Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fashion and I

Some blogs I have been reading of late talked about fashion sense and the lack thereof. So I thought of including my two cents worth on the subject.
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


I have three lives. And sometimes the boundaries between them blur. Sometimes when I am in that semiconscious state between sleep and wakefulness, sometimes in the early mornings or very late at night thoughts drift in, of friends, smells, festivals, people and events. Sometimes I have to make a conscious effort and recall which life these are a part of.
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 dreamt I went to Manderlay again'

Full fledged thesis writing has been happening of late. Unfortunately this kills any creative outbursts and hence the blog has suffered.
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

Blogging award!

My dearest friend and fellow blogger Ashanka has given me this blogging award!!

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

Favourite literary characters - Tag!

Thanks Vatsa for tagging me with this one. I was waiting eagerly for this tag to come my way :-D.
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


Thank you for keeping us in your prayers (following on from the previous post). With your blessings we have completed Resident Evil -4 and future pursuits await. Maybe Final Fantasy.
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

The one where we talk about the weekend in longing hindsight

I noticed that a lot of blogs I read seem to have titles inspired by FRIENDS type 'the one where...' and so to keep up, here's mine.
'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!