Friday, November 24, 2006

Dad's Home Alone - part 1

Do you remember when you were younger, and mom used to say 'your dad was once on a 6 months trip from work, and I managed it single-handedly' you thought - 'Oh! poor thing! Six months is a long time. How did she manage?'

Yeah...and you never asked dad about his story, did you? Tell you what, I am living dad's side of the story these days. I am living alone for some time - my wife and daughter are off to India for an extended vacation

Naturally, the worst part of living alone starts when you come home. There's always that smell of emptyness in the apartment. You know the one I am talking about? The kind that you get when you first moved in the apartment

Another change you notice is the voice messages. Since your wife and kid are gone, your voice message reduce to only one-third of what they used to be. And we all used to get about 2 message per day. That leaves me with only (do the math) 0.66 message per day

Next comes the laundry! Ish!! Its amazing how soon you run out of clean clothes when you're alone. I mean if anything you should be able to hold out your clean clothes for longer, since there are less people around you now. Especially the ones that like to hug you and drool all over you. Ahem! I meant the baby, of course

One thing that surprisingly doesn't change is the amount of dishes you have to do. No matter how many people live in a house, the dishes are bound to get dirty at the same rate. You look at them and ask yourself: "Are there ghosts cooking at home when I am not home?". Because there's actually not that much food around - so, there's got to be a parallel party going on when you are not home

Another thing about living alone is that your life is no longer consistent. Things come as some sort of spurts to you. A lot of ups and downs:

For instance, there would be days or weeks straight when you'd not clean your bathroom, or leave your shoes on the dining table or just walk out of your clothes when you come home and (thankfully) get into them right before leaving

But there will be these occasional 'cleaning-spurts' when you want to clean everything in the house. You'll even notice the slightest stain on the coffee-table or dust on the TV screen. I even find myself wiping the the cushions on the sofa and turning them upside down. Even the thinnest piece of hair in the bathroom catches my eye and I suck it up (in the vacuum cleaner that is)

Or, 'cooking-spurts' when you'd suddenly feel like renouncing the regular-crust pizza and breakfast buffet in the neigborhood place, and feel a strong urge to cook a full 3 course meal for lunch and that too from scratch. 'Scratch' by the way is the most disturbing used word in this context. I mean, think of the first humanly act that comes to your mind when you think 'scratch' and then people brag about how they made meals from it!

Nevertheless, I have had incidents when I made tomato-soup, pakoda-curry with rice and chilled rice-pudding all from scratch! These by the way, are things I didn't even know how to spell before!

The funniest was the 'ironing spurt' when I caught up in the idea that I haven't ironed my clothes in a long time and I actually steam-pressed all cottons and silks from my wardrobe. 'Silk' here refers to the finest underwear, of course - a topic that's worth another post - more on which later

So, here I go on with my single-husband-single-dad oddyssey these days and I'll keep you posted with my findings, my friends

as always, Yours Truly

Friday, October 06, 2006

I am being tagged

The rules of this tag:

  1. Name the person who tagged you
  2. Mention 9 things about yourself
  3. And, tag 6 people (If you so this in next 24 hours good luck with find you..just kidding)

I was tagged by: Archana Bahuguna

9 things about me:

  1. I think am getting addicted to movies these days: My wife is off to India in a couple of days and she thinks I'll burn my eyes up on my TV screen. God, save me. I have a special taste for redneck movies (like Fargo, Simple Plan, O' Brother..) "cuz I luve them pictures, you see?"

  2. I love google: Google is God. You believe me one day - when google would have bought all of us, and we would be eating google-fooooood®

  3. I am a lazy bum: i don't even snooze my alarm in the morning - it shuts up in 30 seconds anyway (I know I picked this up from somewhere, but you get the idea). I am so lazy I'd leave the food crumbs fallen in my car and rather vegetation and pathogens grow on them than clean it. I once left banana peels in the car so long that the seats would smell of banana. Now people would ask me where I got that air-freshner from.

  4. I am trying to grow out my hair these days: I have passed the "bad hair" days, the "you need a haircut dude" and the "are those curls on the back of your ears" days. And I figure its my final shot before the graph goes downwards and so do the hair. We'll see how that goes..

  5. I love poetry: Those who can read hindi (or urdu in devnagri script) please see my hindi/urdu poerty blog. None of the verses are mine, and nor do I believe I'll write urdu/hindi poetry of my own. But I just love it!

  6. I hate being judged unneccesarily: And I am working on not judging people unless I have to. For beginners when I meet a new Indian, I don't ask where he's from in India - I've noticed you tend to make compartments in your mind when you know all those things..I've had people ask me where I was from and after knowing I am a Punjabi from Delhi they go "oh, Punjabi.. (a pause with a second look at my face)..where's your turban?" or "Punjabis are vhery good dancers!" (next thing I expect is a popular demand for a couple of Bhangra steps!)

