I have opinions. Like it or not.

Two posts. From two very special people. I’m going to let the posts speak for themselves. 🙂

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This one is from Rayshma:

if i were to describe G and my fr’ship in one word.. that word would be strange.

it’s strange how we got to know each other. it took alice’s blog for me to discover her existence. then, we realized that we’d lived in the same town for years, but met saat samundar paar.

i’m usually VERY reserved when it comes to personal space. that never seemed to matter with her. she whizzed right past defenses. strange, again.

it’s strange that we exchanged gtalk id’s just a few weeks after we became regulars on each others’ blogs. stranger still, that we chatted for hours daily after that.

it’s strange that she flew down all the way to texas for my bday. stranger still that vin took leave *something neither of us are usually in favor of* to go drop her back to the airport.

it’s strange that she felt like family even though we were meeting for the first time.

it’s strange that if i ever had a younger sister, i’d hope she’d have been exactly like galadriel. a younger, taller, leaner, meaner version of me!

it’s strange how she is an awesome mix of wit and silliness, sarcasm & kindness… maturity & complete madness! strange how she is SO much like my closest pals, and yet, she’s her own unique self!

it’s strange how though she’s younger… i’ve never felt the age gap. okay… maybe that has to do with my IQ levels… but well, i’m writing this… so I can say that it’s coz SHE is wiser than her years!

it’s strange that despite all that closeness, we’ve spoken on the phone 3 or 4 times in over two years.

and it’s totally strange that i should do a post on her blog to wish her a fantastic bday and a great year ahead. esp when i have nothing to write about on mine.
but well, life is stranger than fiction.
and she sure is stranger than her blog-name! 😛
but, life’s like that!

hope you have a wonderful bday. do have an extra slice of cake for me!
love you loads, gurl! MUAH!

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This one is from Dewey:

She likes Ravi Verma’s paintings. That was what cinched it for me. Because until then I had (of course) heard about her incessantly from Her Madness and while it roused my curiosity, it took Ravi Verma to make me pipe up and speak to her.

I had intended to write a funny post and entertain her, make it a nice li’l giftie seeing as how it is her birthday and all but I find that a funny post is rather beyond me. It could be that I am an unfunny person but I guess when it really comes down to it, people who you care about can only inspire posts that are true to your feelings to them. So this is me saying I care about you and I want the best for you, all your life.

And so we sing Happy Birthday while Koi Shaque blares in the background, all the while dressed in outrageous 80s bollywood inspired outfits and toast you with Sambhar!

All for the girl who, on reflection, could only be compared to one thing: a Ravi Verma painting 🙂

———-

Thanks girls! Truly made my birthday so so so special. MUAH!!!!

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Alai Osai

I just finished reading my very first Tamil novel, Kalki’s Alai Osai. I have never read a full fledged Tamil book before; my reading of the language was limited to reading those bit-jokes in Ananda Vikatan. And now I realize everything I have missed out on all these years.

Kalki’s Alai Osai is an exquisite creation. A magnificent work of art that has no parallels, no comparison, that is quite unlike anything ever written. The free flowing language, the beautiful descriptions of pre-independence India, the little villages of Rajampettai and Devapattinam – all bring forth the magic of the simpler life. And yet set against the stark backdrop of the British Raj, they drive home a harsh truth – one that spanned a  100 year long freedom struggle, causing the deaths of thousands of innocent people who voluntarily or by circumstance laid down their lives to usher in India’s freedom.

Kalki’s characters are sketched with such clarity, that it is difficult to believe that what you are reading is mere fiction. At no point are you made to think that one particular character is good or bad. Everyone has shades of gray and they all make decisions that are only as sensible as the situation permits. Seeta’s vivaciousness, Dharini’s surreal grace, Lalita’s all-too-simple devotion to her friend, Raghavan’s monstrous desires and Surya’s ever steady ideals – all make for a collage of very distinctive and memorable characters that won’t leave your thoughts for a very long time.

Kalki brings alive the cruel reality of human nature, one thought, one action of ours that affects the lives of everyone around us and those of our future generations.  He makes you realize that no matter how noble one’s intentions, the repercussions of one impulsive act can be catastrophic enough to haunt them for the rest of their lives. He depicts the contrasts in his characters by embellishing their similarities. He takes you on a sepia-tinted journey to the far-flung corners of the country, starting from a tiny village post office to the vast streets of Mumbai to the banks of the Hoogly in Kolkata to the buzz of activity in Karachi, all the while making you aware of the unrest in the country and its eventual culmination in the barbaric riots of ’47 and the subsequent partition.

As a story teller he remains completely neutral throughout and never allows his personal opinions to jade the narrative. Hence the events of the time remain in the background, affecting the protagonists but never trying to send out a social message of any sort. He also remains extraordinarily detached from his characters, never once lapsing into pathos-evoking descriptions of Seeta’s hardships. He just narrates. You decide your feelings for her based on what he has told you. He builds up the narrative with such ease and class that before you know it, you are possessed by an insurmountable curiosity to know the climax which is sure to leave you shattered and numb. Not because it comes as a surprise to you, but because you realize how futile it all is. And how realizing your mistakes may just not be enough, and if even a little late in coming, may be too late to really do anything about.

I cannot help falling in love with the book over and over again, with every chapter, with very line. It is indeed a pity that a writer of his caliber is not recognized anywhere outside Tamil Nadu.

