Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How Beautiful Is My Valley!

The weather and scenery has been changing quite dramatically over here in the last few weeks.

After a really long dry spell, the rain Gods were finally appeased! The skies were completely overcast for an entire week. I got a brief glimpse of open sky on my way home one evening. Just one small window!

But this was nothing like the monsoons in India. There was some hail in the valley, and a lot of snow on the mountains.

We went up to the mountains to get a closer look, but the snow had already started to melt. But it was still beeeeautiful!

The area in the foothills of the mountain was pretty rustic. A lot of ranches and horses there. Here's a nice little barn...

And this is a view of the Silicon Valley!

The valley also produces some GIANT lemons like these!
(Please do not ask me whether I am sure these are lemons. I wouldn't call them that if I didn't know, right?)

And boasts some amazing sunsets! Right in the middle of a bustling city!

Fresh air, clear blue skies, fluffy white clouds, views of emerald green mountains, almost like a painting...right in my parking lot!

Vintage Mercs!

And custom made bikes! This one is a "Big Dog". Had never heard of it until I saw one!

I have a few more pictures that I took today, but those will have to come in another post.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Broken Bhindis!

This weekend,I went to the Indian store to get my weekly supply of groceries. It was crowded as expected on a weekend night. As I walked in, I noticed a young guy, hooded sweatshirt, with the hood on his head picking out something from a bin in the middle of the store.

I strolled through the vegetable aisles, and picked up a few different things, and in about 10 minutes or so got to where the guy was cherry-picking some bhindis. I got curious as to what was taking him so long. He had been at it since before I got in the store, and had maybe 10 bhindis in his bag. I waited for some time for him to get done, and when it looked like it was going to take some more time, I tried to squeeze in next to him to get some bhindis for myself.

I finally saw what was taking him so long! He was breaking off the end of each of the bhindis he was picking up, and put, maybe 1 out of 5 in his bag. The other broken ones went back in the bin! What a waste!!! Then I surprised myself! I actually spoke up and told him, "That's not nice! You are breaking stuff and putting it back. Other people would like to buy some too, you know?"
He giggled! That was his only response! "He he he!"

From then on, at least till I was there filling my own bag, he did not put any broken ones back. But he had damaged so many of them already, it was hard to get anything out of there :(

I wonder if he even realized what he was doing before I pointed it out to him. He probably thought it was a good thing, picking out the best veggies that he could get.
I bet he would not do the same in an American store. Simply because it is not allowed there (not bothering to think about why it is not the done thing in the non-Indian stores!)
I hope he thinks twice before damaging goods like this.

And then I started to think about what I said to him. I did not tell him the real thing that was bothering me. That he was breaking something he did not intend to pay for! I hate this about me. I cannot think on my feet and say the right thing at the right time. Normally, I would not even say anything, thinking like a typical Indian, that this is not my problem, मुझे क्या!? So I guess at least thats a start. I spoke! Not just write about something hours or even days after the fact :)

Oh I go again! Making a mountain out of a pile of bhindis!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A wife's rights!

Read this bit of "Weird News" yesterday on Yahoo:

Boy Marries Dog

It happened somewhere in Orissa.
The boy is not yet 2 years old, and he was married to a neighbor's dog! Weird indeed. But there was also something very ironic...
The boy's wife's name is Jyothi. She was allowed to roam around in the streets after the wedding. No dowry was exchanged.

Now if only this was true of real wives. So many dowry deaths could have been avoided, so many women would be free to do what they want, wear what they like, meet who they want. The dog wife seems to have more rights :)

Hehe :) I guess I can draw parallels and conclusions and make mountains out of the weirdest of molehills!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Luck ... By Chance!

I will echo a lot many others who have seen this movie...

I loved, loved, loved the movie!

And it was the perfect setting for me too. I went with a friend and her sister to watch it in one of the AMC's on a week night. Almost empty parking lot, almost empty theater. There was only three of us, and then three more people joined later. Nice people, quiet as mice, with no crackly candy wrappers, no cell phones ringing, no kicking my seat. And hopefully they did not mind the three girls giggling away to glory!


Will not go into the story line of course. So will list out a few things that stayed with me even after I left the hall...

There is SO much talent in the Indian film industry! The opening credits featured a lot of the "menials", their hard work ... and their hard life! The set designers, costume designers, makeup artists, choreographers, editing artists, oh my, I wouldn't even know how much goes into making one single movie! I wish there were some laws about minimum hourly wages in India like there are in the US. It is heartbreaking to see such hard work, such beautiful work being taken for granted like this!

