Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I have done it...

I find it very arrogant or obnoxious and sometimes both when people claim that they understand the forces of nature.

Last night we had the tornado siren go off in our community at 3.55am. We were up scrambling to put our munchkin out of harms way. I even convinced G to sit with me in our under stair safe spot. He was cramped and after three minutes he wanted to take nature head on. The siren also turned off in a few minutes and we tried to sleep as much as we could to start the following day.

When I mentioned this to a couple of people, they both phoophooed my worries away and it made me angry. I wonder how they feel so confident to have figured out tornado just because they lived in the tornado alley. By their logic:

  1. Can the residents of SFO claim that they understand all earthquakes?
  2. Do people next to the volcanoes say that they have control over the mountains?
  3. What about the people who lived by the beach that lost their lives in the Tsunami? A lot of them lived by the ocean their entire life and still did not understand what was happening when the water receded.
  4. Or what about the residents of Mumbai who are used to their regular downpour but could not handle 37+ inches of rain when it came down on 26 July 2005?
If we are so cool to heed to the weather information then why check the weather before stepping out? Would you not know on an average with your experience of just "living" what the weather is expected to be on the 6th day of May? These arrogant people and their attitude about others fears annoys me.

I am not from tornado valley, I am more of a cyclone person, never seen one but been through many depressions and I still don't get it. Heck, even the meteorologists don't know what is going on when they declare a holiday for schools and see bright sunshine when they had predicted 4" of rainfall and crazy winds. So people with the "I am from Tornado Alley attitude and I will determine if it is a tornado or not" STFU.

Phew! Once again ranting here feels good!!!


Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Another Year Slowly Crept By

I had no idea how fast time is moving. I was so busy with work, family, work, friends, work that I completely lost track of life. My life, my family life. I feel like 2015 was me running around asking everyone to adjust with me and my craziness. The worst hit were ofcourse G and Babs and my parents and of course me!

I invited my parents to spend a couple of months with us and I left them alone at home most of the time because I was working crazy hours. I spent very little time in the two months they were here. I could feel their soothing presence around me at all times. I chatted with them before bed and briefly in the morning. They were there but never once made me feel like I was ignoring them. I really had a good time with them though only in small spurts that when they left I was left crying for them. I missed them when I walked into the house in the evening. I missed them when I drove out in the morning to work and see dad taking a walk, or mom going on her evening walk when I was riding back home from work. I missed mom on Thursdays when I would rush home to take her to the temple...I simply and plainly miss them!

In between all the work madness there was Babs birthday. She turned 8 and she handled an absentee mom with patience. She allowed me to be a part of her simple plan for her birthday party that she put together all by herself. She chose 3 girl friends to spend the day of her birthday and have a sleepover with. It was all set, easy plan. I, on the other hand had only slept for 2 hours that day, I was in a high crank mode. I ran around trying to get the whole birthday set up last minute. The friends came and we cut cake, went bowling, ate dinner, then the sleepover. I was exhausted with just 2 hours of sleep under my belt and the kids were reluctant to sleep till it was 2am. I finally sat outside like a guard dog until they crashed. I felt horrible doing that but I needed sleep at some point. Sorry kiddos!!!

The next day the kids put up the most amazing show for us, with tickets, autograph signing and photos, and all that. It was amazing to see them grow up. Babs enjoyed it every bit while she also had to do some growing up and learn to share her friends. It was all good. We finished up and I still had some energy left on Sunday. I was glad that she had a long birthday celebration and I still kept my sanity. My friend's daughter told her mom that I was just like her, "strict." My friend told her daughter, "and that is why I send you to her house, and only her house." Made me feel so nice in spite of being called strict. One day these little ones will learn that it is called, "Being a Mother."

And through all this my parents patiently stayed in the background, helped out when needed and stayed away when they knew I was getting overloaded. While the kids were busy playing I spent an hour lying down next to my mother when she mentioned that this was the first time I had laid down with her in her entire stay. I felt so sad to get up and go from there...

Slowly but steadily another year has crept by, another Halloween with my Goddess Athena, and a couple of months with my parents. I am getting older too and I feel it in my bones and as much as I complain, I like the work and working. It is crazy but I like it! Oh Well! Eating the cake and having it too...never happens!

Motherly ART

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

오랜만이다 (orenmanida)!!! (Long Time!)

Yup, feels like forever since I wrote some words here. This space is my relief, my very own where I write very censored stuff. Glad that I stop myself from writing what I really feel. Imagine all those thoughts running amuck in my blog.

Since the last time, I have finished another of my yearly EU trips, went to Paris (the default), Normandy, Mont St. Michel, Athens, Santorini, Koln, Alsbach, So many beautiful places where I could just sit and do nothing but had to hustle because we were on a tourism trip. First time to these places means that you have to see things, second time is when you sit down to enjoy the coffee :) Which is precisely what we did in Paris. The husband and I took long walks had leisure coffee while watching the French hustle past us. Santorini was the most beautiful place I have seen thus far, the color of the sky reflecting the color of the Mediterranean with the stark white buildings. I could stare outside forever. I loved Mont St. Michel, it reminded me of walking into a fairytale castle. I felt like a princess as I climbed up the cobblestone steps to go to the church. The ocean on one side and the land on the other, I did not want to leave.