Question

Why do people (rather, these amit123 types) not know the difference between the usage of ‘will’ and ‘would’?

All this pressure!

Yes, I know the expectations are sky high and everyone expects me to post about the awesome weekend I had over at Raysh’s (I mean, it’s not like it was a honeymoon, you know!). But what can I say here that has not been said before? How do I keep it from being intensely personal, something I have tried to refrain from doing on this public space?

Everyone knows how much I adore and respect her. I believe the feeling is mutual. And hopefully it now extends to SEV too, whom I nagged and coerced into coming along.

The 3 days I stayed there just flew by in a whirlwind of mountains, lakes, hiking trails, forests and good conversation. I had the most amazing mozzarella sandwich on the way back (after which we saw the bear cub).

It was a fabulous weekend. I am glad I found such wonderful friends in her and Vin. I am definitely hoping they will visit me soon enough!

I do not really want to say anything else. I hope you guys understand.

P.S: .. and the next weekend is nearly here already! 🙂

14th August 2009

This date marks the 3 year anniversary of my arrival in the US as a wet-behind-the-ears naïve girl with dreams in her eyes. The last 3 years have been an incredible journey. A journey of friendship, heartbreak, love, frustration, success, failure and so much more. A journey of growing up – of flying away from the protective nest that was my home. A journey of the eventual transformation of a girl to a woman. A journey of realization of one’s strengths and weaknesses – leading to some semblance of wisdom. A journey of the quest to learn and acquire knowledge – and the incidental learning of many other things. As I sit and reminisce about the last 3 years, I cannot help but wonder if I truly have a reason to rejoice and celebrate them. Or should I just think of it all as a bittersweet experience, something that had to happen because – such is life.

I guess I would like to begin by thinking about all the things that made me regret having made the decision to leave my country and my home. I still miss my family just as much as I missed them the day I left. I still wish I was there to watch them grow up and old – I wish I was there to watch my little brother cross one milestone after another. I wish I was there when my mom bought something she had always wanted, to see the expression of excitement and the raised pitch of her voice to go with it. I wish I was there to watch my dad punch the air during a cricket game and to get him started on a discussion on politics and stock markets. I wish I was there to help out with the household chores and even to get yelled at for not doing something right.

I truly miss the rush of activity, the sights and sounds of the different times of the day. The smell of the early morning coffee, the sound of the velaikkari washing the utensils, my mom cutting out the weeds in the garden and my dad trying to help and ending up shearing my mom’s beloved flowering plants instead, my dad going into my brother’s room to wake him up (after being yelled at by mom for snipping up her plants), the sounds of the autos and buses, the sight of the dust rising up and settling down in their wake, the cows assuming the world is their toilet – I could go on and on about every single detail that is such a part of India’s myriad personality.

But that is about all I miss and about all the reasons I have to be even if only slightly bummed out today. I think I do have more reasons to be happy about. I cannot even begin to describe the experience I had of living alone, away from home where there was no Mommy to cook food on time, no Daddy to take care of the bills and the finances. There was just me and my measly grad student salary that had to cover the rent, groceries, bills and so on. I cannot believe I managed to even save up a small amount every month. I realized just how well my mother had trained me to be able to run a household independently. I could cook and clean and not let the house be infested by bugs and roaches as I had seen happen with my other counterparts. I realized that I have a keen aesthetic sense and combined with my OCD, I managed to make sure our house was always hospitable – our house was like home.

I learned the hard way that people are not always what they seem. That there are people who will think evil things even if you truly meant them no harm. That there are people who expect the world of you and yet will not move a muscle when it is their turn. And should you so much as refuse them a favor that no sane person would do even for their own kith and kin, you instantly become the bad guy. That the only people who truly make you happy are the ones who have the good sense to understand your every action. No one else is worth it.

I learned that when your need is driven by money, no matter how well you do, you just don’t get the chance to prove yourself. And that quitting when I’m at the top of my game is how I usually operate. I also learned how much I hate loans. And how I have always made sure I repaid mine well in advance of the pay period. I learned how much I love to drive. And how much an inanimate object can mean to me. I discovered that I am not one to skimp on something I really want. And I am also not one to crib about something I don’t have – I am actually one of those people who make the best of what they have and pro-actively seek means to better their situation, if they so wish to.

I realized that going to grad school and getting your doctorate degree is no indicator of how smart you really are. And that smartness also really means nothing – how you treat yourself and others around you is really all that counts. That it’s better to know how lucky you are to be with someone than to wonder how lucky they are to be with you. That confidence is one thing, and arrogance quite another. That realizing the difference between the two is the difference between being smart and being thick.

That high heels actually make me look good. And that tall girls don’t need high heels is a myth. That in a few years I will not look like I do now, so I need to make the most of what I have. Especially since I live in a country where everything goes. And that convincing my mom of this has been some of the toughest convincing I have had to do in a long time. 🙂

Looking back on this post and the last 3 years, I do believe I’m happier than when I started out. And I probably wouldn’t change a thing in these 3 years. But none of them can keep me from going back to where I belong. And if I ever forget that, I have this post to remind me of what is out there, and what will eventually take me back home.

# 238765 – take random quizzes that have NO relation to what you really are.

My friends are awesome

On a recent trip to Martha’s Vineyard, two of my favorite people in the entire world came across this:

 

They promptly thought of me and took a picture and emailed it to me! That was most thoughtful of them… You guys are the sweetest. 🙂

Thanks, you two. I love you!