Friday, June 26, 2009

Oh I am sure...

that there are four million bloggers writing their tribute to MJ. And I want to write mine too. Might be the silliest of all but it is from my heart.

As everyone knows, I grew up in Trichy to parents who were more into MS (Subbulakshmi) than MJ. So western music was out of choice for us in our home. We heard movie songs from Tamil, Telugu and Hindi movies apart from the Carnatic tunes and that was about it.

When I went to schoo, it was totally different. We were asked to dance to Brown Girls and opened up a whole range of music out there. After BoneyM, the next English music anything I knew was Michael Jackson. His Thriller was so big even in out in Trichy and so was Bad. He was my first favorite western musician. If you did not know him then you were uncool. Everyone wanted to be him.

My parents thought that us kids were crazy but we knew our music too and it was not carnatic...Michael was the first one to make me sit up and watch the dance and choreography. His videos were delish and a sight to the sore eyes. I was really looking forward to his comeback tour. It is a second missed chance now and will always be. (He cancelled his show in Chennai when I was in India.)

Whatever you were in your private life, I do not care but for what you contributed to music and dance and choreography and videos I think you are the KING of POP and no one can take that away from you.

R.I.P
Long Live the King.

ART :(

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Milk and Sugar...long post this...

Have you heard of the Parsi legend? That when Parsi's came into Gujrat as refugee's some long long time ago, the King was afraid that they would become more dominant with their strong culture and change their lifestyle too. So the Parsi leader told the King to get him a bowl of milk and some sugar. The Parsi leader took some sugar and mixed it into the milk and told the King that the Parsi's will blend into the society just like the sugar did into the milk and no one will even notice it. And they have kept their promise till date.

When and if you are in Chennai, take a train or bus (or however) to Parrys Corner. Look around you, for every Tamilian living/working there, there are 10 north Indians. Specifically, Marwadi's and Gujrati's and some others. They are all good businessmen and local South Indian's work under them. These settlers do not even speak the local language in most cases. But they have co-existed there for the longest time.

So my question is, if Parsi's could blend into Indian culture, if North Indians could blend into Tamil culture, what is the problem for a visitor who only comes to Chennai/T.Nadu for a couple of days?

So in analogy, the point most North Indians make when they visit Chennai is that they want me to change my entire way of living just so that I can accomodate them for two days? Really? Does that even make any sense? Would you appreciate it if any guest demands you to change your lifestyle for him/her sake?

Why can't you come to Chennai or anywhere with an open mind and not a critical mind? Go to experience the place as is, and do not be a snob. Enjoy the difference. Sameness is a bore.

Now my dear Sid, the very attitude carried on your comments show that you think very highly of yourself, which is good. But the mistake is by thinking so, you assume that the rest of the world should please you. Sorry love, do you remember, Give respect take respect?

Let me give you a bit of a history background. The Mughals or the invading muslims never invaded Tamilnadu. They stopped around Andhra and Karnataka. They did not even come to coastal Andhra, so if you go there and expect to see Hindi being spoken, you will have tough luck. Which is the very reason you do not find Hindi common in Tamilnadu. No one ever had to use it before.

Also, Tamil is an independent stand alone language and has few borrowed elements from Sanskrit. Which makes learning Hindi for a Tamilian very difficult. And then you should also know our country's literacy rate...plus auto drivers and small business owners really have never had the opportunity or time or money to prepare for Prathmik and Madhyama or for TOEFL. So instead of being all stuck up, try and be nice to them. Say "anna" or something like that and see the reaction you get.

And then, of course everyone loves their mother tongue. You like yours and I like mine. You know how difficult it can get to differentiate between Indians from different part of the country? The stereotype that all Tamilians are dark may be true for parts of down south Tamilnadu but not true at all for chennai. So you do not expect anyone to assume you are a visitor if you consider yourself fairer than the SouthIindians and automatically give you first class treatment. You explain your situation to them and see if they do not understand you and if they are still mean then move on. You chose the wrong people, forget them.

