Friday, December 19, 2008
Tell them about the tumultuous year it has been.
Talk about the atrocities we have seen.
Talk about the joy in-between.
This year has been a mix beyond comprehension. I am at a complete and total loss not just for words but for thoughts and feelings too. There has been immense joy and extreme pain. There has been unfathomed success and unimaginable failure. There has been a sense of foreboding and in almost every case it has ballooned into some result.
My sister said yesterday - 'Do you think 2009 will be better'? I said 'How much worse can it get?'
My wish for 2009 - 'Safety and happiness for all mankind'.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I have a million thoughts going through my mind but I guess none of them matter anymore.
Rest in Peace Bhabhi (there is a long story behind this name) - we all miss you.
Monday, December 01, 2008
This morning I read, to my rather pleasant surprise, that the Home Minister had handed in his resignation 'amidst a lot of pressure'. Which means that heads are rolling for the mis-management of the whole issue and it is almost a first for India! A quick browse of articles showed that Vilasrao Deshmukh was taken to the Taj to take a look at the aftermath of the tragedy and the man shamelessly and callously took along his actor son and director Ram Gopal Varma! I did a double-take when I read the article. Not only does it show scant regard for the magnitude of devastation but it is a glaring example of the kind of 'leadership' that the country has. This and people like R.R. Patil making statements like 'bade bade shehron mein aise ek haad hadse hote hai' or some such - somebody should tell him not to spout movie dialogues to a shocked nation! If it was SRK they wanted would watch DDLJ.
As India recovers from what can only be described as horror of the utmost degree, I find myself wishing from the bottom of my heart for some semblance of sanity and safety in this insane world. Finally I can understand the plight of people in war-plagued nations. The plight of humans in nations where all they know is fear and war. It has not become a waiting game and one of near-misses. There were about three degrees of separation between those killed and I and this is hitting far closer to home than ever before. I am scared just like everyone else, scared, confused and bewildered at the thought of a few boys about my age, welding guns and killing people for the sake of just that - killing. They demanded nothing more than for innocent people to die. If that does not shake you to your very core I don't know what will.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
So after the initial enthusiasm and the subsequent realisation that it is impossible to remember all the logins and passwords you decide on a few generic numbers and words and keep it that way! And speaking of logins and google - have you ever noticed how a person's Gtalk status bar can tell you all you need to know about their state of mind that day, or how it can bind you for life! Like the day that Obama won - every status message on my Gtalk side panel had some variation of 'Yeah Obama'! One look and it can give you that warm and fuzzy feeling that someone else is suffering too when the status message says 'I hate work' or 'I need a break'! It can be a conversation starter like when I changed mine to 'Amrita thinks' - people wanted to know what I thought, voluntarily, without me having to hold a gun to their head or anything!
It can also be a conversation killer like when the message says 'Do not disturb busy pretending to work'. It can be full of surprises, pleasant like when a friend says 'Hi' while on invisible or unpleasant when a friend says 'Hi' while on invisible and then compels you to change your status to invisible. Of course there are the quiet days when all it says is 'Away' or 'Not at desk' but then there are interesting times like when it says 'I cannot believe it happened' and then the conversation flows from there!
It is a little window to everyone's lives and really it goes to show how we can really sum up our days into one little sentence.
Apart from analysing Gtalk messages I have also been reading 'My sister's keeper' by Jodi Picoult and for now I am hooked!
Next update on this blog will be a book review.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Last week also saw America vote in its very first African-American President and I reckon us who are alive and kicking today should be proud to have been a part of history! I was among the millions who watched Obama's victory. I was also one of the millions who watched this non-entity, Sarah Palin, rise to alarming levels of power and for the lack of a better word, stupidity!
Strangely enough I only listened to two of Obama's speeches, the first when he won his party's vote and the second when he was elected to the highest office in the world!
If there is one thing and one thing only to say for the man - he can talk!
I am not interested in current affairs and politics and my knowledge of these does not extend past the day's headlines, however after Bush the Second came into power (twice!) and thoroughly mis-used it causing grief to millions and basically wrecking havoc on the world, my opinion changed. Of course I had no power in voting him out but I could join in harshly disliking him! I am not of the school of thought that thinks the Bush doctrine is correct and I cannot bring myself to agree that thanks to his 'actions' he has thwarted all further attacks on American soil. I just don't like the way he goes about things - but to each his own I guess.
So it came to pass that I took more than a passing interest in the US elections this year and supported Obama whole-heartedly (if only because he seemed like the lesser of two evils!). Another reason this election was entertaining was because of Gov. Palin. Of course the media exploited her greatly, much like they did Bush himself, however there cannot be fire without fuel. There is more than a fine line between inexperience and sheer lack of ability and it was abundantly clear which side of the line Mrs. Palin was on. That said, I did feel sorry for John McCain when I heard his speech accepting defeat but he did not seem up for the daunting task ahead and worse still, in the case of his demise it would be Mrs. Palin who would be the first (and probably the most cerebrally challenged) female President. And it is a genuine concern!
I do not know if Obama will do all the claims to and neither does the rest of the world. What we do know is that he knows what needs to be done and that is a start. While McCain seemed oblivious to the idea of an economic meltdown, Obama realised that it was imminent. And the fact of the matter is that is happened!
For everyone that says that Obama's African-American heritage was an advantage, statistically it was not and even if it made people of this race vote for him, so bloody what? - he had an advantage and a fair one (pun unintended!). His advantage was not that he bribed people, or coerced them, his advantage was that in-spite of physically appearing like a minority he knew his stuff. He knew the problems and he proposed solutions and did so while speaking like a messiah and looking like a, well, Hollywood star! I say kudos to him.
This is for all those that claim that America is a woman unfriendly place which explains why Hillary Clinton was not chosen and Sarah Palin was targeted by media. Go to America and you will see that an African American man is still considered lower than a white female and there are no two ways about it. It was an unfortunate stereo-type - until now!
So I had goosebumps while listening to Obama's victory speech, not because the words were flowery but because he is a born orator. If Bush or even Hillary Clinton had said the same words they could not have accompanied it with what seemed like honesty of spirit.
It remains to be seen what will come out of all this but we cannot dispute that history has been made, we have all been a part of it and we are all the better for it.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I have been on edge lately. It is probably PMS. Maybe not but most likely it is. Things annoy me, worry me and put me on edge every time I try to step off said edge. So I thought I would listen to 'them' and write. Write because I have a blog and a keyboard, write because I can string words together and write because I don't need to make sense all the time.
See, I think this right here is the problem. My mother said to me today 'you have raised the bar and set standards' although she said it in another context. Of course what she didn't say was that once the bar is raised then one is compelled to make sure it stays that way. Which brings me back to the problem. In a rather philosophical way the problem is to 'make sense all the time' . I am harsh on myself, with myself and more often than not I believe that it is for myself. What I don't seem to realise is that the harsher I am with myself, the more I am going to rebel against me! Some day I am going to get sick of myself and turn around tell myself to treat me better!
I think that day is fast approaching. Where instead of reprimanding myself for not doing things better I will just say 'hey you are human, **it happens'.
I don't know if what I need is rest or work. I am unsure of whether immersing myself wholeheartedly in a thesis (which only has half hearted interest) will put me back on track or will it be better to get away from it all. Wonder what 'they' have to say about that.
What helps though, to a certain extent is, once again characteristic of me, taking the middle-ground. Immersing myself in a good book. 'immersion ka immersion aur break ka break!'.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Finished reading it last night and I have this nagging feeling that I did not get my money's worth. I know it is a terrible way to think of a book - I feel unsatisfied about it.
The Down Syndrome angle was underplayed and the main character's actions seemed to lack enough reason. True they tell you that his sister was ill and that it changed his life and his mother's but it is always glanced over without being dealt with in enough depth. In saying that, maybe I just missed it. The book is beautifully written though and uses fantastic imagery. But in themes like this there is always a danger of not doing it full justice - in my case I prefer the abstract to be interspersed with startling revelations. Especially in a book of this volume.
