Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Off to India

I am off to India today, for 3 weeks. While there, I shall try to post some of my thoughts/experiences but if I do not, I shall definitely do so on my return. Love you all dear readers! Happy Holidays! Stay safe!

Santa's present for me!

So Santa does indeed exist, only, its not called Santa, its IHM! Thanks to my Santa, IHM for awarding me the 'Bloggers for World Peace' award.

I must say, the post she has awarded me for, was insipired by her and Ritu. I hand't read about the incident until I read Ritu's blog, and then I hopped over to IHM's, all the while fuming over the idiotic remarks! So, in a way, this award is really for IHM and Ritu!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Shopping for lil ones

We are off to India next week, for 2 weeks. So this Sunday afternoon I spent at the mall, going from store to store, shopping for my hundreds of little nieces and nephews, ages ranging from new born to 19 years old! Considering that I have no idea whats out there for kids, I thought it would be easy. Since I didn't know their sizes, I could get some 'cool' toys for the little ones and 'something' a little grownup for the older ones. Would you imagine the state of shock I was in a few hours later, when I had flitted in and out of at least 10 different kinds of stores, armed with tons of knowledge of what different age children like/dislike and whats in and whats not?
When I was a kid, it was easy. I had a Lego set, a few dolls, a 'ghar ghar' set and tons of books. That's it. That was what I played with for a long long time. There were a girl in my neighborhood whose dad had been to the US a few times, and she had a doll House and she would invite us 'lesser children' over for a doll party and would graciously agree to let our dolls sleep over in her doll house. Boy did we feel jealous of our dolls? Well I had a flash of my simple growing up days when I was traversing the aisles of the Disney store in the mall. Confused about what to do, I asked for help. Did you know there are 'Toddlers', 'Pre-teens' and 'Teens' among children?
For toddlers(that's ages 1-3), Winnie the Pooh is really popular and they also like a soft toy thing. One look at the thing (it was an animeish soft toy) and I almost ran out of the store. It had angry eyes. I wouldn't think any human being, let alone a toddler, would like it. Winnie the Pooh I knew so I grabbed a few Poohs. Another toy that is in for little girls is a teeny tiny handbag with a tiny tiny soft-toy dog in it! Kind of like what the celebrities carry!
Preteen girls really like Hannah Montana and there was some other character I now forget. There were also a few toy sets that were called 'My favorite fashion designer' and 'Design a dress'. Really? You expect young girls to have a favorite fashion designer? I was so shocked looking at the kind of things in the market for little girls.
Preteen boys tend to like Lego blocks and Wall-E robots and indoor helicopter are really in. The toys for both boys and girls reinforces the stereotypes about sexes!
I then asked the person helping me, to suggest something for the teens on my list. All she had to suggest was iPods, video games and movies!
Sigh, I miss the simple life!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Egg on his face!

I am sure all my readers might, by now, have read/seen how Bush ducked and missed being hit by an Iraqi reporters' shoes. Some thoughts.
While I appreciate what feelings might have prompted the reporter to do this, what made me gape at the television was how nimble and agile Bush is. Its almost like he knew what was coming his way, not once, but twice. And did you all see how Bush smiles and how Noori Al-Maliki has no idea whats going on and no idea how to respond except put his one lazy hand up in an atetmpt to help Bush? Why did it take the second shoe for the Secret Service to come from behind the curtains? Were they waiting for one of them to find their target? It seems like in this hullabaloo, the President's press secretary Dana Perino got hit by one of the microphones that fell when the shoe hit it.
All the news channels in the US were screaming how throwing a shoe is the ultimate insult in Iraq. Well? Is getting hit by a shoe not an insult anywhere in the world? For god's sake, you are getting hit by something people wear on their foot. You tread all kinds of bad/slushy/muddy places with the shoe and imagine having some of that stuff on your face! Why did they say its an insult in Iraq? I am sure no American I know would like to get hit by a shoe. But then, politicians and media might be a different breed.

The video screamed 'Joote maaro'!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


The American economy is credit based. Credit runs the daily lives of people. People go to a store and swipe the plastic to pay. Then, when the bill comes in at the end of the month, they pay only the minimum and keep the rest of the debt on the card. They take out home loans(or mortgages, as they are called) for hundreds of thousands of dollars(that most times they cannot afford) and then when they need money at a later time to pay for their kids' college etc, they take a loan against that home loan. The result? They owe their home loan, AND the loan on the loan. This results in them trying to pay off their loans all their life. The holiday season rolls in and they walk into the nearest bestbuy or circuit city and buy that huge plasma TV or LCD TV or worse, the home theater, and don't pay a dime at the store because the store is running a 'Buy with no down payment and no payments for a year' scheme. Does that mean they only have to pay back the TV cost later? NO! They have to pay the original cost of the TV AND the ultra high interest rate that goes with it. Result? They owe huge amounts, and continue to charge their credit cards with more 'Holiday Shopping'. Substitute the TV with that awesome, dream furniture and the story repeats. Retail therapy rules people's lives. And all retail therapy is paid for by good old plastic!
This worked very well in the 90s and the early 2000s. Starting last year, things began to change. People who could actually not afford huge home loans were anyway given loans with zero down payment etc. This resulted in the people not paying their monthly payments on time, or in some cases, not at all. The mortgage companies then foreclosed those homes and in a few years, had too many foreclosed homes to contend with, and not many people ready to buy, either because they realised, finally that they could not afford a house, or their credit for so bad that they could not get any good loans. Thus began the great real estate crash.
The same story held true for the credit market. People had too much debt on the credit cards, defaulted on the payments and their credit hurt as a result. They stopped buying as much as they used to, resulting in the retailers' suffering, the credit card companies losing their investment as a result of defaulters and one thing reinforced the other. Thus began the credit market collapse.
President Bush signed an economic stimulus package a few months back, and people got free money from the federal government so they could go and spend that money and infuse some life into the economy. Didn't work! Now we have all economists, politicians, policymakers shouting from their rooftops that people should get out there and SPEND money so the economy improves! So here we are. Go and spend so the economy improves. Then do not pay your debt in full, and rack up your debt, so the credit market suffers again, again go and spend so you can pull the economy out of the resulting slump...and the cycle continues. Has anyone thought about maybe moving away from such a credit-heavy economy?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Oh India!

