Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Welcome 2009!

Am thinking of how I have celebrated New Year's Eve the last few years...

This year, I am in bed, handicapped because of a knee surgery. And to tell you the truth, quite enjoying all the attention I am getting from the hubby :) He is an awesome one to have by your side when you're sick!

Last year, I was on the plane coming back from India.

A few years ago, I was on the plane again, from Singapore to India.

I can't quite remember the ones I spent here in the US

But the most memorable ones are those in India...with my family rooted in front of the television, watching Doordarshan's New Year's Eve program. We hated the shows, but we absolutely HAD to watch them. That was the only way we knew to celebrate. That was the only night my parents stayed up until midnight! Every year, at the stroke of 12, Dad would switch off the TV and say, "whew, now we can sleep. Off to bed all of you!"

Such sweet and simple times!

Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 26, 2008

'Tis the season to ... help!

Going with the Christmas spirit, and for a cause VERY close to my heart, I urge you to help the kids that call Project WHY their shelter, their playground, their home and hearth! What is project WHY you say?

It is a non-profit organization based in Delhi helping out slum kids of Delhi and their families, in any which way possible. Yawwnnn...you go, yet another non-profit. Here me out, please, before letting out that yawn.

This is not just another non-profit organization. This one is special. Anou has made it special! They get NO support from the government or any other institute. Their teachers are from WITHIN THE COMMUNITY! Anou is known as the lady who made a sweeper into a teacher. Most of the teachers at their school are slum dwellers, with a minimum education of 8th grade. So the benefits are reaching every where! Everyone earns and learns with dignity!

They now have over 600 children and run two early education programs, one prep class, four primary and one secondary after school support programs, a day care and life skills program for 20 children with disabilities as well as a computer center.

Anou is indeed leading a revolution at the grassroots level. The primary charter for the organization is education support and life skill enhancement of slum children and their families. But believe me, they do more than that. They have helped a lot of these kids get life saving surgeries and other medical, financial and emotional help. They have helped get them out of the streets and into a classroom. Off the foot path and into a home! They help wherever they can, and NO ONE is every turned away.

I was introduced to this project through a comment on a friend's blog. She had written a poem promoting education for one and all. And someone had pointed her to this blog by Anouradha Bakshi, the director and founder of Project WHY. I dropped by, and have been doing so everyday now, even have Anouradha as a Facebook friend.
The poem by my friend was beautiful, but the blog is a private one, so I cannot share it here. (Ella, I am talking about you, dear!)

Anou's blog is a window into the lives of these children, the difficulties they face with so much courage, the basic rights that they have to fight for, the smiles on their bright little faces which are so innocent, and so unfortunate! And so much talent and potential! The stories Anou puts up are heart-wrenching, because the little ones face so many adversities, and at the same time they are heart-warming because the kids are not alone! pWHY is there for them!

Project WHY has started another initiative called Planet WHY. This is also a very very special undertaking. I will let you take a journey to that planet yourself and explore it with your own eyes. It is truly a world of its own.

I can go on and on about the project and the little angels. But now...lets get down to business, shall we? :D

I ask you to donate Just One Rupee A Day to Project WHY. What is this?
It is an initiative of pWHY where they make it possible for even the poorest in India to contribute and make a difference. It is only Rs. 365 a year. Less than what you would spend on a decent dinner. Less than a movie for your family at that multiplex. Less than a pair of shoes!

Think about the difference it is going to make! I hear a lot of fellow bloggers "wanting to make a difference". Here is your chance! And this here is a proof of how it is going to help us build a better India! Anou Didi approached a child who would otherwise have gone on to become a goonda, and turned him towards studying, towards a better life.

This is real! This is effective! And Anou Didi is there to take it further. I have so much faith in the project because of the faith she has in the kids!

So once again, I urge all of you to donate Just One Rupee A Day. And maybe take a step further and donate Just One Rupee A Day for each earning member of your family. The kids deserve this! India deserves this!

Here's a link to donate pWHY via paypal.
And here is a link to other other ways you can donate.

Merry Christmas everyone :) Lets spread some cheer, shall we?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hmphhhh!!!!

Tell me, when you go to a restaurant, how often do you tell the waiter, just bring me whatever you feel like, don't bug me about it? Or tell them your menu sucks, go get me something else?

Not very often, or actually, not ever! Right?
Then why do guys/kids say these things to their wives/mothers when they are asked what they would like to eat?

How often do you tell the host when invited to a party that I don't like to eat X, Y, Z so make sure you don't have those on the menu, or else I won't eat. I will go hungry that night, and it will be because you did not want me to eat?

Absolutely never, right? Then maybe, once in a while, you can let that poor soul in your home make what they like and you join them without a complaint?

How often, when you you go to a friend's house, and they ask you how you like the food, do you say, oh, the paneer pieces are too big? Or, "there is too much poppy seeds?" Or, "Ewwwwww"?
Never? Then why do you hurt the feelings of the poor soul who cooks for you every day? Sometimes after a long and hard day of their own?

Be considerate people! These women are going to spend quite some time cooking a meal just for you, so help them out and don't be so rude! Appreciate their efforts, even if you don't quite like the size of your veggies. Because it is all being done to fill your stupid stomachs!

Hmpphhhh!!!!

And another hmmppphhhh!!! on how all my latest posts are rants! Where did that darned happy soul disappear? Come back, I need some cheer here!

Monday, December 22, 2008

:(

The ridiculous politics just doesn't stop, does it?

Who is Antulay to question Karkare's death!? Such crap! What the heck is he trying to achieve!!!!

Alcohol tests for Amte, Salaskar and Karkare? Can it be any more insulting than that? Why will anyone ever want to defend a country, give their lives for a country who "awards" them like this? Maybe they indeed were drunk to be foolish enough to go defending such idiots!

Why are we wasting time and resources in investigating such things instead of going after the terrorists still at large in probably each and every state in the country?

Tchah!!! I am completely disgusted!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

And some more about corruption...

Tanu responded to my previous post with a new set of questions and possible solutions. I guess I will reply to them with a new post :)

"I don't know about CA but here in UT, i did not have to bribe anyone for anything over the past 6 years that I have lived here!"



I did think about this as well. A few different answers come to mind...

1) How often have you actually met a real live person that you can bribe to get basic services like electricity, internet, water? I have been here 11 years, and not once have I had to do it. The "system" is what I deal with, it was via phone 11 years ago, and over the internet now. The window of opportunity for bribery is practically non-existent! Now this may not be a possible solution for India right away, but automating some things at least should be possible.

2) The concept of "chai-paani" is not imbibed in the brain here like it is in India. If you get stopped by a cop here, would you even dream of handing him a $20 note? If you get stopped by a cop in India, would you even dream of actually paying the fine instead of handing Rs. 100 to the hawaldar? The cops here are also not paid that much, but yet, since its not done, its not done! We respect the cops here, in India, they are considered more of a nuisance!

3) Another thing that *might* help is that most people use credit cards and checks instead of cash. This leaves a paper trail!

Bottomline is we do it in India because we know we can, we don't do it here because we know we cannot! It will NOT work! That is what we want in India. For bribery to NOT work!


"We have a problem of lack of enough resources in our country, hence it is a 'survival' of the fittest strategy. You cheat, you bribe, you win. your goal is to survive at whatever cost."
I did mention the lack of resources in my previous post, but that is not quite true. Whatever resources we do have, get to the rich first, and if anything at all is remaining, they get to the poor. I remember my mother having 4-5 gas cylinders at one point, one in each of us girls names! While she did give them away to our maid and driver or whoever else needed it, the point is that this should not have been allowed in the first place. The resources are there, the distribution is not fair!

Another problem...not quite the same as bribery is that the richer folks do not see the poverty in the country as their problem. They do nothing much to help out the poor. The either choose to ignore the existence of the poor, or have the attitude that "that's how they are, they don't know any better, so they don't need any better life!". I read the Facebook status of a friend in Bombay...it said that her daughter has 100+ Barbie dolls. I recommended donating some to teach her child the concept of charity and sharing. I have yet to receive a reply!


