Friday, March 31, 2006

'Mademoiselle' in Montreal

'Mademoiselle'....That's what they called me when I went to Montreal a couple of weeks back. It was an amazing week. Time just flew past. No, it was not a vacation. Yes, it was for work(No kidding, I really did complete a lot of assigned tasks).

Everything about the place was so French and impeccable. People dressed up in suits and blazers....High-heeled shoes...Gucci...Versace...The city, atleast part of the city that I visited was beautiful...I stayed right in downtown.....Exclusive list of ethnic restaurants around. I managed to visit just five of them, but the food was delicious and the service was excellent....

Oh!! The way the people spoke 'Salut', 'Merci'...I don't know..I just felt it was more than just words..Probably not to them..But to me!!

I took a LIMO from the airport to the hotel and back!! Yeah, company paid for it...but still I went in a limo. Nothing equals the feeling you get when people try to stare at a limo window wondering who is inside it!! I have been there and done that!! But this time, I was inside it and it made a lot of difference!! No, I am not shallow..but just indulging in next-to-nothing pleasure once in a while!

The first time the limo driver addressed me as 'Mademoiselle' in the really should have seen my face. I wondered and pondered and then decided to act my role!!

Shopping would have been great, except I did not have any time to do it. Maybe next time.. time...Don't know when yet... but cant stop thinking about it!!

Alright...I am back to Earth....just landed on my feet!!

Monday, March 27, 2006

'Da' Trip

The 'Da' trip was my trip to Manchester, NH and Newport, RI to meet a bunch of my undergrad friends. I met a couple of friends after 4 years and another after 2 years!! Long time.........

Newport was awesomely scenic!! We drove along some cliffs and took tour of The Breakers mansion. Man, was it amazing and calling it a mansion was just right!!

It was a fast trip for just two days! We tried to go to several other places but we had a lot to catch up with about ourselves that we did have time. Especially after bunch of wrong directions from several online maps, over-tact maneuvering and losing our way more than once, we gave up and just enjoyed sitting and chatting!!

Friday, March 24, 2006

North Vs South

Got it as a forwarded email....

North Indian Vs South Indian girlfriends:

1. At the time of marriage, a north Indian girl has more boyfriends thanher age.
2. Before marriage, she looks almost like a Bollywood heroine and after marriage you have to go around her twice to completely hug her.
3. By the time she professes her undevoted love to you, you are bankrupt because of the number of times you had to take her out to movie theatres and restaurants. And you wait longingly for her dowry.
4. The only dishes she can think of to cook is paneer butter masala, aloo sabji,aloo gobi sabji, aloo matar, aloo paneer, that after eating all those paneer and aloos you are either in the bed with chronic cholesterol or chronic gas disorder.
5. The only growth that you see later in your career is the rise in your monthly phone bill.
6. You are blinded by her love that you think that she is a blonde. Only later do you come to know that it is because of the mehandhi that she applies to cover her gray hair.
7. When you come home from office she is very busy watching " Kyonki saas bi kabi bahu thi" that you either end up eating outside or cooking yourself.
8. You are a very "ESpecial" person to her.
9. She always thought that Madras is a state and covers the whole of south india until she met you.
10. When she says she is going to "work out" she means she is going to "walk out"
11. She has greater number of relatives than the number of people you have in your home town.
12. The only two sentences in English that she knows are "Thank you" and "How are you"
13. She thinks Govinda can dance better than Michael Jackson.


1. Her mother looks down at you because you didn't study in IIT or Anna University.
2. Her father starts or ends every conversation with " ... I say..."
3. She uses the word 'Super' as her only superlative.
4. Her name is another name for a Goddess or a flower.
5. Her name is longer than your first name, middle name and surname combined (unless you are from Andhra)
6. When she mixes milk and rice you are never sure whether it is for the Dog or for you.
7.For weddings, she sports a mini jasmine garden on her head and wears silk saris in the Madras heat without looking too uncomfortable while you are melting in your singlet.
8. She bursts into songs and dance with her cousins in every movie.
9. You have to give her jewellery , though she has already got plenty of it.
10. She is more educated than you.
11. Her father thinks she is much smarter than you.