Then there was the whole unfair business of how people get a foot-hold in the industry. Such a stark contrast between the thousands of talented artists struggling for years and still getting nowhere; and the people with "connections" who get in (and are some times forced in!) so easily with no talent, no experience, no nothing! I suppose it is sort of like the political scene in India too. No qualifications needed, except for connections! How I wish that would change. But I digress...

And then there was the life of the poor little rich kid! Who could not eat enough because there were millions of rupees riding on her waist line as opposed to the poor kids (not featured in the movie, of course) who cannot eat enough because, well, there isn't anything to eat!
Niki Walia was a very believable character in spite of, like Vikram says, living in a cake! She was still so innocent and good at heart, just like most people are deep down within.

And now for the best thing about the movie according to me: the strong, independant and sensible Indian woman! Sona truly represents what the Indian woman is today.
She is not "Sati Savitri" who will sacrifice all for the man
She is not the wife from (I forget the movie...anyone remember Radhika with the curled up "choti" married to Rishi Kapoor?) who lives like a servant in her husband's house.
She is not Rekha from Khoon Bhari Maang, going all out to kill the enemy.
She is no Meena Kumari who will die pining away for her husband!

She is one very sensible woman, who knows what she wants.
She is very strong and refuses to patch up with her very selfish lover
She is very honest and tells him exactly what she thinks of him! She is neither mean to him, nor does she waste time in seeking revenge. She figures out what is right for her, and goes her own way!
She is very realistic and understands that she can either be sad that she could not act in big movies, or she can be happy that she is doing good work and is well liked by people.
She has oodles of self respect!
She chooses to be happy!

She is the perfect role model for women! Not just in India, but all over the world!

Move over Sita and Sati and whoever undermines the power and strength of a woman...

The world belongs to Sona Mishra!!!

I know there are too many !!!! in my post, but then that is how much I liked the movie!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mirror, mirror, on the wall...

Who has the prettiest feet of all?

I DO :)

A totally narcissist post. Please don't ask me what this is about. I just loved my own feet that day I suppose :)

Click on the pic to see the pretty pretty design on my nails :D

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My funny friend :)

I had written about my friend Brad before. That time he had brought me some cherries.
He spreads some real good cheer in my life. And flirts like no one else :) This guy has got to be the funniest person I know. And the best part, like I had mentioned before, he keeps it simple. Its the simplest friendship I have ever had to date. No expectations whatsoever, just peals of laughter. And bags of cherries :)

Had been having a boring, exhausting day, when I decided to clean up my gmail inbox. And saw an email from him that I had not yet replied to. I replied, and ended up in splits. Here's what followed:

B: I didn't even do my 100 situps for the day, what a slacker!!!! hahahaha :)

Me: hmmm..not sure how I missed replying to this one....100 situps? That's all you do? tsk, tsk ;-)

B: ripped gut :)

Me: Ok, I believe you :P
(not wanting to see a pic of what he was talking about!!!)

haha, I'm totally playing with ya, It looks kinda like the alien :)

is there a pattern on the abs? I hope its a flower pattern :) (So now I want to play too!)

B responded with this!!!
I was rendered speechless!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What I love about the US - Public Libraries

I suppose there are a lot of things, so maybe this will be a series of posts.

The first thing to go here has to be the public libraries!

- They're the best!

- They have all the books I would ever want to good condition!

- If my branch doesn't have what I want, I can place a request to get it from another branch within the same!

- I can renew my books online

- I can place hold on books online

- If I have a book on hold, they do not allow others to renew them. They respect my spot in the queue!

- Most of them have an excellent environment for kids: story times, lots and lots of books, and other fun programs

- They have a very good environment for studying...books, couches, coffee, peace!

- Cell phones are mostly not allowed

- They have free internet access. This was very handy when I moved to this city and had no internet at home, and had not started work yet!

-They help people with their taxes too (I think some libraries have some informational sessions)

- They have a lot of classes for free. One which I found very good was teaching English to elderly immigrants!

- They have reference books for EVERYTHING (I got stuff on crocheting, hubby got to learn about some electrical codes in our county!)

- They also have DVD and videos

- The one I go to has HINDI ones too!!!

- They are the very best!

They are an AWESOME service to the community! I am glad my tax dollars support my excellent library system.

Here's my little nieces in my library. (Yes, it is MY library :-)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My first love

Has to be Garfield!!! He is just so smart and witty!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Need help

Some of you may remember I had written a post about Borewell Deaths in India a while back.

My friend has come up with a plan for starting work on covering up these open pits. I have been roped in to write a brochure for her that she will use to contact people and get them to take action. I have also been assigned to task of naming the project. And I am drawing a blank here :(

Would really appreciate your creativity in coming up with something.

I just had a couple (very boring) names:

"Shut the Death-Traps"
"Borewells: Lets make them green"

Please help!