The year was 2004,and general election in India was just around the corner. The political parties were whipping up a frenzy with the constant drumming of slogans and campaigning speeches. The ruling BJP and its allies(NDA?) has its slogan "India Shining" and were the favorites to win. The congress(I) tried to forge alliances with BSP first then the SP and failed, but were buoyed by new leadership(Sonia Gandhi) and were very excited. Normally, elections would have been a very dreary affair for me, but this was a special year. This was a special year because there were a few new faces among the contestants. Not just new, but young. How young? In the early to late thirties. They were the 'new blood' that congress was promising. Rahul Gandhi from Amethi, Sachin Pilot from Dausa, Rajasthan, Milind Deora from South Mumbai, Navin Jindal from Kurukshetra.(I might be forgetting a few here). It was indeed an exciting time for me because I was closely following the election and was sure I would get to vote for the first time in my life and these young politicians, who were so refined and educated, made me proud. I could not vote because of not having the same residence address for more than a year, but I kept talking to people about elections and monitored the progress of these new pols. Slowly but surely the might of the youth grew and these young men ended up winning their Lok Sabha seats. Now, I thought, would begin a real transformation of India's politics. I was sure these guys will not sit on their butt in the last benches and while their time away, or mouth platitudes in the lok sabha. I knew these guys meant business. Imagine then how my heart would have broken when I saw that Deora was laughed at in the Lok Sabha! According to the TOI 'One of the youngest MPs in parliament, Milind Deora debuted on the second day of the current session with an appeal for reviving the prime minister's grant project set up by then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi for repair and reconstruction of old and dilapidated buildings in Mumbai.
But when Deora started making a speech when he was to ask a question, the opposition jeered at his "immaturity" and taunted the Congress about not training its youngsters properly. '
I was aghast. Why are they treating the future of the country like this? Will any of those four new comers ever have the guts to stand up and talk again? The last four years have given me the answer. No. They have not been heard too much. Part of it alteast can be attributed to the way Deora was treated. Part is because they fell into the comforting silence of Lok Sabha. I mean, who was I kidding by thinking that these youngsters were the beacon of light that would bring light to the musty, old world of Indian politics? It is easier to keep your mouth shut and earn your salary than make your presence felt and work hard and earn the SAME salary. Is it not?
Now we hear Rahul is being groomed to take over the party. But what has he done to deserve it? Has he shown that he can implement hard hitting regulation? Come up with ideas that improve the living conditions for poor Indians? Put his foriegn BA, MPhil degrees to any use? If he has, then he sure has a lot of humility and an excellent way to hide his accomplishments. He was appointed the General Secretary of the AICC. Was it because his mom is the President of his party? It certainly seems like that. When will the congress move away from this 'one family rules us' malaise and go out and find a TRUE leader? Agreed, the Gandhis/Nehrus did a lot for the party and this country but should we give them the fruits even though they do not deliver the goods any longer? I, as a citizen, have the right to demand from the leader of one of the largest political parties in India that she show us why her son is eligible to lead us and why the young capital was not utilized the last 4 years. Please Madam. Your turn to speak!

Update: I forgot Jyotiradiya Scindia from Guna, MP.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A note to soothe us

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow
domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the
dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought
and action--
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

-- Rabindranath Tagore

Of lipsticks and pigs

I read IHM's blog today and she had a link to this. I was livid. Then I also saw that Ritu had a post about this too. I had to write to vent my disgust at such a farcical statement.
Ritu asks if lipstick makes us less Indian, IHM is livid that all this guy could take away from the poignant protests was how the women were dressed.

Really Mr Naqvi(or Naqli(Nakli) if you will), you are more bothered about why these people are protesting in 'lipstick and powder' and 'suit and tie' and not wearing revered khadi like you do? Also, are you bothered that these people DO NOT take bribes or indulge in corruption like you do in your khadis? Scores of people died, many were injured, the city was attacked, the whole country is scared and enraged and it is only right that you are bothered that these crazy people are protesting against the politicians and asking questions.
How dare the minion common man ask questions about us Khaki-clad leaders of India? Who gave them the right to protest? Why does the media indulge these farces instead of following us like love-sick puppies?

Well, let me make one thing clear Naqvi sahab, we the people of India are sick with disgust at your statements and we also know that your party distancing itself from your comments is also a farce. We know your type. We know you all are shocked that the people are asking questions. Well, guess what, we will probably someday start giving you some answers too. Until that day, do pillage and plunder this country as much as you can, because once that day dawns, the likes of you would be wiped off into oblivion.

People of Rampur(from where he was elected twice), please take note of how much he respects us.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A sad day

Just read online that there were multiple grenade blasts and shootings in Mumbai at multiple locations.
You can get instant updates about the blasts at
I hope everyone and their near and dear are safe and sound.
A sad day.
I pray for the people of Mumbai.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Desi-American lifestyle!

A note of caution: This blogpost is not to make fun of any community in particular. I am only listing the steretypes. And this is purely for fun.

It has been almost 4 years since I arrived to the US and have been married for 2 of those 4 years. When I arrived, I was saw that there was a very typical Desi-American way of life. By that I mean:
1. Living the so-called American Dream - more credit than you can afford
2. Buying a house(a HUGE one at that, like most desis do) that you cannot afford
3. A desi car(Honda/Toyota)
4. Working your butt off during weekdays, and desi-family parties on weekends
5. Eating too much, leading to an unhealthy paunch. No activity, no exercise
6. Clothes, home smelling of sambar
7. sending kids to kumon/giddeon classes, kids do well in math
8. no vacations, save money to buy stuff(a huge tv, gold, house in India etc)
9. Only desi friends, invite each other home for lunch/dinner where you only talk about shares/sticks, status of green card, kids and work
10. Going to temples every weekend(or every other weekend)
11. Inlaws/parents visiting every other year. Take them to the usual places(Niagara falls, Statue of liberty).
I can go on and on!

When I saw that most desis fell into this group, I decided I shall try to do atleast some things differently. Let me now tally my status after 4 years:
1. We do not indulge in #1
2. No to #2 as well
3. Haha, here we stuck to the stereotype, a Toyota AND a Honda
4. huh......stereotypical here too
5. We try not to do this. We workout whenever we find the time, but the paunch has a mind of its own!
6. Our clothes smell of some weird combination of marathi and south indian food!
7. We fall behind in this department
8. We do take vacations whenever we can. It is very relaxing and necessary!
9. We have a few non-desi friends too! The Indian friends we invite never talk about GC processing, kids or stocks/money. We have conversations of varied topics, politics, India, books etc.
10. No on this!
11. Here is where we again stuck to stereotype. When my inlaws were here, we went to the usual places, in addition to Vegas, Grand Canyon etc!

