Thursday, September 6, 2012

Humour me.

Some time last year I think, I just realized how much I loved my old blog that I had titled "aMUSEings." I was very proud of my wordplay at that time. It took me some time to run (again and again) into multiple blogs with the same title or variations of it - Musings, Amuseings, Museings, etc.

The collection of posts over there made me come back and read them from time to time. I'd remember a certain post, go back to it, and spend hours going over that and other surrounding posts. A host of old memories associated with the different points in time would play before my eyes like a dream.

Sidebar: I urge all of you to keep writing (privately if you feel shy) and revisit your self when time passes.

Back to what I was trying to say:-  It was that I'd built something on that blog that was very Me. That hadn't happened here. That blog has/had a personality :) So I exported my posts, well, at least those that didn't talk about descriptions of personal events, to aMUSEings.

In the last month or so, I've picked up writing again back there. I have a personal emotional bias to that site, so please humour me, and go back there. Update your feeds (again) :) pretty please!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Women CAN drive :)

Early this year, I came across a post on Freakonomics that tried to assess why it was that when a couple is in a car, the men seemed to do most of the driving. People opined back and forth about how driving a car is symbolic of having power and 'being in control' and men like to be or seem like that they are in that position. Another party, who I quite agree with, dismissed this whole 'issue', claiming that women don't even Want to drive, and are pretty happy with someone else driving them around.

That being said, I would like to share a rather interesting weekend I had, in that respect. Whether man or woman, I think we'd all agree that most people are rather possessive about their cars and would only give their vehicle to someone they trust it with completely. I think that how often a women is offered your car to drive is a bigger test of 'emancipation' of women, or of how far we've come.

My father still recalls with much amusement, an incident of more than 10 years ago, when he had asked a female relative if she knew how to drive. The response was a non-committal "Uh.. I have a license..." This was truly the picture I knew back at home (Kerala) 10 years ago. Sure we've come a long way from women not knowing where the clutch or accelerator was. Around that time, there was this superficial give-my-daughter-the-power (-or-skill?) wave when girls would go to driving school during her 'break' (you know, she's finished her degree, and is waiting to .. get... married.) With a number of driving schools around, it wasn't difficult to pay them and get a driver's license as well as part of the package. Unfortunately, though, this give-my-daughter-the-power wave didn't come along with give-my-daughter-the-car.

So when this time, my (male) cousins actually trusted me with their car, it came as a real pleasant surprise to me. It was symbolic of how we'd moved ahead, but only partly, since their wives were still unable to pick up the car and go out when alone. But that might just be personal choice. In that, if they wanted to, I believe that they would actually be encouraged.

I came face to face with the other extreme as well. We were driving down to Mangalore and had a stopover in between at a relative's house. I was behind the wheel when we reached the relative's town. He was waiting for us at a predecided spot, to lead us home. When we stopped near him, he peeked into the car, and stood dumbfounded for about 15 seconds. He just couldn't understand it. Here I was, someone he hadn't met before, female, behind the wheel. My male cousin, the one who he expected to be driving when there were 3 other ladies in the car, was (gasp!) on the side seat. Once he recovered, life went on as normal. Until the next morning, when we were to start again. Relative (without bothering to be discrete) tells my cousin, You drive the car now, ok? Don't let her drive. I wasn't even planning to drive, but this was something else. I asked him in quite an innocent tone, why is that? Not accustomed to being questioned by a woman who drives, I assume, he mellowly mumbled about the ghats and that I shouldn't drive. He repeated the instruction to my cousin about three times after that, within the next one minute, lest he forget. I didn't see any point arguing. Que Sera Sera, I thought.

How long before it changes? How long before there is no thought given to the gender of the person behind the wheel? I've been so lucky to have a father who's always wanted us to be in charge of ourselves, as well as the car.

Answer me this one question in the comments section, since you have stopped by anyway :)
How differently would you react to a man and a woman wanting to drive YOUR car? State your sex as well and please feel free to comment anonymously, if you think that will encourage honesty :)
UPDATE: I'd like to hear from women who've been on the receiving end of this 'cultural role-allotment' if I may call it that. Did you ever feel like you were discouraged or not trusted enough with the car? Has that influenced later attempts at driving?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Karthik comes from South India.. do AnitHa, ShrutHi, AnantH and NitHin..