  7. I don't play to win either: I wonder if that's why I don't win! :) No kidding, I just lost to someone 15-10, 16-15 in a tight racquetball match today and that was the knockout round - I am out of the tournament. But I like to play the game with full spirit. Try to be out of any pressure of "I have to win"

  8. I hate impurities in language: Be it any language that I know. I think its an injustice to the language that many of us don't speak it properly. Yes, language was invented by us and it wasn't godgiven, but we have a lot more attached to it, than mere practical purposes.

  9. I want to melt :)

I don't know 6 bloggers personally, so tagging 4 poor fellows:

  1. Strawberry Freak
  2. Mishra Ji
  3. Pankaj Bengani
  4. Neptune

Friday, September 15, 2006

Hussle bussle - 'desi' style

There are so many things we Indians find different when we first come to US. And I am sure this would be true for any other country alike. And I am talking about the cultural experiences more than anything else (like shopping for free stuff, for example)

Why Smile, when you can frown?
First, these nice people smile at you on an eye contact. When I came here first, I was single and not engaged - and I used to think every other girl that crossed me at work smiling had a crush on me! Boy, it always took me a real close look in the mirror to get over that idea.

We Indians don't smile. Period. I mean, to us it's just an extra gesture - even for people we know - let alone strangers. There, you frown at strangers. And at close friends, you frown harder!

Even here in US, walking in a mall, if I accidentally catch eyes with an Indian (specially girl) and smile - boy, I am gone! I get the looks as if she saw me sniff my own toe-nail...and then lick it!

The week(never)ends
And who could miss the good ol' "have a nice weekends". We don't do that in India. For very simple reasons - firstly most likely you're going to work on the weekend. If you're not chances are the other person is. So the risks of mentioning a 'good weekend' become tremendous, so its not worthwhile..

Secondly, even if you're home in the weekend - you're not likely to take your bum out of the house anyway. Most of us, back home like to sleep the weekend away. You can clearly see a contrast in the parking-lots outside apartment complexes in India - they're jam packed on a Sunday afternoon - unless of course its a festival season and then the roads look like a big parking-lot.

Elevator 'dings'
How can you miss the elevator talk? We Indians just don't have any topics to bring up in elevators. We just count the dings as the doors open and stare at each other's.... shoes!

If there's a non-Indian in the elevator with a bunch of us, we just try to start a conversation with:

"So, did you have your lunch?"

"No, just going to"

"Where, to the Subway?"


"No, Quizzno's may be.."

"Oh, Ok! I go there every Friday.."


Public Shnublic
The biggest gap in the cultures doesn't show up until you go out in a public place and see a bunch of Indians 'behave' with others.

We never give-way! If there's a square-foot of visible land while walking in public, or standing in a line, we ought to claim it in the name of humanity. Window-seats in the bus is a jackpot! We claim it as soon as we're on

We don't even mind stepping over a few toes in order to take a picture of Niagara Falls.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The anti-gravity around the elevators

I believe the elevators have a magical power that makes people act smart when they're around. I see real smart people everyday..

Some real punctual ones, in order to reach somewhere in time, come running to a closing elevator and try to stick a limb in the doors. As if saying "here, could you take half of me to my floor, please? I'll stick the other half in the next elevator"

I guess that makes sense. Why else do you think most of our body parts come in pairs? I mean its just a hand! A hand can't be more important than saving 2 minutes in reaching your desk, so that you can get the first brew from the coffee-machine.

Just the other day, a gentleman came running and stuck his leg in the doors. Fortunately the doors gave way and he hopped in. Said to me smiling: "Some people think that's rude, but I think that works". "Rude?" I thought, "that's suicide, dude!"

I remember seeing a lady who ended up stuck outside for an hour with her hand inside. The only thing she felt sorry about was she couldn't drink the Pepsi she was holding in the hand (aha!)

Some real smart ones can actually talk to the elevators. Why else, would they not press an 'up' or a 'down' button, while waiting for an elevator? They probably just whisper "come down" on the doors, and...just wait!

And when some low-life does press the 'up' button and the elevator finally arrives, the smart ones don't press their floor. Remember, they can actually 'talk' to the machine? And what if it doesn't stop at their floor, who minds a free ride of the building?

And what's the fun riding-in quitely? If you do have a company, the smart thing to do is just pick up a random talk. Start with:

"..and did you see the kind of mails he sends?"

"heck! I ain't seen my inbox in days"

..and then both start laughing. The other dumb-ones on the elevator never get the joke, and keep thinking "damn! why couldn't I talk about such smart things?"

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

We, the flowers

I wake up by dawn
and see flowers all over
and their trees

trees, down to earth
close to their soils
see their flowers bloom

flowers carrying their seeds
seeds, that hold a tree each
and their color, shape and size

they're still, all flowers
waiting to harvest
so, I see a tree each in the flowers

the same color
the same shape
the same size!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

God of Free* things

*After mail-in rebate. Conditions apply

One thing that's hard to miss in shopping in the U.S is the mighty 'mail in rebate'

People would buy stuff they don't even know how to use, just beacuse it's free. A bachelor would buy Maybelline lipsticks, much before meeting a girl. Well, who knows "May be she's not born with it?" you see..

