Thursday, August 30, 2007

A new chapter

The move is done. Physically to speak. We still have countless boxes to open, cupboards to fill, walls to paint and art to display. It can wait for now. A new routine, a new outlook and a new schedule. Getting used to it all. Weekly visits to see Sri Venkateshwara and eat some yummy prasadam. New places to discover. Would be exciting, if not for the blasted bout of cold.

I feel disconnected to everything, a feeling that it is a vacation, that we are going back to our old home. There is also a feeling that this is not going to be permanent. Is this what it is to be uprooted? Even though the roots were only a decade or so old?

I will have to wait and see how I feel in a month or 2.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

My story

I am a widower. Are you curious? You want to know how my wife died? I don't know if I even qualify to be called so. Now you are more intrigued, I can see. My marriage was a joke. In fact, my life so far has been a joke. Played at my expense.

I was quite popular in college, and I say that without any arrogance or conceit. Naturally, fell in love with a pretty girl in class. We carried on for almost 4 years. We broached the topic of marriage to our respective parents. That is where trouble #1 started. I was (am) brahmin-born. She was a Syrian Christian. My parents prevailed. As did hers. Like in the movies, I was forced into a marriage. To a girl I barely knew. And that was trouble #2. Why, you ask? I had apparently married an emotionally unstable woman. In short, a crazy one. She was certifiable. The family thought she would be ok after marriage. Yeah, right! The wedding night turned into a wedding nightmare. No sooner did they leave us alone, she started her act. When I tried to calm her, she turned her crazy claws on me. The kith and kin helped drag her out, leaving me in tatters, literally.

I told them to take her away and get her institutionalized. They didn't. Are you surprised? I was stuck. Not that I cared. I was kind of relieved to be single again. If not Rosie, then I didn't care. When people asked me if I was married, I was not really sure what to say. So, sometimes I said yes and sometimes no. Depending on where I was. My mom was on a guilt trip. It was her brilliant idea to get me married, wasn't it? I had no sympathy.

Then one day, out of the blue, I heard that my wife fell off the overhead water tank and died instantly. At least, she was freed from her suffering. And I am still in the thick of it.

My mom has started pestering me gently about another marriage. She is even willing to overlook religion, language and/or caste. A few years too late, I say.

Inspired by a couple of things - one, someone I know. Two, this.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Caffinity and a question

Not the burning question of the moment. But I got to thinking about my dependence on tea. On to people's dependence/addiction to caffeine. Then wondered how and when it started. Do you remember when you started drinking it? I don't. I remember sitting on my daddy's lap, waiting for the coffee to be "aathufied" so that there was a thick layer of foam on top. Slurping it up so that I had a foamy moustache. I did not want it given little by little, it had to be foamed to the top.

I could not drink anyone else' coffee except my mom's. Peaberry A and Peaberry B with a touch of chicory, well roasted was how she made it. 2 and 1/2 heaped spoons in the filter. First decoction. Not bitter at all. While in college (out of rather, since we cut classes quite a bit then), I tasted woodland's tiffin room's coffee and I loved it. Cafe du monde's coffee made it to the charts too. Until I graduated to flavored coffees at the local bagel store.

A decade ago, I switched my allegiance to tea and have been going strong on that. Especially Trader Joe's chai tea bags, if there is no assam tea handy. Strangely, I have developed an intolerance for coffee. I do like the aroma, and even tolerate it in tiramisu and such. But I am a total tea drinker now. Of late, I have been thinking of may be giving it up. May be. Or Not.

So the question is this.
When did you first start drinking coffee/tea?

(note: this will not kill any cats)

Friday, August 03, 2007

close encounter of a moushy kind

During my last trip to homebase, as usual, trudged along to the alphabet cloth store for the customary shopping mania. "Pall"avan, our rented car's driver, dropped us off at the corner, and went off to park. Pallavan, if I were to describe him, was a couple of teeth, sticking to a reed, with a mop of curls attached. May be he lacked some fat in the cranium too. We come back after a few hours (more or less), look for him outside the store, in the busiest section of Chennai. The kids are hungry and so are we. Finally spot him, or rather he spots us and we follow him with our 2 huge alphabetized bags. We go to this underground parking, which unbeknownst to us, belongs to the brahmandamana store, owned by the veshti clad country fella. We walk towards the car. We are stopped. At first, all I see is this humongous "meesai". Attached to the meesai is a hefty with a baton. He won't let us go. I am told to go the brahmandamana store and buy something for at least 100 Rs. As it is, I am not impressed with the wares sold here, and on top of that, I am being forced to buy. I might even have thought about it, except that the kids were starving. It would have meant at least 1/2 hour to finish the purchase. So I tell meesai, no way dood. Babies are starving, senti mummy stuff. Meesai is tough. Pallavan decides to play hero. He didn't know we were going to the 'wrong' store Probably true, ding bat that he was. We manage to get in the car. Meesai brings 2 adiyaals. Pallavan's rattham boils. Words traded. Strong ones. I had to intervene and play the women alone with kids angle, strongly. Quite strongly. My mind was running headlines - women accosted in underground parking. Finally, they decide to let us go. Relieved to have averted that scuffle.

After that day, I preferred using the friendly neighborhood autokarans.

Alphabet clothing store needs to provide parking.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Recent Books

A mini-vacation (as in not the usual work) gave me a chance to read a couple of interesting books. Both were by 2nd generation Asian immigrants and part of the reason I was drawn to them. Of late I have been getting into this subject, probably because I am nodding my head a lot while reading them.

Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan

There was so much I could relate to in this book. It was a quick and engrossing read. The recipes that were woven into the story made it a little more real. Each chapter had some kind of food thrown in, with the recipe(s) added after that chapter. The story itself was so believable. Having a few close friends like the protagonists made it more real for me. Not exactly chick-lit, but close.

Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas

Another 2nd generation memoir, that is mildly funny. Made me think that they are not much different. She writes about the different types of uncles and aunts and I could so relate to that.

Some more books that I hope to read in the near future:
Desirable Daughters by Bharati Mukherjee (No, haven't read it yet!)
I might also give Amulya Malladi's books a chance, starting with the Mango season.
Monsoon Diary by Shoba Narayan

Then there is Khalid Hosseini's thousand splendid suns, a must read.

As usual, so many books and so little time.

Regarding Harry - Almost Closure

JKR's chat transcript is on mugglenet here. Answers a lot of open issues.