Now lets talk about food. Have you tried Mathura? or how about Sangeetha Apoorva? or Saravana Bhavan (ya they serve more than just idli dosa's)? or just any restaurant? Probably you were looking into wrong places...And mind you, I am not even mentioning any higher end restaurants, these are places I could afford to eat at with my meagre pocket money when I was a student.

All cities have their own stereotypes. Of course stereotypes are not formed without any reason but do not judge a place based on the stereotypes you have heard. Base it on your own judgement. If you go to any place with a prejudice then you are going to come back with the same. But then again remember, YOU are going to Chennai or any place for a livelihood and Chennai DID NOT invite you. So if you do not like it there then move on and stop whining and quit complaining.

Chennai might be in your own country but any individual can see the cultural differences we face between each city in the same state let alone state to state difference. So why would you expect Chennai to be just like Calcutta or Delhi? Would we not loose our character then? Our country is beautiful in that we are (supposedly) united in our diversity too and that the diversity brings the unique flavor to it...

Spongebob, thanks for stopping by and commenting. And I completely agree...FIT IN. Not just for Sid but for all of us. We should try and fit in and be happy in stead of trying to pull out flaws. This applies to me too. I am in USA now and I love this country because I have made an attempt to blend in. Of course I complain on and off and that I did when I was in Chennai too but I never held grudges.

Vimmuuu...dude you are right. It does matter where or what, I hate people saying anything ill about places where I feel I belong too. Like Trichy, Chennai, Kansas, and Dallas. I have made statements like, "I will never live in SFO." But that was because I am afraid of their rents, gas prices and traffic jams. Other than that that city is a vacation heaven. I love the world too much to pick and choose places I like and hate.

Sid, I am glad that you jump started the comments with your views and opinions. I have tried to respond to your comments as best as I could and hope I did not hurt you in anyway but just show you my point of view. I hope we either agree or agree to disagree and let things be. And please be polite in your comments.

Thanks for everyone who took time off to comment. I am glad we got to talk.

ART

PS: Coming up...few posts of my anti-chennai experience in theUS.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This one is for you Meena...

I don't want you to think that I ignored your long comment. I was just taking time to address it correctly. So, I am cutting and pasting your comment here and will try and answer it in my next post. But can my friends who read this blog also help add to my content, correct me, or discuss with me please first. Have any of your irrespective of your city or state of birth share similar stories? please? Since I also see myself as a victim of stereotype I sometimes fail to see the story on the other side, so please enlighten me.

Here is the comment:

Hi Anu,

Thanks da for your long sweet reply. Yes it helped but you know what my problem is? I have all this anger and when time comes to give back like you said you do, I get tongue tied. Then when I am back home I keep hitting myself for not saying the right things. More than such people I end up hating myself. I am working on lowering my anger and speak right in such situations but I get too emotional because some one is putting down my birth place ( chennai), the place I grew up in, the place where I got educated, the place that gave me so many memories, the place that made me what I am and the place that i simply love. what really boils my blood is when people who have not even set foot in Chennai comment and laugh about how people there cant speak proper english or speak hindi with an accent or how orthodox or whatever crap prejudice they have. And I have travelled a lot in India and find that there is almost the same situation in UP, Bihar, AP, Gujarat even Delhi and Bombay have their flaws.. but I don;t go critisizing about a place when someone is from that state. It is so juvenile, immatured and beneath me..how do I retort to something like" hey Chennai does not even have hip pubs/dicsos" etc. I am like, you have not even been there..!!! It is just too kiddish. So I just walked away and broke that friendship. Was not worth it !!

We are supposed to be a secular country and yet so SO divided. Even among the educated so called forward class. Shame on such people. I can only imagine how the poor class must be so fanatic about religion and caste and creed.

Sorry for the long comment, I seriously should vent all this in my own blog.

Angry, sad, frustrated, and hating myself for not being able to atleast act cool and reply back to such people instead of fuming and getting tongue tied and then saying all the right things in my head at home !!!

-M

Thanks people. I will reply to you M in a separate post. I do not want to make this post long and verbose.

:)
Peace out

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I like it hot

strong, and with milk and lotsa sugar...add some masala to spice it up and that is the way to rock it...

I am talking about my Tea...

Fake Off

If you know or feel someone or something is fake and comes in all forms of fake-ness...would you still fake an alliance with that thing or person?


