Monday, July 25, 2005

Recent Reads...

I recently finished two books- Ellen DeGeneres' "The funny thing is..." and Art Buchwald's "Stella in Heaven". This really calls for celebration given the fact that these days I can hardly gather my thoughts around me for more than 10 minutes when reading books. Woohoo! The sad thing is that I found Ellen's "The funny thing is.."..well, sad. To do justice to her, perhaps the stuff she has written about might actually be funny in a stand-up act. But the book is a sad let-down. Somehow, when I was reading her book, Jerry Seinfeld kept popping up in my head.

I liked "Stella in Heaven.." in a weird way. As I described to RS, it was a flatline with no dramatic ups and downs. But it was a strangely moving story about a widower (Roger) whose wife (Stella) talks to him from heaven everyday. They talk about everything including Roger's loneliness,social life, their children, mother-in-law, investments et al. Stella helps Roger in wife-hunting. And finally when Roger marries Samantha, he calls up Stella in heaven to say one last goodbye. I felt a lump rise in my throat as he decides to let go of the past and Stella reluctantly acknowledges the fact that she has moved away from him to a different world. I started wondering if I would be able to let go of someone I loved, that too after some 30 years of married life. If for some weird, quirky reason, I was still having conversations from heaven with my husband on earth, I think I'd burn with jealousy if he marries again.

Stella: "Someday-not very soon- but someday I hope I see you up here."
Roger: "And Samantha"

Friday, July 22, 2005

Too much of a good thing....

Disclaimer: I am not bragging or boasting or showing off about the number of phone calls/mails/pings I get. In fact, I don't get many and I am thankful for the few I do. And I hope this post doesn't stop people from pinging, mailing or calling me. I am not sending invisible, subliminal messages via the ensuing post. And I am not expressing some hidden philosophical meaning beyond the literal sense the following words convey. The contents of this post are merely my musings, albeit in a more serious tone of mind. And I am not a anti-technologist...:)

The world would be a bad place for me without a cellphone. And Internet. And e-mail. And Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger. But is there something as too much of a good thing? I've come to think "Yes".

I cook as I talk on the phone. I watch TV when I browse news in the morning. Half my ear is tuned to listen to Miles O'Brien on CNN American Morning (which, by the way, stinks after Bill Hemmer left the show), the other half listening to my microwave beep with my morning coffee and the rest of my brain is tuned to what I am reading.

Sometimes when I work, I have someone buzzing me on Yahoo! Messenger, Gmail Notifier telling me that I've got mail, my phone crying out to be answered, a movie on TV beckoning me and my RSS feeds going crazy with new stuff from my subscriptions...whew! And I keep checking mail every 10 minutes regardless of whether I am going to get something or not. Honestly, somedays I've been plain irritated because of too many things going on.

I think there's too much of expression going on in the world. I chat, e-mail, blog, comment on forums and blogs, read online, talk and what not. Too much expression that it leaves no room for introspection and some peace and quiet. During my undergrad days, I didn't browse too much thanks to the clogged Indian phone lines (Broadband was not exactly available in Trichy). When I wanted to read something, I walked to the library. I talked and actually listened to people around me. I found the time to go for a walk, go to a temple, ramble through the busy marketplaces selling flowers, vegetables, fruits etc...and actually enjoy haggling with the vendors over prices. The smell of fresh vegetables from the villages around Trichy used to enliven me. The sweet scent of jasmine flowers in the Sathaara Veedhi flower markets in Srirangam would tittillate. And a gentle breeze wafting from the Cauvery and caressing my face on a humid mid-summer evening would actually feel heavenly!

Sigh. Now, I order stuff online, read everything online, do online poojas and arathis, go to Kroger or Walmart to get tasteless, artificially grown vegetables or worse yet, frozen food and have totally forgotten about the sweet smell of Santhana mullai, Jasmine and Jaathi flowers woven into tight little strands.

I am not against technology. In fact, it is my lifeline. But sometimes, just sometimes, I do wonder.......

Thursday, July 14, 2005

This and That...