I must have missed out on a lot more things desis do. Again, this was not to ridicule or anything, just for fun!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holidays and weight

The holiday season is upon us again. To me, it seems like the time between the last holiday season and the current one was spent trying to lose the pounds gained during the last season. When I was in grad-school, it was easier to stay away from sweet treats because everyone around you are very much health conscious and even if you did indulge, you could work it all off in one of the many awesome free gymnasiums in the university. Plus, one had all the time in the world to workout as much as one wanted to. Since I have started working, things have not been so perfect though. October(Halloween) marks the beginning of candy bowls, cakes and sweets being brought into work by kind(or not so kind) co-workers. Then there's a thanksgiving lunch at work, the leftover desserts of which linger around the office kitchen longer than necessary. Add to that there are sweets from the many bake-offs that people do at home for their kids. So whenever you venture into the kitchen to get some coffee/tea or even water, you are tempted to have some. If you resist the temptation by not going into the kitchen at all, you keep thinking about all those awesome treats awaiting you, and then off you go!
Working out is another story. You are at work from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Getting up early is an ordeal during winters. When the temperature outside is sub-zero and inside it is snuggly and warm, who would want to get out in that cold and warm up the cold bones by breaking a sweat? Even if you do manage to get up and go to the gym, which is a sorry excuse for one(its a free apartment gym, with 3 treadmills, one elliptical, one rower, a few bikes and weights), someone is already working out on the elliptical, so you hop on to the only treadmill that is not occupied and start running. Within a few minutes, you resolve to workout breaks as you start getting cramps in your abdomen and stop. Now all you do is wait for the elliptical-person to finish. For some reason, people working out on elliptical trainers really have no concern for the waiting populace. I once waited for a whole 45 minutes for one fine lady to finish her workout and she showed no signs of even slowing down. I even gave her a few rude 'looks' but she didnt budge. Had someone given me the looks, I would probably have cried and stepped off the machine! Anyway, coming back to working out, morning is hence ruled out. Going in the evening is not so simple either. Ofcourse there is the cold. Then you need to cook first. Even if you do manage to cook by 6:30pm, you have barely an hour to workout since ideally(sigh) you would want to eat early and go to bed early. An hour of workout, which inclues stretching, cardio and weights, never did anyone any good. I barely break a sweat in 30 minutes! Thus you take an hour out of your very busy schedule, and it barely helps. Instead of putting on 10 pounds, you might put on 5. And then working thsoe off takes forever. When you reach your old weight(pre holiday season weight), the next holiday season is almost there.
Thus run the holiday weight woes, you end up eating, but not working out, during the holidays. In an ideal world, holiday season would be in summer when you eat all those yummy treats and then go workout your a$$ off(its warm outside, remember, so you CAN get out) and burn everything off. Hell, in an ideal world, you eat what you want and it doesn't show! (why not? It's an ideal world after all!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I first noticed dada during his first ever test tour to England, where he hit a century on debut(I was in the tenth grade). I was impressed. So impressed that his cutout from The Hindu found a place in my cricket scrapbook(yes I had one). Since then I have been following the career trajectory and personal life of this charming man. His beginnings were humble but he was always style personified!
It was only later that I came to know that he had actually played for India in 1992 against the West Indies and was dropped because "he was perceived to be "arrogant" and his attitude towards the game was openly questioned" (source: Wikipedia.) It was only after he played prolifically in two seasons of domestic cricket that he was picked for the National team. Then after the Sidhu tamasha in England about how he was treated, Sourav got a chance to play.
Slowly he blossomed into a fine batsman and a good motivator and my admiration for him only grew with time. In 1997 he started opening in ODIs with Sachin and they made a great opening pair. He became the captain in 2000 after the match fixing mess and ruled his way to a 2003 world cup final against Australia which we lost.
My admiration for him is for the way he motivated the team both as a team player as well as a campain. He brought home the idea that we have to play hard in order to win. He brought the fighting spirit to the Indian team. Even though he was not very athletic, he motivated everyone to field well, and his field placements were always effective. His fighter spirit slowly permeated to the rest of the team and we saw a side of the Indian team we never do, the fighting side. Instead of the drooping chests and sad demeanor, we saw them pumping fists in the air, doing dances, huddles and also taking their shirts off! Ofcourse dada was not at all noncontroversial. He was critisized for taking his shirt off after India won a nailbiter at Lords in 2002. They said he was disrespecting the gentleman's game(I remember thinking, gentleman;'s game my foot, there are players fixing matches, using swear words and racial slurs, what gentleman's game are you talking about?) He had his differences with Greg Chappel (I have mine with Greg too......he did not understand Indian cricket.) He was always thought of as an arrogant man, although there were players far worse than him in that department, who were never critisized(gori chamdi.) He was known to have Dalmia dancing to his fingertips too.
Irrespective of the controversies his captaincy brought, that was an era of cricket I really loved because the Indian team was finally getting away from its 'paper tiger' image and actually becoming a tiger on the ground and roar! That was an era of cricket when the Indian team actually huddled before a match and motivated itself. That was an era of cricket when we fought till the very end of even a losing match. Dada's contribution to cricket is not just ODI, Test runs, wickets or wins but the attitude of fighting for a game. The game is all the better for him.
We are going to miss you dada!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Proposition 8 - Breach of civil rights?

From Wikipedia:
Proposition 8 is a California State ballot proposition that would amend the state Constitution, to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, overturning a recent California Supreme Court decision that had recognized same-sex marriage in California as a fundamental right. The official ballot title language for Proposition 8 was "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry". On the day after the election, the results remained uncertified. With 100% of precincts reporting, the vote was 52.5% in favor of Proposition 8 and 47.5% against, with a difference of about 504,000 votes;[1] as many as 3 million absentee and provisional ballots remain to be counted.

So there you have it. Majority of voters decided that a marriage should be a union between a man and a woman and a union between homosexuals can never be turned into marriage. Though I do not understand all the ins and outs of this proposition, I have some views on gay marriage and voting to ban gay marriage.
How come millions of heterosexual people get to decide what homosexual people can and cannot do with their life? I see this as a civil liberties issue. What I do with my life should never be dictated by the government. If you dont believe in gay marriage, fine, keep it to yourself. What gives you the right to decide? I liken this treatment of gays to the way African Americans were treated. They were disenfranshised, treated as less than human, not allowed to run for office, were segeregated. It might come across as a very radical comparison but in some ways it rings very true to me. Marriage is a fundamental right of people.
Why was a marriage defined as a union between a man and a woman? Was it because when the constitution was written there was little knowledge about homosexuality?
If the constitution did not define marriage as between people of the same sex also, I believe it is because the idea that someone could be gay did not exist. Since the constitution was written so long ago, should there not be a revision to accomodate modern ideas? If right to own guns, right to free speech etc can be added later, why not redefine marriage?

As an aside - When I was reading about this proposition and history of the gay movement in America I came across this news report on the fox news website. So you can stop being gay by praying? Really? According to Wikipedia:
The term is used to refer to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions primarily to" people of the same sex.
Being homosexual is like being female or male. Can you stop being female by praying enough? How many hours/days/years will it take for me to become a man?
Can we expect religious preachers and influential people to be socially responsible and not spew such nonsense?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tears......of joy or sorrow!

