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Saturday, December 29, 2007

No Smoking

Over the years, I have heard some strange justifications from people who smoke.
# It helps to release tension - is probably the mode of all excuses statistically ordered. Then follows:
# Cigarettes are more faithful then men/women. I am disillusioned with relations with human beings, I am having an affair with ciggies.
# The day I find someone I will quit.
# No one asks me to stop! No one really cares!
# It is cool ! ( A passé now )
# A ciggi is my act of rebellion.
# It keeps off the cold.
# I am not addicted! I can give up anytime I want.

Personally, I don't like to nurture any kind of enslavement. Maybe my control freak nature is an impediment. A 22 yr-old acquaintance of mine defends that it is no use drinking if you don't get drunk. I argue that I want to know when I am having a good time. Why turn oblivious?
The cool quotient in yesteryears might have been associated with a cigarette dangling from your lips. Fortunately, nowadays it is uncool to have unhealthy habits. ( If you excuse the 4 hours sleeping routine ). Most of the gym inhabitants are very particular about their diets too. I saw a chain smoker quit. He simply woke up one day and told his roommate 'I'm quitting' and he did. On the other hand, there's someone I know who has been trying since the past three years and has written a post about it. He left smoking for three days and bought a packet on the fourth day. Reason: 'Too much work pressure, I needed one.'

I observed a general trend here in US- women smoke more than men . Or maybe I noticed it more. The typical Indian mentality is that a girl who smokes is easy; hence, most Indian women prefer to smoke privately, careful not to send out wrong signals. I have also seen cigarettes being associated with a sense of power. A middle aged woman who's the HR Director of an IT firm with a huge market presence in India can never be seen without her favorite brand. It's awe aspiring in a way. It is not just because she smokes. She has a personality that is captivating. But the first thing anyone will mention while describing her is : She smokes a lot!

And who can forget Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct (1)? The classic scene: 'Have you ever f***ed on cocaine, Nick?' couldn't have been depicted as effortlessly by anyone else. The menace accompanying it is enhanced by the way she lits her cigarette. A silent threat meaning: 'Don't mess with me. I can overpower you.' So, is it the attraction for the darker side that attaches you to your 120mm long friend (if you are a smoker)? I don't know. But if you are pregnant or your girlfriend refuses to kiss you because you smell like smoked salmon, then it really is the time to quit :D

Photo courtesy:,, and respectively.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A wish for you

I hope you had a great Xmas and will be having a bright new year too. Just don't stop spreading the good cheer. Have blessed day and an enlightening year ahead.
May you find what you truly seek.

Monday, December 24, 2007


When I was in high school, I had a heated debate with my Dad at the dinner table and it proved to be more than the regular table talk we used to have. I don't remember how it started but when I opined that attaining success -by any means - is the raison d'etre of my life, he expressed his views that values are as important as success is. And the whole concept of : 'the right path with the right motivation' competed with Mom's deliciously cooked dishes to fill in our mouths.

Years later, in retrospect I feel that he was right. It is not just enough to be happy. You should be happy for the right reason. I am not ashamed to say that I thought that being vindictive gives you a sense of power. And for that reason , I never forgave. In fact, so abashed I have made someone with my verbal assault that he alleged I have paid back more than he could have ever wronged me.

Now I think it is time to let go. Maybe it does feed your ego for a while, but a revengeful attitude starts gnawing into your mental peace soon. It has an infinite appetite; it's better not to indulge in the starters and let it starve to death. However, I also feel that you need to have that "Don't mess with me !" expression on you so that people don't take advantage of your vulnerability. If they can't locate it, they can't exploit it.. right?

Wrong. Your close ones would know your weaknesses and yet, never try to manipulate them to gain an edge over you. I am talking of the closest circle in Set A

So, is the key to let your hair loose and be yourself with your inner circle and wear a mask of professionalism/ armor of strength when you are out in the big bad world? Maybe.Maybe not. I have recently earned the name of a "tough nut" (Dada), "hard heart" (Ma) etc from the members of my family. The veracity of the statements have yet to be verified by Dad. But I guess that it is what he always wanted me to be. TOUGH.

I cry less. ( Doesn't count that I wept while watching "Happy Feet" yesterday. Now, how dumb is that ?) I mean I cry less when people don't do what I expect them to. Somehow, I have begin to respect the differences and that has given me a quiet inner peace. I know I am human and I have my flaws, my negative biases, even prejudices. But I am glad that I don't limit myself to them . I let the shackle break free when I am proved wrong.

For example, the derogatory term ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) is applied to the second generation kids of Indian origin, born as US citizen who have a different accent and taste for food/music/attire/anything you can think of. The general idea is that they are confused about their identity and are not aware of their own roots.But I have seen even first generation Indians turning either an assimilationist or an atavist to survive. It's natural - isn't it?

I am in Maryland with my maternal aunt for my Christmas and you can call my two cousin brothers (Age 13 & 14) ABCD if you want to. But I beg to differ. Last night, when I was doing the dishes, my aunt kept insisting that I shouldn't move a limb and stay put and enjoy my vacation. But I know how difficult it is to manage the domestic chores all by yourself. Ok, answer this question: #How much should men contribute in household work in a country like US where domestic help is not easy to get? ( I need statistics to prove a point, so please reply :D )

I stove her out of the kitchen for a while and did what I could to help. The younger cousin came over and teased: You are disrespecting your elder (by defying her). And I winked :Aren't you? (by questioning me? ) And we both laughed. I felt glad that they were not alien to the values I had inculcated myself while growing up. It has nothing to do with the geographical location, or the differences of breeding, or in being brought up in a different environment. The kids here are as respectful and probably more polite than they are back home. I think I will have a word to say when someone uses the term ABCD to mean NRI kids.

Quote of the Day:
Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.
-Lao Tzu

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Shameless Lions Writing Circle

Nothing better than this to "de-costify" for a while:D ( Current status: preparing for Cost Accounting Paper tomorrow)

I was nominated by Abhinav in The Reluctant Writer
And for this, I thank my Mom, my Dad, my Brother,my Grandma, my friends who have been tolerating my craziness for years, my neighbor's cat, my laptop, my Internet connection... ( Background noise: Sheesh! Ask her to shut up someone!).. Umm.. See what an award can do to an apparently sane (?) person like me :D Hee hee. Sorry. What is life without a bit of drama?

So here you are. My current favorites, arranged alphabetically by titles of the blogs:

A bend in the road : His archive begins from July 2007 and though I haven't read all of his posts yet, I love the dash of humor he adds to each post. He has scripted some of my favorite comments in my blog too.

A Little South Of Sanity She is right. She is the "the oldest 18 year old to walk the planet". Her natural style fits in with her biological age but her meditativeness sometimes surprises me pleasantly.

Candid Diary I could have put Amit Verma's India Uncut or Scott Adam's The Dilbert Blog here , but I like the kaleidoscopic view he provides of the world without any pretensions. A haven for the still child at heart.

Intelligent Bacteria's breeding ground Here again, humor wins hands down. He is wicked. I specially recommend his Public Interest Litigation.

Post a Secret: This doesn't need an award, it is pretty popular by now. And one page I look forward to visit every Sunday morning. Not because I find any voyeuristic pleasure in knowing other people's secrets but because some of those shared are simple yet compelling. Each little postcard gives you the scope to dream up a story behind the confession. And you have to appreciate Frank Warren's entrepreneurial spirit. Anonymous works, his name. Kudos for dreaming up something like this. But the best thing is the effort he has put in for charities. Maybe philanthropy can be practiced only when you have become able enough. Someday...

About that three elements, requisite of "good writing"- I don't believe you need three, just one component is enough. The feeling that something will choke you to death until you pen it down somewhere. That's for creative writing. For tips on "good" collaborative writing, I will charge $65/hour for consultation. :D

P.S Thanks Abhinav, I love the way you described my page :)
Sorry to those who are my favorites, but I couldn't mention here. Blame it on the paucity of number 5 to accommodate so many wonderful pages from blogosphere.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What is the strangest predicament you have been in?