"
Corruption is an outcome of poverty, unless we address the root cause manual weed removal won't fetch us anything."
I feel its a circle...unless we get rid of corruption, poverty will stay, and vice-versa!

And the solutions proposed:

1. What if we have Community Colleges or School where you get quality education for children why would I then a pay donation to educate my children?
I believe these community institutes are run by the govt here? By city or county. Yes, that could be a solution...community schools that enroll students that come from households that live below the poverty line. If they are managed by the city then they can be run with a tighter control too. But again, the govt does come into the picture here, so this is not something a "common man" can do on his own.

2. Why would I need to look for extra money if I get paid more than enough as a govt official?
(you cannot contest human greed over here,but in general people are more vulnerable to greed if/when they are in crisis)
Please define "more than enough" :) Once the corruption has set in someone's life, and they have been able to get away with it more than once, there is no looking back! Don't our politicians have "more than enough" of everything? But there is no end to how much they "need"!

So to summarize, we just HAVE to make bribery unacceptable. It will happen slowly, first by the common man refusing to bribe, and then by the common man refused to get bribed! It will be tough to manage day-to-day life in the beginning (and yes, this is very easy for me to say, me being someone who has lived each and every day of her life in the lap of luxury), but come on, we can definitely say no to buying movie tickets in the black market, right? That's not going to kill us, right? Or buy original copies of music and DVDs?

All these are very scattered thoughts, but I am sure they can be organized into some sort of small action plans? Yes?

Another comment that I had from Nidhi on my post was this:
"You have given some good points on tackling corruption. I get the idea that you feel strongly and have a clear thought process.

Can I expect an article from you how to tackle this menace of terrorism in your blog? "
No, Nidhi, I will not be addressing that. I would definitely like to address the issue of internal politics within the country. We as a nation raise a huge hue and cry when someone from outside our borders comes and kills 200 people. But nothing at all when there are secular riots in pretty much each and every state of the country, claiming lives in the order of thousands to date. That is something I would like to address. Cleaning up my own house before blaming the neighbor for trashing it!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Connections...

As I read the blogs being posted about the Mumbai attacks and the state of the country, I find one issue to be, if not THE cause, then at least a very big cause of all our troubles. Lots of folks have addressed it as well, so its nothing new that no one hasn't noticed so far.

It is corruption, bribery, nothing getting done without greasing a few, actually more than a few, palms! What finally prompted me to write this is what happened to the Project Why folks. It made me realize how corruption is pretty much accepted as "part of the process". And if you don't go with the flow, you suffer. Your work never gets done, or if it does, then it is so late that it hardly even makes a difference, or at the very least you have sustained some losses because of it.

Often times I hear folks from India very proudly saying, Oh, I never have to wait in line, I have insider connections". Yes, we are proud of our corrupt ways!!! Even if these "inside connections" don't ask for bribes, they do give their friends and relatives preferential treatment, making other common people wait in line. Or they will expect similar favors in return in future.

We see it in each and every corner of our day-to-day lives! From trying to get basic necessities like gas, electricity, ration cards to a step further to getting admissions in schools, getting proper medical attention to bigger issues like running a business, you name it, and there it stares back at you in the face!

How did this become the norm? How did this become the way of life? How did this become acceptable?

The problem is very basic, there are not enough resources to meet the needs of our vast population. And those in power are making the best of it. We may say we condemn it, but have little power against it. What would you do if no school is agreeing to accept your kid without "donation"? What would you do if no doctor is willing to see your child/parent/spouse without some "fees" first? More often than not, you will give in.

But on second thoughts, I feel there ARE enough resources for everyone, but they are just not distributed well enough. This is also because of the corruption! The rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Oh what a catch-22 situation!

It is such a deep-rooted problem that completely eliminating it is not quite possible in our lifetime. But we can, and definitely need to start doing something about it right now.

What can we do?
On a day to day basis...
Refuse to grease those palms whenever possible...like the Project Why team did. I guess we will be forced to bend in situations where we need medical assistance, but where possible, just say no!

If you know someone who indulges in this (say a doctor or some other professional like that), bring them out in the open! Write about them, tell your friends and family, THEIR friends and family, some how try to expose them, bring them to shame.

File a complaint against them. I am sure there is a consumer forum that needs to look into things like these.

On a larger scale...well I don't know :( But there HAS to be a "weed-killer" out there for this problem!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Aaj ki khabarein....

Have been paying a lot of attention to news these days...because of 26/11 I suppose. Here are a few things that caught my attention...

1. An 8 year old kid was slapped so hard by her teacher that it turned fatal!
What gives!!! What makes people so angry and violent? I thought hitting kids was not allowed anymore in school. I remember getting rapped on the knuckles with some wooden stick for small offenses 20 years ago. Such a shame this is! Wasn't "guru" supposed to be "god"? Then why? How??!?

2. I read somewhere that Pakistan was demanding that India hand over Advani since he is on their wanted list...for a conspiracy to kill Jinnah in 1947! This is an excellent example of bringing out old old skeletons...made me laugh!

3. And this is the most interesting one so far. I heard on the radio on my way home. It is about HM, an amnesia patient who died last week. He had a brain surgery some time in the 1950's to cure seizures. The surgery was successful in reducing his seizures, but at the same time he lost ability to form long term memories! He could only form short term memories, which are of events 20 to 30 seconds in the past! That's it!

After knowing about his condition, he agreed to be part of a research to help scientists understand the brain. He was 82 when he died, and had his surgery when he was 27! Can you even imagine living like that for 55 years!!! I cannot! Hats off to him and his spunk!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I am curious...

...about what our President, Mrs. Pratibha Patil has to say about the attack on Bombay? Have not read about ANYTHING from her. If anyone has seen something, please do point me to it.

...about why there has been absolutely NO mention of ex-PM V. P. Singh's passing away? Was not (and am still not) interested so much in politics when he was PM, so am curious about why no one remembers him at all?

Friday, October 31, 2008

My colorful Diwali

So I did manage a few things from the to-do list I had made for Diwali this year.

One of them was to make a rangoli. Its been AGES since I tried my hand at it, since its always raining here on Diwali day, and not quite possible to make one. This year, the rain gods were more generous with me, and waiting till after the Diwali day...and I got to make my rangoli.

I did the outline, and the hubby and I together filled in the color. Mr. Perfect did a much better job than me of course, and filled in about 70% of it!

Here are some pics.



Friday, October 24, 2008

Daal? Ummm....green, yellow, white...

April 2007:
I am invited to dinner...by a very formidable lady. I get there, she looks me up and down, from head to toe. And I was kinda looking around, waiting for someone to say something, wishing I could run away, or disappear into thin air. Uncle asks me some thing, I answer, silence again, again some inane question and answer. I ask Uncle and Aunty how their flight was, how do they like it here so far, you know the usual pleasantries. And this goes on for some time. Then we all head to the dinner table.

I try hard not to head into the kitchen, and warm up the food and do my thing. I had to really restrain myself. She looks for some things in the kitchen, muttering where did it go, looks at her son, where did it go, he looks at me, and all I can do is smile. I know exactly where it is, but I am not supposed to know, so I just watch in amusement.

We finally sit at the dinner table, and she asks me,

खाना बनाती हो? (Can you cook?)

I nod.

क्या बनाती हो? (What do you cook?)

रोटी, सब्जी, दाल, येही सब... (roti, curry, daal, etc)

कौन सी दाल? (Which daal?)

Holy shit! I know their colors and how to cook them. I know a few names, but I cannot always link the name with the shape and color! I bet her son, who had his head down and was eating quietly, was dying to burst out in laughter! Coz I knew HOW to cook daal, but I hadn't actually done it in at least 5 years. He probably must be thinking, "Maggi, frozen food, more maggi". But I digress...

So I blurt out a few names...

मूंग, तूर, मसूर, उड़द, और वोह तेल वाली दाल.... (A few random names of daals, and finally...oily daal)

तेल वाली? वोह कौन सी होती है? (What's oily daal?)