Last night there were tears. Tears of joy when Obama(Sorry, President elect Obama) won! People were happy ofcourse, they were on cloud nine. But they were crying. Why do we cry tears of joy? When I saw them crying and heard the speech at midnight, I could not contain myself either. I was crying tears of joy!
I cried(almost) last night when McCain said "I dont know how else we could have run this campaign. This is my failure, this is not your failure". He seemed like a very vulnerable and weak person who was feeling bad about letting his supporters down.
There are other times I have cried during this campaign. When Hillary gave her concession speech, I cried out of empathy. I could feel her pain. I could feel that she saw her long cherished dream slipping away. And even though I was excited for Obama, I cried for Hillary. I almost always cry when I hear the National Anthem, Saare Jahan se Achcha, hell, even the american anthem, stars and stripes forever.
With all my crying experience, I can say one thing, crying out of joy makes me feel very exhilirated.
It would seem like all this crying for something I have no control over, and something that I have no stake in (I am not an American), or something as intangible as music make me a crazy person!
But I am not! I am not alone. I know countless women who get emotional and cry over things that are not personal at all. On the other hand, I barely know any men who do. Is crying a woman's thing? Why do men express their joys and sorrows so differently?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


My heart's beating fast, I am hyperventilating, I feel scared, almost sweating. No no I am not running away from an attacker or preparing for an exam. I am stressed out because its election night here in America and this is the day everyone has been waiting for! You might ask me, why bother with the elections of a country you are not a citizen of, in which you are merely living in? When you can't vote, why bother? Well, I bother. I do because I have always been a poilitically aware person. I like to think that I care about the political climate I inhabit! Or so I'd like to think.

Speaking of political climate, everyones on the verge of a nervous breakdown at work. Most of my coworkers voted this morning and some and leaving early to participate in Get Out The Vote rallies. They would go around their neighborhood, making sure everyone could get to vote. Some would also drive the elderly to polling places so they can vote. I see all this participation from normal people and am amazed. I have not seen this level of involvement in India during the elections. If there is one thing we can learn from the US, it's the involvement of people in society, in politics and in government which makes the lawmakers more responsible and accountable for their actions. Now, do not take me wrong. I love my country and I think there is no harm in adopting a few good practices from other places. It only enhances us. There is another thing I would desperately like to see changed. Tolerance towards diverse religions. This might be a perfect time to address tolerance in India. It seems like people's tolerance towards religions has only decreased in the last few years. A lot of well known bloggers have written about this topic and I am going to throw my 2 cents in soon!
Meanwhile, do let me know what effect this election mania is having on your life!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sights and sounds from the Marine Corps Marathon

The 10K is finally done! Here are some sights from the day.
This is the Marathon start like.

The 10k had 5000 participants. Heres how the 10K lineup looked like.

There were so many people also cheering from the sidelines. The Marines, in their sharp, crisp uniforms, were handing out powerade and water to the runners.

How did I do? The first mile was nice and breezy and I was running and all chatty with my neighbors. When we saw the first mile marker, we all joked about how well we were doing. I tried not to go too fast and tire myself out. According to my calculation, I was pacing myself at a steady 5 mile per hour pace, something I was used to during training. That meant I was covering each mile in 12 minutes. During mile 1-2 was completely warmed up and ready to go more! As mile marker 3 rolled around, I saw the better half waiting for me there, to click pictures. I was super thrilled and posed for some nice pictures (that meant I stopped for 30 secs or so) and was off on my way all excited. Mile 3-4 was the most painful yet. I started getting crampy and tired but as soon as I was slowing down, the good marines started cheering from the sidelines......"#2658 don't give up!"...this sent me rolling on my way. Once I saw the 4th mile marker, I knew I could run the rest of the 2 miles without crashing! Mile 4-5 provided some steep turns but the distance seemed really short. The home stretch on mile 5-6 was super easy and I was really fast and made up for my slow running in the first half. I was hoping for a 75 minute finish. The last 0.2 miles were really steep but there were teddy bears, and lots of sweet people sheering us on and I sprinted to the finish line in an hour and 13 minutes(73 minutes)! Not a remarkable time but it is my personal best so far.
Here is the medal that now proudly sits in my living room:

I must say it was an exhilirating experiece and I would like to do a few more 10Ks before I try a half marathon. The Marine Corps Marathon was especially a good idea because there were all sorts of people like me who were running, and that gave me enough encouragement to go the extra mile. No wonder it is called the People's marathon. I should say, seeing the crisp, sharp, handsome marines up close is a plus!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Marathon update and lessons learnt!

This is my last week before my 10K(6 miles) race on sunday and I feel excited and scared at the same time. Till today I have run the whole 10KM distance only once during my training. My usual distances are 4miles(a little less than 8KM) and I do that with little discomfort. Last weekend I attempted my first 10KM distance and struggled for the last 1 KM. I finished it huffing and puffing. I might run the whole distance twice this coming week and take rest the last 3 days before the run.
The Marine Corps Marathon is a very prestigeous event and the 10K portion of the marathon has been popular among people who want to run but cannot run the whole marathon(26.2 miles) or half marathon distance(13.1 miles). Often, a 10K is the starting point for a lot of beginning runners(5K is another place where you can begin). People line up along the spectator stands early before the race starts and cheer for runners all day. Its one thing running for yourself, its another to cheer some person who don't even know, to keep going! I will do a full post on my 10K marathon running expereinces and how the crowd was.

I am terribly slow. The other day there was this guy running on my neighboring treadmill in the gym and he seemed to be struggling with it. From the looks of it, it seemed to me that he was running a moderate pace. I was diong a 5mph pace and thought he must be doing something similar too. I glanced, stealthily(yeah, I know it is a bad habit!!), at his treadmill dashboard and almost fell off mine! He was running a 7.5 miles and hour pace and it didnt even seem like that! After that shock, now I stick to looking at my own dashboard instead. Even at that low speed, running feels very energizing in so many ways. One being the adrenalin that is pumped because of the workout. Another reason is that running makes me feel like I am overcoming my weaknesses. I am a slow runner and my reflexes are poor so I cannot play a game like Tennis or Squash with someone who can play well and that makes me feel a little inadequate but being able to run 40-45 minutes without feeling it makes me forget those inadequacies!
Is there any workout/activity that makes you feel energized?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day - Poverty

This post comes after reading Nita's blog on this topic. According to her,
Blog Action Day 2008 (15th October 2008) - an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day.

So here are my two cents' worth on Poverty.