All of this was probably compiled by mean men. The Indian girls known to me definitely do not fall in either of these categories. Whatever their world is, some men cannot just appreciate or accept the women around them as they are! Right?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The 'Da' Trip

Two more days of waiting time for the 'Da' trip!!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Reminiscing Holi

A school-mate who chats with me sporadically catches me online on a shiftless Tuesday. After a lot of idyllic topics, we ended up chatting about Holi. In the good-old, golden school days, a stretch of two weeks in March was festive. I studied in a school which was sponsored by the Jain Education Trust = population consisted of the local ... generally terming - the Hindi-speaking crowd. So, Holi was such a big deal. The planning started weeks before - just not where and when, but who to invite from outside the school/class, theme for the year (a particular color, idea, song...), who is going to sponsor what (as in terms of the actual props for the celebration), ....I have to stop here since I don't know what else was done....I was not too much involved in planning about this. Two reasons - I was not a native Hindi speaker; I was a little too academic to just be allowed in the actual celebration and not in the preparation. Such incessant planning and elaborate arranging led to an excellent Holi year after year. Those were GOOD TIMES!!

I remember the shocked expressions of my neighbors(rather conservative and close-minded) when all this happened for the first time(probably when I was in 7th or 8th class) and I came back home plastered in pink and green. My parents didn't mind it too much. It went on year after year. It was a great experience except for two things - the continual showering day after day to rub off the pink and green completely and censures from complete strangers (who are rude enough to comment on South Indians getting North-Indianaized and/or how we are just full of ourselves).

Almost all fun I had during Holi ended with school. During college days, it wasn't such a big deal, except in the girls hostel - it was a little vicious there, like eater be eaten!! Then during my post-graduate studies in US, they allocated a time and place to celebrate Holi. It was usually the following weekend. Not much of a hungama - just some singing and dancing, no prank-affair with Indian food (not much, just samosa and milk sweets) which made it dull and boring.

Now, striding past all that, Holi is just any other day. Except I saw a bunch of blogs related. Then, my friend was telling me about how he was playing pranks on Holi and was reprimanded for it!!

These posts are simply irritating. This one is about how Holi should not be telecast on TV's since people in Haryana didn't care for celebration of Pongal and Sankranthi. Common...Grow up. Once a human life and a few times in a life time... That's it...That's how many times this happens. Cant we just make the best of it for us and everyone around us?

This and this are plain disturbing.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Why we want who we want?

Found this interesting article somewhere a long time ago....

I know of one couple: He is a burly ex-athlete who, in addition to being a successful salesman, coaches Little League, is active in his Rotary Club and plays golf every Saturday with friends. Meanwhile, his wife is petite, quiet and a complete homebody. She doesn't even like to go out to dinner.

What mysterious force drives us into the arms of one person, while pushing us away from another who might appear equally desirable to any unbiased observer?

Of the many factors influencing our idea of the perfect mate, one of the most telling, according to John Money, professor emeritus of medical psychology and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, is what he calls our "love map" -- a group of messages encoded in our brains that describes our likes and dislikes. It shows our preferences in hair and eye color, in voice, smell, body build. It also records the kind of personality that appeals to us, whether it's the warm and friendly type or the strong, silent type.

In short, we fall for and pursue those people who most clearly fit our love map. And this love map is largely determined in childhood. By age eight, the pattern for our ideal mate has already begun to float around in our brains.

When I lecture, I often ask couples in the audience what drew them to their dates or mates. Answers range from "She's strong and independent" and "I go for redheads" to "I love his sense of humor" and "That crooked smile, that's what did it."

I believe what they say. But I also know that if I were to ask those same men and women to describe their mothers, there would be many similarities between their ideal mates and their moms. Yes, our mothers -- the first real love of our lives -- write a significant portion of our love map.

When we're little, our mother is the center of our attention, and we are the center of hers. So our mother's characteristics leave an indelible impression, and we are forever after attracted to people with her facial features, body type, personality, even sense of humor. If our mother was warm and giving, as adults we tend to be attracted to people who are warm and giving. If our mother was strong and even-tempered, we are going to be attracted to a fair-minded strength in our mates.

The mother has an additional influence on her sons: she not only gives them clues to what they will find attractive in a mate, but also affects how they feel about women in general. So if she is warm and nice, her sons are going to think that's the way women are. They will likely grow up warm and responsive lovers and also be cooperative around the house.

Conversely, a mother who has a depressive personality, and is sometimes friendly but then suddenly turns cold and rejecting, may raise a man who becomes a "dance-away lover." Because he's been so scared about love from his mother, he is afraid of commitment and may pull away from a girlfriend for this reason.

