vivid imagination and Jet Airway’s magnificent reputation back in India, the service in the international sector is appalling. The staff was conceited, inattentive and arrogant and their service was abysmal. They barely served meals and that too meager portion; they were inconsiderate of any special dietary guidelines you provided them with at the time of the ticket purchase; finally, they had the audacity to be condescending.
Well, they call themselves the “finest airline in Asia” while their attitude is reflective of the “lowest budget airline in the world”. What an oxymoron!
I wonder why Jet Airways has positioned itself like a thrifty traveler’s international airline. Have they not been able to dissociate themselves from Jet Light (the brand extension created after Jet Airways acquired Sahara Airlines)?
I do not know about others, but I am not feeling too much love for this particular airline at this time and hope I do not ever have to fly it internationally. A random quote comes to mind as I near the end of my post -- "There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane."
Copyright © 09.27.2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
My riveting explanation got a second jolt when one of my co-workers, with utmost homage, astonishment, bewilderment and intrigue asked me “will your husband die if you don’t fast for him?” There is one thing I can vouch for my self-- I am rarely at a loss of words. More often than not, I have the response to the most Herculean questions. That evening, I was tongue-tied.
I have been more than candid about my reservations with these patriarchal traditions in today’s ever-evolving day and age. I emphasize on “today’s day and age” because these customs made sense centuries ago when male and female species had defined roles—the former was the bread-winner; the latter the home-maker. In today’s world, their lifestyles are very similar—they both go to work; in most cases, a woman does more chores around the house; not to forget, at least in South Asian culture, she is the source of bond for families on both sides. Yet, she is expected to fast for her husband’s “long life” and then for some inexplicable reason, cook a delectable meal to commemorate the occasion? Nice going! Shouldn’t men give obeisance to us splendid women instead?
My other issues with it—I have seen and interacted with enough women who are complete control freaks and figuratively speaking, have a rope tied around their husband’s neck. They nag and croak like a toad, spurting out furious words, day after day but won’t indulge in a sip of water when they keep these fasts. Isn’t that an oxymoron? Call me a skeptic, but I willing to bet my next paycheck on their husband’s willingness to live. Not just that, I have met enough couples where the husband treats his wife with utmost disrespect and her life seems like a cul-de-sac. Do you really want to pray for this monster’s well-being who treats you macabrely? Well, I’d be thinking voodoo kits. Then you come across the third category where the woman is ailing and on medication yet insists on abstention. So, the health had been failing for years; the coup de grâce was the water deprivation?
Maybe my opinion makes me sound like agent provocateur, but neither am I superstitious nor am I the kind to say c'est la vie. I believe both tradition and religion are not above humanity. You need to have faith to truly follow either. If keeping a 36-hour long fast doesn’t fall in tune with your own belief system, you shouldn’t do it; if it is something that you believe in, then nobody shop stop you. Hypocrisy, superstition and societal pressure shouldn’t be the reason.
Copyright © 09.11.2007
“Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals” - Oscar Wilde
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Elucidation for my epiphany: Even as a kid, I was never fond of red meat. In India, goat meat is considered a legacy (meat connoisseurs apprize it) and considered enormously popular. I recall squirming and telling my mom, “It tastes too real—like an animal”. I have vivid memories of my cousins sucking and masticating onto the bone marrow (remember, it’s a legacy). It was unintentional, but I would get queasy at the sight of them holding a bone; forget them gormandizing on it. One of my cousins’ would literally chomp on the chicken leg as if it was the flesh of the animal that he was indulging in and before you knew it, his hands would be empty. I found it extremely barbaric, but I guess he relished it.
With age and time, I have become more cognizant about how pernickety I am about non-vegetarian food and how easy it is for me to feel disgusted. One of my closest friends calls me a “fake non-vegetarian” since my list of “what grosses me out” supersedes “what gives me pleasure.” Here is what I can’t deal with when it comes to non-vegetarian food:
Animal meat with bones—only boneless for me.
Non-veg with even the remotest hint of “the animal taste” in it.
Washing any kind of non-vegetarian item
Chopping up boneless
Doesn’t quite leave much, does it?
I have to admit: my alacrity to watch “Fast Food Nation” and “Super-Size Me” has augmented my existing contemplation. When you see what goes on in the animal slaughter world (the cruelty, the debasement and the abuse), you get coerced into second guessing yourself. Is ignorance bliss? Having said that I want to make a confession-- few chicken entrées have a certain je ne sais quoi that I find very appealing -- “butter chicken,” “chilli chicken,” “boneless buffalo wings” and “chicken lollipop.”
I was wondering if there is anyone else out there going through the same dilemma and confusion.
Copyright © 09.06.2007
"I want my food dead. Not sick, not dying, dead" - Oscar Wilde
Thursday, August 30, 2007
What is it: a wish list
Purpose: to extradite humans who abandon the usage of their brain
Why Mars: proof-Martian soil may contain life
Relocation: paid for by the people of Earth
Reason: call it philanthropy
I had the fortune of reading this alluring article on CNN.com the other day that gave me delusive contentment. It was about how the soil on Mars may contain microbial life. According to Joop Houtkooper of the University of Giessen, Germany, Mars could be home to just "extremophiles" -- in this case, microbes whose cells are filled with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water, providing them with natural anti-freeze. They would be quite capable of surviving a harsh Martian climate where temperatures rarely rise above freezing and can fall to minus 150 degrees Celsius.
Scientific talk aside, this article offers the perfect remedy for dealing with people who chafe your nerves—say tsetchem leshalom, proscribe them to Mars and let them revel in the Martian climate. Maybe the excrutiating algid temperatures will thaw their frozen gray cells? These idiots can spend eternity in Martian land and we Earth-dwellers can peacefully go about our daily chores.
Call it my pollyanna notions about making the world “idiot-free,” but I have been working on a list of people who should be said hasta la vista to and shipped to Mars. It will not be a perilous voyage in a canoe across space; I was thinking more like an official send off with fanfare and they can create their own “Idiotland”.
My recommended list:
- Britney Spears—relinquished her brains (for Kevin Federline) and so the remnant amount needs to be deliquesced
- Paris Hilton—lost her brains to rhinoplasty
- George Bush—the lesser said the better it is
- Dick Cheney- Bush would need an amigo on Mars—kinda like homies
- Will Ferrell—to him, encephalon is an entrée offered at Saigon Taste
- Jaya Bachan—prolonged viciousness has had deleterious effects on her brain
- Kangana Renaut—this wanna be egghead can’t spell brain—not because she is autistic; but because she is still striving to evolve into human form.
- Bal Thackeray—we have had enough; the extremophiles on Mars should live with his iniquitous deeds
- Rakhi Sawant— silicone implants have aggrandized the pressure on her pea-sized brain and turned it into a vestigial organ like the appendix.
- Pamela Anderson – someone needs to float on Mars
- Mallika Sherawat - her ebullience is a sign of her brain on Prozac
- Lindsay Lohan – dude, she has no brains.
