Thursday, March 31, 2011

India-Pakistan Cricket

Yes, I have to write something about the epic semi-final matchJ. It was a good match, a typical 2011 India-style match; meaning the Indian team has played only suspenseful thrilling matches in this world cup. Not one match has been obvious that India would win or lose. We have sat on the edge of our seats through each match praying that the team wins. But it has all been worth the excitement and the tension.
I would say the semi match between India and Pakistan was one of the most civilized matches the two teams have ever played with each other. Ind-pak matches are always high tension, most emotional and dramatic. The players tease each other; there are small arguments, a bit of cursing thrown in, the umpires meddling in to resolve any possible big arguments. As anxiously as I waited to see some friction, there was none in the whole match. And I soon realized that it must have been ONLY because of the presence of the Prime Ministers of the two countries at the game. It was like a class behaving properly when their teachers are watching them!
The Pak wicketkeeper was quite annoying with his yelling through the game, yet no friction from our Indian side. The Indian team was very calm, poised and more importantly very honest. How about that catch that Nehra held in his finger tips and yet said he wasn’t sure if it was a valid one? After Tendulkar’s honest game display before, this is another significant one. Especially when our team was desperate to get wickets, the sincerity of Nehra’s game is admirable.  
Afridi’s interview was very insensitive, to say “I THINK the Indian team played well”; Of course we did. We won the match and not by very close fight. We had a respectable win! I feel sorry for the Pak team, who will have to bear the public’s anger now. Cricket is always very sensitive in the Indian sub-continent. And for crucial matches like Ind-Pak, the audience is just too sensitive. Even the Indian audience has shown their anger on the failing Indian team players in the past.
And the combination of sports and politics is just too unfair, for the players. The two countries have political rivalry since their independence. And to have the high-level politicians present at the game, adds layers of tension. I can only imagine how the players from both teams try to keep their cool. It was funny to see the two prime ministers sitting quietly beside each other, not talking at all. As weird as it looked, Sonia Gandhi looked very cool when she raised her hands in the air like any other fan after the win.
No matter how difficult it is for my American friends to understand how we sit for hours watching cricket, only we know the crazy goose bumps we get and the thrill. A match like yesterday gives us the adrenaline rush. For now, we all are just happy and content that our team has won and we made it to the finals. Now all we want is the CUP J. And we beat Australia and Pakistan; I think Sri Lanka should be smooth ;)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thank god for "Safety Pins"

The Indian way as I mentioned earlier, was to use things until they are totally wasted! My maid’s broken flip-flops will give a better idea. Thank god for safety pins, she can now continue to use them. J

PS: She wore them like that for a week, but now she has a brand new pair of flip-flops, so no worries J

KAWAD – Traditional Storytelling from Rajasthan

At the exhibition, I learnt about Kawad, the story telling tradition from Rajasthan. Kawad is a 500 year old tradition of storytelling using a wooden box temple with many folded doors. The doors have small paintings on them narrating incidents from a story. The pictures in sequence form a story from Indian mythology or any regular story.
In the old times, when there were no schools, Kawadi people in Rajasthan would make these wooden temple boxes with stories and travel from village to village narrating a story. In the end, the wooden box had a drawer where the audience is supposed to drop their tips to the narrator. In this way, people would be educated. With newer times, the Kawadi had new stories like “Meena ki Kahani” (Story of Meena), where Meena is a girl from a small village. There is a teacher in the village who asks her parents to send her to school. Meena goes to school, studies hard along with managing the chores at home. She later goes out of her village to the city to study and then goes to America J. She comes back with prizes to her village again and opens a school to educate women. The story very well depicted in pictures, promotes education of girls. Another simple Kawad I found was of the English letters A-Z with pictures of A for Apple, B for Ball J. New designs to match the new generation!
We decided to buy a traditional Kawad depicting the Story of Lord Ram and Lord Krishna.
The first two little doors hold pictures of devotees; open the door to find door guardians and a picture of Lord Vishnu sitting on his snake bed.
Opening out the first door, we see King Dasharatha with his queens and two sons Ram and Laxman. Next pictures shows Ram and Laxman with Sage Vishwamitra in his ashram to help him kill the demons who have been harassing the sage and his disciples. Next we see Ram and Laxman praying to the Shiva lingam. Lord Ram marries Princess Sita, and next depiction is on killing the 10-headed demon King Ravan and to end, Ram’s favorite devotee Lord Hanuman.
The left doors displayed the story of Lord Krishna, born to his parents Devaki and Vasudeva. Vasudeva taking the new born baby to his foster parents, Yashoda and Nanda, crossing the high-current river. Next frame shows Baby Krishna eating butter, and the evil ogress Putana who tries to kill Baby Krishna with poisoned breast milk, but baby Krishna sucks the life out of her. Next frame shows Krishna taming the serpent Kaliya who poisoned the Yamuna River, picking up the Govardhan Hill, fighting the demons. The last door opens to a depiction of Lord Rama, Mother Sita and Brother Laxman.
The 21st century might use Microsoft Powerpoint presentations, while these old traditions used simple wooden boxes J.
The narration of this story was very rhythmic and dramatic with superb dialogues that make you laugh! The narrator was very enthusiastic to narrate the stories one after the other. I felt sorry for him as he said that not many would stay at his stall for that long to listen to any of his narrations. He narrated about 5 stories to usJ. At the end of it, I just wanted to buy a piece for the reason that it was a unique old tradition that I had never heard of and that I would contribute in a very small way to his people and his dying tradition.
The kawad which I brought is about 8-9 inches tall and it cost me 500/- ($11). If you ever get a chance to see these, do listen to the story. It is so much fun!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gandhi Shilp Exhibition