This book was supposed to be about the redemptive power of love, according to the blurb, however to me it seemed to rush through this redemption in the last chapter rather than building it up enough. However, it is not a bad read.
Of course Kim Edwards can write and I am keen to read her other book 'The Secrets of the Fire King' I think it is called.
So tonight I shall make a start on DDM and needless to say her writing leaves me breathless. Bordering on bizarre it is amazing for a woman of her time. Just goes to show that the mind knows no barriers.
The thesis writing is progressing at snail's pace and despite having the thoughts in my head I am having serious trouble putting them into words. Scientific writing is lacklustre, without creativity. On a brighter note, my cousin arrives this weekend and the next month promises to be interesting!
Still, right now I would give anything for a good cup of tea and a rest. Both have taken a beating since I am down with hay-fever.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I can pinpoint the event that led to my studying Physics as a career. 7th Standard, Physics lesson, learning about how a thermos works. I can also pinpoint the event that led to my studying opto-electronics at university - the day I learned that it was a course taught jointly by Physics and Engineering schools, thus satisfying my personal need to study Physics (and NOT computer science) and satisfying the family by saying that I was doing 'engineering' of a kind that they would not comprehend.
Throughout my school and undergraduate years, even thought the work took its toll and there were times when I passed with flying colours and times when I failed miserably, one thing was constant, consistent - interest, amazement and wonder!
I can recall being fascinated by lasers and light. I can remember the tinge of excitement when I saw the HUGE particle accelerator at the ANU. I can recall with startling detail the thrill of actually watching light bounce off in semi circles through water that was saturated with sugar.
And then something happened that sucked this out of me - I started this PhD.
This very disturbing observation I made when I thought back to my friend and I and the conversations that we used to have. My friend is one of the smartest people I know. His grasp of Physics as a subject exceeds the understanding that most practising academics have! So here was this chap who could simplify complex theories into everyday analogies and of course this led to many a heated discussion. We would spend hours talking about Physics, the simple things, the complex things and of course the dubious things.
I has been over two years since we last talked about anything except how frustrating work is. It has been over a year since we last discussed a truly 'exciting' result of our work. I have myself to blame mostly for this.
Today was an annual celebration to mark the founding day of my workplace. So we sat through numerous, some surprisingly good, presentations. This, of course, is the perfect scenario for the mind to wander and it did.
Over the last three years I have attended several conferences, sat amidst the brilliant Physics minds and heard them spout words of consolation more than anything else. I have also heard a rather alarming amount of rubbish. I have seen how research is converted, if not reduced, to appeal to the masses and how this conversion leads to undeserving people gaining credit for half-baked ideas. I have learned that in today's world a successful academic is one that can appease the grant-givers and industry-men. I have understood that Physicists do NOT discuss the wonders of the world around us as much as they discuss the 'political scenario' that will influence their 'next grant' - over a cup of tea. I have seen that 'influential' academics will push their students regardless of talent and that those willing to be party to this will be duly rewarded.
However, this is a mere digression, it is not something 'new' neither does it warrant thought.
If I get this Phd - it will be my biggest gain and for it I will have paid with my passion. The excitement and wonder of yesteryears will be lost to cynicism and skepticism. Never again will I feel the sheer joy of reading Einstein's original paper on relativity, or the pride of meeting the man that invented the optical fibre. Why? - you ask. Why can't one get out of the rut and still take away a sense of achievement. Simply because it is fake.
There are several days when I feel that the 'thing' that I make at the end of my time here will in no way help a poor starving man in India who pulls a rickshaw in the heat and humidity of Delhi, gets spit on and abused by all and sundry and still does not have enough to feed his family. My work will in no way make those in power realise their follies and change their ways. And just when I am about to sink into the depths of despair I see a light at the end of the corridor.
It is the door. Leading out. And it is my choice to whether to walk out armed with an advanced degree. One that I have spent the last three years for. And right now it seems like the shortest distance between me and the door is through the thesis.
And beyond that I can do something that makes me happy. That gets me excited and fills me with wonder. A wonder that I once felt sitting in a classroom as a 12 year old learning about how a thermos worked.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
So I tried on the size 10s - same story. Now I know that I have not put on weight since I was last a size 8. Heck I have been a size 8 all my adult life and don't intend to change that! I left the store grumbling and then my fashion savvy sister informed me that since anorexia nervosa became the in thing size 6 is the new size 8 and size 8 is the new size 800! At this rate I will be shopping at the 'for large women' store pretty soon!
Sunday also saw me at the Indian store picking up a packet of MDH T-Masala. Fantastic stuff this! Imagine masala chai at work! Also, Drona was watched over the weekend amidst coughing and sneezing fits. Terrible movie which had the potential to be passable.
In other happenings I have passed up a trip to the US of A. I never thought I would say this but thesis writing has taken priority to say nothing of the fact that I would have to leave tomorrow if I do decide to go!
So in the blah di dah nature of things let us find solace in the simple pleasures that Canberra life offers, like when you walk along the parking lot and a bird does not swoop and attack you, or the fact that in spite of the creepy crawlies infesting your courtyard one has not crawled up your nose or into your ear and how you did not get lost on Canberra roads yesterday - Amen!
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
1. 'A Wednesday' was watched on Saturday. I was blown away by Naseerudin Shah's acting, as was everyone else that watched the film. I was also blown away by the pace and the simplicity of it. By the wonderful predictability. By the fact that the 'final speech' made me think 'Yes! That's it exactly, you tell them!' and finally I was blown away by the last line 'log naam mein mazhab dhoondh lete hai'. So true, so very true. And in this day and age, so appropriate. We live in dangerous times, in times where our name could be held against us, let alone our religion and our beliefs.
2. There is a Harry Potter game out for Wii! Yippee! So it has been decided by mass consensus that the game shall be purchased, it is just a matter of speaking with the expert and sorting out the whens and hows.
3. I was stitching a pair of pants last night when a thought struck me (No I am not skilled enough to actually stitch myself a pair of pants, I bought pants that were a tad too long and so I was just hemming the bottom). I know people who do not know how to stitch a button onto a shirt. Boys and girls, men and women my age, who think that it is either below their dignity or a waste of time to learn how to stitch back a broken button. I am not sure if it is a 'status' thing with my generation. Just as cooking, cleaning, draping a saree or a dhoti or reciting a mantra/prayer is considered to reduce your 'coolness' factor. I disagree. Just as I disagree that only women should know how to sew, or knit or darn or cook.
My parents have not brought me up as a girl - or a boy for that matter. We were not thought to think like a person of a gender, we were just taught to think! Just as we were taught that if your shirt has lost a button, stitch another one on. If you are hungry, learn to cook a few basic things. If you buy a car, learn to fill fuel in it!
I cannot understand that modern mindset of girls and boys who choose to be girls and boys or men and women. Girls that take pride is being treated 'like boys' -what does this mean exactly? Maybe tasks like stitching or cooking or cleaning were considered to be for women when women did nothing else. Even today if I was married or lived at home and did nothing but sit home all day I would consider it but practical to cook, clean the house and do the chores. It saves time and makes sense. Just as my husband or father or brother would do if they were without a job and were at home. I do not consider it womanly or unmanly to stitch a button just as I don't find it manly to climb onto a chair and cut the bushes on the porch fence! To me it is a matter of survival and practicality. I am proud that I can drape a saree albeit not very well, I am proud that I can mend my own clothes and that I can cook a decent meal. Just as I am proud that I can fix broken cupboards and cut down overgrown bushes.
I just hope that I someday I can pass on this upbringing to a fellow human being - the idea that we can all be just people, humans with genderless brains, genderless ideas and thoughts.
Friday, October 03, 2008
I asked my mother, what will I be
She said I can be whatever I like
'Just don't live off your dad and me'
Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
There's money in the bank, you see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.