Disclaimer:- This is not a final list of people who should be exiled to Mars; names can be deleted (I highly doubt it) and/or added at any time.:-)
Copyright © 08.31.2007
“The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public” - George Jessel
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
A ride into my desi emotions: Last week, I went for a book reading by Anupama Chopra. Her new book is on the “King of Bollywood” aka Shahrukh Khan. The evening was remarkable—small get together, invigorating aperitifs and delectable hors d'oeuvre. The reception was rather stately and the venue, baronial. I soaked in as much South Asian cultural heritage as a human possibly could, in one grand evening. Chopra, a petite, mirthful, cogent and cordial film critic and book author, was basking more in Indian glory than her own eminence. When someone asked her if Indian directors were going to make movies that basically catered to people in the west, with utmost grace and stellar confidence she responded in the negative. She reiterated that Bollywood is content with the audience it has at present and doesn't feel the need to alter its style to cater to a new audience. She also confirmed that Sony Entertainment is coming to Bollywood and making a movie “Bollywood-ishtyle”. She veraciously spurted out these words in a non-grandiose way even though a big chunk of the population comprised of Caucasians.
Ride two: On Friday, few of my friends and I went to watch the newly released Hindi movie, “Chak De”. If you haven’t seen it already, I would absolutely recommend watching it. I had no idea that a simple movie about women’s hockey could stir up such strong allegiant emotions and evoke an intense response. Absolutely splendid!
To be candid, on one hand, I love where I live now; on the other, I apprize India with my heart and soul. Every year around the Indian Independence day, I feel unrest and turmoil. Today is India’s 60th Independence Day and that makes me nostalgic. I remember the flag hoisting to free sweet distribution to the patriotic songs that we would sing as kids.
I am not the kind to display my emotions in public but irrespective of where I am, the Indian national anthem gets me misty eyed. It touches that cord which nothing else does. I truly believe you can take an Indian out of India but not India out of an Indian.
Copyright © 08.15.2007
"Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious" - Oscar Wilde
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Anyway, a few nights ago a bunch of us had organized a soiree for an essential element of our coterie, a dear friend who was moving to Far East Asia (thankfully for a short and defined period). We made reservations at this much-recommended restaurant -- Chennai Gardens in the Murray Hill area of New York City. The restaurant has won raving reviews – maybe the owner paid someone for those words dipped in honeydew? It sounded like fallacious testimony. Before I delve into the happenings of that evening, I’d like to say something -- the only thing commendable about Chennai Gardens was the location.
An insight into the evening: we were a group of eight out of which one person wasn't eating; he was the "food guardian"— kind of like a restaurant angel looking over us and our comestible. Believe me, after the abominable experience at this restaurant, we needed his services. Anyway, seven people ordered appetizers and beverages and guess what—the rocket science behind order taking completely shocked the waiters; they goofed up. The staff was not really au fait with our needs. After persistent reminders, the flabbergasted staff finally managed to make an effort and bring out the remaining appetizer. They didn’t let us down; when it was time for our entrees, they made an aberration. Not only did they get our order wrong, but in their own way, were indignant about rectifying their mistake. Not to forget, the “over-salted sambar” looked and tasted like murky water. The table arrangement was bedraggled and the lesser said about the presentation, the better it is. All I can tell you is that Martha Stewart would never approve of this place.
I am never impertinent to staff at any restaurant—it’s not just the fear of them spitting in my food (yes it happens), but I genuinely appreciate their services. Living away from India has made me all the more appreciative of labor and services. Had it been a regular dinner out with friends, I would have not been so upset, but this was a special evening and the unprofessionalism and boorish behavior exhibited by the village idiots at the restaurant, was unforgivable.
My recommendation: go to Chennai Gardens only if you are breaking up with someone you loathe as the abysmal service and unpalatable food can make the process easier for you. If you want convivial atmosphere, a kebab vendor would be a better option as compared to this banal restaurant.
Copyright © 08.12.2007
"After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives." Oscar Wilde
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Interestingly enough, majority of the people I met with, read my blog and happened to very graciously appreciate it. I was rather flattered. Depending on the incidents, they all had their suggestions on what my next post should be on: three-hour wait at State Bank of India to change currency (Go Figure!); the party thrown by my parents in my honor where my cousins and I indulged in a “chilli chicken” gormandizing competition; gossip about blatherskite in the family; this porcine teenager cum spoilt house guest at my friend’s who was comatose from carrying around a lot of excess avoirdupois; to the bizarre travelers – one of them was a pre-pubescent loser at JFK whose wife kept professing her eternal love for him as if he was a warrior going into battle or the prison of Azkaban. Apparently he was going away on a four-day long business trip. Back up! Seriously, four-days aren’t long; they are unfair. You are really not giving anyone a break!!! After a lot of contemplation, here is what I decided to write about – the airline I flew.
I am a sucker for self-defined and Dow Jones rated “good airlines”. After all, you can’t quite compromise on the quality of travel when it comes to a 16-hour flight given that I fly cattle class (economy). I think its incumbent upon us to make the right choice of airline. Whenever possible, I fly “Singapore Airlines” (SQ). You can’t beat Asian hospitality (and food?) Anyhow, this time around, due to lack of time, I decided to take a shorter route and yet fly a highly ranked airline. My choice was “Emirates”. After all, it is ranked just second to SQ.
Well, my first impression of Emirates – international crowd of svelte stewardess and well-sculpted stewards who knew their jobs. What won me over were the victuals. They totally smother you with this array of entrees and dessert until your stomach starts howling for help. It breaks my heart to admit this but SQ doesn’t hold a candle to the variety offered by Emirates. However, the service on SQ is incomparable. The crew is more cordial on SQ and the passengers are dapper. The one major thing that bothered me about Emirates was the crowd. It is infiltrated with proletariat crowd whose sense of speech and plebeian mannerisms get adversely affected after indulging in free alcohol. I had the “fortune” of sitting between two those unearthly men on my way to Dubai. All that I can tell you is that I didn’t catch a wink or drink a sip of wine. These hoi polloi actually spread a pack of cards on the airline floor and literally hooted every time a stewardess walked by.
I confess; I am a flight snob who behaves like an anti-social element the minute I get my boarding pass. My airline personality is starkly different from my regular personality.
Having said that, I feel Emirates might be considered a mighty fine airline if you are traveling business class or with a familiar group. Otherwise, the crowd is reminiscent of jail break and mass exodus from Alcatraz. SQ caters more to a bourgeois set. SQ, you definitely have my vote for letting me feel safe!
Copyright © 08.09.2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Disclaimer: I’d like to think of myself as a liberal Hindu (pardon my French, but it translates to “pain in the ass” for the religious pundits and people who consider religion to be their only source of vigor and support).
