Thursday, September 29, 2011

Alternate Career

What a beautiful drive to work it was this morning. It was foggy. It felt like my car was cutting through it. It was also like driving blindfolded. Scary at times. Reached work safely. Had a busy chore filled evening. Today's highlight - Got a surprise call form a dear friend. Chatted about kids and their future.

Often we are stuck with a job, simply because we want to get paid, or we are too comfortable or simply afraid of change. If you had an option to pick an alternate career, what would it be? Now that I have worked outside the house for sometime with a federal contractor, in the supply chain area, I don't think that is where my passion lies. These days with so many different opportunities in performing arts, be it acting, anchoring, singing, directing, etc. I am sure I would have found a place somewhere. Event management interests me. India has so many regional language TV channels. I am amazed at the number of serials and shows that run on Indian TV. It's hard to decide what to watch. I mostly end up flipping  channels. I can also see myself hosting a reality show on TV. Anything creative and that involves a lot of people is where I belong. I have now understood myself. It's kind of too late now. But when we were growing up, these opportunities did not exist. Even if they did, my parents, would not have approved of it. As you can see, my heart still belongs to India and the Indian crowd. The interaction of a crowd is exciting as well as fulfilling. I like what I am doing for a living now, but I can't say I am loving it. Well, life is all about sacrifices. Isn't it?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vacation - Is it really a get away?

An excellent day in every which way. Accomplished a lot at work. Hubby came home early. So connected with all family members. Spent some good quality time with each one of them. Ate a lot a dinner time. Not good. Hey, blame it on the excellent spinach dal that I had cooked. Also, I made some Thai eggplant curry. It was tasty. I was just about to go for a walk, when I heard from a friend after a long time. Talked about some vacation plans. Vacation! Oh! I need one so badly...
A vacation frequently means that the family goes away for a rest, accompanied by a mother who sees that the others get it.
Marcelene Cox

Marcelene must have spoken the words above from experience. I feel the same way when I go on vacations with the family. It's not really a vacation for me. People say a vacation is all about location. But for me it's all about "me" time. A sunny and bright place (very important) where I can do what I want, when I want. I am not saying a family vacation is not fun. It is a lot of fun to see the kids getting all excited when they experience new things in life. I love waking up late and heading to the complimentary breakfast in the hotel. We always make sure of that when we reserve the hotel. Nice to be in a place where we are strangers. But it's mostly a kids centric vacation. We have to make sure that we constantly have activities that engage them. Hubby dear, what can I say about him? He can't do without his phone, news and golf. Now, poor me has no company to gossip, shop and be lazy. Lately, I have noticed that once in a way, I like to be by myself. So for the past 2 years I have gone to India for 2-3 weeks by myself and explored some remote parts of India. (Thanks to hubby for his 100% support). It was so meaningful to me. Now that, I have seen more of the world, I am beginning to look at India from a different perspective. Oh, what I would do to get back the the things that I took for granted when I was growing up.The noise, the smell, the people, the food. Wow! Amazing! One of my favorite pass times during a vacation is observing people. No two people are alike. I see more people going on vacations alone these days. There are so many opportunities that one can enjoy. On my priority list now is to attend a Yoga retreat for a week. I heard that a Spa is included in the package. Oh, I can't decide on the location. Let's hope the opportunity knocks on my door soon.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nosy neighbor and the compound wall

Sunday evening folks! For once, I am looking forward to Monday. It was a nice weekend. Friday, I had to drop kids to a high school football game. It was my kind of Saturday friends. I went to a Zumba class in the AM. Lot of hip-hop like moves. It was hard to follow, but thoroughly enjoyable because of the music. The teacher could move! Wow! Attended an early Navaratri dandiya function in the PM. Danced till I dropped. Literally! Now my legs are hurting. So, Ash is having twins. Knew it!  All those rumors about the Bachchans going to Honkong for invitro, making sure it's a boy after all might not be rumors. As they say, there is no heat without a flame. ************************************************************************

This picture reminded me of the character Mr. Wilson, the nosy neighbor from the TV serial "Tim the tool man Taylor". Since, my Dad was a Professor, as I was growing up, we lived in the quarters provided by the college for families. In such an environment, it's only normal that the houses are small and very close to each other. The houses are separated by a very short compound wall. Across the compound wall were these neighbors who found ample time to get completely involved in what is going on in the neighbor's house. On the pretext of borrowing something form you, they would come to your house and chit chat. I remember distinctly that they would choose the oddest time in the day to visit you. In most cases, the person, would have interesting information about your family, even before you know of it. Every time, a vehicle stops in front of your gate, or your door bell rings, your nosy neighbor would definitely make his or her presence felt. You would see them hovering over the compound wall.  Today, living in the US for almost 18 years, I miss my nosy neighbors.  Now I face the other extreme. First of all, there is no compound wall to separate houses here. We live in a single family home that is detached from other houses. And even if we want our neighbors to hear us, they cannot, as the houses here are sound proof. Neighbors have no time to even carry on a polite conversation. In fact, I don't even know the names of my neighbors. All neighbors clearly follow the principle of live and let live. Initially, this suited me too. But, I am noticing, as I getting older, I miss exchanging daily information with a friend. These nosy neighbors would have come in handy. Dang!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Do you have a cluttered mind?

