Friday, November 27, 2009

We are flying some 30000ft above sea level, somewhere over the Pacific. The Scout is cranky. He is tired of sitting. He is tired of the brown-bear and the caterpillar and other toys and non-toys-that-have-become-toys and everything else. He wants to cruise all over the grubby aisles of the plane. I need to think of something else to keep him occupied on this 15-hour long flight. May be in sometime we can cut a birthday cupcake I sneaked in my handbag. May be we will softly sing the birthday song and give the wriggly little one a big hug. May be we will take pictures of the three of us. I always had a thing against big birthday parties for kids but could it get any cozier than this? Happy 1st kiddo.

PS1: Drafted on Nov 25 and scheduled to be posted on Nov 27.
PS2: That's what I think his birthday will end up being as I type this. Will update on what it actually turns out to be.
PS3: We are in India for a couple of weeks. Hoping to blog and comment intermittently.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The taxonomy of Indian restaurant menus.

A friend wanted some suggestions of good Indian restaurants and that got me thinking... on a tangent as always.. about how some of these Indian restaurants make their menus exotic, hard-bind them in leather and emboss with gold lettering. Some of them even go 'French' on you and forget to add the pricing but helpfully include grand descriptions of the items on the menu. Like the masala dosa becomes:

"Light, crispy, golden-brown crepe stuffed with a mashed potato-onion curry. Served with sambar (hot lentil and vegetable soup) and fresh coconut chutney."

The palak paneer might become:

"Home-made cottage cheese cubes served in a rich and creamy spinach, onion, almond gravy."

If that's the state of the humble palak, what of the more shahi ones? Like the biryani:

"Saffron rice and marinated vegetables slow-cooked in a tandoor oven with fresh herbs and spices, garnished with nuts and served with a cool yogurt and cucumber sauce."

I can go to these restaurants just to read their menu although I personally prefer restaurants with the walking-talking-menu-cum-sweaty-waiter-guy who rattles off like:


And then there are the wannabe-McD restaurants where the menu is comprised of pictures on the wall. You pick a combo from the pictures. The pictures have back-lighting.

Then there are the restaurants with the usual menus. A4 sized sheets, laminated to withstand wear and tear.

May be I need to classify my favorite restaurants based on menu-types. :)

What are your favorites based on menu-types?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

5 goofy things I wish I could do

1. Cartwheels to impress kids at parks.

2. Juggle drink mixers / tumblers. Just for the coolness factor, you know!

3. Turn my eyelids inside-out and shock people who ring the doorbell. :D

4. Hula-hoop. Uhuhuhuh. I guess I just don't have flexi-hips. :(

5. Last but not the least: maaro a long, shrill seeti. Most essential when there is a Matt Damon or a George Clooney on the screen or when the husband is up-to some antics.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bucket list (tag)

Tagged by starry

Bucket list: 
  • Get life insurance. :P
  • Run a marathon or more realistically, a half.
  • Join as many classes as possible: public policy, investing, anthropology, green energy, film-making, watch-making, tennis, violin, french, dance, dress-making... and apply learnings.
  • See the Himalayas. Hike to the Everest base station.
  • Find an alternate career for the last lap. May be teaching.
  • Kick @$$ at poker.
  • Watch all of IMDB top 250.
  • Sit by a fountain with the GI and watch the kids live their lives.
  • Earn more. Give more.
Bucketed list:
  • Grad school in the US at zero cost.
  • I once told my prof that it was my dream to work for XYZ company and the dream actually came true.
  • Married a guy with whom I see eye-to-eye on most major issues. Here we will not focus on the fact that we don't see eye-to-eye on most minor issues. :)
  • Machu Picchu with the GI.
  • Mentoring younger folk in the family. Got an 'awesome-teacher' certificate from a cousin and her friends for helping them with their college Math. Got a 'best-sleepover-ever' certificate from the niece recently. There is definitely a sense of satisfaction that comes out of being there for these kids when they are at crossroads -- be it entry to college or career planning or boy-friend trouble or just getting to the warp zone in Super Mario bros. :)
  • Organizing social events at work and outside. I thrive on these. Sometimes I think I want to be an event manager if I ever have a second job. I'm sure the friends for whom I organized a bachelor's party will be my clients if not anyone else. ;)
I get this feeling that I'm hitting 'publish' too soon. I'm afraid this is and will always be work in progress. 

If you are reading this, please consider yourself tagged.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

5 girly(?) things I wish I could do

(.. God knows, I have tried! ..)

1. Wear heels comfortably. I can manage about 2-inch heels if I'm getting into the car and going straight to a brief event that does not have too much standing or running around, but that's about it.

2. Nails and nail-paint. Can do once in a while but really hate chipped nails and receding polish and don't have the enthusiasm to constantly touchup and all that. High-maintenance if you ask me. 

3. Wear dresses more often. What can I say? I'm a sucker for comfort and comfort equals jeans.
4. Shopping trip with girl-friends after a busy week. I can see why it could be cathartic but shopping equals making constant decisions about what could be a good pick and that equals 'work' for me.

