Friday, June 27, 2008

Fair or not

All along the feminists cried hoarse. Over "fairness" cream ads. Why does the girl have to be fair to attract the "nice boy". Why is love portrayed so shallow? So if a girl is not fair she isn't thought of as "deserving"?

And many more such poignant questions.

But feminists can rest at peace now. Because even as yet another lousy "fairness" ad airs on TV [ with Saif abandoning Priyanka Chopra only to meet her later and see a "fairer" her in part 2 (yeah even ads are like nightly soaps now) (and I haven't seen part 2 yet, I am just assuming she turns fair and he then ditches the model and comes back to her, that is the only natural conclusion to such an ad) ] more and more ads focus on men's fairness. First it was Fair and Lovely (who else!) and now its all kinds. I see more fairness ads for men than women now, no kidding!

So finally the men are also expected to dress up eh? :) Its no longer the girl that has to be fair and beautiful to get the nice boy. Now the boy has to be fair and handsome to get the nice girl as well.

Some victory for the feminists that ! Talk about equal responsibilities ;)

How do you react to pain

I was reading MM's Post on her train experience and I went into one of those phases of mine. When I hear stories of pain. Then I read the newspaper and needless to say, there was more food for thought there.

How do you react to all the trouble in the world? You can help but can you help everyone? You can donate money but can you make a difference? Often the only thing I find I can do at the end of it is abhor myself for complaining about the little discomforts in my own life. When I hear of tragedies or see people around me braving much worse cards that life has dealt to them, I feel so lame trying to make my own problems look big. At least while I last in this phase, I feel really thankful for whatever I have. From the heart.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Getting back to old loves

One of which was the HINDU Crossword. When I was in JNTU, I was a regular with it. The kind that waited eagerly every morning for the newspaper to be delivered, yeah :) Then life happened and I slowly lost touch with it. Renewed it for sometime when my parents were around back in 2005 and lost it again. Since we now get the HINDU delivered, I am getting back to it. I managed to solve one puzzle to a decent extent a couple of weeks back and this made me very happy.

I am trying to juggle that with a lot of other things, so not able to spend as much time as I would like with it but whatever little it is, makes me feel good ;)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Restaurant raves

Since I am now a well-recognized food-freak, let me add to my Food posts by reviewing some of the restaurants we have been to around here:

Roomali - With a view - Great ambiance, and good spread on the Friday night dinner buffet. I liked their, what else, roomalis which are made to order right in front of you. Ambiance was particularly nice, a tad dark, but nice.

Mast Kalandar - When we were in Sunnyvale we used to go to one "Madras Cafe" on El Camino Real by default if we were too bored to think of where to go. This place on Outer Ring Road is soon attaining the "Madras Cafe Status". I have had the best Dal Makhani here and I've already been there thrice in three weeks (once on a team lunch). Made some amazing memories too, like S who tried their "Zara Hatke Mirchi" started getting emotional by the time she was through with it ;) (The mirchi caused tears in plain-speak, so Hatke that was;) )

We went to a couple of other places like Rajbhog on Outer Ring Road and the Pizza Hut in (I think it was) Indiranagar. Desi Pizzas are way too good I enjoy eating them maybe ten-fold than the plain Veggie Lovers Pizza from Pizza Hut.

I read a review on Mugen, the Thai Restaurant, in Indira Nagar and I am actively trying (by saying the word 10 times come weekend) to get Subhash to go to this restaurant since the review was yumm!

Not good enough?

There was a blood donation camp at work today and a colleague of mine asked me if I wanted to go. I said yes, I have never done anything on a personal level as such in terms of social service so decided this was a good opportunity to do it. Plus. PLUS. I could get to know my blood group. Yeah. I am ignorant like that. Not even in the know of what my own blood group is. Sigh!

We went down to the camp and they pricked us both with a needle first to see if we are "fit enough" to donate blood. Eh? Such a thing exists? I remember my mom telling me sometime back that of all the people young and old that were available to give blood when my Dad wasn't keeping well, only hers was good enough (AND she is over 50 years, she is the fittest 50+ woman I have seen so far). I quite forgot about it till they tested us today.

Turns out the blood wasn't fit enough to be donated. Not enough haemoglobin (silly Firefox, h-a-e-m-o-g-l-o-b-i-n IS the spelling I learnt for it) apparently. Hmm...

