A conversation

Me: "I have a friend who lives in Chennai, and her dad goes for a walk every morning on the same beach where the tsunami struck. But that day, he had to take a different route because of some procession happening, and he was safe,"

X: "Ah, that is an intervention by God."

Me: "Eh?"

X: "See, he was saved that day, because God intervened and caused him to take another route."

Me: "Oh? And what about the quarter of a million people who did die?"

X: "Ah, that is their karm."

Me: **Shrugs and just shuts up**


Nepali Dhoom?

Alright, alright, I'm back! Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated. I am still alive and kicking and all that. OK, reality check... most of the readers of my blog knew I was on vacation (silly, all the readers knew! That's what my last couple of posts were about!) Anyway, onto the topic of Nepali Dhoom.

I was reading a review of the new Dhoom 2 by a certain film critic who features a lot in the "Comedy Show Ha Ha Ha" and in Greatbong's blog. This phrase jumped out at me and for a second I thought the movie had been shot in Nepal: komsi-komsa".

For a few moments I was wracking my brains wondering what it means. Here's the phrase in context: "If you've tasted the best, you would never settle for anything komsi-komsa stuff later, right?" Suddenly, you see the light, eh? He means "comme ci comme ça"!!! Apart from the queasy feeling at his horrible grammar, I wonder why he has to try to use difficult words when "so so" would have done just as well (according to The dictionary of difficult words)and would have the additional benefit of being comprehensible to the reader. I am sure this guy gets paid for this job. Oh, The unfairness of the world!


Move your body like a...

Yep, I'm just back from a "Desert Safari" where I saw the belly dance performance! I am inspired. Am going out to buy myself a belly-dance belt tomorrow!!!


I'm Leeeeeaving on a Jet Plane!

Yeah yeah, very silly... but I am, really! Tomorrow morning. Off to the Middle East for a two week vacation, the first four days of which, I will be staying here. Click and be jealous!

The itinerary is Hyderabad-Dubai-Muscat-Hyderabad. I will be away till December 9th, but I'll be connected, so I will probably post a pic or ten once in a while. See y'all and oh, don't forget to buy my birthday present. I"ll be back in time for that!


Heartily Ashamed

I am heartily ashamed that my NaNoWriMo writing has been abandoned at about 1000 words (thats 49000 words short of target).

However, Aparna is going full speed on her writing and I am sure she will make the 50000 mark well before the deadline. She is probably the only one I know who is actually writing the thing and is on track.


Something wrong with sitemeter?

Sitemeter no longer gives me the referral pages that brought visitors to my blog.

So now I can no longer see what weird Google searches brought people to me. For a few days I thought that only people who knew of my blog were visiting me, but then later on looking at the details, I found that this wasn't the case. Anyone have a clue what is wrong?


Tagged again!

This is my second tag ever! This one is a little more difficult than the last one since it is a bit more free-form. Am I very silly to be excited by tags? Who cares? Here goes!!!

Rules of this Tag:

1. Name the person who tagged you.
2. 8 things about you.
3. Tag 6 people.

Name of the Person : Ms.N
Her pictures speak volumes, but her words aren't too far behind!

8 things about me
1) I am a die-hard web addict. Nothing too techie, just that I like being online all the time, on my various messengers, reading Wikipedia articles and recipes if there is nothing more pressing to take up the time. Because of this, I had to go out and buy one of the "Natural Keyboards" yesterday and now I am typing on that. It really helps! Those with any symptoms of RSI, go out and get one ASAP!!!

2) I don't like it when it gets all cloudy and grey and stays that way for days. I am more of a bright, sunshine-y kind of person.

3) I love to dance! I like to learn new kinds of dance and I am really happy when I find friends who share my interest. I am lucky to have a few of those!

4) Before reality bit me, I wanted to be an astronomer. The astronomer idea was actually a compromise from the astronaut, because when I reached the age of 9 or so, I realised that being an astronaut takes a lot of physical fitness, which was not something I was very good at (still am not, of course).

5) I am an atheist but I love visiting ancient temples. The older the better. I like ruins of all kinds, of course, but temples are usually better preserved that any other sort, and are more numerous in our country anyway. Of course I don't like going to temples that are more recently built. If it isn't at least 200 years old, it's not worth seeing, IMO.

6) I am not very fond of watching movies. They are the last candidate on my things to do on weekends, because I can't get over the idea that I will be wasting 4 hours of my weekend on a movie when I could be doing something more productive (like napping).

7) I love getting haircuts. A new and different haircut can change the way you look and can boost up sagging spirits! No wonder my hair never grows beyond shoulder length.

8) I am "dromophobic", which as far as I could find is what it means to be afraid of crossing roads.

Now to tag 6(!) people (do I even know 6 bloggers???)

Aparna, Spiral Architect, KoPoS, Anshuman, Mithun, Ritesh


Proud Participant

I am a proud participant in the NaNoWriMo. Target is to write 50,000 words by Nov 30th. Wish me luck, everyone!!! And all you wannabe novelists like me! Click on the image to go sign up!!!


Cartesian Bloggers

It's a strange co-incidence that two of the blogs that I frequent a lot (both written by Bong women) have a tagline related to DesCartes' famous quote. As does mine

Aparna says "I think, so I am" but does not go on to explain it anymore. M, on the other hand does not have the quote, or any paraphrase of it, as the blog title, but instead quotes it in her profile and gives a bit of explanation of how it applies to her. I have, of course, stolen the phrase, twisted it to suit my needs and, of course, retained the original Latin of it. When I thought it up, and then looked to google for the correct translation of what I had in my mind, I thought I was being awfully clever and original. But there are a bunch of sites listing this phrase and what it means.

DesCartes' is a quote is worthy of a "सप्रसंग व्याख्या"(think back to Sanskrit classes of yore). Though I don't think mine deserves a "व्याख्या" per se, I could at least give an "अनुवाद" and a bit of "टिप्पणी". The title of my blog can be translated to "I laugh, therefore I am". What it means to me is that in this world full of negatives, looking on the bright side is essential for me to survive. It means being an optimist and it means being able to laugh at myself. If it weren't for laughter, the terrible weight of the world around us would make it impossible to exist.


Enough thought???

When I tell any of my friends about my decision to be childfree*, they always say "I hope you have given the matter enough thought", or something to that effect. To me, this is quite incomprehensible.

I have been married for more than four years now and have a lot of time to think about it. We have talked it over between ourselves and have come to a decision. That is more than I can say for a lot of couples who have had kids. I have acquaintances where having the baby was almost a unilateral decision on part of the wife!

