Yesterday, on Facebook, I found disparaging comments about India by some NRIs (Non- resident Indians) coming home for the vacations. They were blaming the country and its system for being incompetent because.. any guesses? ..all flights in and out of Northern India were grounded because of heavy fog. This just goes to show that Indians, especially the younger, working-in-IT-earning-in-thousands-spending-it-like-water-so-i-have-a-right-to-be-whiny set and the I'm-so-cool-cos-I studied/work-in-phoren (abroad) set of people have become so used to blaming the country and its system as a whole for any little thing that goes wrong that even the caprices of the weather will be blamed on the 'system.'
It is too much to expect these ungrateful wretches to do anything for their country that has done so much for them. So, I won't even broach that topic but what I would like to know is how many times they have appreciated the very same system they love to blame when the system got it right? There are so many government run services that perform well. The staff maybe unappreciated, underpaid and overworked but they still do their duty because they know how essential their services are and because it is the Indian tradition to consider one's duty sacred. The telecom service BSNL, the Indian Postal system and the Indian Railways.. every one of these systems is a vital lifeline of the country and each one has demonstrated extremely commendable innovations and re- inventions along with their characteristically smooth and efficient service in the recent years.
I noticed one of probably many examples of smart thinking by the Indian Railways, recently on a train to Chennai, the location of my visa interview. The innovation was to have the berth numbers show up on these night lights that are placed on the roof of the passage running through the train. This way, when the lights are switched off at night, the passengers boarding need not switch on the lights, disturbing their sleeping fellow passengers in order to look for their berths. All they need to do is locate their berth with the help of the numbers on these extremely dim lights that stay on all night. Kudos to the Indian Railways for coming up with this one.
Pink.. the happy color.. the girly color.. the color that is supposed to put you in a good mood and remind you of the fun things in life.. has unfortunately become the color of my worst nightmare.. The reason? I did not get my visa immediately as I had anticipated. Instead, I was handed a pink sheet which had a case number on it and said that further administrative processing was required before a visa could be issued. This process has been known to take as few as 15 and as many as 90 days.. There is nothing an applicant can do before the mysterious process consisting of unknown steps is completed but to wait.. Although I have a hunch about what might be the reason for this delay, I cannot be sure.. So, my only wish, which I hope will be fulfilled in the new year, is that, the visa Gods will soon be appeased and grant me the boon of a US visa..
The prospect of having to leave the place I've stayed in for the past 22 years and possibly not being able to come back for another 4 years is making a lot go on inside my head.. The sadness of having to stay away from my parents for the first time ever and of not being able to see my sis, my nephew and niece, my favorite cousin, my whole extended, crazy, idiotic family for another four years is killing me and that is quite natural.. What I did not expect to feel however, was this sadness at not being able to visit all the tiny places, the restaurants, the shops in my little corner of the world that make me feel that this is truly home..
the chaat stall in Big Bazaar which serves up the best chaat in Udupi, as I found out very recently..
the place on Court road where I get photocopies made and print outs taken when my printer acts up, which is often, I must add..
the tiny place near the City bus stand where I get credit for my phone.. Quick and efficient service is their motto..
the photo studio in front of Sanskrit College where I've had all my 'important' photos taken.. my graduation photos, my passport photos..
the internet centre within the Super Bazaar where I go when I need scans or went when I didn't have internet..
the two bus stands, City and Express.. since I always rely on public transport to get around as it's greener and safer..
the Jayalakshmi Cloth Store, Udyavar.. though it's technically not in Udupi.. for the latest fashions at affordable prices.. I even have a post up about it..
the shop near the bus stand where I get credit for my phone.. good for warm smiles and a quick chat in my mother tongue..
so many eateries that I'm gonna miss but if I had to choose one, it would have to be Snack Shack.. the best 'Potato Lovers' in the world and a great view..
the second hand book shop near Hangyo CTF, pricey but great second hand, almost new looking books..
riding on the pillion of a bike down Alevoor Road.. Ahh.. the sweet smell of pure freedom..
my favorite place for formal dining, the Royal Durbar.. the best Biryanis I've ever eaten..
movies at Adlabs and pizza at the Pizza Hut.. Bharat Mall..
dessert? pastries at Crumbz.. and ice cream at Pabba's..
Athri book store.. a tiny place crammed full of great books..
These places may not seem that special to some who's stayed in big cities or been abroad but these are the pieces that made up my life so far and I'll be sure to treasure them no matter what adventures I have..