What's with the extra H that South Indians add to all their names? I've heard countless non South Indians ask with so much shock it amazes me. And then they say that if you spell it AnitHa it's actually A-ni-thhha (you know, thhh of thhhumb, or thhhirst). Its supposed to be Anita.

First, what warrants so much surprise?
Second, supposed to be ??
Third, .... so???

I'd like to clear this up here on this space: It's just the way we spell! So there! Say, how do you pronounce water? Tomato? Terrace? Tamatar?

So is it OK to use the single 't' for the sound of t from tea? Well, we think so too! :)
Then we add an extra H to soften that hard T.

Its as simple as that.

UPDATE/EDIT/DISCLAIMER (a side effect of being surrounded by too many north Indians :P): I'm NOT saying this is the correct way to spell. I'm saying it's not incorrect. I'm saying its OK either way. I'm saying what's the big deal??

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Traffic congestion at a railway track crossing.
Recognize the need for a road over bridge at the railway track.
Plan to spend Rupees 15 crores and 18 months on building it.
Actually spend 20 crores and 5 years.
Complete it.
Wait a month.
Wait another month.
Paint (??) the walls on either sides of the ROB beautifully.
Make the Chief Minister inaugurate the ROB.
When it is time to finally use it to alleviate traffic:
-* Yesterday *-
Block routes all around the area because the CM is coming.
-* Today *-
All routes around the flyover are jammed. The bottleneck shifts to the next junction.

Sigh. I wish I had a picture.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

on how he saves the city.. auto-wallah at a time. :)

I can go on and on about auto-rickshaws given my extensive dealings with them and those who drive them, for 3 years and over. But wait, i'm not going to (go on and on, that is). (Read: Don't leave me yet, pleeeease.)

Although I would still like to record today's incident. Today we decided to take an auto-rickshaw back home. I succumbed earlier than usual for the wun-ann-haff-lagega-achha-ok-twanty-rupees-ekshtra, even though A. still had a little bit of fight in him. I persuaded him to settle for the first auto that we found that offered to take us home.

Surprise of surprises, we had landed ourselves into one of those specimens that zip and zoom in and out of traffic. These have no apparent fear of death. They can zoom into a lane of traffic from nowhere and even drive into opposing traffic (to swerve at the last moment) with alarming calm. Societal rules and restrictions hold no meaning for these carefree spirits. They are not ones to be bound by the rigidity that is human society.

The next precious minutes of our life consisted of me holding on to the edge of the auto, auto-walla merrily flouting all conceivable traffic rules like jumping the red signal and jumping ahead to the front of the signal by risking our lives onto oncoming traffic.

A. was already not in the best of moods, so when, after about 20 minutes, he tapped on the auto driver's shoulder asking him, "Aap bangalore ke hain?", I knew what was up. I gave the quiet signal to him that said, let it go. Duly ignored, he asked again, Are you from Bangalore?

Auto driver's response: Grunt. (In an affirmative questioning tone)

A. then began doing the hero-dialogue in all his anger. I wish I could do justice to his Hindi rebuke. You are from the city and even then you do all this. You break all the rules. Don't you care, being from the same city. Don't you know anything about rules. Look at all the others, aren't they following the rules. What is your problem? I can't understand you guys, you are from the city and yet you do this. And on and on.
All the while the auto driver adopted a what-do-i-care attitude with Aapka kya jaata hai? Baaki logon ka problem hai yeh to. Aise karenge nahi to chala nahi sakte yahan.

(Meanwhile I'm now down to trying the let it go let it go let it go to no avail)

I braced myself for impending doom. I half-expected him to tell us to get out of his auto, or even stop and start yelling and then who knows, find some friends to get together and and start yelling at us and god-knows-what.

But surprisingly, once the verbal sparring was over, auto-walle-bhaiya settled down, much like a sulking teenager who knows you're right but just won't admit it. He didn't stick to his lane (that's a bit much to expect from him ;)) but he slowed down, didn't jump the next signals; basically he didn't pretend he was on a racing track.

I couldn't believe it, A.'s admonition had worked! And I suspect (and really hope) it will stick for some time atleast. Dropping the chalta hai attitude, if momentarily, had done some good, and I'm pleasantly surprised. :)

Do you have any saved-the-city tales?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

as is tradition..

..we do a year-end post.