I have never been poor. I have never had friends who were poor. But I have seen poverty around me. In ways that might not impart the experiences of living poor. I have seen that the maid who worked in our house for 20 years was really poor and could not afford to send her kids to school. Her children worked with her and made whatever money they could. I have seen poverty in the umpteen slums around my posh apartment in Kandivali, Mumbai. I could see the slums and the goings on there from my 8th floor apartment window. Half clad children playing near the gutter, women fetching water from municipal taps, unsanitary conditions all around. It used to make me sad, and guilty, but I confess, I did not try to do anything about it. I guess most of us are like me. Its easy to close our eyes and imagine that poverty does not exist.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's the Economy, Stupid!

This was a phrase used by James Carville, who was advising Bill Clinton during the 1992 presidential campaign. Well, in 2008, "It's the Economy, Stupid"! And I want to say that to both the campaigns, although I want to give credit to Obama for consistently keeping the focus on the economy until this week. As soon as Sarah "Barracuda" talked about her "opponent palling around with terrorists", and the McCain campaign started slinging mud, he rolled up his sleeves and went into the mudpile with them. The day before, there was a documentary from Obama about McCain and his association with Keating in the 1980s. Then there was an ad by McCain(gosh his name is tough to write fast....m, c, c, a, i, n) that said Obama is dangerous and cannot be trusted blah blah blah! Its the Economy, STUPID! There, now its in bold and caps, will you, atleast now, talk about how you want to steer the economy when u are in office?
Will you stop talking about judgment, Israel, old associations for a minute and talk about the economy? People are losing jobs, their 401K's are losing value, their homes are losing value, there are 2 wars that are draining our resources and killing people and you are worried about who has worse friends and who asked for less earmarks?
I saw this in the VP debate too. Biden tried to talk about the economy a few times. Palin's repertiore of answers when confronted with a question was limited to "we are a bunch of mavericks", "hockey mom", "dont talk about the past" and a lot of other empty words like "like", "doggone it", "you betcha" and a few winks and creepy smiles. (Did you all hear, she says "nucular"? That reminds you of someone?). Lady, tell me what your "maverick" runningmate is going to do about the economy? He doesnt even understand his own healthcare plan. Is he taking those $5000? Can I more across statelines and avoid that tax? How? Does $5000 cover all medical expenses for a family of 4?
I think a part of the problem, my friends, is that no one is asking those questions. Yesterday's debate put me to sleep. Did the people in that room appear even remotely interested in what the two were saying? And all the media talked about was how one was hostile to the other and who won. Well, I say no one won! I say the people lost. Why? Because it is the economy, stupid!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My first blog award!

Newsflash!!!!I have been awarded by Asaaan!

A big thanks to her for this. This being my first award, I would like to thank myself for putting myself in the position of having to move so many times! I am sooo proud of myself.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My current favorite

I love reading. I love fiction. I love a good book. And if that book is humourous, written in a simple language, has a dash of reality, a little bit of philosophy and has a riveting plot, all the better. There are a few authors that come to mind, who have the uncanny ability to mix all the attributes above. A year ago, I would have said Somerset Maugham, Jerome K Jerome, Harper Lee(though her body of work is limited to one) make the cut. But now I am ready to add another author to this list. He is a modern fiction author who has written more than 25 books, spanning 4 story series and is internationally acclaimed for The No1 Ladies' Detective Agency series(source: wikipedia). The first time I heard of Alexander McCall Smith was when one of my friends was reading this book called The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency sometime in 2006. I was curious. The name sounded like it was a childrens' book. I like reading anything that comes by, but I would not be too excited about a kids' book. I asked her how she found it, and she said she loved it. Now this girl was by no measure a poor reader. We used to routinely exchange books and I knew that she had a good(very good) taste in books. So when she said she liked the book, I borrowed it from her and very gingerly started reading. Saying I was surprised would be an understatement. I was pleasantly shocked that this book surpassed my expectations and came out with flying colours! Since then I have read almost every book by McCall Smith in the market and eagerly look forward to his new ones!

Now let me get to the point and talk about what is so special about his writing that has me hooked.
There is a story. Each one of his books has a different story. All the characters are very well profiled and you get the feeling that he has spent quite some time thinking about them. None of the characters, however small, is left without a unique personality trait and all of them have a role in advancing the story to its end. No charater is just there to fill pages or to provide the shock value! The story itself is very simple. In most series, there is a central character(or characters) who either has another person's problem to solve(No1 Ladies' series), a personal problem(sunday philosophy club series) or a larger than life ego to satisfy(Von Igelfeld series). While going about doing this, the characters experience love, pain, apathy and a myriad of human emotions and their relationships with other charaters evolve(or degenerate in some cases). All this drives the story to its intended end, which can be the most unexpected or the most mundane.
More than the end, it's the journey that overwhelmes me. It is the way emotions are woven into each story that get me everytime I pick one of his books. It is the simple language that impresses me. It is the fact that he doesn't have to use cliches, (unnecessary) graphical language, (useless) side storylines that are meant to capture the readers' extreme reactions, to sell his books that makes me so happy to read him. All the incidents in his stories are drawn from real life, with a dash of humour. I would go so far as to say that he is one of the best modern fiction writers and certainly my current favorite. Do you have any favorite authors?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You Are Not Prissy

You're the furthest thing from a princess - and you probably stay far away from any princess types you know.

You have an easygoing approach to living. It doesn't take a lot to make you happy.

And when life requires it, you're ready to get your hand a little dirty.

There's no problem you're too prissy to tackle!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another moving story!