And then Babs started school, she is growing me up and pushing me to do things I never thought I would. Thankfully she has a wonderful teacher in school and her everyday is easy. Work front has gotten crazy busy and tons of hours are being poured into work and away from home. Some part of it is actually fun and some part is not. Life is like that I guess, you cannot get the fun without the not-so-fun.

During all the work and school craziness parents came in. Them just being at home is so relaxing. Not much needs to be said or done but they know to say and do the right things without being prompted. Weekends are running by, and Djoko won US Open and Rafa is not in the radar. I feel bad for Rafa and for Fed. This is precisely how thoughts are running in my head now. One thing after another with no correlation to what was just said a few minutes ago.

I am trying to learn the art of keeping things in my head and not say it through my mouth but I need to control a bit more. I still say things that I really should say but for the sake of diplomacy should have shut up. But sometimes, things just need to be said.

Oh well. I wish I could blog more and write about Bahubali that I saw. Or just say about the fun things I did on my trip but mind is clouded with work associated stuff that I am unable to see past the fog. When things clear up, I will try to get some photos up here.

Till then,

안녕히 계세요 (annyeonghi kyeseyo) (Good bye)

Cheerful Art.

PS: Watching Goddess of Marriage - my current Korean addition!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Of Prayers and Maharaja's

I have no intention to belittle anyone's belief or practices. This is simply my thought process that wonders why and how we do these things.

This past weekend we were invited to pray with a few friends who were doing a Pooja. Now, if you know me, you know I am religious by choice. I love praying at convenience. I pray when someone is sad, or if I need something, I pray for the world and for you (even though you do not know me), I pray when I think a prayer is due. I do not believe that prayer is strictly restricted to temples, Pooja rooms at home or to festival days. In spite of all that, when I got invited to the Pooja, I was excited because it reminds me of India, and of course, anything that reminds me of India is always accepted without hesitation.

I loved this house, the people, the singing, the prayers, and the food. I was so happy to be a part of it all until I saw a man being called Maharaj and people taking blessings from him. He, I assume conducted the ceremony which I had missed. Does just conducting a ceremony and knowing the scriptures give someone the right to call themselves or let other call him a Maharaj? People were running all around to him to ensure he was standing in comfort, moved a few women around to ensure that he was sitting in comfort. Food was brought to him while the rest of us stood in a long line, people buzzed around to ensure that he was kept in God status. Now I wonder, what did he do to deserve this?

I cannot bring myself to seek blessings from people who are not related to me or not known to me. I feel uncomfortable and definitely NOT disrespectful. I love to do namaskar to my parents and people with whom I have a very special bond but not to strangers. If knowledge of religious scripture alone provides one with the status of a King then I have wasted 21 years of education. After all those hours and money spent on education and no one still cares enough to provide me comforts without me having to move a finger. I really hope that the Maharaj gentleman has done some good things too to deserve the love and respect he received that day. A lot of good things hopefully!!

- A Skeptic ART

Of Depression and being Depressed

I think it is the most indescribable feeling. You cannot express what you feel inside while you are smiling on the outside so the world sees that your life is alright. It is most definitely not but you are too ashamed to talk about it. It happens to most of us, at least once...

I sat watching daughter play tennis with three adult women doing a tennis clinic. She was having fun, giggling, running, and playing good strokes. The coach was happy while I kept telling her to run. I sat down on the bench waiting for the coach to kick her out and say buh-bye. She had had a long evening but was still going on with a lot of gusto.

A lady sat sniffling next to me, she was busy wiping her tears, my daughter was actually warming up in her spot. I casually said, "it's a Monday, things get better closer to Friday." I did not want to trivialize her but I wanted her to know that things get better. She nodded and kept crying. This was in public view, everyone could see her, if she was crying out loud in the open then something is really off in her life. I asked her over a sip of water, "Everything all right? Do you want to talk?" This was a complete stranger and I was offering her my ears. Through her sniffles she said, "My husband, he is depressed, and he does not let me in."

"I get you," I said and she looked at me in shock. "I was there, we both were there, and I understand." She asked me, "how did you get out of it?" I replied, "I have no idea, I think we snapped out of it one fine day and you will too." She stood up and said, "I wanted to hear that, I wanted someone to say that it will all be better but no one can understand. All my friends keep asking me and are getting nosy. I don't want to talk about this with them. My life is a mess."

"No one can empathize with you, this is only your pain. Even people who have been through this forget what it was like very soon. We have a transient memory only latching on to the good times. You have no one to explain but yourself," I reassured her and she nodded her head, held my hand and said, "Now, I will go and vent some frustrations on the tennis balls." She walked away into the court as my daughter came out sweating. We walked back to our car chatting and my daughter asked me, "who was that lady talking to you, did you know her?"