I'm all set to leave for the US to begin my doctoral studies.. The only process left is my visa interview and god willing, if that goes well, I'll be away before the end of the month. During this long journey of 1.25 years towards this stage of my life, there have been many constants, animate and inanimate. The constant with the most unique character? My printer.
I can now appreciate my beloved's pain and the stuff that he has to put up with because I am, ahem.. somewhat temperamental myself and if there is something that can frustrate me out there, you can very well imagine how temperamental that is. My printer does not hate me.. Oh no.. It likes me a lot, in fact but it also likes to make me work for its affection. I always get the sweet stuff.. Beautiful, crisp, clear prints, lovely colors and great definition.. but only after I've sweat a little and prayed to at least one of the many crore deities Hindus believe in..
My diva of a printer does not believe in taxing itself too much.. So what if I have a poster to present or a project report to hand in the next day? I can hardly blame it for acting up when I try to take the final print outs at 2am.. It was my mistake to wake the darling up at that god awful time. Pretty printers need their beauty sleep.. Some form that requires the printer to be connected before you begin to fill it, failing which you'll never be able to take a print out of the confirmation page and effectively ruin your life? (You'll encounter a lot of these if you apply for a US visa in India) You should never have relied on it to be up to that kind of a challenge, thinks the printer. What? You did rely on it? Well, you better have a backup plan.. (I didn't, but thankfully, the confirmation page didn't disappear as soon as I hit print and stayed put long enough for me to coax the diva into doing the job..)
I never know which fascinating facet of its capricious nature the printer will decide to display on a particular day. It might decide to do nothing for hours until after I've hit print, requiring me to cancel the job and start over again.. If I make it print too many pages at a time or leave it on and idle for some time before the actual job, it might decide to maliciously chew up and spit out my paper.. "Take that, you ignorant fool!" If I allow it to heat up too much, it might make the ink too runny and smear it up to boot. Is it any wonder that I plan and strategise every print job with much more finesse, accuracy and precision than the most complex experiments I've performed in the Biochemistry lab?
All said and done, my printer and I have had some good times together. It has saved me a tonne of time, effort and money. As for the tantrums it throws? Well they make me appreciate it that much more when it is working along sweetly, putting out page after lovely page of prints. Maybe my printer lives by this quote of the original diva..
"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."
So, these people and places I mentioned in my previous post lie far, far away, in a land across the seas. I will be travelling abroad for the first time at the age of 25. I will be staying on campus for the first time in my life. Just like the seas that I'm about to cross, I find turbulence in my mind and my heart. Doubts and fears swirl, waves of common sense crash on the rocky beach of anxiety and the tides of my confidence rise and fall while I scan the horizon for the storm clouds of trouble that I hope will never appear.
Will I discover new lands or will I be shipwrecked? Will the treasures of the highest degree that can be earned be mine or will I return home in tatters? Only time can tell..
I'm in love with my new, big bag.. I've wanted one of these for the longest time but since I'd been at home for the past one year, I hadn't really needed a bag.. But now, I've got places to go and people to meet once again and with my brand, spanking new bag on my shoulder, I'm ready to go :)
Have you ever had a dream, a desire so powerful, so glorious, so all encompassing.. A dream that could change your life.. A dream that is not that easy to change to reality.. A dream that you have sweat, struggled and toiled for.. A dream that made you cry in the darkest hours of some nights when you thought you might have to give it up.. A dream that lit up the darkest hours of other nights and made you believe everything will be OK?
Well, if you have ever had such a dream, let me tell you.. When that dream finally comes true, it will still feel like a dream.. :)
Bata India has always been slow to catch up on the trends. For years, Bata had offered us only sensible (read ugly) shoes that were durable (the ugly things would last forever). So, it was a pleasant surprise to wander over to the Bata website and find that they were finally beginning to get the idea.. They are beginning to know what it is that the modern Indian woman wants.. The result? A few beauties among the beasts in Marie Claire. Here are some of my favorites..
These shoes will lighten your pocket considerably but then, beauty always comes with a price, doesn't it? :)
.. that sadly did not win a prize in the contest I had composed it for but since this is the first ever Konkani poem composed by me, I will always cherish it..
चंदायी (Beauty) मोगारे प्हुल्ला पोर्म्बोलू, किंकिणी गेज्जे
(The fragrance of Jasmines, the tinkling of anklets) बाग्ला ले आय्कता कोणाले हेज्जे ?