When I was young, I fell in love
I asked my sweetheart what lies ahead
Will we have rainbows, day after day
He looked scared and ran away
Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
madness runs in the family
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.
Now I have no children of my own
to ask their mother, what will I be
Good thing is that I'm not around
to bring them up poorly.
Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
this is an epiphany!
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.
*Copyright Amrita Prasad
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
My earliest memories of 'fashion' are of trying on my mother's old, discarded pair of stillettoes and trying to walk in them. My sister and I had come across them in an old cupboard full of shoes and I was fascinated by them. My mom had long since 'graduated' to more sombre footwear but tell a child of less than ten that she cannot walk in high heels and she will more than try to prove you wrontg! However there were no long lasting side effects of this endeavor.
Most of my childhood my sister and I were dressed by our mother and her no-nonsense style meant that we sported clean, fitting clothes and short easy-to-manage hair.
Perhaps the next most momorable phase was the black and grey phase. Of course these were always coupled with jeans (As an aside: denim is the material that jeans are made of. So its either 'denim pants', if you must, or jeans NOT 'jeans pants'!).
So all through university I was 'bogged down' by the grey tee shirts, usually with adidas, nike or some such validation, jeans and sneakers. After moving to Canberra everyone expected the rapid decline of fashion tastes, what with being a Physics PhD student surrounded by jandals and shorts. However my fashion sense has picked up and I now not only own other colours (red even!) I wear them with pride and joy and today I'm even wearing earrings!
See, jewellery has never figured big on my fashion list. I like jewellery, don't get me wrong. I love the understated elegance of a single solitaire sparkling at the nape of my neck or the feel of a beautiful ring on my fingers, but over the years I seem to have stopped wearing or buying earrings.
Maybe it has something to do with the ear-piercing trauma as a child. You see my grandparents took me to the 'family ear piercer' while my folks were away overseas and, even though this is a blur now, I distinctly remember a big nail, some forceps-hammer like apparatus and a wooden block. Of course I also remember the devil himself but that is other news. Nope, no gun-shot, over in a minute for me. It was the whole nine yards. I remember pain, a lot of it, blood and me running away after one earlobe was pierced, to hide under the bed. Anyway so somehow the process was completed and I had two gold earrings shoved into my ears. I think I wore gold earrings in some form or another throughout my childhood and school years. Then we moved overseas and other matters gained importance, so over the years I have weaned off earrings altogether. Megz gave me beautiful handmade earrings when I moved out of Auckland, and to this day I depend on them for formal/fancy wear.
At my cousin's wedding last year, I realised with horror that my left ear lobe piercing is slowly closing up. Yes! Which brought back the piercing-horror afresh and so, as of yesterday, I went and bought three studs, brown, blue and black and unceremoniously pushed them through what is left of the piercing. Here's hoping that I never have to get my ear pierced again. Amen!
Next fashion post will be on shoes, handbags and scarves! - I feel so very *insert name of fashion magazine* ish today!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Opening all the doors as the rain beats down on the warm earth and watching people run helter skelter for cover, lazy afternoons sitting in my room with the angled roof and reading while the rest of the household slept, waking up late on Sundays and making a big lunch and only eating it at 3 pm! All these are but fragments of memories now. Some from my life as a kid growing in in ITI colony, others of living in our house in Jayanagar with my grandparents, yet others of home in New Zealand, our first real home and the last few of my three years as a grad student in Canberra.
There are times when all these memories become one, the friends merge and at times I start talking about one to another and then stop myself realising that one doesn't know the other. They are parts of separate lives.
Summer is slowly approaching bringing with it floods of summer memories. Each from a different life - each one just as special and real.
Last night I read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I remember back in school, girls would 'book' this book weeks in advance. The tyrant librarian meted out special treatment to her favourites and since my class was not big on showering her with presents, we got step-daughterly treatment. Turns out I never managed to get my hands on this book at school and it was soon forgotten amidst things to do, places to be and people to see.
So a few weeks ago, I was browsing the stalls during university Market day (I have kept to buying second hand books so far!) and spotted a lovely, hard-bound, copy of this book. So I picked it up along with books by Bach and Roald Dahl.
The opening line is, of course, one of the most memorable in Literature and this book has gained its share of fame as it was made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock. The book is lovely. It has excellent pace and is riveting in parts. Throughout the book there is an air of mystery and, unlike several others that read and reviewed the book, I liked the end.
So go read when you get a chance.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Needless to say I am totally overwhelmed. Hers was one of the first blogs that I started reading regularly and I love it for the candid and hilarious approach to life. It keeps me in touch with her and her life even though we are oceans apart (just like mine does for her). And of course above all I love her and the blog for she is my Soul Sista!
So in keeping with blogging tradition I want to pass on this award to the following people: All amazing in their own right.
1. Vatsa (Equivocal Planters): I am not sure if I arm-twisted her into starting a blog but what a journey it has been. Writing about her scalpel weilding adventures to the everyday life of a doc in the making. Her blog now has the MOTH as part of it and she also dedicated a lovely post to me on my 21st birthday! Thanks girl for all the fun and games and here's to more good times!
2. Megha: A very very worthy recipient of this award (Ashanka sent this award her way too!). Her blog gives a unique insight to her state of mind with every post and of course the awesome travelogues!
3. Bhavya: A relatively new blogger with a lot of potential. This award is being sent your way to nudge you into posting more often girl! Love your writing thus far!
4. Amruta: My namesake, who for some reason rarely blogs now! Girl, you have a wonderfully fresh writing style so do keep us up to date with your adventures!
5. Athena: This is my mother. And I am awarding her for two reasons: (1) Learning to create and write a blog all on her own! (2) Keeping up with posting as best she can with one arm in a sling and out of action. Keep it up Ma!
Thanks again Ashanka!
Now all you awarded people: Go ahead and send off this award to those you think deserve it and (maybe) link back to my blog.
Monday, September 15, 2008
So without further ado, my 10 favourite literary characters, of course this is neither an absolute nor a complete list and is not in any particular order.
1. Jeeves (and by extension Bertie Wooster) : My initiation into a different class of writing altogether! Hours have been spent in blissful happiness in the absolutely wild world of Jeeves and Bertie.
2. Hercule Poirot: This character needs no description or validation from me. His brilliance and his laconic presence is enough to endear him to the hearts of many! To say nothing of that egg shaped head!
3. Atticus Finch: For all the reasons stated by Vatsa
4. Elizabeth (Pride and Prejudice): I actually did not want to put this in because it is such a darned cliche but on second thought I did include her because she is one of the few in 'those days' that embodied the strength and independence that I see in myself.
5. Hannibal Lecter: An unusual choice, however (if we decide to ignore the cannibalism) he is sheer class. Heck he can make cannibalism seem classy!
6. Heidi: Vatsa I don't know if you remember but I went dressed as Heidi for literary week at AGGS all those years ago. I think this little girl portrayed strength without seeming precocious and for that I love her!
8. Matthew Cuthbert (Anne of Green Gables) : The only book that made me break down and cry. Matthew was the image of every man. Scared of emotions, yet confused by the love and warmth he felt towards little Anne.
9. This list would not be complete without listing all the Enid Blyton kids: George, Anne, Dick, Julian, Fatty, the Seven - for many an afternoon spent imagining oneself out on the countryside sipping orangeade and eating buns.
10. The reluctant Messiah ' Illusions': This book is ostensibly about Bach himself and the story is so beautifully told that one cannot help but become a part of the journey.
I pass on the tag to Megz, Bhavya and Ashanka. Would love to read your lists.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
At final count the saving statistics showed that it had taken us over 50 hours to complete Five chapters of the game.
As we move on to other obsessions I have found out that Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan have started blogs of their very own, to give us little people an insight into their lives.
Now the cynic in me is tempted to believe that it is a major publicity stunt with some poor writer type forced to churn out entries that sound believable like 'the tour was such a success I'm overwhelmed' etc etc. On the other hand if it is employment for the poor writer type then why not?
