Monday, May 27, 2013

Thriving on Indian Roads

My husband made a statement today "Everyone meets with an accident at least once on Indian roads" He was examining the wound on my left foot to check how it was healing. Well, the statement made me think......Of all the actions that happen on Indian roads.

I have always admired the riders and drivers; it takes immense skill, strategy, tactic and nick of the time decision at every step to reach the destination safe. Why else would you think one needs to traverse an 8 successfully before getting a license? Well, traversing an 8 is just like a viva exam; it does not really prepare you for what exists on the road. So many challenges, each innovative and difficult than the ones gone by. Let me take you on a virtual ride on my "now waiting to be revived in some garage" scooter.

We all know of the infamous potholes on the roads; or rather the little roads left after all those potholes. To manuever on what is little left of road is like walking on a rope; for you never know when you gonna fall. Oh! spare those potholes; how could they not get carved out with incessant flowing sewage on the road. Thats another story altogether. There are other nuances that needs a mention.

One got to be on a constant lookout for anything exotic to spot on the road; a la spotting birds. You may find exotic animals such as dogs and cows on the road. They can either be taking a nap or just decide to cross the road. They are the brake inspectors; and they have a special right in the constitution of India - Right to Way. You and yeah you have to stop and give them the way. What the traffic signals can't do; they can. I have an interesting proposal; to train Cows and Dogs as Break Guides at signal intersection. We solve many problems here; put stray cats and gods to good use thereby saving man power and electricity. Oh oops! I forgot we have PeTA

Apart from rocks and potholes, be observant of broken coconuts, crushed lemons and broken pumpkins. These are all of religious sentimental value and are revered. Never ever drive on them; but make sure to take off your hands from handlebar to pray with both hands. And yeah, also of the strewn petals of flowers on the road; they could from a funeral. Mommy has instructed never to touch them since they are bad omen. So gently criss cross the roads so as to not touch these stuffs. See, here is where your ability to finish the 8 during driving test comes to use.

Now when at a signal; you will be just centimeters away from other vehicles and you will be surrounded by vehicles so close that you might at first not know if you can avoid nicking each other. Don't worry; you would learn to form a perimeter around you visible only you. You will know to survive without nicking and learn to avoid being nicked at. You will also learn to move cm by cm once the signal is green. This may also involve turning your handle to extreme angles if needed depending on how close the vehicle is ahead of you. You would also get used to dodging bicycles and other vehicles who are going neck in neck with you close as a shaving razor.

How the hell did I forget auto rickshaws? I've always followed an auto if I get a chance. They take the right turns, cut through the melee of vehicles and pass with élan. I just have to follow them. If you can't win over an enemy; make a pact with them ;-)

There is a bigger enemy on the road than the horrifying trucks or the evil auto rickshaws. Beware of window side passengers in buses, rickshaw mamas, cab drivers and of course your fellow 2-wheelers. You can trust the birds about their frequency of pooping but not the missiles in the form of saliva. You don't know when and from where it will land up on you but the projectile motion is properly worked out. It has no obstacles along the path of projection and there is absolutely no interference in gravity. These folks have immense confidence in their ability to spew saliva that India could have generous number of people participating in a Olympic game of Saliva Shooting. So lookout for those mouths that have a pouted look; they are not practicing to give a smooch like Kareena but they are seconds short of showering a "Aaak thoo" on you. 

And then the pressure from fellow drivers. Expect sudden brakes, sharp turns and a string of cuss words. At first, I felt so bad that I thought about it and felt guilty. Now I have learnt; the secret is this. Make a mistake; you cuss them before they do. Yell, shout; take advantage of the local language if you know and if they don't know the local language; well you have won. Show a finger; make them feel guilty. 