And I mentally say a BIG thank you to my mother who cooks that oiled yellow daal every day at lunch (Kanan, do you know what I am talking about? Is it tuvar daal?). So I give aunty all the gyaan about this very special oily daal. She is content that I know what I am talking about, and, me, well, I am happy that she doesn't know exactly how much I know ;-) And the ice is broken :)

This, my fellow bloggies, was my first meeting with my MIL. We got along quite well after that, but man, was I nervous that day!

Earlier that evening, as I got ready to go to meet them, I felt SO alone, I so desparately missed my parents and my sisters. Weren't they the ones supposed to go meet them? Why just me alone? That was the first time in 10 years that I absolutely HATED being in this country, so far away from my home, all alone going to meet my future in-laws for the first time. This was a very big deal, and I was all alone! I had spoken to my sister much earlier in the day, and that soothing voice had already been forgotten, replaced by mammoth butterflies in my stomach. I called my best friend, even she didn't pick up the phone. I had the strangest of emotions that day. My dad was coming to meet them a couple months later, but this first time was just ... I don't know, just wanted to run back to Daddy and let him handle the important things.

Thankfully, today, I have "aunty's son" by me through everything, and I know I am not alone :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Checking in...

Life's been crazy the last couple weeks...and its not quite over yet.
Got an "off day" today, and watched two movies in a row...

Rock On - Had heard a lot about it, so had very high expectations, which, well, were not quite met. I don't know...I guess I was expecting more "fun"

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na - This one I totally loved. Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak-Shah were my favorite characters. Followed by Bhaalo bhaiya and Bagheera bhaiya. And I think Jayant Kriplani desperately needs a haircut. And what's with the names "Peachy" and "Pumpkin". No one calls even their kids anything so silly :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Odd hours...scary messages!

I wish people would not call me at odd hours. These being the hours between midnight and 9:00AM.

No, its not because I am unavailable. Not because it interrupts me. Not because I am in no mood to talk to anyone during these hours, or because I am sleeping.

Its because a phone ringing at odd hours scares me! Millions of thoughts run through my head about what could be wrong that they had to call me at that hour! So far, it has always turned out to be nothing, (touch wood!), but it still makes my heart skip a beat, fearing the worst!

I got 3 missed calls at 6:00AM today, I did not even hear the phone ring as I was fast asleep. Saw 3 missed calls and 3 new messages when I did get my phone out of my purse at 9:00AM. No caller-id meant it was from India. Instant panic! Listened to the messages, and turned out someone was trying to find someone who I happened to know. Was relieved to know it was nothing really, and then upset, because, WTH! Why scare me like that!? Everyone who knows me, knows that I get up only after 8:30, so how hard is it to remember that?

And how hard is it to leave coherent voice messages?
My sister called me once at 1:30 on a Friday night (which is fine, she knows I sleep late), I ran to get the phone, but it went to voicemail, and this is the message she left "Its didi, don't know what to say, just call me whenever". I was SO scared! Called my husband and asked him to sit by me, while I called her back. And she said, oh, I didn't call for any particular reason, so that's why I said "don't know what to say". She might have shortened my life by a few seconds there! How I wanted to strangle her!

Oh well...some things will never change! Hmphh!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Circle of Life

Life comes a full circle when...

You friends tell you your mom is sooooo cute
As opposed to HER friends saying YOU are cute!

You take your parents sight-seeing ... to the Zoo (I took them to the San Diego one, and they loved it! We saw a newborn Panda!)
As opposed to them saying, "Look, that's a MONKEY!"

You teach Dad how to type in a URL (I did this a couple years ago)
As opposed to Dad teaching you the alphabet!

You tell Mom, ok dear, enough sweets for this week (wish I didn't have to do this :( )
As opposed to Mom bribing you with candy to finish off that last bit of roti!

Your Mom telling her friends, "Oh my daughter has a convertible"
As opposed to you bragging to your friends about Dad's new car
(Dad and I still compete though, he hates my BMW, and I hate his Honda ;-)

And yet, we will still be their little ones, they will still "be there" to protect us from all harm!

I would like to continue with the list, but its starting to turn a little serious. Not what I intended to do!

Here's a pic of the folks I am honoring here...Mom and Dad with their brat ;-)
The pic was taken a couple years ago, when we (my sisters and I) gathered together our entire family (0f 150 ppl!) and took them on a cruise from Bombay to Goa to celebrate Mom's 60th birthday! Awesome time, since it was a surprise for her! 150 folks managed to keep a secret! Quite an achievement!

Note: Removed that picture, will put up another one soon.

This was at the party. My mom's brothers framed these really old pics of my parents as birthday gifts. We had NEVER seen these pictures, so we were really delighted (see our faces?) to get them. And also a little emotional (Dad and Uncle both have glittering eyes). And that's my Naani in the red sari. Imagine going to your daughter's 60th birthday!



And this marks the end of my 100th post :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Da tomatoes...

These are technically my hubby's since he takes care of them like little babies. I just eat :)
The cherry tomatoes are growing wild now. We got 2 kgs in a single day!
Tomorrow is another harvesting day, I think it will be more than 2 kgs!




This is an average sized one...


"Mommy and babies" is what a friend said when she saw this one...

Traditions - II

Thanks everyone for sharing your traditions. I got a little bit from everyone...

So here's what I think I will do.

1) Rangoli (suggested by: everyone)
2) Diyas (suggested by: everyone)
3) Mithai. I think I will make some kaju barfi. (suggested by: everyone)
4) Donate something or volunteer. I am still trying to figure out what I want to do exactly.
(suggested by: Ankur and Sourish)
5) Make a gift for hubby (suggested by: Prashant)
This year I am going to make some sketches of his favorite things to hang in his office. The kurta will be next year :)
6) Decorate the house...as in change the settings, etc. (suggested by: Renu)
7) Buy some small (since I already have more than I need!) piece of jewellery (suggested by: my space)
8) Either invite someone for dinner (suggested by: everyone :) or watch a classic Bollywood movie (suggested by: Megha)
9) Send out cards to friends and family. At least they will think of me once a year ;-)

THANKS ALL!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Traditions

My previous post about the upcoming festival/holiday season got me thinking about how I would celebrate Diwali this year. I thought and thought and thought and came up with ... nothing :(

See, growing up, we didn't have any traditions we followed for the festivals. All we ever did was travel! Diwali, Christmas, summer holidays, any holiday and we were out visiting some new place. I would love to follow that "tradition" forever, but the hubby is not so keen on it. His family also didn't have anything in particular that they did, other than the fireworks.

This being my first Diwali after my wedding, I would like to start some sort of fun tradition that we can follow on every year (goes easy on the planning too!). We're not religious at all, so pujas and things are out. I can go visit the temple, but that's kind of einhhh....I know I want to do the rangoli and lights thing, but that is hardly anything.
So far, all I have come up with is this...
Rangoli
Lights
Cook something nice (the same thing every year though, and make it ONLY for Diwali!) Need to learn some good mithai.

That's all... a bit too boring if I may say so. So please help! Share your holiday traditions with me (diwali, christmas, eid, any kind of family tradition is good!) The more unusual, the better :)
So go on, inspire me! Pleeeeeeaaaase!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Google knows what I need...

...apparently!

Picked up this tag from xh. The rules are google "your name + needs" and list the first 10 results.
Didn't work the first time I tried it, google thought I was Kashmir and decided that I needed to break free from India. Nope, don't need that.
Tried it with quotes around it..expecting to see stuff about that actress Kashmira Shah. I got some of that, and some other stuff. Here goes:

1)
kashmira needs to stop dying her hair blonde it makes her look gross.
Wokay! Won't do that! ROFL

2) To be whole, Kashmira needs the one and only thing Michael won’t give her.
Who is this Michael is what I really need to know!

3not all that ) Also I believe kashmira needs the boot.
sniff..sniff...am bad now, sniff..sniff

4) The person Kashmira needs to judge her priorities and think of her family and resolve issues with her spouse, if she has any
huh! :/

5) Kashmira needs to be kicked out
Again!!!! :-(

6) Kashmira needs a proxyer ectully... her computer is broke and her parents won't repair it
Hehe, my parents are not that mean! They give me everything!