Sad, sad day. We lost a great Indian cricketer, Nawab Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi. He was so handsome and dignified and charismatic. Also, read the rumor that the Madhuri Dixit might be divorcing her husband. Let's hope it remains a rumor. Had a whirlwind of a day today. Feels good to stretch my legs and sit on my favorite couch, doing my favorite thing. - connecting to my lovely readers. Aww, thanks for the support guys. Please keep coming back.
They say a cluttered desk is a sign of cluttered mind. How do people function like that? I often wonder. I spent most of my evening organising my 9th grader's study table today. His books were surrounded by everything from candy wrappers, loose papers, boxes of pencils, markers and magazines. As if that was not enough, he was listening to music on his ipad and reading at the same time. According to him, he can be most productive in that type of environment. I am sure he is not the only one like this. I have seen many at work who are exactly like this boy. I have the strong urge to clean up their desks every time I visit them. I guess I am on the other extreme. You are what you are. I think it's good to offer advice but to try to change a person to what you think is right maybe asking for too much. My son was actually unhappy about his now clean, organised desk. I am sure the so called unorganised people too have a structure to their madness. To an organised person, it might look like clutter, but the "unorganised" people know exactly where everything is. It's all organised in their head. So the "cluttered mind" in my opening saying is not always true. Which category do you belong? Does it matter? Not if no one is complaining:)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Good evening doston! I had a fun day. Could not do real work at work today, as I was waiting on many people to respond to my questions without which I could not proceed. So, socialised a little, researched a little, cleaned up my inbox a little (phew!). Tough day correct? he he. Cooked an elaborate dinner tonight. Took me 2 hrs. What? Since when? On a weekday? Well, I am a superwoman after all. LOL! As you can see, I am in a teasing mood today...Kaash, I could pull someone's leg... Kaash....

Kaash! (I Wish!) Most of us say this word almost everyday in different situations. We wish for things we don't have. A powerful word that allows us to slip into a dreamland that is full of happy things that we picture ourselves to be surrounded by ALL the time. Guess what? It's free! So, in my opinion say the word as many times as you want. It makes us happy. So what if it temporary? My favorite "Kaash" is - Kaash! I could go back in time and change somethings that I did incorrectly. Life would have been much prettier now (so I think). The amazing part about this word is, sometimes the Kaash turns into reality and you start to pinch yourself to realise that it's indeed the truth and is happening! I can narrate an incident in my life that happened to me recently. When I was in college, I used to ride the Luna. One evening (it was quiet late), when I was coming back home from a friend's place, my Luna ran out of petrol and stalled in the middle of nowhere. It was very dark, I was so scared. "Kaash"! there were cell phones back then. There was no one to ask for help for at least 5 mints. At this point I was crying. All sorts of bad thoughts came into my head. Suddenly, a bike with 2 boys offered to bring me some petrol for my bike. Of course, I HAD to trust them as I had no choice. They were so kind, they did help me out. I did not even have the courage to talk to them. After a year from that incident all of us graduated and went our respective ways. Till today, I shudder when I think of that incident and say "Kaash" I had asked them their names. A thank-you was still pending. Then, came facebook. Now they are my friends on the social networking platform. They introduced themselves to me. My batch mates. Wow! Thank-you guys. You will always be remembered. So keeping saying "kaash". Who knows?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What happenes when 2 great minds think alike?

A quiet weekend comes to a close. I went to work on Saturday. I tried Calamari for the first time on Sat. night when we went out for dinner. I loved it! A little bit chewy, but anything deep fried is so tasty, and on Sunday just hung around the house doing chores and watching movies. I can't say it was a lot of fun. But then again, not every day is Sunday correct?