Finally, learn to handle it all. There are folks out there like you trying to dodge the spit, the cows and the dogs and the potholes. Just pass on the tradition! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Curd Rice

What a lousy topic to write about. What can one possibly write about Curd Rice or Thayir Sadham?
Recipe eh? Nope. Something funny? Umm no. So whats it about Curd rice - the quintessential life saver to any Tam-Bram. 

It would seem silly, unpretentious and bland. The last thing anybody would think of is a poem on curd rice or to find it listed in must-try-things-before-you-die. But I must the curd rice has a lot to teach in life. 

For one, its reputation in itself. Curd mixed with rice is an acquired taste - why would you want to eat a semi-sour curd mixed with rice? But ask folks who vouch their fierce loyalty to the dish? The seemingly diminutive dish is a superstar in many south indian homes. I've always cherished having curd rice - I have least of the expectations from it but it does wonders. Talk about getting that hint of joy when least expected. How much we relish such moments in life? Live without expectations; even a small gesture or a butterfly fluttering by is going to give you joy. 

Next, the beauty lies in its simplicity and its adaptability. Its so easy to prepare; versatile and goes with anything; I prefer to have it with mango pickle. Some throw in grapes, pomegranate or a seasoning of tiny bits of chill, ginger, mustard and cilantro. Again, I can't help but think about life. Life is as simple as it gets; but we tend to complicate it. Life is just love - everything revolves around love. The day we can leverage the magnificent energy from love; life is gonna be one hell of a grand party. Nothing can go wrong with a curd rice, you can just enhance it. The extra flavors only add more zing to it. At the same time, adding those extra flavors does not diminish the taste and properties of curd rice; it only enhances it. Likewise, love is only going to enhance your life. 

Next, no meal ends without a serving of curd rice in the end. The meal ends when you say "I am done" after you have devoted your last serving of curd rice. After your done with your curd rice, you are pleased and relaxed. When you are done, you are actually done. Every good thing ends on a happy note; to give way to better things. 

There are times when everything fails, it seems bleak and dark. Times when you doubt your purpose....then, think of good wishes, good times, blessings and of course your curd rice!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Force Shutdown

Unix command "halt -f" is a forced shutdown - what it does to the operating system is that it forcefully quits all active processes and shuts down the system even without a warning or confirmation.

Well, we do need such things in life once in a while. Here I am, sitting on the couch of my living room, stroking the keys of my laptop after 5 long days. Thats a record - I have never been away from my computer for so long unless I was away on a vacation.

I met with an accident 5 days ago on my way to office. It was a minor one, thankfully; with a crushed tendon on my right foot and beautiful abrasion fit enough to be called an abstract painting on my left foot and other minor abrasions elsewhere. It has rendered me inactive for few days. I had to undergo a minor surgery to suture the deep gash; now here I am limping to and fro to the bathroom.

"No walking" said the doctor. "Keep your legs elevated on a pillow and don't go to work". Well, I said "Yes doctor, no work. I can't do justice in this condition". I am glad that it ended with a crushed tendon and some tears, there were no fractures and I didn't come under the wheels of any other vehicle. So far so good.

The days gone by has left me to take ample rest. I switched on my laptop today because I felt like writing something. I've been reading and sleeping; eating with guilt(I have decided to take just 2 meals a day hereafter. Lets see how far it goes) I have switched off from work completely. Above all; it has made me take a look back at my days gone by. Well, what use is to think about past? It has use, if you want to prioritize and plan your future well.

I've realized that I've been working like crazy, been taking too many things on my plate without realizing that I need to be clever and smart. Yeah, its not about money at all. These has been my guiding principle all these years. But if you are being taken for a ride; you better take note of it. I have not been hearing to a peer's advice of taking things slow, not worry about work. It has always been what value can I add at work; how can I help my coworkers.

Now; I am here with my condition and not even one team member has called up in courtesy to check on my well being. I feel sad, ashamed, hurt but at the same time wise. I know now what is important, what should be valued. Work to live your life and not live to work. At the end of the day; you are a resource. Now that this resource is resting; the liability is more.