I got stuck on a glued floor while turning out the trash today. The workers renovating the carpet covers on the corridor in front of my apartment and their caution : "Watch you step ! " came a tad late. :D

Funny in a way. How we waste time musing over things that might/might not happen in the next 2-3 years when we don't know what will come to pass the next minute. The best and the worst thing about life is its unpredictability. Thinking about the past or future is so futile! Live for the day. Carpe diem!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Snowstorm @ Boston

This is for Seju who is stuck in the snowstorm and has asked me to write a post about it.

The classes got canceled for the evening today. The universities and offices closed early up (around 2:15 pm) and the traffic on the main road is still moving at snail pace. I went out with my roommates to have a little snowball fight. Here are some pics taken in the beginning:

The parking on the west of my apartment- still recognizable.

Pooja -left, Kiran-right, me-behind the camera :D That's when Kiran's snowball hit poor, armless me. This snapshot reminds me of the PC game Doom.

After this, I got busy retaliating :D
More on this later .

Update: 7:55 am, Dec 14, 2007

A view from the gallery.

Buried in snow. A cold tomb. Brr.

If I try any more stunts with the window open, I will freeze to death. More updates later.


Quote of the Day:
Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be.
-Daniel J. Boorstin

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Back to Square One

Thank you for all the wonderful responses in my last post. Kudos to intelligent_bacteria for saying : love is just a way of life. However, I also agree with dharmabum's "I believe love isn't 'because of'...Love is, 'in spite of'.." Someone who loves you at his/her convenience doesn't love you at all. But this conjures a scary thought- does it exist in the plane of reality then? Or do we have to satiate ourselves with philosophical discussions and quotable definitions? I am yet to learn.

Nevertheless, there is one love I have great faith in. And that's self-love. There is no adultery, no fraudulence associated with it, unless you are clinically insane. You are the only person you have the power to change. And the only unit of existence that you can constantly evolve into something better with conscious efforts.

I viewed an old post and was pleasantly surprised to find that three of the four wishes I had made last year have come true. I am expanding my wish list to include the following. It is more of a task list I want to refer to when I am lounging away (make that #10 :D):

9. I want to work for some years after my MBA before I pursue higher education again.
8. I want to publish my second book.
7. I want to learn driving soon.
6. I want to keep enhancing my vocab and oral presentation skills. I have a very good voice and excellent eye contact (Prof. Novak's evaluation) But I feel I can make my my body language more enthusiastic.
5. I want to master the art of getting straight As in all my reports .
4. I want to complete the tutorial CDs I got for improving my German.
3. I want to finish reading : Shantaram, Walden and The Heart of Darkness
2. I want to "Stay hungry" and "Stay Foolish".
1. I want to be me.


Quote of the Day:
To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance
-Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Love just is..

Love isn't the adrenaline pumping in prurient youngsters or gossip running in a racy red dress ahead of news. Love just is.
It is the belief that someone will be happy to see you at the end of a tiring day.
It is feeling glad to lie side-by-side holding hands.
It is the fragrance that lingers when he/she hugs you goodbye and you don't know when you will see him/her next; but you hope it is soon.

It is the whispering of those magical words in a crowded airport.
It is the smile across a hall full of strangers that means- "I'm here".
It is the silent promise which says more than words ever can.
It is weeping because the other was hurt.
It is laughing together on a silly joke.
It is letting him/her have the last bar of chocolate you saved for yourself.
It is hating his yellow shoes or her brown sweater and telling him/her that without any preamble.
It is sharing an umbrella on a rainy day and splashing on puddles.
It is sipping ginger tea on a cold evening together .
It is his saying "Excellent" to describe a dish she cooked , even though she knows there should have been more salt.
It is her saying "Not long", when she has waited for hours and he knows it too.
It is creating happiness out of nothing.

All my life I believed that I know what love means but I feel disenchanted today. It's a lot more than I could have ever known. Like I said- love just is.

Credit to Imputrescible's In the Name of Love, for triggering this random chain of thoughts, on a topic I had been avoiding lately, for reasons unknown to me.
And the person to whom I gave flowers today.Happy Anniversary!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Six Sentences

This is a mail I got last night, from the editor of Six Sentences:

Dear Aparna,

Very well done. And a great piece to kick off the new year!

"Role Playing" will make its debut on Tuesday, 1/1/08.

Welcome to 6S!


Robert McEvily
Editor, 6S

I thought that I owe this to my readers, to let them have a peek at the piece I had submitted :

I wonder if I am I not proud of the fact that my greatest talent lies in my acting skills. I play the role of a perfect student/daughter /sister/friend so absurdly well that it scares me sometimes. Which of the masks I wear is the real me or have I lost it somewhere in my pursuit of perfection? I look into the mirror and ask " Who am I actually?" And it replies back- "More than you think you are, less than you can be." And I start afresh with renewed vigor.

Also, this is an occasion to declare formally that I am seriously thinking of starting the work on my second book and first novel, "Seasons of Love".

A rough draft of the author's note follows:

"The toughest part about writing this book was to decide where to begin. My previously published work is a blook- my blog ( turned into the book: The Day I Was Proven Wrong, containing the entries from May 2005 to Dec 2006. Somehow it seemed to be an easier task because when I started blogging I was almost anonymous, until it got decently popular and my family, peers and later on, my colleagues started viewing it. That was when I faced the clichéd "writer's block". The fear of being judged by people whom I know in my real life held me back from being myself. I tried to make the content "responsible" and that almost killed it.

Then I realized where I was going wrong. If I didn't care to read my own composition again, there was no reason why people would want to browse through it - let alone come back to it. So, when I set to script "Seasons of love", I made a pact with myself- "I'll be honest". And I will not "try" to please my readers. All I will give is my effortless love and if they can feel it, even on the printed pages in black and white, I am sure they will love it back too. I don't have any high expectations about the sales. Just a request- if you happen to come across this book, read it and like it, please pass it on to someone else.
That is all I will ever ask."

I hope to begin scripting it after the end of this semester. Though my previous publisher would be keen to have the book, I want to give the rights to someone with a more global presence. Any interested party can contact me at

Thank you.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Ayushman Bhava

Meaning "long live ", is a Sanskrit phrase often uttered by elders in Bengali Hindu culture, when they bless the young ones. I recollect that on every birthday or religious festival or upon the  declaration of my exam results, I'd run to my paternal grandparents to touch their feet in reverence. ( Called pronam in Bangla. I lost my maternal grandparents early, so I don't have many memories with them.)

My now late paternal Grandpa (Thakurda) would insist that I be adorned with "Dhaan-Durba" ( grains of rice with the seed coat and a type of grass )while he closed his eyes in prayers for my well being. I liked that so much that when my other cousins hurried to brush off their hair of the yellow and green bits, I'd let those stay on, pretend that I didn't notice, and let out an Oscar-winning "Oh!", when any of them pointed out "Hey you still got bits on your hair!"

It made me feel special. It made me feel cared for and blessed. I wanted to keep it with me as long as I could.

One day I asked my Grandpa the significance of using the combination. He opined that the grains and the grass signified prosperity and health, respectively. The age old idea of "Gola bhora dhaan"= "barn full of grain" represents affluence; and that special grass has the amazing capacity to regenerate even after a house and its lawn have been completely destroyed by fire. So, when elders wish for our long lives by pronouncing "Ayushman Bhava" (or "Ayushmati Bhava" while blessing a female child), they also wish us a life of prosperity and health along with longevity. Maybe I treasured those bits because I knew what it meant while most of my other cousins didn't.

The last time I got dhaan-dubba was when I went home to visit my family before coming over to Boston. My grandma said that I wouldn't be in India by the time my birthday arrived (14th September), so she wanted to give me blessings and some INR ( I still have that money in my bag ). This little rite is something that is probably going to die out with time. And I don't know, several years later if I try to put grain and grass on my kids' heads, maybe they'll think "Mom is crazy" or file a case for harassment. Maybe not.

Whatever, back to present. I was walking to school when I saw the snow melting on the lawn and the green grass still thriving beneath the sheets of ice, and it all came back to me.