7) kashmira needs to learn --"its nice to be important, but more important to be nice."
Wokay! Lesson learnt!

And that was it... most of the results were about the Big Boss show.
May be I should search for "aneri_masi needs..."

===============================================

There is a new post I had put up right before this one. Do check it out.

Just like that...

One of my favorite pics of me ...





Friday, September 12, 2008

And some MORE good stuff!

Looks like Uncle God is happy with me, and is sending unexpected gifts my way.

We have been looking for a "kadi patta" plant for the longest time now. So long, that I don't even remember since when! I went to the Indian grocery store an hour ago, and walked in to see a whole LOT of very healthy plants. I called hubby right away asking if I should get one (they were a bit expensive...$40). He was a bit like..hmm...$40, what if it doesn't survive. After a bit of coaxing he said, ok, get it if you like.

So there it is...standing about 3 feet tall!

Now I need to find instructions on taking care of it! Don't want it to die!

===================

While I was browsing the aisles in the store, I heard a tiny voice somewhere saying, "Mera Bournvita lena hai". I totally went awwwww......! Bournvita was my favorite too! I drank 3 glasses everyday! Kids still like it, thats total awwwww.... inspiring :)

===================

More good stuff...

Got more awards :) I am brilliant, people :D

First from Sourish... and then from my space

Thank you so much both of you! Am shining a little brighter today ;)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Changing seasons...

I LOVE the time of year when one season changes into the next.
April...when spring is in the air.
And September...beginning of Fall and all the festivities that follow.

I can feel a crispness in the air these days, autumn is just around the corner! I can't even begin to explain HOW much I enjoy this season. The colors are just beautiful, and it is the beginning of the holidays. Am waiting for Navratri, Diwali, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year...

Maybe I will carve a pumpkin this year, and draw some rangoli too (mom sent me the colors a LOT of years ago, I gotta use them!).

Yippee :) I find myself looking at the trees hoping to see some yellow and orange and red. I hope to go on a "Fall Color Tour" somewhere this year...keeping my fingers crossed.

Ahhh... so much to look forward to!

(Just rambling...my happiness is spilling over I guess. Please ignore if it seems too silly ;)

Kuch meetha ...

Figuratively speaking that is...

I was DEAD tired when I got home today. Slept for an hour straight and was still tired so we decided to just get pizza for dinner. So I ordered it, and went to pick it up...all groggy and basically dragging myself to the restaurant (It was one of those mom-n-pop ones, a bit far from home, so we are out of their home-delivery range).

I got there, and this girl behind the counter immediately brought out my box and said, "Kashmira?"

I nodded, she handed me the box, I handed her my credit card. She looked at it closely and said, "Kashmira, huh?"

I nodded again, and she said, "Like that place in India?". I was pleasantly surprised because no other American had made that connection before. They all said, "Oh, like in the sweater...cashmere?".

Then she said, "Its beautiful. You know, in Arabic..I know Arabic..so in Arabic, Mira means Princess. So you are the princess of Kashmir!"

I smiled and said, "Thanks, that's so sweet of you". And she insisted, "No, I am serious. You should give that explanation when someone asks. Tell them I am the princess of Kashmir"

I said I will, took my box and left with a big, happy smile. It was nothing big, didn't even mean much, but made my tired self feel like a princess :)

Thank you, stranger! (I was so full of myself, I forgot to ask her name, and now I am regretting that) But...stranger, you made me very happy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

So many questions...

and no answers...

Where do egos come from? Where do insecurities come from? Its funny how these two go hand in hand.

Why do we behave politely with strangers, but scream at the ones close to us?

Why do we want to impress those that do not know us, but take for granted those that care for us?

Why do we expect our family to "understand" when we don't give them that same understanding in return?

Why is it so darned hard to just be nice to someone who is smiling and happy to see you?

Why do we give a cold shoulder to someone who is being nice to us, but try to please the one that is ignoring us?

Why don't we think a little bit before raising our voices? Its really not worth all that anguish I am sure. What can be said in a raised angry voice, can be said in a polite way too, in fact it will be more effective that way. Why then do we lose our patience at insignificant misunderstandings?

So many questions, no answers...sigh...
Life does not have to be so complicated, but we just make it so!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Do elephants sneeze?

If yes, then do they sneeze through their trunks?
If yes, then how long after they "feel-a-sneeze-coming" do they actually sneeze?
How do they blow their nose..err..trunk?

I feel so sorry for the elephants!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fortune

Orkut always provides some food for thought. Today's fortune for me:

You have an unusual equipment for success, use it properly!

Can't wait for tomorrow's fortune. I am hoping it will tell me what that equipment is, and also provide a user guide!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Believe it or not!

We bought close to 2 tons of rocks today!

(No, this pehelwaan didn't lift them! whew!)

Soo...what do ya think we will do with them?

Samby, I know you know, so don't answer just yet :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Can't resist!

I know I am being mean, but this is just too much to resist :)
Take a look at these names (pssstt...I mean the last one...no, no, not Stonehenge ;-)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Perceptions...

My nephew S, (cousin's son, he is about 4 years younger to me) and his wife, P, have moved to the Bay area from Pune. They have been here for about a month now.

I had invited them for paav-bhaji dinner this Sunday night. Had fun talking to them..especially to S, since he brought up all those long forgotten stories of our childhood. We spoke about our cousins and all the weddings in the family. Apparently they had the same photographer for their wedding that we had for my sister's 23 years ago! S was like, oh man, you don't want to see our pictures, they are very much similar to what he did for badi masi's wedding. Then P started telling some story she heard from my mother about my parents' wedding. Not one I had heard of!

S then mentioned that P is really impressed with my mother. She is so organized, talks so much and is so funny! And I was thinking, Who're you talking about? She is organized, yes, but she is also always tensed about "how will this get done, when will this get done, nothing's ever going to get done, are you getting up now, or should I go do your chores". Constantly worried. Non stop!
And she doesn't talk much, not to me...not now, not when I lived there. She would only tell me what chores I need to finish, ask me weather I am hungry, feed me, etc. Nothing like what P was saying! They said she always had so many fun stories about her life to tell them every time. And funny? Nooooo...constantly worried and hassled is what I saw! Very hard to make her smile.
But these two painted a completely different picture.

That got me thinking... we all have different faces, different personalities based on who we are communicating with. I know I am very reserved when I am with my parents, a child with my jijus, a bit serious at work (just a little bit though, hard to be serious with such fun colleagues here!), completely crazy with my friends, and a little bit of everything when I am at home with the hubby. But still...the perception of me as a person is not so different. Not like what I know of my mom, and what S and P know of her. So my new resolution is that the next time I meet her, I want to bring out what S and P bring out in her, the fun, the laughter, the stories!

On the flip side...I emailed my sisters that I had invited these two for paav-bhaji, and so much fun it was and all that. The only response I got was, "You know how to make paav-bhaji"? Now here is another perspective. No matter what I or anyone else says, regardless of how fancy my daily meals are, the perception that "kashmira cannot cook to save her life" is not going to change. The next time I get that question I am going to say, No, I invited P and then asked her to have some pity on me and cook for me!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Oh Wow!!!

I got an award! Really! And that was the first thing I saw today...still wondering how..but well...here it is...

It is an award from this website called linq
It says mine was the best general blog of the week of 8/24/08!!!

I also saw Keshi featured there as one of the "All time best blog" :) Go Keshi!


This one says that this is the best blog :D



And this one shows my rank...very big number ;-) But hey, I am not complaining!

Flushed out...

For those who want to know where my previous post went...
I have flushed out that nasty occurrence from my mind, so it had to be flushed out from here too.

A BIG THANKS to everyone that responded!

Friday, August 15, 2008

शादी का लड्डू..and some other questions...

Is this proverbial "शादी का लड्डू" for real?
Is it made in देसी घी?
How many calories does it have?
Once eaten do these calories keep increasing on their own?!?!

I got married in Dec '07. Nothing has changed in life, except for the "status".
I live where I used to live, with whom I used to live, I eat what I used to eat, I work where I used to work, I exercise just the same as before.