Today after my Sunday breakfast we drove to one of those govt. sponsored exhibitions of art. It had artifacts mostly from North India like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan. The first stall I stopped at was that of Rajasthani Blue pottery. Beautiful art crafts like soap holders, bowls, tiles, decorative wall plates, wall hooks, ear rings and bracelets and beads to make jewelry.
The shop keeper took interest to share the information of how it is exactly made; the base ingredient being Quartz which is used in fine powder form which is mixed with other powders and gum and are developed into desired shapes. They are heated at different levels during the design. After sketching and painting on them, natural colors from grinding colorful stones are used to color the item. The item is reheated now at a different temperature. At the end of heating, most colors change their color like green turns blue or brown turns red. And a final glaze is applied to give it a finishing touch. The whole process sounded very tedious and it reflects in the beauty of the art.
The shop keeper was very proud to mention that he conducts lessons on this art in Rajasthan and recently he had two French women who learnt from him J
I decided to buy a set of ear rings and 2 pairs of beads so I can make a set of ear ring at home, from my previous hobby of making ear ringsJ. The paintings on the tiles looked like a sari or a dress J

Then I saw some wooden artifacts from Uttar Pradesh such as wooden cars, tractors, bicycles, spatulas and brass embedded tables.

One of the best stalls was that of the marble carvings. The stall had very intricate carvings of various gods on colored marble like white, black, green, red. The best one was that of Lord Venkateshwara with very detailed and sharp carvings of dancers and devotees.
The others which were equally marvelous were that of Lord Ganesha, The Samudra manthan episode, Buddha, decorative tortoise. I grabbed pictures of few.

The whole place is quite big with other stalls of paintings, traditional dresses, bamboo artifacts, traditional footwears etc. It was way too sunny for me to continue, so we decided to leave until we hit another Rajasthani stall of Kawad. (Read the next post to know what is KAWAD – extremely beautiful!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Vodafone prefers Airtel?

I recently got a Vodafone connection for my cell phone and I have some problems with the connection. So I decided to call up the local Vodafone office. I used the Vodafone website and found the number under the call24X7 option.

When I called the local number, I heard the message “The Airtel number you are trying is busy!”
We laughed so hard. Talk about believing in your product and then selling it! 

Summer Showers

The recent hot weather has been unbearable! Three to four cold water shower or the fan, none of them helped. The nights were a little cooler with cool breeze, but inside the house is has been HOT! Today morning I woke up to a wet foot rug outside the door. I wondered if it had rained, because we heard nothing with our AC and fan on all night. It had rained quite a bit and it was cool morning.
I was convinced when saw that the heap of mud that the ants had dug out were washed away like a tsunami attack. Thanks to the animated movie Ants, I can kind of picture how it must be for the little creatures to be washed away suddenly in the middle of the night. L Kind what happens to us humans too. Nature and its surprises!
It has rained again this evening and it’s all dark & gloomy outside. Reminds me of the typical Seattle weather! The streets are wet and the trees are dripping rain drops, the strong winds are scattering the rain drops everywhere and I am enjoying the cool weather with a hot cup of tea. J