Read something really exciting. The phenomenon called Madhuri Dixit  (MD) who could light up the screen with her million dollar smile is relocating to India! The reason I am excited is entirely different from that of the her fans. I am excited because I can relate to her. She is a lost and confused woman. A person who has her roots in India and is living here. I am sure her passion (acting) is what made her take this step. It will be interesting to see how her husband adjusts to this change in agenda. I remember watching her on "Koffee with Karan". She was talking about a time table routine that she follows here in the US. I could sense the boredom in her voice right then. Ask her about her time in India when she was doing the dance show "Jhalak Dikhlaga" and her face lights up and she could talk about it for hours. Clearly she belongs in India in the midst of millions of fans, doing what she does best. Dancing, dancing and more dancing!!! It's important to keep oneself motivated in life. Today, I fell the same. I have a busy routine but it's not fulfilling. I have not yet figured out what that one thing is that I would love to do that would make me feel content. Going back to India, is a thought (great minds) for the future that I always had and still have. Here is wishing MD a lot success in her forthcoming days. MD, I am watching you...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Call me weird, but...

Normally I don't blog on Friday evenings. It's family time at home. But today is an exception, as my younger son is out at a football game with this friend. I decided to go window shopping and bought home bags of clothes both for me and the kids. In a happy mood now.

One of the five senses is smell. The solution to change your mood might be right under your nose. The smell of coffee in the morning stimulates the part of the brain that controls wakefulness. The scent of lavender is normally associated with relaxation and so on. Call me weird but there are certain "bad for health" smells that I love, like the smell of gasoline, markers, crayons, sharpie, paint, acetone etc. It makes me happy. I haven't figured out why I like these smells.  Maybe it is a certain 'buzz' that I experience after I smell these things. I can associate this with being on a high from drugs. Not that I have any experience in this area. But from what I have heard and read, I am assuming it might be the same. Some of these fumes in excess can be toxic. It is known to kill brain cells. It does not matter to me, because I can deal with these smells for a short period of time, after which I get a bad headache. I do need to breathe fresh air after some time. Our senses are strange sometimes. But I think I am normal as I know some friends at work who agreed with me as we got talking about this today. Everything in moderation is good and should be kept in mind.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

10 things women like in men - according to me

Good evening! Busy with kids school activities for the past couple of days. Ultimate gift for a parent is that big smile on the kids face at the end of the day. I hope all this effort will pay off one day! I have the best Manager at work. She is so helpful and so appreciative of employees. I know, all good things must come to an end. This situation too is going to change. I am enjoying it while it lasts.

I read an article about 10 things men don't like in women on TOI. I thought of 10 things that most women like in men. Good looks might not always be what attracts attention but it is a starting point. I remember, I was once attracted to a person, who was loud and happy in the college corridors. He was not the most good looking. But his charm is what attracted me. Now, whether he would have made a perfect boyfriend or a husband still remains a mystery. So then, what characteristics in a man make for a perfect boyfriend? There is no such thing as a perfect man or for that matter a perfect human being. It's the chemistry between 2 people that actually works and makes them perfect. According to me the characteristics that women like in men in random order are:
1. Protective nature not to confuse with possessive nature - Nice to be felt like there is always that somebody who can protect you from all bad tings.
2. Sense of humor - To be able to laugh at all things silly is a great quality to have in a spouse.
3. Like mindedness - Very important! Or else he must be able to give you the space to pursue your dreams.
4. Presentable/charming - A good looking man next to you is a bonus. A charming personality can be substituted for looks.
5. Romantic - To me, this is number 1. I think if he can keep the romance alive through years, it's such a pleasure.
6. Ambition - He should be ambitious, so he is not boring.
7. Appreciative - He should appreciate you every now and then to make you feel good about yourself.
8. Personal hygiene - He should have some sense of personal hygiene. Goes a  long way.
9. Street smart more than intellectual - This is important. If you cannot act normal in public but are very intellectual, it's a turn off.
10. Secure - He should be confident of himself, so I can be confident about him.

Does this sound like you? Not far fetched at all. Correct? My husband has 6/10 of these characteristics. The other 4? Well, we don't get everything in life do we?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Peer pressure - Are you a victim?

Well friends, it's the worst time of the week again. It will pass, I am sure. Had a quiet Friday watching a lot of YouTube videos. I came across Rekha's interview - Rendezvous with Simi Garewal. If you all get a chance, do watch it. Poor Rekha, so beautiful, but missed out on love in life. She comes across as being lonely in life. Still missing AB. Who wouldn't? Can't blame her. Saturday was fun. Hung out with some friends and played board games and had good food. Managed to finish all the chores of the week just now. I picked up some cream puffs from the grocery store today. Since Sat., I have been giving in to my sweet tooth. I am on a sugar rush now.

Let's face it folks! Most of us were or are victims of peer pressure. In fact, some of the things we do today, are only because of peer pressure. Peer pressure is not always bad. You just have to know when to say "No". Now that is the hard part. Most of the time we face peer pressure during teen age. Most vulnerable time of our lives. It can make or break you. Luckily for me, I had good friends. Also, I lived with my parents till I got married. So, I always lived with the fear that my parents will find out if I do something wrong. I was tempted to do the things my friends who lived in the girls hostel did. They partied till late night, wore cool clothes, bunked classes, etc., which is every teenager's dream. Nothing wrong with that. But sometimes, we do not take the right decisions at that age. I have seen cases of failure. I was one of the curious teenagers. I always wanted to know, what was so cool about smoking? I loved the way the students held the cigarette in style and let out that smoke in the air. Of course they were showing off! I also wanted to taste alcohol. I now know that I did not miss out at all. Phew! I had learnt to deal with peer pressure. I had a good set of friends. We all talked about it and laughed it off and diverted ourselves with other positive things. I follow that even today. I think we have to be confident of ourselves. It comes with experience. Just the other day, at work, 6 of us were given a project to finish by Friday on top of what we already had to do. It felt like an impossible task. My colleagues got started right away dropping all that they were doing. I felt the pressure. I wanted to do the same. But I took a conscious decision not to. I had a different plan. I was stressed out. But I believed in myself and that took me to the end of the project. I was so happy and felt good that I did not give into peer pressure. I came out much more productive than the others and finished the project few hours before the deadline!. :). Please feel free to share your experience with me. I would love to know.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Dancing for exercise and fun

Friends, black dress can do wonders. People who did not know me said good morning to me at work today.  And the compliments kept coming the entire day. Ok, ok. I am back on earth now. Came home and cooked a sumptuous dinner. Highlight: Pomfret fry. Will post pics. soon. I am actually enjoying the heavy rains. I have been continuously listening to Jagjit and Chitra Singh. Normally after about 30 mints. of them, I have to switch to an upbeat song for a change of mood. But for the past two days, I just want to listen to them. Amazing change na? Tried Kukuwa dancing workout at the gym today. I am so excited to share this experience with all of  you.

Kukuwa is a dance form from Africa. The dance was made popular by this lady named Kukuwa from Ghana, Africa. I had the opportunity to take her dance lesson some 5 years back here is Sterling,VA at the Golds gym. As you can see from the video, she is very energetic and this energy is transferred to all taking her class. I decided to go to this class again today after nearly 5 years. I am so glad I did. One hour of total fun! My teacher's name is LT. You can see her in the video at :10 in purple shorts and tee. The one hour dance class is choreographed in such a way that there is the warm up, the high and the cool down. At the end of the class, you would have moved every muscle in your body. Yes, I am feeling it tonight. All throughout the dance, we are screaming so loudly letting go of all the stress. No one is watching anyone else. We are all there to sweat and have fun. One fun word you get to hear a lot during the routine is "Boomzie". This means your rear end.  You get to shake your "boomzie" a lot.  Mostly women take this class.  I have seen a few men too. These are the men who enjoy dancing. It is really fun to see how everybody let's go of everything and just come there with a common aim. Burn calories while having fun. For those of you who are comparing this to Zumba, let me tell you, it's not the same. Kukuwa dancing is easier and the heart rate really goes up. Zumba requires some dancing skills. Kukuwa is for dummies. If you can shake your body and body parts you are good to go. A BIG PARTY, is what I would sum this whole routine.  Try it!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Omens and Beliefs

Hello! I am getting new clothes soon! At least, I would like to believe that. I wore my blouse inside out to work today.  I realised this only when I came back home. My Mom told me that if you wear clothes inside out accidentally, you will soon be getting new clothes. Did the normal household chores after that.

There are many beliefs that were passed down to us through generations. Some of them may sound stupid and some may sound more realistic. You make the ultimate decision on what to believe and what not to.  I definitely bbelieve in the statement that black cat passing your path is a bad omen. Every time this happens to me, I shudder. Someone told me the remedy to turn the bad omen into a good one. I religiously follow this. I know, most of you now want to know what it is. Admit it. It's ok. There is no logic. Don't blame yourself. The remedy is to take 9 steps backwards. It works! Believe me. Psychological,  you might say. To some extent it might be. But it makes my mind feel happy again. Hey, whatever works! Another bad omen, I shudder at, is breaking of glass. I don't have a remedy for this:(. My favorite good omen is to find money on the ground. I pick it up every time. I do not share it with anybody. :). As kids my friends passed on this other belief. There were these birds in India that looked like sparrows. They were blackish brown in color and had a yellow beak. They are normally found in groups. So, if we found one by itself, it was believed to bring sorrow. This is how it was symbolised. One for sorrow, 2 for joy, 3 for love, 4 for kisses and 5 for letters. There was a remedy for this "one for sorrow". You quickly try to spot a coconut tree and a banana tree and say these words - "coconut tree, banana tree all my sorrows to __________" fill in the blanks of a person on your hate list;). It is believed that the sorrow is transferred to that person. I did that religiously. I see similar birds in the US too and remember my friends and my childhood a lot. Although we do not find coconut trees or banana tress here, I still say the phrase in my mind and pick a non living thing to transfer the sorrow. Works for me.  Most of you might be calling me silly. But no one can convince me otherwise. :(.  You make your own truth! Don't forget to pass on remedies please!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Happy Teacher's day!

Sunday evening. Hey, not feeling low today. One more day of holiday to relax. Friday was a lot of fun at the friends place. Everyone enjoyed the "patrado". Ate a few more konkani delicaies like, kirla sukke, kuleeth ani cooka gashi, sanna idli, mitke sanga upkari and of course sukrundo. Saturday was THE day for me folks. We attended a friend's 50th B'day celebration. Such a grand affair that was. I would relate it to a Hindi movie. Packed with all kinds of emotions. A little bit of crying, lot of laughing and a lot of dancing! I am proud to say that I was one of the last ones to leave the floor. You know what was the icing on the cake? The DJ dedicated the gazal "chandi jaisa rand hai tera, sone jaise baal" to me. Made my day:). Sunday came along and I woke up pretty late. Decided to watch the movie Bodyguard with a few friends. The movie was above average. (I have high tolerance when it comes to Bollywood). I was on a guilt trip as the kids were alone at home. So, after the movie I took the kids to the Gym with me. They swam while I got some cardio. Ordered some chinese food for dinner and watched the movie Hangover. (finally!). Over rated. In my opinion.
It would be injustice to the world's best Dad (my Dad) if I do not write about the significance of September 5th. Yes, friends. It is the birthday of the second President of India, academic philosopher Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. My Dad was also a teacher of chemistry at Manipal Institute of Technology, India. In fact, he still teaches chemistry at his home in Manipal to 10th and 12th grade kids. He is 82 today. This shows his passion for the art of teaching. Certain teachers still have the ability to stay enthusiastic, passionate and inspiring, in the courses.  And the experience the teacher demonstrates to his students will eventually resonate with their students. If there was such a thing as a report card for a teacher, My Dad's report card would look something like this.

I have never come across a more patient man than my Dad. It's as if he was born to be a teacher. Apart from having in depth knowledge of the subject, his passion is to help students. Even today, I see his old students remember him and come to meet him. They can never forget his lectures. More than anything, they remember him for his good nature. He is a very simple and humble man. I really feel that teachers are potential life models for students to follow. Whatever they do will always be influences to students and their lives, even after their retirements or them moving on to another area of work. It could bring inspiration in students, to do whatever they choose to do next. 

Parents are the best teachers indeed. Today, I want to take this opportunity and thank the world's best teacher. My dear Dad. I am proud of him!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Leafy treat. Hint - Konkani specialty

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi blogdosts! The long weekend is finally here. Just finished performing the Gauri-Ganesh pooja. Dinner is taken care off. Going to a friend's place. I am excited about today's topic. I hope you are too!

Mumabi must be alive this week with all the ganesh chatruthi celebrations. If there is one place that I would want to be right now, it would be Manipal - at my parents house. I hope they miss me when they eat all those traditional goddies. Hey, I tried making "Patrodo". You better believe it! I have the pictorial for you guys. Except that I call it "Collarado". Any guesses why? Leave me a comment if you know the answer. My Mom would not give me an "A" but she would definitely give me brownie points. Well, for those who do not know what patrodo means, it's a classic konkani delicacy. It's rolls made of colocassia leaf multilayered with masala and steamed. Only if you grew up eating this delicacy would you want to take the trouble to make it!! It is similar to the Gujarathi Patra or the Marati Alu vadi. My memories of patrado go back to the rainy season in India. My Mom would always send me to get the leaves from the backyard. The rains would have just stopped and the ground would be wet and dirty. I was told that the tender leaves make for soft and tasty patrados. It would also prevent the itching from the more mature leafs. I used to stand in line in my Mom's kitchen to taste the freshly ground masala. I was my Mom's taster. My Mom used to say that I had the "gibbe ruchi" (tounge taste - literal translation) meaning taste for the best!.  Ahem! Ahem! That says a lot about me. Doesn't it? Patrado topped with coconut oil  is normally enjoyed with dal and rice. I am not going to bore you with the recipe. Please let me know if you feel like you want to try it. "Bhaari lyak assa" . I vouch for it!