Nothing at all has changed!

So then why am I gaining weight at this rate (which is quite high!)
I have gained more weight in the last 8 months than I have in the last 5 years! What gives!?

************

बताओ तो... "सुई पटक सन्नाटा" क्या होता है? अंग्रेजी में बताना!
Just heard someone say that here in my office :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Am soon gonna be a zombie...

Working with people in three time zones (EST, PST, IST) is definitely not fun :( It all started yesterday.

Was at work for about 9 hours, got home and right away got to some yard work (its that spa and landscaping in the backyard, and yesterday we got our first harvest of tomatoes for this year, that's for another post though! And looked at awe at this old stump of a palm tree which is literally crumbling, like I swept off sawdust from it, and yet it had new leaves shooting out of it! This calls for a pic too! Maybe tomorrow I will take one) . Had some fun measuring all the rooms in the house (the spa just sparked off the hubby's enthusiasm, and we somehow ended up deciding to get a whole new home-theater system, which covers the house as well as the yard! Don't ask me the details, my head is still spinning from seeing his plans...and the bills are kind of an explanation of why I can't quit working just yet!), got dinner to go, got on call with the folks in India till about midnight, warmed up that dinner, and ceremoniously made salad out of those first tomatoes, complete with pictures and all! Slept at 2, up again at 7 for doc's appt, did NOT like going to a hospital first thing in the morning :( Straight to work, and meetings till 3:45, finally managed to get some lunch at 4, heading home now in a few minutes, back to the yard work (that spa better be worth all this!) and back on the calls with the India folks (want to wring someone's neck right now, yah, I know I am being unreasonable, but still want to wring someone's neck). I hope it doesn't go on till midnight again! And on calls with folks on the East coast beginning at 7am tomorrow. Have to fit in my exercise somewhere in here too! Hope this ends soon, or else I will hurt someone! I am not a nice person when I am so tired! I am not a good driver too when I am so tired. And I have so many parallel threads of thoughts in my head (just check all those things in brackets, this one included!), and they are all getting tangled up and I have no clue what I am thinking!

Yeah, I know. Most people's lives are like this. But hey, mine's not, and hence I shall crib until I get back my idyllic existence!

Ok, I feel better now. Will put up pics of my cute, sweet cherry tomatoes when this madness ends!

Should go home now. The yard awaits!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Awesome awesome week...

Getting lots of good news this week :)

A friend of mine who had been laid off a few months ago got a job. Just had lunch with him, and he looked SO upbeat and happy!

My cousin's son who moved here from India only last week also has an offer in hand (even before he got his SSN in hand!). He called me right after I got back from lunch to share his news.

How awesome is that!

And I am super relaxed because I have been sleeping REALLY well last two days (last week was hell because I was getting only about 4 hrs of sleep everyday, and a lot of driving around and organizing to do for the aforementioned nephew and his wife). They are nicely settled into their apartment three days ago, and my life's back to its own pace.

And I feel good about being a good aunty to two people...

  1. To the aforementioned nephew and his wife (she went "yikes" when I told her, "You know P, technically, I would be your मौसी-सासुमा!" I went "yikes" at that too, and the hubby said, "that's cool, उस से सेवा करवाओ")

  2. To Aneri. Its her birthday on Monday and I sent her a "Jakks Vmigo Handheld Dog Chihuaha". I have no clue whatsoever what the heck it is, but thats what she wanted, and thats what she gets :)

And I am super thrilled. About what? Welllll....I have coral colored nails today :D
And I am wearing this t-shirt I bought from Alaska. Its white, and has line drawings of butterflies and flowers in black. You know...the kind of drawing's you'd see in a child's coloring book? Ho-hum, what's so great about that you say?
तो सुनो इस्पेसिअल बात... The minute I step out in the sun, the butterflies and flowers turn blue and pink and green :D
Super, eh? My colleagues and I did this drill of going in the building and out again a couple times just to see the colors changing. Ha ha, such fun!

And oh, the work on the spa has finally begun. Now I wake up to see some guys digging in the backyard (and of course I do go yikes! every time I see them) instead of squirrels and birds and cats!

Have an awesome weekend, yall!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

दिल ढूँढता है...

फिर वही फुर्सत के रात दिन...




This was in San Diego...4 summers ago. Life was so relaxed! We haven't been on a vacation for 2 years now. And its making me so restless! Soon....hopefully....soon...something will materialize. Keeping my fingers crossed!

On my lust list now!

Are these shoes...L.A.M.B Gem
I tried them on yesterday! Gorgeous! With a gorgeous price tag of $350!!!
Wish it was my birthday, so I could justify getting them! And then also have a big party to wear them to!

Am trying to compile a list of reasons to NOT buy them:
- Too expensive
- Too tall! 5.25 inches!! Don't need to add that much height!
- Already have too many black shoes
- Already have about 75+ pairs of shoes (hubby's dream, he wants me to have at least 100! He's built a dedicated shoe closet for me too!)

That's it...only 3 reasons :-/

For why I SHOULD get them
- I LOVE 'em!
- They were on sale for $239 (still too expensive !)
- Hubby said $239 is not expensive (woh Bihari kya jaane iss Gujju pe kya guzregi to throw so much money on shoes!)
- They looked TOTALLY cool when I tried them on
- They have platform of 1.5 inch, so I would only have to "tolerate" 3.75 inches. Totally manageable! (the hubby doesn't mind walking with an Amazon woman anyway ;)
- There's no such thing as too many black shoes
- There's no such thing as too many shoes

Yayy! 6 reasons :-)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Unbelievable!!!

This has got to be the cheesiest (any other words to describe this, friends?) friendship request I have got on orkut...

got tempted 2 add u by ur cadbury temptation smile ..so lets b true frds 2 share the smile

Cadbury temptation? Is this some new candy out in India?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pics...by the hubby :-)

Have had a few people remind me about my dead pic blog. Its dead since I have not been inspired by anything recently. But I do have some good pics...taken by the hubby on our recent trip to Monterey and the aquarium there. Here's a sneak peek...will ask him to pick his favorites and put up the lot later on the pic blog.

That be me and a very pretty bottle-brush tree :)


Anemones!!!


Jelly fish! This picture does NO justice to the actual display out there!


PS: I know, I know...the pics are HUGE. Am too lazy to resize them. The next batch will be a better size! I promise!

PPS: Resized after Tanu's warning :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tidbits....some sweet...some funny

Some of my friends are missing me :D So a short update...

  • Saw a tow-truck broke down in the middle of the road. I found it so strange :) Who is gonna tow that poor thing away now :D

  • Saw a stupid kid riding a bicycle yesterday. What's stupid about that? She was riding it in the middle of the road! In the opposite direction. I mean, I see this stupid kid coming straight at me on the road. She got off the road when we got closer, and back again in the center until she came across another oncoming car. Stupid, stupid kid!

  • I saw my friend's week-old baby! So adorable! And the parents were so delighted, that was a treat in itself!

  • We added YET another gardening tool to our tool-shed. Got a hedge trimmer this time, the hubby's having fun trimming things around the yard.

  • Our tomato plants are getting out of control!

  • FINALLY saw Jab We Met :) Enjoyed it quite a lot!

  • My sister is going ballistic over her 15 yr old son's hair :) He's grown it out and straightened it. I like :) The boy's having fun!

  • I saw a 3D sonogram of an unborn baby. His wife's parents actually bought the ultra-sound machine that could do this. When he told us that he has 3D pics of the baby, I jokingly asked him, does he look like you, he answered very seriously, well...my wife's parents think he looks like her, but his foot is exactly like mine. Then he showed us the pic of the baby's foot, and then his foot.
  • ***P asked me in her comment how we reacted to this. I said nothing, hubby said, hmm..yeah, it IS like yours :) Guys ARE getting more sensitive these days ;)
  • My little niece got her own email account, and wrote to me today! She sounded so excited.

  • My old laptop died and went to heaven. I have a new one now, haven't quite bonded with it yet :(

  • Made some awesome ras malai for the first time (and probably the last time! It took so long!!!)