When a couple has a baby before their first wedding anniversary, does anyone ask them if they had given the matter enough thought? Rarely, if ever. At the most, they may be asked if it was a good idea to have a baby so soon after getting married. But once the deed is done, there is no going back, it is an irreversible act. You are bringing a human being into this world and will be responsible for raising it to adulthood. The decision will change your lives completely and will change the way you relate to each other and to everyone around you. It will have enormous repurcussions on your career(s) and one of you may have to quit working. But does anyone ever ask parents-to-be or new parent whether they have "given it enough thought"? Nope!

But when a couple wants to maintain status quo, to be as they are without bringing another factor into their relationship, to keep living their lives as they have been, then all the questions come up. Even though the decision to be childfree need not be necessarily irrriversible. With the advances in medical science, older women are having children too, and there is always the option of adoption if you are not hung up on "flesh and blood". But everyone assumes that the decision has been made on the spur of the moment, because the couple is too busy enjoying themselves to have kids right now, because they are too wrapped up in themselves and their careers and they haven't thought about having a baby at all. I personally feel that couples who make a choice to be childfree actually give the matter much more thought and deliberation than most couples who have children.

*I use the word "childfree" to indicate a concious and voluntary decision to not procreate, as opposed to "childless".


Migrated to Beta!

I have finally migrated my beloved template to beta after a lot of tweaking to make it look similar to the old blog!

Hacks used:


So lonely without you

I never liked watching TV. Even today, if my SO is out of town, I don't switch on the TV for the entire duration of his absence! I often think back to Sunday evenings in the days of Doordarshan, when all my friends would be at home, watching the weekly movie, and I would be out in the playground all by my lonesome, having no one to talk to (of course, coz my parents were also watching the movie). I don't think I ever hated television more than in those lonely three hours every week.

A similar feeling comes over me during the "festival" days. Most of the time, in this season, I stay in Hyderabad or at the most go to Pune for an extended weekend. But most of my friends and cousins in the city disappear for two weeks or so, to their hometowns, to be with family and friends. While having a friend go on vacation for a couple of weeks at any time of the year is a bit hard on me, having all of them go away together at once is really awful. Moreso because during these two weeks or so, they will not even be accessible on any of the IMs! I recently wrote a post about the fun things to do during the festive season. But now that the "extended weekend" is over, I am depressed because my friends and cousins are still not back, and I don't have anyone to share my holiday experiences with, and no new blog posts to read. And the feelings I used to have for the TV are now getting transferred to the "festive season". I suppose I'll just have to gorge on chocolate for a couple of days to get back to my usual cheery self.


Anyone ready to sponsor this dinner?

Here are some of the world's most expensive foods. I don't want the whole meal. Just the dessert will suffice. Any volunteers?


An atheist's guide to the festive season

The season from September to the end of the year is "festive" season in India. It's a time of celebrations, meeting relations, holidays from work and so much more. For this year (and the past couple of years), due to the timing of Ramzan, the festive season is very secular, incorporating three of the major religions in India.

That last line was very important. Indian festivities are inextricably tied up with religion, and there is no escaping it. So what do atheists like me, who are "out", do during this time? Do we stand apart from the crowd, sulking and refusing to join in the fun? Or do we pretend for a few months every year, so that we can be part of the flock? Well, I don't think it is neccessary to do either. Although most of the festivals in India are liked to religion, religious activities per se are not such a big part of the whole celebration. There are aspects like food, music and dance, attire and socialising which are more prominent. So this is a post that looks at all the things we can get involved in during the season.

Dussehra/Durga Puja/Navratri: This ten-day long fest has everything you can ask for. Start with shopping for clothes! You must have at least one outfit, properly accessorised, for the dandiya. Get decked up in your most resplendent silks and blend in at the local Pujo Pandal. At both these places, go with a big group of friends. These are good places to check out cute singles of either gender, who are dressed to the nines. Teach the shy friends how to whirl around with a pair of sticks in hand, and introduce the uninitiated to the delights of bhog and the various food stalls at any Pujo Pandal (think Kolkatta rolls, mutton chop, kosha mangsho....) On and after Dusshera/Dashami, make your elder relatives smile by calling them up to offer "Bijoya Pronam" or whatever is the flavor in your corner of the country. If they are in the same town, do this in person, and get rewarded with the choicest of sweets and delicacies.

Diwali/Kali Puja: This is when you get the annual dry fruit boxes from your employer. Again, clothes are important, there are sales galore all around, offering great discounts. Look for special offers on cars and jewellery for the occasion of Dhan Teras. If you enjoy fireworks, go to one of the huge firework markets around the city and pick up a selection. Light up your house with diyas, candles or fairy lights, in any combination. Drive around town to look at how everyone has decorated their homes. Hog on Diwali sweets when you go visiting relatives, friends and colleagues. Host a party at home, with firecrackers, food, friends and fun. Enjoy the rangolis and decorations all aroud town and in your workplace.

Ramzan/Id: One word: Haleem. All through this month, feast on this delicacy. Visit friends on Id, and wrangle invites to their feasts. If you are into heavily embroidered ethic wear, look out for good picks in clothes, specially in the old city.

Christmas: Bake a fruitcake, loaded with fruit, nuts and brandy and take it to work to impress your friends. Get home a tree (plastic, no chopping down real trees) and decorate it. Have kids over to look at the tree and to have cake and chocolates. Cook up a Christmas lunch, or go to one of the restaurants that serve one. Again, host a party, either around Christmas or for new year's eve. Enjoy the decorations at malls and in the office. Oh, and don't forget to leave up the fairy lights you had put up for Diwali all through till the new year.

So there you have it. An atheist's guide to the holiday season. Please note that a lot of it is relevant to Hyderabad (haleem, embroidered clothes). This list may seem to lean a little more toward the food aspect, but you are welcome to add any of your own suggestions to it! Have fun and wish you all a very happy festive season!!!


1000 hits!!!

There have been 1000 on my blog since I installed the Sitemeter!!! Party time!!!


Negative reinforcement?

In the past 2-3 days I have had 36(!) hits on my site from one sort of google query. They have all gone to this one post, which I had made a few months ago in honor of the solar eclipse that was to occur. This time, the queries were made in honor of the partial lunar eclipse that occured yesterday, and could be observed from all parts of India.

What were the queries about? They were all, unanimously, about "precautions for pregnant women during eclipse" or with out without the same words. And most of these queries return my blogpost as the first result. What surprised me yet again (I guess I should cease to be surprised by these things anymore) is that supposedly net-savvy people use Google to find out whether superstitions like this are actually true!

I suppose a lot of people got disappointed yesterday because my post did not reinforce their belief that eclipses are harmful for pregnant women. I am hoping that at least a few of them got to re-thinking their attitude about the wonderous phenomena of eclipses and has seen them for what they are: beautiful coincidences where we can rejoice in the grand ballet of the celestial spheres rather than some demons taking a bite out of our main sources of energy and light.