In other news, another exciting weekend came to an end on Sunday night. Saturday being the BILs birthday we got a nice big fat chocolate mud cake as dessert to top off a home cooked meal of mirchi ka salan and biryani. Dinner time saw us at Kingsley's Steak and Crabhouse to tantalise the taste buds with some steak. Fish, crab cakes, chilli prawns, potato mash and steak were duly tried and polished off at an alarming rate in total silence and total bliss.
There should be a law that states that it absolutely cannot get cold once it has taken a turn for the warm. And there should be another law that states that my girlfriends cannot leave Canberra. K leaves tomorrow, embarking on the Oxford PhD dream and we all wish her love and luck.
For me it is netball tonight, pide dinner, driving sister to dance school meeting, picking up sister from dance school meeting, writing thesis and hopefully hopefully getting some rest.
Monday, September 01, 2008
'Twas ANU open day on saturday and with a knack for getting roped into these things that only I have, I was there bright at early at 8.30 on a cold morning, setting up optics type things for school type students. On the recent radio interview I was asked why I do outreach activities?
After taking more than a moment to think about it I had to say that because things that I did/read/saw as a youngster have influenced my choices and decisions to this day. I studied physics because I was influenced by my 7th Std physics teacher who loved me and taught us very enthusiastically about how a thermos kept hot things hot and cold things cold. I thought it was bloody brilliant! Simple and brilliant!
I studied optics because I was, and still am, fascinated by light (which is strange because electromagnetism is the only subject I failed).
So I wholeheartedly threw myself into outreach at university because I love talking to people, talking to strangers and telling them to care about things. See, I care about a lot of things. And I fail to understand/connect with people that don't. Caring about things does not necessarily mean doing something to fix it (if it needs fixing). It means wondering about it, learning about it or even just talking about it. I cannot understand people that go about life like everything and everyone is beyond their control. But that rant for another day.
So, outreach... I like being able to tell people that even on a bad day, I care about my work. I like the candidness with which I can approach students and tell them that although research is difficult and not always fulfilling, it's great because you have freedom. You get to rub shoulders with giants in your field and they talk to you as if you have potential.
But for the most part I love outreach because I remember the first time I actually understood something. That lesson about the thermos and how it worked - it is my first memory of actual understanding. Not just listening and filing away, or rote learning to reproduce during exams, but actual understanding. Like the pieces of a jigsaw fitting in my head. To be able to impart an understanding, no matter how minuscule, to another person and to get them excited about something is indeed really gratifying.
Of course the publicity, freebies, articles in journals and interviews that follow are also great, but they are few and far between.
So saturday I slaved all day (between meal breaks, tea breaks, mini meal breaks and pizza and drinks after) but managed to catch up with Mayu (who I last saw in Dec, and who is making a habit of these whirlwind trips that I'm not happy about one bit!). Sunday saw the three of us breaking our heads and aching fingers over Resident Evil.
Have any of you seen the FRIENDS episode where Joey is meant to host 'Bamboozle'? and he gets Ross and Chandler to play and at the end when Chandler gets bamboozled he holds his head in exasperation and exclaims 'this is the best game ever!' - nothing could echo our sentiments better. Cracking RE is not just about who wins anymore, it is a team effort. It is aching hands and sore eyes, it is cups of tea to stay awake and yelling and screaming till we are hoarse about what to do and to look 'behind you'. It is pondering endlessly over clues and what to do next, what weapons to by, whether to buy the map or not. It is hysterical screaming when the giant was killed to hopelessness at not being able to kill the chainsaw-wielding women. It is late night phone calls to say that 'I've killed the chain saw woman' and 'Don't play the next stage before I come!!'. Most of all it has been an exercise in obsession like I have never known, since I last saw my father and uncles come together to crack Top Gun some fifteen years ago!
Thus passed a blissful weekend and keep us in your prayers as we tackle Episode 2, Chapter 3 - tonight!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
On another note, I slept in my bed yesterday as opposed to the couch. It is getting warmer and so I can manage with the dysfunctional heater and turns out beds are the best for sleeping! After several weeks I had a good night's rest and did not wake up in a murderous rage. Isn't it just the worst feeling waking up with aching limbs, runny nose and a headache.
The plans tonight are to eat Ethiopian food and play Mario Kart. Yippekayay!
Monday, August 25, 2008
The podcast of the competition speech has been released and when I listened to myself - I sound like a ten year old! Anyhow, the weekend passed by in a blur and I can barely remember when Friday ended and Monday began. I feel like going home, curling up on the couch with a mug of hot something and either watching TV all day long or reading a book. Such thoughts are natural on a murky cloudy day but what warrants such thoughts when the sun is out - I do not know.
A ton of things have been done and a ton more await however I take solace in the fact that one way or another this PhD will be out of my hands, this time next year. Whether 'done and dusted' or 'tried and failed' is yet to be seen.
Why this positivity? Well I'm sleepy. Sleep deprived. Yawning. Want to go to bed. Eyelids 'a droopin. But I have yet to go sort out the electricity bill so, everybody, we're back to the mundane!
Friday, August 22, 2008
Somehow I feel that I would be less comfortable had this been a TV gig. Only because apart from worrying about what one has to say, one also has to worry about how one looks on TV. Radio - one less worry.
Friday is here and never have I looked forward to the weekend so much. The weeks are now packed, overflowing, full to the brim, bursting at the seams... you get the picture. It is all I can do to stumble home after gym, dance, netball or whatever else it was that I got myself into, make dinner and hit the sack - which, incidentally, is my couch for the last three weeks. The heater in my room has not been working well and I haven't had time to get it fixed so it is either freezing on the comfy bed in the room or slumming it on the couch and staying warm. Those that know me know that I would pick the warmth any day. Half a thought is to wheel the bed out to the drawing room but that idea has been vetoed by the sister who already cribs about me sleeping on the couch. All I want this weekend is some R&R. Days are getting longer again and the sun is peeking out so all is looking up on the weather front.
Enjoy the weekend everyone! Those of you who live in Canberra, tune in at 11.30 on Sunday!
Monday, August 18, 2008
Anyway so lots of fun has happened the last few weeks and let me start at the very end and work backwards - I am world famous in Canberra! http://news.anu.edu.au/?p=598 and http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/
keeping-it-simple-at-the-cutting-edge/1245180.aspx if people have the patience and the will to find out how and why.
For my part I will say this - it was a battle of wits and will and confidence and it was the last bit that got me through (or so the judges said). Am I proud of this achievement - hell yes. Because it is not often that a coloured woman is chosen over Caucasian men and I have been in this field long enough and fought hard enough to know that. There have been frustrating times in similar competitions when that Caucasian boy won and even the judges could not point out why I was second (in one instance!) but it happened. In saying that, the competition was tough but good natured and the four boys were very good (as you can see by reading the articles) and their topics were by far more interesting than mine, I thought.
My mother reminded me of words that my Electronics lecturer had said to me in undergrad, and they rang very true on Thursday last week, he said "you are a brown female who is decent looking and you can talk! and you're studying Physics, you will do well"!
So much ado was made of me last few days and I have been getting tons of good wishes from a lot of people, and I am very very thankful to each and everyone alike. The Family has called and emailed and one message was loud and clear in all the wishes 'we expected nothing less'. Because you see, the Family expects nothing less. If I don't do well it is a cause for concern but when I do well I am just fulfilling my destiny! The bar has been raised generations ago and we can all but keep up.
In other news, the brother-in-law arrived on Thursday and already he has gained the revered spot of my 'lucky charm' what with the award getting few hours after his feet touched Canberra soil and my two year old bike getting sold for $600! He began at the harrowed halls of Canberra hospital today and let us all wish him luck!
So working backwards to the last (first?) event - the Sydney trip to celebrate the birthday of Mr. Universe, vprasad007 better known as Vik.