(Whose steps do I hear at the door?) पलाय्लेरी कसकी तेजु तिगेले तोंडारी
(There is a glow on her face) सानू एकु हासु खेलता तिगेले वोंटारी
(A tiny smile plays on her lips)
दिगी प्हान्ती प्हाटीरी कृष्णवेणी
(A long, dark plait down her back) गलेन्तु तिगेले हारू कंठीमणी
(Necklace of golden beads round her neck) कान्नारी झाग्झाग्ता वज्रा कुटिका जोडु
(Diamond earrings glitter at her ears) निड्लारी कुंकुमा तीलो होडु
(A large kumkum bindi adorns her forehead)
कासु मार्नु न्हेस्ले पाट्टे काप्पड चंद
(A beautiful brocade sari draped in the Konkani style) रटटेरी तिगेले नवरत्ना बाजूबंद
(A gem studded armlet garces her arm) रुन्दू पाटटो भान्ग्राचो कुर्टाक
(A broad golden belt clasps her waist) सुत्तुन्गुल सिर्काय्ला पाय्या बोटटाक
(She wears toe rings on her toes)
मोगा धुव्व ती सरस्वतीली
(The favorite daughter of Goddess Saraswathi) अम्गेले घरा कड़े आय्यिली
(Has come to our doorstep) चंदी भाइलमनीषी ती कोण कोणी ?
(Who is this beautiful lady?) तीची आम्गेल भास कोंकणी
(She is none other than our mother tongue, Konkani)
Reading this article about a survey conducted by PayScale.com got me thinking about how the numbers would have varied if the same survey had been conducted in India. According to the survey, almost an equal percentage of Biology and Engineering majors were 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with their current career paths (48 and 47% respectively) in the US. In India, the Engineering majors are the ones with bigger salaries and guaranteed job opportunities. Biology majors, if they join the workforce soon after graduation, are neither able to find jobs as easily nor earn as much. Therefore, most Biology majors opt for extra years of schooling and join the workforce later. The extra years, however do not guarantee them a job in this country where 'influence' is more important than qualifications or capabilities.
If the survey were to be conducted in India, I guess it would've read something like this-
Today, I had an experience that is probably as rare as a white elephant- A painless wax.. In all my seven years (I tried to avoid the torture as long as I could) of going to beauty parlors and getting waxing done, I've never had one of those. Anything and everything that may go wrong during a waxing session has gone wrong during all of mine.. Scalding hot wax, wax that was not melted properly (resulting in scalding gobs of wax being applied to my body), inefficient staff or staff who were in a hurry and so brutally ripped my hair off with absolute disregard for my pain and discomfort.. You name it, I've suffered it..
Waxing however is not the only painful procedure we women undergo in order to get rid of excess hair.. Threading and plucking are painful too. Why do we do it? What drives us to inflict this pain upon ourselves? Is it the quest for approval of the opposite sex? I know that my beloved doesn't mind if I let myself go a little. He does prefer the version of me with well shaped eyebrows, clean underarms, waxed legs etc but doesn't throw a fit when things are less than perfect.. I know there are guys who are absolutely disgusted with even a little excess hair on their girl but since my beloved is not one of them why do I take the pain?
Because it makes me feel good after. With clean legs and underarms, I feel ready to wear any outfit I want and having unshaped eyebrows when I put on makeup for formal events.. Just makes me look like a sundae with no cherry on top.. Unfinished..
I had my cast removed today, exactly one month to the day I fell and injured myself. My troubles are not over yet though. There is still the wound underneath, which hasn't healed yet, to be taken care of. It has to be dressed every other day till it heals. The ugly wound and the thought of having to endure the pain during the dressing brought back painful memories.. Those of my grandmother who developed bedsores despite our best efforts during her long illness. Towards the end of her days, mom and I would clean and dress her wounds twice a day. Being an Alzheimer's patient, though she never could express her pain in words, we could clearly perceive her pain and discomfort. She would groan and make animal noises but there was nothing we could do. The wounds had to be dressed, painful though the process was and we would come out of her room feeling guilty and tortured for having caused her pain.