I've also realized what value is a human being to one's friends, relatives and acquaintances. Its not that I am going to change now and remain unsocial. I am just going to set my expectations right and not be too giving. I've always done that and have been at the receiving end in terms of disappointments.

I am feeling good that I am having this break, not worried about work, dead lines and responsibilities. I know when I go back to work; I am going to be clear about how I want to work hereafter. More importantly, I know my so called friends at work are just co-workers and my relatives don't want troubles coming their way. I know there are no so called "friends for life"; its just a notion to many; only lucky few get such friends.

Let me get back with some nice write ups next time

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Couple of Inches

Its not the philospohical "Let Go" to manage your stress and time kinda thing. Not even the "Let Go" to seize opportunities for different things kind. Its the "Let Go" moment when I think I've accepted the harsh realities.

Ask a women - what can she part with? Her clothes or her family. I bet most would choose the latter. Well, now not in literal sense. But yeah, clothes and accessories form an integral part of women; how much ever she says she is not the girlie kind. Every women has her type of clothes and accessories she would cling to for her life and would want to take them to her grave if permitted.

My favorite denims fit no longer; some of my sheer beautiful tops fit no longer. But they are still there in my closet. I take them out once in a while, try them on, they don't fit. I fold and put them back in my closet only hoping that I might be able to wear them someday. There are types of such garments. I want to grade them.

Choker : Ones in which your flesh can't even sneak through. You try, push, gasp and push and resign to believe you can never ever fit into unless you get thin by some miracle.

Squeezer : I would like to call the ones that you can squeeze in somehow but gasp for air. Your flesh pops out here and there; fugly!! (thats f***ing ugly)

Sneaker : Those clothes which you can sneak in but its gonna hug you tight and you don't want your love handles to show up. Which cloth can comfortably hide the love handles???

So these clothes keep taunting and teasing you to try them on; only to mock at you as to how funny you look in them. I am defeated; I know I can never wear them on; forget wearing them. I've gotten old as well isn't it? A lace lined top looks so girlie! and the cartoon print ones? Ewww! What about the ones with one-liners? "Now that I am here, what are your other two wishes?" Yuck!!

To find all those discarded jeans and tops in there - should I feel happy about the fact that I am living in hope? One day! Yeah, one day I can wear them - comfortably. I will be back in shape - the sticky thin figure I was before I was a woman and when I was a girl. Aren't they a symbol of desperation? Or is it the affirmation of my will power?

Now! I have so many of the hardly worn once clothes. I look at them on mannequins and think I can fit into them. Why don't I realize the hips on the mannequins are barely there whereas I have a generous proportion of it? It ain't that bad. I have heard comments that made my day...err..did it? It was always shrouded in doubt. My doctor recently said "You are a slim women" following with a comment related to medication. I've also heard friends say "You don't look you are reaching 31" or "Bindu, you have gone thin". Oh! a neighbor's dad who had come down for a holiday said "Oh! is that you. I thought it was some girl on her way to college"

Damsel in distress! only that not for a knight in shining armor to save her but to make sure the lifestyle doesn't take a toll on her physical fitness. But slim or college-going like or whatever, fat around the hips is here to stay!!! Accept it, yes I do. What is a flat belly worth without my white sauce creamy pasta or that lip smacking rice and sambhar!!!

So the realization struck and I've attained nirvana I guess. I like to think that there are unflattering facts and good to accept for your own peace. Should I keep those clothes? They could motivate me; looking at them can get me to lose that fat. Maybe I'll keep one for reference sake; you know what I mean?

But yeah; last night; I wore or tried to wear every top and trouser and paraded in front of my husband to check what I should keep and what I should let go! I don't think he enjoyed the parade. The ones that don't fit anymore have gone to charity - yeah someone much needed gets to wear Levis, Jealous 21, Bare denim and Basics...Oh common!!

A couple of inches really is what I've gained!!!