Words cannot describe the place we stayed at and the only saving grace was that it was bang smack in the heart of the city and less than a stone's throw from all the places that we wanted to go to. A great time was had by all and I think it will suffice to say that Sydney trips are always fun and this one raised the bar just that little bit.
Speaking of bars and raising - here's to the rest of this week, let us raise a glass (of hot beverage, as the mercury dips here in Canberra) to each other and to the fact that even though this year has had massive dips, there are rays of sunshine through the window.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Books were bought and I have managed thus far to keep my word and only buy second hand books (except for one lapse!) - The English Patient (Sorry Ashanka I have not yet read it but am getting there quick), Satanic Verses and Mila 18 which is borrowed from a friend. There was a lovely little second hand book store right next to the hotel where I put myself up, so needless to say a lot of time on the way to and back from the conference venue was spent happily perusing.
Jaane tu ya Jaane na was also watched last weekend. My reaction is 'meh *shrug*'. I guess the Aamir Khan name (albeit not as director) and the general over-hype surrounding this movie managed to over-sell it to me and it did not live up to expectations.
Of course they were best friends and of course they were not in love and of course they would end up together. Even the 'narration' part is flinched from Chalte Chalte. Originality came only in the form of Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak who were absolutely fantastic and effortlessly carried the humour and wit. Even Paresh Rawal's role did not do justice to an actor of his calibre.
A. R. Rehman's music does grow on one and it did for this movie too. I am undecided about Imran Khan - he has the makings of an Aamir without the playfulness, without the complete charm. Whether or not he has potential as an actor remains to be seen.
A lot of people enjoyed the movie as they could identify with a character in the film. As for me the closest anyone came to my character in the movie was Shaleen (I think her name was). The friend in the background who comes forth to spout some words of wisdom. Who is not overly anything - loud, dressy, emotional. Seems to have her head on her shoulders.
However, in saying all that, I liked Imran Khan's character in the movie and it taught me an important lesson. See, although I am not a romantic by any stretch of the imagination, I always wanted a guy who could beat the heck out of someone for me, who would take arms against the world if anyone else so much as batted an eyelid my way. Yet, after watching this movie, I realised that it takes much more of a man to tactfully side-step a physical fight and wittily save the day, that brain is more important than brawn.
Still, one must be willing and able to throw a mean punch when required, what say?
Friday, July 25, 2008
So it came to be last week that the light in my kitchen flickered, flickered some more and then went out... just like that. Now, I could have thrown a hissy fit and ranted and raved and so I did. Then, in true (wannabe) engineer style I proceeded to unscrew the shade, the holder and all was revealed. The holder was broken. No matter, we shall get a new one thought and I shelled out a whopping $7 for the same. Now come the minor issues - ensuring that the switch was off I proceeded to unscrew the wires from the broken holder and transfer them to the new holder. Simple enough - not really. The tools were ok, so can't really blame those. Can blame the shoddy wiring and the terrible holder screws that caused half the damn ceiling to fall down. Ok I exaggerate, not half, but enough.
Turned out that turning off the switch was not good enough since there were four bloody wires. Four! and one of them was still live so it proceeded to give me a minor shock and a major scare. So then I turned off the mains. Did I mention that I was doing all this at 7 pm (after getting home from work)? So I don't own a torch and blue LED on the key chain, though powerful was not enough. So efforts were put on hold till the morning.
Did the needful the next day and for some god awful reason the bulb lost all sense of switch and just stayed on! Turned things off, checked wires, found loose wire, put it back in, screwed back on as tight as I could.. no luck. Did I mention, also, that I don't own a step ladder so I was standing on a chair of questionable stability?
Finally put in a call to the electrician who came by and with brute force put the last annoying wire in and things worked like magic. He was also equipped with the right tools, a drill and a step ladder! He did applaud my efforts and say that I had done most of his job for him! However this whole rant was a digression.
What got my goat is that first off I was talking to a (male) friend and told him that the light was busted and he said 'wait till I get there, don't do anything yourself'. Why the heck not? Are you made of insulating material? Or do you have magical powers that can fix wires without touching them? I realise that the electrician that came along was a man and yes, I agree that he was able to provide that last push that I couldn't, not because I am female but because I am not strong enough!
In the same vein, it also gets my goat when women are overly thankful when their husbands cook or clean or take care of their children. Why? They're human, they need food, (some) need a clean house and its their child too!
So why glorify them as if they have made inhuman effort and why be grateful that they have given you time off?
Which brings me nicely to my final point - why are some jobs classified as male-worthy and others as female-worthy? When I pull out the ol' Swiss army knife and fix screws and bulbs why is it less acceptable than me pulling out some wipes and giving the kitchen counter a wipe down?
During my three years in Canberra I have heaved furniture, fixed appliances, clean rotten food and dirty linen and lugged groceries up the hill! I will do it if I can and I know how to. Because this is life. Life does not see male or female, life does not know if a man is in trouble or it is a woman. Life just happens and one has to deal with it whether one is male or female.
So maybe now is a good time to change the word 'handyman' to 'handyperson'.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
The first stunner was watching Heath Ledger in action! He chilled me more than Jack Nicholson did as the Joker (Jack however did full justice to the role of the psycho in The Shining though, that was freezing!). Heath Ledger brings to the role a maniacal quality which of course Nicholson had but maybe I wasn't old enough to appreciate it. This calls for re-watching people.
Rumour has it (or is it fact now?) that Ledger prepared for this role by going into isolation, working himself up to such an extent that it caused him to have hallucinations and resulted in his death. Very very unfortunate for an actor of such calibre.
Back to the movie, well I liked it, perhaps not as much as Batman Begins but good all the same.
Felt it could have done with a tad slicker editing process.
The biggest shock of all was that Gary Oldman (of Sirus Black fame) played Inspector Gordon! Makes me wonder as to how the cast of the HP series will look by the time the seventh movie is made. Bring out the walking sticks and dentures!
While the chill of winter continues, Canberra temperatures are still oscillating between the early negatives and the false positives. So until next time I leave you with these words of wisdom by none other than the Joker himself - 'You either die a hero, or live long enough to become the villian.' Truer words have seldom been spoken.
Friday, July 11, 2008
It captures beautifully the inner turmoil of two women brought together by the strangest twist of fate. It delivers in that one feels empathy for the characters and their pain is real, so are their reactions.
Might I add that Mr. Kukunoor, for all his directorial skill, has not been endowed with acting talent and he sure as heck cannot pull of a 'Mr. Chopra' so in the interest of viewing pleasure he must refrain.
And most importantly it has a happy ending in the not-so-usual sense.
The dvd's sold here are the two-in-one kind and so there was also Dil Chahta Hai. This movie was a turning point in Indian movie history. It was blatant without insulting your intelligence and it was fresh in every positive sense of the word.
Anyway my thoughts elude me now so I will abruptly end this post! Enjoy!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
I haven't seen it yet. Although I did watch the lead actress, Genelia is it?, in Mere Baap Pehle Aap and very surprisingly she did not annoy me! She has all the makings of annoyance, the hyper activity, the voice and the general disposition and potential to be annoying but she falls short.
Word has it that the movie is about the age old, done and exhausted concept of two best friends falling in love (or rather realising that they are meant for each other or some such...). Exciting stuff. However, since it starts Aamir Khan's nephew and is produced by Aamir Khan himself, it warrants a watch.
Incidentally, has anyone watched Tashan. If so, would anyone care to explain to be what the bleep it was all about? If the producers had money and the directors had time to squander, why not channel it towards a cause like world peace or poverty or world hunger? Although, I do think that they managed a tiny bit of population control because I'm willing to bet that it caused mass suicide somewhere!