In contrast was the set of memories that washed over me yesterday when I watched my mom perform a task, watching which forms an indelible part of my childhood memories. Funnily, it was watching mom perform the simple task of cleaning fish that made me so nostalgic. When we get fish, mom always likes to clean and cut it outside the house; maybe she finds it easier to dispose off the wastes or maybe she likes to feed the stray tabbies who sniff their way into our yard. Either ways, as far back as I can remember mom has always cleaned the fish outside with me and during the school holidays, my cousins watching curiously. We would discuss the fish and its freshness, the sweetness or evilness of whichever tabby came to keep us company and learn how to clean fish too! As I grew up, the excitement over this ritual wore off and I stopped keeping mom company. Yesterday, I joined her for some reason and found that the ritual was still strangely comforting to me. It brought back happy memories of my childhood when I had no computer or video games or cable television. It was a world of my own, a world I created and somewhere along the way, left behind.. Perhaps that world still lives in that old house of ours.. waiting for someone new to come and live in it..
The release of the second ad for bags by Fastrack coincided with the release of more bags, which have been grouped under the not-very-imaginatively-named collection, 'New Bags'. For some weird reason, all of the bags in this collection, including handbags have been labelled 'Unisex', a mistake that I hope Fastrack will rectify soon. I am not feeling any of the messenger bags, duffel bags or backpacks in this collection. The range of handbags however is very exciting. Here are a few of my favorites..
How hot is this little number in Red? It is just as tempting in Olive..
This handbag in Purple is sure to add some zing to any outfit. Office goers take note.
The asymmetrical emerges in bags too.. How unique is this Blue shoulder bag?
The White handbag which will fool them into thinking you are a 'grownup' ;)
My favorite look of all time is what I like to call the sexy-yet-innocent-babe look. The first time I tried this look with a saree was during a college fest. I was one of the only two people from the Science stream on the organizing committee for that fest; all the rest were from the Commerce stream. Among the Commerce crowd was a guy who was one of those smart aleck, uber cool, 'popular' guys. He was nice to me but spoke only as much as was required during the days before the fest but on the day of the fest, when I reached the college in a saree and with this look in place, he appeared to be smitten.. Kept following me around and couldn't keep his eyes off me.. I wasn't interested in a relationship at that time and it didn't lead to anything but that was the day I realized the power of good make up :) Here are a few products from Revlon that can be used to achieve this look-
For sexy, smoldering, smoky eyes..
Revlon Luxurious Color Eyeliner
Let the Luxurious color eyeliner in Black Velvet glide on your lids and the built in smudger work its magic to give you gorgeous eyes.
For that hint of a blush..
Revlon Colorstay Mineral Blush
Let the Revlon Colorstay mineral blush in Petal kiss your cheeks to give you that oh-so-subtle blush.
For delicious lips..
Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain + Balm
Let the Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain in Passion stain your lips with that hint of a color and the balm make your lips soft and kiss-a-luscious ;)
I've always loved this adorable and tiny 'people's car'. I was so delighted when VW launched the new Beetle in India in December 2009 but the price tag quickly dampened my enthusiasm.. Rs. 21 lakhs for the 'people's car'? That is outrageous. The Beetle was developed as an economy car, ein Auto für Jedermann but VW's price tag has turned it into a mockery of that term.
Oh, and the colors.. The Beetle in India is available in Salsa Red, Black, Candy White, Sunflower, Reflex Silver and Laser Blue.. How completely boring (except for maybe Sunflower- featured above). If I could ever have one, I would want it in lime green :) Ah, wünschen..
My thumb has been encased in a cast made of plaster of Paris for nearly twenty days now and being the sort of nosy and impatient inquisitive person that I am, I am longing to see what exactly is going on under that plaster. What is my wound looking like now? Has it begun to heal? Or will it begin to properly heal only after the cast is removed? Is the scar tissue forming already? Is it bad? What about the stitches; what do they look like now? WHAT DOES MY THUMB LOOK LIKE? (pant, pant)
There is a simple solution to this. My anxiety would be easily alleviated if only I had.. wait for it.. A transparent cast!! Why has no one thought of that before? Are there no other people out there who would wanna see the parts of their body healing without getting spooked by any ugly wounds that might lie underneath? I think having transparent casts would truly contribute to the healing process because the patient wouldn't be so anxious. They would have to be optional of course considering that there might be people who've sustained truly gruesome injuries or people who are just not that curious, for whatever reason..
So, what material would this transparent cast be made of? The material that is used right now for regular casts, Plaster of Paris (calcium sulphate hemihydrate) is nothing but powdered gypsum. Now, there is another form of gypsum, known as Selenite which is transparent (Hooray!!). Selenite (calcium sulphate dihydrate) is the crystalline form of gypsum and looks something like this-
Selenite is flexible, can be easily cut, will peel and can be scratched with a fingernail, like all gypsum varieties. So, all of these properties wouldn't hinder the use of Selenite for making casts but there might be other factors that do. For example, I do not know whether Selenite can be easily and quickly set into a desired shape like plaster of Paris. I also do not know whether it is heavier than PoP or how much it costs. Hmm.. I wonder if there is any other material that is transparent, sets easily into moulds and is not too heavy out there..