This post comes at the wake of an unfortunate event when an oil tanker truck blew up in Everett. One of the houses destroyed was Carol's - a MGT671 classmate of mine, who has lost all her possessions. It makes it even more difficult with the semester end approaching. I'd probably try to take out my passport, credentials and my laptop with all my assignments in case of a fire emergency- whether I manage to take out a coat at -13 degree C or not.

I request anyone reading this post thus far to take a moment to wish her strength and courage to ease her through this trying times. I might/might not believe in God the way most people do, but I definitely believe in the great strength of will.

I have grown up near a commercial center and have seen two major fire incidents where I witnessed some people lose everything. One of the women crying like an insane person on the street was a mother who had saved all the gold ornaments in her shop for her daughter's wedding the following day. Some slaves can be real bad masters.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tagged again

Previous tags:
Reflections I snoitcelfeR
Tagged- II (5 things about Aparna Kar)

This one is from Bubbles of Firewhisky

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night?
SG with his description of Howrah station restrooms and his plight during his journey from NJ to Boston.

2. What were you doing at 0800?
Sleeping. Was waken by the delivery man at 0823 who gave me my new baby - a T61p Lenovo Thinkpad

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?
Browsing a page in Wharton MBA site

4. What happened to you in 2006?
I grew up

5. What was the last thing you said out loud?
Can't remember me being loud. I clam up totally when I get angry. Could have been "Yuppie" when my roommate showed me the white lawn in the morning.

6. How many beverages did you have today?
Tea in the morning

7. What color is your hairbrush?
Purple and silver. Very bright and happy looking :)

8. What was the last thing you paid for?
My dinner last night. Ate out for a change.

9. Where were you last night?
Home. That's where you always have to get back to, right?

10. What color is your front door?
Off white

11. Where do you keep your change?
Wallet and drawers

12. What’s the weather like today?
Click here to know :P

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor?

14. What excites you?
Today: parcels. I could have kissed that delivery man :D

15. Do you want to cut your hair?
Needs a bit of trimming. Might go out this weekend. Am planning to grow it longer.

16. Are you over the age of 25?
Not yet biologically.

17. Do you talk a lot?
Only when I feel like. I prefer to listen.

18. Do you watch the O.C.?
What's that? I watch only Scrubs on TV

19. Do you know anyone named Steven?
Would that help? I know Mike, Gordon , Matt, Chris, Jonathan, Bryan, Jeff, Bill, Marc, Pacy, Ben, ... must be a Steven somewhere.. who knows? How about Steven Spielberg. Does that count? I know him, but he doesn't know me :P

20. Do you make up your own words?
Yup. And phrases too. They become catchphrases among my friends soon until I coin something new.

21. Are you a jealous person?
About my prized possessions- yes. That makes me protect them

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’.
Can't think of any.. ummm .. maybe Abir Mukherjee (AM in my blog)

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’.
Kaushik.. dear old Koshu - my ex colleague

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list?
SK- who is in love again :D

25. What does the last text message you received say?
D. A reply to a multiple choice question I had sent across to SG

26. Do you chew on your straw?
No. But I have taken to chew the fat with my roommate a lot lately. We have pillow talks in a walk-in closet, at the dining table- everywhere you can think of. I'm glad to have her around to talk to. Will miss her :)

27. Do you have curly hair?
No, I have straight hair which gets wavy at times.

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to?
Washington DC for my Christmas to visit my aunt.

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life?
Rude? Umm.. most people do it when they are upset. Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner

30. What was the last thing you ate?
Pretzel crisps with my morning tea.

31. Will you get married in the future?
No hope for the next 3 years. :P

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks?
Past 2 weeks makes it difficult. I didn't have much time. Watched Beauty and the Beast again and cried again.. Lol. And Om Shanti Om 'cause of the great company I had.

33. Is there anyone you like right now?
You mean "like" as like Robert Pattinson? :P

34. When was the last time you did the dishes?
Last night.. boo hoo.. even after I ate out 'cause I had a team meeting and had to rush to the univ after lunch. I love cooking but I hate doing the dishes!

35. Are you currently depressed?
Why should I be? And even if I were, my blog would have cured me or I'd have talked to my family/friends or cooked or watched a movie or read something. I don't like being depressed. It makes me feel a lot less than near perfect.

36. Did you cry today?
No. And I will never again for a person/thing that doesn't deserve it. But when I get emotional/ watch a good movie/ read a great book, I tend to weep. My lachrymal glands are hyperactive :D

37. Why did you answer and post this?
Didn't want to keep my readers waiting for too long for a new post. And tags are the quickest things to do.

38. Tag few people who would do this survey.
Anybody who wants it, can have it :)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Tagged- II (5 things about Aparna Kar)

It is an old post but since I'm evolving every moment, many of the things that held true before might have become obsolete now. Initially, a tag by Rohit, it is a good quiz on how much you actually know Aparna Kar or how you see her :)
1. Organizational Analysis and Skills (Mgt 650) is my favorite subject in school.
2. Ted umm.. embarrassing but true, I still sleep with my teddy bear
3. Jonathan Livingston Seagull and its theme of a newer, better plane of existence has changed my outlook towards life, second only to Karma Yoga by Swami Vivekananda. The third favorite on my book-list is of course, The Alchemist.
4. Maple leaves Love them. The colors, the contours. That's why you will see a little maple leaf at the beginning of the title of each post.
5. Cooking is my new found hobby.
Now tell me 5 things YOU know about her.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Gaining resilience

Today, I had gone to meet my Program Director Dr. William Koehler to discuss which courses I'd be taking up next semester. He observed: "You have a marketing personality. Accountants are not so lively" and winked. Honestly, Financial Accounting is not really one of my favorites. I love the subject, but not the class which is lecture-based owing to its theoretical content, and for that reason, is highly somniferous.

I might narrow down to Economics, Marketing Management, Business and its Environment and/or a class in Fund-raising. The last one was specially recommended by him after he saw me attending an info session on fund-raising and non-profit organizations a fortnight ago.

I was interested 'cause of the purpose associated with non-profits. In fact, the Mgt650 project of Organizational Analysis ( The basics of Strategic consulting. My most favorite class - mentioning it for the nth time I guess) is on an organization working for community inclusion of the physically disabled.

One thing I learned at the session was that you can do well by doing good too. Some of the salaries cited were brow-raising. But then, nothing comes easy. You have to work for insane hours for an event. Not that I am scared to work. I like the high I get from sleepless nights. But I fear the lull that follows it.

I still remember the day I kept sitting on campus grounds after the cultural fest got over in my first year of undegrad. So much preparation had gone into it. And so much excitement was associated with it. Those three days had my adrenaline pumping like crazy. I met new people, made new friends and my life changed to never be the same again.

So, getting back to it. I don't fear stress. But the leisure to realize that I am not busy enough. I asked Bill if I should take 4 courses instead of the 3 courses usually taken by a full time student. He asked me not to overexert myself. The classes need to be well paced too. I might apply for GA, I have not decided yet. But my primary concern right now is my internship next summer. Hmm. Lots on my table. Not a wonder that I have begin to care less and less about more and more now. To be truthful, I don't think I can afford redundancy in any form. Sorry if I ranted about myself. But this is something important to ME and I think I deserve a chunk of this space even at the cost of boring my readers. :D

Was feeling too tired to log onto my private blog and post it there.

Thanks for listening. :)

P.S I forgot to mention the incident that gave the post its title. After my team meeting yesterday , I had gone to Shaw's to get some grocery done. On my way back, I saw a kid pushing a heap of maple leaves with his feet - just for the fun of it. His ability to create happiness out of all most nothing is something intrinsic to children, which usually fades out with time.( I used to turn a chair upside down and pretend it is my space station. Or transform my bed into a stage and row up my chairs asking my friends to be an audience *always the limelight hogger :D * )

I asked the kid, "Is it fun?" He shied away at first but then nodded his head and said "Yeah. It is" Without a second thought, I leaped into those leaves, with grocery bags et al and said "It sure feels good." There was a chap passing by, probably wondering why an adult woman is jumping onto a heap of leaves. But who cares? Why should I stop being myself?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sweet November

Itni shiddat se tumhe paane ki koshish ki hai-
ki harr zarre ne mujhe tumse milane ki saazish ki hai

Take 2:
Ladies and gentlemen,
Kehte hai agar kisi cheez to dil se chaaho to poori qayenat usey tumse milane mein lag jaati hai.