Or young couples buying kids' toothbrush hoping they'll have a 'use for it' soon. It's things like this that make you want babies more. And one day the husband says "Honey, we've already stocked a year's supply of diapers and Disney-BandAids. I think its time we should plan for our first born"

You can't get away talking about 'deals' and not mentioning the 'day before thanksgiving' - or as they call it the 'Black Friday'. It's a holy day for our deal-hunters.

People live for this day. Strategies are made. Teams divided - one squeezes in the 'Circuit City' line to secure all the free web-cams and the memory-sticks, as the other hogs the 'Office Max' eyeing for free DVD-writers and blank media. People stand in lines as early as 12 midnight freezing their pants off just to get a pack of 100 free blank-DVDs.

Days (or as it says, 6-8 weeks, at least!) pass by and then comes the 'pay day'! You start getting all those $21.95 and $49.99 checks in your mail. Voila! Moments like this make you realize what the real purpose of the human life is. You've never been happier since the day you got your first job.

So now that you've got your money back (well not all of it - you still paid the taxes, remember?) your toothpaste is finally FREE! You go home and brush your teeth twice, afterall its celebration time, right?

As they say "the best things in life come free" (after mail in rebate, of course)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Long live the "Prescription Hunters"

It drives me crazy how some people remember the names of their medicines

I mean except for a couple like Aspirin and Tylenol (yes, just a couple), I don't know what use it is for us to remember names like Cyclobenzaprine and Hydrochlorothiazide (which by the way, is the 3,4-dihydro derivative of chlorothiazide!)

Now, I know consumer-awareness helps, but there's a difference between telling nylon apart from cottons and knowing the chemical formula of the synthetics used in your underwear.

I've had some of these *experts* ask what my doctor gave me for pain relief...I don't know! Its a bottle of white pills, and it says I need to take one after each meal; twice-a-day. Isn't that enough to get better?

It's not that knowing the name of the medicine gives you an upper hand when you're seeing the doctor - may be he can't fool you this time, huh? Remember last time when he tricked you by writing a pain-killer instead of cough-syrup?

Or may be I would just feel smarter if I knew that the analgesic pill I am gulping twice a day is actually acetylsalicylic acid. Come on, people, that's the stuff those doctors pay to learn in medical school

It's Chemistry, for Godssake.

Remember Chemistry? Remember those spiritless boring lectures that you'd rather sleep than to listen to those middle-aged pot-bellied teachers? Remember those border-line "pass" results, that used to come more as a relief of never having to open those Chemistry books, than an achievment?

It's not meant for us high-life technocrats. Oops! Did I just hurt some feelings here? Well, to all my Chemistry-student friends, I am just trying to highlight your achievements here. We all know and appreciate the effort you put toward the society, so that people like me can forget my medicine's name, hoping the guy at the drug-store knew what he's doing

So, next time someone asks you what medicine you're taking, you should ask him "what med-school did you go to?"

(wait a minute! I almost forgot the white pill today..)

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Google's new ketchup: SketchUp

Google is ready with what at first seems like just another pass-time people will play around with for a few days. But SketchUp is cerrtainly more than that

Firstly, it's fabulous as a toy. You draw 3D models of pretty much anything you want (I just put together some quick examples as soon as I downloaded):

Clearly, you don't have to be a mechanical-drawing expert to draw the basic stuff, like buildings, simple objects around you etc.

But the real value lies beyond this. Artists at Google are busy putting together famous buildings around the world on 3D models and uploading them to Google Earth - another fabulous tool by Google. In essence, you can draw 3D imagery from around your home, office, or places you like and combine it with the real life sattelite-maps.

Look at this one from Google:

Hats off to Googi, again!

Indian engineer killed in Afghanistan; India outraged

And what good does that "outrage" do anyway? Almost always when it comes to an Indian stuck in a foreign land, the sequence of events seem to be:

>starting to talk
>unsuccesful in talks
>concerned again
>the family of the killed 'compensated'

That's it! With its meek foreign policies being around for years, India is standing at a point that we can never use a word "pressure" on any foreign land. Oh, no I was missing the pressure we put on Nepal king the other day (note this was after 4 years of dissolvement of parliament that the king had enjoyed, and only after the commoners of Nepal had come to a street-revolt)

Remember that Afghani guy who was being tried for a death-sentence in Kabul for adopting Christianity? America, among several countries made the Afgani president work his ass-off to get the guy out of the trial and flee him out of country

I mean its understandable how america with all the power in hand is at a buying position almost in all negotiations in the world. But is India really bankrupt in such innternational dealing?