So the move went really smoothly and we are settling in slowly.
I have always had mixed feelings about moving from one place to another. For the first 21 years of my life I stayed in the same city, same community, even the same house. I went to the same school and had the same set of friends for 15 of those 21 years. People got transfered and moved all the time, in the part of the city we lived in, but my dad always opted out of the transfers and liked to stay put. I always envied the new girs or boys who joined my class every now and then. They were the lucky ones whose dads got trasnfered adn they moved boriya bistar to a new city. These new students were like honey, attracting all of us oldies who were desperate for a few new friends. We shared our lunch with them, got them random gifts, even shared the much adored 'scent rubber'(eraser) with them. How I longed to be one of those new students is known only by me. But the irony of the situation was not lost out on me. While I whined and longed to move to a new city, these 'new students' hated moving and used to be really sad about going away to a new place. I used to think they dont know how lucky they are...the ignorant fools!
Well, anyways, the 10 years of schooling, 2 years of working my butt off preparing for entrance examinations and 4 years of funfilled undergrad saw me staying at home, at the same home all the time and I longed more to get out! Well, my prayers(uff) were finally answered and I set out to start my first job(this was in 2002) and moved to Trivandrum for a couple of months. Once there, I was as usual excited that finally I was out of home (but missing family ofcourse) and had lots of fun with new friends. Then I moved to Mumbai. I still loved moving. I lived with a few friends intially and realized we didn't quite get along, so I moved to a new apartment and new roomies within a few months. The new roomies were awesome and I was having fun, when I had to move again, this time to Amsterdam. Sadly I bid adieu to all my roomies for a few months, when I was back in the same apartment in Mumbai. Now again my fun with roomies, shopping, food, movies comtinued. After a while the some of my roomies started to move( now I was disgusted with the word) and I was dreading my lonely existance. One fine day, I was told I was to move to Triva drum on a new project and I did, boriya bostar bandhkar. I really hated this move. I had accumulated a lot of stuff, friends and memories in Mumbai and didnt want to throw all that away and move to a new place. By now I had started getting a taste of what those 'new students' felt when they moved from one city to another(finally!!). After a few months in Trivandrum came the move of a lifetime, when I left the indian shores for the US to pursue my masters. Now my atleast-once-a-year-move pehnomenon began. I moved in temporarily with a Tiwanese girl for 6 months, then to a makeshift apartment for a few days, then to a new apartment for a year, then I got married! After the wedding, I came back to do an internship so we moved temporarily again to DC. We came back to the university after 3 months, and lived in an awesome house for a year. The lease on that house was up and we werent sure how many more months we would be at the university so we moved into the university apartments. Barely a few days after we moved, I was offered a job and we MOVED to DC. Spent a year in the new apartment and towards the end, S got a job and we had to move again to move closer to his workplace. Thus, owing to these extreme experiences I have had with moving(ativrishti/anavrishti), now I have mixed feelings about moving. I feel good because I am moving on the a better(hopefully) place, and have the chance to do up a place all over again! I feel terrible because I am moving from a place where I have built memories and led some happy and some sad times!
SO here we are now! Anyone counted the number of times I moved in the last 6 years?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Moving thoughts

Thoughts in my head these days
-How do I know how many books to put in a box so that it isnt too heavy for the movers to carry? If I can carry it is it fine?
-Will the pots and pans box hold up?
-I hope the power/cable/water/gas at the new apartment is ready
-will the cleaners do a good job of cleaning the old apartment?
-where did I put all my jewellery?
-will there be any bugs at the new apartment?
-will the roads/traffic be ok from new apartment to the office?
Huh...I can't wait to move!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Marathon plans, dealing with hypochondria and indian television

I have signed myself up for the Marine Corps 10KM marathon and have been training for a couple of months now. Since I have never been a running person, it took me some time to actually get to a stage where I can now run a few miles and not drop dead! Starting from the stage where I could hardly run a few minutes to being able to run for 45 minutes, I have come a long way. The training is tough and there are days I wish I could just run the 6 miles without having to actually 'run' but as they say 'no pains no gains'! And pains there have been aplenty. i have this weird pain in my ankles some days, the legs hurt almost whenver I train, and yesterday while I was reading this article, I suddenly realized my feet were hurting too(yeah I do display mild hypochondria)! Consequently, I have spent most of my day at work today researching plantar fasciitis. I know I might NOT be afflicted with this disease, but the chronic worrier that I am, I have decided to stretch double time from today, try not to wear heels (i can hear my beautiful highheeled shoes crying for attention), and be on the lookout for any symptoms that might signal the onset of the condition! My obsession is atleast helping me make a few good changes in my lifestyle...hope they stick.
On a different note, I was talking to my sis today and we both were lamenting the degradation of indian television. Ekta's Kahani Hamare Mahabharat Ki, Dadagiri etc featured high on our bitchlist. We still remember lining up in front of the tv not so long ago(ok..about 6 years ago) to watch shows like Tu Tu Main Main, Khichdi, Shaktiman(yeah we are two crazy siblings who watched this show and also zipped around like shaktiman..haha) etc and not blinking an eyelid when watching them! Ofcourse I also remember the glory days of Nukkad, Hum Paanch, Yeh Jo hain zindagi and the like, that my sis missed coz she was too young to care. And look at what television has degraded itself to now? There was a controversy about this show Dadagiri(is that even a name?) where this hostess(ugh) slaps this contestant because he didnt win and he slaps her back and what do you know, the whole crew comes on stage and starts assaulting this contestant verbally and phsically. Most of the gaalis I heard blew me away. I swear I have never heard of some of the words before and some other really burnt my ears and I ran for cover! Apparently my sis was watching one of the episodes of Dadagiri with my ajji(grandmother) where a contestant is punished by dunking his head in a commode(yeah thats right) and my ajji ran away from the tv, into the puja room and stayed there till she forgot what she saw.....I bet my reaction would have been running away too(not to god though). Sigh....what happened to good old television?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Religion and stuff

I was blog hopping as usual and saw this post on the Mad Momma's blog. While the post itself is not controversial(some people might disagree), the comments sure fired a storm. Some of her readers seem to have taken offense to this:

And then people want to know why the lower castes want to opt out of the system and convert to a casteless society - be it Buddhism or Christianity. I’ve never stopped thanking my forefathers for the choice they made.

When I originally read the post, I never realized this line could provoke people. It merely seemed like a statement of personal opinion...but boy! were there fireworks or what!
A lot of people took offense because they thought she was demeaning Hinduism and extolling the virtues of Christianity. A lot of commentators wrote how she was worng in saying that and some even talked about Christianity and conversion! While its the reader's prerogative to feel bad or angry at what they read, it definitely is stepping over the line to lecture someone about how their opninions are wrong. I would not do that even with my good friends because differences in opinion are what makes us so diverse. Can I not sit in my livingroom and say what I think about anything at all? Why do we have to be so intolerant of diverse opinion? As long as we are not imposing on others or not hurting others in any way, how is it bad to hold ones opinion dear to one's heart? I do not like it when people lecture me about my life. I have had this happen so many times:
Have a kid now, dont wait too much, you are getting old, buy a house now, you need to invest
you should have done this...done that....wth? Of all the things I get to hear, its the "dont wait anymore to have a kid" that pisses me off the most. I have had people(women), who I was talking to for the second time ever say that to me! And all the while, I have held my anger and frustration back and politely nodded. SO here is what I am confused about.
There are two issues here. One is that we live in a so-called free society where (ideally) there is tolerance for whatever religious, societal beliefs and opinions we hold. Like MM holds the opinion that she is glad she is of a particular religion, so do those commentors BUT they seemed to cross a line when they hopped over to HER blogspace and tried to bully her! This then brings me to the second issue I am concerned about, When people seem to step over the line, should you give them a piece of your mind, or be polite and ignore them?

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Why does one blog? Why do I blog? Frankly, I do not know.
Some people blog for venting out their frustration, some to get noticed, some others to keep in touch with their creativity and some others just because its THE thing to do. Me? I blog for no reason(or a combination of the above). I have never given it any thought. Maybe blogging makes me feel like I am documenting my ideas so that I can read them sometime in the future and muse about what my life was like once. But there are diaries for that cant be it! I blog because I want to blog. Maybe thats why I do not blog so frequently. Because I do not know why I want to blog, I am not passionate about it. Maybe I should sit down and think about what drives me to blog and then I would be more excited about blogging often! Until then......