Sachin – The GOD we have seen

Found a small compile of quotes of Sachin Tendulkar from players around the world.
"I want my son to become Sachin Tendulkar." -Brian Lara(WI)
"We did not lose 2 a team called India, v lost 2 a man called Sachin" - Mark Taylor(Aus)
"Nothing bad can happen 2 us if we were on a plane in India wit Sachin Tendulkar on it."-Hashim Amla(SA)
"He can play that leg glance with a walking stick also".-Waqar Younis(Pak)
"There are 2 kind of batsman in the world. 1 Sachin Tendulkar and 2. all the others" .-Andy Flower(ZIM)
"I have seen God. He bats at no.4 for India in tests".-Matthew Hayden(AUS.)
"I see myself when I see Sachin batting".-Don Bradman(AUS)
"Do your crime when Sachin is batting, bcos even God is busy watching his batting". -Australian Fan
Barack Obama - "I don't know about cricket but still I watch cricket to see Sachin play..Not b'coz I love his play its b'coz I want to know the reason why my country's production goes down by 5 percent when he's in batting"
And many more quotes found here

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Indian way

The Indian way of using things is to make full use of it until it breaks and is not productive at all. In India, we are more of the habit of REPAIRING items and re-using them; be it footwear, clothes, appliances, anything! I realized the difference only in the US where you "use and throw" but don't repair. Repairing is good in way because you understand the working of an object and you learn to fix its problems. It’s like troubleshooting, you have to fix it; you can't always REPLACE everything. I prefer troubleshooting & fixing!
My iPOD earphones were beyond any use. I had successfully pulled out every bit of its use! To the extent that I used to fidget with it, place it at angles such that I can hear the music in both the ear pieces. It was really annoying when the music would flow through only 1 earpiece and leaving a deaf feeling in the other ear!! :P
Finally, I have given up the broken earpiece & bought a new one.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

CRICKET first ….always!

My husband called to tell me that he was sorry he can’t come to pick me up at the station. Reason being, today is the quarter final cricket match of India vs Australia, at 2pm. And after 2pm no one will be at work. People are trying to wrap their work fast so they can go home & watch cricket! I totally understand the sentiments of my people and I hope our US/UK/ Australian companies that we serve for, will also understand our helplessness. I am sure most of them might have gone hours early to work today, so they can leave early without any hassles.
It is quite an important match because if India beats Australia today, then India will play next with Pakistan, our favorite rival team J. I know every Indian & Pakistani is waiting for a match between the two. I really hope Australia loses today. It would not be a World cup if India Pakistan didn’t play each other! Eagerly waiting for the heated, high-tension match! Go India!!!

Gammy and her friends

I woke up early today at 6am and after I finished brushing my teeth, I turned around and saw my grandma walking down (her slow, steady mini steps J) with a plate of fistful of rice grains. I asked her what she was doing. She said “Come here, I’ll show you. There a birds outside waiting for food. I scatter these grains.” I saw up at the roofs of the buildings around and I saw few pigeons eyeing my grandma, the typical way they do with the head tilt & rolling eye-balls J.
She threw the grains on the neighboring roof from her patio. The pigeons still didn’t fly down. My grandma said “Now you should leave them alone. If we stay here they are too scared to come down”. So we came into the house, & guess what the pigeons flew down and I saw 5 of them wobbling around and picking each grain. J
My grandma due to her old age has very limited outings. She barely steps outside the house premises. Taking the stairs is a nightmare for her and for us to see her. She is a very intelligent woman from her times. She ranked first in her 10th grade & was felicitated. She was a teacher by profession and even today I admire her handwriting which is so beautiful. She spends her day with regular house chores and most importantly reading; all kinds of reading like magazines, the news paper. She knows better things going on in the outside world than my grandfather, or even my mother for that matter, who doesn’t get time to read due to her busy work-home schedule.
I thought to myself, my grandma has her own lifestyle and her own friends, the birds and the books. She says that if she gets late someday in the mornings, the pigeons wait for her & make the typical noises from the neighboring roof. How nice to have such regular friends, isn’t it? J She loves to watch the rare white or the white and brown shaded pigeons. Gone are the days when we would see little sparrows nibbling around the house. Due to the recent environmental changes of pollution, noise, trees cut-down and infinite mobile users, they say the sparrows have disappeared from the cities. L

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Indian companies vs US companies