Humari filmon ki tarah, humari jindagi mein bhi end tak sab kuch theek hi ho jaata hai.Aur agar theek na ho to woh "The end" nahi.
Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost!

Ok I watched Om Shanti Om again. So what? Even if it meant sending my mind to graze grass- once more. But I had an occasion. I met Dada almost after one and a half years on the Thanksgiving weekend in Boston. I had last seen him in May 2006 in Noida, when he was about to leave for Pittsburgh.

PR (my roomate) had not watched it either, and we had made a pact that we would watch it together. But I cheated and watched it online last weekend. So, PR , her boyfriend VR (who had come over for the weekend too), Dada and me went out last Saturday to catch the flick at Capitol (Massachusetts Ave. Arlington, MA 02474) It was a neat 30 minutes drive from South Boston. I don't think it would have taken less than 45 minutes had we been in India.

I am so much used to multiplexes, that the hall looked disappointingly old. But then I decided to think of it as the "old age charm" that is intrinsic to the city. Even the red bricks of Harvard emanate it. Nothing justifies the parallelism with ivy plants better.

Believe it or not- I saw Harvard Square for the first time at night and had decent Indian food at The Bombay Club ( recommended). In short, the weekend was a typical Bollywood masala movie with an array of emotions hitting us folks :D

Dada asked if I would be free this weekend and I replied in affirmative. He reached Logan airport around 10:30pm and reached home by 11:05 pm and we spend talking almost the rest of the night trying to catch up with what we had missed.

I decided to start with the Skywalk at Prudential Center, where you can have a bird's eye-view of the whole city and then decide upon where to go next. We had a turkey lunch for Thanksgiving and met an Indophile couple.

In the evening we met up with one of Dada's old school pals.

I showed him around the Emerald Necklace.

We got out to the Bayside near my residence and I clicked some matrimonial ad-worthy photographs of Bro.

Sample :

Specially, with the ultimatum from my parents that he has just an year's time to find someone of his choice or else they will start looking for him :D

Btw, he looks more like Dad now, doesn't he? Though we have both got Mom's dimpled chin :) Quite a good looking family , eh? :D

Here's another facet of Mr. Amitabha Kar for you. Did I mention that one of my classmates had a big time crush on him ? :P (Sorry for embarrassing you in public Dad . I know you are blushing right now. Hee hee )

Went to Central Square for lunch at a Bengali restaurant and to Massachusetts Avenue in the evening.

Lazed about in the afternoon, honestly tired. I tried to work on my pending project report but had to cook for one of Dada's friends who was coming over for dinner. Dada helped with chopping the vegetables for fried rice and in creating an ambiance by playing songs . Recently, he has a surge of writing Shayeris. I want to locate the inspiration. Any clues?

Woke up at 2 AM to work on the report which was giving me nightmares. If I am dreaming about it, it IS serious.

Bro will be leaving in a while. Don't know when I am going to meet him again. Maybe in December for Christmas at my aunt's place in DC. I'm glad to have a sibling to create memories with.

We have both changed in our own ways. I found him to be more care-free, more jovial and he observed that I have matured a lot, have become less expressive of my emotions maybe. Honestly, I feel I have become more like him and he has become more like my previous self.And since the growth was in vectorial opposite directions, the changes seem greater in magnitude from our present reference frames.

PR couldn't believe he is my elder bro 'cause of the way I boss over him all the time and try to micro manage things. But he understands that it is engendered out of the fact that I expect nothing less than perfection from him.

Thanks Dada, Pu and Viv for the great weekend.:)

P.S Btw, have you noticed how those lines from OSO are so eerily similar to
When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it from Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist ?

Everyone deserves to find his/her happy ending.
All the best.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

How to marry a millionaire

My apologies to those who were looking for the secret bait. This is a forward I received some days back. It reminded me of a story I had read in You Can Win by Shiv Khera. A neighbor eyes a luxury car a man had as a gift from his brother and exclaims : I wish I had a car like that ! The man says : Oh, you should say "I wish I had a brother like that". To this, the neighbor's wife retorts: I wish I were a brother like that. "

Attitude - it might not be everything, but it is something.

A young and pretty lady posted this on a popular forum:
Title: What should I do to marry a rich guy?

I'm going to be honest of what I'm going to say here. I'm 25 this year. I'm very pretty, have style and good taste. I wish to marry a guy with $500k annual salary or above. You might say that I'm greedy, but an annual salary of $1M is considered only as middle class in New York. My requirement is not high. Is there anyone in this forum who has an income of $500k annual salary? Are you all married? I wanted to ask: what should I do to marry rich persons like you? Among those I've dated, the richest is $250k annual income, and it seems that this is my upper limit. If someone is going to move into high cost residential area on the west of New York City Garden (?), $250k annual income is not enough.

I'm here humbly to ask a few questions:
1) Where do most rich bachelors hang out? (Please list down the names and addresses of bars, restaurant, gym)
2)Which age group should I target?
3)Why most wives of the riches is only average-looking? I've
met a few girls who doesn't have looks and are not interesting, but they are able to marry rich guys
4)How do you decide who can be your wife, and who can only be your girlfriend? (my target now is to get married)

Ms. Pretty

Here's a reply from a Wall Street Financial guy:

Dear Ms. Pretty,

I have read your post with great interest. Guess there are lots of girls out there who have similar questions like yours. Please allow me to analyze your situation as a professional investor. My annual income is more than $500k, which meets your requirement, so I hope everyone believes that I'm not wasting time here. From the standpoint of a business person, it is a bad decision to marry you. The answer is very simple, so let me explain. Put the details aside, what you're trying to do is an exchange of "beauty" and "money": Person A provides beauty, and Person B pays for it, fair and square. However, there's a deadly problem here, your beauty will fade, but my money will not be gone without any good reason. The fact is, my income might increase from year to year, but you can't be prettier year after year. Hence from the viewpoint of economics, I am an appreciation asset, and you are a depreciation asset. It's not just normal depreciation, but exponential depreciation. If that is your only asset, your value will be much worried 10 years later.

By the terms we use in Wall Street, every trading has a position, dating with you is also a "trading position". If the trade value dropped we will sell it and it is not a good idea to keep it for long term - same
goes with the marriage that you wanted. It might be cruel to say this, but in order to make a wiser decision any assets with great depreciation value will be sold or "leased". Anyone with over $500k annual income is not a fool; we would only date you, but will not marry you. I would advice that you forget looking for any clues to marry a rich guy. And by the way, you could make yourself to become a rich person with $500k annual income. This has better chance than finding a rich fool.

Hope this reply helps. If you are interested in "leasing" services, do
contact me…

J.P. Morgan

Hat tip: Nitin Balakrishnan

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yuppie! It's my first snow

The weather forecast said it's going to be 2 degree C today. And I did not know that it needn't be 0 to have a snowfall. Of course , now when I think of it, the upper atmosphere is colder. ( How could I have forgotten my Standard VII geography lesson: Air temperature drops uniformly with altitude at a rate of approximately 6.5° Celsius per 1000 meters)

So, when my roommate said it is snowing outside, I stopped whining about how I am going to miss my favorite class this Thursday (no MGT650 on Thanksgiving) and jumped with joy. I was about to go out in flipflops and shorts to save time but that would have been too adventurous for my health. I took exactly 5 secs to pick a coat, a cap, a pair of jeans and rush downstairs.

And I did everything I had always wanted to viz catch snowflakes with my tongue ( the cold sting is amazingly invigorating), let the snow flakes rest on my nose and eyelashes, and walk with chips of snow falling on my coat and melting at the tips of my shoes.