So, what is the opposite of "positive reinforcement"?


"Harry Potter and the Exorcist"

The pope's senior exorcist believes that Harry Potter is the "prince of evil". From this article: ""Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil," he told Vatican Radio." He also said that "Adolf Hitler and Russian leader Joseph Stalin were possessed by the devil, and that Pope Pius XII once tried to perform a long-distance exorcism on Hitler." Do read.

So out of all the evil that is spread around this world, the head of one of the world's most popular religions is singling out Harry Potter, a fictional character, who lives in a fictional world and has fictional adventures.

Well, there are many things weird about this article. The first weird thing is that the Vatican apparently has exorcists, and apparently it has more than one exorcists, since the gentleman mentioned here is called the senior. Why does the Vatican need exorcists, in plural? Are they exorcising demons and stuff from all over the world? Then how come we never get to hear of these exorcisms in the news? How come most of our knowledge on this topic comes from a movie where a girl with a spinning head spews green vomit? If there are so many exorcisms happening around the world, then it would be the easiest thing to film a few of them, and sell them on DVD, to make piles of money! And to show those doubting atheists that they mean business!

OK next, what I don't understand is, what does the exorcist mean when he says that our dear Harry hides the signature of the prince of darkness? Does he mean that Harry Potter himself is possessed by the devil? Surely not? Then does he mean that the author, the incomparable Ms. Rowling, is the one possessed? In that case, does he mean to exorcise her (long-distance or close up) of her devils? Noooooooooooooo!!!!! This must be prevented at all costs! If her devils are exorcised, then we will never get to read Book 7!!!

What is the wierdest, or saddest, I suppose, is that the Vatican attributes human evil to demons, absolving Hitler and Stalin of all their crimes by simply saying "the devil made me do it!" What we need in this world is to realise that evil does not come from some underworld but from within us. Instead of having religious leaders that can be looked up to for guidance in times of moral confusion, we have people who talk of white and black magic both being from the devil in one breath, and in the next breath they try and prove magical "miracles" to canonize Mother Teresa, who would directly be declared a saint by any number of people whose lives she has touched.


Opinion Poll

Out of curiousity, and maybe inspired by something I read recently, I present an opinion poll. Please answer the given question completely honestly, in as many words as you need to use. If you want to express an extremely negative answer and don't want to reveal your identity, then please use the anonymous commenting option, but please do not hold back.

I am an atheist. How does that make you feel (about me, in general, etc.)?

Why am I doing this poll? Because I am really curious about what my friends think about my lack of belief in a deity. And this is what inspired it.

So please be honest, and verbose. If you have questions, I will be glad to answer them too.


Utterly disgusted

I have just been pointed to a comments thread on an article on rediff. And frankly, I have never been so disgusted before by reading any sort of thread. Keeping in mind that the people who are posting replies are at least educated enough to be net-savvy, read articles on the web and post to message boards, then I have no hope for our illustrious country. A country where half the population strongly believes that the other half should not be "independent" is not a country which will go too far in the long run.

I have, in school, spoken a lot on women's education, women's empowerment and so on, in debates and essays. Most of the time, I used to feel that my classmates, both male and female feel the same way as me. And that was a decade ago. But now, a decade later, I am disgusted to see that the whole message thread related to an article that says career women are not good homemakers has 99% of men saying that they would not marry a working woman.

On this thread, you will read comments men who say that women who work outside the house want to be "independent", and so you should not marry them. There are people who claim career women "dominate" their husbands, that they cheat on their spouses, that they spend all their hard-earned money on fashion instead of contributing to the household expenses, and the worst of all, that when the come home, they expect their husbands to help them with the housework and child-rearing! Oh the horror of it! To even imagine that a man would enter the kitchen and demean himself with chopping some vegetables or maybe setting the table or something! Or that he would take a look at his kid's homework while his wife is making dinner!

If I had read this message thread before I got married, I should have never imagined that there is even one person in this country who would treat me as a human being rather than a baby-machine that also serves piping hot meals at the right times. I suppose I am lucky. But I dread to think of all the young impressionable women out there who are reading this thread of responses and giving up all hopes of ever finding a decent human being among the male populace of our land.


Disappointing results

This is my very own Google search blog post. Which means, it is one of those posts which are so much in vogue these days where bloggers sift through their sitemeter stats and look up the referring URLs and the funny google searches in them. Now since I don't have that many hits on my site, the number of searches that refer me are also limited. But the trend in these searches is that while people find something related to their queries on my site, the post that the link comes to is not exactly what the people have been looking for. In other words, the search results lead to disappointments. Lets look at a few examples:

1) Searching for "1:3" airtel dsl takes you to this post where I express my happiness on the lifiting of the blog ban by my ISP, Airtel.

2) Searching for ataullah songs acha sila brings up my page second on the list!!! And what is inside is a post wondering why such songs are so popular.

3) A search for drunken beef takes you to my post raving about the drunken beef I had at a friend's restaurant.

4) Arthur Dent character analysis brings you to a post about Superman(!) where one of the commenters has mentioned Adams' protagonist.

5) But what takes the cake is that searching for scientific reason behind fasting brings up my post as number 1!!! And what is the post about? Eclipses and the unexplainable effect they have on the minds of perfectly reasonable people who start fasting and throwing away perfectly good food. Oh the irony!

Just wanted to say to all the people who come to my blog via misleading google searches... sorry to disappoint, but thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed reading the blog (and looking at the chocolates) even though it wasn't exactly what you were looking for.



So I walked into a glass shelf in the store and got a gash on my eyelid. Nothing very serious, didn't even bleed much. But it got me a lot of TLC from dear hubby, who rushed to get the special non-sticky dressing tape to be able to dress the wound without hurting the skin on my eyelids. And is now making dinner (grilled pork chops with corn and mushroom fried rice). Mmmm. And he bought me these:

So of course, I felt a whole lot better after eating a couple of them. It has re-inforced my belief that chocolate can cure most, if not all, problems.

ETA: As my chocolate quote says, "There is only one thign better than a good friend, and that is a good friend with chocolate." Well my good friend got me these:
Looks like I am chocolate dreamland...


Culinary Heaven

It's the season for reviews. But unlike most, who have been posting reviews for movies, I shall post a review for, you guessed it, food.

This weekend, I made a trip to Bangalore for the first time in my life. Apart from the thrill of going to a new city, one of India's finest, at that, there was the anticipation of eating at Shiok. This restaurant is run by Madhu, whom I met online, and made friends with over our common interest in food in general and in Indonesian food in particular. So when my Bangalore trip was planned, of course, a trip to Shiok was on top of the agenda.