Think what would happen if it was an American stuck in Kabul? Of course there'd have been protests and all the non-violence speeches. But behind the scenes, there would have been one phone call to the Karzai man, and he would already be on his way to find the guy himself

Wasn't there a talk of "tri-lateral" relationships between India-Pakistan-Afghanistan just recently? I think such "relationships" flourish only as long as everything is good. I don't think we or any of our neigbors have what it takes to steer in case of a contention

Its like saying:

Love me tender love me long, till the end of time
But when I am hungry and you're around, you'll still be dinner of mine

Thursday, April 20, 2006


How often do you feel like a total stupid?

Err..never mind! Lets say, how often are you made to feel like a total stupid? I am made to feel that day in and day out - when I find myself holding a customer-care phone line, listening to those tasteless musical tones

And i am ashamed of myself when I know the voice on the other side is a machine and I am having to reply to its 'simple questions', like "how would you like me to help you today?", or "please say whether you are a member or a provider". To the last one, I sometimes end up yelling "heck, I am neither a member or a provider, I am a goddamn idiot, talking to a dumb computer program!"

Remember those sci-fi stories about how one day, machines will take over us humans and we'll have to fight them to gain our identities. Guess what? That day is here! And we don't fight the machines, we beg them - every day

And those stories should be news-stories, not a sci-fi. As a matter of fact, there was a news story on NPR the other day about this guy who has put together a database of tips to fool those "interactive" voice response systems.

I really admire this guy's work and I am sure many of us are benefitting from it - not flushing our valuable work-hours, holding the phones to the voices of these "how may I help you?" phone machines.

But the the irony remains that the technology has taken over us humans so badly that we need 'shortcuts' to reach a human to talk to. And the ever-so-profit-hungry corporates work hard to devise ways to keep you off a real person.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I want to melt

I want to melt
Melt, so I won't be

So, I don't see this world as opaque as it looks
Only light!
Because Opacity is never all light

I don't want to be seen melting, or molten
By them,
Because 'They' is all I want to melt away from

For, what is the point in being seen melting?
For, what is the point in being seen?
For, what is the point in being?
For, what is the point?
For what?

I can't sleep, can you?

I sleep peacefully in nights..

Because my India is progressing..a lot of infrastructure, service industries, medical science. So, here's a little quiz on India's progress:

This morning, I saw these 4 headlines in a leading Indian newspaper's site:
  1. Indian IT takes a stride, tops entry list in IT contest
  2. Strapping NRI doc shines in US Navy
  3. Office of profit issue : All parties unite
  4. Doctor jailed for girl abortion scan
Which do you think is the most revealing fact of our progress?

1? wrong, 2? even worse! 3? don't even go there..

The answer is 4. "Doctor jailed for girl abortion scan". Read further and found that this was the first prison sentence of such kind in 12 years, since this law has been made!

This is even more revealing of our progress - it shows that we Indians are either always producing boys in our maternity rooms. I don't doubt that, as given that our 'strapping' doctors are shining all over the world, its fairly possible that they've invented some kind of 'boy-gra' pill.
Or, it shows that we all Indians are happy with our baby girls! We are broad minded, believing in equal-oppertunity and are far off from the orthox 'the boy carries my lineage' thought. Isn't that a sign of progress?

Now this happens to be the first couple in 12 years, who (out of the blues) decided they'll go for a sex-determination. And there was this doctor who happened to think alike, and agreed to help them.

So, leaving such once-in-a-blue-moon cases out (I mean, its okay to have such cases once in 12 years, right?), I can sleep peacefully tonight, proud over my fellow Indians that we are progressing

End of quiz....or is it?

Before calling ourselves developed, or even developing, we should look into dirts of our own minds. Forget rural India. Don't we all know that even in "big cities" like Delhi, its a child's play to determine sex and get the female baby aborted? I mean c'mon! you have seen signs reading "500/- for abortion", haven't you?

"big cities" my foot!

Delhi's eve-teasing has taken the dangerous shape of daylight-rapes, and sexual assaults. A girl can not travel in the over-crowded city buses because they are nothing less than jungle of predators looking forward to 'carrying their lineage'.

For a girl, waiting on a bus-stand after work is like sitting like a 'bait' for the drooling 'hunks' who just can't hold their manhood in them. You'll get a ride offered from anyone starting from an executive placed in his merc, to the brave two-wheeler jokeys

And did I hear that 'dowry' is history? Get a life! I know in some parts of our country, the grooms are weighed with gold while getting married. Even our familiar computer-engineer (who happens to be the backbone of our $50-an-hour 'service' industry) appears on a 'dowry menu' as follows:
  • Green-Card (GC) holder: Rs 1 crore ($200,000)
  • H1 visa (still 3 years to go, so he'll manage to get a GC): Rs 50 lac ($100,000)
  • Employed in India (well!): Rs 10 lac ($20,000)

The sex ratio in some states like Haryana and Punjab has dropped to as low as 600:1000! I once saw on news, a haryana youth complaining people his age are not getting brides in their state to get married. I guess he'll take some time to figure that his (could have been) bride is already dead in one of such 'rare' foetus-murders!

When will this end?

..would I ever sleep peacefully in night?