  • Have been on a parantha-fest...made aloo paranthas, and then some mooli paranthas :)
And now again I am wondering why would anyone want to know all this!? And I can already see a comment coming my way saying, yeah, why would anyone care about all this?!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

:-|

Had this strange thing happen today. I had gone out for lunch by myself (couldn't find anyone around at lunch time, had a few errands to run, yadda yadda yadda).

So I went in, took my seat at the bar counter since I really didn't care where I was sitting, as long as I was getting my food. I was just settling in when this guy comes up to me, and says,
"Hello, how are you?"
I said, "Pretty good, thank you", and went back to study the menu.
And he says, "I saw you circling around, trying to park".
And I said, "Yeah", I looked at him for a second, like, yeah, so? And then I went back to study the menu.

I felt I was being rude, but, hey, I really did not want to talk to a stranger (actually, I NEVER want to talk to strangers), and that was a very silly thing to say. "I saw you trying to park your car". What do you say to such a statement? Yeah, well, they wouldn't let me bring it in, so I had to park it?

I am awful when it comes to small talk. I just cannot come up with things to say out of the blue even when I know the person. Oh well, I just feel so strange after this weird conversation...

*********************

And here's another thing that bewilders me. What's with fasting???

A friend is trying to buy a house (its hard in the Bay Area), and he's fasting every Tuesday until he gets a house.

Huh? How is him not eating going to help buy a house? I suggested that instead of him not eating, he should go feed 5 homeless people every Tuesday. That might just build up his "good karma" and help. But how, How, HOW is not eating going to help???

Yeah, yeah, you'll say ask him that question. I did, he just smiled and said, oh it will.

Oh well, whatever!

**********

BTW, there's another post before this one, with a BAD picture of the sleeping squirrel.

Bad picture

Here's a very bad picture of the happily sleeping squirrel. You really can't see much :( sorry :(

Friday, July 11, 2008

What got you started?

Yesterday was my "water-my-plants" day (I do it every alternate day). I quite enjoy doing it, watching all the plants grow, and also all the creepy-crawlies that the earth is home to!

So was in a pretty good mood. I had just read Vrij's comment on my other blog saying that he really liked my posts. This made me VERY happy. Like totally on top of the world. All was right in my life at that moment. And I realized that blogging makes me feel good. I get to share my thoughts with others, get to know everyone else's thoughts and make such good friends. So then, I thought back to how did I even start to blog?

I was introduced to this world by Tanu. She and I have a common friend, who introduced us through orkut. I totally got hooked on to her blogs. I felt maybe I can have one too, but was not sure what to write. Now Tanu is very smart, and her posts are deep and meaningful, she writes poetry some times, and fun stuff some times. I felt that I can't write like this. So was a bit intimidated. Her pics blog did inspire me to start my photoblog. I didn't have any visitors there though :(

From Tanu's world, I got introduced to the really sweet and lovable Anjuli
Her blog was SO lively! And FUN! Totally loved it. Again, I felt like writing. But she was so cute and sweet and fun! I didn't have so many things to write about. I continued to visit her everyday.

Through comments on Anjuli's blog, I met this monkey, Veens! :) Now this character was totally hilarious :) The girl had me in splits! Then she posted a tag, 10 things I hate about men.
I took it up, put it up on my pic blog. And then I just started writing more and more stuff that didn't belong in the pic blog. And so was born this one that you're reading :)

There's been no looking back since then! I have so many friends here, its hard to remember the days when I was not part of this world!

So my chain was

Tanu -> Anjuli -> Veens

Whats yours?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Animal Update

The squirrel seems to be getting quite comfortable in our backyard. I was watching it eat some stuff off the ground. It ate, ate and ate, I guess till it was ready to bust. Then it slowly walked up to my doorstep and lay down. I guess it was trying to sleep! I walked close to it (inside the house of course, didn't open the door), sat down with my biggo camera next to it. It was awake, but hardly moved! A few weeks ago, it would dart around in a nervous frenzy if it so much as saw me or the hubby inside the house. Guess it has adopted us now :)

I have a few grainy pictures...the camera refused to focus on it. Will upload it in a couple days. It looks so tired! Almost dead!


***********************************

On other updates...the fruits on the neighbor's plum tree have ripened. They are SO sweet! Unbelievable! Brought a bag full to work today.

PS: The neighbor doesn't mind, she's hardly ever at home, and her plums go waste unless we eat them.

We have a patch of cherry tomatoes. We're seeing some fruits now. Can't wait for them to ripen. We had over 12kgs of tomatoes last year! Lets see how much we have this year!

***********************************

And there is a new post on the blessings blog...for those who missed all my gyaan these last few days ;)

***********************************

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

OMG, where should I hide?

I think I have been tagged for this one by multiple people, and it has been started by Ankur, and the last one to tag me is Princess Mia...

I need to list 5 embarrassing moments of my life...
Lets see...not sure if I can come up with 5 of 'em...

1) This happened last month. It was my manager's birthday, and I had brought a cake and a card for her. We had to keep it a surprise, since she quite hates creating such a fuss. I sent out an email to the rest of the team saying, i have a card and cake, please drop by and sign the card. And then in the "PS: The total cost is $30, please feel free to contribute".

I hit "send" and that very instant I realized that I had used the "team" alias, which of course had the boss on it. I panicked, called my friend and asked her to help me recall the message. Didn't work, word spread, everyone came and laughed at me. I was sitting there red in the face, hoping the boss was too busy to read it (hoping beyond hope, since the subject of the email was "Tamara's birthday"), when she replied saying, "I will buy that cake"

She's a good sport, so didn't pull my leg too much about it, but everyone else didn't let me forget it for the rest of the day!

2) This is complete hearsay, but here's the story...
Happened when I was, oh, I don't know, maybe 10?
I was napping in the afternoon, and my sister was sitting on the bed, doing whatever.
When I woke up she was laughing her head off, I asked her what happened. She just walked out, and related the story to the others...

This one..she says, pointing at me, was sleeping, and then suddenly started to say,
"whose dirty arm is this on me, get it off me"
What's funny you ask? She said, (and I don't quite believe her to this day) that I had my right arm on my tummy, and was tugging at it with my left hand saying get it off of me!

3) Well I had related my "water acrobatics" in this post here...
Can't remember any more :( Sorry guys, but this seems to be it!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Long weekend...

went by just like any other weekend.

Gardening, shopping at the hardware store, cooking, cleaning, watching TV, reading.
sigh...three days just gone by...very uneventfully...

We tried to put up a shelf and a rod in one of our closets, but the rod seemed to be a little short. The shelf is up, the rod is not.

Bought some more lily plants. Hope they bloom soon.
UPDATE: The plant has 4 HUGE flowers already! Mast hai!

Bought a "misting" fan for the backyard. We can hook it up to the water hose, and it will spray us with soft, cool mist. We have set it up, but not tested the "water feature" yet.

Weather's turning hot hot hot!

And back to work today.

Had some really awesome makki-roti-sarson-saag for lunch today :)
Am taking that as a sign that the week will go well ;)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mosaic!

Awesome tag by -xh-

Totally made my day!

The questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food? right now?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. What is your favorite drink?
7. What is your dream vacation?
8. What is your favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?The picture I have put up here made my jaw drop!
11. What is one word that describes you?
12. What is your user name? Nothing showed up for this :( Maybe I should upload something with that tag!

Here's my mosaic:

Would love to have you guys guess my answers :)


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gossip....

We met a couple this last weekend. I was meeting them for the first time.

Later I was told that "the guy is a really nice person, but his wife! You gotta stay away from her. She gossips SO much, and says things which aren't really true. She's trouble!".

That got me thinking...why do women gossip so much more than men do?

Is it lifestyle or genetics?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Family Time!

What a weekend!!! Went by in a blur!

My sister, jeeju and their kids (Aneri and Jaanvi) visited me over the weekend.

It was all so blurry and went by so quickly, that I am not even able to collect my thoughts to write a post about it! Maybe I will do it over time, little by little, in multiple posts.