I am actively looking for a job (Feel free to refer me J). So I started looking for jobs in Mysore first, as my husband is put up well here. I did not want to make him move & all of the other related things. Mysore is still developing, and thanks to Infosys but there are exactly FOUR companies here, big ones. Obviously, I couldn’t find a job in the limited scope. Now that I have started to look in Bangalore, I have noticed peculiar things; not sure if everyone would have the same experience.
To mention some basics, I had worked in India in the past and then I moved to US & got a splendid opportunity to work in Microsoft. So my experience consists of both, India and US. Now any common Indian friend will say, “You have 1.5 yrs of US experience, and Microsoft too. You can get a job EASILYYY!” Well, that is not the case. In my observation it is exactly opposite.
My set of observations is:
1)      Companies might not consider you or even give you a call, assuming that you are a US-return candidate who will demand bigger salary.
2)      The interviewer’s attitude is very challenging in the sense, it is like, “So, you worked in US eh! Lets see!!” or “Ohhhh you worked at Microsoft. Hmm…Lets see!!”
3)      The interviewing is very in depth with respect to terminologies.
4)      English of most engineers is so so bad. Grammar & vocabulary don’t seem to get along at anytime.
5)      The HR management process is very very bad. Even the biggest companies have no proper processes of arranging interviews and reporting back the feedback.
My set of understanding in response to each above:
1)      Well, I did work in US and I know if I come back to work here in India, I cannot demand the dollar equivalent in rupees. I KNOW THAT! If you’d ask me, I will tell you my expected Indian equivalent salary which is based on my experience & the position I will be applying for. PS: I have studied the salary range of Indian market and I also used the salary calculator websites!
2)      Really, why do they need that attitude? My US/MS experience is a selling point, but not the RULING POINT! I am not boasting away about it, so nobody has to get that attitude of “we’ll see”. I have a very good example of this situation later in this article.
3)      The interviewer will get into basic terminologies of Regression testing, what is load testing, what is RTM! (I know these). After 4 years experience, I don’t think I will be answering terminologies like a college graduate! Also, because I have 4 yrs experience, it does not mean I know EVERYTHING in the world. I know what I did, ask me and I’ll tell you! And if I don’t know something, I know I can learn it way faster than you expect.
4)      I don’t say you have to know the best English, but most of the Indian companies are catering to the US/UK companies. For top companies in India, I think it is fine to expect descent correct grammar English.
5)      The term “HOLD” is very annoying to me & my husband. Why is my profile on HOLD? Either select me or reject me. Don’t come back checking with me after 2 months with another set of interviews! It is simple; YES and NO.
My husband also had a similar experience when he gave an interview after returning from the US. To me now, my US experience has become a problem.
And now coming to the example I mentioned above – I was interviewing at one the top companies of India. The moment an interviewer picks a tone of “Oh so you worked in Microsoft”, I know their attitude. There were two men interviewing me, Man1 was very calm, quiet & too shy to talk and Man2 was more talkative & interactive. So Man2 asked me, “what was the SDLC model they used at your recent project at Microsoft”, I promptly answered Waterfall Model. He instantly made a face & looking at his colleague he said, “Waterfall? I thought Microsoft uses Agile method”. At this point, I had to put my hands down and answer him calmly in his face, “Microsoft is a big big company, with tens of projects being executed. Each project has unique requirements based on which suitable SDLC method is chosen. So it is impossible that all projects at Microsoft will be Agile.” Man1 also agreed right way, “of course it can’t be strictly Agile method!” In my head I thought he could be playing with my mind, but still to me it sounded like a dumb statement coming from a person of his position and experience at such a big company. It could be interview tactics! But I am sick & tired of the attitude I get for my fortunate chance of working in the US and at Microsoft!
Based on my interviews in the US & India, I think Americans trust you for what you say and you don’t have to go out of your way to prove your knowledge. I find it much easier to interview for American companies where the interviewing procedure is simple & straight forward, Interviewers know what they are interviewing for and what they should ask, they are very clear in asking questions without any ambiguity and the HR management is on time with timely feedback.
So good luck to the rest of the returning Indians!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rice plantations

On my way back from Bangalore, through the train window, it was beautiful green scenery of rice plantations. Farmers were toiling hard in the 11am sun. Water streaming through the paddy plantation, the standing water glittering in the sunlight and the row of tall coconut trees partitioning the fields. I tried to capture a couple of pictures with my mobile; hence they are not of very good quality. But, a serene beauty!

Stop telephoning me! – Lady Gaga makes my life so simple!

