Suresh & I have decided to create a blog, lets call it a family blog. Our blogs from the blogger group at AM_KICKING , has been copied to this location.
Category Archives: From AM-KICKING blog
On hearing Barber Shop,most of us would imagine a shop where barbers work and one that you would be visiting every now and then. Did you know a Capella music style is called Barber Shop music. According to Wiki, here is the definition for that.
“Barbershop vocal harmony, as codified during the barbershop revival era (1940s-present), is a style of a cappella, or unaccompanied vocal music characterized by consonant four-part chords for every melody note in a predominantly homophonic texture. Each of the four parts has its own role: generally, the lead sings the melody, the tenor harmonizes above the melody, the bass sings the lowest harmonizing notes, and the baritone completes the chord, usually below the lead.”
You might have seen it in the sitcom “SCRUBS” where the legal adviser sings it with three more guys.
One of our neighbors,Mark, does that. Here is my version of his visit to our house and his discussion with Mindframes, with Mano in a cameo role.
Mark: Hi, How are you doing?
Mindframes: Fine. Thank you.
Mark: Just coming back after a barber shop reunion.
Mindframes: (Wondering if he needs the insight into Mark’s hairy trends) Must have been fun. What do you guys do there?
Mark: oh! We sing. It is amazing.
Mindframes: ( With a nervous laugh) Hmmm..I go to Mimi’s. We don’t sing there.
Mark: Really.. Never heard of them. If you don’t sing, what do you do there??
Mindframes: We just sit in a chair and maybe, read a magazine.
Mark: Wow!! I have never heard of people doing that in a reunion. Which society do you belong to?
Mindframes:No, I don’t belong to any society. But, I suspect they have some strong societies in India. In fact, their association even rebelled against a movie recently.
In walks Mano, who automatically assumes that these two are talking about the movie BarberShop
Mano: Which movie are u guys talking about? The 2002 one or the sequel?
Mindframes: I was talking about Billu Barber.
Mark: So, is that movie a musical. I have heard all Indian movies are musical.
Mindframes: No, it was originally a Malayalam movie, now remade in Hindi. I can understand Malayalam very well, you know,since I was born in Trivandrum.
Mano: No, it is a comedy movie. Though I would have preferred someone other than IceCube in the lead role. The sequel was even worse.
Mindframes:Yes, even I think Rajini was better than Shahurkh Khan.
Mano being the designated OPD, exits the scene , getting worried on seeing a slight change in Ayush’s expression.
Mark: ( Puzzled) Coming back to my original question, why don’t you guys sing ?
Mindframes: Well..atleast in Mimi’s , we have a strict rule of not singing as it results in head movement which might injure you.
Mark: How can anybody sing without moving their head? I think you should stop going to Mimi’s .You can join our group.
Mindframes: No, I am very personal about this. I like to do it alone.
Mark leaves the room in frustration…and Mindframes proceeds to Mimi’s to have a haircut leaving Survivor ROFL.
Watch this movie…It is really moving..
I watched their interview this morning on the View.They were apparently very happy and Christian shooed away other lions when they tried to ambush the guys. If you search further in You Tube, there are related videos which shows a reunion between the lion’s family and them. Just AMAZING!!
My takeout after reading the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is that no one is born a genius. Hardwork & training , from an young age is the key factor , added with a dose of luck by being at the right place at the right time. The magic number is 10,000 hours of practice at whatever one is good at, which makes them an outlier. I liked that concept as now I have an excuse of not being at the right place, not being born in a different household, not being in very conducive environment to further my talents etc..Well, you get the gist …
Last night, I was watching Chopped, followed by American Idol as they cater to my interests in cooking and music. And, obviously I was judging the contestants and my thoughts were echoed by the Idol and Chopped judges. That’s when I had an epiphany and I knew what I was an outlier at. Eureka!! I was very good at Judging. What contributed to my success at judging? As the book says, it involved lot of hard work and training, right from when I was a kid. I started judging my peers and made friends with a selected few. Being a virgo helped me to be a good/bad critic, depending on the perspective.Born into a society where every Tom, Dick and Harry judges others irrespective of his stature and skills, my judging skills have been refined over the years. My ethnicity of being an Indian, a culture imbibed with competitiveness and loose talk has honed it even further. 10,000 hours…Pphhtt..I am sure I have put more than that in judging/misjudging people.