There's a beauty associated with everything you experience for the first time. Repetition often takes the charm away. But some things always make me happy. Like the rains. I said "Balls to the storm" to reach Cambridge once, when weather prediction was that Noel could hit. I can't see it as severity of weather , but as something different. (Not wise always.Note to myself)

I know winters can be boring with almost no outdoor activities. And indoor activities restricted only to watching movies, reading ,cooking or browsing the net ( How much can an average human being sleep? )But I am going to try and make the best of it. :)

But yeah, you miss your near ones at times like this :(

Why do I feel sometimes that the magnitude of my happiness depends on sharing it? OMG! I had a life! What am I doing to myself? Get out of it! Get out of it! *develops a severe case of OCD*

Ok. Here's a caption contest. Write whatever comes to your mind when you see these pics. I told AM : "Solitude is the mother of creativity" when he sent them in a mail saying :
picked up my cam and tried seeing things around the room ...
my life is restricted to my room ... and you say you don't have one?!!
Jesus! if only people would ... :D
well, tell me what you think about the pics ... and you can cut out the sweet things like "oh, they're nice" ... that's what i expect from other mortals, not you

Ok then, here you are: ( I know it totally depends on the mental frame you are in at a particular moment. I just want a snapshot of your mind. Don't dwell on it too much. Needn't be one word caption either)




Monday, November 19, 2007

Simple truths

You’ve probably heard the three keys to making money in real estate…location, location, location. Now I’m going to give you the three keys to self-motivation…reinforce, reinforce, reinforce.
-Mac Anderson newsletter

Here are 3 short movies each of 3 mins. To some it might appear hackneyed, but heck- some things are worth being reminded of.
The Race
The Strangest Secret
The Power of attitude

Sunday, November 18, 2007

From the torn pages of my diary -II

Saiki forwarded me the link to Dubey's photo album, and it unlocked a treasure house of old memories. Days past, old friends.

I met the 2004-2006 PGP group of IMI through Saiki. Let me try and arrange the events chronologically.

Day 1: Some cold evening in February 2006,Sector 44, Noida
I am running a temperature when one of my friends comes to me and says that I have to go out with her. Zindagi aur maut ka sawal hai :P (It is a matter of life and death) I have to oblige and we go out for a rendezvous with a guy she has met online. He has come over to our campus for a Quiz. I stand aloof at a distance while girl and guy walk towards each other. Each taking one step at a time. I yawn and think if they don't pace up I will fall asleep. Girl and Guy meet. I count stars in the sky. However, Guy walks towards me when he discovers that I am unwell and introduces himself. And I think: Bhodro Chhele ( Decent chap )
(To be proven wrong later. Ek number ka bandaar hai..)

Day 2: February 14, 2006. Valentine's Day, Delhi
Guy and Girl are too shy to ask each other out. So I decide to step in and ask the Guy : "Will you be my Valentine this year?" over the phone. Girl giggles by my side. He understands what it means. Jumps up and down and says "Yes.Yes. Yes". I ask him to wear something black, put on Green Brute and get a companion along so that I don't get bored :D

Four of us (Girl, Guy, Guy's roommate Sajal aka Biddu aka Dubey) meet at Delhi Haat and have a great time. Initially, I pretend Guy is my date and wink at him. He sees the joke and walks arm-in-arm with me, with Girl feeling flustered and turning pink.

We even click a picture to make my then boyfriend jealous. Guy sits next to me and keeps staring at Girl. And I say to myself: Aah! The Joys of Love!

Saiki and me @ Delhi Haat. The kick boxing kids :D

Day 3: March 5, 2006, Qutab Institutional Area, Delhi
Dada (my elder brother, Anirban) is about to leave for his visa interview in Kolkata. Dad has come over to Delhi to visit us. Girl says that she wants to go to the IMI Fest Kritva, but can't until I accompany her too. I ask permission from my two legal guardians and leave for IMI that evening.

I hop into a movie crossword round on reaching and team up with Dubey to come close second to the IIFT team. We get to the next round of Dumb Charades but lack of coordination results in hilarious results. Dubey takes permission from the judges to say only one thing, unrelated to the movie title I have to guess, and blurts: Kuch to bol yaar! and the whole auditorium bursts into peals of laughter.

In the evening , I meet Indu and get introduced to the others in the group. We dance to DJ Suketu's tunes and "Bin Tere Sanam" becomes an instant hit. I even make Ghosh dance. An achievement in itself. Next morning , Dad and my maternal uncle show me dancing on the TV. I smile and agree : I had a great time.

Day 4: April 8, 2006, Fun and Food village , Gurgaon

Water theme park. 12 odd people -Shivani, Anamika, Indu, Preeti, Kshitij, Swati , Ghosh, Rajat, Dubey, Saikat, Girl and me- have the wildest splash possible. And the only unaccounted for leave from my office :D

Day 5 : April 9, 2006, PVR Priya, Delhi
The same group goes to watch Shaadi Se Pehle. Dubey's suggestion . Rajat's sponsorship. We keep whining through the movie and waiting when we can butt-kick Dubey when we get out. We actually take turns to do it :D

Some weekend, PVR Saket, Delhi
Dada, Guy , Girl and me go to watch Transamerica. I click photographs of Guy and Girl holding hands together under the table and tease them about it. Girl blushes. Guy flashes his teeth.

Several days later, PVR Spice/Waves@CSM, Noida
After Bro has left: Guy , Girl , Me go to watch several movies together. And we always manage to make Girl feel embarrassed by our kick boxing fits in public. :D

Several months later, Boston
I am scripting this post and thinking - we might not be in love with the same people we were two years back, but our friendship has survived. Maybe this is why I believe in friendship more than I do in romantic love.

** A tribute to Girl, Guy and all the friends I made at IMI. The post was written in the present tense on purpose. The memories are so vivid that it doesn't feel I am so far away from them or so many seasons have changed since I last saw them .

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday Night Fever

And AM asked me that embarrassing question: What are you doing on a Saturday night sitting and reading comments (on your blog) ? I had to defend my position saying "I have just come back from shopping with my roommate." Then the conversation shifted to safer topics like the present scenario in Pakistan and Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Presidential candidate.

It was a girls' day out and it was fun. KM (Kiran Kirti Muppalla) and I kept saying to each other those weirdly humorous lines from Om Shanti Om ( remind me to write the review later):***Yenna Shotgun, Me Murugan in peculiar tones and laughed our heads off.

While we were walking towards the T-station, she observed that "It doesn't feel that cold when you are walking with someone" I suggested that it might be 'cause you are protected on one side from the crazy breeze when you are walking side by side or it might be that talking keeps the mind off the severity of the weather. And then I plunged into a deep reverie of how tough times appear more bearable when you have a companion in your life. She, who is quite used to my sudden seizures of philosophical musings, just smiled sweetly and took care that I,lost in my thoughts, don't amble straight into a car.

The journey proved labyrinthine as the red lines are closed from Park Street Station to Kendall till Monday for some construction and we had to take a shuttle bus. The simple itinerary of J.F.K/UMASS -> Central Square(~20 mins on T) proved to be J.F.K/UMASS ->Park Street Station on T, Park Street Station-> Kendall (MIT) on shuttle, Kendall ->Central on T again. We could have gone to Galleria in Lechmere using the green line by then. But KM opined that stand alone shops are better . And anyways, I prefer Central Square to any other destination on the T anytime. Except maybe Prudential Center , which houses my favorite Barnes and Noble bookshop.

All in all, I had a bit of adventure. It was a refreshing change to be above the ground and have a look around the city. Though most of the times, my view got constricted by kissing couples. It is not a common sight in India, specially with the soi-disant moral police on the prowl. But here it's pretty normal -almost as natural as holding hands in public. However, today the frequency seemed compounded. KM and I tried to find a spot inside the T where we wouldn't be measuring the flow of human saliva . I saw an old man talking to himself , sitting right across me. And KM found a youth wearing a jeans whose one leg was black and the other was striking blue and had his hair dyed in punk green. She fervently prayed that when she has kids they shouldn't go to such extremes. (She is married and plans to have a baby soon). I said it would be ok with me as long as my son (if I ever have one) doesn't wear a nose ring. (If I have a daughter, I plan to spoil her rotten)

Honestly, I don't like staring at strangers and feel pretty uncomfortable if someone else does it. I think it's one of the most impolite things to do. So, when I had brushed my eyes inside the T , read the ads for the nth time, and talked enough to KM, I got back to my favorite activity in such situations: concentrate on my shoes or my finger nails.:D

*** Disclaimer: I don't appreciate racist jokes nor do I intend to encourage them. The humor was not in the language unfamiliar to me, ( Kiran is a South Indian) it was the way SRK delivered the dialog. So, readers please choose not be offended.