Here is the good part: I appreciate the concepts of temples and home shrines and the fact that we have idols to worship. I, for one, function better if I can add a face to a name. However, I loathe Hindu pundits, or as I like to call them “the kings of banal mumbo jumbo”. See, I abhor how they instill fear in people using superstition as a tool. “If you don’t perform this “puja” at 6a.m., your son will be born with pigeon feet” or something equally inane. If they really had the ability to predict change, they wouldn’t really be living such a proletariat life. It’s time they realized that no bad deed goes unpunished. Plus, I don’t see why I need a mediator or pundit to have a conversation with God.
Going to Hindu Hell part: I acquiesce halfheartedly with most Hindu traditions, though I am a firm believer in the “Law of Karma” and adulate our festivities. I accede that religion gives you an identity and sense of self, but I feel that the patriarchal structure of Hinduism gives “man” an identity and takes away a “woman’s”. Even if the core of the religion isn’t all about men; the religious pundits and adage are all about “the Hindu man’s beatitude”. You basically just pray and fast for all the men in your life – father, brother, husband and son. Not just that, but you are also expected to cook sapid, festive meals on an empty stomach as you pray for their well-being. Hmm…. So, do people really think that’s what women do while slogging inhumanely in the kitchen pouring every ounce of their remnant energy into scrumptious comestible?
B.R. Ambedkar (Founder of the Indian Constitution) once said, “In Hinduism, conscience, reason and independent thinking have no scope for development.” With age and time, my brain and body can’t digest the premise of my religion or at least they way it’s practiced. Are they salubrious to mankind? Isn’t religion about humanity and not the other way round? I’d love it if someone could help me shed my Hinduism – related neuroses. I feel the religion hasn’t been able to keep up with the changing times or maybe it’s the people who expect you to follow it. We live in a day of logic and explanation and “do it because I say so” doesn’t really work anymore.
Copyright © 07.27.2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
The actor and director, Morgan Spurlock (my claim to fame: he was my close friend's neighbor until a few years ago) actually goes on a "McDonald's" diet for a month to show the impact of junk food – both physically and physiologically, on us mere mortals. He paid homage to McDonald’s franchisees all across United States – from bucolic Texas (pompous winner/owner of five of America’s fattest cities) to preppy New York (my guess is NYC boasts America’s most begrimed McDonald’s franchises). So this "harakiri specialist" (my nickname for anyone who lacks amour-propre and indulges in absurd amounts of processed food out of free will) wasn't a student of Michael Moore school of cynicism. He was just a homo sapien out to prove his mettle or add flavor to his interest-deprived life. His fervor for insalubrious comestible was beyond sick as he gormandized on a big whopper and the world got a view of the half- masticated food in his mouth, his puke and then some.
During the filming, Spurlock ate at McDonald's restaurants three times per day, sampling every item on the chain's menu at least once. Can you believe that he actually consumed an average of 5,000 calories per day? After an intense 30-day period, the experiment got over; Spurlock had gained 25 pounds; bestowed upon with ailments; his cholesterol/triglyceride levels had hit unheralded peaks.
Okay, I am an advocate for freshly cooked meals and rarely indulge in fast food, but I have a confession to make – at least three to four times a year, I need to satiate my hankering for Chicken Mcnuggets. The feeling is divine but after watching this documentary, my “Mcnugget vision’ has been ruined for life. Meat of old hen-- laden with sodium--bathed in unhealthy fats--cooked in mass scale--with God alone knows what ambiguous body parts of the bird kingdom-- guaranteed recipe to mess up at least one of your vital organs, if not more.
For those of you who haven't seen this documentary, here is what I have to say: if you want to give up non-vegetarian junk food all together, just watch “Fast Food Nation” and “Super Size Me” and you’ll be set on a vegan diet for life. For those of you who feel an undying love and dedication towards McDonald’s, there is news for you: McDonald’s has come up with “Hugo”—a synonym for save-the company-from picket lines and lawsuits, or simply put, a 42-ounce drink which is now available for as little as 89 cents in some markets. A Hugo soda contains about 410 calories.
McDonald’s has taken a stance on racism -- the company has ensured that minorities don’t lack behind in the “obesity rat race”. Very kindly, it has worked on a strategy of spreading the epidemic to the minority communities -- Hugo ads are available in several languages, making sure that minorities are aware of the budget beverage. Muchos Gracias! Seriously, as South Asians that’s exactly what we need – another food item that leads to weight gain and clogged arteries.
Copyright © 07.23.2007
“As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it” ~Buddy Hackett
Thursday, July 19, 2007
So here is what happened ---- fervently, I ordered lunch from my absolute desired Indian Chinese restaurant close to work. I have to tell you, their food is delectable. I would like to think that I am amongst one of their first few customers. Sometimes I fantasize about my last wish being granted by God/devil and my response would be “Chilli Chicken from IndoMunch”. I know it’s appalling but hey, don’t be so quick to judge—we all have our “fantasies”!:-)
I digress, but now am back on the story-track. So, when I called to order my lunch, to my surprise, I didn’t recognize the person’s voice at the other end. I remember thinking to myself, “looks like they have hired someone new. Good for them their business is doing so well.” In my polite yet got-to-know-now-desi- way, I asked the person, who picked up the phones, if she was a new hire. Well, she responded semi-acrimoniously that in fact, she had been there for a while. I was convinced that she must be working the evening shift generally as I eat lunch way too often there to not recognize the staff and vice-versa.. God, I am on a confession-roll!
On one hand, I was going to eat “chilli chicken” which translates to deep fried protein laden with starch; on the other, I decided to get in my share of exercise before gormandizing. Now when I think of my decision, I am befuddled myself. Anyway, I peregrinated to the restaurant, to pick up my lunch only to be greeted by three simpering gentleman at the counter - - all familiar faces (my umpteenth visit had guaranteed that). My eyes spasmodically searched for the ‘desi aunty’ and charily judged the men’s solecism. After all, it was incumbent upon me to pay homage to the new hire.
Anyway, I am abashed to write what happened next – one of the guys behind the counter called out my name and told me what the total bill was. That’s when the “feeling of uh-oh” started flowing through my body. I felt so discombobulate—worse than a deer caught in the headlights. This ‘desi aunty’ was actually a guy with a rather feeble voice. He had either been too polite to correct me over the phone or just apathetic. Uh-oh again! How I wish sometimes the desi in me would take a chill pill and accept that meeting and greeting every Indian aunty, with a heavy accent, in NYC, is not part of my job description.
With a confused, embarrassed, facetious look, I apologized and while I was doing that, he and his other two friends joined my laughter club. Between “I am sorry” and “no problem, it’s okay,” we all cachinnated like there was no tomorrow.
Just thought I would share this story with you all. Do you have any “uh-oh” moments to share?
Copyright © 07.19.2007
"Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes" -- Oscar Wilde
Monday, July 16, 2007
The article that I read talked about the growing problem of genital mutilation in Britain amongst generational immigrants from Africa and Middle East. The British government has offered an award of $40,000 (euro 29,500)to anyone who leads them to information about this abhorrent act. Over summer, young girls are taken to their native countries or somewhere abroad where a bunch of unqualified and verdant ladies commit this heinous act -- not that a doctor committing this deed would have made the process any less abominable. According to UNICEF, between 100 million and 140 million women are believed to have been subjected to this practice in Africa and an additional 3 million girls face the threat of female genital mutilation every year. Think about it, these girls are scarred for life—not just physically, but also mentally. To me, this whole idea is a gratuitous insult to humankind and not just women.