They at least told me what my blood group was and needless to say it was the commonest of the common, nothing special even in the blood you say? What to do, no? They gave us both a pamphlet which detailed how to increase haemoglobin levels in the blood. One of the bullets was to "avoid consumption of fried foods"

Ha! Like THAT is going to happen :))

Monday, June 16, 2008

Of "Puri Laddu" and "Yellu"

We went to meet my cousin on Sunday. Finally! Have been planning forever and ever now. He lives on this other side of town and we took a supposedly faster although circuitous route while going which, thanks to BBMP, took us 2.5 hours what with the constructions and digging up the roads at various regular points. (we got back in a meagre 40 mins ;) )

I also met my other cousin who is visiting from London as she was at this cousin's place. It was good to catch up with all of them including my nephew :) Not to mention the food ;) I had a lot of my favourites after a while. "Sandige" (don't exactly know what its made of but its my favourite accompaniment with Rasam), "Chakli", "Yellu" and "Puri Laddu"!

"Yellu" is something we make for Sankranthi. It is a mix of various dry ingredients like shelled peanuts, pieces of sugar crystal (or pieces of jaggery), til (Sesame seeds), dry coconut pieces, and "kadle kayi" (also called putnal pappu in Telugu, not sure it has a name in English). It is simply yumm and I love it and I used to eagerly wait for Sankranthi to come around so I could eat yellu and berus;)

Puri laddu. Its that generous sized laddus made by rolling puri (the one you use in bhel puri), dry coconut pieces and liquid jaggery together. Needless to say, this is also yumm. And since I am always the pampered one with all my cousins, they gave me a whole dabba of yellu and also puri laddus to take home. And I had one right after I came back from work today!

Happy stomach, happy me :D


Since the AC at this place is making my bones freeze, I went to get some hot tea. I don't regularly drink tea or coffee. And this surprises a lot of people ;) They think I am being a baby:P On days when I freeze at work though I prefer dipping a good flavoured tea bag in some hot water and drinking it to avoid shivering;)

Today I tried the Tetley cardamom tea and its aroma was heavenly. Cardamom is one of the finest creations of God if you ask me, the aroma of it is simply divine!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Early morning mishap

As usual I woke up at 5.30 feeling completely groggy due to my calls late last night. I don't know what I was thinking or where I was looking but I walked right into those wooden projection shelves on our bedroom wall. And boy did that hurt! Thanks to that I have a small chestnut sized bump on my head now and it still hurts :( Bad, bad morning!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Kellogg's for the morning

We bought these two new Kellogg's flavours in their Corn Flakes line of products. One was Mango flavoured (made from Mango Puree) and another was Banana flavoured (made with Banana Puree and having real Banana pieces). And since we ran out of LPG last night we had to eat cereal instead of our usual Idlis-with-Allam-chutney (ginger chutney) this morning. Both of them are just yumm!! Mango one was just like eating corn flakes with Mango milkshake (I used to do that when I was in Madison, so it reminded me of old times:) ) and Banana was well, bananas all the way!

I loved both of them. They have a similar Strawberry flavour but that wasn't such great shakes, these two were awesome.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

At the gym!

I went to the gym today! After maybe 4 months. The longest break I probably took since 2002. It felt good. Going to the gym is one of those extremely boring and dull things and I hate to do it. But it does make me happy once its over, because its "done" for the day.

I went to the Cisco gym. Looked good, most of my weight machines were there, I didn't work on any of them today, I will slowly ramp up. For now plan is to visit every alternate day on evenings when the maid isn't going to come. Lets see how I manage it, all along since we moved to India I had trouble absorbing the gym into my daily routine, once this gets set maybe it will be smoother ;)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Giving up a job to be a full-time mom

Who said this is just for regular employed women in any-collar jobs? My stereotyped mind was broken out of it when I asked my maid if she wanted work because another couple from the gang recently moved back to India (and the rest of them are angry with us for setting the trend;) ) and they are looking at apartments in our complex. She said that she gave up on all her "households" after she had a kid. And now that the kid is a little older she is working part-time which is just two houses, mine and another one. She said she won't be able to since she has to take care of her kid. I asked her to think about it (she does a good job you know) and it should be a little easier since my friend stays at home so more flexibility in terms of timing. Today she came back and said she was interested, which made me very happy both for her sake and my friend's.

And I was left wondering how easily we stereotype certain things to certain people. Liking giving up a job for being a mom is only something a person in a regular paper-bound employment would do.

Friday, June 06, 2008


I was tagged by Laksh to do this, here goes..

Why We Buy -- The science of shopping

This is the fifth line ..

In fact at KMart, Martha's paint is often displayed way up front instead of where paint paint used to be (in the rear, behind the bags of peat moss)

And the following three lines ...

Paint has gone from being hardware to fashion, all because women got involved. Men don't paint till the walls are peeling and cracking, women will do it when they, not the walls, need a change. Of course painting has always been within the abilities of your average man or woman. But only now has paint itself- the way it is packaged, marketed and sold-gone unisex.