A few things I learnt watching my sister interact with her husband and kids:

- Take light, life's not so serious!
- Be yourself
- Don't be afraid to ask for what you want, but don't always expect to get what you want! (Learn to accept "no" for an answer!)
- Say no if you want to say no! Its ok!
- Kids are people too! They have feelings, they understand.
- Be tactful! (Oh geez, I really need to learn this one big time!)
- Be sly when you need to (टेढी ऊँगली से घी निकालना सीखो!)

And lots more I guess...these are just from some observations.


BTW, there is another post before this one. More recent in the chronology of my life (since the incidents in there happened today, and this post is about the weekend!)

Will write more as and when I remember stuff...till then...comment away :)

From Brad...

There's this friend of mine...not very close, but a very cool friend. He's an odd one too though! He does not have a camera or a cell phone or a computer at home! I was surprised when he said he did have a TV! But probably no cable :)

I know him through my previous job. He still works there, I switched. So anyway...we still exchange emails, and I met him once about a couple months ago. We discussed our cherry trees. My tree had borne a single fruit...for the first time in its short life of one year. I was so excited, I told him,
M(e): Brad, my tree has a cherry.
B(rad): Ummm...one?
M: Yeah, its tiny and green right now, and its on the bottom of the tree.
B: Cool :) (He has a strange look on his face)
M: Does yours have any?
B: Yeah?
M: How many?
B: I think two.......
***I'm thinking, ok, he's got just one more than me, thats how cherry trees are when they are young)
B (continues): Hundred? Yeah, about two hundred.

And he has this devilish grin on his face when he sees the shock on mine!

So anyway, throughout the season he kept emailing me tips on how to take care of the tree and the cherry (Yeah, he did warn me about squirrels! He had asked me to put a net around the tree, advice the hubby laughed off!).

I shared its progress until the day the squirrel ate it :(
Brad promised to bring me some of his cherries when they were ripe.

I got an email from him today with these pictures...and text saying I got a big bag for you, come pick 'em up!





He had borrowed his brother's camera so that he could take pictures for me. Now how sweet is that! He had also sent pictures of his cute little niece and nephews...his cherry picking helpers.

I got my cherries from him (his office is about 2 minutes away from mine) and very very reluctantly shared a few with my colleagues (because I have to be a good gal, I suppose ;)

Thanks Brad, you're the best :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Good Thoughts

A friend of mine sends out these Good Morning messages everyday, which are truly awesome!

Here's part of today's:


The beauty of the morning is not the sunshine!
But the thought of GOD giving us another beautiful day!
Another chance to declare our love to our loved ones...!

Now this helps me a GREAT deal. Because I am one of those folks who need sunshine to feel like waking up! Winter is very hard for me, because its so dark and cloudy. Dark and cloudy translates into gloomy for me. But this message puts things into perspective! My loved ones are my sunshine, and they are always there.

**********************

Yesterday I saw this totally cute scene...
I was on my way home. I turned right on a major intersection. Right at the signal, a mommy ducky jumped off the divider, followed by the tiniest of baby duckies. The baby looked sooooo cute jumping off the divider and following mommy! I wish I could have taken a pic, but of course I couldn't. Not like that, in the middle of the intersection :)

What I really really found cute was that they were using the pedestrian crossing to get across! Not anywhere else, they were perfectly in the center of the crossing!

And that baby ducky, so so so cute!


**********************

I must have been really worn out yesterday. I got home at 5, and fell asleep immediately to wake up only at 8:30! And slept soundly again at 1! I do feel all happy and refreshed today.

I have guests visiting for 4 days starting tomorrow. So am glad I got my rest before they come. I will need all my energy to look after them.

**********************
A kind request to folks who comment on my ramblings...

I don't like comments starting with "don't worry", "no worries", "things will get ok" etc. Because fact is I am not "worrying" about anything. Things are as good as they can be. I am just thinking out loud. I have a very curious mind, so if I ask questions, thats all it is. Questions of a curious mind. Not worries of a troubled mind.

PS: Yeah, yeah, I know you are so tempted to say "don't worry, I won't think you're worrying!"
But. Please. Don't. ok?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Random thoughts

I think I am suffering from Writers' block right now (if I may allow myself to be called a "writer" in the first place!)

My mundane life which I sometimes present like a three-ring circus is still just as mundane as ever. The words to embellish it and make it sound fun are lost somewhere.

I can't even remember what I did this weekend. I'm gonna try and remember some random things I did.

- I saw that squirrel again, with a HUGE orange in its mouth. It was running on the top of the wooden fence. All I could think was, how on earth is he able to see! The orange was at least 3 times the size of his head!

- I saw movies, lots of movies - Princess Diaries, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Along Came Polly on TV, and Harold and Kumar Escape Guantanamo Bay in the theater. I really enjoyed the Indiana Jones one and the Harold/Kumar one. Hilarious!

- We had a lot of fun trimming down a tree...and plucking oranges.
We got three bags of oranges, which hubby put by the living room door. One of the oranges escaped the bag it was put in and rolled into the living room to watch TV :)

(Sorry, guys, if this doesn't make any sense, just move on)

- Am reading "The Hindi-Bindi Club" by Monica Pradhan. It is a very well written book (language wise) and I am actually able to identify with the content in it too!

And now I am wondering why anyone would want to spend 2 minutes reading my list!

I do have a lot of thoughts in my head, but all of them are so serious. Am in no mood of getting any "gyaan" from anyone, so in no mood to impart any either.

Oh well, I hope the funny bone returns soon!

Here's a question...

We were returning from the theater last night, at around 12:30. There's a church on the way, and the car in front of us turned to go to the church parking lot. I was surprised, and asked hubby,

M(e): Did they really go to the church?
H(im): yeah, you wanna go?
M: No, I wouldn't know what to do there...church, temple, mosque, i wouldn't know what to do there.
H: bhajan gaao.
M: I don't know, I mean, aren't you supposed to have a lot of faith and feeling and all that in your song. Now if I go in there and sing a bhajan, I would probably have the same feeling as singing some Govinda gaana. Wouldn't it sound all the same to God?
H: Sure, go sing Govinda gaana.

And we prattled on some more...can't remember about what.

So the question to the "faithful" ones is, would God get mad at me if I went and sang something stupid. When I do go to the temple, I look at the idol, say, hey, wassup, and get going. Now if I add a little song and dance routine to that, like trying to entertain him, would he like it? I know, the folks around me would want to throw me out, but wouldn't God like some entertainment too?

I hope I am not offending anyone, just pouring out my random thoughts :D
.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Book Tag

Preeti's tagged me. This is a funny one :) I really liked her version.

Pick up the nearest book.
Open to page 123.
Find the fifth sentence.
Post the next three sentences.
Tag five people, and acknowledge the person who tagged you.

So here goes:

Line 1: Here's the New York regional style:
Line 2: public class NYPizzaStore extends PizzaStore {
Line 3: if(item.equals("cheese")) {

The book is: Head First Design Patterns. A very fun book. Not kidding!

Ain't tagging anyone.

Quirk Tag

I have already something like this before, so just reposting it with some modifications:

The Rules:
1. Link the person(s) who tagged you... Ankur
2. Mention the rules on your blog
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours...
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them…
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged..

1) I still have two baby teeth! And I also have two wisdom teeth. Does that make me a "wise baby"?
2) I am allergic to trees, grass and weeds, I hate wind blowing into my face, and yet, I drive a convertible :) And I love it!
3) I have a very keen sense of hearing, sab kuch sunai deta hai...door door tak!
4) Eating bananas gives me a stomach-ache, but I love them, SO...I drink banana shakes, creme-de-bananes, etc
5) I absolutely cannot stand incorrect grammar! I pretty much stop listening if someone makes a mistake, sometimes I correct them, and then ask them to continue what they are saying. If its something written, then, well, I stop reading.
6) I can touch my tongue to my nose :)

Breaking one of the rules here...ain't tagging anyone...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Easy ... difficult

A friend forwarded this to me today...

Easy is to get a place is someone's address book.
Difficult is to get a place in someone's heart.

