Thursday, August 31, 2006


Everyone is obsessed with longevity these days. I am not talking of the longevity of 70 years or 80 years. Its about people wanting to live beyond 90 or 100!

I think I'd be plain bored if I lived upto a 100 years! I mean, what would I do with my time? I probably couldn't go around playing lawn tennis at 95. Most people would find me boring. Employers would no longer want me to work. So what do I do then?

Besides, my grandmother once brought up a very interesting point. She once said that as you age, more than degenerating health, its the loss of your peers - people you can talk to - that actually causes anguish. I think she's right.
So what're all these people who want to live to 112 years going to do with their lives? Maybe they're more purposeful and motivated than I am. Does everyone have SO much stuff to accomplish in their lives? :)I think I'll settle for 75 years.


An afterthought:

After not working out for weeks, I ran like a crazy sprinter yesterday! We were playing a league softball game. I can never hit the ball out of the infield. I don't think its anything to do with lack of strength. Rather, I think its the cricket mentality..:) My batting action most naturally inclines to moving from down upwards in a graceful curve (like you'd loft a cricket ball). But softball requires you to kind of hit the ball flat out, catching the ball at the lower part of your swing as your arm moves from top to bottom of a curve. Anyways, the end result is that I am a pathetic batter. I catch the ball at some weird point of my swing and I make contact but it ain't good enough for a huge hit! So the ball plops down in the infield somewhere and I have to run like mad to make first base without getting out. That's what I did yesterday. And it taught me something.

What, you ask?

Well, I know what muscles in my upper thigh and lower back are used in the sprint action. I can feel their painful groans with every minute move that I make.

But hey, we won! And it was a thrilling 9-run rally in the last 10 minutes of the game! Way to go, team! :)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Vancouver Diaries - Epilogue

This really is the last post! I promise not to bore you any further...

Due to various reasons, I chose not to do my undergraduate in Vancouver and chose to return to India. I was going back alone to India. My parents would follow in 2 years or so. Soon after saying goodbye to BNSS, I said my good-bye to Vancouver also.

My term in Vancouver had tempered me in a lot of ways, made me more tolerant and patient. I traveled a lot during those years and I was better off for that. I'd had the worst disappointments in my short life there, especially with my college dreams. But I'd also learnt something from those experiences. I'd learnt to take disappointment and live with it. I had no idea what India had in store for me. I'd no idea where I was going to do my undergraduate. Everything was uncertain.

In retrospect, I think I've had a fairly interesting life. I haven't liked it many-a-time. I'd have gladly settled for a very normal, Indian life but then, who am I to decide? I didn't know what was awaiting me next either..:) I was thinking one thing but fate had something else planned for me. Looking back, I think Srirangam was in my destiny one way or the other little though I knew it at the moment I waved goodbye to my parents at Vancouver airport.

Now, that is a whole new set of stories! :)

Oh, there are so many stories, so many stories. Which one do I tell you?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Random Thought for the Day

"சந்தோஷமோ துக்கமோ, எது என்னை தொட்டாலும் வழிவது வாழ்வின் இசை!"

- Prakash Raj in Ananda Vikatan

I like Prakash Raj as an actor. In the few interviews that I've seen him in, I liked his down-to-earth demeanour and precise answers. Somehow, this quote made me think today...:)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Blog Day is here!

Happy Independence Day, folks!

I am not one for having "days" for certain things. There's "Friendship Day", "Mother's Day", "Father's Day", "Friends Day" etc... I am yet to figure out the difference between "Friendship Day" and "Friends Day". Even if I want to forget all this, Editor Bob unfailingly remembers to send me e-mails about these and many other important days to my Yahoo! mail. Thank you, Editor Bob! :)

The problem with having special days is that I start putting off important things until that one day. I call/e-mail my friend only on "Friendship Day" and feel all self-righteous about it. Its 7.15 AM in the morning, still before breakfast and I am rambling. What I want to say is that: Having special days actually dilutes the importance of certain things rather than enhance it in the long run.

Coming to Blog Day. Blog Day is on Aug 31. Bloggers who participate are requested to select 5 blogs that they recommend and post it on their sites. Of course, this can be done on any day of the year. But then, I am lazy and will never get around to it..:) The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Err..hmm..ok..I can hear your grunts.

I just thought that if some of you can post 5 neat blogs that you came across recently, we can have easy access to some good reads. So Aug 31 is the day, folks!

Let's hope that I remember!

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Vancouver Diaries – XI

Last few months!