Then would you also be called a fake?


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I want to Grow...

a garden. I have never grown one on my own ever. It has been there already before I moved in or somebody was hired to grow one. I never had much interest. I do not know why. Well, that is not to say that I have never attempted growing one...

I remember when I was in my fifth grade my brother and I wanted to have a terrace garden. So we collected some bricks from a construction site, hauled them up and arranged it in a rectangle at a corner. We then picked up some soil what we thought would be perfect for growing plants and filled up the rectangle.

Then we bought a tomato, a few green chillies, and a dhania and sowed them like we saw on the fields. In neat rows and separated by vegetable. The garden flourished. Right after our first crop we lost interest. The garden died.

But together we planted a neem tree in front of our house. Took a small sapling from a street side, displaced it but gave it ample water and sun and let it grow. When I went back to the house after 10 plus years, the tree was big. Three times my size. Giving shade to the house and it looked beautiful. I hugged the tree and felt a sense of accomplishment.

Then when I was in my 6th grade, I planted another neem tree in the new house we moved to. And again this one too grew big and pretty like all neem trees are...once again same emotions...

That was the last time I really made any attempt at planting trees until I moved to Dallas. In 2007 a few months before Babs was born the Sai Baba temple was giving away Tulsi plants. I picked two up. One I gave to my friend who promptly killed the plant and another I kept for myself. I killed it after a year and a half. Same thing but I prolonged its life and death. We were upset. Now what are we to do if Dallas weather is bad? Tulsi is not famous for braving cold I think.

Anyways a few weeks ago, at a friend's bridal shower we were given a grow kit for flowering plants. I got Zinnia and my friend got a Marigold which she left at my apartment. So now they are both sitting on the window waiting to sprout. I am hoping the sun and the drops of water I pour will help. If this works, then I want to have a mini-garden on my balcony or at the entrance and on the ouside kitchen window sill. How I wish...really...knowing my penchant for killing plants...

Anyhoo, I will update with pics soon :)

Love
ART
A gardener at heart but not in reality.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Vacations

There are many types of vacations, some travel for fun, adventure, honey moon, visiting family, taking a break, stay at home vacations, etc. I decided to take one for myself. The last one we did was visiting G's family in CA and this time I told G that I wanted to visit my parents in TN. G said he could not make it because I was planning to be away for a week and so it was me and Babs who packed our bags. I don't think Babs knew what was going on at all, I am not asking her consent about such things as yet :P

So off we went to Chattanooga on an hour and half flight. Babs was kept entertained by our fellow passenger, an 8 year old girl who was happy to play with Babs. It was smooth. I reached home and then a friend of ours drove down from Ohio to join us for a couple of days. It was fun. We went and rode the incline railway and ate out and then relaxed by the pool and kiddie play areas with Babs. I realxed.

My body also agreed that I relaxed. I could feel that I was not stressed, I was not on a time run. I did not have to wake up at a certain time, clean the house, cook dinner, cut veggies, or any of those things. Mom and dad took care of all that for me. They cooked all my favorite dishes and Babs too. They let me sleep in and have long showers. I even got my eyebrows done and hands waxed on time for a change. I saw Sun TV, Vijay TV and K TV. Babs and I got to spend so much time together. I was happy.

This is what I call a perfect vacation. Where I am right now, all I want is a couple of hours of uninterrupted sleep. Not beautiful hills or sweeping valleys, although I got to see both of them :) (bonus), but peace. I don't want stress when I am vacationing. The stress which shows on your face when you return from a vacation and say, "I want a vacation from a vacation."

There is a sugam (happiness) when you are at your parents house. The same sense of security that you had as a kid. Familiar smells, food, pace, love, attention, care and best of all no sense of guilt.

I realized that such vacation should be taken at least twice a year and I am sure it will do me a world of good. I want to thanks Dad and mom for doing this for me, indulging my kid, making her rotten and making me more spoilt. I love the two of you for the kind of unconditional love I get. I am not sure that I can ever repay it but I will try my best to do the same for Babs.