I think, women being forcefully subjected to this excruciating process, is a reflection of the patriarchal world we live in. I don’t hear of men having to undergo any agonizing emasculation, for women, to prove their chastity. I don’t suggest they should, but neither should women. Society gives men a carte blanche to do what they please.
I think we have come a long way to accept these archaic, unintelligent, demoniac traditions. It’s time women took the matters in their own hands, shed their laissez-faire attitude and stopped saying c’est la vie.
Copyright © 07.16.2007
"Sure God created man before woman. But then you always make a rough draft before the final masterpiece" ~Author Unknown
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Over a cup of invigorating ginger tea, my friend said something thought provoking - - to quote her, “Baby boys are easier to deal with. They fight but that’s about it. Baby girls can sell their dads even before they hit their teens. They are high maintenance” Hmmm. Her candid confession cum facetious remark got me thinking. Is that an infallible rule?
Before I could formulate an official opinion, I jogged down my memory lane. I don’t know too many kids. Off hand, the only people I could think of were: my two nieces (older one is bon vivant with a benevolent attitude while the younger one is an insouciant soul); my friend in NYC who has a 15 month old boy who is all about epicurean delicacies and alfresco entertainment; my friend in Albany, with whom I spent the weekend.
Saying “I acquiesce or dissent with this postulation,” would be a precarious assumption on my part as I don’t know any better. I’d like to hear what people with kids or anyone with experience with other kids feel about this conjecture. Any thoughts?
Copyright © 07.05.2007
"Children need models rather than critics" - Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I am of the school of thought that wisdom is not directly proportional to age; experience and exposure are. I know some fifty-year olds whose IQ and/or maturity is two levels below that of my five-year old niece. They open their mouth and a meandering stream of flapdoodle flows out puerilely. The things my eight-year old niece notices or the astuteness she shares, is something I probably became cognizant about when I was double her age--where they are and what they have had the privilege of being exposed to, has played a rather important role; mostly, they owe their wisdom to their open-minded upbringing. Mind you, they are inquisitive, not incongruous.
Questioning keeps us all agile. Why do people turn apathetic after reaching a self-defined-learning-limit? I do understand the repercussions of over-communicative western societies, and I don't agree with saying what's on your mind all the time - there is a time and audience for everything. I believe there is that perfect balance of saying the right amount without being nasty or belligerent.
Hasn't questioning led to remarkable inventions and discoveries? Disagreeing with existing ideas does not have to involve a truculent or boorish formula. Couldn’t it be a recipe for reverence and inquisitiveness? Hasn’t brain drain taught us anything?
Copyright © 06.28.2007
"The beginning of wisdom is found in doubting; by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking we may come upon the truth" -- Pierre Abelard
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Location: Bryant Park—Misty night embellished with resplendent stars
Activity: Snore symphony orchestrated by a bunch of us slouched on slovenly chairs
Date: Friday, June 15
Location: Alcove - luxuriating at a friend's while indulging in scrumptious ice cream and invigorating white wine.
Scene: 1/3 rd of people present, felt enervated
The aforementioned scenarios are not an exaggeration of a burlesque you'd see at 'Bob's House of Comedy' but an ironically facetious situation that few of us were in.
I would like to think of myself of as someone with a blithe spirit despite what the clock has to say—like the 'let's party dude,' type; off late, I feel like a laggard. I call Friday as ‘fried-day’ because veraciously speaking I am fried by then. Until about a few years ago, my friends and I were like nocturnal animals, painting the town red until wee hours in the morning --sometimes on a weekday too. Now, a cloud of dormancy encompasses us by 11-11:30p.m.We are roused to movement by sharp caffeine.
Most of my friends feel age is catching up with them. Mind you, these people are not senior citizens but in the age range of 26-35 years. Much as I would like to repudiate with this axiom, I agree with them. Why else would I have spent last evening at my favorite spa? I am cognizant that we live in a taxing day and age and that is why I wonder if thirty is the new sixty. Maybe I am conjecturing, but I do not know otherwise.
Copyright © 06.21.2007
"I am not young enough to know everything" - Oscar Wilde
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Sign from God about how abysmal the concert was going to be: we hit no traffic; there was no ‘masala chai’ at the buvette; the spinster cousin, ‘medhu vada’, had replaced ‘vada pao;’ and finally, the crowd was niche regional as opposed to just plain desi. We were not being covetable but none of it made sense-- it was close to blasphemy. We were not a fastidious bunch looking for a musical soiree; all we wanted was a musique de concert in a convivial atmosphere, in comprehendible langage with felicitous performers. Is that too much to ask?
A further insight into the evening - the crowd was divided into four groups: Tamilians, wanna be Tamilians (they conversed in Gujarati otherwise but were well-versed with Tamilian numbers. Go figure!), Punjabis, and wanna be Punjabis (people like us who lean more towards bhangra as opposed to gueulard (loud-mouthed) Rajnikant devotees and obstreperous crowd). Even before we got through a quarter of the way, my friends and I were craving ‘Chicken Makhani;’ Sukhwinder Singh’s melodious voice finally brought a smile to our disgruntled faces.
Of all the desi concerts I have been to, last evening’s was truly the worst. Instead of burgeoning into a fun evening, Hari Haran’s cheap improvisations to Rahman’s unenthusiastic, sordid, enervative performance brought the evening dwindling down. His proletariat musical crew lacked the capacity to captivate the showgoers. The musique catered to a very specific audience—clearly, it was not us. Lot of people in there would have appreciated a burlesque more.
A friend made a very pertinent remark: two of her Tamilian friends decided against the concert. For all of us who did not belong there that should have been sign enough. The only person worth a mention was the drummer, whose music coruscated throughout the concert hall.
Here is what I surmise from the erroneous evening: for some reason, most artists prefer to sing Tamil songs with their dark glasses on without realizing that it makes them look odious. In addition, there still is a huge music-based cultural divide amongst Indians; so next time around the organizers should not dupe the audience by calling a regional classical music fest gone shoddy, a concert.
Copyright © 06.17.2007
“I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.” – Oscar Wilde
Thursday, June 14, 2007
To be veracious, I loved the movie--eminent actors and the scenario presented seemed very real—like an insight into India’s convoluted culture. It is definitely a recipe for chitchat at one of my girl’s night out. Jokes aside, someone made a very kosher point; all these non-mainstream movies are produced/ directed by the younger generation. Every generation of movie directors try to illustrate ‘their times’- or portray life as they see it, via films. In Yash Chopra movies, women with remarkable acumen in personal grooming matters and home - making, spend their every living breathing moment dolling up--kinda like trophy wives. Their husband and children define the essence of their existence. I know that whole concept is anathema to women from my generation.