The website for the restaurant has details about how to get there, as well as pictures of the interiors, so I shall get straight to the food ;-) We began with the tiger prawn satay... which taste as heavenly as they look on the website. Flavors of fresh turmeric and galangal burst on your tongue and the prawns are grilled to succulent perfection. Next came the fish cakes redolent with zesty lime leaves which gave them a unique taste. Then we got to the chicken in golden baskets, which give you a mixture of the fragrance of coriander with the sweetness of corn and crispiness of the baskets and all around yumminess in general.

I desperately wanted to try the crab, and Madhu got one wonderful specimen out for us to see. It was huge!!! And alive. Which, sadly, put our friends off the whole thing. They did not want to eat something that was so alive. I would have gone for it on my own, if it wasn't so big. After all, if all the foxes felt dissuaded from eating the fluffy bunnies and the tigers got swayed by the big bambi eyes of the deer, then ecological balance would go for a toss? But, maybe next time.

Anyway, we were already quite full with the three rounds of starters. So we tried to keep the main course frugal. We had drunken beef, which is not really drunk itself, but is so appellated because it is a good thing to eat while getting drunk, and which is actually a "starter" according to the menu. Along with that, came the highlight of the evening, the nasi goreng. One spoonful of it, and I was transported to a warung in Java, and my happiness was clearly reflected on my face.

There was absolutely no room for dessert, so Madhu made a super secret dessert drink for me (which I suspect was some mix of ice-cream soda and vanilla vodka). And there ended our feast. Madhu, you are indeed a maestro, and I look forward to giving you many more opportunities to showcase your culinary prowess on my visits to your restaurants! Thank you for one of the most memorable and satisfying meals!!!


Truths and lies meme - Now with answers

I seem to be on a meme roll. Anyway:

Here are six statements about me or my family. Three are true and three are false. Guess which are which. I'll post the answers next week (if I have enough guesses).

1. My first memory is of a crow stealing one of my toys off the window. - True. I guess it stuck in my mind because it is such a wierd memory.

2. I'd never been to a movie theatre before the age of 5. - False. My parents have always been great movie buffs, and used to take me along to the theatres from a very young age, because they had no one to leave me with. Needless to say, I hated it!

3. I can lick the tip of my own nose. - True! Absolutely.

4. My father once thought I was dead after I fell down the stair and fainted. - True. Gave the rest of the family quite a scare. I was 3 or so at the time.

5. The only body part I've ever broken was my ankle. - False. I haven't broken any bones that I know of.

6. I'm grossed-out by dead fish. - False! Fish was the second solid food I ever ate, the first being payesh.

ETA: OK, my dear little brother has put in a spoiler for #5. Well just wanted to say one of the commenters has got them all correct, and it is not my brother!

ETA (2): To add some motivation, winner(s) (those who get all correct without resorting to devious means) will get a small prize :D (pls note the "small")

So the prize goes to Sarita! For being the first to guess all of them correctly!


I've caught it...

I've been tagged by Tarun!!! For the first time ever! So of course, this one will be done with all my heart...

I am thinking about...
vacations in exotic lands.

I said...
a lot today, and bored a bunch of people. I was training a class of 15 today, you see. And it continues tomorrow. *yawn*

I want to...
sleep for three or four days straight.

I wish...
I could find some fresh blueberries in Hyderabad.

I hear…
the wind outside my window and...

... I wonder...
if it is raining or if it's just the leaves.

I regret...
buying a 29in TV with a woofer. Now it is on at all hours of the day and night. *sigh*

I am...
a "Certified Chocolate Lover"!

I dance...
every weekend now, with some really great salseros!

I sing...
from the bottom of my heart (or lungs, more like).

I cry...
when I read a sad story (A Tale of Two Cities), when I watch a sentimental scene (last scene in Superman Returns (?!?!?!)), when I listen to a sad song (Lag jaa gale, ki phir yeh haseen raat ho na ho...). Yikes! Looks like I'm quite a cry-baby.

I am not always...
dressed to receive company *blushes*

I make with my hands...
lovingly rolled chocolate truffles.

I write...
better with a pencil than with a pen.

I confuse...
people who like to slot women into "married" and "single" categories.

I need...
a massage from a really strong "maalishwali", kneading my shoulder muscles and working out all the kinks in my back.

Oh-kay now... Aparna, KoPoS: you're it!


I've Got Culture!

Yes! This is the wonderful kombucha which has been used as a health drink for more than a thousand years by people of the far east. And now I have one of my own! A very good friend of mine had got one all the way from Russia, and has been drinking from it for years now. She decided I could do with some better health and gave me a baby culture to grow in my own home :) And now, after a week, I am really fond of it!

The culture grows in a glass jar, full of sweet tea. This pic is from the internet of course, as my culture is little more than a film on top of the tea surface. But I will post a pic once it grows enough to be discernible in a photograph, and will also post details of all the benefits I have got from drinking the elixir! And, if you want, you can have your very own kombucha culture from me!


Back to blogging!

I am able to access blogs freely again from home (Airtel broadband). Actually I have been able to do so for more than 24 hours, I just didn't pay attention. So I guess bringing it to the attention of the media did help in getting the powers-that-be to reconsider. Desite the mixed feelings most of us have about the media, I suppose in a country like India it is still the most effective way to get your opinion heard.


Mission Accomplished!

Alright! I have finally got "Recent Comments" on my sidebar! Many thanks to BloggerHacks! Now all the hairless primates can have as many last laughs as they want on my blog! *Does happy dance*


Unique? You bet!

I read a column in yesterday's paper about how Inglish (Indian English) is the slowly becoming the most-spoken variant of English in the world. Well, here's some food for thought:
This pamphlet has been hanging on my colleague's pinboard for a while. His cousin was handed the pamphlet somewhere in the market.


What sort of writer should I be?

You Should Be a Joke Writer

You're totally hilarious, and you can find the humor in any situation.
Whether you're spouting off zingers, comebacks, or jokes about life...
You usually can keep a crowd laughing, and you have plenty of material.
You have the makings of a great comedian - or comedic writer.
What Type of Writer Should You Be?

The re-incarnation of PG Wodehouse? Yeah, thats me!


Movies first?

Just got back from watching the last show of Krrish at PVR. I liked the movie well enough, the actor was believable as a superhero, the hi-tech futuristic equippment did not look like it was 20 years old, and the special effects did not look plastic or too animated. But this isn't about the movie. This is about the movie theater, specifically PVR cinemas at Hyderabad Central.