Easy is to judge the mistakes of others
Difficult is to recognize our own mistakes

Easy is to talk without thinking
Difficult is to restrain the tongue

Easy is to hurt someone who loves us.
Difficult is to heal the wound...

Easy is to forgive others
Difficult is to ask for forgiveness

Easy is to set rules.
Difficult is to follow them...

Easy is to dream every night.
Difficult is to fight for a dream...

Easy is to show victory.
Difficult is to assume defeat with dignity...

Easy is to admire a full moon.
Difficult to see the other side...

Easy is to stumble with a stone.
Difficult is to get up...

Easy is to enjoy life every day.
Difficult to give its real value...

Easy is to promise something to someone.
Difficult is to fulfill that promise...

Easy is to say we love.
Difficult is to show it every day...

Easy is to criticize others.
Difficult is to improve oneself...

Easy is to make mistakes.
Difficult is to learn from them...

Easy is to weep for a lost love.
Difficult is to take care of it so not to lose it. - (this one is so so true! we always hurt those that love us the most :()

Easy is to think about improving.
Difficult is to stop thinking it and put it into action...

Easy is to think bad of others
Difficult is to give them the benefit of the doubt...

Easy is to receive
Difficult is to give

Easy to read this
Difficult to follow

Easy is keep the friendship with words
Difficult is to keep it with meanings.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Such is life...part II

So after that totally disappointing day, comes a bustling day like yesterday!

Work went fine, got a lot of stuff done = Tech stuff
Was able to put up a couple posts on my blogs = Writing
We planted 3 different types of chillies. :) = Gardening
Hubby had collected a variety of chillies that he liked, dried them, de-seeded them, planted the seeds, and handed me the "chhilka" of the chillies, saying, can we use these in today's dinner? He's so cute :)
Chores are there of course! = House work
Exercised, yayy! = Something I actually like doing, but don't do that often
Cooked, with the afore mentioned chillies, of course = More house work.


Had a nice conversation with hubby about stuff I was a bit afraid to bring up. He listened, I know he did, but when I asked him, suna, he said, yeah. Kya suna, he said, "Peter" :)
Peter is a bird (or birds, we have never seen him/them) in our backyard, that keeps twittering all night, and sounds like he's saying "Peter, peter, peter". We are thinking about putting up a birdhouse, and then putting some sleeping pills in there for Peter, so he can sleep :)
Digressions aside, he heard what I had to say, and I think he understood :)

And the highlight of the day...that door from the previous post!
Its an unfinished door, that we have to put a cherry wood stain on. I cleaned it, we propped it nicely for him to sand. He was all excited about it, because he just bought a new tool, a sander! And a shop vac that would attach to the sander (men and tools, I tell ya!). I was a little disappointed though. Sanding used to be my job, I used to do it by hand, and really liked doing it. Now I was replaced by a machine, sigh ;) He sanded it while I exercised, then I cleaned it with some thinner, we turned it around, he sanded the other side while I continued my exercise, then cooked and watched TV and then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Now that's what I call a really full and fulfilling day! I am looking forward to applying the stain today.

And I got some really really good pictures this morning. Will post them on the photoblog soon!

Monday, June 2, 2008

A happy one

since it was demanded by Ankur :)

My husband seems to think I am some kinda body-builder :O

He just asked me to lift a 6 foot solid pine wood door by myself.

Now why thinks I can (yes, I can) or will (no, I will not) do that, I don't know! Kinda cool though that he thinks so ;)

I miss the old me....

Over the last few days, I have realized that I don't enjoy the simple things anymore...not like I used to.

- I used to eat and enjoy just about anything that was warm and edible.
Not so anymore :( It needs to be just right. My cooking's improved, but the downside is that I hardly like any food at most restaurants anymore (too oily, too spicy, too bland, too...whatever). I stress out about how tiring it gets to cook every single week night, but I can't stand the thought of dinner to-go, or even freezing some food. (no, no, I can't eat frozen food, yuck!) sigh...such an attitude!

- I used to think I take really good pictures. I loved sharing them with my family and friends.
Not so anymore :( I started browsing other people's work and try to get to that level of perfection, and feel SO frustrated that I can't be that good instantly :( I don't think my stuff is good enough to share.

- I never even noticed my waist or weight. I wouldn't care if my hair looked ok or not, I would just rush out and meet anyone, anytime.
Not so anymore :( I cannot tolerate even an inch of fat around my middle. I can't face anyone if my hair's frizzy, I can't invite anyone if there's even a small speck of dust in some faraway corner of my home :(

- I would go to just about any place for a holiday. Live in any shanty of a hotel, as long as it was in a new place.
Not so anymore :( It needs to be exotic, the location needs to be nicer than my own California, the hotel needs to be ultra-nice (which means its ultra-expensive too!!)

The list is endless...but the worst one....
- I thought I was a very nice person.
Not so anymore. I find so many character flaws in me, (I have a kind heart, but a quick temper, I help, but I get impatient, I am good at things, but I am lazy, the buts just never end!) I find myself unable to fix each and every one of them, and feel worse!

I want my happy-g0-lucky, imperfect self back. I HATE this unhappy, perfectionist that I am slowly becoming!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Signs

Got this pic from the plane, on my way back from Houston. Reminded me of the movie "Signs" :)

It was pretty amazing! Such huge farmlands, and such symmetry! I have another pic without the wing showing. But I like this one better. It looks like its actually on the ground, not high up in the air.



Some of you asked me how my trip was...so here goes.

It was an Indian wedding, one Patel marrying another Patel :) I was in the baraat, the groom was my cousin's son. Met a LOT of people from my extended family. We got there on Saturday evening, immediately got ready to go for dandia. The wedding was in the morning the next day. Attended that, and slept through the afternoon, went to the reception in the evening. And came back home the next day. Thats it :) All the events were in the hotel we stayed at, so didn't see any part of Houston other than the hotel and airport. Just hung out with my cousins. Fielded a lot of questions about life post-marriage. Most people were nice, trying to get acquainted with my husband, and helping him mingle. But there was one annoying observation by a very stubborn person "you have lost so much weight after you got married!" I kept telling her, no, dear, I am just the same, and she kept insisting that I was wrong. Such random things people say when they want to talk to you, but don't really have anything sensible to say! I am 10 pounds heavier if anything. Ugh, I think I am still annoyed!

Was a good trip overall, did nothing except eat and sleep and talk. Felt quite well rested when I got back home to the grind.

BTW, there is another post I put up just before this one. So please do scroll down :)

Such is life...sigh!

Yesterday was a totally disappointing day.

I had trouble falling and staying asleep the night before, so waking up was hard :(

We have a small dwarf cherry tree. This is its second year. First year, it hardly grew. This year we had one single cherry. We were watching it eagerly, the small green fruit growing bigger, turning pale yellow, then orange, then slightly red, then a nice dark cherry color. I went outside to check if it was ready to be picked. I suppose it must have been, since the squirrels had already gotten to it :(

I found a tiny nest in our jasmine vine, with 5 little blue robin's eggs. I was hoping to see the little ones when the eggs hatched. Went to check on them, they were gone too :(

Work didn't go as expected either, couldn't finish what I had planned due to some "technical difficulties" :(

I had wanted to finish one major "home improvement" task as well. Got dinner to-go so that I would have time for it and all. Still could not get to even starting with it, because of myriad other niggling things coming up that I needed to take care of :(

This was just so frustrating. Like someone (yeah, veens, you) once said, its like running on a treadmill and getting no where.

Sigh...I am hoping today would be a better day.
I did sleep well. And the first of my lilies bloomed today. Had been waiting for months now to see them! Work was uneventful, nothing good or bad about it. Hope the day ends well, uneventful is also ok, I just don't want yet another frustrating, disappointing day.

Such a dull, boring, post :(

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Oh Wow!

I got an award! For the first time in my life! And that too simply for being who I am!

See.....La Vida gave it to me! Such an awesome feeling! Thanks so much dear!


And I pass it on to Veens, Pri, Ankur, Ria, Preeti and Cinderella.