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Pain in the neck

Have you ever heard people complain about 'having to' wear neck-ties to work. Many don't say it, they just...well, show it...

The pain they have gone through each day, trying a knot has given birth to some patterns over several decades. Here are a few inventions we owe to these people:

There's one that I call the 'cabbage-knot'. The exact process of tying this knot is not known (I am sure the inventor is trying to get it patented) but it seems wrapping the tie around your fist is a key step somewhere.

I recommend this knot for people who are kind of low on the personality scale, as this knot is so big that it tends to completely take over your personality. I mean I can never take my eyes off such a knot when I am talking to the guy. When such a guy sits across me in a meeting, I think he might as well just leave his tie-knot on the table and leave - his presence is not going to be any mightier than that anyway.

Then there's one that kinda resembles a bib. The key is to start the knot on the widest part of the tie. So that all you are left with is a six-inch peice of fabric, flapping over your chest. Too good for people with a drooling habit.

Some of our inventors seem to have taken the 'dimple' thing a little too far. Their invention is what I like to call the 'japanese-fan-tai'. The idea is to have as many 'pleats' on the tie as possible. And then spread it wide over your shirt. In summers it gives you a feeling of wearing a skirt on the neck.

The 'pant-savers' are my favorites. The tie has to be hanging at least a foot down from your belt. Leaving the knot above as flaccid as possible. And in case you're still guessing, the name comes from the boon the tie can be if you ever left your zippers open.

Some knots, I have not been able to christen yet. Although there are many versions available, the common feature is: when looking at the knot, you should feel a strong urge to hang the guy by his tie, in the middle of the square. Please let me know if you have a name for it..


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Calcium Sandoz

How about a little trip down the memory-lane today? Don't worry I am not going to turn pages from my high-school history book - it is about an incident (somewhat funny incident) of my childhood days.

I must have been 6 or 7. And Sharlie (my sister) 4 or 5. We used to play for hours after coming back from school - especially on Saturdays when there was no homework-pressure.

It must have been one of those Satuday afternoons. Ma was out for some time, so we both were 'in charge' of the house. Especially me - the big brother. We had friends playing in the common varandah - I forget what it was but must have been the game of 'Stapu' or 'Pitthu'. When we were playing together, we used to play more 'gender neutral' games as opposed to street-Cricket or park-soccer (this is not to say that I was good at any of these sports, but I've played them just enough to have some memories)

Whatever the game was, that day was something special - firstly, Ma was out for a while, and secondly there was a bottle-full of 'Calcium Sandoz'. We still remember that white dog-shaped plastic bottle - the dog with a blue-nose..

That was our favorite. Well, what was not? Cookies, Cake, Candies, Chocolate and if nothing else, Sugar. For those who can't picture someone popping spoonful of sugar in mouth, sugar in India is crystals - as compared to granular in the U.S. And when eaten a mouthful, it melts gradually down your throat while you can still feel the crystals in your whole mouth (slrupp!)

The Sandoz used to be sweet and flavored, but still not sticky. I as a child, used to think they were perfect for someone to get addicted to. So, anyway - the calcium pills were in. And that too a brand new bottleful! Moreover, I was incharge!

Every once in a while me and Shy (Sharlie) used to have an eye-contact. We'd decide to go in the house, grab one calcium pill each, and come back to play. I would make sure the bottle is re-placed where it was..

I was very good at this. And also with hiding the whole incident. With transparent jars, after stealing stuff (Cookies, Cake etc), I used to tilt the jar sideways, and gradually put it back upright - this would give an impression that the jar was still filled up to the brim!!

So it was my duty to put the bottle back carefully, closing the closet and closing the doors. Here, I have a little confession to make, which even Shy is not aware of to date. I used to pop an extra pill in my mouth before closing the bottle. I think I accounted for that in my mind as a 'tax' for being the 'in charge' that day. Afterall, Ma was out for a while, right?

And after this little 'episode' we both used to join back the game, and pretend nothing happened. This went on for i don't know, 10-20 times, or may be more.

Now a standard 'Calcium Sandoz' used to be what, 50 tablets...60 max? So in every other 'trip', we used to be considerate and took half-tablet each. We had a code-word "हो जाये?" (hindi, for "what do you think?") and we hopped in the house, closed doors, stole the tablets, and came back. With those 'considerate' trips we had "half-half हो जाये?" ("a half-each this time?")

I don't think those other kids could have had a slightest idea what we were doing. Poor innocent lads, might not even have known what calcium-pills tasted like....

So, there came a moment when I opened the bottle and it only had 3 pills left! So, as usual we popped one pill each in our mouths. I took the last one as 'my tax' and closed the bottle. I even re-placed the bottle in its original place, and we came out, again, as nothing had happened.

The 60-pill bottle was being digested in our 4-year and 6-year old bellies. Still, nothing had happened!

Eventually Ma came, and the game ended. We all kids dispersed and we both joined Ma back to home.