I have been watching hindi movies for as long as I can remember but no movie has managed to do to me what Tashan did. Believe you me when I say that there were times when I had to rewind dialogues and scenes to hear them again, just to be sure that I wasn't hallucinating. Reviews of this atrocity claim that it was Bollywood's masala answer to Tarantino's Kill Bill. Well for one Kill Bill was a far superior effort which showed exquisite planning and execution and for another Kill Bill was far a far superior effort which showed exquisite planning and execution. Tashan is found seriously lacking in... well just about everything! It borders on the bizarre and hopes to cash in on crap like 'Dil Dance Maare re' and a size-zero, bikini clad Kareena.
Call me over critical, I mean it is a hindi movie after all and one is rightfully expected to leave their brains behind in a safe place for the three odd hours of 'entertainment'. And even though I did, I could feel my abandoned brain writhing and threatening to die and early death if I continued to watch.
However, on to bigger and better things as we always are, once I had washed out the remnants of Tashan from the mind I able to function again, and more than merely thankful for the same!
Monday, July 07, 2008
I am still getting over it all. The excitement, the pulsating energy and finally the disappointment. Being a fan of the Fed-man myself I think I speak for Fed fans world over when I say - 'what a game' and 'Darn you Rafa'! But to give the devil its due Rafael Nadal has done the unthinkable and what some deemed, the impossible.
Newspapers, sports channels and journalists world over have waxed hoarse about the game and so it will suffice to say that the quality of tennis was second to none. No one feels that it is time to start writing Federer off. Or maybe they feel it but don't want to say it. It is reminiscent of the time Sampras lost to Hewitt. These turn-overs are 'normal' and 'expected'. But Federer has never been normal and has always surprised us with the unexpected.
To me last night's game was a test of experience against age. But the loss hasn't sunk in and I will leave with the same words I told my friend's father at the Aussie Open this year
'You all came to watch the tennis, I came to watch Federer'.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
If only I had half her spunk... actually I'm' going to stop this rant about 'If only I had half the...'. If I want 'half the..' then I should go get 'half the..'. Or 'all of the...'. Wow! punctuating that was hard!
The 'show and tell' went of grandly yesterday and all the tension was unnecessary.
In other happenings I am so exhausted that I cannot open my eyes before nine am each morning. It helps that the supervisor is away all of this week but it does not help as he is coming back and I need to be in for Monday morning meetings!
Canberra weather is freezing as usual and so is the water in my bathroom! Somehow between 8 and 10 each morning the water heating system seems to take a break and pour out cold water! Is there anything worse than a cold shower on a cold morning. I think not! Actually, there is something worse - the house-agent doing nothing about it!
Does anyone else suffer from really cold hands and feet? How do you get by - it's a mystery!
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Oh and I'm also nervous about eating around unknown people in a formal environment. Wish me luck!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I have always been a Daddy's girl and even though my father's traits that I displayed earlier in life have now been taken over by my sister, I can safely say that my father has taught me things that I will hold dear for as long as I live.
My father exudes silent strength. He is brilliant, calm and dignified and also an excellent story teller. His tales have become famous within my friends circle and at a gathering he is frequently asked to recount his time in as a youngster in Calcutta or as a captain in the Army. His passion, however, is his work. Needless to say he has made quite a name for himself in Auckland teaching and practicing medicine.
To the family my father is a silent and determined individual with a very strong sixth sense that has served all of us well during the years. To me he is just Baba - who has given into my every whim over the years, who has taught me the true meaning of being sincere at work and the importance of education and learning, who has always treated me like an adult and given me freedom of thought, speech and action much beyond what an Indian father gives his daughter even in this day and age, who would wordlessly go out at 10 pm to look for blank maps for school and who is very good with his hands and has built a number of things in our home.
And finally he is the father who has brought up his two girls with so much care that the thought of us getting married scares him to his very core!
Happy Father's Day Baba!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Now this obviously results in a phobia of dentists. I remember when I was about seven (I think) I needed some teeth extracted and so my father marched me off to the dentist. The dentist proceeded to stick all sorts of things into my mouth and I gagged uncontrollably and the final straw for me was the anaesthetic injection - I bolted. Out the door of the dentistry, down the two flights of stairs and all the way to the car. The dentist's cries of 'you are a bad girl' were useless. I didn't care - as far as I was concerned I would rather my teeth rotted in my mouth than have that monstrous injection put in there!
This phobia only got worse and as luck would have it I have been cursed with a set of rather oblique teeth that needed several extractions and braces. Each visit was as unpleasant as the previous and after the braces came off I vowed never to have to go to the dentist again!
My diet is decent, I don't eat much chocolate, don't drink fizzy drinks often and also brush twice a day. I also floss when needed. So I had convinced myself that all was under control. Until last month. I woke up to a slight (very slight) pain in the left gums and some tenderness so I went to the dentist here in Canberra. She checked my teeth out, pronounced that all was well but I would need an x-ray. Now, I had no idea that a dental x-ray is taken by shoving a film inside your mouth, against your teeth and the dentist had no idea that I'm a miserable and chronic gagger. So she proceeded to shove this contraption in my mouth and I proceeded to gag it right out. She tried again and I persisted. So finally she gave up and packed me off to get a dental x-ray from the diagnostic medlab (not before charging me a whopping $110!!).
Needless to say the x-ray never happened, the pain however persisted and kept nagging at me whenever it got the chance. So in NZ this time I literally gritted my teeth and went to see another dentist. My teeth turned out to be fine but I was told that I needed a clean and I dragged myself across the corridor to the dental hygienist. She took one look inside and said it was the oddest thing she had seen in a long time - the left side of my mouth was in pristine condition but the right side was rapidly going down-hill. Bizarre she said.
Now this lady was the sort who needed not only to clean things but also to figure out why they were dirty in the first place so through some rapid questionings she realised that since I was right handed and since my right shoulder had been stuffed for the last two year I have not been able to bend my toothbrush at the right angle to brush hard enough (or something) she also figured out that I gag so much while brushing that flossing every tooth is totally out of the question!
Anyway, it was a reasonably pleasant visit and everything is all cleaned up and back to better than normal. I picked up an electric toothbrush at duty free and also a special head that.... wait for it... flosses the teeth for you! Oh joy!
The gagging still remains but one just has to power through it all I guess so till next time folks here are some words of wisdom from the fantastic dental hygienist - 'Floss only the teeth you want to keep'!
Friday, June 13, 2008
A BIG HUGE THANK YOU to everyone, honestly this has been a very very memorable birthday. I do not measure the success of the event in monetary terms (although even if I did, this birthday would win hands down!) instead, it has surpassed all others in terms of thoughtfulness and the sheer effort put in by the people dear to me, to make it special for me! *sniff sniff* - just for this I want to turn 25 again next year! *wide toothy grin*
- afterthought: The 'bro-in-law' referred to cousin yes, G is not yet married!
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Yesterday was excellent and a big hug and thank you to everyone who called, emailed, texted, orkutted and Facebooked with wishes!
It hit home harder than ever before that I have so many people who think of me and wish me well. It is rather overwhelming but mostly it is - reassuring.
I'm off home tomorrow for the long weekend. NZ beckons and much as I would like to say that it won't really be time off since I have to write thesis and other things that I've (stupidly) got myself into - its home and if I can get past the long chats over cups of tea in the balcony and watching TV and generally lazing around in the cold - I will try to get work done.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Monday, June 02, 2008
The weekend passed by in a blissful blur of good food, drink, music and conversation. We laughed, mocked, joked and ribbed each other to no end and at the end of it all, returned to our respective homes. Considerably sombre and inevitably sadder for the weekend having come to an end.
The big day looms and the plans as of now include early-to-work, seminar till 8 pm and then dinner.
My wonderful sister has been giving me gifts for the last two days, and I am eagerly looking forward to the finale. The haul thus far includes a Famous Five and ..... a Moleskine notebook!! It feels like velvet to touch and I don't really feel like writing in it. When she gave it to me and I finished screeching with glee, I promptly proceeded to smell that new-book smell and then I just held it for ever so long. Ah the love affair with stationery!