External Link: Subway maps, Boston MBTA

Friday, November 16, 2007

Aliens don't come from Mars

This is dedicated to anon who called me "pretentious" in a previous post. :)
Nothing to do with the context of his comment, the word triggered a chain of thoughts and rambling followed :D

Somewhere, at some point of our lives, we have all felt like an outsider.
In junior high (read: Standard 7-10), I was a nerd who preferred to hide behind a book and a pair of specs, acted aggressive (read: used to beat up boys badly) to cloak my emotional vulnerability , and was every teacher's favorite student. Though my grades often incited awe among my peers, I'd have traded them anytime to be "cooler". That doesn't mean I shunned extra curricular activities. I had been in the coveted ( What can be the aspiration of a school goer? Not to be a CEO since standard IV ! ) school choir for consecutive six years, was the preferred choice for judges in any extempore or recitation competition, was unanimously voted the CR for 6 years of class (until in Standard 10 where I resigned before my Tests).

Yet, I lost the first position of school final recitation competition to someone who was three years senior to me and had much better voice modulation and was trained for it. Became the second preference for the role of Portia for the school play , even though I delivered the lines better- because one of them looked way better than I did ( the directors - Madam Sharifa Samsuddin and Sir Mohan Nainan were divided in opinion because Ma'm claimed assertiveness and not pulchritude should be the criterion for selecting the character. It never really took off the ground after that) Lost the school elections to someone who was more social than I was, even though my speech was not prepared and I said what I said in the assembly ad lib and earned the loudest applause. Came close second in my Hindustani Classical Vocal exams. And yeah, never got around to tell my school crush that I really liked him.

College was different though, with more social opportunities than I could handle and my grades in second year suffered for that. More people had crush on me than I even knew and books were meant to be opened only a month before the exams. My school mates would remember me as "that Amazon", or "the studious". My college mates would beg to differ and say "happening". Work life was completely dissimilar. With 12-14 hours at job, there was hardly any social life and my team grew to be like my family. Maybe I just got lucky with my first job.

Before I start sounding like a 60 year old woman who's scripting her memoirs, I want to say that those little failures, when my best was simply not enough, got me acquainted with a simple fact of life. There will always be someone who does something better than I do. So, what do I do when I detect something I wish was my characteristic trait too? What any rational person willing to grow will. I imbibe it.

My closest peer group right now is my Management 650 team and I'd like to point out a positive aspect I adore in each one of those five people . Gordon is very enthusiastic when it comes to presentations. Though Prof Novak ( who is usually difficult to please) said that both him and I have (1)very good voice and (2)excellent eye contact, I think he scores way above me in his body language, which is very animated. Vanessa is a bundle of energy and it's almost contagious. Wendy is talented at origami. Matt speaks little, but talks a lot of sense. Mike is THE techie of the group. A few others include Katie with a wicked sense of humor and Chris with an eerie ability to get along with anybody. My friends outside my campus include SG who never complains, SK who is an empathetic listener (thanks buddy), LM who can make you feel like she's your best friend the very first time you meet her, KM who can look at ANYTHING objectively and dispassionately. Now, I'd like to cultivate or improve upon some of these traits in some degree for the rest of my life and not ingurgitate to throw out later.

They might be friends, acquaintances or mere strangers I have come across, who call me by different names or call me by my name differently. But at the basic human level, we are all the same with some dreams, aspirations, fears we share with only ourselves or very close ones. We just need to reach out to know that. Does it make us pretentious? Because we are role playing? I don't think so. We are evolving constantly. I seriously don't know what my emotional, financial, psychological, social, physical ( add as many adjectives with the suffix -al as you want ) needs are going to be after two years. But I have some idea. I am trying to work on that. And I have a long way to go.

**Life is too short to be conceited.

** Attributed to PK , someone I had rejected some 3/4 years ago, because I thought he didn't look good enough. He might still be somewhere in US, but I haven't talked to him ever since. Wish he knew, in that one sentence he had taught me one of the most valuable lessons of life. Humility.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?

Or conversely- What is your greatest fear?

Please try not to be anonymous. Owning up to your fear is one way of conquering it. No one is judging you here . And refrain from making direct personal comments if you are posting anonymously.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Amour propre

I did something after a long time today.
I looked into the mirror, pronounced :"Hey Gorgeous, you look beautiful", smiled at myself , blew a kiss and said "I love you".

I don't know how many of you will find it weird and how many actually practice it, but I'm feeling great right now. It is an integral element of my happiness that I was overlooking for a while.( Past continuous and not present perfect continuous - deliberately )
Will take better care from now on.
As they say, "To love oneself is the beginning of a life long romance".
Cheers to the reviving of an honest relationship.
Care to join in?
Start kissing your mirrors right away.
And if you don't feel good- sue me!


Random thought:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived..

-Henry David Thoreau ,"Walden", 1854

Friday, November 09, 2007

Jab We Met

Have you ever met someone you have disliked in the beginning, began to like later, and eventually fallen in love with? If I were asked to name such a movie- I'd say Jab We Met. Last weekend, I got totally psyched out by Kareena's psychobabble and decided not to waste time, energy and my remnant grey cells on that flick.

But the friend who had recommended me to watch it was adamant and asked me to finish viewing it. He is the one who introduced me to Scrubs, so I ventured to try it out. And I really liked the later part.

*** Spoiler Warning***

The story is very simple. Shahid Kapoor (Aditya) is an industrialist's son bereaved of his father, ditched by his girlfriend and completely lost. He hops onto a train, totally clueless and meets Kareena (Geet) who speaks 300 words per min. She has a knack of inviting perils and while she tries to help Aditya whom she takes pity upon, irritates him to the point of making him disembark from the train midway. She tries to catch up with him and misses her train. And now this "Sikhni hoon.. Bhatinda ki" claims that he has to ensure she reaches home safely. After a roller coaster ride and on reaching the destination, the members of the family misunderstand their relation and she takes the chance to elope with him to meet her boyfriend Anshuman in Manali. By this time, Aditya has fallen for Geet and her joie de vivre. But he keeps his feelings to himself coz he imagines her to have happily reconciled to her bf. He gets back to Mumbai, decides to confront his problems face on, does well professionally and builds on the empire his father had left him and does way beyond anyone's expectations. Privately, he attributes his new self to Geet who believes in living her life her way and taking chances.

In the meanwhile, detested by her bf, Geet has taken to teaching in a missionary school ( what a relief from the usual procurers on the prowl) and is still hoping that the good-for-nothing Anshuman will accept her. Aditya sees her - a ghost of her formal self, passive, unaware of her surroundings, lost in deep thoughts, wearing a plastic smile. He brings some of the life back to her by asking her to call up her ex and swear loudly to make her feel better ( On a previous occasion, she had asked him to burn the photo of his ex and flush it down the toilet. ) He is about to take her home to Bhatinda, where she hasn't been to in the past nine months when the ex drops in after hearing the choicest explicits. ( Weird !)

And now? The fun begins. All the three reach her home in Bhatinda where Anshuman is not acquainted with anyone. The family believes Aditya ( who had accompanied her before and had eloped with ) to be her husband and formally receives them. The ex is left gaping like a fool. And yeah the ultimate height is when a kid brother asks: Ae Jiju k friend, photo khichogey?. Also, when Aditya is about to leave to end the confusion and Geet runs after him, Anshuman thinks she is going to tell her family about him and runs after her saying : "Geet..ruko.. abhi bataogi? Main bhi bataunga.. mil k batayenge" Only thing he misses out is the braying :D

*** Spoiler Warning ends here***

Though it's pretty predictable and has all the elements of a typical Bollywood movie, I like the treatment. There are a few comic scenes and double entendre you might enjoy. It needn't have ended the way it has and I would have still liked it. Honestly, I didn't really bother whether or not they'll get to be together at the end. It's the journey that mattered that changed their lives forever.