If you are familiar with Hyderabad Central, you will know that it is a 6 storey building with two levels of basement parking. Levels 0-3 house the mall, level 4 is a foodcourt and level 5 is the multiplex. To get to the multiplex, you either take the stairs and/or escalator through the mall upto level 5 or you go to the back of the building and fight your way into a lift to get up there. The inside of the multiplex is the standard plush PVR decor. The loos are clean and equipped and "audis" have deep pile carpets and very comfortable seats.

The movie ended at about 12:40 AM, and the audience headed toward the single exit door that had been opened. After probably circumnavigating the whole building in a narrow corridor (made me feel like I was at the Tirupati temple) we reached the equally narrow staircase. The good news is that the flooring on the stairs is not as slippery as the one inside the mall. Now for the bad news. For the late show, a whole throng of people have to walk seven floors down a single narrow staircase to reach the parking lot (or at least five to reach the exit). This is because all the exits to the mall from each floor are close. So here we have a slow-moving river of people, kids, grandparents, et al walking slowly down. And then two floors down, we encounter the wonder of wonders. Three buckets of water left upon the landing, and one that has been upturned.

Holding on to the stair rails to keep footing in my heels (of course, I had not come prepared for an adventure trek), I somehow reached the ground floor, where we were all ejected out of the building. Now, to get to the basement parking, we had only one entrance. The same one that the cars and bikes were coming out of. Trying to drive your vehicle up that exit ramp is hard enough with the steep incline and the strategically-placed speedbreakers. Now you have to evade an oncoming stream of pedestrians as well!

My only thought during this whole exit (which took a full 15 minutes from getting out of the auditorium door to getting out of the gate on our bike) was "what happens if there is a fire?" People may recall that this theatre had some delays in opening due to lack of proper fire exits. And that it had opened after installing an external fire-escape staircase. (I can't find the link to this at the moment, but I'm looking). Imagine the stampede of people during a fire, pouring out into the corridor from all five auditoria instead of one, running about 200 mts to get to a narrow staircase which may very well be innundated with buckets of water. I don't want to imagine it. But I couldn't think about anything else for those 15 minutes and all the way on the ride home. I have decided not to visit the theatre for a night show, and if it can be helped, for any show. It's all very well to put the "Movies First". But what about the movie-goers?


My next project

I am always happiest when I have a "project" to look forward to. No, not the software kind! Those are projects at work. This is the kind of project that you put to yourself as a challenge, or for learning, or just to have fun. Some of my earlier projects have included: chocolatizing my blog (done, as you can see), learning French (ongoing, but not going anywhere really fast), learning Mandarin (abandoned, coz it's really difficult!), making a "disco" shirt for myself (done, and worn at a nightclub in Goa), and so on. So you see, the project does not have to be big, or difficult, or expensive, just something that interests you, and something that you wouldn't do in the ordinary course of your life.

So here's my new project: Shab Deg. This is what it looks like: Interesting? You bet! Go check out the recipe. It will take me days if not weeks to get all those ingredients in one place. Or even to figure out what they all are. Hmm, if anyone can tell me what "Balai" is, in the context of this recipe, they can come home and have a taste of the final product whenever I get around to the actual cooking part. And the Kashmiri ver. It would be a great help if someone could tell me where I can buy this in Hyderabad so that I don't have to make it myself. So you see, it doesn't just have to be my project! Y'all can join in too! I will definitely be posting an update with the results when I complete this project. Wish me luck!

ETA: Wokay, I have found Balai. What a relief! Apparently, it is the same as Malai. (I was suspecting that. It's what "malai" would sound like if spoken through a stuffy nose). OK, so this is not such a hard-to-figure-out-and-acquire kind of ingredient.


God's Own Blog

I have found God's Own Blog on the internet!


Man, Woman and Superman

After watching the new Superman movie, a lot of the guys I know are very disappointed. They will give you a lot of reasons: the movie was more of a melodrama than a superhero movie, the new guy is not as broad and Superman-like as Reeve was, etc., etc. Got me wondering why, since I loved the movie as well as the new guy (I have said as much in my last post). So here I present my analysis (hah!) of why a generation of people who had seen the first set of Superman movies in the childhood or early teens would show such a marked difference in the reception of the new movie, based on their gender.

Why women loved it:

There is an alien superhero who has human emotions, who empathises with the pain of others. Of course, it doesn't hurt that he has the most dreamy eyes and incredibly pouty lips that are begging to be kissed! And the love of his life has hurt him, so it's perfect timing for her to step in and take over!

Why men hated it:

Superman was always larger than life. He was the superhero of all superheroes, invincible and indestructible. He was the superlative of "man". And then, in this movie, he cries! I am sure this has caused him to fall from the exalted position in many a male heart. It's fine for him to take his gal out for a spin in the stratosphere, to romance her in his icy Arctic castle, but to cry because she has moved on? That is unforgiveable in any man, let alone the superhero.

And why does he fly around the world doing good deeds anyway? Because he can hear the cries of the people! Sheesh! What a ninny! The male viewer would have thought that he did it because he could! I mean of course he would want to fly around pulling airplanes out of the air and rescuing maidens from runaway cars! He has all this power, I would do it too, if I had the powers!

And then there is the relativity factor. When the male viewer saw Reeve as Superman for the first time, he in all likelyhood was a tiny tot, all of three feet tall. And someone of Reeve's stature would have seemed like a towering giant! But now, he is not all that little himself, and the new fella doesn't seem to be as big, broad and brawny as the male viewer's mental image of what Superman should look like.

So I guess, for them, Superman doesn't seem all that super anymore.


Me too!!!

This is a "me too" post. Inspired by Aparna's wonderfully-written post , to appease Anshuman's demand for a new post, and also for Mehul, who has been very patient, this is a list of things I have decided to put a stop to:

1) I will stop accepting friend requests on Yahoo, Orkut, etc. from unknown people. I know, I know, I have made a lot of good friends on communities like these, but it is too much of a strain on the resources to have to weed through all the creeps to get to the "few good (wo)men". So, I am going to give up all the potential good friends I may have made on all these communities and messengers by refusing to friend anyone whom I don't already know, either personally or through debates on some forum or through reading/commenting of blogs.

ETA: It's so much easier on the concience to press the ignore button now that I have made this decision and posted it in immortal prose on the blog!

2) I will stop letting pesky, peristent salespeople get under my skin. I am going to work on developing a thicker skin when it comes to pushy salespeople who try to sell you things that they think you need, from "anti tanning face pack" to "massage oils that will reduce fatness". I will calmly go my own way without snapping back at them, just smile and say "No thanks", because, after all, it is their job. But more importantly, I will not get worked up about the fact that they thought I was too fat to be walking around in the store or something like that, and was desperately in need of "massage oils that will reduce fatness".