No, I did not know her, she was a stranger but I really hoped that things worked out for her. That she would wake up tomorrow and her life would turn around just like it did for me. I know it was not easy and I will still not talk about it to anyone but when it does, it is amazing. The feeling of finding what was lost is something you cannot express in words. I have other friends who are going through similar issues in life and I see them and hope I can chat with them but the door is always shut. I hope they also find solace in the words of a stranger or open up to a trusted friend. Depressed or not life goes on...at least for everyone else.

Arty Art!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rain, Nice & Driving

View of I-30 after a slow start has eased up
The drive felt never ending. Of course, it would be so, I was after all doing 10mph on a 70mph road. The maximum speed I reached today the entire route was close to 55mph. It was slow and boring. Mind kept wandering in and out of past, present and future, I was emoting to the songs on the radio or better still sang along with a few to stay away and focused. The darkness of the morning and the pounding rain took me back to the drive from Nice to somewhere just past Monaco.

It was still dark but the alarms were blaring. We had woken up to beating rain. The sky was lit brightly by the intermittent lightning and thunder roared all around us. For a few minutes I wondered if my decision to leave early towards Roma was a very good one. We climbed down three flights of stairs as the elevator had been turned off in the apartment (saving energy, the French way) and got soaking wet while loading into the car. 6 wet adults and 3 barely awake kids started out driving in the winding roads of Nice heading towards Roma. Brother-in-Law was driving and I was navigating. Within ten minutes the car was silent and it was just the two of us awake. The rain seemed relentless and the darkness did not leave us until it was close to 10 in the morning.

When the clouds parted, we were already in Italy getting out of one of the many tunnels. Mountains on one side and blue ocean on the other. Villages crowding up as if they wanted to all be in that one little valley. Tunnel after tunnel and valley after valley we drove through many villages until there were no more mountains but flat Tuscan land. The drive is etched in my memory as one of the most beautiful routes I have ever taken.

The drive was divided in to parts. Parts where we enjoyed the beauty and the parts where we wanted to get out of the misery of driving on boring flat empty land. The part where we had amazing coffee and the part where we were trying really hard to find a place to eat. In the end, it is always worth it. Apparently, everything is.

Like today, when I made it into work after an hour and forty-five minutes of driving, it was worth it. The darkness still has not left us and neither has the rain but the snow has started to drift by gently now 60 miles away at my home. Winter in Dallas, I love every bit of you. You are temperamental, you are 70 degrees on one day and 17 the next, you can snow and also do the rain but you do ice the best. You constantly keep us on our toes wondering what your next step is making every winter fresh and leaving lots of new memories to hold on to.

Cold, Tired and Wet from Rain 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Gems Vs M&M's

I laid them in a neat row. Sometimes they were organized by color and sometimes in a pattern. I would eat them by color or by pattern depending on my mood. And when they were all done, I would wait for the break to go pick some more up from the vending machine. That is how my relationship with M&M started.

I had to sit through 3-4 hour long classes late in the evening during my masters. Tummy would start growling around 7 pm just as I entered the class. My lunch would have been hours before consisting of fries or chicken nuggets. Never enough. I would save a side seat in the class just to organize my M&M’s. The class was essentially talking and understanding architecture through interaction and debate. At the half time break I would head out to pick up one more packet and a coke and finish up the class before heading back home in the cold.

I can only remember classes at Kansas State in the cold, I never took classes through summer. Before winter really ended our Spring session would come to an end and I never walked to a class in warmth. This was my life for two years, go to school in the morning for doing TA work, spend the noon finishing up reading and assignments and end the day in class discussing and arguing over different topics that always started in architecture but ended everywhere else.

Today, as I sat working late through deadline I stole a pack of M&M’s from a colleague and intuitively organized them on a clean piece of paper. Suddenly, the memories came pouring back from thirteen plus years ago. The funniest train of thought started with me feeling sad that the packet I was ripping was not gems. It was a weird thought, surely, I have not eaten Gems since I was a little girl and yet tonight, I would have been happier eating Gems than M&M’s.  And that is how, my brain train took me to my class room in Kansas State. As the evening turned into night outside, I melted out of my office and was sitting at my chair in Seaton Hall, and snapped out of it as an email came screaming by announcing more work.

An M&M’d ART.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pongal Poi Pongal Vandhadhu

Time flies...I cannot believe that I am standing in 2015 and பொங்கல் (Pongal) is already here. I wish I was eating sugarcane and enjoying சக்கிரை பொங்கல் (sweet Pongal) in my house in Chennai. I wish I had burnt old stuff the day before and beat the drum before throwing it into the fire. I wish I had worn new clothes to celebrate the birth of new and good times and the month of தை (Thai). Oh! Well! Cannot have everything.

If there was nothing for me to wish for or miss then I would not have led a good life, so for that fun I have had and the fun to be had...I would like to wish everyone a very happy பொங்கல் (PONGAL).

And I realize that I have written three posts about Pongal in the past...think I love this festival a lot.

The one I wrote in 2007 was 5 days before I found out I was pregnant. The memories are so vivid and from then on there was a Babs element in all of them :)




Pongal Eating ART