Friday, August 22, 2008

Varalakshmi Vratam

I performed the Varalakshmi Vratam puja today and here are some pictures.

You can learn more about Varalakshmi Vratam here.

I offered Semiya Payasam, Pulihora, Garelu(vada) and fruits as prasadam!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Oh Johnny!

The last week saw John Edwards confess to an extramarital affair with Riele Hunter and apologize to his supporters about lying when he was a candidate for president. Post the confession, the MSM(Main Stream Media) went on a dizzy frenzy analyzing the affair, playing the blame game and just generally trash talking Edwards. Suddenly, everything John was knows for, the numerous cases he fought for the downtrodden, the issues he fought for, the things he represented, was erased and now he was reduced to this sex crazed narcissist who cheated on his ailing wife. Although moralilty and fidelity are important in a marriage and I would think lowly of any person (man or woman) who would not stick to these qualities, these are more personal issues which I would rather the husband and wife talk about and sort out(if they want to). I dont care if my leader is a womanizer to the extent that he/she is a 'good' leader and thinks about the greater good. I dont care for a leader who is on one hand, the epitome of fidelity and morality and on the other, goes about declaring unneccesary wars with countries by lying to the whole country and fabricating documental proofs. In my view Bush 43 was the worst president of all times in spite of probably being the best husband ever(huh) and Clinton was one of the best presidents in spite of being a little weak in the fidelity department! Still, here we are, letting a lying, scheming, war creating president scott free but impeached a president who might just be one of the best presidents in recent times. The irony of the times!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cutting Obama's N$#@ off!

I am sure there is no one left who has not heard/seen/read what the "reverend" Jesse Jackson had to say about Obama when he thought the microphone was off. Seeing that, three things came to my mind:

1. Jackson says sorry and says he said those things thinking the mic was off - what does that mean? That it is ok to say things as long as no one hears them? Also, is he apologizing because he means that he is sorry or because he got caught?(I think its the latter). Would be have talked about his had the conversation remained private?

2. This is the most important take away for me. So in this tape Jackson seems livid that Obama is lecturing black fathers about being absent from their kids' lives. Jackson thinks O is talking down to blacks! Ok he has the right to get angry.....but wait till you know that Jackson had a child out of wedlock a few decades ago and apologized to the black community and to his family about not being loyal to his wife...HA! So i think all this rant was a guilt trip for Jackson and that he was taking O's comments really personally. I wonder, is Jackson's illicit child well looked after? Did he have a good childhood? Was Jackson 'present' in his life?

3. This one is also important in the present context of a new generation of voters/leaders etc. Jackson represented the past of the black movement when blacks were looked down upon and needed someone to 'fight' for them. Times are changing and blacks have taken their fate in their own hands, but the Jackson types have remained with the same mindset and misused the issue to their advantage for decades. All this would change with Obama's rise and thus would make Jackson-types irrelevant. Could it be that Jackson's real anger and fear were about his own relevance?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Recipe time!

Today I made Orzo stuffed bell pepper for dinner. (Orzo is a kind of pasta and looks like rice).
This is a really simple dish. Saute some onions and whatever veggies you like in a little oil. I used bell pepper, onion, peas, mint leaves and carrots. Once the veggies are a little done, add raw orzo and salt and pepper and saute for a few minutes. Then add one and a half cup of water per cup of orzo and let it all boil until the orzo is cooked throughly.
Meanwhile, cut the peppers in half, remove the head and the seeds and brush the halves with oil. Spoon the orzo mixture into the halves, top them with half cherry tomatoes and bake at 300C for about 45 minutes or until the peppers are a little soft. Alternately, you can also saute the halves in a little oil.
Once done, spoon a lemon on each half and enjoy!

We enjoyed ours with some Maaza!

The bell pepper dish turned out quite well and one half was quite filling. I have made a stuffed pepper recipe with potato filling before. I imagine one could also use some simple rice dish as a filling(tomato rice, pulao etc). Makes a complete meal!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Stepford Wives

I watched the 1975 version of this movie last evening and was taken aback by it! I expected it to be a saucy women's tale, a la Desperate Housewives but this was something.
The story runs thus:
A family of 4 moves to Stepford, CT from New York city, to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The husband takes to the place right away, joining the weird men-only organization, and having a good time, whereas the wife starts to feel lonely and disconnected from the women of Stepford, who are the epitome of so-called femininity. They dress in white smock gowns, are always presentable what with makeup and all, and spend all their time baking, cooking, cleaning their houses and taking care of the children. The wife starts to talk to a few of them about forming a women's group that could meet and talk once in a while but finds few takers. She realizes there is something wrong, something amiss about the whole society, and starts to investigate. Meanwhile, the husband is busy attending the secret meetings of the creepy men's organization, and starts to call the men home whenever the wife isn't home. We are also shown that one of the men actually makes a lot of sketches of women, and yet another has a habit of recording women's voices for some 'research'. Cutting a long story short, finally, we learn that the men of the town have actually killed their 'real' wives, and replaced them with perfect robots that only look like the dead women. The robots now represent the perfect wives the men always wanted: beautiful, well dressed (rather matronly), submissive, calm, respectful (rather fawning), devoted to keeping the house sparkly and having a supreme love for all housework. The movie in a sense conveys the message that men want their wives to be like the Victorian woman - one who runs a respectable household, and secures the happiness, comfort and well-being of her family. The movie ends with showing the city-wife also being turned into a bot (called a Gynoid)!
For almost a day after I watched it, the feeling of disgust, anger and fear stayed with me. I kept asking my husband the same question - didn't the men need their better-halves to be cerebral? Didn't they want to have a meaningful conversation with their wives? Would you like a wife who keeps saying `yes' to whatever you say, rather than actually disagree sometimes, and talk about her point of view?
Maybe the depiction of the perfect woman was taken too far in the movie, but I can actually see some 'stepfordian' wives in real life. Possibly the best example of such a phenomenon would be the Bachchan 'bahu'! What a transformation the marriage has caused in the way she talks, dresses, and in general communicates with people! In fact, I feel like the Bachchan 'Khandaan' (huh) does that to its women. Strip them of all their individual talents and emotions, and make them `family bots' who keep saying they are proud to be running the household. Don't get me wrong, I am all for women not being stereotyped into feminists, non-feminists, family types etc, but I also am a BIG proponent of a woman continuing to have a passion for something in life, especially if she used to be one of the top actresses of her time (applies to both Aishwayra and Jaya). You CAN follow your passions AND run an effective household. And the men? The Bachchan men seem to be big chauvinists, killing every iota of creativity left in their women. Someone tell me what Jaya has been doing all this while? Did she really do all the housework in spite of having a bevy of servants at her beck and call? Why do they make women so submissive? How come Abhishek is imposed on us in spite of being a lousy looker, a mediocre actor, and an utterly lousy dancer, whereas we haven't ever heard Shweta speak?
I guess Stepford wives and the Bachchan household give us a clue as to what would happen when men rule the world! And that is why I would say: more power to women!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Barack Hussein Obama!