3) I will stop wasting my time arguing with trolls on Usenet newgroups, Orkut communities or even in real life. I will not try and enlighten anyone with my more rational and lucid thinking, because most of the times, the posts are made just to get a rise out of people like me, and to make us feel frustrated that there are such close-minded people in the world. So, I am giving up arguing with people who resort to the Argumentum ad Capslock or the Chewbacca Defence. Because there are some fights that are just not worth the rise in blood pressure.

4) I will stop day dreaming about Superman and about the actor who plays him in the movie, no matter how dreamy his eyes are! If he looks too good to be human, then he probably isn't human.

5) I will stop letting a month pass by without making a blogpost!

**That was a real short list! Will try and add to it over time...**


Any more wild ideas?

My dad was living in Indonesia. He had bought me a digital camera, and on my birthday, I took pics with it, and sent them to him the very next day. He wrote back to me, saying that this is indeed a wonder of technology that I can share the experiences of your birthday just the next day, even though I am so far away. He then recounted a story he had heard of his father's wedding. This grandfather (my great-grand father) had arranged for a "bioscope" show in their village for his son's wedding (being a big landowner and all that). The simple villagers were amazed at the viewing and were heard to remark that "this is not human doings, it has to involve magic somehow!"

Imagine what they would say about the technology that we take for granted today. GPS navigation systems in cars, 3-inch long devices that let you talk around the world, play games, make payments, read books, listen to music, take pictures! These things are probably beyond the wildest imagination of a commoner of a 100 years ago. So today when I was having a conversation with two friends about what would be "improbable" or "wild" technology by my standards, it set me thinking. And blogging.

Here are some ideas off the top of my head (Its possible a lot of these are being researched currently and may already be in the pipeline for the near future, and I just don't know about it!)

  • A chip implanted in the brain that you could just upload information to (a la Matrix).
  • ESP-like non-verbal communication between people (maybe using the same implants used in the above idea)
  • Teleportation, a la Star Trek (Beam me up, Scotty!)
  • A visual overlay provided by some external device that would give you information about the objects, place or people you are looking at (a la Terminator, or "Psycohistorical Crisis")
I guess all of these have been inspired by movies and sci-fi books. Anyone else with any original ideas? Please post them! I shall include them in this list (with attributions, of course)


Why should I care?

A friend asked me recently why I have not posted anything on my blog about the reservation issue that is making headlines everywhere these days. I said that I did not want to talk about sensitive issues like this, because most of my posts tend to rub people the wrong way anyway :) But I thought about it, and felt that there are some things I do want to say.

First of all, how has this reservation and quota system affected me? Not much, I would say. I did not aspire to get into any premier engineering or management institutions, and what I did get into, I got in quite easily. So for me, it did not matter then. What has remained as a lasting impression about the reservation issue the last time there was an agitation against it is this: I was in class 9 when the last agitation happened and our schools were closed for a month or so because of the unrest. I knew what the issue was and how it would effect everyone, but as it turned out I did not end up getting effected by it.

Well this time it is a bit different. I have a job in a big company, and the chances are slim to none that I will try and get admitted to another educational institution. So does this issue effect me? Of course it does! Here's how. During the last agitation circa 1990, India was pretty much a closed economy. Today we work closely with the rest of the world. Information flows in and out of the country at the speed of thought and we can no longer imagine that our skeletons will stay in the closet.

Well then, how long before employers and clients and business partners all over the world figure out that these wonderfully hyped institutions like the IITs are actually letting in sub-standard students? And how long before they view every Indian programmer or businessman with suspicion, wondering if they came in through these "quotas"? After all, they have no idea that a Mishra is a Brahmin and a Das is not! And how long before these issues color the perception of the outside world about the competence of the Indian workforce? I am part of this workforce, so of course this affects me. And if affects you, too. So if all of you who have cushy software jobs don't want your employers to wrap up shop and move to China in the next five years, then better sit up and take notice!

ETA: Well, the deed's been done. What now?


Evolution for dummies!!!


Evolution for techies, geeks and MBAs

Flicked from this guy.

Evolution by itself is not a theory, it's a phenomenon. In organisms it is a slow process, with certain jumps that speed it up. In other things you may see it at a good pace.

Natural selection happens everywhere - organisms, substances, compounds, companies, societies, corporations, bands, artists, theories, and technologies. Anything that interacts with its environment is affected by evolution.

An example close to my heart is of cameras. 10 years back film cameras ruled the world - right? Now they don't. In another 10 years time they'll be extinct. How’s that? Cameras are objects that interact a lot with their environment - no, not the pictures they take. Cameras need supplies to function - a power source and storage. Before digital imaging came along the storage function was fulfilled by film rolls only. Then digital imaging was developed, and now consumer levels cameras have also gone digital. Similarly, ni-cad batteries have given way to ni-mh.

So cameras have 'evolved' from film to digital.

Does that mean a nikon film camera literally turned into a nikon digital camera? Or that someone opened its casings and then changed the parts therein? Then how is it that in 1980's the cameras were film only and in say 2020, the cameras will be digital only and film cameras will be 'extinct'?

It’s because of the environment. There may be people who prefer film over digital any day. They keep film alive even today. But they'll be able to keep doing that only till they find new film in the market - a factor of the environment. When say a few of them encounter a stock-out of 35mm in the town, they'll either stop shooting or buy and start using a digital camera. Maybe they'll like it better, maybe they'll not. But they'll still use it now because if they want to shoot using film, they won't be able to because of the film stockout (they of course are aware that digital is become the rave nowadays and the stockout isn't going to go away sometime soon). The markets will sense that the demand for film is decreasing, so they'll reduce their output of film, and keep churning out digital storage media. Eventually all shops in the world will stop stocking film, and then film will be extinct. So will be the film cameras. Natural selection. Digital cameras 'adapted' to the environment (that they were built to adapt, or that the markets were catering to them is not the point here... still if you want to know why, just post a reply, I’ll answer that as well), film cameras weren't equipped to 'adapt' to the environment. Thus film will be dead in some time. The cameras from 1980's without film and power will become fossils of their own 'living' self in 2020. I can show you fossils of my dad's cameras which used film that's not available today.

Now on to companies. Say there existed a company which was the world leader in film. But never cared enough for digital imaging - myopia, stupidity, whatever. It thought that it could sustain itself on the film lovers mentioned above. It forgot that its distribution doesn't reach EVERY shop in the world. So some of these film lovers do not use film made by this particular company. Now there comes a day that all the other film companies have either shut down or moved to digital. Say there were 10 film lovers. When 4 of them find out that the film they were using regularly isn't available anymore they move to digital. The remaining 6 still use our company's film. But the market has shrunk - you have 100% market share in a decreasing market... eventually the remaining 6 are going to move to digital. And the company cannot sustain itself long term on a diminishing market. Pragmatism prevails, and the company is closed down. Natural selection - the company failed to adapt to its environments.