**You might like the song by Ustad Rashid Khan Aaoge Jab Tum .

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Virtually There

I had a life.. I have the Internet :D

Photo courtesy:

It's not recently that I have been wondering how my social life is like. Except my team members, the peers I meet during classes, and my housemates, I hardly have time to interact with any other human being. The occasional smile at the grocery store counter lady and the UPS guy doesn't count because I don't really know them.

I have at least 3 friends since the past 3 years that I have not met in real life. They exist as email and chat ids and phone numbers.

Maybe this is why I love blogging. It gives me a platform to reach out to new people, their ideas. Or a new perspective from the old pals I know.

Someone once said that I like to present different situations and like to observe how he reacts in each one of them. I don't really believe that I have such a megalomaniac attitude. I am genuinely interested in people.

I like to notice how they behave while in anger, in love, in happiness or in grief. The kaleidoscope of human emotions fascinates me. Biochemically, they are nothing more than a bunch of ephemeral chemicals triggered. Or a physiological process. A little this or a little that. In varying proportions. Of the same constituent elements. The redness of the face when in wrath and the blushing of a bride- what's the difference? An excitatory message hitting the frontal cortex of the brain, sending signal to the autonomic nervous system, following a constriction of the blood vessels (which is why you turn pale first) and then dilation (which causes a larger quantity of blood than the normal level to flow through them)- called flushing or blushing.

But honestly- tell me- what's so magical? Why do we still want to love/hate/care/hurt all those around us whom we feel important? Why do we want the blush on that beautiful face just for us? When we know, that we can control some the outward manifestation consciously?

I don't know. But somewhere amidst this forest of wires and softwares and virus attacks , we might have begun to appreciate human emotions and locution even more. Maybe that is why beauty to me is a face capable of expressions. And ugliness is in plasticity.
THIS is gross

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What is your "type"?

I saw a blog where the author asks men to choose between "an outspoken-intelligent-independent girl and a beautiful-dumb-dependent one"
The Feminist(or rather the Equalist) in me doesn't think it's fair. The poll should be open to both gentlemen and gentle (or not so gentle) ladies.

So here's your plate to choose from: Imagine you can assemble and customize your life partner ( If I make it sound like I am selling a product, no apologies :P) What are the top 3-5 qualities you would like to have in him/her? (Have to limit your choice. Can't let you get greedy. Get real pal. You might not even have the three!........Kidding :D)
You can use any adjective/noun adjunct/phrase that comes to your mind. This list is just a reference:

Singing/dancing/other fine arts skills
Culinary expertise
Technical expertise
Social Behavior
How he/she behaves with elders/ kids/ the less fortunate (**very important criterion as far as my choice is concerned)

Beauty - list 2/3 sub elements like long hair/ smooth skin/ broad shoulders/slim waist/long legs/expressive eyes etc
Thrills ( by that I mean the kind of guy/gal who would take you out on bungee jumping on a date or a long drive from Boston to New York or go camping by the woods. The outdoors types)
Well read and knowledgeable about most subjects (Caution: Constant blabbing might put you to sleep)
Well traveled
Courteous and polite (opens the door for you, takes care of the small things, doesn't raise his/her voice even while in a rage, seldom utters swear words etc)
Martial Arts - Japanese Judo or Karate, Korean Tae Kwan Do, Burmese Lethwei, Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do etc

I already have some standard prototypes (the elements might vary or change in individual samples):
The King Kong/Amazon type: Dominative, Professionally successful, Unshaven armpits
The Goody two shoes/Take home to your parents type: Submissive, Well read, Fine Arts
The Geeky type: One who chooses latest gadgets over you, Has a wild assortment of software you don't know half the names of, Thinks coding is the best thing to do on a honeymoon
The Business Tycoon/ Rich Bitch type: Filthy rich, Overtly assertive(almost to the edge of being bossy), over indulgent in self-love/self-praise

I'm sure your choice will be better :D Happy assembling!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The elements of happiness

I want you to do this little exercise:
1. Sit in a secluded/peaceful ambiance
2. Close your eyes
3. Fast forward your life by 10 years
4. And list three elements of happiness you can think of.

I have been asking my friends to do this lately and the answers are same in essence as much as they are varied. (You can skip the first two steps if u want :P And remember to comment first and see the other comments later)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Laga Chunari Mein Daag

Actually, this was a comment on one of Great Bong's posts, but one of my friends said that I can as well post it in my blog:

I watched LCMD last weekend coz I had nothing better to do. And I knew the story as soon as I read the title, before it was released. Like you said: it was like rotten bananas served with ice cream on top. Or as Shakespeare would say: What spice can hide the taste of tainted flesh? Abhishek Bachchan had a blink-and-you miss appearance and an unrealistic inclination for call girls who chant Hanuman Chalisa when the plane is in turbulence. They did it in Pretty Woman, a rich lonely millionaire falling for an escort but it was so much more believable!

Thankfully, it was not as gross as Julie with Neha Dhupia with only convincing looks and zero acting skills. (A face with as much expression as a blank blackboard). A small town girls fall into trap of a beckoning metropolitan, gets exploited, turns wayward to feed her perpetually sewing mother; heart attack prone, lottery ticket addict father and a plainer but wiser younger sister- so what's new?

Why can’t they make movies about an uneducated girl meeting the world and realizing that she needs to gather more skills than what she can exhibit in the bedroom? Is there no formula in Bollywood where the female protagonist can run a family without trading her flesh? It looks like an exaggerated version of a Fair N’ Lovely ad where the only worth of a woman is coz of her skin.

Look at Oprah Winfrey. She was born poor, was colored (my apologies for using that term), sexually abused in her childhood – but she reached somewhere; made a niche in a world of talk shows which was dominated by only white males. And now she’s bigger than just a TV celebrity. I don’t care if she had to sleep her way through it or if she has turned peevish lately. Money and post menstrual syndrome does that to everyone. Why can’t Indian cinema make movies like that? We have enough women achievers to mourn the death of in a spaceship crash but not one to pay tribute to while alive! The thing is- the movie would be esoteric and would not cater to the tastes of multitude even if the Indian movie goers have come of age lately and the Nishiganda Dasguptas of Corporate are getting National Awards for the character portrayal instead of playing a role in a skin flick.

There were better moments though: Konkona’s performance when she got to know about her sister’s real profession was worth all the minutes I wasted watching the movie. Vibhabari didn’t have to be ashamed. That was a moment of enlightenment from a stronger woman than Vibha was.

I liked the romance between Kunal Kapoor and Konkona which was much more realistic. The presentation on Lux Woman of the year and the tagline: Jiisey rishtey mein bandhne ka mann kare, muthhi mein nahi gathered a round of applause. ONLY if it didn't sound like the success of a woman depends on the approval of men.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happiness is only grin deep

CAUTION:Roller Coaster ride ahead. Make sure your seatbelts are fastened.

Phew! The Financial Accounting mid sem is finally over. I had a satisfactory test except that I could have done with some more time.

Prof Novak is out on a tour, so no Mgt650 class today and that gives me an extended weekend with no real course load. Except brushing up on the case study due next Thursday, making a team presentation for Wednesday and reading M-1 for Accounting on Monday. Also, I have a report due in another 2 weeks.And I'm seriously trying to give my patented Indian style of working at the 11th hour.

Wow! Infinite possibilities. I can shop for utilities at Target at South Bay Center, go treasure-hunting in Victoria's Secrets at Cambridge side Galleria Mall near Lechmere station or sleuthing for a reasonably priced beauty salon in Quincy Center. The one I went to in Downtown had charges for waxing like:
Legs: One Leg
Arms: One Arm
Full Body: A new born
Supercuts at Massachusetts Avenue, Central Square gave me a decent hair cut but they suck at waxing and my eyebrows look like a wild assortment of herbs, shrubs and trees now :D (Not anymore. Yahoo)

I always feel hyperactive after a major test. Maybe that's why I woke up at 5:20 am . Called up an old friend in India. Cooked two dishes. Talked to Mom ( which I usually reserve the 10 pm slot for) And decided to go bloghopping for a while. It was great to see some really awesome blogs on my way.