Going by that logic, if the scenario presented in the film is a delineation of the moral standards in India, I am both exasperated and appalled. Is the moral fiber of our society completely corroded? It’s not just films; we all know of at least one person in India whose lifestyle is a mirror-image of what was shown in ‘Life in a Metro’.
It’s interesting how some people living in India have the audacity to point fingers and accuse people living abroad of imbibing salacious values when they are the ones indulging in corruptive measures and we are the ones trying to follow tradition and recreate the essence of Indian culture abroad. How else do you think yoga or chili chicken or bollywood bhangra are popular today amongst non-Indians?
How many of you haven’t been accused of turning ‘English’ or ‘American’ or been called an antagonistic name based on wherever it is you live, just because you have a perspective and the intrepidity to question.
I’d like to clarify one last thing- -progress is about opening your mind to new thoughts, challenging non-applicable midwives tales, and questioning archaic concepts. It’s not about insolence or deceit. You enter perilous waters when you lack the verisimilitude.
Copyright © 06.15.2007
"Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike" - Oscar Wilde
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Passive: The passport was not stamped until Valentine’s Day.
Active: The immigration officer did not stamp the passport until Valentine’s Day.
Passive: The ball was caught by Rahul Dravid.
Active: Rahul Dravid caught the ball.
The journey begins with when you apply for your first job. Your cover letter, at the end says, “Please find attached my resume for your perusal”. Seriously, who is the agent who attached the letter?
I was talking to my cousin the other day about how most South Asians face this problem - despite all their intelligence, tenacity and hard work, they are inept at writing and lack the basic linguistic skills. After indulging in passive voice most of our adult life, when we move to the west, our choice of voice haunts us – be it school, work, or just social gatherings. Do not get me wrong; we know our grammar to the tee, in theory at least, just not the appropriate usage of it.
So anyways, our badinage led to an epiphany: is the choice of voice a reflection of our culture? South Asian culture preaches non-confrontation, indirect speech, and everything unrealistically polite, so do we end up using passive voice to avoid sounding aggressive and/or awkward? Call it postulation, but I could not think of any other reason.
Any thoughts? I’d be interested!
Copyright © 06.07.2007
Monday, June 4, 2007
One of Heather’s friends wrote her a poem, around the time the final verdict came in from the doctor; Heather had three days left to say adieu. The emotions in the poem were so raw and unfeigned and she had such a pellucid way of writing; I didn’t snivel, but sobbed incessantly. Heather’s death made me realize that sufferers are of two kinds: the ones who deal with physical agony (patient) and the remaining lot who deal with life’s tribulations (people who are left behind mourning their dear ones).
I don't intend to make this post morbid, but it's time women took matter in their own hands. Let’s get proactive and not reactive. Most women pay no or minimal heed to their own health until it's too late; there are few others who either live in a bubble of denial and/ or live with an ‘I am immortal’ attitude. Well, it’s time for reality check. Do you know that cervical cancer is the major cause of cancer deaths in women in many developing countries? Cervical cancer is caused by several types of a virus called human papillomaviruses (HPV). HPV does not see age, color, or race; it corrodes the foundation of your life.
This post is not a scare tactic. I beseech every woman out there to make an appointment with her doctor today. Get tested ladies. Men, if you share even the remotest concern about the health and well-being of your mother, wife, daughter, sister, or even a friend, please spread the word. Tumors can kill and cervical cancer is not the most easily detectable one.
In case you are wondering, I do not represent any politically-inclined interest groups; I hope this post will snap you out of your inertia and persuade you to make the call. It’s in your hands.
Copyright © 06.04.2007
Gandhi: "Live as if you'll die tomorrow; learn as if you'll live forever."
Thursday, May 31, 2007
I was standing in queue at Starbucks to purchase their summer launch – Dulce De Leche. So, this lady behind the counter who seemed very effusive – more like a combination of garrulous and exuberant, asked me what I wanted. Here I was, trying to luxuriate in the aura of ‘good customer service’, when this angry man with gallons of milk, entered the store. My guess is that he was the supplier’s chum. So, this verbally-challenged -endowed -with –body- odor- insolent- person lashed his fury at this timid creature behind the cash counter. How did she respond – she continued to be punctilious and chirpy. Soon after that, she lugged in a bag of ice, which seemed to be double her weight; yet, she almost gave out a 'welcome cheer'.
Her behavior struck me as odd. Maybe I am an eccentric and the ‘I don’t care New York attitude’ has rubbed off a little too much on me, but all I wanted to say to her was “Miss, you need to lay off the Prozac and wipe off the perpetual smile”! Being cordial, jubilant, and amiable is one thing; being incessantly perky even when someone slaps you, to me is scary.
I wonder when a polite smile seems to morph into a creepy one. What is the threshold for it? Any thoughts?
Copyright © 05.31.2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Juggling on the other hand is the ability to partake in multifarious chores within a span of time BUT you handle them one-by-one. The main difference between a multi - tasker and a juggler is in the method of work. They are both like prestidigitators - handle multitudinous activities BUT the former indulges in all the tasks at the same time while the latter handles one task at a time.
What is the quality of outcome from juggling? Well, I am a juggler so I may not be the best person to answer this question – I definitely have a biased opinion. What I do know is that we live in a day and age where juggling does not seem like an alternative. With the plethora of choices & myriad of opportunities out there, it is hard to avert your face and live in a 'bubble of denial'.
I do not know many people from my generation who are not neither multi-taskers nor jugglers. It seems like it is incumbent upon people to be one way or the other.
Copyright © 05.24.2007
“Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds” - Oscar Wilde
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Let me walk you through the background of my thoughts. You know, the mere mention of a 'house guest' brings out skeptical feelings in all of us. I am not saying people loathe them. In fact, I for one cherish company BUT what I am trying to arrive is at haven't we have all had those discourteous, abominable, patronizing, over-demanding, and fastidious humans, who aren't a pleasure but more like a liability - the kind who believe they should be treated like royalty? I have had a few of those, who given the opportunity, would like for you to shower them with rose petals - well, maybe I exaggerate but you get the essence. Ironically, these are the people who bring out the flavor of literati in me - free-flowing words. A few tumultuous days with them and I can literally type up a book.
Historically speaking, all the great writers/artists have had a tragic life – one deprived of friends and family. It is heartbreaking that great company does not yield results for a writer while bad company leads to profuse flow of words. You want to give a standing ovation to the former and biffs to the latter or as Benjamin Franklin would say, “Fish and visitors smell in three days.” I wonder if inspiration comes clad in anger and frustration.
Here is what I propose: some discerning individual should conduct research to expound the impact house guests have on a writer's writing abilities.