Now on to the question of lineage etc.
say that there was another company that was a market leader in film say Nikonica. Its leaders foresaw the digital imaging future, and decided to start producing digital media 'as well'. So as happens in corporations, a factory & department is made to handle digital operations. So the VP's of the film & digital department are called VP, Nikonica Classic and VP, Nikonica Digital respectively. Time goes by and by the natural selection explained above Nikonica Classic loses customers in a diminishing market. One day the company board decides to shut down Nikonica Classic. In the meanwhile Nikonica Digital has been doing roaring business - is a top market shareholder, and is now the entire business of the company. The company Nikonica has 'evolved' into 'Nikonica Digital'. Treat the original company as a parent species and the two Classic & Digital as the children - both different in their characteristics, fit for different environments. It's just that the environment was more favourable to Digital than to Classic.

I love open markets... they mimic nature and its laws so closely that it fascinates me. They also follow evolution, and even theory of evolution fits them quite nicely. Only that the evolution in case of markets is way way faster than that in living organisms.

I hope that clears misconceptions about evolution.

Disclaimer: Evolution doesn't necessarily mean 'improvement' or isn't a process to become 'superior'. It's just a process of becoming 'better adapted'.


The good, the bad and the dowry

I guess this is a subject which has been "beaten to death" in India, by the media and even by the government itself. So this post is not so much about dowry, as it is about "good" and "bad" with respect to dowry. Good and bad dowry? What is good about dowry, you may ask. Well, to some of us it is very evident that dowry is a bad practice and it must be done away with. We cannot even imagine that someone would think of it as "good". But again, this post is not about that either!

A male colleague of mine is getting married. He told me that there wasn't going to be any dowry involved in this wedding. Well I have been telling everyone what a good thing that is, and I am really very happy that people are starting to inculcate this. But another (female) friend said, not taking dowry doesn't make you good! It makes you "not bad". There is nothing great about not taking dowry. If you do, of course you are a low-life of the worst sort (my words) but if you don't there is no virtue in it. It is what you are supposed to do!

Well I happen to disagree. In a place where most people get degrees to get a dowry, and even young software engineers of 25 say "well, dowry is a must", we must admire the person who doesn't take any. Even if it was because his parents are opposed to it, and it was no decision of his. Because I think that good and bad are relative in situations like this. When the norm is "bad" then anyone better than the norm isn't "not bad" but is good!


Pascal's wager

Even if the Atheist has doubts it is still reasonable for him to embrace {enter religion here} . To illustrate this fact, consider this situation. You are told that there is a speed-trap set by police to catch speeders on a certain road. Even if you doubt the information you must still act as though you believe it. You will slow down just to be on the safe side. You feel no need to start arguing that the police would never do a thing like that, or that you drove there before and never got caught speeding. In a similar sense the Atheist can simply submit in {enter religion here} although he still has doubts. Rather than argue about what he doubts he should first get on the safe side and then investigate further.

I will not link to the site where I found this, because it is obviously going to reveal the name of the religion and I don't want to seem like I am refuting any one religion in particular.
Being a member of several atheist newsgroups and discussion boards, I see this argument all the time, and from theists of all denominations. The radar speed trap analogy is definitely not applicable to Pascal's wager for the following reasons:

1) You are told that there is a speed-trap set by police to catch speeders on a certain road.

You have actually experienced this or seen radar speed traps before.

2) Even if you doubt the information you must still act as though you believe it.

You can actually verify the information even if you doubt it. Whether you drive over or under the speed limit to get to the verification point is your choice, but you can go and verify it all the same.

3) You feel no need to start arguing that the police would never do a thing like that, or that you drove there before and never got caught speeding.

This analogy is not applicable to dying and going to the afterlife. You have never died before so you do not know what comes after. And neither has your friend who is warning you of the consequences. On the other hand, you may have driven at this speed before or may be a resident of the area and may be aware that no radar speed traps have been introduced by the law-enforcement.

Some other fun replies to this that I have seen on the net:
Safe side? Really? You know, I've been thinking about this, and if you look at the odds Atheism really is a better bet if you view this as a giant crap shoot. Either there is no god, a god, or multiple gods. Three choices, you have about a 33% chance.

No god:
Buddhism (some may believe in a personal god but Buddhism is more or less atheistic)

A god:

Multiple gods:

Pascal's wager could really f**k you up too. Lets say an atheists chooses christianity to be on the "safe" side.

On judgement day its an angry RAM staring him down. Now you are really f**ked.


An eclipse of the mind?

NOTE: I am getting a lot of hits on this post from searchers who are trying to determine whether eclipses have any effect on pregnant women and whether or not they (and others) should fast during an eclipse. In case it is not clear from this post and my replies in the comments thread, I DO NOT believe that eclipses are harmful to people unless you look at them with the naked eye, in which case, you can be blinded.

Now to resume the regular service (i.e., the original post)

There was a total eclipse of the sun today, which was seen in many countries across the world. An eclipse (Greek verb: ekleipô, "to vanish") is an astronomical event that occurs when one celestial object moves into the shadow of another. Such a simple explanation, isn't it? We can predict eclipses, not only when they will happen and where they can be viewed, but the precise timings of each phase of the eclipse. A total solar eclipse is something that everyone must experience at least once in thier lifetimes. It is one of the few times when we can actually see the cosmos in action, outside of planetariums, observatories and the National Geographic channel.

But there is another aspect to these occurences. A shadow of fear that falls over the minds of people. It has to be seen to be believed. That people can actually assert that there is a scientific reason for believing that you should throw out all the cooked food in the house because the eclipse (as shadow of the moon passing between the sun and the earth) will somehow contaminate them. Or that pregnant women need to be shielded from eclipses because their children may otherwise be born blind or deformed.

When I was very young (not sure, I think about 5 years old), there was to be a total eclipse of the sun. My mother scared me and told me to lie in bed quietly till it passed. I did as I was told, of course, as she had told me that a "rahskas" would come and gobble up the sun (and who wants to see something like that!)

Then someone gave me a book for my 7th birthday, called "The Sun, the Moon and the Stars". That's when I figured out that the sun is a huge ball of hot gas, and started wondering how would a rakshas every gobble it up. I was a much wiser 12 year old, when I experienced my second total solar eclipse in Indonesia. Our schoolteachers had dark filters for us to view it through and were walking us through the whole eclipse with lots of valuable gems of information. It was an experience I cannot compare with anything else. The moment of totality, when everything goes dark, and then suddenly the corona of the Sun appears around a seemingly black hole, is a moment of gasps and wonder.