Only we procrastinate, and then it becomes a new year post.

I like the new year day, even though I agree that its just another date. I like the feeling of being on the edge on one year, reflecting on all the events that happened, and then on the dawn of the next, hope alive for all that you wish for.

2009 has been a BIG year for me. Landmark, direction-changing, preserved-forever-in-the-memory kind. Come to think of it, the marriage has been such a huge event for me, I struggle to remember what else happened in 2009. It seems to have overshadowed all else that in an otherwise marriage-less year, would be deemed blog-post worthy.

So let's see: January. Ah, how could I forget? See I have this crazy set of friends at work. By crazy I mean awesome crazy :) A couple of them decided it was time to do something .. well, creative. That couple inspired (and bullied) the rest of us into the scheme. We then thought of the kind of performances we wanted to do - dance, drama, music (we even had the popular 'miscellaneous' category ;))

We practiced day and night. Well we practiced in the early hours of the day, worked in the sane hours of the day and dreamed about it in the night. We tried our hands at things we'd never thought we'd do before. (To give you an example, I sang.) We co-ordinated an entire event from scratch, booked a place, organised a caterer, timed performances, created a schedule. And then we just did it! We performed in front of a 'select' audience, and never felt better. I have to use the word 'crazy' again because this is one of those things that other friends still tease us for (self-inflicted torture or something, they said :D) but it was one of the best things I've ever been a part of. The bonding, the fighting, the re-bonding, the struggle, the learning, the mastery (well sort of) - I wouldn't take it back for anything!

February and March were a sort of repeat : we held a similar event at work. We had more of the fighting here unfortunately :( but then we sorted it out. The event was a big success, I got to dance again, and thats all I need.

Come April and I had the best birthday ever! Beyond April was a very difficult redefining of relationships around me. I realized that the roles of every relationship around me were so tightly defined that a change in them brought about a lot of resentment. It brought out uneasiness even from those not directly involved. But well, such is life. More on that later.

May and June started off the whole marriage thought process. Ashish is a big worrier, and I am the don't-look-problems-in-the-eye kind of person. He is the cautious pessimist, I am the foolhardy optimist. It was in our face that the kind of marriage we wanted to step into wasn't going to be an easy one. Our families were/are very different : culturally, socially, get the drift. We both also had traces of those differences. There were many questions with regard to this that we both had to answer. We answered some, we left some unanswered. And then we went ahead with it anyway. Everything went extremely well, rocky at first in some areas, but smooth at the end (oh right, the beginning ;))

Cautious Pessimist: 0, Foolhardy Optimist: 1
Maybe I should give him like half a point here. You see, he thought of all possible situations in which there might be trouble between us or the families, so we were all prepared for much of it and didn't get too much of a culture shock.
Cautious Pessimist: 0.25, Foolhardy Optimist: 1 :)

Anyway, away from score-keeping and back to reflections. So that and that in a nutshell, was 2009.

Which brings us back to 2-0-1-0. Wait, do you say two-thousand-ten or the very yankee sounding twenty-ten (twennyten)? I came across this condescending comment on the web about people using the former. "Its as if they don't want to be in the future," it said. Me no like.

Or ooh, are you a two-oh-one-oh ;) ?

In 2010, I'm trying to be more in touch with the people who I think are special to me. Also, in general, more out there. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad one, its just something I want to try for a while and see if it fits.

In 2010, I want to restart dance classes. This isn't a very hard thing to do. Its just an example of procrastination: that first picking of the phone, making that inquiry, committing to spending more than a couple of hours each weekend (including travel). But I do know, that once I cross these hurdles, I'll have a lot of fun.
Current status on this one: I got 3 numbers of the same place, called all of them. "Switched off", "doesn't exist", and "incoming calls on this number barred"! That's how far I have gone till now.

In 2010, I want to have a lot of water. On a regular basis. Everyday. Current status: A. made me keep a glass next to the bottle of water at my desk. So far its working; for the last 3 workdays this year I've had a lot of water for my standards :)

So there you have it. If you're still here, I congratulate you on the ability to bear with me. You have what it takes to be my friend. Ping me sometime.

In conclusion, may 2-0-1-0 be, in the words of Barney (yes I finally am catching up with HIMYM)
for all of you :) I'm looking forward to all the newness in sight :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

back. yet again. and how.

