Thursday, May 31, 2007

Your smile drives me crazy – no pun intended

Okay, this post might come across as a brusque piece to few, but I am confident that there are people out there who will get where I am coming from. So, here goes. Last weekend being a holiday weekend, we decided to pay homage to our ‘Memorial Day Mecca’ or as rest of America calls it, New England. The place is enigmatic – land of retail therapy, saporous food, and locals with benevolent attitude. The purlieu turned me into a swashbuckler. So, here I was soaking in the goodness of New England and that is when the inevitable happened - I got the idea for my next blog.

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

Multi-tasking vs. Juggling - Ambiguous Difference or Crystal Clear

Couple of weeks ago, someone I like to think of as a mentor, very nonchalantly called me a ‘Superwoman’ and an epitome of ‘juggling’. Well, to be fair, the person is really au fait with my lifestyle. Coincidentally, a few weeks ago, New York Times published an article that discussed the nuances & menace of multi-tasking. I agree with the article; however, I think people confuse multi-tasking with juggling and often times base their opinions inaccurately. For instance, watching the morning news on TV while reading the newspaper & at the same time trying to indulge in breakfast while answering your emails on BlackBerry, qualifies for multi-tasking. I am not arguing for it as I agree that the quality of result/ outcome, out of multi-tasking, is questionable. These people arrive at the precipice of exhaustion rather early in their lives. There is evidence from MRI’s to show that the brain is not equipped to focus on more than one task at a time. If forced to multi-task, there is a neural bottleneck, and everything takes just a little bit longer.

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

Quest for words – courtesy of house guests

The past few days, I have been struggling to come up with a topic for my next post, but in vain. I know my creative juices flow the most when I have had an onerous week and I am effete. So why is that even with aching bones, I have been unable to think of what I should write about - a writer's block when I have been bestowed upon with insurmountable stress? That's when I had an epiphany - I might be physically enervated, but I am mentally relaxed, and that’s why words have ceased to pour onto a paper. So, I am sure you are wondering who is receiving the accolades for my ‘temporary nirvana’. Well, it's my house guests, my aunt and uncle, who are the reason for my ephemeral writing inability. Before you declare that my cynic side is working up another barmy or pessimistic piece, I'd like to declare otherwise.

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

Bush confesses – “Oops I did it again!”

President George Bush’s blooper (yet again) has me thinking or rather, my conviction seems reiterated - with time and money, the hoi polloi can gain fame, name, and power, but I believe class is not something even a pedagogue can teach you. For those of you wondering what the brouhaha is about, well, during a speech to welcome the Queen of England in Washington, DC on the final leg of her six-day visit to the US, President Bush misread his speech and said "You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17... 1976" and then joked by saying the Queen had given him "a look that only a mother could give a child".

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

Hug – can it conjure a miracle?

I am sure we all have days where you feel your world has come crumbling down – almost like depression and tears have cast an ominous shadow and all you have, is a ghoulish and questionable sense of existence. The day-to-day activities appear cumbersome: commuters in the subway sound ornery, coworkers appear formidable, you feel slothful, and every passerby on the street makes your spine shrivel. In all earnestness, the day seems much worse than it actually is and hence the use of all the ‘negative’ adjectives.

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

Chemise – Haute couture or mucho macho?

This post was beseeched by a friend, who has single-handedly come up with an alluring hypothesis; 'shirt-wearing-women' coerce their spouses to wander down the abhorrent path of infidelity. In case you are wondering, neither have I misrepresented any of her convictions nor does the word 'shirt' have an underlying enigmatic meaning.

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

Scoot people! Obnoxious person in the house!

It wasn’t just the exasperating train ride this morning, but today’s post is an augmentation of frustration accumulated over years. I guess, the pressure peaked today and voila - Pandora's Box has opened ….

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 grĂ¢ce.

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