Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Nothing Journals

Beauty contests offer a peek into the human psyche. There’s an absolutely gorgeous twenty-something on stage with the eyes of millions of viewers around the globe on her. She knows she is pretty. She knows she is minutes away from riches and glory if she gets the answer to one question right.

Judge: “If you could be one person in this world, who would you be and why?”

[If you ask me, these are the dumbest questions on earth. If I were a beauty queen, I’d much rather be me myself than any other person in this world!]

Beauty: “Hmmm…I’d be Mother Teresa because then I could serve humanity selflessly and give away wealth blah blah blah…”

If a pretty, talented, young girl with the world at her feet were to come and tell me that she wanted to be a saint, I’d think she was nuts. If our dear beauty queen wanted to be Mother Teresa, she wouldn’t be in the contest in the first place.

Anyways, the reason I bring this up is because of blogging. Recently, I was trying to convince a friend of mine to start blogging. He, unlike me, is actually not vetti and is something of a geek. So, he asks me this question:

“So, why do you blog? Give me one good reason to blog. Convince me.”
“Uh..hmm..ahem…I blog because….uh-eh…”
“Go on..”
“Err…I have no clue…”
“There must be some theme to your blog?” [This is the problem with these logical, geeky types. They are the Hercule Poirots of this world. They want to have “order and method” to every single thing!! (]
“Uh..err..I write about nothing…”

Sometimes, when you are under scrutiny like this, you wish you could give an answer like our beauty queens do; something that sounds really "cool" even though it is dumb! But alas, I can rarely come up with something even remotely interesting. And that, folks, is the truth. I write for no reason. I don’t hope to eliminate world poverty. I don’t hope to achieve world peace. I don’t think that some poor suicidal soul is going to come across my blog in his/her last moments and change his/her mind because of my wonderful (I wish!) writing. I don’t aim to become to this one extremely popular blogger and have crowds hang on to every word of mine. I write because I enjoy the process of writing. More than the end result, the act of condensing thoughts into a communication medium is more exciting than anything else.

I think I have some quirky gene that appreciates nonsensical nothings. It is for this exact same “nothingness” that I like Seinfeld. It is a show about “nothing” and I don’t have to look for hidden meanings or undercurrents of philosophy. Everything is there to see right before your eyes and most of it is “nothing”. Catch my drift? Perhaps I should name my blog “The Nothing Journals”.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Why do all healthy things have to be SO unappetizing? I decided to give my poor body a break from the Subway, Taco Bell, Trumps, BK House food I've been nourishing (?! I can hear my stomach say "yeah right!") it with this week. So I decided I'd go the healthy way at least for one day. I made spinach dal and boiled some vegetables. I am staring at my lunch now and pondering how on earth I am going to finish this healthy "serving" of veggies for lunch. I don't remember having any such trepidations when consuming onion rings, egg rolls, taco salads and burritos. Oh, why does health have to be so hard? :(

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Being Serious...

I have decided to become serious. I mean, really. Sometimes you have these "Aaahhhaa!" moments. News just filtered in from the grapevine back home that I don't act my age *because* I smile and talk easily (I'd have understood if I was given other reasons for not acting my age!). That's right, people. Since this is a big insult, I am going to frown all the time. No more smiling. And no more easy talking.
I am going to crib all day long about how I am used to velvet beds and satin sheets in the US; about how I don't like the dirt and dust in India; about the roadside stall Milaga Bajjis; about the crowds, buses and public transports. And I am going to find faults with every single little thing that my hosts offer me- from the coffee that is just a bit off consistency to the dosa which could've used some more salt. I will permanently keep my face screwed up like a GEM (Ginger eating monkey or "Inji thinna kurangu") whenever I talk to family. And to complete the picture, maybe I will take exception to the saree that some maami is wearing when I visit her and I'll decide to throw a tantrum that she was wearing her worst saree just because I was going to visit her that day! Maybe then I will seem more "adult-like" and "normal".

Coming to think of it, I never did think I smiled/laughed too much. My bro used to think I was a "serious" person. See, this is why you need brothers. They will make you feel much better with their support..:) So, let's have a toast to the new "serious", adult-like me!