Hello, all ye faithful can-count-on-fingers-of-one-hand readers :) How you doin'?

Great! Me? I'm doing good, y'know, just been a bit busy, what with the marriage that I had to attend - MINE!! :-o

Yes I went to Delhi and got married, to an absolutely adorable man - the love of my life, the apple of my eye, etc etc :) I'll stop at these many adjectives, because sometimes, just sometimes, it causes him to get elevated to levels above general humility, and its a hard pull back down to earth.

Marriage, by any standards, is a life-changing event. And then for an utterly spoilt-to-the-bone-as-a-kid person like me, who hardly ever lived by herself, it is a different level altogether. Add to that, marriage into an entirely different culture, and you enter another dimension.

From the wedding ceremonies in Delhi (we did it their way) to the way I should address relatives, everything was and is different. Thank the lord for small mercies like television, globalization, and well, Ekta Kapoor, that I was vaguely familiar with much of it. And yet, that's not enough; I'm learning every single day.

The big fat North Indian wedding I had was much more than I have ever dreamed of. It was magical and in fact, something like a dream! Lights, colours, music, flowers, all you can imagine, it was all there! The only thing I missed on was, understandably, the food ;) I was so immersed in the ceremonies and meeting the new people of my life, that I don't even recall where the food was.

Decked up in a red and green lehenga with intricate and elaborate work on it, I waited at the venue for the baaraat to show up. Well, that was the intention anyway ;) I ended up reaching the venue after the baaraat did ! Me, my sis-in-law and friends were discretely moving around in a car right behind them :) I actually had to hide myself in another cloth so that no one could see me. Then we had to slip in through the side entrance :) Thankfully we had a little South Indian reception for the groom at the entrance, so that bought me some time. After that sis-in-law went to the stage for another welcoming aarti, and only after that did I have to make my entrance.

When I stepped out on to the ground, I was welcomed by the sight of a palki or a palanquin. All my brothers had to carry the palanquin (with me sitting in it!) to the stage where I would wed Ashish, who was waiting for me in a cream and red sherwani, turban in place, like my prince in shining .. apparel.

We had an almost magical garland exchange ceremony, where each of us entered a small circular stage from either end step by step, and put the wedding garlands on each other while flowers were thrown on us. And the then the stage began rotating!! At that moment, I was in a different zone altogether. The lights, the colours, the music, the flowers pouring on us, adoring friends and relatives, us rotating, it all made me feel like I was a princess from a fairy tale!

Right after that we were taken to our seats on-stage where we met relatives and friends, posed for photographs with them, and then posed some more. It was well after 1 pm when it was time for the rituals and the pooja/prayers. Then Ashish and I did the saat pheras or the seven rotations signifying our matrimonial unison :) (heh, I just wanted to say that - applause!!)

Guess what happened next in the great big Indian wedding at around 4 am in the morning in the open ground? We played games!! :D Traditionally meant to break the ice between two families that get related by the wedding, these games are fun, and invite a lot of merriment and fun chatter between the two parties. The first of the games was prepared for the previous day, each of us had a sacred thread on our wrists, tied with seven knots. We had to untie the other's thread, knot by knot, with only one hand. Of course, in a situation like this, the rules were relaxed soon enough, especially given the fact that it was early in the morning, cold, and everyone was sleepy! :) The next game was the one we see quite often on television. Search for the ring among the rose petals in water. We had seven rounds of this as well. The last was a game of each of us tightly holding the ring in our hand, while the other tries hard to pry it out of our hands. No prizes for guessing who won this one :) Oh and we also had the whole bride's side stealing the groom shoes part!

I'll skip the emotional content of my bidaai :( I'll just tell you all that it involved a little bit of tears, some hugs, and then some more tears :( Then we got into the car and went to my sasuraal (in-law's house). There we had a small prayer and (surprise, surprise) another game :) where my devar was to sit on my lap and demand a gift in return for his getting up. :D My devar was thankfully so kind and barely bent down, before he got up saying he was done :)

Thus ended a looooong day, one I couldn't possibly forget in all my life. So tiring, and yet so enjoyable. It was really an amazing night. My whole family (including my new extended family now), did so much for me and Ashish, we've been made to feel nothing short of prince and princess.

We love you guys, we do :)

PS. I decided against posting any photos here. Mail me if you wanna see some!