About that Famous Five - About three weeks ago I chanced upon one of the FFs I had bought when I first moved to Canberra. Enid Blyton is my refuge. When I want to relax for that half hour before falling asleep I savour the familiarity of Enid Blyton's books. What can I say - I'm just a bespectacled little ten-year old at heart! So I read through my FF and that weekend I went to a few book shops looking for an omni-bus or so to buy, only to be told that they are no longer is fashion. Most of what was on offer for ten year olds was beyond comprehension and I just left with a sense of immense loss and pity for these kids who will miss out on so very much!
Even the local library does not stock them anymore!
And finally, quarter-century, in-my-prime, biological clock ticking, expiry date, shelf-life and a million other cheap shots will be taken at my expense soon.
I just shrug, I like aging, mostly because I can still pass off for 15 and still asked for a school ID card on buses and matronly air-hostesses offer me the same 'apple juice mixed with sprite' that they reserve for the 'kiddies' and partly because it gives me a license to impart knowledge without being asked for it.
Mostly because I can look around at things and say 'been there done that' and partly because I know that I'm still young enough to it all over again if I want.
Mostly because everyone around me is going through the marriage-interview process and I don't have to and partly because I know that the day I want to get married I can do it my way.
Mostly because I'm almost where I want to be in life and partly because I can just walk away and start afresh.
Mostly because I'm 'old enough' and partly because I'm 'young enough' to be transported back 15 years with a book, a song or a friend.
Mostly for all the life experiences and partly because there is so much more waiting to happen!
But most of all it is because the growing up is done and partly because I can now do whatever the heck I want, whenever I want, however I want and if anyone questions me pat will come the reply 'I'm going to be 25 on Wednesday!'.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Tagged by Vatsa - so here's presenting my life as a musical! This has got to be one of THE hardest tags ever and I already know that I will want to change my mind about the songs the second I hit publish. Yet in the spirit of things... here goes.
Rules of the tag: Various situations are given. You have to come up with a song ( or a couple) that aptly describe those situations in YOUR life.
Opening credits: Its' my life- Bon Jovi
Waking up: Beautiful Sunday -Daniel Boone
Average day: Main Zindagi ka saath nibhaata chala gaya - Hum Dono
First date: Tere mere sapne - Guide/ Fire - Babyface and Des'ree
Falling in love: Can’t help falling in love - Elvis Presley / Have I told you lately- Rod Stewart
Love Scene: Hungry Eyes - Dirty Dancing/ Father figure - George Micheal
Fight Scene: Woman in Love - Barbara Streisand
Breaking up: Must have been love - Roxette/ Nigahen Mastana - from the movie Paying guest
Getting back together: Nothing's gonna change my love for you - Bryan Adams
Secret love: Abhi na jao chhod kar - Hum Dono/ When you say nothing at all - Ronan Keating
Life’s ok: Wouldn't it be nice - Beach boys
Mental Breakdown: Sounds of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel/ Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Green Day and Achint!
Driving: (Right now) Tokyo drift - Teriyaki boys, la gasolina - Daddy Yankee
Learning a lesson: Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell/ Achint
Flashback: Yesterday - The Beatles/ Fernando - Abba
Partying: Hips don't lie -Shakira/ Indi pop/dance numbers
Happy Dance: Summer of 69 - Bryan Adams/ Time of my life - Dirty Dancing
Regretting: Din Dhal Jaaye - Guide/ Hum bekhudi mein tum ko - Kaala Paani
Long night alone: Tadap tadap - Hum dil de chuke sanam/ I'll be there for you - The Rembrandts
Death Scene: (on G's suggestion) Hotel California - The Eagles
Closing Credits: Bitter sweet symphony - The verve (sorry Vatsa but it has to be this one for me too!)
In turn, I tag the following people:
Megz, Ashanka, Amruta and Achint
Thursday, May 22, 2008
running through my head
running through my head
My head is a right potpourri of thoughts! I wanted to write about a conversation with my sister yesterday where we established that Canberra hardens you physically, mentally and emotionally and the scars remain etched on your being forever. I also wanted to talk about the caste system and its relevance in modern day Indian society. But the demands of daily k are calling and I will have to go and model a shoddy waveguide on an even shoddier computer simulation tool.
Woe is me.
On a brighter note, as Canberra hits sub zero temperatures, I'm off to reasonably warmer Sydney to see my dad who is visiting for the weekend! :-) Can't hardly wait.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Incidentally, can someone please pass a law against shorts so short that they don't cover anything and I'm sure it is already a law that one must wear something inside the shorts too! I'm going to the gym to work out and feel those calories burning. As you stretch, I do not want to be accorded with a view that will make me squirm and generally feel disgusted for, possibly, the rest of the evening!
Now before you start thinking that all I do is look up people's clothes and at people's legs ... please don't think it.
Other than all that it is Friday again and I can't believe how the week has flown! Seriously people there has got to be a better explanation for how time flies. Hope you all have a good weekend and .. err.. a happy new year?
Monday, May 12, 2008
Strength is the first word that comes to my mind when I think of my mother. To me she is the epitome of strength - mental, physical and emotional. I have been told that I have grown to become a lot like her and this has, time and again, resulted in many a conflict between us. She believes in fierce loyalty and brutal honesty. She is nothing if not real and sincere and while there are several things I wish she had done differently - like looked after herself a little more and us a little less - I realise that she was just being a mother.
I believe that we are all evolved versions of our parents (for better or for worse, time will tell) and even though there are marked differences between the way my mother and I think - every time I do anything her voice rings in my ears.
She might not believe it but my home is clean (to her standards!) and my dishes are done and my life is organised - thanks to her. She has taught my sister and I the finer things in life like simple living and high thinking, music, dance and appreciation for art and fine language. She has taught us etiquette and the importance of manners. She has taught us to hold our head high and never fear if we are right. And all this she has taught by example.
I know that over the years I have caused her much elation and some disappointment and I'm sure that the years to follow will be no different. So without much further ado I would just like to wish her a very Happy Mother's Day and tell her that I really have been craving her presence (and food!).
Friday, May 09, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Of late my writing talent has given me the slip by fading into oblivion. I have been racking my brains to come up with something as simple as chapter titles for the PhD thesis and this still eludes me. A fervent prayer to the Gods of writing - rain your blessings on me.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.
This is my thought for the day. It is called, very aptly, the Serenity Prayer. As I tried to recall the exact words of the prayer, I was struck by how many of us want change, need change and yet are too busy or scared to be the change we want to see.
The reasons for making this blog private still exist however, I'm trying not to let those reasons rule my blogging life!
Thanks to everyone for putting up with logging in etc...
Will try not to let it happen again! Enjoy!
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Of other goings on, the apprehension regarding the long weekend in Sydney was unnecessary since things went off rather grandly. The itinerary included a visit to the dinosaur exhibit at the national museum and it was very good indeed. I was awestruck by the size of the full scale dinosaur skeleton right in the middle of the large room and it wasn't even one of the larger dinosaurs and, by the scheme of things, a fairly 'new' one!
Besides that we danced, sang, ate, drank and generally made merry in each other's company. I think it would suffice to say that a great time was had by all. That's the beauty of a trip with old friends - they just fit!
I should conclude this post before my thoughts race out of my head - they seem to be doing this at an alarming rate lately.
Adios amigos - till next time!
Monday, April 21, 2008
I don't want to be afraid but of late things have this annoying habit of going horribly, irreversibly wrong and hitting me full in the face and I'm left to pick up the pieces.
I want to be the (half!) positive person that I was becoming. I hate living in fear of what is next.
Friday, April 18, 2008
What were you doing on New Years Eve 2007-08? It is not an unlikely scenario that you might have returned from overseas to India (your native land) to spend NY with friends and family and it is equally likely that you were out in Mumbai with friends/partners eating at a fine restaurant (after all you earn in dollars!) and decided to join in the India Gate festivities shortly after that. You are there with your partners, men, and therefore you are safe. This is a scenario that I might very well find myself facing. Heck, it is not too far from what my friends and I have done on NY's eve in NZ! Read this and the term 'safety in numbers' takes on a whole new and horrific meaning, so does the term 'mob mentality'.