Yesterday, I made a pact with myself. I am going to be happy no matter what. Why? Don't really know, other than the obvious reason that it will save me energy. (Claim:It takes greater number of muscles to frown than to smile)

I was climbing the stairs leading to the entrance of McCormack Hall when a couple of students passing by, smiled at me. Then a professor whom I had never met before nodded and smiled too. Before I could realize why they were doing so, a couple of undergrad boys who were clicking photographs, called out to me and said: Hey! Pretty smile girl ! ". And while I walked away confused, I realized that I was smiling without even my realizing it.

When I was a kid, I read in one of my Moral Science lessons that the world is like an echo. It says back to you what you say to it. I'd say it's also like a mirror, it reflects back what you show to it.

Some days back, I was not so happy. There was a lot of confusion in my mind and I wanted answers to questions that troubled me. But I knew I had to wait. Impatience gave rise to anger and to a certain amount of indifference. But I realized that wrath, like any other emotion is ephemeral. I should not give it permanency by showing it to someone else. And that cooled me down.

I am thinking of channelizing the energy I have into doing something more constructive.
To do list:
1. James Franco
2. Robert Pattinson

Oops.. sorry.. Oxford Dictionary for Difficult Words :D

Recently, I have a crush on the word "ensorcell", which means "to enchant". Though it's more of a romantic word, one practical usage can be:"I have been a manager for too long now to be ensorcelled by company policies."

Or to brush up my German. I haven't taken any online test since last week.

Or catch a flick online recommended by a friend. That's really not constructive, specially if it's a Kareena- Shahid starrer. I like Shahid Kapoor's smile. But Kareena mostly overdoes things. I'm glad about their alleged break up. So, all those rumors about Rosa's claims of Saif and Kareena seeing each other were true! (Saif admits dating Kareena) Hmmm . Hope Shahid gets along with Amrita Rao. They look really cute together.

OMG I know more about Bollywood celebrities than I know about my own cousins! But that's probably coz I don't to get to read about their personal lives in newspapers and magazines.

And yeah, I will listen to the CD Ben gave me last week. Couldn't manage time till now. He's the guitarist for a rock group called Full Tilt. And looks quite different from his pictures on the site coz he has cropped his hair and beard now.

Prof Marc Fournier gave us dark chocolates in class yesterday as Halloween treat. By the time, I was over with my 90 min -long and harrowing Accounting test, 2 hrs of guest lecture and 1 hour of discussion about the upcoming team presentations, I didn't have the strength to go to the ballroom and check out the Halloween party in the university. Though I caught glimpses of guys dressed in skeleton outfits.

Maybe next year, I will go out somewhere dressed as a vampire. It's one of my wishes. I have been always fascinated by those creatures and the Gothic romance of Bram Stroker's Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola. It's a refreshing change to see a classy romance laced with horror than the usual B grade movies with hardly any horror but guaranteed meaningless sex and gory scenes ( Yeah, and I still think Hostel was gross. And after hearing about a scene of Hostel 2, I'm not going to try and watch it even if you give me a million dollars)

All in all, I am feeling very content today. But I shouldn't let it get me too far coz it's 2:35 pm by my watch now and I have to grab my lunch.

Btw, here's a version of "Somewhere over the rainbow", a favorite song of mine originally from the the 1939 classic Wizard of Oz.

Also view the one by Connie Talbot from BGT Finals. The innocence of the child's voice can drive anyone to tears.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Color Purple

The post title is a namesake of an acclaimed 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker that won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award. Later, it was adapted into a film and a Broadway musical.

I was reading the synopsis of the story last night and today I received a forward from my father of an article in Boston Globe. Sometimes, it makes me feel glad that I am from a family which has given me ample opportunity for my education and has not treated me like some second class citizen.

During the final year of my undergrad, a family friend, who was about the age of my father and had equivalent social status, ( the mark of broad mindedness for the naive like the "then" me) asked me what do I intend to do after my college. I intimated: I want to work for a while before I study further. And I want to travel. See places. Meet people. Their customs, attire, food. I want to live it. He casually remarked: Aar porashona kore ki korbi? Ekhon biye tiye korr. ( What is the point of studying further? Get married now.) His vested interest was his marriageable elder son who had just cleared an entrance for the judiciary system and had a stable career ahead. He was looking for a bride. He admired me a lot. My family knew about it. But I felt scandalized. I had a very high opinion about that man until that day. If he really wanted me to be a part of his family, he should have waited for some years until I was ready, instead of trying to mutilate my growth . Like some fathers do- for cultural , religious , and purely non-medical reasons.

FGM was an unknown concept to me till yesterday, when I decided to browse through the story of The Color Purple in Wikipedia. By the time I got reading to Type III FGC , I was so sick to my stomach that I wanted to puke. The ancient Chinese practice of foot binding was equally cruel.

My intent is not to shock and awe. Or to transform the usually "responsible" content of THE VARIEGATED SKY into a sibling of a shock site. I'll probably get back to sipping coffee and preparing case studies after this. But I wanted to say what I felt. And I don't care if I am labeled a Feminist henceforth. The term itself is unfair. It should be an "Equalist". Feminist makes it sound as if we are trying to give women a status they do not deserve. Even some of the "great" minds at work believe it is charity they are doing. And in their modesty lies the silent pride that it is their greatness that makes them work for the social cause, not the necessity. (How lame is that? )

We might have come a long way since 4 December 1829, when Sati was formally banned in Bengal by Lord William Bentinck. Raja Rammohan Roy might not live today to campaign against the practice but it hasn't stopped burning alive of women. Oh , they don't do it on funeral pyres nowadays. When I was residing in NCR, I often came across articles like this. Made me wonder where I was living.

But I don't blame the society. Because I am a part of it. Some days back when I was walking to school, I saw a bully thrashing a small young boy. The kid lay writhing in pain on the pavement while the big boy stamped his wrist under his feet. It was so horrible that I wanted to stop it at once. But 1) I did not know if it was happening under parental observation and the parents thought it was a healthy way to play 2) I knew the kid had to get up himself and hit back if he wanted some dignity in his life. I could hear his cries a long way down the walk, and I thought to myself: You will grow up to be a strong man or you won't ever grow up at all.

What I mean by narrating this random incident is that it is the rule of nature. The strong feed on the weak. You either grow to be stronger or you perish. If women want respect, they will have to earn it. They won't be given alms.

Education, empowerment, financial independence- are the three first crucial steps. Then comes sexual liberty- the right to say no.
Many women tolerate domestic violence because they are not able enough to support their children of their own and would prefer to lead a degraded existence than see their kids suffer or their daughters be subjected to the same atrocities when they grow up fatherless.

If only these women had means to support themselves and run a family. Or made a choice to do so. That reminds of a real life incident. She was a small town girl from India who grew up in reasonable comfort. After two elder brothers, she was the only daughter. She had an arranged marriage soon after she had her Bachelor's degree to a guy who was "working in America", from the same town. The emphasis on "working in America" was so great that the parents of the bride did not check on the guy's background. Who turned out to be a big time drunkard and gambler. She started working to pay the bills. The woman had two sons with him. One fine day, she decided she had enough and left him. They are now separated. Not legally divorced. Every one back home knows they are happily married.

I respect her for her strength to go on herself, being a single mother, and not going back to her folks for help. Even if she did, she would have probably been turned away in fear of "lok-lajja". She might not be the ideal woman for me. But she made a choice. And that makes me look up to her.

I'm not a commitmentphobe or a man hater. But I definitely know when a man does or does not respect me. If I ever exercise my right to choose a life partner, I will go for a man , who more than anything else is a good human being and does not take me for granted. It might have nothing to do with the Feminist Movement but I will save at least one life. Mine.

The original book cover. Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich