Archive for January, 2009

The art of gifting

My mom has an aunt who likes to shower everyone with gifts on most occasions. She has a lot of events at her house, and then makes a big deal out of seating all the women in the family in a row and giving them a saree with arshna and kunkum. Sounds like fun right? Except that every single time she has given sarees to anyone except her own daughters or DIL, they are of such cheap quality that you positively cannot wear them. My mom religious thanks her everytime and then donates the saree to our help at home. I think even the help commented on the awful quality once.

My nag here is, why gift something that you know for sure is going to suck? And I am not taking personal styles or preferences here. Just the cheapness of the gift. I mean, if you have a budget of only 10Rs per person, then buy something nice in that 10 bucks. Don’t go and buy the cheapest quality thing you can find that no one is going to use. The lady takes pride in telling how she gave the entire extended family sarees. Only, now it is a standing joke in the family that when you get something from her, you can donate it even without opening the cover because you know it is going to suck.

Now, this auntie is having a house warming ceremony and my mom is attending. My mom was telling me that she purchased 2 sarees – for the aunt and her DIL. And knowing my mom, I know she puts a lot of effort into getting nice things when she gifts something.  May not be the most expensive item, but it will definitely have something going for it. I was a little irritated that my mom has to go through with this when she all she gets in return everytime is something horrible. I wanted her to re-gift one of the aunt’s gifted sarees back to her. My mom replied that she would rather not give anything than give such cheap stuff.

My point exactly. No one holds a gun to your head and orders you to give gifts to everyone on every occasion.  If fact you don’t have to give gifts at all!. And the big ones like weddings come once in a blue moon where even a simple bouquet will suffice.  Actually, one of the better presents I received at my wedding was a beautiful poem written for us by one of my FIL’s close friends. It did not cost a cent, but it really touched us because it was so beautiful and we knew it was not a last minute stop at the mall to grab something on the way to the wedding.

Now gift giving has reached heights of laziness. You don’t have to think about the person at all. Just go to some generic store and buy a gift card and you are set! Somehow, gift cards seem very impersonal to me. But K disagrees and says that atleast they get whatever they want instead of being stuck with something they don’t like. And I feel that if I can’t figure out what a person would like as a gift, I probably don’t know them that well to begin with and should re-evaluate my relationship with them.

So what do you say? Gift cards or gifts? Or do you make sure you have return receipts anyways?

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January 30, 2009 at 9:58 pm 5 comments

Obama-Dutt??

Ok, maybe I am spending more time on this than I should, but did you hear the latest news?? Apparently Sanjay Dutt thinks he and Prez Obama are similar!! Here is the whole story

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/i-will-pattern-my-political-career-on-obama-sanjay-dutt/83507-3.html

I mean, how did the reporter interviewing him hold on to a straight face while Sanjay Dutt shot out more crap? You know what, let us not get all emotional and do a rational comparision of Obama and Sanjay Dutt and see how they are similar in their lives and politics

Obama: Had no influential family to back him in politics, roughed it out and reached the top

Sanjay Dutt: Dad was politician, now there is a family squabble over who will inherit the “legacy” of that surname

Obama: Married a woman who mentored him while he was an intern! Appreciates her for her thought, even though they might disagree on issues.

Sanjay Dutt: Thinks all women should take husband’s surname and then serve them

Obama: Adores his kids and is very involved in their lives despite being the President

Sanjay Dutt: His daughter would not even talk to him

Obama: Gives amazing motivational speeches and leads by example

Sanjay Dutt: Average actor giving ridiculous interviews that only go to prove that even a fool is a wise man as long as he keeps his mouth shut.

Obama: Wants to bring more peace in the world, even wants to talk to middle eastern leaders and resolve issues

Sanjay Dutt: Was caught with an assault rifle

Obama: Bipartisan leadership

Sanjay Dutt:  Dissing his own sister for political gain

January 23, 2009 at 7:00 pm 9 comments

A deluded country

Do you remember Ramayana ? And the massive popularity Arun Govil and the lady who played Sita enjoyed with people falling at their feet and literally bestowing them with godly status? Or Chiranjeevi with this politically tinted movies showcasing him as the saviour of masses just before he decided to launch his own political party? We as a country seem to have a massive disconnet between scripts and reality. We embrace the characters we see on screen and forget that there are people behind those characters who may think and act differently, or even worse, not think at all.

Yet another shining example of our obsession with celebrities and the characters they play is Sanjay Dutt. No, it is not that he was a drug addict that irks me. God knows everyone does stupid things in their youth and hopefully we all recovered from those mistakes. Sanjay Dutt is no longer a drug addict and that is enough for me. But it is the other track record that concerns me, his arrest for possesion of an assault rifle, the unstable mind. But then, he played Munnabhai and that seems to be enough for my people to put him in their good books. If anything, even with our deluded logic, we should probably be voting for the person who actually created this Munnabhai character and brought Gandhian principles in the forefront instead of the actor who mouths those dialogues.

And now, we are just realising what happens when we give airtime to a person with no proven track record of intellect. While millions of people listen and cheer, Sanjay Dutt appoints his wife to run on his behalf, a lady hardly suited in any way for leadership. He then insults 50% of India’s population by saying we women should take on our husband’s last name and responsibilities after we get married. Implying that we have to break ties with our own family, wash away any shred of individuality that remains and just disappear. Its a democracy and everyone has right to free speech, even morons like Sanjay Dutt, but what saddens me is the thousands of people who hang on to his every word and cheer him because he is Munnabhai.

I think this is what happens to a nation which does not have any real leaders to look up to. We start building mirages out of the bits and scraps we can find. And that mirage will continue to take us further away from reality, progress, equality and everything else this country is supposed to be founded on.

It is such a start contrast today. Two nations cheer new leaders they have discovered. Both experimented with drugs in their younger days. And that is where the similarity ends. One went on to get an Ivy league degree and climbed his way up the leadership ladder to make history and take over the highest office in the USA. The other acted in some well made movies, made further muck out of his life and now speaks with such regression that it feels like he hardly got any education at all. And maybe one day he will hold the highest post in our country. What is the difference? We the people. We have the power to choose. And yet again, we failed.

Update: Apparently now Manyata speaks – and says she takes her husband’s permission to even go out for coffee. And if her husbands wants, she will contest on his behalf. Why would you want to elect a person who has no sense of individuality or reasonable thinking capabilities?? On another note, did take take “permission” from her first husband to gallavant with Sanjay Dutt before she tied the knot?

January 20, 2009 at 7:46 pm 2 comments

Nicknames ?

I am probably the worst nickname selector in the world. Off late, I have been reaccessing the nicknames to various people / dog I have come across and none of them, NONE corelate to any of their nicknamable characteristics. For example, my dog Rummy, the cute dog he is, has the following nicknames:

– Haavrani ( Snake Queen )

– Goob Rani ( no meaning – queen )

– Goobini ( the female goob?? )

– Bunga (??)

– Bungini ( the female bunga ? )

– Dinga (??)

Now, my pet is a MALE dog named Rummy. And he looks like this ( most of the times, if you are not dangling a biscuit in front of him )

100_1801

Now, read the nicknames again. Do they make sense? No? I can’t make sense of them either. But I keep calling him these ridiculous names again and again. Why? I blame my parents, they did not pass on their nicknames genes to me. They have such decent relatable nicknames for me and my sister, like for me

Cluelesschick – nickname cluelessu

Sister – nickname Sistu

Very stable, relatable nicknames. No one will raise their eyebrows or think there is a family history of madness. Then why me? Why?

If you need any more examples of my madness, then I am sorry to say I cannot reveal anymore. The only reason I put up Rummy’s nicknames are because he is illeterate and cannot read my blog. Unfortunately, my husband, sister and others I know and call by various other names are very literate and would kill me once they read the blog. I like to live.

January 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm 3 comments

Making the Bitter Batter Better!

I would have made my peace with this country long ago only if it had to offer me my Bangalore style masala dosa.  You know, the crisp and brown on the outside, fluffly on the inside with a generous dose of red garlic chutney smeared and some awesome aloo curry stuffing. The one that makes that long wait in Vidhyarthi Bhavan worthwhile. And even though this place where is live is more Indianized than India itself and has a slew of South Indian restaurants to offer, all of them turn out the same limpy pale masala dosas minus the red chutney. So in my books, they are not masala dosas at all. And with me being batter challenged and K not even knowing the B of batter making, we are left with just dreaming of dosas until our next piligrimage to India.

I had stopped going to South Indian restaurants here.  I cannot see my absoulte favourite tiffin being massacred so heartlessly. Until yesterday. When my colleague took me to this run down shack of a place which served Dosas. I did not get my hopes up even when I saw my dosa in a nice roasted shade of brown. Only when I broke a piece and actually heard a sound, my faith in Amreekan dosas was renewed.  Ofcourse it is still not close to the “original” , but it is a giant leap. The story does not stop here. The owner of the place actually sells dosa batter. Which I promptly got home.

So in the evening me and K made and ate dosas and uttapams till our stomachs burst.  Even my chutney turned out in the perfect consistency, which only heightened the whole experience.  Not once, not once did the dosa stick to the pan and came out perfectly brown. For those who have attempted dosas before, you know you can spot good batter when your dosa does not look like scrambled eggs.  Infact, me and K were so satisfied we postponed our next India trip by a whole month!

Thank you dosa batter guy,  I almost love you.

PS: I have just realised how much auntyish I have become….first dosa batter , what next? Tupperware?? * shudders * Somebody stop me!

January 16, 2009 at 7:11 pm 5 comments

New year Zumba!

The holidays have been good to me. Cakes and chocolates galore, all quickly disappearing in my mouth. And come new year, when I stood on my weighing scale, it groaned and sputtered out a number I cannot live with. K was waiting for this opportunity to push me into exercising. Now, while K enthusiastically runs through the streets of our neighborhood every morning and even waves at a neighbor or two, I cannot fathom exercising for the sake of exercising. I mean, I cannot aimlessly run on a treadmill or do an eleptical. I need to get exercise as a part of some activity, like a game of tennis. So, yeah, coming back to exercising, I refused. And then, as if all this was pre schemed, my friend mentioned that she is going to zumba classes – a rigourous 90 minute latin dance class that gives an awesome cardio workout. Now that I had no reason to refuse, and there being the issue of that weighing scale, I agreed to go.

When K heard this, he got really enthusiastic. He took me to get new gym shoes and some workout clothes. Even when my car had a flat tire and cast doubts over if I could attend my first class, K valiantly swooped in and offered to drive me to my classes. And on the morning of my first class..

K: Do the shoes fit you?

Me: Hmmm

K: No run a little and see….

Me: * running from one end of living room to other* Yeah they fit

K: Are your socks Ok?

Me: Hmmm

K: Did u take your gym towel?

Me: Hmmm

K: Dont stress out too much on the first day itself, ok?

Me: *thinking this is really cute* Big Smile…Hmmm

We pick up all my stuff and we are about to lock the main door

K: Did u pee?

Me: hm…..WHAT??

So yes, K thinks I am a little kid attending first day of kindergarden. Ofcourse, reminding him that I have gone to gym before was met with total disbelief, and then I had to remind him that I DID have a life before I met him.

All said and done, the Zumba classes were awesome, I did not even notice how 90 minutes went by! I jumped and hopped and shook my booty, and with my dancing skills, I am wonderstuck at how the instructor tolerated me. I think I got a good workout, or atleast the pain in my butt says so.

On that note, I wish everyone a very happy, healthy and wholesome new year!

January 6, 2009 at 12:16 am 9 comments


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