Thursday, November 30

Did you miss this show?

So today, I came home early (had to some errands run), I was at home by 4:15PM. I sat down to catch an episode of Oprah show gobbling up some vadas dipped in gorgeous chutney (my roommate had made it) and a cuppa masala chai to go with it (it felt absolutely exciting and great to have a evening snack with tea!!). Dont worry, the post is not about how good the vadas were or how aromatic the tea was.
On the Oprah show, today's theme was sort of "how to be yourself", as a lot of other Oprah shows this show also was mainly for women. Oprah's guests today were 3 celebrities- Dana Buchnan, Sheryl Crow and Ellen Burstyn. These women and a whole bunch of other celebrities talked about at what moment they became themselves or they realized that they were not being themselves and had therefore started a process of getting there.
I was not moved a lot by their stories but it definitely made me ponder- are there many women out there who feel that they are constantly giving and living up to others' expectations that they lose their identity in the process? I am not sure I can blame anyone for the way I turned out to be. I guess its not just women who might feel that way- specially now when we race against one another, race against time and ourselves to achieve the best possible life, well monetarily that is...and in the course of all these tight races we forget who we are, and why we are here in the first.
Any incident that can bring these races to a stand still- boom...we begin to realize that we have missed out on being ourselves for a long time until something happened to awaken us from our dreams. This is precisely what those celebrity women said but is it so hard to figure it out ourselves?!! Anyway after all this rants, do you still feel you missed this Oprah show?!

Tuesday, November 28

So whats cooking?

I never thought I would say it but folks, I think really love to cook. My favourite past time these days- graze through the world wide web for any mouth-watering, curious, "hmm, may be I could try that" or "oh, I need to make that one day' recipes. Its amazing how the blogging world is buzzling with foodies. I remember my grandma telling me many times that cooking is fun and that I should learn the art of cooking (samayal kalai). Well, I never did (I did help my mom quite a bit around the kitchen though). Also when I came here to the US, I was really nervous the first time I had to cook something (I thought I would suck at it!). As days went by I began to experiment,well not scientifically, not like putting together various ingredients in a bizzare my-own-kind of way but more like find new recipes and cook them in my own way!
I went out for lunch with a seminar speaker from Madison, Wisconsin- she was telling us (there were 2 other graduate students) that "if you cannot cook, you cannot do science". I won't take it that far but sure will say- if you are a scientist, you sure at some point or the other begin to like cooking.

Wednesday, November 22

Traditions- how important are they?

It is thanksgiving time and you get to hear all about traditions (Etymology: Latin, traditio meaning act of handing over) around this time of the year. I hear them say it while my mind wanders away- traditions, why are people so hung up on traditions? Are they really important? So there can be two different types of traditions: religious and social. Both types of traditions seem to be passed on by word of mouth (not much of written instructions). Although most people love to follow some of the oldest traditions- new ones are often created and sometimes long lost ones being re-established, an example being although pilgrims set apart thanksgiving day (after their first harvest) in 1620's, it was not until late 19th century when last Thursday of November was declared official day .

I realize that I do not have much of traditions to follow (religious or social)- I guess having been away from home could be one of the reasons. Not just that, our family lacks "traditions"- we are people who are sort of spontaneous. I don't remember my mother or grandmother saying "we have been doing this every year, we cannot not do it now- its our tradition", but I do know that my grandmother's had a lot of those. I am not sure if I feel left out in this whole tradition thing, but I sure do think they form a part of our life and probably remind us, every once in a while, of who we are. Having a constant, say an event (be it a place that you go to or eating a piece of cheesecake on a particular day either all by yourself or with someone you love) that occurs no matter how your life has turned out be or how much distinct you have become than you were a few years ago, definitely means something. It gives people the security and hope they need. Amidst busy lives that we all lead, traditions are reminders telling us to slow down, live and enjoy every moment of it. In the course of this blog I did want a tradition of my own, you know what may be if not now, at least a few years down the line I might have follow a tradition of my own- may be go to spa on the 15th of January every year (why this date and month...I don't know just made it up!!!)Hey its a tradition- don't ask questions, just follow it- its fun!!! Next time your mom asks to cook a complicated recipe grand mom's b'day or wear a sari on Diwali- don't fret...just do it, its a tradition that you need to cling on!!