Wow! A revelation, I didn't get to Page 123 yet in this book ;)

Not sure who I can tag, so if you are reading this, feel free to pick it up :)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Politics continued

I read this thought-provoking blog in Citizen Matters yesterday where this person wrote about how she used to enjoy her morning walks and how they have now gone bad what with people's declining civic sense or the complete lack of it. And she quoted Khushwant Singh as saying that he used to hide in his balcony and pelt people who peed on his wall with stones. Man! I rather like that idea (don't jump to conclusions, I am NOT a violent person). If education doesn't bestow any civic sense on you and if not having an education is excuse enough for you to not feel responsible towards your country/land, then a few pelts might just do the trick eh? I'd love to take up that job any day as long as it guarantees that after being hit with stones by some unknown force a bunch of times, you would start thinking twice before peeing on public walls. I think our ancestors were far too wise and well ahead of their times when they said "Laaton ke bhoot baaton se nahi maante" (Kicking is the only way some would listen).

On a related note, everyone knows Bangalore traffic is a nightmare. Subhash used to live in Noida/Gurgaon/Delhi area earlier and he tells me how Delhi Police did a splendid job of bringing down rowdy driving in the city. If you jump a red, forget jumping, even cross the stop line at a red, you could be sure that a challan (traffic ticket) would be sent home as a gift. And the normal INR 50 and INR 100 fines wouldn't do the job, so they hiked it up quite a bit and lo! people actually started behaving. I have proof of this here ;) The increased hikes in challans make so much perfect sense that I don't understand why Bangalore or even Hyderabad Police don't follow it. There are so many offenders, that surely if you start challaning everyone, your revenues will shoot up to 500% overnight and not to mention what it will do to that percentage if you hike the challan rates. But along with that of course you need to ensure people actually cough up and I wouldn't mind dealing a bunch of lathis to people who don't (am I getting more and more violent or what). When people HAVE to pay and pay high, they will most definitely toe the line. But there is also the fat in the system you have to deal with. Everyone is looking to make a quick buck from the havaldar to the inspector. (I actually pity those traffic cops standing in the middle of an unruly traffic street and enduring all that sun and pollution:( )

It just takes a visionary leader who has the power to enforce it is what I believe. When we have politicians who take a genuine interest in developing the place, I am sure we can see many such policies. Till then we have to wait and hope. And probably take that step into the dirty world of politics. After all its not going to get clean if we, the youth and the educated populace are going to sit around and do nothing. I am inspired to get into politics someday, its always been on my agenda. Ever since I realized, when I was 17, that being an IAS officer just wouldn't cut it as you simply have to play puppet to politicians wills. I want to be a minister for Telecom or Public Transport. I know a bunch of friends in traffic engineering whose knowledge I can tap on to make Indian Roads better. Agriculture would be best but I don't think I have the expertise to do that job well ;) Of course, everyone is apprehensive, the danger to your life in this dirty political scene, the things it takes to get there especially given that I am not a moneyed "baap ki aulaad" and I quite belong to the core middle-class, the fact that I am a female citizen, and so on and so forth. But I want to at least give it a shot. At least try to make that little bit of a difference. I want to be with TDP just for the sake of Naidu. Or maybe Lok Satta for the sake of Dr. JP. I read that Swami Ramdev wants to join politics to "clean it up". So maybe we are at a point where people are fed up of fat and filthy politicians and actually want to do something about it and clean it up a bit.

There ought to be some hope for my political aspirations somewhere!

Politics and Governance

So Obama won it :) Subhash and I were cheering for him. He looks like a nice fella and that is much needed in Washington right now. We never really liked Hillary Clinton, we thought her every move was well rehearsed and her real concern was power and not really much else. We could be wrong, but hey, I am not voting? ;)

Its good to see this man finally make it. Black and Presidential nominee. Maybe the white US is finally letting go of its conservative attitude. US has never had a woman or a black president so either would have been a first. But the race is not over yet. And so I hope John McCain doesn't win. He looks like too much trouble and the US right now frankly doesn't need anymore trouble after how much Bush plundered it.

So lets hope and cheer for Obama!


Petrol and Diesel will cost more from today and Manmohan Singh is trying really hard to convince people that its inevitable. It was a little pleasant to go over his speech/address. When I landed in the US gas was selling for 99c a gallon, when I left it 7 years later, it was going for $4.25 a gallon. If the all-mighty US can reel under this crisis like that, what can other countries hope for? So I didn't think the petrol and diesel price hike in India was unjustified. Nor did I think it was the Government's fault/doing. But still it was deemed necessary that the PM send an explanation to the nation. Maybe we have hope for good governance in this country after all.