My “no-cell phone” days are over, SADLY! After I came back from the US 4 months ago, I still hadn’t gotten a SIM card for my phone. Reason being, I have changed from the ‘extra-social’ to ‘quite & keep to myself’ style of living. Yes, US does that to you, at least it did that to me. Not that I want to be locked inside a room with no contact of any kind coz I am hooked on FB! Just that Indian style of calling & checking each day is little too overwhelming! Like one of my aunts calls me once a week and exclaims, “Shilpa!! You didn’t call at all! You forgot us??” @#%@ It’s sooooo annoying to hear these words & not once, but all the time! First of all, I have nothing to talk about, really! I am at home looking for a job, blogging, watching TV. There is nothing extra-ordinarily new about my daily routine. Secondly, I really really don’t think I am so crazy to forget my relatives, my aunt that I spend years of my childhood with, in like a week! I understand this is the style in which people here talk, but it really annoys me. I can’t help that. Let me miss you & then call you. Why don’t you wait for that?
I have come to a realization that cell phones have taken away our private, personal time. We have to be available all the time to EVERYONE. If you don’t pick the phone, you are questioned, “You didn’t attend my call!”. May I was busy, or you know, maybe I didn’t want to pick your call, just like that! Do I have to always be available to talk to you? May be I just want to gaze at the sky or look at the trees or people…or WHATEVER!!! It’s my life!
After much persuasion from my husband & relatives, I now have a cell phone that I am traceable with! L Me not having a cell phone should be more of an inconvenience to me right, but it is the other way round that others could not contact me! My peaceful life had come to an end & now I have to attend everyone. I feel like a celebrity telling each person when I give them my precious number, “DO NOT SHARE it with ANYBODY”. I am thinking of coming up with a plan of saying, I switch off my cell phone after certain hours! How would that work out? Or maybe my ringtone should be Lady Gaga’s Telephone song – STOP TELEPHONING ME! J

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Edelweiss – Strudel

Today we went to Edelweiss again to try something new. Last time we had the regular burger. This time we ordered Strudel, Potato wedges, Butterscotch Milk Frappe. The 'Indianized' strudel was offered with traditional Indian cucumber raita (yogurt salad) and cabbage carrot salad. The dish had two strips of strudel. In the menu it said spinach baked snack. On getting the order, I tasted dill and potato too. I loved the taste of dill in the stuffing. It tasted like regular dill curry that we make for roti. And the soft baked potato added good taste. And the combination of raita was just very tasty. I wish we had the American style ovens here and if I were lucky enough to find the pastry dough, I could make these easily at home J

I would have preferred some more raita for the two strips, it wasn’t enough. We liked what we got. I haven’t ever eaten the original strudel but this was a great snack. I want to go there again soon to try their other unique Austrian food on their menu.

Other interesting thing I found was that they had displayed mud jewelry for sale on the notice board. They looked really gorgeous with pretty colors. I did not buy any yet but I would love to buy them. They have a unique ethnic look to them & they would go great with any attire, Indian or western. I got some pictures of them, to give an idea.

Feeling Hot Hot Hot!

It is 31°C (91 °F) outside here in Mysore. While I was gone to Bangalore for two days, the ants have been busy digging out. I guess they are hot too! It looks like a lot of effort, making that mountain of fine mud particles. I was kind enough not to wash them away today while I water my porch. J

And even the grazing buffaloes are feeling the heat now! Lucky they found some shade! 

People are already walking out with umbrellas. And in my house, either the voltage is low or my fan feels too hot to rotate faster! It rotates to only satisfy me mentally! J

Recent Relishes

Pictures from recent relishes in Bangalore and Mysore.
A comparision of South Indian meal and North Indian meal.

An Andhra meal, with buttermilk (YUMMMM...):

Brown Spider:
Chocolate chips, spanish delight, chocolate ice cream, cornflakes chocos, cashew nuts, caramel nuts, peach melba and Chocolate sauce

Black Forest:
Black current and pineapple ice creams, frest fruits, dry fruits with black current sauce.

Friday, March 18, 2011

PDA – Good or Bad?

I watched an episode of Jerry Springer’s show called Baggage. In this show I learnt a new acronym PDA – Public display of affectionJ; one of the contestants had said he doesn’t like PDA and I thought well yes, not everyone would like to have a palmtop …PDA device. Moreover PDA’s seem quite outdated now with compact devices like iPhone & blackberry..etc. Silly me!
Being an American the guy did not like PDA! Let me mention, my husband doesn’t like PDA either. So much that he will not hold my hand in public. Just recently, I was arguing with him on the street, as to why are you so uncomfortable holding MY hand? Are you ashamed of your WIFE? His answers are always that, my love & affection is not a show for the society.
I beg to differ. First of all, I belong to the older generation, where having a boyfriend was unacceptable. I never had any affairs, never had a guy to hold hands with. Now I am legally married respecting all elders’ interests and even now if I am not allowed to hold hands with my husband, really!! I don’t know what to say. I am not asking something totally over the top, just holding hands. Is that so much of a big deal, for your loved ones, for the society to handle or watch? Why should we be shy of anybody? I am not asking him to act like Imraan Hashmi! I know for sure I don’t want that! J
I know the Indian police officers are repulsed by couples, married, single, basically any couple! What! Are they jealous that we found someone? Even married couples are not spared by their harassment for PDA! And should we be scared of them? We have one life & generally one wife J why shy away? Life is too short, better show our affection now before it too late!