P.S: I somehow feel that all the above is not going to be possible because I like sleeping on the floor, the dirt, dust and noise in India, the roadside stall food, crowds, public transport. I find it very hard to find faults with people for silly things and even if I do, I forget them. And, I think, the hardest part is going to be the stopping smiling part. Life is too short to keep bad memories..:)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

LTCA's Vaibhavam

I've been meaning to write this for a while now but as usual, the procrastrinator in me kicked in. On October 15, we had a Lexington Tamil Cultural Association function here in Lexington. And "Vaibhavam" deserves mention because it was, as all LTCA shows have been, a gala show! Now, what it makes this topic rather interesting is that many of the people involved with LTCA are our fellow bloggers...:) The idea of LTCA as a forum to host Tamil events and provide relief to an otherwise Tamil-parched land was first conceived by RS, Dinesh and Kamal . The first event was "Sangamam", in 2002 (if I remember right). Then we had "Vaanavil" in April 2004, "Thaen Mazhai" in April 2005 and "Vaibhavam" in October 2005.

This time around there were kids' shows, dances (classical and film), orchestra, debate a.k.a. pattimandram and a stand-up comedy show. The kids show was refreshing and fun. It always amazes me how kids are completely nonchalant performers! They say what they think and they do whatever they want. Some are completely natural performers and they steal the show! There were certainly some moments to remember...(Lexingtonites, you know what I am talking about!)..:)

The debate was a big hit and we found some pretty passionate speakers. The topic was "Tamizh cinema paadalkaL, Tamizhai vaLarkkiradha, azhikkiradha". As you can imagine, it generated quite a debate. The Naduvar was PB and he finally decided on behalf of the "vaLarkkiradhu" team..:) Those of you who have a problem with that decision, please ask him. Other blogger personalities who participated are VS and our 'Aasthana' commenter VV. I, personally, didn't get to watch this event because I was off frantically practicing for the music event..:(

We had an excellent Bharatanatyam performance. Then, we had an amazing dance performance for a medley which included "Otha roova tharen..", "Kattu kattu keeraikattu..", title track of Punnagai mannan etc... Kay, DR, D, P, A and gang did an amazing job!

Then we had our music orchestra event. Sujan was our aasthana mridangam vidwan/drummer supported by all-rounder Ashok (man, this guy was everywhere-dance, music, cricket etc...!). We had two excellent keyboardists and a Dholak/tabla player. Singers included yours truly, D, S and Vasu. Sujan wowed audiences with his mridangam for "Maargazhi thingaL" and Vasu with his rendition of "Poo vasam.."! "Andangakka.." had the crowd dancing..:) Dinesh, our drummer last time, was our audio expert. He drove all the way down from NJ to watch our show. Good performances from everyone involved!

Sai Santosh's stand-up comedy bought rip-roaring laughter from the crowd and was a fitting end to a good show.

Apart from the actual show, we had amazing back-stage support for the backdrop, food and a zillion other things that come with organizing an event! I might be boring you with un-ending initials for names but I had to gush about this . I think its special that we had a very talented, well-rounded Tamil program here in Lexington that made us feel at home. Full kudos to organizers Prabhu,Priya, Sundar, Kay, DR! Now that all the excitement is over, I feel like there's a void. I have a thousand other things to do but still, I do miss all those practice sessions, vetti arattais, side-show comedies and general camaraderie..sigh. It is back to reality, school, work and normal life..:(