Now, as a habit, Ma used to give us one pill each every evening. Of course, she wanted her kids to be strong and, she opened the closet. This was always the moment I used to dread! I mean, why do moms have to open your case in front of you?

But she did. And to her surprise (not ours, although we pretended to be shocked at the sight), the bottle was empty. Ma had a hard time finding out what had happened, none of us (and we both were very good at it) assumed the responsibility. Nor, did we blame each other. The standard line was "I don't know!"

Finally when we confessed that we were in the process of digesting approximately 30 calcium-pills each (officially, since I never admitted I took that 'tax' pill each time) Ma got very worried. I mean really worried. She didn't know what to do when your kids wash a whole bottle of calcium down their throats.

She immediately rushed us to the doctor. The doctor, I am sure must have felt like rolling on the floor - laughing, but somehow he resisted that and assured us that nothing was terribly wrong with an act like this. And suggested some first-aid solutions for Ma to do.

We all came back home and lived happily everafter. Although I don't think we got any calcium 'suppliments' in the house again. I guess, Ma must have thought we two got supplies enough for a lifetime...


Saturday, March 04, 2006


Happy 30th Wedding Anniversary to Ma and Papa!

I wish we were with you right now. Its the moments like this you want to be together - the whole time...

And you know what? Pragya is 3 months old today :)

Rain, Rain go away!

We came back last night from a dinner, only to find our apartment in a mess. It was the water-heater, throwing out a heavy gush of water.

The carpet was all soaked wet - with the brown rusty stains on the edges. You know how it swishes when you walk in a lawn after it has rained all night?

It just doesn't go well with the sight of your living room!

Our laundry baskets were floating in the closets - inches high in cold water! I wish we left the laundry on the floor. With detergent spilled over it. At least the clothes would be generously rinsed!

They just send a guy to have a look at it. Draining the whole thing out, fixing the 'leak', drying the carpet. And they say the have to cut the carpet and replace the pads...

And this is what we have for our weekend-fun - a 3 speed "Namco" carpet blower. Can't imagine what our weekend would have been like without this little noisy monster!!

Thank heavens for water-heaters!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Who's your daddy?

I never understood the depth of it, when people said their lives changed after they had babies. Until of course Pragya came along.

This is specially true with filling forms - with a new baby around, chances are that you're filling forms for her more than anyone else - stuff like: Birth Certificate, Social Security form, Passport et al.

I was filling the Social-Security form for her the other day. I sat down to fill all those "sections" on the form, begining with "Name (First & Last)" and quickly realized it is her name being asked for, not mine!

It's funny how your own context changes now - you are not "the One" anymore! It's the kid...hmmm, okay, let's move on

Now come the "Father's" and "'Mother's" names. The names that you were taught all along as "Papa's name" and "Mamma's name" will have to take a back-seat now - it's your name in the "Father's" and your wife's in the "Mother's" names (!!)

Thank God, the "Address" remains the same, so you don't have to think twice before filling that. Same goes for the phone-number and cellphone-number (until she wants her own flip-phone one day, of course)

And finally, remember that last section that said "If this form is not filled by the applicant..." that you always ignored? Not anymore. You got to duly sign that section declaring that you're that "Other guy" in the kid's life (at least as far as those forms go) :)

So, welcome pals, to the world of "3rd Person"

Monday, February 27, 2006

Paperless office?

Why is it that whenever I wash my face in the men's room at work, they're out of paper towels??

I mean, here you are in the one of your best office-shirts, dripping wet from the forehead down to your chin. And you turn around for paper...Nada!

You look around to see if there're others you could turn to for an answer. But guess what? They seem to take a lesson from you, and don't even wash their hands!!

"Yikes" you say to yourself, but your peers appear to be proud of their dry-hands-policy!!

By this time, the water dripping from your chin has made its way through the neck into your best office-shirt. It's like being in the middle of a stage - with spotlight on you - while the other 'performers' come and go

And you wonder if that's what they meant by 'paperless' office :-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

6th June, 1992

I clearly remember the day when my grandpa passed away.

I was 15 and had just passed my 10th grade. It was the same old cruel summers of Delhi. He was in hospital - admitted following a severe heart-attack. We all used to be in hospital pretty much all the time...grandma, papa, ma, chacha (both), chachi (both), bua (both) and all us kids

I, being the oldest grandson in the family, was somewhat between the kids and the grown-ups. May be because I was his first grandson, or because I had spent that school session staying with him, I had come closer to my grandpa, than any other kids

I was at home that evening - with Sharlie - my younger sister and Saurav - brother, when I received this phone-call at our neighbors'. It was Ma. She sounded a bit tired. She asked me to come to grandpa's house with Sharlie and Saurav.

"Why? Is everything okay?"

"Yes, your grandpa is not feeling well"

"So, let's come to the hospital then"

"No, come to the house"

"Okay, we'll be there"

The hospital was at a good hour-and-a-half journey from home, and we had to board a bus that left half-past every hour

I couldn't understad why she called me to the house, instead of the hospital! Apparently my mom had spoken with the neighbor aunty when I came to the phone. And the aunty 'knew'!