Okay, if you are expecting something sensible out of this post, my advice to you is: Don't Read It. It is going to be a bunch of nothings. This morning, I drove to work and got out of my car. Just as I got out of the car, I totally blanked out. I mean TOTALLY. For some 2-3 seconds, I had lost sense of orientation, where I was and what I was going to do! I looked around and I didn't recognize anything familiar.I had been about to slam the car door shut and there I was, wondering what I was doing with my hand on the car door. Scary, huh? Well, after those 3 scary seconds, I did get back my senses. I've heard some of my friends say that it has happened to them at times but this was my first major blankout.
I called an ISP to order broadband internet. As usual, I was on hold forever. I had enough time to finish reading the NY Times, Washington Post and do part of the crossword on Hindu and still I was on hold! So I finally got totally bored and was googling for something when I ran cross 'Henry VIII' in a result. And my funny bones got tickled and I started singing,
[Remember 'Ghost'? Patrick Swayze keeps singing this song...]

"I am Henry VIII I am, Henry VIII I am I am
I got married to the widow next door
And she's been married seven times before..."

And I got really gung-ho about the song and was pouring my heart and soul into it when I heard a very disapproving, strict voice on the other end, "Ma'am, how MAY I HELP you?". I bet she was thinking the best help she could offer me was take me to the loony bin. Duh.
This is inspired by RS's post on silly things. I was giving a lengthy dissertation to one of my friends about this. Why in the world do we have to make sense all the time??! I think we should all have some "nonsense time" in our days. We can basically talk all we want to talk: disconnected, discombobulated, whatever. I usually make sense (I hope. Please, if you
disagree, mail me personally..:)). But I find I am at my most relaxed when I can just blabour and not worry about people judging me, taking me too seriously or acting on what crap I talk. Those are the best conversations! And believe me, it is therapeutic. I find many people collapsing under the strain of being sensible all the time..they think and think and think and finally, they become SO sensible that it is no fun!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

With Charity Towards All....

My cats Azagi (grey and white) and Amul (orange) look like the ones in the pic. I gotta scan my actual cats' pics...:) Aren't they cute?

I love animals whether they're tameable as pets or not. I had three cats back home. The first one was a stray cat that just kept coming back to our house whether we wanted it to or not. It started stealing milk in the afternoons. Our mom appointed my brother and I as Guardians of the Milk. Neither of us relished it much because we couldn't do anything else in peace during afternoons. And the cat was an expert burglar! Once my brother caught it stealing and he chased it down. It tried to get out of the house via a grilled door and it couldn't wriggle out because it had grown so fat! My brother and I just rolled on the floor with laughter and my mom decided that it was too bad to starve a desperate cat. Anyways, it kind of became our house cat. My bro named it "Ramba" because it seemed to have a variation of cross-eyes...(no offense to the actress. Hey! you could take it that the cat was really cute too!:)).

Anyways, Ramba had two offspring- the first one being christened "Azhagi" (by virtue of its prettiness) and the second "Amul" (by virtue of its chubbiness). We bought up both these cats and they were a part of my college life. I used to love the fact that when I came home, Azagi used to run to the door "meowing" as soon as she heard me. Of course, my dad didn't exactly relish our feeding a cat Horlicks milk, cream cakes, chips, murukku, bakkoda et al..He used to look at me and my brother and put a hand to his forehead: "Kashtam!"...:)

Srirangam had an abundance of monkeys because of the groves in the little island. Now that realtors are exterminating groves to build multi-storied apartment complexes, the monkeys get displaced and wander into residential areas in big groups. We used to have monkeys in our backyard all the time. And the poor things used to look for water in buckets to drink and quench their thirst. We always used to leave a bucket full of water for the crows and monkeys. And we had fun feeding monkeys bananas, fruits, biscuits etc... albeit from a safe distance.

Now, there were people in our neighborhood who used to empty water buckets just because monkeys and crows drank out of them. They considered it a "waste of water"! And I have seen many people throw wasted food or fruits in the trash can when they could've given the same food to a starving cow at their gate. They call cats and monkeys "dushtai" (evil ones) and that raising them is earning "pavam". They'd rather sell the cocunuts from their trees for a paltry Rs. 10 rather than give one to a hungry monkey. And these same people would go to Ranganatha temple and search for people to do Anna Daanam. I say "search" because in these days and times, not many people want food; they want hard cash.

Which one is charity? Giving a portion of the food and water we consume to a needy, hungry being or thrusting our charity at other human beings when they really don't need it?? If the former is earning "pavam", I'd gladly go to hell.