Monday, October 17, 2005


I read in one book ("How Winners Do It") that the maximum amount of time humans can bear silence in a conversation is one minute. You’re guaranteed that at the 59th second, someone is going to burst into talk. So, to get your way, all you've got to do is make a proposition, shut up and wait for the other person to say something. Sounds easy? I don't know about that.
One of the bad things about being more sensitive than others around you is that you are forced to cover up for other peoples’ bloopers. And mostly, you do that by rushing into speech. Bloopers are anywhere there’s a big crowd. Even a gang of good friends has its awkward pauses at times.
You are at a wedding or a big gathering of relatives. There’s always this one Uncle, Aunt or a second or third cousin who is going to give everyone at least one awkward moment. It might be a rather bawdy comment, a very correct but ill-timed observation or plain undiplomatic frankness. And the blooper people (people who make bloopers) and most of the audience are quite oblivious to the level of discomfort permeating around. They’ll happily act like nothing happened till the silence grows. 20 seconds. You shift feet. 30 seconds. Still none breaks the ice. 40 seconds….
And if you are the rather sensitive kind, you sense the discomfort in the atmosphere and immediately hem, haw and rush into speech to cover the moment. The thing is when you embarrassedly rush into speech, you don’t make sense. You just say whatever comes into your head: pretty random, off-topic stuff. And people forget the blooper but (and here’s the caveat) remember your well-meaning nonsense forever. And the very same blooper person, who was the cause of all this in the first place, will thump your back and roar with laughter at your gaffe. And you’re the toast of parties and the whole-hearted roast of the gang. Hmph. The worst part is that some people take the liberty of shooting their mouth all the time expecting/knowing that you’ll be around to fix their verbal mess-ups.
Well, I used to be the sensitive kind before. I used to feel compelled to make everyone feel comfortable and happy. Then I got annoyed. So I figured I would let people solve their own verbal gaffes. So these days, I sit back, relax, tap my fingers and enjoy the comedy until someone decides to crack...:)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Divine Comedy

There are days when I think that somethings happen just to annoy me. And I hate it when these happen early in the morning. I woke up to the sound of my cellphone ringing its head off (I had forgotten to put it on vibrate). It didn't even seem to have dawned yet. I groped around in the darkness and I couldn't find my phone to save my life. The ringing stopped and I sighed as I went back to bed. I'll deal with it when I wake up, I thought. I was wrong. The insistent ringtone that I'd liked, "Tere Liye" from Veer Zaara, started its melancholy melody again. I groaned, switched on the light ready to blast this person calling me at 4.30 AM in the morning. After frantically rummaging in and around my bed, I found my phone in the crack between the wall and the bed. I had to do some gymnastics to get to it. The ringing had stopped but I found a voice mail that sounded like someone was crying.
Phone rings again.
Me: "Huh..hullo.."
Guy (Obviously drunk): "I neejz ta talk to ya.."
Me: "Who is this?"
Guy: "Cut the ****. Ya know me..I know thaz.."
Me: "You got the wrong number. Sorry." [Slam the phone down]

[Phone ringing again. By this time, I am ready to throw my phone out the window.]
Guy: "You canna slam the phone down on to me." [makes suspicious sobbing sounds]
Me (sighing): "I think you got the wrong number, man. Go to sleep." [Groaning and wondering what I'd done to deserve this!]

Well, there I was wide awake at 4.30 AM in the morning wondering what to do. I tossed around and couldn't go back to sleep. So I stumble bleary-eyed to the kitchen to get some coffee only to find no coffee. Great, I curse myself. I turn on my computer and some playlist starts playing. First song from 'Padakotti' (MGR Starrer):
"Tharai mel pirakka vaithan,
engaLai thaNNeeril pizhaikka vaithaan."

Idhula situation song oNNu dhaan kuraichal..:(

Finally, I get myself a cup of hot water and go to the living room to watch CNN. I trip across my ethernet cable and spill hot water all over myself. My wireless router had gone bust and I had resorted to a physical connection with the cable running across the room. So there I was, jumping around like a cat in hot water (I mean, literally!). Finally, I settle down to watch CNN's coverage of the earthquake and fall asleep for half an hour with some stupid dreams of visiting Saddam Hussein's Iraqi Presidential Palace. And the weird thing is that his palace has no roof (!). And Saddam gives me some explanation about how good it is for one's health to have no roof. Yeah right.

I woke up thoroughly cranky and started writing this blog...Sigh. If this is God's sense of humour, I don't think its funny. I think this is going to be a long day.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Word play...

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said,
in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean-neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you
can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty,
"which is to be master-that's all."

-Lewis Caroll, Through the Looking Glass

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Mid-week rants...