We all locked the doors, and started off. An hour and a half - the bus was running on time, like everything else does! Everything.........

We had to board a rickshaw to reach the house. We did. On reaching close to the house, I noticed a few clusters of people here and there - and women.....

"'Well, this is usual"
I thought, having no idea of what I had lost. Sharlie and Saurav were even younger to even know what's going on. Well, we reached the gates....

"Why these tents?"

(In India, when they mourn a death, they make arrangements similar to that in a wedding - tents, food, chairs)

"Is someone getting married?"

yes, I was that naïve!

Had to climb stairs, one floor. A distant voice of people....weeping? Why? Who? I heard my grandma....crying. I had never, ever heard her cry before. What's going on? Is everything okay? Its surprising how oblivious we are to death, unless we see one.....or, even after we see one??

By the time I reached the living-room, and saw people sitting on the floor - wet floor. Wet with melting ice. Ice, trying to keep a body from the shameless summer of Delhi, that evening.....

"My grandpa's body?"


I couldn't face all this, I wasn't taught how to face all this. Why didn't he ever say he was going to die? That he will die one day? Why? Why do grandpas seem to be bigger-than-life? As if they'll always be there?

I was so not ready for this. I had just started to come close to him. There we so many stories left. Untold! War-time stories, his Police job. Partition of India...... What about those stories?

No, really what about them?

Alas, he was gone. And gone were those stories. All we were left with was a 6'2 frame lying on a bed of ice - waiting for those 'distant' kins, who had to travel to pay their last rites to the passed-away. Cotton buds stuffed in the ears and the nose.

I will always remember his favourite words from Geeta:

कर्म किए जा बँदे, मत कर फल का ध्यान
जैसा कर्म करेगा, वैसा फल देगा भगवान
यह है गीता का ज्ञान,
यह है गीता का ज्ञान

(Action is all thou shalt do, O man!
Without worrying about the effect.
As thy action is, so is the effect)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The 'selfless' sucker

Ever wondered what would happen if a vacuum sucked itself? I got this idea while cleaning my vacuum one day with its own hose! It was dirty for some time and I didn't want to wipe that 'stuff' with a paper.

So, imagine turning the hose back to one of the ends of the vacuum and turning the 'sucker' on, full blow..after pulling on the dirt on the plastic body, the hose might suck those loose screws in. Then it might break apart a few plastic peices and swallow them (gulp)

Within seconds, one end of your vacuum will be gone in the bag. Then the hose might turn to the upper part, where you hold the vacuum. The slim handle will give in easy, but the bulky body might resist for a while - 'til it starts coming down into smaller peices and feed the hose with itself.

Now comes the bag! Filled with all your 'droppings' that are found in the corners of the couch, or in the edges of your carpet - every Sunday, or after a night-long party. Stuff like - popcorn peices, bread crumbs and hair - to name a few! All the leftovers from your bodily and mental 'karma'

All fall in line to be chewed by the mighty hose. One by one - lump by lump! The bag is gone! All that's left now is the hose itself. The 3 ft long sword that we usually fight with every weekend.

The hose turns to itself from the other end, and chews itself into peices. Oh dear spring-like hose! Spare yourself for cleanniness-sake. But no, the hose is as determined today as on any of those weekends - sucking what comes in her way until she reaches her own mouth. Looking at herself from a perspective - as a serene watcher...what an insight she has.

And she never gives up, but gives in to her craving - in the end, sucking herself empty.....

Wife: Honey, are you done with the cleaning?
Me: Oops!

Friday, February 17, 2006


I for one, am greatly impressed with how Google is breaking into our lives little by little. No, this is not a sarcastic remark by any means. People tend to hate big companies as they grow larger than life - part of which is a because of the monopolistic approach such companies seem to take. But nevertheless, I think as a consumer, we have a lot to benefit from Google before we start fearing it.

Especially, I like the way they change their logos senstive to the occasion. Here're a few examples I have kept (all the pictures are under copyright of Google inc. ©2006 Google):

Opening ceremony of the ongoing 2006 Torino winter Winter Olympics:

This is for the ski-jump:

This one stands for the game of 'icedance':

Here's one from New Year's:

Winter Holidays:

Thanksgiving 2005:

Tee Vee Land

She's watching TV today! Yes, already!
So much for the attention problem. She has an idiot-box that'll attend to her..

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Softners de tissu

Ever wondered why those 'fabric softeners' are sold separetely? Not as part of your detergents? I think I am starting to find some answers...

For starters, they advise to use a full-capful on the bottle of laundry soap - so even if you don't need that much (unless of course, when you've not washed your clothes in a year or your profession generally leaves its marks on your clothes) you still end up using one capful of detergent. As a result, your clothes can't get rid of all the detergent in them, and become what they call 'hard'

So, what to do, Mr Tide?

"Well, lets see... how about a hefty funny-looking bottle of fabric softner. It will drain all extra detergent and make the clothes softer"

Guess what, they made us put all that extra detergent in in the first place. As a result, what they end up doing is sell more detergent, and sell fabric-softner as an add-on!

And what exactly is this fabric-softner. I came across this article that explains the general ingredients of a softner and the health hazards related to them. Apparently there is a movement going on to participate in a class action lawsuit against manufacturers of fabric softeners.

Recently we saw our baby's pediatrician for a general visit. She noticed a somewhat elevated amount of baby-acne on her face. Although it was nothing alarming, but she suggested using less detergent on her and our clothes - about one-tenth of what they suggest on the detergent packs!

At first it sounded strange - to use such a little amount of detergent on a full load of clothes. Thing is, with babies, we often miss the point that the little ones come in contact of our clothes as much as they do with their own!

Moreover you don't need that much soap on even your clothes. As unless your clothes are used by a farmer or construction worker, they are not soiled enough to use that much soap. Plus, its more eco-friendly to drain less chemicals down your drains, right?

So here's my reasons to use less detergents:

  • Easy on your clothes - you might extend the life of the fabric
  • Excellent for babies
  • Good for your skin too
  • Environment friendly
  • And hey, did I say you save some money?

Happy washing....

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Babies "Я" us

We are learning new tricks everyday to keep up with the changes our little daughter is going through in her life.

She is 2 months old now and has started paying attention to our activities around her. She wants us to be around while she's awake...and while she's sleeping too! The first part is not a problem, as that's something we love to do - playing with her, talking to her and taking pictures:

..but the second part is a little tricky, I mean leaving a few times when its absolutely neccessary you can't be awake around your baby the whole night....right?

Me and Poonam (my wife) tried a few things - a large part of which was of course staying awake! Besides that, holding her in our arms and singing also seemed to work.

Recently , we read somewhere that one should try not to hold the baby to her sleep, but rather let the baby go to sleep on her own. They say rocking and ciddling the baby helps her become drowsy, and the you can slip her into the crib. Yeah, sounds easy huh? The trouble is the last part - slipping the baby into the crib. Seems like they have sensors on their back that tell them when they're being put on the bed (yeah, I know we all do - they're called nerves, but I am just trying to make a point)

I even tried to fool that - by cuddling her in my arms and then bending slowly into the crib such that she still had her face on my shoulder and that she won't feel a difference when I left her in the crib. Than slowly lifting my body up - leaving the princess in her golden bed.

This worked for a while, but not too long. This way she was still in an early stage of her sleep when I left her, and as soon as she moved or woke up - voila! where's that shoulder?

Then we started to rock her for a while afer putting her to sleep, to make sure she still felt our touch for some more time. This seemed to work better than the others, in that she went to a little deeper sleep before we could snap ourself away. But apparently there was something wrong in the way we rocked.

Lately we (especially I) have tried to work on the rocking thing. I try to gently move her back and forth while she's in the crib. That seems to tell her that she is still in my arms and gradually she goes into her dreamland.

Babies (and probably all of us) breathe differently as they move forward into their sleep. They have a shallow and fast breathing when the sleep is shallow, and it grows quiter as they go into a deeper sleep. So, as soon as I realise her sleep is deep enough, I gradually pull back, kiss her good-night and (hoping to get some sleep myself , deep or shallow) slip into my bed...zzzzzzzz

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Strange Feeling #1

Some feelings are so strange they don't have a name. And they can't be described easily - they can be just felt. If you're thinking I am being poetic, step back, and think again. I am talking about real 'strange' feelings. Have a look:

Ever had mouthful of fennel seeds after a heavy Indian lunch, or dinner for that matter? And when the last seed of fennel hides behind some far fetched molar as if saying 'catch me!'. I've often struggled long hours, trying to floss that little peice with my only tongue. How do you think it feels when that little peice comes out? (phew!) and then I spend a few minutes chewing on that peice. What a sweet feeling!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hiding behind the e-mails

Yes, that's what employers do. Now I know what a 'firewall' means - its a place for management to hide behind. When was the last time you tried to get a serious HR issue resolved? I mean everytime I try that, all I end up communicating to is my mail-box.

I only got a "Send" button to talk, and probably a few gestures, like "Important" and "Read Receipt" to use in the communication.

I never thought technology could advance this much - it has made a impermeable mesh of wires - network wires as they call them - that you have to shout through in order to talk to someone in departments like human-resources (wait a minute! isn't this the department that was supposed to be resolving my problems in the first place, sigh!)

I guess I have learnt the trick they play to make more money - reduce the input channels as you go higher in the org-chart. And that chart, phew! Have you ever seen one of those? Looking at that, I feel like a rat lost in maze - smelling cheese somewhere in the end of it! And don't ever try to look for your place in that chart! Trust me, all I find is a shaded box that says something generic- like 'Resource' or 'Team'. I mean is that all we are - generics?