Copyright © 05.20.2007
“If it were not for guests all houses would be graves” ~Kahlil Gibran
Thursday, May 10, 2007
This is not an insidious effort at reveling in Bush’s bloopers but an attempt at proving my point. I believe class is synonymous with having that sanctimonious attitude where you think you are better than others are – not really in a “You plebeian, I am better than thou,” but with a subtle hint of arrogance combined with the knowledge of being a patrician. They are not necessarily intelligentsia or hobnob with royalty all the time, but when they stride down a hallway, heads turn and jaws drop; not in a boorish way, but more like “Wow!”
The nouveau riche have all the power and money, but often continue to be ostentatious and bourgeoisie in their approach. It is because you cannot inculcate class into someone. You are born either with it or in it - thanks to your genealogy.
Copyright © 05.10.2007
“Really, if the lower orders don't set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility.” – Oscar Wilde
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
At the end of such a tumultuous day, what happens when you run into a familiar face at an unexpected time? That affable face gives you a hug, which makes you feel rest assured – like all your problems will melt away into an unknown place. It makes you euphoric. It happened to me twice over the last two weeks; I was at that moment of “I can’t take this anymore,” and I had a fortuitous encounter with my amiga. The exhilaration I felt, was ineffable.
Has that ever happened to you? I am curious if there are any people out there who have felt the magical powers of an amiable embrace.
Copyright © 05.08.2007
“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go” – Oscar Wilde
Friday, May 4, 2007
The muse for this post, who is neither cagey nor expedient, strongly believes that men find it incumbent upon themselves to indulge in the game of 'hide & seek', if their spouses wear 'shirts'. Before you denounce this as crazy, let me elaborate on this proposed research topic. She thinks that shirts make women look rather unsightly, manly, and not chic; shirts don’t quite resonate with muliebrity.
Do shirt-wearing women breed perfidious spouses? Is ‘shirt’ a manly garb in a man’s world? I’d be curious to find out what others think. Which of the three quotes can you relate to?
People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile. ~Lee Mildon
A dress that zips up the back will bring a husband and wife together. ~James H. Boren
I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn't itch. ~Gilda Radner
Copyright © 05.04.2007
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Let me ask you this – have you been in that incommodious position on the subway/bus where this asinine person sitting right next to you assumes that you are a part of the public fixture, as in 'seat'? This apathetic audience rests half their body weight on you and blatantly ignores a polite excusez-moi. What you are left with, is few inches of microscopic space to accommodate yourself and not to forget, a stranger’s body weight encroached upon every inch of your existence.
I for one, have had enough. I feel it's time either these churlish, imperceptive, undignified people pay for two seats or else the rest of the civilized world get a hefty discount for our tickets. I mean, since I sit on one-quarter of the seat, I may as well pay for 1/4th of the ticket. The uncouth lot might call this unfair but hey, c'est la vie.
I know Southwest airlines came up with this brilliant concept where people beyond a ‘certain weight limit’ needed to purchase two tickets; I think it's time every public transport implemented that rule, BUT here is the difference - It shouldn’t be targeted at portly people. To annihilate this issue, this Draconian rule should be directed at just about anyone who is ill-mannered and lacks the power to comprehend a basic concept – ‘a stranger’s limb' is NOT symbolic or reminiscent of 'rest areas’ on the highway. There is no apology or remorse from these people but before you know, you feel like a hapless animal deprived of any sensation awaiting coup de grâce.
I know most of us are beleaguered by these nincompoops. Any thoughts? Do you think any action should be taken against such imbeciles because as Oscar Wilde would say “ I sometimes think that God, in creating man, overestimated his ability.”
Copyright © 05.03.2007
Friday, April 27, 2007
I tend to digress, so I will try to keep this post focused on the latest scandal - Shilpa Shetty & Richard Gere. I am a little addled with the so-called controversy. Most actors in Bollywood bare their skin at the bat of an eyelid and most Hindi movies these days qualify in the ‘R’ category. Seriously, so what is all the brouhaha about Shetty and Gere? Was it really a faux pas? It is not as if Gere assaulted Shetty neither was she like a deer caught in the headlights. If Shetty did not feel violated then why are these sanctimonious politicians exhibiting such barbaric emotions? Have they completely sworn off savoir-fare?
'Kamasutra' was India’s gift to the world! In addition, don’t we have the highest number of AIDS victims? So, where do these imbeciles get off preaching others? C'mon, a court in Jaipur has threatened to put Gere behind bars for three months because he inaptly indulged in 'the deed'. Do these people ever hear themselves speak? These two-faced perverts stand in pugnacious lines to purchase movie tickets for revolting films with despicable scenes and ribald language. Now they have the audacity to create ruckus over a ‘peck on the cheek’.
Is the Indian audience upset because a foreigner instead of an Indian man conducted ‘the act’? If that is the truth, do I sense a hint of racism?
Copyright © 04.27.2007
“The great law of culture is: let each become all that he was created capable of being.” - Thomas Carlyle
Thursday, April 26, 2007
My friend's sister, who is a doctor by profession, decided to get back to work even before her three-month maternity leave got over. Oh boy, the 'public anguish' she faced was loathsome – like she was a boorish mother with no care for her children. Pfft! At the same time, I know a few stay-at-home moms whose kids are like couch potatoes on a baneful diet.
Few of my cliques are stay-at- home moms BUT their brains are lot more agile than few dim-witted, strident working- women I know. Despite having successful careers, the minute these ludicrous women open their mouth, you wish tsetse flies would bite them so that they would halt choking on their own achievements. The homemakers I am referring to are avant - garde, avid readers, and more adept than most working- women are. You can engage in an intellectual conversation with them without either parties feeling threatened about their choice of lifestyle – like an ethereal world.
What I am trying to sum up is, to each is his own. Having a job or career does not make anyone ingenious; neither does baking chocolate chip cookies and Lysol -scrubbing make you a more devout wife or mom. These self-indulgent, territorial women do not see that no one benefits from their squabble; with their imbecilic attitude, they make mockery of themselves. I say, make a choice, adhere to it, and let it be or as the French say - laissez-faire.
Copyright © 04.26.2007
"In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane." – Oscar Wilde
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Can you imagine if Shakespeare used the above-mentioned title as opposed to ‘where art thou,’ in his works? Maybe, the literary circle will construe this as insolent behavior, but our young masses might actually be able to empathize with the great playwright’s writings. How many people (I am referring to the hoi polloi, and not gurus who have studied Shakespeare or theatre in college and can soak up the arcane writings) managed to comprehend Shakespeare’s literary contributions, when they were in high school? I remember being in a comatose stage once while watching the bard’s works in London at the Globe, and this, is when I am an ardent admirer of Shakespeare’s work.
All of his plays, ranging from “Julius Caesar” to “Romeo & Juliet”, though eloquent, are arduous to assimilate for that particular age group. To the younger generation, the greatest writer of the English language and his contribution seem archaic. My friends and I feel that we fully understood Shakespeare’s work eons after graduating high school. Renouncing Shakespeare’s work is not what I am suggesting; improvising them with humor, is what I am - adding a contemporary feel to his works, so that they become congruous with the changing times.
