Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Confessions of a Desi Mem...

I eat with my fingers sitting cross-legged on the floor. I like to mix the food with my own five fingers and feel the food in my hands. And no, I don't think its "yucky". For the record, I intensely dislike eating with forks and knives. Everytime I pick up a fork and put it in my mouth, I have this paranoia that I am going to poke the insides of my mouth or tongue with the sharp edged fork. And for some psychological reason, I hate "cutting" my food with a knife. I've been conditioned by subliminal messages from movies, soaps and media that knives are meant to kill, maim or disfigure. I remember Vivek's remark in some movie, "Sapattula ithanai vanmuraiya?" meaning "Why so much violence in food?". I am not going to pretend that I am at home eating with forks, knives and spoons.

I write this because of a recent remark of a highly successful relative that knowing to eat with forks and knives is "essential to succeeding in your career". I guess he meant well because you can blend well with your international colleagues if you can mimic their culture. I am perfectly ok with westerners eating with forks and with Indians who are comfortable with it. But then, there are some prissy desi gentlemen and women who look down upon those who can't. Its like you've committed some unsophisticated, primitive act if you say, "I eat with my fingers"!

Speaking of which, I can almost feel the peaceful bliss that descends on me when I eat Thayir Sadham (curd rice) and Avakkai pickles with my fingers...Hmm..

powered by performancing firefox

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Musings on Desh...

I wonder if this Raga was named "Desh" because of the inherent patriotism (Song: Vande Mataram) it is able to conjure up in the hearts of the listener; Or is it because it speaks to the soul that it is called "Desh"? After all, there's few things that touch a person's heart as his/her motherland. Whoever named it so must be definitely an intellectual.

Some tunes lull the mind into peace and serenity for a few moments. Desh is one such. It conjures up images of moonlight, stars, the Tajmahal in early morning light, an infinite ocean of bliss occassionally surfacing a playful wave to dance to the tunes of a Raaga....Aptly enough, Desh is meant to be sung in the early parts of the night lulling the sleeper deeper into undisturbed slumber.

"Brindavana Saranga" is one Raga that reminds me of monsoon seasons, rain drops dangling on the edge of leaves, rivers dancing on pebbles etc...I don't know what this raga is meant to embody but I am thinking it should be something close to what I imagine..:) Aruna Sairam is my favourite for this Raga. She has given wonderful renditions of "Rangapura Vihara" and "Soundararajam". There may be purists and naysayers who'd cite other musicians who've done more justice to this Ragam. But I feel she gives the Hindustani touch (it is a Hindustani Raga adapted to Carnatic music) perfectly!

There's umpteen movie numbers in this Raga and a lot of re-recording in movies and dramas. The serial "Rudra Veenai" by YG Mahendra has used this raga exclusively for re-recording!

These two Ragas have given me islands of peace in the past week or so amidst stresses.

technorati tags:, , ,

Blogged with Flock

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Please help Aditya...

RS has a post on her blog here about a little 4-year old, Aditya, who has an acute form of leukemia. His parents are trying to raise funds for his bone marrow transplant. This is not a fraud scheme. Please check it out here and kindly do what you can to save a young life.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Of People, Pizzas and Personalities...

Started watching "Omkara" yesterday. My Hindi is pretty limited to a few commonly-heard dialects. I struggled a bit with the dialect in "Lagaan" initially but then I got used to it. But Omkara went over my head. Plus, the audio quality was a bit bad and I could neither make head nor tails of what was being said. It was like watching a deaf and dumb movie. After "Lage Raho Munnabhai", this seemed so dark, sinister and boring. I gave up midway and went off to make "semiya upma".


This week has been "damage vaaram". First, on Saturday, I left Cauliflower to boil on my new, shiny non-stick bowl. I completely forgot about it and went swimming. When I came back, the smoke detector was going crazy and my entire house had a charred, roasted smell. The Cauliflower looked like it'd been put in an incinerator and the non-stick bowl was beyond repair. The teflon coating was totally torn off..:(

The cover of one of my plastic containers was touching the edge of the stove and it got melted. Then, this morning, I took a shower and left the restroom door open. The smoke detector, which is closeby, detected the steam from the restroom and started screaming. Annoyed, I threw a pillow at it to ward away the smoke. Well, guess what, the smoke detector came tumbling down from the ceiling. So I stared at it a bit and then shrugged it off. Good riddance to bad stuff. At least, it won't scream at the slightest provocation!


I was reading an article about how to be "like-able" amongst co-workers, friends, people etc....I have doubts about how a person can become "caring", "good" and "interested in other people" all of a sudden. The article also went on to prescribe a good dose of "compassion" and "helpfulness" to others.

I have always had arguments with a few friends about the basic nature of a person. My friends say that a person can change completely if the right kind of influence is there. Allow me to be a bit nonsensical here. A person is like pizza. The crust, cheese and toppings together make up the personality. Certain traits are like the toppings on a pizza. If they're bad, you can change them and the pizza is good. But the crust of the pizza is not changed easily. A person's intrinsic nature is like the crust of the pizza. You can't change it that easily. And no matter what you do with the toppings, the pizza is going to be bad if the crust is bad! Anyways, that's my opinion.

I have seen a lot of well-liked people here in Lexington and elsewhere. Certain things just come naturally to them - like being friendly and genuinely interested in other people's welfare. I don't think you can "make" yourself be a certain kind of person.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A few weekend thoughts...

Finally found a few contiguous hours to watch a movie last weekend. I ended up watching Lagaan. I had a jinx going with this movie. I'd start watching it, something'd happen and I'd stop. My movietime yesterday was also peppered with phone calls and little errands but at least I finished what I started..:) I liked it. It gave me a feel-good feeling. But after having heard years of talk, reviews about it, I didn't have much surprise left. So I wasn't "wowed" or awed, but I liked it.


Went Garbha dancing on Saturday. I didn't dance much because my poor body gave way to aches and pains mid-way and I sat slumped in a chair watching everyone else. I've decided I should get a chanya choli type dress. All the Gujju aunties/girls wearing colorful clothes and jewelry swirling around with their full skirts gave me this jealousy..:) Gosh, if there was one thing that South Indians miss out on, its dancing! Our culture just doesn't have this woven in. I was just amazed watching all these Northie Aunties - old and young - swaying and dancing with abandon. They weren't worried about who was watching, who was not or whether they were doing it gracefully. They "danced like none was watching" and it was fun!

I was reminded of Gaancase. She sure knew how to twirl to a number..:)


Weekends should have more than 48 hours...:( What with golus, body-aches, dandia etc.., I still haven't cleaned my house. I have a pile of dishes in the sink (that pile never goes away! It is a veritable "amudhasurabhi"), laundry to be done, a closet full of messy clothes that I should arrange, a few calls to make, grocery shopping.....Aaaaaaargh! Grocery shopping and washing dishes are perhaps the bane of every desi in the US. You turn around and you are out of groceries....:( Anyways, now that the work-week has started, I am pretty sure I'll never get anything done until Friday. Then of course, the "extra-curricular" fun starts and I'll not remember all this until next Monday...:)