For us personally this looks like it will bring about a shift in our plans for buying a place. We are now thinking if we should move closer to his office than mine. Cisco runs cabs for employees, I don't have to depend on my own two wheeler/car for getting to work. And since my transportation expense is a meagre INR 100 (yay!!!) per month right now, even if it increases ten-fold because I start taking Cisco cab's, that won't be all that much. But if he has to continue driving like he does now, that looks like it will make a big dent. And I am all for not polluting the environment here any further, which is probably the single biggest motivation for me to take the BMTC bus back home. So lets see...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

All in a day's work!

If anyone has been wondering why I haven't been in the blogging scene for a week almost now (I feel guilty for not doing my duty and blogging, so now officially its one of the two jobs I keep ;) ) its because I have had a low-profile week.

Last Wednesday I lost some of my most precious stuffed toys which were in cargo on their way from the US. I sobbed and mourned for them for a couple of days. They were really important to me, Subhash had picked and chosen them for me on various different occasions knowing how I love soft toys :( Its a loss that I cannot stop feeling sorry about anytime soon. Then Subhash's parents left last Friday and for a couple days I felt like we were a set of kids left at home alone waiting for the elders to come back, not knowing what to do in the meanwhile except watching TV and eating.

And in general at work and otherwise, things were not going so great, so much so that I was wondering when I'd have my next "normal" day. I usually don't feel like writing about the troughs in the sine (Maybe I should change the name of this blog to Crest-al Scribbles;) ) But yesterday I was giving into the temptation to rant half from the guilt of not having blogged for almost a week and half from the lack of hope that its going to get better anytime soon.

But today I have a better excuse to write. And that is how miraculously things fell in place last evening. No worries, nothing major went out of place to begin with, just me and my small little daily events.

I had a bunch of things lined up for the evening starting with getting home by 5 so I could let the maid in. Then I had to meet a friend who was looking for apartments around here, then work out and meet another friend who recently got back to India from an extended stay overseas. All of this was to happen by 6.30 ;)

I was just about to call it a day at work when I got pulled into a customer escalation which I managed to finish in an hour. An hour late! Which means, maid has gone back, friend has gone back after seeing apartments and no time to work out before the other friend came by (yeah such are my troubles, I told you;) )

So I decided it was going to be yet another hopeless evening and headed to the bus stop. Usually I think it would be nice to have someone to walk with and chat. It so happened that this other girl got in at Intel's bus stop which happens to be the next one after mine and she got off with me. Just as I was thinking if I should ask her or not, she asked me if I stayed here. And I said yes and we got talking. Which block she stays, what does she do, what is her routine like and vice versa about me. Just as I was about to enter our apartments chatting with this girl, I came across my friend who had finished seeing the apartments and was leaving, he was in a hurry, so he signaled that he would call me later and left. Ok, so one thing out of the way. Then it happened! I saw my maid walking back. I was so happy! Yay!! She said she had waited for over 45 mins and was just leaving. I must have had all stars aligning for me to see her. I said bye to this other girl as we had come to her block by now and took my maid back home. I couldn't believe that two things were actually going out of my list!

I had to close on this customer escalation so I decided that since I anyway couldn't work out while the maid was there, I might as well login and finish with the other thing. I sent some emails out asking a few questions, the maid was done with her work, and I sent her off and started my work out. I checked my email again after I was done and to my utmost shock I got a reply to my earlier email, I would never have expected them to come back so fast. I thought my email might confuse people and there would be some Q&As back and forth etc. So anyway, with the reply, I figured out what the problem was forwarded a solution to the customer team and closed on it. I was expecting this would take at least till today to finish. Couldn't believe things were falling in line one after the other in such rapid succession.

Then I called my friend. It was 7 by now and she said instead of coming by directly she decided it was best she went home took her car and came by. And that she would be here in another 40 minutes. Yippee!! I actually get to shower and start dinner before she came. I couldn't have imagined a more "spacious" evening with *ALL* my tasks getting to completion !! So I started making dinner and finished some other household chores and relaxed for a bit. She actually got stuck in a traffic jam and didn't get home till 8.15, by which time dinner was almost ready and I didn't have to stay in the kitchen when she was home. Yay!! This was unbelievable ;)

I narrated this whole thing to Subhash last night and he was happy to see I had a "normal" (maybe even a "good" day yesterday, just that morning I was wondering aloud to him why I wasn't even having "normal" days, let alone good days;) Its probably just him then, eh? Whenever I go to him with something, it seems to solve itself. Well, whatever it is, my luck or him or God, I was happy with yesterday, I got to smile to a satisfaction after a long time.

I was just going to be very philosophical and say how bad times blend with good ones and how I appreciate good times much better because of bad times I saw Laksh's post about it. So without much ado, let me just link her here.