I do not want Shakespeare to turn in his grave, but I think he would appreciate it if the readership of his books aggrandized. Can you conjure up a world where teenagers, out of choice, immersed themselves in Shakespeare’s work? Well, to me, it seems attainable!
Copyright © 04.19.2007
"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" - Shakespeare
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Most people I spoke with seemed to be astounded with the ethnicity of the killer. “I didn’t think an Asian kid would ever do this. It’s not in their culture”. Another went on to say, “I heard the ratio of Japanese young adults committing suicide, is very high. Maybe it’s that factor.” Newsflash: The killer was of South Korean descent, and not Japanese. Let us not dwell on stereotypes and racism when the issue is more deep-rooted than that.
This might sound like harangue, but here is what I surmise: The root of the problem is ‘lack of stricter gun regulations’ in America. A teenager or someone in his or her early twenties does not have the maturity to channelize acrimony or disgruntlement. At that tender age, you are inept at differentiating between right or wrong. When you snap, you get consumed in the moment, and that is when calamity strikes – Cho Seung-Hui’s are born.
Has the government not learnt anything from the Columbine annihilation in Colorado? It always boils down to the dispute between gun control vs. gun rights. Will the death rates go down if we had stricter regulations? Well, here is food for your thought: Amongst all industrialized nations, United States has the highest number of gun-related deaths. Being a world leader in this category is appalling and disconcerting!
I am attaching a link to an article in The Economist. http://www.economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9028115
Copyright © 04.18.2007
“The Americans are certainly great hero-worshipers, and always take their heroes from the criminal classes” - Oscar Wilde
Saturday, April 14, 2007
The next few lines might sound like vicious rambling, but I have to blurt it out or else I will choke. Here goes: God, I hate bowling alleys! What is the big deal about wearing someone's feculent shoes and bedaubing food on huge multi-colored begrimed bowling balls? I am not trying to be a snob, but I think bowling is an unsanitary sport. It brings out the barbaric side in all of us – back to crude basics.
Well, I survived the evening with 'I am having a great time' smile on my face right so that no one could suspect the emotional turmoil I was going through. Honestly, even a hot shower on reaching home could not take-away the dirty feeling – like someone had desecrated the shrine.
Copyright © 04.14.2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Well, gramercy to my compeer and the mammoth of brouhaha generated by the media, I decided to check out this polemical artist’s performance. I was not audacious enough to watch the show, but I did take a sneak peak at few of his YouTube clips. Hmmmm. What can I say? The one thing Sanjaya is good at, is taking all the insults like a brave heart. He definitely has a sweet smile and congenial personality but when it comes to singing, he is inept - as if the doors of hell unleashed their fury. I heard him sing one of my favorite songs – ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’ and boy, did he ruin it! I am unsure what he is still doing on the show. Another thing, someone needs to tell him that the 80’s are gone – hair morphing is outdated and will not take-away the attention from his odious performance.
Okay, on the serious side, here is what is happening: American Idol contestants are on the verge of a revolt, American Idol judge Simon Cowell has threatened to quit the Idol should Sanjaya win, and Sirius satellite radio jock Howard Stern said he hopes to turn American Idol into a farce and eventually destroy its popularity by supporting Sanjaya Malakar.
Is Sanjaya a mere pawn in the hands of Howard Stern and Simon Cowell? Is it a power struggle between the two men? Do people, who want to vote him off, make the invidious remarks as a sign of racism? Has Sanjaya won not only teenage votes but also mommy-votes?
I am perplexed! Any thoughts? Check out these YouTube clips to help you make your decision…
Copyright © 04.12.2007
Monday, April 9, 2007
Copyright © 04.09.2007
“Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everyone in good society holds exactly the same opinion.” - Oscar Wilde
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
This article in today’s New York Times discusses the epidemic of corpulence and the plans of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to spend more than $500 million over the next five years to reverse the increase in childhood obesity.
This article got me thinking if we adults are the biggest contributors to childhood obesity. People have busy lifestyles so a quick fix of junk food has heinously replaced freshly cooked meals, in innumerable homes. You are what you eat! To exacerbate circumstances, ever since the advent of television and videogames, there has been a remarkable alleviation in the physical activity children partake. Forget calisthenics; what happened to the good old days of movement and motion when kids around the block would just play together? Be it unsafe neighborhoods or lack of time, for few parents, letting the kids watch TV or a videogame is an easy way out. While watching TV, very often, kids devour food high in sugar, trans fat, sodium, and other deleterious additives. Lack of activity, imprudent habit of appeasing palates with self-indulgent fatty foods, minimal interaction with other kids and voila, what do we have - a portly, introvert, angry kid looking at few hours of therapy by the time she/he is in college.
I know there has been clamor over how companies (like McDonalds, Burger King, and Taco Bell etc.) should not be directing their ads towards children and people accuse the idiot box for this soaring epidemic. Maybe I sound harsh but I think it is time we took onus upon ourselves. These are marketers and this is what they do. Parents need to get over their guilt of not spending enough time with children and stop fulfilling every desire, however asinine. If you abstain from junk food & eat healthy, your children will eat healthy. They would not know otherwise.
Indulging in sinful fare occasionally is a fine treat, BUT eating healthy every once in a while means you are adding to the growing epidemic of portliness. To annihilate this issue, parents need to take matters in their own hands. I’ll leave you on this note - according to Census Bureau data and a 2006 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, 25 million children 17 and under are obese or overweight, nearly a third of the 74 million in that age group.
Copyright © 04.04.2007
"I hate people who are not serious about their meals." - Oscar Wilde
Friday, March 30, 2007
Until two weeks ago, almost every Indian woman had lost her husband, father, brother, boyfriend to cricket. The World Cup fever had consumed the nation with the same intensity as had plague, in the past. The cricketers were placed on a pedestal and worshipped to. After all, in India, ‘cricketliness in many ways is next to godliness’.
Call it my abominable sense of humor, but I crack up at the thought of the ‘depression wave’ that has swept across the Indian diaspora and desis in India. Thanks to the Indian cricket team’s abysmal performance at the World Cup, despair has hit Indians worldwide in a capricious sort of way. The current emotional status of most Indian men is ambiguous and borderline unpleasant. The same cricket-loving nation is now burning effigies of the Indian team and sending ludicrous text messages.
What baffles me is the team’s perceived indifference and repugnant behavior; they have exhibited no sign of remorse. I personally think their attitude is deplorable. They are content with the moolah they make from endorsements in any case. I am sure you have aware that Total Multimedia Limited and Virgin Comics are creating a new comic book and animation character based on superstar cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar.
Maybe I don’t understand the love, devotion, and faith most Indians put in the Indian cricket team. One thing I do understand and believe is that it’s time we stopped treating them like the almighty.
Copyright © 03.30.2007
"I never play cricket. It requires one to assume such indecent postures" - Oscar Wilde
Sunday, March 25, 2007
This article in NY Times talks about how capybara, reputed to be the world’s largest rodent, is a delicacy in Venezuela. I know what you are thinking – rodent and delicacy said in the same sentence; does not sound very bon bouche. I have been of the same school of thought, up until I read this write-up. It got me thinking; what will we stop at?