Demon Heads

Whoops! Did that scare you? Did not mean to scare humans J
The old housing style in Karnataka used to be individual houses. And each house would have one such scary demon head on the top of the house, hanging from the terrace, or mounted in the corner of the terrace! The idea is to ward off any evil or misfortune from befalling the house. This is unique in south India only, coz I have never seen any in my life in Pune.
As a kid I used to prominently notice these different demon heads on each house, different faces and sizes and colors. I suddenly thought of them now, because it is out of practice now. And how did I realize this? Well, driving through the hi-tech city of Bangalore, seeing those tall 10-15 storey buildings, there is no way these heads can be hung on the 16th floor of the terrace. HA HA!! And this is how the old traditions disappear silently into new times of technology & luxury. Of course even I wouldn’t hang such a scary head on my own establishment. But it was fun for me as a child to check out each house!

Japan and the world today

It is has been a week now since the whole earthquake & tsunami event rocked Japan & the rest of the world. The day it happened, I had spent my whole afternoon watching live coverage of the tsunami. I was shocked to my very core to watch the whole disaster and even to this date my little intelligence fails to believe it is for real. I cannot imagine the mental situation of the Japanese survivors, who saw the whole event with their eyes, have lost family & friends & their entire life! The day when I saw the live footage video, I was beyond shocked and I discussed with my American friends that this is a huge disaster & that entire Japan was gone; the nuclear reactors are totally going to be devastating. But based on the day 1 news, my friends seems quite relaxed & said it was not that bad..only 30 people died, the reactors are shutdown. At the initial news reports of the Japanese PM saying that the nuclear reactors were fine, seemed very political to me; of course they would say all is fine, to prevent panic! I wasn’t agreeing with them. And today my fear & anticipation is all coming true. Simple fact is that, the video of the huge black tsunami wave washing off the whole land itself was self-explanatory of the future consequence! It seemed very obvious to me that this is not all & the big picture after the tsunami is going to be way too overwhelming & uncontrollable! And that is exactly what is happening now, with the debris, the bad weather, unstoppable reactor explosion, and the entire humanity at the risk of getting affected with nuclear radiations! We can’t underestimate the effects of that huge tsunami that swallowed North Japan! It is definitely sad that all my fears are coming true. I really feel sorry for the Japanese people. Even as they still discuss the lives of the Atomic bomb survivors from WWII, they have another incident of nuclear blasts & radiations! Generations after generations affected with N radiations! L Very Unfortunate!
Such an incident makes us think, why we need these technologies which can wipe out our entire species; not just us but all other living beings! Only now after this incident, all countries are shutting down their reactors to have a thorough check up. Do we need such a devastating wake-up call? We can’t blame Japan for the recent nuclear events that will be directly/indirectly affecting all mankind around the globe; but we can take lessons and may be come on a common ground where all countries can conclude on a nature friendly option and get rid of nuclear reactors; or come up with much safer designs.
In the end, I salute the some-180 workers at the reactors who are putting their lives at risk to fix the reactors. To me its ultimate sacrifice they are giving to their country, which will benefit Japan & all other countries in a huge way. I sincerely pray & wish that their efforts are successful in ending the nuclear events that is almost holding Japan as hostage! Good luck Japan J