While the mother determines in large part what qualities attract us in a mate, it's the father -- the first male in our lives -- who influences how we relate to the opposite sex. Fathers have an enormous effect on their children's personalities and chances of marital happiness.

Just as mothers influence their son's general feelings toward women, fathers influence their daughter's general feelings about men. If a father lavishes praise on his daughter and demonstrates that she is a worthwhile person, she'll feel very good about herself in relation to men. But if the father is cold, critical or absent, the daughter will tend to feel she's not very lovable or attractive.

In addition, most of us grow up with people of similar social circumstances. We hang around with people in the same town; our friends have about the same educational backgrounds and career goals. We tend to be most comfortable with these people, and therefore we tend to link up with others whose families are often much like our own.
Complementary Needs
What about opposites? Are they really attracted to each other? Yes and no. In many ways we want a mirror image of ourselves. Physically attractive people, for example, are usually drawn to a partner who's equally attractive.

Robert Winch, a longtime sociology professor at Northwestern University, stated in his research that our choice of a marriage partner involves a number of social similarities. But he also maintained that we look for someone with complementary needs. A talker is attracted to someone who likes to listen, or an aggressive personality may seek out a more passive partner.

It's rather like the old, but perceptive, saying on the subject of marriage that advises future partners to make sure that the holes in one's head fit the bumps in the other's. Or, as Winch observed, it's the balancing out of sociological likenesses and psychological differences that seems to point the way for the most solid lifelong romance.

However, there are instances where people of different social backgrounds end up getting married and being extremely happy. I know of one man, a factory worker from a traditional Irish family in Chicago, who fell in love with an African American Baptist. When they got married, their friends and relatives predicted a quick failure. But 25 years later, the marriage is still strong.

It turns out that the woman was like her mother-in-law -- a loving and caring person, the type who rolls up her sleeves and volunteers to work at church or help out people in need. This is the quality that her husband fell for, and it made color and religion and any other social factors irrelevant to him.

Or as George Burns, who was Jewish and married the Irish Catholic Gracie Allen, used to say: his marriage was his favorite gig, even though it was Gracie who got all the laughs. The two of them did share certain social similarities -- both grew up in the city, in large but poor families. Yet what really drew them together was evident from the first time they went onstage together. They complemented each other perfectly: he was the straight man, and she delivered the punch lines.

There are certainly such "odd couples" who could scarcely be happier. We all know some drop-dead beautiful person married to an unusually plain wallflower. This is a trade-off some call the equity theory.

When men and women possess a particular asset, such as high intelligence, unusual beauty, a personality that makes others swoon, or a hefty bankroll that has the same effect, some decide to trade their assets for someone else's strong points. The raging beauty may trade her luster for the power and security that come with big bucks. The not-so-talented fellow from a good family may swap his pedigree for a poor but brilliantly talented mate.

Indeed, almost any combination can survive and thrive. Once, some neighbors of mine stopped by for a friendly social engagement. During the evening Robert, a man in his 50s, suddenly blurted out, "What would you say if your daughter planned to marry someone who has a ponytail and insisted on doing the cooking?"

"Unless your daughter loves cooking," I responded, "I'd say she was darn lucky."

"Exactly," his wife agreed. "It's really your problem, Robert -- that old macho thing rearing its head again. The point is, they're in love."

I tried to reassure Robert, pointing out that the young man their daughter had picked out seemed to be a relaxed, nonjudgmental sort of person -- a trait he shared with her own mother.

Is there such a thing as love at first sight? Why not? When people become love-struck, what happens in that instant is the couple probably discover a unique something they have in common. It could be something as mundane as they both were reading the same book or were born in the same town. At the same time they recognize some trait in the other that complements their own personality.

I happen to be one of those who were struck by the magic wand. On that fateful weekend, while I was a sophomore at Cornell University, I had a terrible cold and hesitated to join my family on vacation in the Catskill Mountains. Finally I decided anything would be better than sitting alone in my dormitory room.

That night as I was preparing to go to dinner, my sister rushed up the stairs and said, "When you walk into that dining room, you're going to meet the man you'll marry."

I think I said something like "Buzz off!" But my sister couldn't have been more right. I knew it from the moment I saw him, and the memory still gives me goose flesh. He was a premed student, also at Cornell, who incidentally also had a bad cold. I fell in love with Milton the instant I met him.