I first read about this incident on Mad Momma's blog and didn't get around to finding out facts about it. This morning I have spent a half hour reading about the details of this morbid and downright disgusting display of 'machoism' by Indian men and it convinces me of one thing and one thing only - I'll just bite the bullet and say it - Indian men are b**tard coated b**tards with b**tard filling unless proven otherwise. I'm sure this 'recipe' is not far from the case for men of other nationalities too but since I can, I will comment on my 'country cousins'.
I felt sick to the stomach reading about what happened and sicker still from reading about men and other women who thought that they 'asked for it'. This whole 'asked for it' justificiation really grinds my gears HOWEVER as MM has said on her post there is a fine line between 'asking for it' and 'being stupid'. I have seen my Indian counterparts shed their clothes and inhibitions like snake skin upon migration and then they seem shocked that they get groped by and Indian guy. Desis will be desis will be desis. Would these same girls be comfortable showing this much skin in India? Hell no! But for some inexplicable reason the Indian man that moves overseas should become a decent individual and suddenly sprout a brain and a conscience that controls his urges - I think not!
Stupidity has its consequences. If you are stupid about your finances you will be broke, if you are a stupid driver you will crash and if you are stupid about what you wear you will be groped. This is not to say that these things don't happen to a vast majority of people even without being stupid about it. But you would not go to a war-zone unarmed would you?
I don't think it is right to lecture people on their attire. Wearing, or not wearing in some instances, clothes is a right and people are free to choose. However choices have consequences. Women today have the right to knowledge, education and information. Knowledge about the culture of another country you are visiting (how many of you know that when you visit the churches in the Vatican in Rome you must cover your arms and legs?!), information about the effects of alcohol on the female body, sex-education, self-defense. Read it, learn it and never forget it!
While authorities and civilians work towards educating the male species about consequences of their vile actions, I think women too need to take responsibility and get out of this overwhelming victim mindset. For Godsakes if a guy is inappropriate with you, have the guts to smack the living daylights out of him. I've done it, very recently, and a girl that saw me do it came up to me and said 'Wow man (!!) I wish I could do something like that!" - You can! You have arms and a brain and something that gets ticked off inside when a guy misbehaves.
One of the best things I learned while taking the Women's Self Defense class was to 'do something'. Anything. Yell, scream, shout, pull hair and gouge out eyes if you have to! It could save your dignity and your life. Don't stand there and take it if you can help it. That requires a certain amount of training and Self Defense programs are designed to help women overcome that initial shock and horror and get the brain to react.
This post might well sound like I support the 'asked for it' argument but read better and you will realise that I don't. I support intelligent behaviour. There is a difference between a one year old and a 25 year old and that difference is (in most cases) cerebral development. You have a brain -use it! No one ever asks for it - but we are still getting it, so what do we do?
My heart bleeds and I feel knots in my stomach and my brain fills with rage everytime I hear or read about molestation, sexual harassment and crimes against women. For no apparent reason at all apart from the fact that they are female! At the same time I am filled with a sense of pride and empowerment when I hear about women beating the heck out of a molester or assaulter.
No one asks for it! No one.
Friday, April 11, 2008
I woke up wanting to take the day off and said to myself that all I needed was a sign. Stopped off at the library on the way to work, checked out a dozen books and as carried them out and set them down I was suddenly aware of a throbbing pain in the little finger on my right hand. Further inspection showed that it had proceeded to turn blue and was slowly but steadily becoming numb. The university health centre was not far and I half-heartedly trudged along to it, fully expecting to be told (rudely!) that a doctor was not available, as usual. I marched up to reception and thrust my, now swollen beyond recognition, finger in the lady's face and she promptly took me in to see the nurse who, at first glance, asked if I had been stung by a bee. After I convinced her that it was no bee she had a Eureka moment and said 'I know what this is, you've ruptured a blood vessel!' (with a huge smile of her face!!). WTF!! ruptured a blood vessel?! I'm not even 25 yet!!
That did it, I wept like a baby - all the stress of the last month and a half pouring out of my eyes but I wasn't bawling, I was smiling - at the irony of it all.
Havent' we all heard people say to us 'Calm down you'll burst a blood vessel at this rate?'. Ok maybe we all don't grow up hearing that but growing up in my 'doctor type' household we heard it a lot and it was so damned ironic that it had actually happened.
So after the tears came the trepidation. The obvious question to me, and of course I asked the nurse this, 'So i'm bursting blood vessels now, what if it bursts in my head next?!'. She thought this was mighty funny and laughed and then realising that I was serious consoled me and said it was probably the weight of all the books and I had just hit my finger yada ya.
Anyhow, this was of course the sign I had been waiting for all morning and I headed off home in all my blue and black g(l)ory. A frantic phone call to my dad followed and a hurried checking of arms and legs to ensure that I wasn't going on a blood-vessel bursting spree! This was then followed by some wisdom from mom where she told me that if a brain aneurysm was to happen there was nothing anyone could do about it so live life king size - today! That's my mom, the eternal tough love optimist.
Back home, fed and content I fell into a deep, dreamy slumber till 5 pm! Ah! 'twas a good day!
Monday, April 07, 2008
I'm craving time, perspective and introspection. I'm craving answers to all the whys and wherefores. And until then I am taking life one hassle at a time!
'Good luck' you might say. 'I need a miracle' - I might reply. And in my heart of hearts the miracle doesn't seem too far off.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
While my parents named her 'Nandini' to mean 'mother of the sun', I had other plans and christened her 'Gundali' to mean .. well nothing at all. Over the years this nickname has been used, misused and abridged to 'Gundu' so much so that very few people know her actual name.
Today she is at the 21 milestone and she sure as heck has a lot to show for it. A dancer trained in classical, Irish and contemporary dancing styles, I am a mere manager and spectator to her dancing prowess. She has even managed to make a name for herself in Canberra and in the process compelled me to attend numerous Indian functions, something I had avoided like the plague prior to her arrival.
I can wax eloquent about her dancing, singing, writing and academic talents but that will not do justice to the person that she is. A fiercely loyal friend and sister who is ready to take on the world for the people she cares about. She still believes in the inherent goodness of the world and of everyone in it. Always ready to lend a helping hand (provided it doesn't mean staying up past bed-time!) and willing to listen.
The last twenty one years have been a blessing and an adventure and I would just like to say that I'm lucky to have her.
Happy Birthday G!!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
As the lady walked back to the counter I was all set to start sobbing in despair for waking up at 4 am and being tired and sleepy and now awaiting impending doom! She sat down and typed away again and then very conspiratorially whispered "We are giving you a complimentary upgrade to business class, enjoy your flight'. It took more than a few seconds for the magnitude of it all to register - business class?! me?! WoW! Because, you see, things like this don't happen to me.
My fate is more the kind where people behind me and in front of me and all around me will get upgrades and I will still have my economy ticket.
Anyway so momentary elation duly followed as I thought 'yippee' and 'they owe me one for all the money i've spent on air travel!', then momentary apprehension set in wherein I reasoned that since I have got the upgrade sure enough I would be seated next to a bawling baby for the next 3.5 hours, but then elation prevailed and I proceeded to enjoy the thought of an upcoming business class journey all the while clutching the boarding pass tight.
And rightly so, I board the flight just to see that all and sundry have been upgraded and the person seated next to me was so big he needed an extension to the standard seatbelt!
However, the seats were comfortable, the service passable and barring the man seated next to me who proceeded to recline his seat rather far back and fall into a noisy slumber, the journey was worth it. Would I pay for a Business Class seat on Lan Chile - not even if I had money to throw away! But I will take the complimentary upgrade with a rather large smile on the face!