Music for all

One time when we lived in Spokane, we were driving and listening to music when I turned to my husband and said “Music makes your mind so happy and relaxes your very core. If everyone could enjoy music & relax their minds, we would never have to fight over land & religion & language. Why don’t all the extremists enjoy & get lost into the beautiful world of music?” My loving husband had to say, “Only YOU can come up with such a beautiful thought”, and he has this most happy proud smile on his faceJ. But my question is still valid even today!
I am a very short-tempered person, sadly. But music, of any kind relaxes my mind instantly. Also, I am not like those people who know exactly what kind of music or singer they like. To me, any music that makes my shoulders move, jerk my neck in Jim Carrey’s Body love style and move my crossed feet in the air, is good music. To enjoy my music, I have to sing it, loudly! And language is no barrier either. I can very well sing Konjum Mainakkale –tamil song from Kandukondein Kandukondein, Songs from the telegu hit movie Bommarillu or my recent craze in 2009 of learning the famous Romanian song Ozone-Dragostea Din Tei. So I have a variety of songs I like & listen to from old Indian classic movies to new ones to old English classic songs to hard metal rock music to regular country music. ANYTHING! I remember in my school days, I had said to someone that the lyrics of the songs decide whether I like it or not. So those were the days of Lucky Ali and Strings, which has romantic lyrics touching our teenage hearts. But hey, now I like Lady Gaga’s Just Dance! Or Jamie Foxx’s Blame it on the AH ah ah  alcohol! So I surely know my heart is not a teenager anymore! J
I wonder how many of you notice that each song is related to a place, a situation. Like when we were in the US, for more than a year we had only Jhoom Barabar CD & that’s the only album we listened to. So now if I ever hear any of the songs from that album, I can see Mt. Spokane & my mind sees myself driving through it. Colbie Caillat’s Bubbly songs make me do to the quick-quick-slow steps from the west coast dance lessons that we took. When I listen to Pink’s So what, I am taken to my drive back home from my first Microsoft Interview! And when I hear Bon Jovi’s Welcome To Wherever You Are – I see myself walking to work in my Microsoft office, breathing in the crisp chilly air of Redmond. We all live to be happy & music is the one thing that never fails to deliver to me! I really wish if everyone could enjoy it as much as I do, the world would, no doubt be a much happier place to live.
So next time while travelling, if you see a girl silently mouthing words, with headphones on and rocking her shoulders or head or feet, it could be me! I know I might look silly to you, well, as long as hands free mobile users look silly enough talking away, I don’t mind looking silly because, I am LOVING it! 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Train Travelling

On our recent trips from Bangalore to Mysore, we had the typical Indian crowd experience. First of all, my husband wasn’t very keen about taking the train. He wants comfort compared to the price. He actually wanted to take the AC Volvo bus, which most importantly gives you a seat, then the AC, the reclining seat that lets you sleep comfortably through the 2.5 hours of smooth journey, the calm surrounding with no chattering people, etc. While I thought, why spend so much when we can easily take the train, enjoy the scenic view and the vendors & in general crowd and stuff. By the way, the per head train ticket is 51/- ($1) against the Volvo cost of 250/- ($5). The experience this time was exactly the same as shown on the hit show Outsourced -Training day Episode or more close to the Seinfeld episode where Kramer tries to catch a seat.
Firstly, we were waiting for the train to arrive at the station, arrival time was 2.45pm; it came at 3pmJ (Always late) Indian standard time! Even before the train came, the passengers on the station started to get down & cross the track on the other side; they stood up on the water pipes. And that’s when I was like, “Wooah, they are going to get into the train from the other side! Come on, that’s way too much competition, we are not trained to that extent”.
Eventually when the train arrived, the rush to get in is unbeatable. Really, you just have to CRUSH in; I am totally against contact with unknown people. It totally pisses me off when someone hits a shoulder or hand. I know we are a huge population with endless crowds on the roads, yet I think we can control our walks without hitting into each other. I managed to get into the train and literally, I swear to god, I was like KRAMER!!! Every seat I looked at, a person sat or threw his belongings at. I failed big time!
And this is when you remember your mom’s teaching, to always carry a handkerchief! You may not have cold, but you always have a seat to catch! Drop a kerchief and the seat is booked!
We stood at the doors for more than 1.5 hours talking & chatting & checking the match scores on iphone, whenever we had network. I think I wasn’t too aggressive in the seat-catching event and the guys from the other side were just too much to beat! In the end, my husband wins and now he can always remind me of this incident & make me take the expensive, luxurious Volvo bus!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Maid updates!