Milt and I were married for 39 years, until his death in 1989. And all that time we experienced a love that Erich Fromm called a "feeling of fusion, of oneness," even while we both continued to change, grow and fulfill our lives.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Is Loneliness palpable??

Is loneliness palpable or not??

Sunday, March 12, 2006

How long is 'too long a wait'?

Is there a specific time limit that has to be followed for waiting times? Just how long is too long a wait time?

For anything, from passports and visas to just a phone call from a friend, how long should be the nominal wait time??

Still pondering...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Benefit of doubt - not anymore...

This is related to the Blank Noise Project.

Will the male groping ever stop?? I don't think so...

I still get a pain in the pits of my stomach when I think about how my best friend was groped in a very busy railway station back in school days or when my classmate from college was man-handled in a supposed-to-be-hip Shopping Mall or how scared we used to be (we still are) in any crowded place with lewd looks and lurking men.

I think I am a little ashamed of what had happened - not that it was in any way our fault or that we could have stopped it in anyway, but I feel that I could have atleast spoken up instead of shying and hurrying away from that place/person. But how much could I have done then?

I am a little too pulsed up now to write everything in an orderly fashion. So, I am just jolting it all down:

1) I think I was about 12-13 years old. My friends and I used to bicycle to school everyday. There used to be this street corner on our way, where irrespective of time of the day or day of the week, a gang of thugs used to be sitting on the compound wall of some house (like sea erne eagerly waiting for timely prey). Everything was going good until one day my friend had to come to school alone (we had left for school earlier) and the lurker-guys had stopped her, started pulling her skirt, etc... She came to class in tears and the result - the school management changed our uniforms from skirt-shirt to chudidhars. We were shell-shocked. Did no one ever question them or will no one ever stop them. What did our parents do - asked us to change the route to school.

2) The next incident was in a crowded Madras railway station, when I was in senior secondary school. The metro trains were not that crowded that day. We must have seen that as a stopping sign. We got in the 'ladies compartment' thinking we were going to be safe!! My parents always used to chauffeur me everywhere. So, the idea of going in a train with just my friends was too good to resist. So, anyways, people started getting in and out... By the time, we reached Egmore, it was packed. Then, we got down and the station was jam-packed = excellent ambiance for gropy lurkers. Don't ask me what or what did not happen then. Last time I went in trains with just my (girl)friends and without an escort.

Now, I am just too depressed to pen more.

When I was growing up, I sometimes used to think when I traveled by bus or train that it was just my imagination or over-cautiousness that led me to be suspicious of the others traveling. So, even if some ogling or leering or lewd-remarking did happen, I used to give them the benefit of doubt and not worry about it very much or just ignore it.

What is it with the male society that makes them do this - is it just the absence and presence of something biological? Has there ever been a woman/girl who didn't have to go through this in her lifetime? For a long time, I used to wonder if it happened just to some girls......No, I realize its a 30-40 year time-span process for all women.....

I do know that not all men are like this. Men I am friends with, I work with, I have known since school and college days - I can quote a whole bunch of them, (atleast within my sphere of my knowledge) - who have been good to me. So, what is it with the rest of the man world?

Someday, sometime, somewhere we have to confront them. If its not today, then tomorrow we have to stop giving benefit of doubt and actually say something. Are they going to change? Probably not.... But better do it now, than never! STOP GIVING THE LURKERS THE BENEFIT OF DOUBT!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Lag Factor?

So, what was I doing all this while - since September 2005??

Well, I was just not sure about what to write, how to write, even if I write - who will read it?

I got into some serious thinking a few days back and realized that from my early childhood days I have been very good at one thing - procrastination. I vividly remember how one of my primary school teachers wrote on my report card (although I was the valedictorian) that I was smart but would be more successful if I did not put-off things to be done later.

Now that I look back, I can see all the things that I lost or I failed in doing because of this!! But its not so bad either...Waiting till the last minute, the rush of blood to get something actually done in the 11th hour, final minutes of cramming up during exams, escape not doing some stuff since it gets cancelled or postponed (bcoz of others like me), .....

Overlooking some stuff - I think the principle which would probably work would be " BETTER LATE THAN NEVER"!!

Now, although I started to blog late, nevertheless, I am in the rat-race!