I relegated the SFU fiasco to the back of my mind. There were other important things going on. I got an admit at University of BC with scholarship. I had my final Provincial Exams coming up. And above all, I had prom peeking around the corner!

MJ and I hadn’t planned on going. When I saw some pictures of prom costumes, I was sure I’d not have the courage to wear such ball gowns nor would my father permit it! Besides, everyone was going with a date and I didn’t really want to have a "date" date. So I didn’t sign up for it.

One day, Mr. W, who was my homeroom teacher, called me into his office. He was also my Physics 12 and Calculus 12 teacher. I liked the genial, smiling guy and he had a soft corner for me always.

“Subha, why haven’t you signed up for prom?”

“I don’t know, Mr. W. I don’t feel like it, I guess.”

“May I ask why?”

“Errr…because I don’t want to have a date.”

“Oh. I see. You don’t necessarily have to ask a guy. You can go with your other girl friends.”


“So? Can I put your name down?”

“Errm…I don’t think I can wear those ball gowns. I am not used to them.”

I blabbered in a burst of confidence. I really have no idea what made me confide to him!

He laughed.

“Oh. I see the trouble. Well, I know a place where my sister used to go to get clothes. It has some pretty conservative dresses. Here’s the name of the place in the mall. Try it.”


“Subha, these things happen just once in life. You may go back to your country but you will have some remembrance of us if you attend this. You will carry it with you for life. Ok? Promise you’ll try? I will put your name down for now and also MJ’s.”

I think I am indebted to that kind soul who coaxed me into an experience of a life time!


Dress hunting!

MJ and I went dress hunting to the mall. We browsed through a hundred shops and we didn’t like any. GK was making her own dress. So she didn’t have this problem.

“MJ, you think we should make own clothes?”

“You know sewing?”


“You know to use a machine?”


“So you mean to say that in one month you are going to learn sewing, get a machine and actually make your dress??”

“Hmm..when you put it that way, it does seem difficult.”

She rolled her eyes. And we continued dress hunting.

Too low necked.

Too high.

Too low backed.

Don’t like zippers.

Don’t like halters.

Too expensive.

Ewww…what a color!

Amazing but then it’d stink on me.

I look fat in this.

It was two weeks before prom night and we still didn’t have dresses. So finally, tired of shopping, we settled into Rainforest Café in Metrotown Mall.


The Dress That Found Me

I read Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella sometime back. In that, the wedding planner says,

“You don’t find the dress. The dress finds you.”

I think that might be true. The funny thing is MJ and I found our dresses at the same time.

Mine was a dark blue, satin gown with sequins sewn near the top. Hers was a royal blue, plain gown that suited her creamy complexion perfectly! We both liked it instantly and it was reasonably priced.

Finally, my dress had found me!


Prom Night, Graduation Ceremony etc…

Prom night is a huge cultural statement. Girls spent so many weeks planning what they were going to wear, how they’re going to style their hair, whom they’re going out with etc…It was girlie fun! J We spent endless hours giggling and conspiring.

As for me, I wasn’t going to do my hair or makeup or anything. I’d just wear my gown, add a light choker and I was done. I left my hair loose. 6 of us had rented a limousine together. So we went away in all glory to the Hyatt Regency at the waterfront. There was dinner and dancing. After that, we had a boat ride on the Pacific in the night! It was a magical night!

Graduation ceremony was at the Orpheum Theatre. I wore a red cap and gown and walked across the podium feeling proud and happy!


Goodbye to BNSS!

Thus ended two memorable years. We said our goodbyes to each other, hugged, cried a bit. We signed each others’ yearbooks and hoped we’d see each other somewhere in the future. I took one last look at the Viking mascot in front of our school and walked home in the sunset.


Just one more page and the Diary will end...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Vancouver Diaries – X

Graduating High School in La-la land

I always thought Canadians put too much dramatics into high school graduation. The "Ooohs" and the "aaahs" and the "big milestone" talks never struck a right chord with me. For me, high school was something everyone had to do and did. I couldn't understand the hoopla and hype about "graduating". But then, it was in the atmosphere so much that I had to go along. We had "Grad bad hair days", "Grad sleepovers", "Grad breakfast", "Grad golf days", "Grad lunch parties", "Grad swim night" , "Grad PJ party" etc...It was everywhere. And it was fun. We had contests on who had the worst bad hair day. We went to school in horrible hairdos and they snapped pictures of it. One day everyone came in PJs to school. I could never bring myself to do that (Blame it on my conservative South Indian upbringing! :)). So I was content to enjoy watching it.

Then, of course, we had the application forms for universities, planning for which career to choose and so on. It was heady stuff but I was uncertain. Should I go to university here? Or back home in India? Would I get funding? I couldn't work on-campus to support myself and dad would leave in 2 years. I had a thousand confusions running through my head. But I wrote SAT, TOEFL etc... in preparation for American universities. I had a very good score in SAT and was hoping to go to the US for my undergrad. But my dad was loathe to leave me alone at the age of 17 in a foreign land.


A name is a name is a name...

I am reminded of two things as I am writing this:

- One of Sayee Santosh’s stand-up comedies in Lexington where he said, “Who names their kid ‘Babu’??? What kind of a name is that??” We were rolling on the floor with laughter! But it kind of highlighted the importance of a name...

- I am reading “Five People You meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom. He says, “There’s nothing in the world that’s disconnected. Everything happens for a reason and our stories intersect.”

Why am I writing this? I realized that one’s name is perhaps the one thing that everyone takes for granted. When I joined school, I had to go through the paper-work. Our school secretary entered my name in the school records.

“What’s your name?”

“Subhashini Srinivasan”

“Huh? How do people call you?”


So, she entered my name in the records as Subha Srinivasan. After one term, I realized that my passport name and school name didn’t match. So I went up to her and told her she had to change my name. So she went ahead and happily entered “Subhashini Srinivasan”. I didn’t even think of that incident much.

A year later, I was applying for universities. We hadn’t decided if I wanted to study here. But I thought I would just apply and see if I got any funding. For various reasons, Simon Fraser University was my choice college. I had excellent grades and I was sure of an admit into CS there. So I dutifully completed my application forms and mailed it in. They’d get transcripts from the school directly.

One month down the line when everyone was getting admits and scholarships, I hadn’t received any notification from them. I was worried. MJ had gotten an admit. So I called them up one fine day and asked them why I hadn’t heard back.

“What’s your name, honey?”

“Subhashini Srinivasan”

“Let me get your record.”

Silence. I was chewing on my lips.

“Hello, I am back. Hmm..let’s see. Oh. This is the weird one we got where you have no record of courses taken at school, no grades and 0 credits! So we just filed it for later perusal.”

The world literally crashed around my ears. I heard a buzzing sound in my ears.

What? How could this happen? I had straight As!

I went straight to my school office and asked the secretary there if my transcript had been requested by any University. She looked through the computer and frowned thoughtfully.

“Oh. I know what happened. I have two names for you – Subha Srinivasan and Subhashini Srinivasan. All your grades are under the first name because that’s what we entered first. The second one doesn’t have any records under it. Sorry, honey. I will correct it and send the transcript right away!”

I gritted my teeth fighting the urge to pound her.

How could she be so flippant? It had cost me one month’s precious time! Everyone had admits.

I cried my eyes out.


A silver lining….

After gut-wrenching weeks, I finally got admits from both UBC (with scholarship) and SFU (no funding). I was upset. People with GPAs less than me had gotten funding at SFU. I wanted to know. So one day, my father and I went to SFU’s computing science department to meet a professor who’d reviewed my application to get the real deal from her.

She was a very nice lady who welcomed us into her office. She looked at my application.

“Oh. A very strong application.”


“Hmm….everything looks excellent! You’re a brilliant candidate! You should’ve gotten funding! Now, let’s see why we missed you.”

I was hopeful. At least, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Maybe it was just an oversight. Maybe they’d rectify it. My heart was pounding.

Her clear voice broke the silence.

“Dear, I know what the trouble was. Your application reached us late. Looks like you had an empty transcript first and then sent the real one. That process took a month nearly. All our scholarships are first come, first serve. I am real sorry that we are not recognizing a wonderful candidate.”

I could see sympathy in her eyes. My own were brimming.

You know what’s the worst thing in life? It is not missing opportunities. It is knowing that you have missed one and that too, due to no fault of your own! Knowing always kills you. Whoever said Ignorance is Bliss was damn right!

Maybe if I’d not bothered to ask why my application was not considered for funding, I’d have been better off? I’d have assumed that I wasn’t smart enough and there rested the case. But knowing that I could’ve gotten it and should’ve gotten it were it not for some secretary who messed up her work was too painful! So, where is the silver lining?

In retrospect, I think it was in knowing that I had enough merit to go to SFU on scholarship. Knowing helps you grow even though it may be painful.


The Diary will flip its last page soon….