Thanks.
ART


PS: While I was out in TN relaxing, Mr. G here partied. Ore kallula rendu manga (one stone two mangoes). He got a break too and was relaxed when I got back. Isn't that brilliant? What more can I ask for?

Poo Poo

in the Potty...

My daughter Poo Poo'ed in the potty today. What an achievement. I am a proud amma. Although I did not help her to learn to do it, my baby sitter did, I feel proud of her deed.

I cannot share it without grossing anyone out anyway...so might as well do it and leave it here so I will know the date and I feel like I climbed up on the roof and screamed it out loud.

Sorry folks, but when you become a parent all milestones are great milestones and you want to celebrate them :)

Love y'all.

ART

Monday, June 01, 2009

Amma Clumsy...

So Babs is actually talking now. Not blabbering but talking. She does have her moments when she tries to explain herself in a funny way and you are looking at her and wondering what on earth was that and she gets frustrated with you and you at her and so on...but on most occasion she talks. And I want to call it Bab-ble.

So off we were on our vacation. The day we were heading back I told myself, "Phew, no accidents and Babs is actually been good so far in the trip (healthwise)."

Dad and mom came with us to the airport and they waited looking at me and Babs as we walked through the security check-in with a very sad face that I cannot describe adequately with words but I am sure y'all can understand. I had to take our shoes off and put Babs shtrollo (stroller) on the scanner and our diaper bag and so on. So I told Babs to sit on a table right next to me, removed her shoes and mine, put them on the basket with my diaper bag and was ready to pick Babs.

The official lady asked me, "Do you have any liquids?"

"Nope, just two boxes of baby food."

"Oh that is fine."

"Do not put your shoes in the basket let them run directly through the scanner."

Fine, I remove them and place them on the conveyor belt.

Dude over the scanner screamed, "how many ounces of baby food?"

In the background I hear my parents scream, and then I see Babs on the floor flat on her face. My mind was in twenty thousand places. For a few seconds I could not put two and two together. My daughter had been right next to me, how did she land on the floor? I quickly picked up a screaming and wailing Babs and I began crying too. No, wait, bawling.

I held Babs close to me, who was asking for her Thatha (grand dad) and Amamma (grandma) and was crying hard. I held to her and tried to distract her but I could not hold myself back. And once again in about 4 minutes my angel of a daughter whose lower lips were bleeding stopped crying. I went through the security checking and on the other side, put her back in the shtrollo (stroller) and tried to dry my eye, dab her wound a bit more and kiss her and wet her with my tears.

Dad called, "Stop crying, please. You are breaking our heart and we can see you from where we are."

"I am done crying."

"No you are not."

"Ok now?"

"Fly safe and let this be a lesson. Do not leave Babs unattended."

"Of course dad. Bye."

With tears still in my eyes I looked at Babs and she was looking at me bewildered and then said, "Amma Roya (cried or crying)."

"Yes jaanu. Amma roya because Amma Clumsy."

"Amma Clumsy."

"I am so sorry jaanu."

"Amma Daboo (dumb)." And she said this with the cutest smile a bleeding lip can give.

With that my tears vanished and we ran into our flight as we were the last passengers boarding it...

And what wonderful co-passengers we had...well that will have to wait for a separate post.

I freaked out seeing my daughter on the floor and bruised and bleeding although only on her lower lip. She cried and she wanted me to hold her and it tore my heart because I was the villain who had made her fall and yet she wanted me and trusted me (although she kept asking for her grandparents once in a while). But the best part is that she put the smile back into my face until G went through the whole enquiry process and made me feel worse all over again but only for sometime :) So all is well. Babs lips healed the day after itself and she will never ever be left alone again.

F.O.

Ya seriously...What is the deal in following F.O without Rafa? I can watch it for Fed but without Rafa it is like not having pickle for curd rice. You wont understand that if you had never received a curd rice dabba with no pickle...

Well of course I was talking about French Open, what were you thinking about?

It was shocking to see him leave and even in that he was gracious. My Rafa, the best tennis player ever not just in the game but also in grace. I am going to miss you for the rest of the week and hope you come back with a bang for the W. Get some rest and more practice and do not pay any heed to that Soderlings sodden behavior.

Vamos Rafa.