I had Knorr Soupy noodles for the first time today, the Chinese Chow flavor to be precise. The noodles were really light, the flavor was good and the soup was nice and thick but some more and bigger veggies would've been nice. The concept of soupy noodles is really good since the starchy noodles thicken the soup some more and the soup gets infused into the noodles and makes them more flavorsome. It is a nice, filling meal on the whole.
Knorr soupy noodles may not be my new favorite snacks but when I'm really hungry and I want a quick, hot, complete meal, I know what I'm gonna cook..
What does someone with a fractured right thumb and plenty of time on her hands do in the sleepy, monsoon afternoons? She paints her nails with two different colors.. Sea foam green and Sky blue to be exact.. :D
I love to paint my nails with really unusual colors and during the monsoons, I love to paint them with bright and cheerful colors that pop.
Here are some of my favorites from Lakme's True Wear nail colors-
N231 from the Pinks.
N236 from the Mauves.
527 from Gold in the Metallics Bridal Sutra Winter 2008 collection.
040 from Nudes in the Metallics Bridal Sutra Winter 2008 collection.
and 041 from Blue in the Cremes Glamor Winter 2009 collection.
Although Lakme has a decent collection of nail colors, I think it would be nice if they would introduce more fun and fresh colors like maybe more pinks, greens and oranges in more fun and vibrant shades.. The kind of shades the college going crowd would love.. Just a thought..
Blond, beautiful and fabulous Elle Woods has been my idol ever since I watched Legally Blonde during my undergraduate days. I have always wanted to be like her, smart and stylish. Five reasons why I love her-
She wasn't scared to change gears completely and try to get into a school that was completely different from who she was for the sake of who she believed to be her true love.
Not only did she get into the school, she showed her smarts, studied hard and got to the top of her class looking fabulous all the while.
She was deaf to the comments of people who did not think she would do it.
In spite of being smart, sexy and stylish, she wasn't stuck up and helped those less fortunate.
It wasn't always her smarts that helped her, she used common sense too.. "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't kill their husbands. They just don't."
I may not kill anyone but I certainly am in the danger of killing myself soon. So, I've decided to join dance classes as soon as my hand gets better.. Me want Endorphins bigtime..
Over the ages, hordes of mysterious people referred to as 'they' have uttered words of wisdom that eventually came to be known as proverbs. Being the weird kid who loved languages and English in particular, right from maybe first grade, I loved proverbs. I loved learning new ones, being able to think of the right ones and uttering them with a flourish at the appropriate time. Here are twelve most familiar to me and which I'm fond of..
for their amazing collection of bags. There are two collections actually, Core and Sport with truly hip bags for Guys, Girls and both (Unisex- reminds me of Joey's line in Friends.. U-N-I-sex.. Can't say no to that.. Tee hee). The following introductory commercial starring Genelia has been airing for about a week now.
Here are some of my favorites-
The perfect girly tote, in my favorite color- Red.
Another tote with removable laptop sleeves. Perfect for work, that is if you work in a place that's not too stuffy and formal. I loved the design of this tote but didn't like any of the color combinations. This one was the most decent looking among the lot to me as Orange is another favorite color of mine.
The messenger bag or the ubiquitous (in India) 'college' bag. Wish I had this cool one while attending college. Love the subtle color combination.
Wouldn't have minded having this cute drawstring backpack while attending college either.
This one's actually meant for guys but what can I say? I'm a bit of a tomboy at heart ;)
The Ph.D. student is a rare animal. A novel sub species whose habitat, hours of activity, sleeping patterns and most importantly, diet differs from the rest of the species. It is said that your are what you eat. So, what does that say about the humble grad student whose diet consists mainly of junk food, delicious as it is? This blog does not care because we strive to celebrate that very junk food.. The 2am noodles, the 3pm lunch of leftover pizza, the all day free food extravaganza that seminars are, the high calorie cookies at scientific talks.. every morsel of high fat, high carb deliciousness that sustains and nurtures us. So, send pictures of your Ph. D. diet with a description and time consumed to email@example.com and see it displayed here in all its unhealthy glory!