5. Bat my eyelids and wriggle my way out of situations. Like out of a Rachel Green - Officer Hanson situation.

Tell, tell. Which of the above can you do well? What can't you do? What won't you do? ;)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Morning routine scuffle

Before Scout: Wake up 50 mins before I need to be at work. Shower, throw something on. Put jacket and shoes on. Quick look in the mirror to asses the outcome. Nothing can be done about the outcome anyway. Pick up laptop bag(1 number). Rush out.

After Scout: Wake up when he wakes up which could be 2-3 hours before the time I need to be at work. Play with him etc. One of us bathes him, diapers him, dresses him, feeds him breakfast. Shower, throw something on. Put jacket and shoes on for him and self. Pick up bags (4 number). Rush out with him.

What I miss: The quick look in the mirror. Oh, the vanity!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sparring techniques.

Which technique do you use most often?

Sparring technique 1: Self deprecation.
Me: Nobody is stupider than me.
Friend: You can't beat me. I boiled the milk over for the n'th time today.
Me: Yeah? Beat this. I locked myself out of the house for the n'th time.
Friend: Yeah? I went all the way to work this morning in my bathroom slippers.
And so on..

Now, consider someone who cannot spar, then this conversation becomes:
Me: Nobody is stupider than me.
Friend: Oh.
See how that conversation just fizzled out?


Sparring technique 2: Self-aggrandizement
Me: You know me. I walk into a room and poof problem's solved. (Note: That is one of my favorite lines delivered by Elaine in Seinfeld)
Husband: Yeah, right. Like you fixed the tap the other day and flooded the bathroom.
Me: Oh, please. At least I didn't forget plastic in my oven and turn it on.
Husband: Who butted into cousin A's room when she was arguing with her husband and worsened the fight? (I didn't know they were fighting and I didn't do anything to worsen the fight and it was not that big a deal. They are still living happily together. OK!)
And so on..

Now consider the conversation with one who cannot or does not spar.
Me: You know me. I walk into a room and poof problem solved.
Friend: *Silence* (might be thinking *self-obsessed b@#$%)


Sparring technique 3: Leg pulling time-pass
Me: Hey A, why are you taking so many pictures of me?
B: She is just trying to get some pictures for her blog.
A: You see I'm not that photogenic anyway to be in my own pictures.
Me: Oh, really? Pray tell me, who is modeling away all her sarees on Facebook?
And so on..

Now consider this version.
Me: Hey A, why are you taking so many pictures of me?
Friend: I like photography.
And that's the end of that.


Sparring techinque 4: Sarcasm
Me: Arggh, the glare. *mock shielding my eyes from the friend who went and bought himself a supremely flashy phone*
He: Arggh, the humor. *mock shielding his eyes from me*


Sparring technique 5: Political incorrectness
Me: Why are the Yellow pages called *yellow* pages?
Friend: May be because the Chinese manufactured it?
Me: Ahh, if we had manufactured it, it would be called *Brown* pages? :D


Sparring technique 6: Facts (more or less)
Friend: Let's go to this restaurant today. (Said restaurant is 40 miles from home)
Me: Whaa? Too far.
Friend: Far? You have changed! From someone who used to fly coast to coast every month before marriage..
Me: And looks like you haven't. You are so used to flying sorties to ferry girls to their destinations in school.
Blah blah.. 


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Arggghh moment!

These days I'm trying to be friends with a few people on the in-laws' side. When in social situations with them, I'm tired of just going through the same old formal routines every time. I meet them often but still I'm not friends with them in any sense of the word. I watch what I say and I'm wary of joking even in good humor with them. You might be wondering why this is so important to me and I do not know if I can explain my reasons well but for one, it is just taxing to not be yourself and always be watchful of what you say. Two, a conversation needs to have that zing to make it interesting. It is hard to make it interesting if you have to always be complimentary and agreeable. Three, what's a relationship if you can't have a few laughs at your own or others' expense? :) I was just thinking back about other friendships and how those came about. I realized that I'm most comfortable with people with whom I can spar. Yes, the timeless tactic of verbal offense and defense seems to be an integral part of relationships where I'm reasonably comfortable with the people involved. I'm not a goody two-shoes kind of person. I'm usually crude and goofy with friends, letting fly quick repartees. It is only then that I can kickback, relax and have a good time. But said people are mostly the goody two-shoes type or at least that is what they like to portray. I'm having such a hard time cracking this as I get nothing back when I attempt humor in conversations -- be it self-deprecatory or self-aggrandized or simple leg pulling or any other kind. As cliché-d as it may seem, our wavelengths are completely mismatched. Argghh. What do you do in such situations?

Monday, November 2, 2009

What is your idea of heaven?

  1. Recchiuti, San Francisco
  2. La Maison Du Chocolat, London
  3. Spruengli, Zurich
  4. Richart, Paris
  5. Kodaikanal homemade (Couldn't find them online)
A colleague is visiting Kodaikanal and I recommended the chocolates to him. That is where the chocolate-y lunch discussion started at work and ended with people listing their favorite chocolate stores around the world. What is yours?