If you select some of US TV's worst programs, Judge Hatchett, Judge Judy, People's Court, Maury and like programs would be on the top of my list. All these "Judge whatever" programs have a hypothetical "judge" in full paraphernalia sitting on the bench. And people's cases are presented before them in which they feel free to sneer, insult, jab at people and come to some random conclusion on what should be done. What I can't understand is how people can settle their differences on TV, in front of a person who is nothing like a Judge. Some cases are divorces, "My husband stole my money", "My wife slept with my best friend", "My marriage is on the rocks" etc...I mean, what drives people to get insulted on TV by some person play acting and sitting in judgement???!! Is the need for publicity and notoriety that great? Whatever makes them think that such personal things can even be settled by someone else? And there are catch phrase ads for some of these programs: "Judge Judy- she is kind, compassionate, caring.." What the hell?
Sometimes, when I am waiting to watch some of my favourite programs, I stumble across the end portions of "Maury". I have to tell you I've come to loathe this guy. Toward the end of one of his shows, there's a contest called "Man or Woman?". People are supposed to guess whether a particular human is a guy or a girl. I have to tell you that this is one of the most freakish things I've ever seen on TV. He settles disputes of the sleazy kind: paternity, maternity, adultery et al.. And you can see people copiously crying, throwing tantrums, shouting, making obscene gestures, getting insulted and saying the most outrageous things all for your entertainment! God, I am disgusted.


Second, while we are on the topic of marriages/breakups, latest is the split of Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson. I am so fed up of hearing about breakups and heart-breaks. Once in a while, the romantic in me wishes for a fairy tale and the "Happily ever after". Why is it getting so hard to be happy in a relationship? An overdose of "I, me and myself" these days?!? Perhaps, they should introduce a clause in their marriage vows that says, "till irreconcilable differences do us apart".
But I do admire (if this is anything to be admired!) the enthusiasm (?!) of these people in jumping from one partner to another. I, for one, am ready to hear a story about someone who says "I do" and actually keeps it up till "death do them apart"!


I do have to complain about some traffic incidents. I have been delayed in traffic for 30 mins twice this week in Lexington. That, in itself, is a rare happening because Lexington is a sweet little town with little or no traffic problems. I got stuck on Broadway going into downtown on Wednesday evening around 5 PM. I couldn't make any sense of it because at 5 PM, people are supposed to be heading out of town; not going into town! After crawling for 30 mins across a 1 mile stretch, I was ready to have a fit. The other time this happened was on Monday afternoon on Rose Street. I had to run to UK for something and I made the mistake of taking Rose Street. Man, did I pay for it! I spent 45 minutes on the stretch between Rose/Maxwell and Rose/Washington. Lexingtonians, never ever take Rose in the middle of the day when school is in session.
The Powers that Be really need to fix the Broadway/Virginia Ave intersection left-turn light. Broadway is an artery out of Lexington and after work, this busy intersection is usually packed with traffic. Now, this left-turn light stays green for 8 seconds. Given the response time of people to lights, this means that only two cars can actually go through that intersection. And then we are stuck again for some 3-4 minutes before the next time. I've been stuck at this light for nearly 10 minutes on some days and it drives me crazy!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Beautiful (Sun)Day

I confess that I am guilty of writing similar posts before. But I can't stop myself from eulogizing lazy Sunday mornings..:) After all, what can ever beat listening to your favourite playlist while browsing the latest news on the web, all the while sipping a steaming hot cup of coffee (made in Indian style. Can't stand having black coffee!).

The playlist that I am listening to after a long time and made my day:

Please Forgive me....Bryan Adams
Patience......Guns n Roses
Coming Back to Life....Pink Floyd
Wish You were Here.....Pink Floyd
Could I have this Kiss Forever?....Enrique Iglesias
When you love someone..........Bryan Adams
Bailamos................Enrique Iglesias
Drops of Jupiter........Train
Better Man...............Robbie Williams
Wherever Whenever.....Shakira
Desert Rose...........Sting
Staring at the Sun....U2
With or Without you....U2
Beautiful Day..........U2

Saturday, October 01, 2005