I introduced my maid Radha two days ago, in my blog. So as I had given an insight of how maids are, she is proving me bang on right! Two days and almost she is ruling my home. As I mentioned before, on day 1 she said that I should soak clothes on alternate days, so she won’t wash them each day but once in two days. I was fine with that. Here in south India, ladies have a practice of offering a cup of coffee or tea or a plate of snack/breakfast/leftover to maids. I am not very crazy about this idea. Basically I do not feel right about giving any leftover food and making tea/coffee or breakfast is an added task for me as each day my kitchen situation is different. Mostly no breakfast, or generally cereal! Either ways, in Pune city we did not have any such practice.
But on day 1, I was nice enough to ask her if she wanted some coffee. She promptly replied that she doesn’t take coffee, she prefers TEA! Ok ma’am! I said I do have Tea & I can prepare some. So I did but she forgot to drink it & I felt awful, wondering if she thought I forgot to make it.
Day 2, when she came in, it was on my mind that I forgot to give her the tea I prepared & that I should mention it so she has no wrong impression of me. But I thought I was giving too much of thought to the incident, so I let it be. But while she was washing the clothes, she openly asked me, “You said you would make me Tea yesterday. Did you forget?” Yikes! I told her what happened and asked her promptly again if I should make some now. I made her a big cup of tea. Based on different tastes I made a subtle tea, to which she had an instant review that I need to make it stronger & add more sugar too!
Day 3 today – When she sat drinking her tea, she said it was really tasty, and that she did not like my tea yesterday! L She slowly slipped the topic of wiping the floor. She said “Your floor is so clean, why do you need it to be wiped every day?” I paused for a second and said, “We’ll see, may be you can see if it is not too dirty you could skip wiping it some days”. She smiled at me happily!
Before leaving, she sat at the door to make herself a paan (Betel leaf). I was standing by the door waiting for her to leave. While making her paan, she said “Dear, could you give me 5 rupees. I am out of Betel leaves”. Of course I gave her the money. But I am still fighting the thought, does the thought of having to give 5 rupees make me cheap or am I right that she is taking my advantage?
My husband says: STRIKE 2!
PS: I wish she read my blog!

Japan Earthquake - Prayers for all!

Around 12.45pm, I just logged off my Yahoo mail & came to the yahoo page, which displayed the breaking news of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan. I instantly changed my channel from watching TROY to CNN news. I have no words to explain, how surprised & horrified I was to see the live footage on CNN. The video displayed water from the ocean gushing into the main land. It is so unrealistic; it looked just like in the 2012 movie or any animated movie for that matter. For a moment I thought, maybe, it is an animated version of the whole event, but then I saw a helicopter flying in the video & I was left with my jaw open!!! I can’t. I just can’t believe it, that amount of water coming in?? There were cars & vans driving on the roads, with the huge gigantic wave flowing over them…and in a flash of second the vehicles were GONE! Just like toys!!

And now they have exact times for all the neighboring countries that will be hit by the obvious Tsunami waves. They have warnings for most of the Pacific islands & countries until the Hawaii Islands of the USA.
What is so surprising is that we have such advanced technologies & Japan they say, is used to earthquakes all the time; then how come the earthquake department could not predict something this huge??? It is inexcusable! And I feel sorry for the people, the infinite property lost, the whole country that has raised itself so magnificently, post the Atom bomb WWII event, all that is gone in just minutes!  Sad, very very sad!
But, there is a good hope for all the other countries that are in line to take the Tsunami wave attack now. And in all this event, what I really observe & compliment is the helping hand of the US. America is always the first country, who stands up to help any country in trouble, and they react instantly. It is just amazing!
I cannot imagine how huge the losses are going to be once the whole thing settles down. I sincerely pray for the safely of all people living in Japan right now. By the way, CNN rocks at their news reporting! Taiwan is about to get their Tsunami wave in like 30mins now! Cannot get off CNN!!!
(This makes me believe the whole Mayan 2012 possibility, as in the possibility of huge devastating waves & such things, not the date of 2012!)

Bitter Truth (email fwd)

If you cross the "The North Korean " border illegally, you get ..... 12 years hard labur in an isolated prison .....
If you cross the "Iranian " border illegally, you get ..... detained indefinitely .....
If you cross the "Afghan " border illegally, you get ..... shot .....
If you cross the "Saudi Arabian " border illegally, you get ..... jailed .....
If you cross the "Chinese " border illegally, you get ..... kidnapped and may be never heard of - again .....
If you cross the "Venezuelan " border illegally, you get ..... branded as a spy and your fate sealed .....
If you cross the "Cuban " border illegally, you get ..... thrown into a political prison to rot .....
If you cross the "British " border illegally, you get ..... arrested, prosecuted, sent to prison and be deported after serving your sentence .....
Now ..... if you were to cross the "Indian" border illegally, you get .....
1. A ration card
2. A passport (even more than one - if you please ! )
3. A driver's license
4. A voter identity card
5. Credit cards
6. A Haj subsidy
7. Job reservation
8. Special privileges for minorities
9. Government housing on subsidized rent
10. Loan to buy a house
11. Free education
12. Free health care
13. A lobbyist in New Delhi, with a bunch of media morons and a bigger bunch of human rights activists promoting your "cause "
14. The right to talk about secularism, which you have not heard about in your own country!
15. And of-course ..... voting rights to elect corrupt politicians who will promote your community for their selfish interest in securing your votes !!!
16. And right to fight election for MLA  or MP