In the first week of January 2008, back when the democratic presidential nomination had barely started, I had a discussion with my colleague at work with whom I car-pooled. She wanted to know if I had any favorites among the presidential candiates and parties. I told her as a matter of fact that I would love to see Barack Obama nominated, and then elected as the President. I instantly felt that she was uncomfortable with my answer. When I asked her what she thinks, she immediately quipped, 'Anyone but Obama'. When I asked her why, her answer was simple, that he was a muslim. This was my first 'political' conversation with someone in the US and here I was confronted with what to say. I just smiled. But I realized one thing at that moment. If this person, a colleague of mine with a graduate degree from a prestegeous American University, someone who has access to the internet and all the fact checking resources believes against all evidence that Obama is a muslim, what about thousands of Americans who have no access to information but radio talk shows that are inundated with narrow conservatism? While its a personal matter to like or dislike or select or reject a candidate, to wrongly assume something without even bothering to use the tools available at ones disposal is being absolutely lazy, in my opinion.
Well, as time passed I forgot about this issue and continued to be interested in the democratic party political process keenly. But somewhere at the back of my mind was the thought about the various rumors doing the rounds, like Obama is a muslim and the like and how the Obama campaign was vehemently denying he was one and then he going on talking about this Christian faith etc. The question I am bothered by is, So what if he is a Muslim? Doesn't the US constitution say that there has to be religious tolerance in the country? Didn't the founding fathers say that US is NOT a religion-based country? Have Americans become Islamophobes? What are all the Islamic Americans thinking now? Are they sad that being a 'muslim' is a slur these days? Being from India, I am used to the radical views of other religious groups against Islam but I could never understand how being a Muslim could cause someone to be looked down upon, or be less qualified for something. Is it because the people who brought the WTC down on 9-11 were muslims? Does that mean we should hate Christians because of the crusades they waged against the other religions? Does that mean we can hate each other just because we were hurt by someone who happened to be of the same religion?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Special Ugadi recipes!

Its been such a long time since I last posted and my sis seems to have slipped into a comfortable hibernation, I thought I shall break this hiatus with a post on the new year. This Ugadi was good as we cooked a lot and ate a lot :D.

Maamidikaya Pulihora(my version)

2 cups rice(sona masuri)
1.5 cups grated raw mango(kairi)
1/2 cup peanuts
Popu/tadka ingredients(chana dal, oil, mustard seeds, jeera,curry leaves, slit green chilies)

Heat some oil and add all the popu ingredients. Toast for a minute.
Add the peanuts.

When the peanuts turn light brown, add the grated mango and heat for 1-2 minutes.

Cool the grated mango mixture and mix thoroughly with cooked rice.
Yummy pulihora is ready!


1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup chana dal
1/2 to 3/4 cup jaggery

1 spoon ghee
1-2 cups milk
chopped toasted cashews
1/2 cup grated fresh coconut

Mix the rice and dal and cook in milk until rice is cooked and the dal tender.

Add the jaggery slowly until its thoroughly melted and mixed.

Add ghee to this mixture and stir until the mixture thickens.
Finally add the cashews and the coconut and mix and enjoy!

We worked hard to make a traditional meal and enjoyed the heavy lunch!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Politics is politics.....

...irrespective of what country you are in. This profound realization dawned on me over the course of the last 2-3 weeks as I followed the initial stages of US Presidential election process.
You start to follow elections in India a few months before the general election when the parties and their leaders start spinning the same old spiel of what they would do for the poor and the downtrodden and what they would accomplish if they are elected. Not once do they talk about what they accomplished so way...that is never talked about! What follows during campaigning is shameless mudslinging on the opponent and trying to take him/her down by hook or by crook(almost always by crook). If that doesn't work and it seems like the opponent is still getting votes then starts the ugly process of tampering with the ballot or keeping people from voting. Thus all in all, Indian elections, almost always turn out to be a mockery of the democratic process of the largest democracy in the world.
I call myself a die hard fan of politics and I am put off entirely by what goes on there. Cut to the US and at the beginning of this year I was excited because presidential elections were just beginning and the candidates had started debating each other as to what they would bring to the US if elected President. I was hoping for a contest where each candidate stresses their contributions so far and their promises and showing how different they are from others. I expected it to be a civil and just process, after all this was in a country that is the leader of the polished western world. After all, I was in the country that prides itself on its democratic process(some call it a 2-party dictatorship but thats another post altogether)! But my hopes were to be quashed mercilessly when I started hearing one candidates surrogates whispering bad stuff about other candidates and vice versa. Then it blew from whispers to open mudslinging so much that now there seem to be tense relations between 2 candidates of the 'same' party over....race! C'mon, I thought at least the US had moved away from racial intolerance and were on the verge of probably electing their first black president and there were still whispers about race? Then I started doing some research(wiki-search) about US elections and found this kind of mudslinging isn't new at all! Called the 'politics of personal destruction', tactics of spreading bad stuff about an opponent's personal life so much that people would be scared or put off by him/her has been used very successfully by GWB(who else) in the past. I also now hear political analysts talking about this on TV saying this is bad but almost always works. SO are the people so foolish and narrow minded that they would not do any fact-checking of their own? After all isn't this the internet age when getting information is so easy?
They say it would go on and this kind of politics would never die...always getting results for the people who use them......there goes my romance with politics!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Himesh reshamiya sucks..!!

Whenever i hear this person i feel like commiting suicide..but then i think y shud i commit??usse hee marte hai the game will be over :-) then we will not hear those oooo songs...yuckk..!! huh Himesh he is a bad singer and the worst actor i bet most of you will agree except his die hard fans.I dont understand how can anyone be his FAN like how cum one can call this doggie a singer..heee hee haa haa doggie best suits you himesh and on top of it the person who does'nt know how to sing he has gone for acting haha a big joke that too with an actress who is not even 20.

I saw him in saregama challenge programme he was one of the judges huh in that he was intolerable suddenly he used to shout i mean he use to bark without any reason.

Well i think first of all he should stop acting and then singing or else should sing normally as other singers do.
chalo now its time to end over to you shilpa..:-)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A taste of things to come.

I am back from my looooong vacation and here is a taste of things to come on this blog soon!