That's why, when I hear a senior and respected colleague of mine tell me that he has been fasting all day because there is an eclipse and he wasn't supposed to eat anything all day, or when someone says that a solar eclipse causes a lot of "germs" to come out and infect the food, then I am filled with a different kind of wonder. I wonder at how such rational and reasonable people can be blinded by fear and tradition so much that they refuse to stop for a minute and use their own brains, the most important organ that thier so-called "God" is supposed to have given them.

ETA: For fun
Running Around in (Elongated) Circles

Newton said as he gazed off afar,
"From here to the most distant star,
These wond'rous ellipses
And solar eclipses
All come from a 1 over r."


Temptation, just out of reach

This is the view from my bedroom window. Imagine waking up each day, watching these luscious beauties ripening gradually, waiting for them to turn a golden hue... Unfortunately the tree is in my neighbour's yard. But some overhanging branches do have a few of the mangoes on them which I can reach from my roof!


The phenomenon of irritating music

As I listened to the strains of "Ek baar aaja aaja..." issuing from the TV in the office cafeteria, I wondered about this phenomenon. Of extremely irritating music by some composer/singer being played all over the place, from music channels to discos to paan-tapris. Why is it that only the horrible songs catch on like this? I mean think about Altaf Raja. There was a time where you could not get onto a bus or an auto-rickshaw without hearing "Tum to thehre par-daaay-seeee....". Aaaaarrrrggghhhhhh!!!! Some more I can think of were Ataullah Khan* (of "Accha sila diya" fame) and Hassan Jehangir* (Hawa hawa).

So why do you think these songs catch on all of a sudden and dissappear even more suddenly? Is their popularity due to the fact that they appeal to the great unwashed masses, with their plaintive cries? Or is it the other way round, and we feel irritated by a certain set of songs, if they become very popular and are played over and over again (hark back to Saathiya ringtones!)

* My heartfelt thanks to Akshoy for reminding me of the names of these singers!!!

ETA: I found the answer!!!


A Pot of gold, right outside the window!

Sometimes, you only have to look out the window to find joy. Like this rainbow which brightened up the dreary Monday afternoon.


Is it chocolate?

This weekend, my brother and I did a bit of a survey at Food Bazaar to see which chocolate brands had vegetable fats (other than cocoa butter) in them. The results? All imported brands, such as Hershey's , Vochelle and Mars were made of cocoa butter and milk fats. And the two major brands sold in India, namely Cadbury's and Nestle, have Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils in them.

Now, you may ask, what's wrong with having vegetable fats in chocolate? Nothing, really, if you are not a chocolate purist. But there is definitely something wrong with having Hydrogenated vegetable oils in the chocolate. These fats have been shown to have many health risks, compared to saturated fats (such as from milk or even meats). There is a lot of awareness about these health risks in many countries in the west, and a lot of companies have started labeling their chocolate, saying "Does not contain any vegetable fat". Check out a bar of Mars.

So next time, before you reach for a 5Star or a KitKat, think about all the free radicals in the chocolate, and how your liver is going to metabolise it!

ETA: After this post was posted, on reading one of the comments, I went to check the Cadbury brand again. And sure enough, there is no more mention of hydrogenated veg oils anymore! There are still some bars of choc that do have them, so if you are concerned, just flip it over and read the ingredient list before buying. :)


Usenet Poll!!!

What is your level of familiarity with the Usenet?
Never heard of it.

Heard of it, but never used it.

Use it via web-based interfaces such as Google groups.

Read and post occasionally using newsreaders.

Read and post regularly using newsreaders.

Current results


"Bootism" or "Why Women Love Shoes So Much"

Why do women love shoes so much? What is the reason that a woman can walk past a clothing sale without batting an eyelid, look over a jewellery display without once reaching for her purse, but cannot resist the lure of a shoe-sale? Women and their love for shoes have been in the media a lot, from Imelda Marcos, to Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, to our own Ms. Jayalalitha. Men wonder at these news stories and shake their heads, saying they will never understand this passion for shoes, while women plan out what their own shoe closet would look like if they had that kind of money.

Bootism is defined on its website as "a shoe religion, celebrating, explaining and validating the passion for everything shoes". I have found some really enlightening articles here, here and here. So here are a few reasons (out of my head, and from the wierd and wonderful web) of why I think we women love shoes:

  • We will find a pair of shoes that fits us, even if we have put on a few kilos of weight.
  • We don't need so much time trying them on, so we can buy them even if there is a sale on, and all the changing rooms are full.
  • We need shoes to go with all the different kinds of outfits we wear. Since women have more variety in the clothing, it is natural that their footwear will be proportionately varied, both in color and style.
  • The same style of shoes will look good on us, even if we need to buy a pair that is a few sizes larger. That can definitly not be said for a lot of items of clothing, e.g. miniskirts.
  • We can cover up or bare all, depending on the mood, without being whistled at by passers-by.
  • We simply cannot wear the same pair of shoes to a wedding and dance party!
I am sure the women who read this can think up thousands more reasons (please post them, I'll rework the list and add them in later!). And if men think they understand women really well and can tell me some of the reasons, of course, those are welcome too!

Here's to a long and faithful relationship with our beloved shoes!


On being rootless

Recently, a friend remarked about the lack of opportunities to work in your hometown if you are from a small town. This led me to think about rootless people like me, who can never give a simple answer to the question "So where are you from?" From early childhood, we have to learn to make new friends, learn names of new streets, get accustomed to new neighbourhoods because we find ourselves in a different city every couple of years. We come to realise that, after a lot of fond farewells and promises of "writing every week", old friendships usually fizzle off in a few months and new friends are made. Does this seem a little sad to those of you who have lived their entire lives in the same city? Surprisingly, it's not.

With the nervousness of fitting into a new set of friends in a new school comes the freedom to re-invent yourself everytime you are in a new place where no one knows you. Whether it is a new hairstyle you were not really confident about, or a new attitude on life, if no one knows you where you are going to, they will accept these new things as part of you. There is the thrill of discovering new ice-cream parlors and bookstores, finding new chaat thelas and of even learning a new language.

As you move from city to city, you gather a whole store of stories and anecdotes to entertain at parties and put in place a whole network of friends and acquaintances. Nothing equals the pleasure of meeting after fifteen years someone who was your "best friend" in eight grade!


F1! F1!!

Help please! I am trying to get this template onto my blog, but unfortunately I'm not that good at html. Can someone pls give me some tips???

ETA: I have successfully applied the template! Yay me!


Get a blog!

There used to be an ad on TV years ago, saying "Get a job, get a job". Nowadays, all I hear is "Get a blog, get a blog!". People seem to want to look at your blog before they will speak to you! So ok, here's my nth attempt to start a meaningful blog! Hope this fares better than the previous ones!