My brother and few of my friends proudly proclaim – ‘Sure I like animals, but dead, on my plate.’ I don’t think advocates for PETA would be blithe to hear that; these meat-lovers use such fervent statements as an expression of their love towards non-vegetarian meal. To them, this is ambrosia.
I am not being sanctimonious; I indulge in meat eating as well. However, I think of myself as more of a ‘persnickety chickentarian’. Having said that, the thought of people indulging in dog or horse meat does gross me out. I remember saying to a friend, ‘how can people eat dogs? They are so cute!’ Her response was, ‘if you eat one animal, you might as well eat all.’ She does have a point.
We all have a self-defined ‘gross factor’, that determines the kind of animals you eat, and the ones you do not. What we don’t realize is that a delicacy in one country is a pet in another. So, where do we stop? Who defines what is okay to eat? I am not proposing or disposing vegetarianism. I am confused about where and when we draw the line.
Copyright © 03.25.2007
"After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives." - Oscar Wilde
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Having said that, I am in a quandary. Okay, so how is this concept of the book/movie new? The success of the movie seems like a paradox in some way. I have lost count of the number of books and movies written/made on immigrant experience and their struggle to create a fine blend of east in west.
Don't get me wrong; I have a lot of admiration for these women. I went to the meet of the South Asian literati where both these eminent ladies shared their side of "The Namesake": writing and movie making. Jhumpa Lahiri's remarkable acumen to details is worth applauding. She is precocious and an adroit writer. Not to forget, Mira Nair lit the room with her piquant wit; people were in splits. What added the icing on the cake was Jhumpa Lahiri's educational background - she is a Columbia graduate who lives in Brooklyn. Boy, it couldn't get any better than that for me. However, none of this explains the astonishing success of the movie.
I have been talking to a friend about how the salient success of "The Namesake" reminds me of a book I read by Malcolm Gladwell – "The Tipping Point". According to Mr. Gladwell, major changes occur when things reach a "tipping point" (or "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point"). I am sure there is an explanation for why, what, who, or when caused the ineffable triumph of "The Namesake", over other books/movies from the same genre. The answer to this question would make sense to my world. I hope some one is carrying out this research as I'd be intrigued to find out.
Copyright © 03.22.2007
"If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all" - Oscar Wilde
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Well, it is mid-March and up until two days ago, I was basking in the glorious spring sun; today, I am snowed in. If this isn’t the effect of global warming, what is?
Now on to the ‘main topic’ for this blog. The other day, I called up a friend of mine, who is visiting family & friends in India. My world came crashing down after listening to what she had to say.
According to her, the morals and culture of the Indian society are atrophying. The bourgeois is striving to lead a bohemian life. That is not it! Our own classmate turned out to be perfidious. Someone I have known for a decade committed the heinous act of infidelity.
If you speak with people from my parent’s generation, they blame it all on the western world. Is that the gospel truth? I highly doubt it!
Copyright © 03.17.2007
"Discomfort guides my tongue and bids me speak of nothing but despair." - The Tragedy of King Richard the Second
Thursday, March 15, 2007
The chitchat with my cronies revealed something alluring. Most of these women grew up with a strong, defined notion of beauty and brains. For the longest time, they looked down upon grooming and saw it as a reflection of vanity. They felt ‘grooming’ was for women who lacked intellectual abilities - ignoramuses.
Having said that, the same group now defines grooming, as 'taking care of oneself'. Most women I have discussed this with, say the same apologue; it was at that one point in their life that they discerned that it was high time. Funnily enough, most of them started feeling that way in their mid to late twenties. It was as if they had an epiphany.
Today, they think that a visit to the spa or having immaculate nails is incumbent upon them. I guess I am one of them too as I spent my last Saturday at one of my favorite spas, luxuriating in a temporary decadent and opulent life.
Do not get me wrong; these are all very smart women who DO NOT take advantage of their femme fatale to get ahead in life. In addition, none of them is an aging prune either.
What bewilders me is the cause for this conversion - who, what, when, and why transfigured the existing ideologies of all these women?
Copyright © 03.15.2007
I'd be interested in your comments and thoughts!
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
A friend of mine introduced me to this store called ‘White House Black Market’. I have to admit, I found the name rather alluring and that was one of the reasons (the other was recommendation coming from a friend who’s taste I appreciate) I decided to check it out.
White House Black Market, true to its name, carries only clothes and accessories in black and white color. My first trip to the store, I felt like a child cavorting in the woods. The store is drop-dead gorgeous; the fitting room area is prodigious. It is reminiscent of the Victorian era, adorned with just the right blend of contemporary and traditional style.
I laude them for one major reason - their customer service, which is impeccable. I have never met such cordial and non-pushy sales people; they make you feel special. It is the only store, I know of, where everything is about ‘you’. For people residing in urban areas, this might sound like a non-existent concept.
The store organizes a soiree, which they call the ‘girls’ night out’ – a not to be missed event, a special discount for the ladies and free-flowing wine. Now, that is what I call splendid. Ladies, next time when you want to indulge in self-pampering, check out this store.
Copyright © 03.13.2007
Saturday, March 10, 2007
To be honest, I did not cogitate about this aspect of my writing, until they mentioned it. I have always believed that all humans have two strikingly different sides to their personality - an amiable Jekyll and misanthropic Hyde. It ties back to the Freudian theory of ‘super ego’ and ‘id’ - the former a reflection of Jekyll in us, and the latter, an indication of Hyde.
What I am contemplating is the reason that brings out this hedonist or utilitarian in some people; does the pressure of evolution and political correctness compel us to camouflage? Is it true that when we get behind the mask of words, the veracity comes out? Can we give the power of words the entire accolade?
Copyright © 03.10.2007
“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” – Oscar Wilde
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
To give you a brief overview, this is what my last week was between Monday and Friday: work, school, two delightful dinners with friends, and drinks with two other friends on separate evenings. In addition, I went for a book reading session, a ‘girls’ night-out promotion’ at one of my favorite stores, and the ‘literary fest’ – monthly meeting of my book club. You know what, the list seems long, but I cannot fathom spending my week in a nicer way; to me, this was euphoria.
It is interesting because others find it hard to digest that I actually seek pleasure from multi-tasking. The ones, who share the same belief system as mine, could not agree more; but the ones who aspire for a more decadent or opulent life, cannot stop questioning it.The other day over dinner, a friend of mine said something simple yet important. “In NYC, if you do not do 15 things, you are a slacker.” People do not have the luxury of time to trudge through life with the rhythm of one-step at a time.
Do you think it is the essence of New York that makes people contend? Maybe it is the cornucopia of opportunities or is it a personality type? I, for one am certainly not Type A, but I luxuriate in precarious living via juggling a multitude of tasks.
Copyright © 03.06.2007
"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde