Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Predictable title and a long rambling post. Nothing defines BORING better than this to me. But, if you are here, then go on, take a risk :).

Hmmm....so whats the latest at my end? Well....

The school may be closed for winter break, but here I'm, typing this post at work. I had to come in everyday this week, and work double time too! The department that I work for is kind of an important department within the University system and cannot afford to be closed down for the entire winter break. So we are open, running on a "skeleton crew". This means, those like me, at the bottom most rung of the organizational ladder are expected to show up everyday and those higher and above get to take turns. Actually, it is not as pathetic as I am making it out to be . With my upcoming travels next week, I will be off work for almost 3 weeks and I volunteered to work double time to make up for my absent days.

Work has been slow too. It was a bit hectic the first couple of days but since then it's slowed down so much that all I did (well mostly what I did) was read blogs and work on some teeny bit of school related work.

The lab party that I mentioned in my previous post went quite well. Our prof showed up late as he was stuck in a meeting at the other end of town. After a couple of phone calls from us to him we made a unanimous decision to start without him. It was definitely a better plan than passing out from hunger! ANYhows..as expected, the food was spectacular!-

Biryani made by our Pakistani lab mate,
Baba ganoush and Hummus w/ Pita bread by our Iraqi lab mate,
Aloo Gobi by our Nepali lab mate,
Ahi-poke bought by one of our American lab mates and the drinks was on the other and "Tandoori" chicken with green pepper by yours truly.

Delicious would be an insufficient word to describe the dishes..except for the Ahipoke (which is basically raw, fresh tuna marinated in different sauces). Since I do not eat raw meat of any kind I do not know first hand on how good it was but seeing my lab mates going in for seconds it can be fairly concluded that it was delicious as well! I like food but I am not as adventurous as I would like to be with food. I LOVE watching Andrew Zimmerman and Anthony Bourdain and consider them two of the coolest people on this planet, after Ian Wright of Globe Trekker i.e.
(One reason why I love twitter - you can follow people you are interested in without appearing like a crazy stalker
and although I would love to follow Mr Right (I mean Wright) in real life, considering how unlikely that is, I am quite happy following him on twitter - for now. I mean- dreams shouldn't have any boundaries Wright? (I mean right?)).
And although I aspire to be cool foodies like Zimmerman and Bourdain, I can never gather the courage they show in trying out different food from different lands and often consume them with relish and gusto!

And speaking of food, my kitchen cabinets got a fresh coat of paint and has a sweet, clean, fresh look. Lots more I want to do to make it look sweeter but time and finances need to happen simultaneously which is a rare occurrence in my case. Then on second thoughts, since this is just a small, temporary, rental accommodation I wonder if I should be dedicating all the time and money to pretty it up only to move out later. Then on 'third thoughts' (if there is such a thing) I tell myself-as long as I live here, its my space and if keeping it a certain way makes me happy and since happiness (most times) come at a cost, then I must! In other words its time and money well spent.

It is almost the weekend and some friends are coming over and we will all eat and be merry and I believe it is also some one's birthday. Merry Christmas everyone!

PS: I wish I had pics to accompany my ramblings but alas! this aspiring photographer ( one among many other aspirations ) often forgets to take her camera along! Something to be kept in mind for the next post perhaps.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Possibilities

Something I want to do- Adopt a baby, preferably a girl. In my heart I am convinced of how wonderful it would be to have a daughter. I am having a hard time convincing the family though- on adoption i.e.

Anyways..

Wasn't it just a couple of days ago I declared I have "free time" in hand.? I guess I jinxed myself as this week and the next promises to be mad, hectic. Of course all depends on how much of my procrastinating urges take over my discipline. If the former happens I might find myself with plenty "free time" but with the nagging thought of all the impending work I am not sure how relaxing it will be, especially since I travel the week after next.

But all is not work and madness. There are a couple of fun things on the card.

An upcoming lab get together this week and I will be bringing my famous & delicious ( eh, I think you are legally (and clinically) permitted to make such self-declarations and/or have delusions of grandeur within the limits of your own blog) "tandoori chicken" ( well my version of it) and with lab mates from Nepal, Iraq, Pakistan and US it should be an interesting buffet.

The weekend promises to be fun too depending on what I end up doing. There are a couple of movies to catch at the theatre--something I have been neglecting (yep, I will use words like neglect and movies in the same line, implying it was grossly irresponsible of me. I guess I am a movie buff!).

There is also a plan to have some friends over as its been ages since we got together at home. Every time we meet at the campus our parting line is always-"hey we need to get together soon sometime" followed by "as soon as things slow down a bit" which never happens of course. Now with winter break approaching and the finals almost done, a weekend party is a possibility. But I also wanted to paint my kitchen shelves white! So what is it going to be-socializing or housekeeping?! I'll wait and see what happens. Wish I could do it all but alas! the weekend is only 2 days long!

So many possibilities, so little time and so says a certified procrastinator .

Friday, December 09, 2011

"Tell The Way You Remember It..

...not the way it happened"- Finnegan Ball

I have a mad crush on Finn (Pip). I had almost forgotten. Then I refreshed my memory and it all came back. But I love Joe. Such a nice man.
Estella, a pretty snob and nothing much.
Ms.Dinsmoor (Ms. Havisham), heartbroken and eccentric and nothing more.
The fugitive, the benefactor.
The rest, insignificant.

I have free time in hand and I am watching movies, the old forgotten favorites. Just finished Great Expectations and now I am on to The English Patient and it is only about 10pm. Needless to say, I am pretty good at pointless pursuits.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

ABD

Relief is what I feel. It is done- the written exam, the orals and all the crazy stress. Now my status is "ABD", which is a grad school lingo that stands for Anything But Dissertation, which technically means I am not a PhD student anymore but- advanced to candidacy.

Now for the proposal defense, the field work, the data collection, the analysis, the hypothesis testing, the interpretations, the writing, the presenting and defending all that you did. Yikes!
May the force be with me(I would have settled for Capt. Hans Solo but obviously God has other plans for me).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nothing Much Actually

Crazy things happen, we pause, we ponder, we sigh and we move on. At least that's what I am doing or did.

Things are getting hectic at school with the semester drawing to an end. I have a couple of paper submissions after which all official semester requirements will be done. But, work will go on, polishing my proposal and reading up more material on it. There was a lot of school related reading this semester and hence motivation to read anything outside of "required" reading was low. Most of my free time was spent watching and re-watching movies or staring at design blogs and books followed by boundless day dreaming or finding new music on youtube.
Speaking of music, I am currently listening and head bobbing (Yes, not head banging) to this.I heard its quite the rage in India, across state borders, from South to North.

And, to part on a happy note, sharing some funnies as in funny/cool t-shirt prints!


(All images src: http://www.noisebot.com)


More can be found/bought at this website. They also have hoodies and they come in different colors too! Ain't that cool?!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Farewell At The Beach

Today was a rather windy, downcast day.Normally I would have loved this weather but today I was in no mood to enjoy it. In fact the whole weekend was spent in a bit of a daze. To say this past week was eventful would be an understatement.
Anyways, a group of us got together at the beach to bid farewell to our dear friend. We created a makeshift shrine with some gorgeous pictures of her, flowers, incense sticks, candles and a statue of The Lord of Dance-Natraj a.k.a Lord Shiva (which was apt). In a circle, quietly praying, thinking of her, few words of remembrance and then scattering flowers into the ocean we bid our goodbyes.











Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Friend The Dancer-Scholar

Performing at the University- doesn't she look awesome?

Originally from Canada, she is a student at the University here, getting her PhD from the Dept of Dance & Theatre. We were introduced by a common friend a couple of years ago. As her subject was Kuttiyattam, a traditional dance-drama from Kerala, it was important that she learn the language or at least be able to speak or understand it at an elementary level and our friendship grew over many long lunches and discussions conversing in and on Malayalam, on Kerala, the culture, the people and on dance. I remember the fun and excitement of helping her out (in a small way) to organize the Kathakali workshop here at the university. When my mom was here visiting, she would come home almost everyday to learn some Malayalam from her. A few months ago she successfully passed her PhD comprehensive exam and moved to Kerala for her field work. She reached a couple of days before I was to leave Kerala and so we had a day to hang out in Kochi. It was fun and we went to Fab India to pick some Indian outfits for her and ate Dosas from BTH and she was telling me about all her plans while in India. She was so excited and looking forward to her dissertation field work in Kerala.

You just have to meet her and talk to her for a few minutes to realize how much she loves dancing and how passionate she is about it, particularly Bharatnatyam and Kuttiyattam. She has been learning Kuttiyattam at Kalamandalam preparing for her first performance (Arangettum) early next year. Myself and a bunch of her other friends would get regular updates from her on her experiences in Kerala through these long, descriptive emails which are always interesting and often amusing. Here is an excerpt-

......."I have decided that for me doing field research is like walking in a dark, unfamiliar room. You mostly bump into things and receive minor bruises until you stumble upon a light that leads to more and more treasures. It is definitely a great experience most of the time even
if you are scared of the dark. I don’t think I am as afraid of the dark as those HUGE ancient spiders that prevent me from using the toilet or opening a door when they decide to camp out! I actually don’t mind walking around in the dark, my eyes adjust very well. This is really funny too, because my friend and I were having a discussion about how we as a species are adapting to needing so much more light than we used to ever need, and we are losing our ability to, as he said “see in the dark” . . . whether you want to take this literally or as a metaphor is completely up to you. But the discussion started when I was mentioning how I much prefer watching kutiyattam with the natural lighting of just the oil lamp as opposed to all the artificial stage lighting that they are now using. There is much more ambiance,
magic and mystery..............................................
............And with that, I shall leave you to think about coming to Kerala in
February or March to support me in my arangetram ;) or at least to
think about those scary spiders".

I spoke to her on the phone a couple of weeks ago when she was home visiting my mom. She had just gotten back from her trip to Combodia . She and I spoke for long and we made plans to travel around Kerala and catch some traditional temple performances across the state during my next visit. She had already established some good dance & theater contacts in Kerala  that would certainly help us in planning the trip. Last week she turned 30 and celebrated it in Goa with a friend.

After returning from Goa, day before yesterday, she passed away, apparently from complications following an asthma attack. She was a chronic asthma patient and was always in and out of hospitals be it here or in India. But to die at 30, so suddenly!?! I am not sure how to make sense of this. Sometimes I can't stop the tears and sometimes I become all philosophical, questioning everything- the meaning, the purpose and what not.

All I know is I will miss her greatly. R.I.P dear friend.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

All This Time..

..Been reading, thinking, listening, watching, dreaming and musing. Engaged in a lot of activities basically. "Get inspired" is the general disposition and so totally loving this and this.



Also, nurturing my design sensibilities through a couple of design blogs I stumbled upon rather serendipitously(yea, dont I scare you with my complex vocabs)and so in love with my new acquisitions.. This one is by an art student at the university. He had quite an interesting collection of quirky pottery but I had only limited means in my hand and spent it on this little "glass". That's his initials on the bottom which is good I suppose. What if he becomes a celebrated sculptor/potter/artist in future? Now if only I could remember his name!

Well, there is no cool story behind this one. It was on sale at a local grocery store and I bought it because,.......because I liked it. It definitely keeps the tea hot longer, thanks to its deep, small rimmed cylindrical design. Also, doesnt it look nice and sleek?

Watched the movie Invictus yesterday and the President is in town as the APEC maddness descent and protesters fine tune their rhetoric.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Musical Me -II

As for Gazals- I was never much of a Gazal enthusiast (Hindi or Malayalam) with all its weepy, sad, self pitying undertones. Nope, not for me. I mean I do sometimes go on self-pitying, self-loathing trips ( that's what Kishore K was for back then ) but Gazals have a way of inducing these emotions even if you are feeling ok with life and everything else.

All said (here I go contradicting myself) there are a few recent (Hindustani/Gazal influenced) Malayalam songs ( with the exception of one) I like and I like them because they were either part of a movie I liked or the context in which it was sung or the lyrics or the music or both. That brings the total number of songs in this offbeatcategory-I-love-list to exactly 4 and in the order of preference, they are:-

1. From the movie Perumazhakalam- Raakilithan. Gosh! I get all overwhelmed every time I hear/see this song. You will too if you think there is something magical about monsoons.

2. From the movie Meghamalahar- Oru naru pushpamay. One of the best adult type movies I have seen. Now don't get me wrong ..adult not in an-all gory violence and/or naked bodies kind of way, but adult in a very emotionally mature kind of way. Too lazy to give you a synopsis and even if I did you would get all judgmental on me. Yes, I am insecure- sometimes. So ?

3. A Gulam Ali gazal( to my knowledge it was not part of a movie).- Tamam umr..- This is sort of the exception to the rule. The only non-malayalam song in the list and I love it for its lyrics, his voice and the music. Ironically, the first time I heard the song, it was sung by a mallu guy, with an awesome voice, in Hindi ( laced with a slight mallu acent and everything) on some tv talent show and still did not spoil it for me. For those who can follow Hindi -
" तमाम उम्र तेरा इंतज़ार हमने किया
I waited for you all my life
इस इंतज़ार मे किस किस-से प्यार हमने किया"
And while I waited I loved many (I don't know who all (sort of implied))

4. From the movie Ore Kadal- Oru Kadal- For various reasons, one of which is- I will watch anything that Shyama Prasad makes and will say how much I love it even if I didn't, which is highly unlikely, because I will always like what he makes (I just drew a circle-didn't I?). His movies are unique and interesting and I guess he expects the same standards for the songs he includes in them.

I just yawned but cannot sleep yet. So may the music begin-!! and who can stay still with this music?!?

kesa sharmana aja nach k dikha de
aa meri hoja aa parda gira de
aa meri akhiyon se akhiyan mila le
aa tu na nakhre dikhaa
wanna be my chamak chalo
ooh ooh ooh ooh
wanna be my chamak chalo
ooh ooh ooh ooh

(OST-Ra-One)

The Musical Me

Wish I could sing but no....Listening to songs on youtube. My ipod does not have a playlist of ALL my favorite songs; and sometimes you want to listen to something different from your usual set. These are songs that would be categorized as offbeat Malayalam songs. Offbeat as in a cross between Hindustani and Gazal!! Yes, I know- me and Hindustani!! I wouldn't know the difference between Rag Malhar and Rasgolla if I did not know the latter is a sweet dish.

But wait...

Back in my early school years I was big time into classical Hindustani ( no, seriously!), particularly instrumental music. I was probably one among the few loyal customers,of the younger demographic, who religiously purchased the Elements and Landscape series produced by Music Today. When my friends got sentimental over John Denver, Michael Bolton, Jagjit Singh and Kishore Kumar, I would "chill out" listening to the maestros and other world music. Either I was mature beyond my years with refined tastes or I was a total snob. I must clarify though that my interest was only limited to listening; there were no attempts to educate myself beyond who was playing what. I guess that makes me less of a connoisseur and more of a snob! Anyways, that phase has passed to some extent.


Just to be fair to my friends- I have (sometimes) gotten sentimental over "their songs" although never over M.Bolton ( no, never!). And there were also times when I thought Kishore kumar was god singing tragic poetry to mortals like some twisted joke and I would endure it not for the sake of my friends but as a sadistic, self inflicted, torture. Besides all this, I would say the heights of my musical-preferences- purely -based-on -peer -pressure was when I listened to Boyzone and BoysIIMen *cringe*, *cringe*. I don't mean to insult any of the die hard fans out there nor am I suggesting they sounded bad and corny( mmm...corny -maybe), but that MJ ,Springsteen and Billy Joel sounded way cooler, until of course I discovered Grunge and life has never been the same since then! *dramatic pause*.

To be continued....

Monday, October 31, 2011

Great Weather But

It's a cold, cloudy, rainy day. Technically its Fall moving to Winter but its called the "rainy season" here. Love it!I could have stayed home all day listening to Pearl Jam, day dreaming. Instead I am at work.!?! An *overwhelming urge to throw a tantrum*.

Cousin's marriage in India and I am missing all the fun and shopping! Yes, everything just sucks!

Ok, on a happy note-ehhhhh-------mmmmm------- welllllll------Obama might just win the re-election!

Peace \/

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wait Up...

Time! Let me get some things done before you zooooooo------m away like this!

Days seem shorter as I struggle to finish things and
Nights seem shorter as I don't seem to get enough sleep.

Whats up with time?! Where is it rushing off to? Get a life -time. Slow down and enjoy the loveliness around you.

Sincerely,
An exhausted traveler

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Fellowship Of Procrastinators.

One set of people I can relate to quite well are the procrastinators. Yes, I know its sad. Wish I could say high achievers, but no, not possible. I mean I cannot even pass off as one and to prove my point...

Today morning as I sat in my little cubicle at work, instead of working I busied myself blog hopping and then, blog writing. Each time I stumbled across an interesting post or article,I told myself, in the classic procrastinator way- 'I'll get back to work as soon as I finish reading this particular article/post' and before you know it you are couple of hours down and many blogs and blog posts beyond. Also, by then your brain is so fried from all the intense staring-at-the-computer-screen, while simultaneously processing all the trivial and sometimes not so trivial material you read, that at the end of a blog hopping marathon, the last thing you want to do is get back to work. In my case, to get the momentum started and going would require such large amount of self-determination, that if indeed I ever had that level of self-determination I may have been able to classify myself as a high-achiever and not a procrastinator.

Any hows, since self-determination and all such fabulous qualities elude me and perhaps an almost impossible feat ( although they do say nothing is impossible) to acquire this late in life, I surrender gracefully and join myself to the Fellowship Of Procrastinators where I suppose our moto would probably read- "Not Done..But We Can Always Do it Later".

On to more "informative" details- I stumbled across this cool blog -India Uncut by this (popular) Indian blogger Amit Varma, who also, apparently, happens to be a fellow procrastinator, who published a book (My Friend Sancho) in 2009, (which I am keen to read) and won a prize and everything. I cam across a review on his book and found an excerpt from it that goes:

"I went to office late in the morning. I worked for a couple of hours. That is to say, I tried to work. My mind kept wandering, and the internet gave it places to wander to. Every three minutes I told myself, Just two minutes more, let me just check out this page, then I will work. But I’d check out that page, and click on a link there, or think of something because of what I was reading and go somewhere else, and so on and on until it was almost lunchtime and I was better informed about the world but less so about my own piece".

Ah!I can sooo relate to this..what do you think I am doing right now?

Oh heck! Let me atleast try and get back to work..I mean only for my conscience sake which sometimes has this annoying habit of telling me stuff I don't want to hear.

As an afterthought and on a slightly unrelated subject-
I do realize that I commit many a language related murders in my blog; but since this is not a high traffic blog, I have convinced myself that the probability of me getting caught and charged of the crimes are rather slim. Also, this line from Amit Varma's book has given me renewed faith in my blogging, bad grammar, language and all.

"You read your New Journalism pieces from the books where they are collected, you read the features in The New Yorker and The Atlantic, and you tell yourself you want to write like that, and you paralyze yourself. The trick is just to tell the story simply, the best you can, without thinking of how impressed people will be when they read it. So I wrote and wrote".

I really want to read this book now. I mean I really must get back to work now.

Laters!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The 55 Words Story

Got some downtime today and decided to play the "55 words" game. Well, actually there was no downtime. It was me deciding- to heck with everything else, I am going to do what I feel like doing even if its not productive in anyway. Yea--you turn into a rebel for those few minutes. How brave (read sad)! ANYhows, here goes...

SO the rule of the game is to write a short story using only 55 words. Long ago, one of the visitors to this blog (Yep, this blog used to have visitors- the ones who read and sign out/in with a comment or two. Sometimes I get a bit nostalgic about those days. Other times I feel relieved) had suggested that I try it and at the time I made a joke of it. Recently I came across some similar attempts made by others and decided to try it out. All in good fun but with less silliness.

I tried out two versions-the sad and the happy version.

She is frantically trying to call. The last time they may be speaking to each other; something profoundly sad about knowing this in advance. They had an incredible connection. Some may call them soul mates. She is frantic. She hears something and she wakes up. It’s the phone. They never spoke for the last time.

She is frantically trying to call. The last time they may be speaking to each other; something profoundly sad about knowing this in advance. They had an incredible connection. Some may call them soul mates. She is frantic. She hears something and she wakes up. It’s the phone. She answers and breaks into a smile.

PS: Was that me trying to be all artsy, like some European-foreign language-cinema or was it too Bollywood-ish? Hmmm--cannot decide.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Off To The Beach I Went...

..with my swim suit and sunscreen. Nooo..not really.

Drove down to the beach Saturday afternoon. It was a nice cool, windy, fall afternoon although I would have preferred a downcast, cloudy, windy, fall afternoon. The sun was too bright but not as hot. I am not a beach person and I need a good enough excuse to head out there. A friend decided to celebrate his 30th birthday and invited us and some friends over. Since that was a good enough excuse, we decided to go to wish him and fuss around him a bit. I took my camera and a dish along. An unwritten code of conduct within the student community- when there is a party with food involved it is always potluck unless explicitly stated in the invite (mail) not to bring any food. No student can generally afford to feed so many even if its an important milestone in his/her life. The dish soon got lost among all the other dishes people had brought and as always, you don't remember much of what you ate or did not eat. This time I do remember tasting the chocolate cake though.

As the party progressed, off came the party wear and on came the swim wear (quite natural since we were at the beach) and while all the beach lovers had a good time, frolicking in the ocean I, still in my party wear, (yea just felt the need to clarify that) walked around playing with my camera.


On the way back, with the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other - you forget to breathe for a second. I can't help being dramatic because that's how gorgeous it was/is!
The "mountain man" and his sharp profile.


To get to the beach you drive along this gorgeous coastline. The only problem is you cannot stop as its the highway and so a lot of missed photo ops.
Sadly I do not swim and neither do I enjoy beaches much, although they are lovely, especially these tucked away secluded ones, away from all the tourist hoopla. But misty, majestic, mountains any day for me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Breakfast in The Afternoon


"I'm like cat here, a no-name slob. We belong to nobody, and nobody belongs to us. We don't even belong to each other"

I saw a love story-with a happy ending! It was between the delicate, beautiful Audrey Hepburn and the handsome George Peppard. I don't know why I waited so long to watch the movie. I guess because it is an old classic and when you have the newer Roshans and Vikrams flexing their muscles at you or the various Khans, Suryas and Cloony's working their charm on you (through the screen i.e.), you kind of push away the classics for later.

My dad was the one who introduced me to old classics. But they were the kind he liked and as a kid I watched Guns of Navron, Bridge on the River Kwai, Mackenna's Gold and some popular ones like My Fair Lady, The King and I...just to name a few. Throw in a few B&W hindi classics and most of Satyajit Ray's works-you have a good idea of what my childhood was like.

And so, today afternoon, when I was bored and I wanted to KILL time, literally speaking (no, but yes I would if I could) I thought I'll remember dad and the good old classics and watched Breakfast at Tiffany's. It was funny, it was romantic, it was SWEET and it had the lovely, melodious moonriver. Not only got me through a boring afternoon but also put a song in my heart and a smile on my face.

Two drifters off to see the world
There's such a lot of world to see
(Moonriver)

Yep, my kind of lyrics.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Jobs No More

I know I am being a bit predictable here with my posting (although I may be up to my tricks with my titles. No, this post is not about recession and the falling job market).
Anytime there is an incident that has the whole world either overwhelmed with grief or ecstatically happy, I have to blog about it, especially if it is the former. Yes! you guessed right- this post is dedicated to the not unexpected but rather sudden demise of Steve Jobs.
Pretty inspiring to see what can be achieved by someone in a short span of ~ 30years, especially coming from circumstances that are ordinary and middle class. Well, we will wait for his biography and see what it says.
Anyhows, as expected, Facebook, Twitter are all buzzing with news of his death with epitaphs dedicated to him. There are personal quotes, borrowed quotes, Steve Job quotes all indicating what an important man he was and how greatly he will be missed.
Personally I don't have any catchy epitaph extolling Steve Jobs as I am not a "gadget-gizmo mortal" and my only association with Apple is my ipod (which is probably by now an antique in the Apple world) and those of the fruit/edible kind and hence I am not feeling an overwhelming sense of loss on his passing away. But yes, I would say, like any other person with common sense and a heart -the world has indeed lost a prolific innovator! R.I.P Steve Jobs and may many be inspired by you.

PS: Sounds like I just delivered my personal Steve Job epitaph

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Love Me?

I am in a love-y state of mind and I am listening to Northern Sky ( by Nick Drake) or it could be I am listening to Northern Sky and hence I am in a love-y state of mind.
And the song goes..
"Straighten my new mind's eye...
...............................................
Would you love me for my money
Would you love me for my head
Would you love me through the winter
Would you love me 'til I'm dead
Oh, if you would and you could"

Well, definitely do not love me for my money as I have none ( unless you want to love me for being poor). I also don't know who these lines are meant for, which I guess, makes all this a sad attempt to simply escape from my reality- a pile of papers and books staring at me asking to be read. ANYhows, the song is lovely and I don't mind "crazy magic" happening (like my road trip to Kotagiri) anytime :).




In other news and happenings:

My cousin's love story comes to an end and she is happily getting hitched to the guy mommy and daddy chose.The other guy ( the ex)appears to be heartbroken, if we want to believe his recent facebook statuses and some messages he sent me. Makes me wonder if love has become an emotion of convenience?Or, on a more optimistic note-perhaps it wasn't love at all.

My dear, hippie,bird watching, nature gazing, traveler, biker, educator, activist, God's own child ( being a priest and all) friend is in NY for a month. We spoke on the phone and he is here to "get away from it all". See, even a priest needs a break from it all. So what about a lesser mortal like me?! My last proper vacation- vacation was in summer of 2007. Yes, I am one of those ticking bombs waiting to explode.

SO, would you love me till I die? Ha..I know-tricky!

(PS: I tried to listen to some of other songs by Nick Drake. Too melancholic/depressive/sad- take your pick. Poor chap died at a young age too-I think it was depression).


Oh! and its all rainy and wet and my little garden looks charming.





Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Go Away!

I read a blog today and she writes about her plans to go away on vacation just to rest and clear up her head and I thought to myself- my sentiments exactly. I too wish to go away for a few days. Somewhere, anywhere, as long as its away, away from everything and everyone. If you notice a desperation in my words then perhaps its because I am desperate. Too much going on, more than my poor brain can process. It is all muddled up and disorganized, my brain. There is stuff I read that needs to be remembered, stuff I have to remember to read, stuff I need to do, stuff I heard, stuff I saw, stuff I felt, the bad,complicated stuff you battle with and then the rest of the stuff and more. Too much "stuff" I tell ya! TIRING! VERY TIRING!

Seriously considering a change of profession and becoming a hippie. Isn't life all about peace, love and shabby clothes then?! Tempted ,seriously tempted.Or, perhaps its just easier to go away.

*sigh* Goodbye!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

It's All Useless- Be Warned!

(Disclaimer: To anyone who might be reading this, Be Warned!- I have no idea where I am headed with this post . It is useless and highly unlikely to become useful so you may choose to quit reading (or me writing)).

Yes I realize that was a bit of a “long” break since the last post. Reasons range from something as mundane as ‘I was busy’, to lack of ideas in general and lack of ideas on how to articulate what was going on with me on a more introspective,psychological/emotional level.

Anyways, here I am, this in-consequential Tuesday night, having plenty to study and been at it for the last few hours, now giving my poor brain a break after bombarding it with theoretical insights and intellectual Ah-Ha’s and Oic’s on natural resource conservation by some learned scholars out there. To put it in simple words- I am bored and distracted and I am taking a break. I know this when I cannot remember which paragraph I was on after looking away for a few seconds to make a quick note of something; Or, in between readings I get bizarre random thoughts on how cool this particular guy looks or I am madly in love with someone and we are both cuddly- cuddly-coochicooing with/to each other. I know, absolutely pointless and out of context thoughts. Also, I don’t even think I am the cuddly-cuddly-coochicooing types. Well, I don’t know really. Maybe with the right or the wrong kind of guy. *pondering*

At one point my mind drifted off to an old tamil song that I once liked. I saw the movie sometime back. It has Mr Body Builder Sharathkumar and this lovely lass whose name I don’t know and Jyothika. Do not be mislead by the song, which is seriously romantic and sweet and all that mushy stuff (bless the soul who upload songs with subtitles), but the movie is more in the lines of a crime thriller. Yeah! imagine my disappointment! (The original Hollywood version -Derailed)

I guess, one reason I am in this crazy-I-have-no-clue-what-I-am-blabbering-about- mood is because I also had a long, sad and tiring day at the Uni. A short presentation by me (I think the worst kind I have ever given), a sleepy committee and an overall feeling of poor show and UN-accomplishment makes you even more sad and lethargic and full of doubts. Then I get into this I-am-drunk-but-not-really-state of mind, which explains my incoherent ramblings. And, when such realizations strike, one must go silent.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

When Inspiration Strikes..

..I guess nothing can stop me :)

I.The object of inspirationOven roasted mint chicken. Found this in one of the food blogs I follow regularly. She posts some really good, easy to make recipes and ever since I saw this I wanted to make some myself and I did!

I. The product of inspiration:
I marinated the chicken with a paste made from- mint, cilantro, ginger, garlic, and green chilli (1). Added some red chilli powder, turmeric powder, a bit of garam masla, corriander powder, lemon juice (half slice of a big lemon) and 2 table spoon oil to the paste, and marinated the chicken over night (almost 12 hrs). Baked it for 45 mins at 350 C and then raised the temp to 450 Cand baked for 30 mins. Before baking I threw in 1 bay leaf, couple of cloves, couple of cardamom pods, 1 star anise and 1 cinnamon stick into the dish.

II. The object of inspiration


Poached pear with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. Found this on one of my favorite design blogs and have been tempted ever since. So the weekend came and...

II. The product of inspirationI bought organic pears (so that the skin can be eaten as well) , pitted them, and stuffed them with raisins, walnuts and some powdered sugar. I also threw in some powdered sugar and a cinnamon stick to the water bath for poaching the pears. oohlala!

Yes..the weekend's been busy in a creative sort of way :).

(PS: My attempts were well appreciated. There is an option for an alternative profession after all!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

LOVE Restored

Looks like I am continuing with the "love" theme, although this time more to do with restoring my convictions on how love is supposed to be. Full of passion and madness, kindness and caring , overwhelming and everlasting. OK, I did not fall in love overnight--nothing as dramatic- sadly! But, I saw a staggeringly beautiful love story-a movie I mean. An old American one called The Way We Were, staring the breathtakingly handsome Robert Redford and the quirky, smart and passionate Barbara Streisand. Yes people! the exquisitely handsome man did fall for the quirky, pretty-in-an-odd-way looking girl *gasp*. The end was sweet in a sad sort of way. She was more than he could handle and they decided to go separate ways but the love never really died you see...making it everlasting, in a way.
This song by Barbara Streisand from the movie..hmm!!..loveliness!!!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

LOVE Is In The Air or Not?

Is affairs of the heart an outdated concept these days? Has it indeed reduced to mere affairs of the mind? It appears like people don't use their heart even where/when they should; where conventionally what the heart says is what matters. I am speaking about the age old concept of love. It completely baffles me what "today's generation" (I just made myself sound terribly old and I apologize for generalizing so broadly)conceive love to be.I speak from the experience of seeing some of my friends and cousins go through it.
There is no crazy love, or deep in love or can't live without you love.Instead I hear phrases like adjust, get along, parents & family, consent/support, wavelength (which is fine), reliable(which is reasonable), convinced, priority, and E&E (that's educated & employed)! Do you see a pattern here or is it just me? Everything sounds so sensible and calculated and planned and practical. If there is indeed some truth in what I am saying then I am deeply disappointed and slightly disturbed. Where the hell is love, romance and all the silliness, sweetness and profoundness that comes with it? The dramatic declarations of "I-can't-breath-without-him" kind? Why is there so much thinking and logic involved when love is supposed to make you lose sense of logic and reality (to some extend).
Am I being the fool here and refusing to catch up with time or have I got it all wrong?

Story behind these out of the blue thoughts- A cousin "loves" a guy (well, in my times I would have simply called it like a guy)and they have been friends forever (as in together from middle school).Both are E&E, similar background as in both are from the same place, speak the same langauge, eat the same food and breathe the same air..you get my drift?(pun intended), well off folks, or in other words no glaring differences except that she is a Hindu and he is a Christian. So, now the girl's parents refuse to even acknowledge that their darling daughter may be interested in this guy and is frantically trying to marry her off to the first perfect-in-every way Nair boy. Now the sad-dest part is, the part which inspired this post-the girl cannot make up her mind!!! The girl's mom( and some members of our family) are still stuck in the middle ages unfortunately, but that is pardonable considering their age, time and circumstances of their birth and how they were raised and blah blah blah. But my question/concern is why is it so hard for young couples (of the current gen) to make up their minds, if they believe they love each other? I don't know much about the guy's version of the story, but he has an elder brother who is getting married soon and he can talk about his "interests" at home in a more I-am-really -serious-about this kind of way only after the brother gets hitched.again a little too planned and calculated I say..but as I said..maybe I have got it all wrong, right from the start, which takes me back to square one- is there love in the air or not?
Meanwhile, our gal is not saying yes or no to the "perfect guy" daddy and mommy chose. *sigh*. So basically everyone and everything is in limbo. Not fun!

ANYhows I don't know how the story is going to end and it is funny to watch our whole family waiting in anticipation on whats going to happen next. I even got a call from another cousin 6 in the morning (which scared the crap out of me.Phone calls at an odd time always does that to me)wondering if my cousin (the girl) had disclosed anything to me.

Yep...welcome to our family soap-special edition!

Monday, August 15, 2011

ROFL

When you are done blog hopping and you are still bored to bits, when your mind is too restless to function well, when you are haunted by thoughts that are impractical, unrealistic and ridiculous, when you have plenty work to do but you just don't want to, when you took the day off hoping to get all the pending work done but didn't get too far with it, when you feel like a bloated whale from eating too much and too tired to work it off, when your left arm feels weird and heavy and you wonder if you are having a heart attack, when your body is screaming how uncomfortable it feels and you are not able to really focus on anything then..you watch Four Weddings and a Funeral and then blog about it. Oh my god!Let me just sum it up in a few words- it was ROFL funny!I mean check out this scene.
(ROFL- roll on the floor 'n laugh)

PS:August 16th, 2011
On second thoughts it is more LOL funny than ROFL funny...I mean its British humor after all.
(LOL-laugh out loud)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Oh Little Darling!

We have friends visiting from Florida and this is their little son. Been a while since I held a baby in my arms and at home we are all baby crazy people. Aren't they just little darlings?! Their sweetness and innocence always melts my heart.

Look at this little one--Loves his toy so much that he now attempts to eat it...
Hard not to smile when they are around.




Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Pressure is Building

I am at a specialist's office with some ongoing issues with my body.

Doc: So how are you today?

Me: (In my head-*If I was feeling great I wouldn't be here sitting with you*). I am good thanks.

Doc: So then what brings you here?

Me: ( In my head- *Ah!--good question*) and *Gotcha looks from the doc*.
I've not been feeling well blah blah blah...

Doc: Your blood pressure readings don't look good. It is pretty high for your age.

Me: Oh yea..I noticed (In my head- *Right, as if I needed more pressures in life. Your stupid machine is broken .That's what it is.*)

Doc: I would categorize you as borderline hypertension. You may want to fix up regular appointments with your family physician for more routine check ups and monitor yr BP.

Me: (In my head- *yea as if I have all the time in the world and thanks for the fancy title*). Ok..will do and a smiley face :).

Doc: I would also recommend reducing your sodium intake and exercising more. I am not prescribing any medication for now--but check with your family physician.

Me: (In my head* What! Indian food without salt! Imagine sambar without salt! ugh! And did you say exercise?! and now way I am going to be popping pills!!*).
Yes..ok. I do want to get back to a more regular exercise routine blah blah blah...

(PS: Actually I don't mind the exercise part. I wish I could be more regular with it. I genuinely feel good after a work out. Just need to get off my lazy bum and get moving!)

Much later......

Doc: Ok guys..nice seeing you today and looking forward to seeing you guys soon.

Me : (In my head * How can you say something like that!!*)
Yep--bye..thanks! and see ya...another smiley face :)

So here I am, in my 30s, a borderline hypertension-ist (just made up the word). How boring a profile is that?!!





Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Is This Silly?

Nostalgic is what I feel.
Miss people from my past
miss places from my past
miss moments from my past
want to grab people, places, moments from my past and hold on.
I dont know if this is silly.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Paradise

Read this on someone's blog today and couldn't agree more "Paradise has no fixed address..but usually it is in the middle of nowhere".



This was paradise to me zillions of years(actually 7)ago.It was 15 days away from the "civilized" world, and perfectly fit the expression "in the middle of nowhere". I have never seen so many stars in the night sky, I have never talked to more simpler people, I have never eaten more simpler food, I have never lived more simply, and I have never NOT missed home so much. But eventually you go back to madness. Stupid huh?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

I ♥ AVIAL \m/

Want to know how I spent the weekend so far? Well, I am in one of my obsessive compulsive phases and the object of my obsessions this time is AVIAL, as in the Kerala based, malayali rock band and not the veggie dish from the same state. Who are they?..They are Kerala's answer to Iron Maiden/Led Zep/Metalica...no kidding. And, not only do they sound amazing, their lyrics are awesome too, mostly commenting on social issues of importance.Oh..and they sing in "shudha"(=pure)malayalam!! I tell you-Malayalam has never sounded so cool and sexy to me. I am so in love with them...cannot quite articulate how much. And when you are blinded by (inarticulatable) love, you do crazy things like listening to all their live performances and music videos on youtube late into the pre-dawn hours ( a matter not to be taken lightly considering I also lead an (alternate life) as a graduate student, supposedly preparing hard for a big exam coming up in a couple of months..*sigh*). Handicaps of a mind suffering from bouts of OCD and inarticulatable and unrequitable love (with the band i.e.) I guess. The band's original singer, Anandraj Benjamin who is not with the band anymore is, simply put-INCREDIBLE! I mean this man rocks! His rendition brings in so much edge and character to the music...its just WOW!. The band's current lead singer is Tony John. Has his own unique style of singing and quite a dishy looking guy too! Fits the expression Bold Bald and Beautiful. And I am not the only one who thinks so. How else do you explain a more than 4000 long friends list on facebook?!?Bottomline--this man can sing and has the looks too? OR....is that whom you call a ROCKSTAR?!?
And ofcourse the band wouldnt be a 'band' without-Rex Vijayan an absolute wizard on the guittar, Mithun Puthenveettil an absolute powerhouse on the drums, and last but not the least the amazing Bass guittarist Binny Issac.
As a dedicated fan, I did what any decent, self-respecting fan should do. Purchased their AVIAL album from i-tunes and now I have them close to me, stored in my i-pod. The point being- I did not steal or search for free downloads. Boy ain't I a loyal fan? AVIAL people--you reading?
ANYways..before I leave I must mention the band's female (guest) singer-Neha Nair. Lovely--lovely--lovely voice. Stumbled across her blog and vidoes she had uploaded. An amazingly talented singer who should go places with that voice of hers.

Enough of my crazy rantings and now go listen to some KICK-ASS music. This one is one of my favorities called Aadu Pambe, not only for the music but also because the issue is close to my heart and what I have spent years studying and continue to study.




If you want to check out their other songs w/ lyrics go here. Rock on \m/

Friday, August 05, 2011

My Design Fantasies

Beautiful designs have always been a bit of passion for me. Be it outside, inside, furniture, photographs, pottery,linen, pots & pans---Oh well!.. the list is LOng. I may be broke, yet I manage to save enough money to buy monthly issues of design magazines. Inside outside or society interiors when I am in India and here in the US, I replace them with Elle decor ( my favorite) UK and US edition, the UK edition being a particular favorite. I guess I love the European minimalistic sensibilities when it comes to design, especially home decor. Not exactly the scandinavian black & white with a touch of wood and steel. My preference would be more of that with some splashes of color ,a.k.a anything Indian, ethnic and exotic.

ANYhows..do not be under the false impression that my house looks anything like what I described. Living on a student stipend does not allow me the luxury of living out all my design fantasies. So I do the next best thing. Buy magazines, drool at other people's homes and lead a sad, voyeuristic existence. Alright it is not as pathetic a life as I am making it out to be. I try and make my little space in the world as pretty and aesthetically appealing to me as possible. After all its about what best you can do with what you have. Right?

Timepass: @ my backyard, tea in my favorite coffee mug ( yea I know), my favorite magazine, with Ganpati inherited from the previous tenants.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back From Homeland

Been a while since my last scribble. I am back from homeland, after what I would describe as an arduous journey. No I did not sail back, crossing rough seas like old-en times and neither did I smuggle in via some nondescript cargo ship. I got back, traveling half way around the world, economy class (a.k.a canned -sardine class, or the middle-class-drudgery class..or any other name you may wish to confer) and my bones and muscles are certified useless! I was in pain and it took forever to recover both from the pain and the jet lag. Don't want to claim old age responsible. I am not really that old :). Its sort of like the old Amul Chocolate ad- I am too old for long economy plane rides but too young for old age...but I think I am right for...

Sillines aside, I think it was the viral flu attack I was subjected to before I left home which left me too weak and tired to take up a loooong plane ride not to mention the emotional state of mind you are in (always) before leaving home and mother behind.

Anyways, here I am back in school, at work, with so much stuff to accomplish that just the thought of it is making me tired all over again. Yikes! Another month before school officially opens for Fall and until then I can work at a not-so-crazy pace, provided Prof willing and God willing.

Last weekend caught the final part of Harry Potter. Fell asleep a bit in between (shame on me!) but otherwise enjoyed it. Thought the magic was spectacular in this one.

More later...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Crazy Magic!

"I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand..." (OST:Serendipity)

A couple of days ago, as Nick Drake sung these in my ears I was passing through Bandipur National Park. Talk about perfect timing! And, this was middle of the night or rather early morning around 1-2 when the moon was still shining and the dawn had not set in. Hard to believe right? But, it is true! Thanks to my friend's good advice to catch the KSRTC Airavat from Bangalore to Ooty. (May I take a moment to say three cheers to KSRTC and three or more cheers to Airavat, volvo bus service. It has to be the most amazing road trips of my life till date).

One of those moments when you wish to be a poet or a brilliant writer just so you can articulate all the excitement, beauty and wonder you experience. But since such talents elude me, may I express in my simple, ordinary ways on what a fantastic journey it was. Please, please take the "trouble" to go to Bangalore,book an Airavat-AC volvo by KSRTC and go to Ooty.
I mean there is something surreal about passing a jungle in the middle of the night, where you don't see much, except for the dark silhouette of the trees and shrubs and the only wild life my untrained eyes could spot were the fire flies winking in the velvety darkness ( that last bit could have been stolen from some romance novel). I had taken Jr along and he was fast asleep. But I had to wake him up and tell him that we were in the middle of a forest and his sleep induced response was "oh cool". Well, it was cool--super cool in fact.

In case you are wondering what tempted me to take this journey?-Well, it wasn't a random act of romantic madness in me but rather a planned trip to visit a friend who lives in Kotagiri and works at an NGO there. She is also a fellow grad student back at the Uni. On reaching Ooty, early morning, my friend had sent a car to pick us up for the onward 45 mins road trip to gorgeous Kotagiri.
Early morning- Ooty to Kotagiri by road Tea gardens- Kotagiri
I wouldn't mind living and/or working here!

Front yard-- the yellow blooms, the stone bench and pear tree (not in pic) Absolutely gorgeous!
A small part of the house- charming is the word Our new best friend-The Wizard of Shalom- a.k.a Wiz Wiz! Such a sweet, friendly soul!
Breakfast time- Treasures from the Forest Freshly plucked pears from the backyard

My two days at Kotagiri had many highlights-. Cannot thank enough for my friend's gracious hospitality at her charming bungalow, where, besides spoiling us with lovely home cooked food, cozy rooms and warm blankets, there was plucking pears off the trees from the backyard,to forest treks, spotting wild life exclusive to WG/NBR,"green" shopping ( as in an outlet selling certified forest products from NBR and other forest ranges of India, by the NGO) and making new friends. NTFPs- Basket used for harvesting pepper Traditional stone lamp made by tribal folks from soft stones found in NBR Forest trek highlights- Spotted the giant Malabar Squirrel Found these bear claw marks on a treeAnd!- Leopard pug marks! Not sure how fresh these were but every inch forward since then was pretty scary (chicken!) and exciting to me.

Frankly I did not want to leave but all good things come to an end ( rather quickly in my case) and we left. The return journey was to Mettupalayam-Coimbatore by road and then from Coimbatore to EKM by train. Long since I traveled ordinary sleeper class and that was fun too except for the fact that it stopped at platform number 2 at Ekm and I had to lug my bags up the bridge to get to the other side. Painfully reminds you of your growing age and deteriorating physical condition. ugh!

Anyways--lots to dream about so more later. (Would love to share more pictures but w/ a lousy internet connection at the moment, not going to. Perhaps later).