Monday, November 13

The art of giving gifts

I remember back in the golden days- be it bdays or festive seasons, giving gifts was one thing I loved to do. Nothing expensive coz I was not earning (give me a break, I was just a student!). So one thing that always used to come in handy were the wonderful cards that hallmark carried (have you been to hallmark stores here, I think they are pathetic and boring). They were so many, I could spend hours together at a greeting card shop (infact that was the only kind of shopping I loved- trust me I did not grow up as a normal girl, may be now I am a bit!!). I would not gift the same thing to two different people, it cannot even be similar. Although I would start worrying about gifts a month before say my friend's bday, I would end up giving the gift a month later (in some cases it has been worse)..yikes! Sometimes I would make hand-crafted gifts (well whether they were good enough or not, I cannot tell). Whatever it was, they definitely imparted a bit of my persona as they were chosen with care, love and excitement.
Things have changed now, I still have all the thoughts but I somehow cannot get myself to decide about a gift. Infact I am so pathetic- this is what I say to myself "oh damn its my friend's bday, I need to get him something really nice" and then I hear myself "oh well how does it one cares if I give them gifts or not...why waste their time and mine too!!!" I know its pathetic but I wonder if its all got to do being an adult (now there are exceptions- I know people who still want to give gifts and get gifts) or is it because I am now surrounded by people who do not care for gifts, everything is so fast paced-there seems to be no time for selecting the right gift for the intended person. Forget gifts, sometimes it gets lousier- I send email to people wishing them (whatever the occasion may be)!!! I used to hate doing that......

May be you are not as bad as I am but I am sure there have been times when you have been through this too! So come on if you have not already begun...

Thursday, November 9

Curiously strange

It looked like she had forgotten almost everything about her past, even yesterday was so far behind that she could hardly remember anything of it. Does it mean that her days have been so unenthusiastic and unexciting that she could not tell one day from another or was she suffering from some sort of strange illness that erases her memories off?

She knew it was not the first reason becuase she had a wonderful childhood and teen years (well teen years were mostly spent revolting against issues that no one else cared about!) until a few years ago when she lost her sister to an accident and she knew for the millionth time that she did suffer from any strange illnesses (she had just got her medical report back from her doc, although she did not believe that this strange illness could even be diagnosed). What was it that she was suffering from? Could she blame all this on the traumatic incident....but every wise person in her family had told her "time is healer", so then its not the accident......

what is it then? Do you folks ever go through this strange illness......some people would think of it as being addled or lost?

PS Some part of this "she" here is me but oh well...I have to get inspiration from somewhere!!! And yeah feel free to write what you think about it, in whatever form- prose, poetry, such random musings...whatever folks but do leave your thoughts here

Wednesday, November 8

Election time here!

So its mid-term congressional polls here. Its really amazing to see so many people aware of whats going on around them specially they seem to be very politically aware- who they want to see as their senators, county councillors, governors, house representatives and so on! As who is ruling is becoming more and more important in every country, I wonder how it will be if we, Indians were a bit more aware rather than being lackadaisical as we are now. We can hate our corrupt poiliticians how much ever we want but if need to bring about a change we all need to get our asses to the polling booths and vote wisely. I know unlike here in the US, there are at least a 1000 parties (recognized and registered but recognized, both national and state parties) How do we choose what is right for us, who will do the right things for us?!! Well I guess as a start, we should try and be more aware of who the people are that want to be in "power". And of course we should vote, but when we do, we should not just blindly vote (I am not sure I can give an example for that). As literate, sensible middle and upper-middle class folks are becoming more powerful and popular...a revolution is not far away.Awareness and action people!!

Friday, November 3

I belong to a third world country and I am proud of it

When someone says "oh I really like to visit India but I am really scared to go to a third-world country" I feel like throwing stuff at them or something. I think it is derogatory to call a country "thrid-world"- it means we are much below the industrialized giants such as USA, UK and some of their other western counterparts. But my inquisitveness begged for more answers and so I did some digging- when was this term first used? Why? and what does it mean now? It turns out that the term itself was coined by a French demographer Alfred Sauvy (it was "tiers monde"), what it meant was an ignorant, exploited third world wants to be something. Later it became synonymous with "underdeveloped" but for people like you and me, who do not understand much of economic divides- it became synonymous with more than just economy. People here in the first world nations found it unimaginable that someone could actually live in such countries (this was back in the 50s and 60s). ** At some point though the term probably became derogatory because of its connotation- it comes to mean "oh I am superior to you, you guys are just are just so far behind you will never catch up to me" (this no one knows and I could not find it on the world wide web people!!). That is what is annoying, its ok if you are ignorant and use it, but people from a "developing country" calling it a "third world" is simply hurting because they are fully aware of its derogatory aspect!!

Come on people, we are trying to be something- to do that we need to be cohesive, smart and help the folks out who want to do something. So next time you think about "tiers monde" imagine stuff being thrown at you!

** it is just my point of view!