I participated in Galaata Idol last weekend. I should have known better. No, I didn’t make it to the next round, in case you are wondering. To my friends’ amusement, who had judged me right as not being a good participant, I decided to test my singing skills in front of a limited audience and three judges. The first judge was an upcoming singer (according to reliable sources) and so was enthusiastic about being a judge. It was obvious that she wanted to contribute for the betterment of the singing society in the bay area and so was very liberal with her comments. We can call her the Paula Abdul of Galaata Idol. The second judge was another lady who had an amused expression on her face which said, “Whatever!! You guys are not that great, but I will anyway give my comments. I am here just because these fans asked me to”. The third judge, apparently has Sangeetham Gnyanam , though not a great singer himself. ( Again, the reliable source at task). He had a bored expression of “Been there, done that. Lets get it over with and select a few.” As you can see, I was sitting in a corner, too busy judging the judges’ comments as well as the participants. Here are some snippets for you..”Shruti konjam missing here and there…otherwise its OK.”, “ You got all the notes right, but you emoted a bit too much” resulting in a puzzled expression from a participant and a firm head shake from me. For the question ” In all the years that you have judged so far, have you met the ideal Idol yet?” Pat came the reply from the Gnyani, “No.” As I said, me being the outlier judge and all, I was thinking, “That’s not the right answer. If some one is that good, why would he or she be participating in Galaata idol”. Following the book, if some one is very good, talented and had the right opportunities, he/she would have made it big in India by now.
Now, start thinking and find out your talent in which you have put atleast 10,000 hours…I am sure we can all be outliers…Just need to bring it out..:-)
Whenever I got into a bus, I have been mostly shielded by the friendly faces of drivers and conductors. I think it is a very honorable profession, especially in India, where one has to cater to hundreds while making sure that they are all transported safely. I always felt safe traveling alone in a bus, even at night. During my 11th and 12th grade, just standing behind the driver near the hot engine made us feel secure from all the eve-teasers, who were a tad too many in Trichy. Even though the drivers were mostly poker faced, I used to be greeted with a slight nod of the head, which was enough to make me feel good. Be it a very young flirtatious conductor or the stern brother/father types, they will be there to guard you once you enter their domain.
When I was in college, I never minded breaking my journey just to get home as soon as possible instead of a direct route bus. And so, it was all the way from Erode-> Mettur-> Dharmapuri -> Krishnagiri -> Hosur-> Bangalore. Many a conductor has stopped the bus, with a bang followed by “Old..down” , on seeing me running towards the bus, to the annoyance of the passengers, who had to disperse their formations at the steps of the bus, just to let me inside. There have been times when the conductor has made sure that a drunkard or a shabby guy does not come and sit near me. No questions were asked; just a pleading look from me did the job. Sometimes, the fatherly conductors might look very stern but when it comes to protecting you, even the looks were not needed.
What prompted my thinking about the aforementioned souls, you may ask. Last night, on my walk, engrossed in “Masakali”, I didn’t realize that I was almost tripping towards a bus stop, and that on seeing me walking at a brisk pace, the driver of a Cisco shuttle assumed I was rushing to catch it. Now, these shuttles run every five minutes or so. He could have just gone on his way as another one was right behind. But, no sir!! He cannot carry the guilt of leaving a passenger unattended. Now, I was in a dilemma with thoughts reeling in my mind,…Is he really waiting for me? Oh!! Shit, all the junta is looking at me . Do I run? If I run, the misunderstanding might become more pronounced. What do I do?.. With all the apprehensions in my mind, I was walking with an almost imperceptible jog and reached the shuttle when he opened the door, with everyone waiting for me to get in. Thoughts and more thoughts… What do I do? Do I just ignore and continue walking or do I follow in my dad’s footsteps, get in the bus, talk to the driver for a couple of minutes and let him know that I was just out for a walk. I chose to be the friendly pedestrian, looked straight at him, smiled with a wave of my hand. He laughed and with a nod, closed the doors and zoomed past. I continued with “Rehna Tu” ,smiling to myself, slightly embarrassed, transported to my teens…
The blog by Saumya on nourish-n-cherish got me thinking. Instead of expressing my thoughts as a mozha-neelam comment, I thought I will blog about it. It is a topic that has been in my mind for a while. The questions are simple and is centered around the current generation of people in comparison with our previous generation. By previous generation, I mean people who were born in 1940s-1950s. Are we, as a community more social and friendly? Are we more selfless in our deeds than them? Are we smarter? Are we flexible and adjusting?
Call me old fashioned. But, in my opinion, our previous generation (I will restrict this to Indians) seem genuinely friendlier and sociable than the current generation. While I can’t miss the touch of hypocrisy and sarcasm sprayed all over in the previous generation, there is a special sense of caring, that is unequaled. I have seen numerous examples of cases where a relative of some kind would be taken care of through their college till they get to work. As I grew up, I’ve never found anyone considering the act of cooking for others to be a chore. Even when an uninvited guest shows up, people used to go crazy about cooking them good food…
My question is not whether the current generation will or will not do what the older generation did? But, I don’t see that as commonly as I used to, before. There could obviously be more reasons… Is it because we are more independent (esp., financially)? Is it because, our importance to just our family has grown exponentially? Is it because, we are wrapped up in a more competitive and expensive world where everyone needs to work to take care of their own family that there is no time for “others”? We do adore Darwin’s theory and tout ourselves as being smarter than the previous generation. Does it mean that, smartness is inversely proportional to being sociable? Is it because, the community has overgrown from being limited to villages or townships to global? Should there be a dilution factor applied as the community size increases? Or, is it just being rational? Can I say that, courteousness superseded rationality in our previous generation… Is it just that the more closer we get to rationality, certain “random acts of kindness” disappeared? All said and done, everyone likes to be treated with kindness and be considered special, at least by a few… If rationality or being smart is what stands in the way, I don’t know if it is a good idea to be rational…. Oops, I have gotten into an infinite loop in analyzing rationality now…;)
I’ve been reading a lot of news lately. Though I resent the fact that many people are killed in various fights and militant wars throughout the world, I find a strange curiosity to get the updates. I don’t know why.
As people contend about what the futuristic world holds in terms of technology and what not, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fate of innocent people. As militants get their covers under the civilian population, I see that innocent lives are starting to look “disposable”. It has almost become a norm. Though, on one hand, it looks completely ridiculous, I don’t know what solution stays with the countries that have to defend it’s territories and people at large. Consider the terrorist incidents back in India. If one has to make a choice of getting rid of terrorists, is it worthwhile trying to protect a handful of innocent people? Doesn’t it look very subjective? I do realize that, if I had any of my close friend, family or relatives anywhere close to where such incidents happen, I may have a different take on the subject. But, for a government, it looks like the choices are running out. Will such trend go towards a power shift of the so called “protectors”…Is it the real solution to curbing down the terrorists? I don’t know. But, with growing list of terrorist organizations, I think, more and more innocent people are going to be terribly affected.
Another thing that bothers me is that I am getting totally confused with the responsibilities of organizations like UN. What is their real charter? Is it to just issue statements condemning organizations or countries? I think, as organizations like UN look biased and powerless, more and more countries will start doing things on their own. Why am I concerned with all of this? Honestly, I am not, well, may be a little. I realize that I don’t have the faintest clue whatsoever on the realities surrounding people who go through such painful tragedies, and unless I do, my curiosity or concerns about the topic only stays in the confinement of a blog which is mostly based on what the media projects. And, thanks to technology, I am overwhelmed with more and more information that reaffirms how utterly powerless I am…
As every year goes by, there is a part of me that scoffs on what the big deal is? Another part of me convinces that, new years are a great time to reflect on the past. It is like a water break in running. Especially given the shut downs that we’ve been having, it gave me extra time to think about what I did last year. Even less reason not to brood over the past.
Well, if I were to summarize on what I did last year (apart from the usual) in a nutshell is that, I did a lot of running. I ran about 1600 miles over the year, racing 4 half-marathons, 2 full maratons and the relay. I did improve with every event, which kind of fed back to itself making me run even more. Not sure if this trend can continue for long, especially, the coming year. But, I am happy with how it went last year. Shoba and I had a wonderful 3 week vacation, or should I say, hibernation… The start-up I worked for got acquired by Cisco. Not that it matters much to me except till next year. I was just running out of stuff to list…If it is less than 3 items, the word list sounded meaningless to me? Oh, and then, I did bungee jumping during our visit to New Zealand. I know I’ve bored most of you with these facts. But, I am going to repeat it again. My major revelation during our trip to NZ was that, they don’t have any native mammals in the entire country. What it means is that, you can walk all over NZ evergreen forests and you will never see any other animal other than sheeps/deers/stoats and possums… No bears/tigers/lions…Interesting, isn’t it?
As most people, I do have my list of stuff (aka resolutions) to do for the new year. One of them is to start blogging actively (atleast 1 every week). Blogging, in a way, keeps me tuned to information… As a disclaimer, this has nothing to do with me being part of Cisco… Believe me…:)
Anyway, to start with, I was going to blog something about economy. My inspiration came from an interview in NPR (Forum with Paul Saffo). As I started typing the blog, I went back to listen to the audio archive. As I figured, I wouldn’t do any justice whatsoever to the content than the content itself. To give a sneak preview, it is about where we are heading, in terms of economic trends and how factors like global warming, internet revolution, etc., influence it. It was one of the most interesting talk I’ve heard in a long time. Savor it when you find time. I am sure most of you will love it…
Happy New Year Y’all !
Yesterday saw a historic moment in US history and America lived up to its name where any dream can come true. I am sure the global perspective about America will change and the anti American sentiments will tone down.Am I happy? Yes, I guess. I am sure Obama’s health care plan will be a big boost, though I am still not sure if it will affect me as he is forgiving to the small industries , but wants the big employers to pay towards the national plan. Will it trickle down and affect my premium? I don’t know, but I am OK with contributing to the national plan as I have seen lot of old people( courtesy, my red toe nail support group) suffering with the current health plan. Believe me when I say we are blessed to have an employer-sponsored plan. Yes, it might be getting close to socialism, but I am fine.My taxes will most probably get affected, now, that is something I am not happy about.It is time to wait and watch. All the Indian newspapers are screaming about BPOs and outsourcing . He is sure to take out the tax breaks which all the outsourcing firms were enjoying and if you ask me, that is a big YES!!. I think it was preposterous and ridiculous for the businesses to enjoy such benefits.
Coming to california, there was an important Proposition (Prop 8) for which all the citizens voted last night. For the unaware, Prop 8 is amending the California Constitution, which was passed in May 2008, letting gay couples marry. Unfortunately, after the passing of Prop 8 last night, no one knows what the status of the multitude of gay couples who got married in the past few months, will be. Do they have to remove their wedding bands? Its a pity that the same day when the Californians who elected an african-american as a president, proving that race is no bar , also voted for prop 8 , thereby discriminating people based on sexual orientation. In my opinion, I think gay couples should be allowed to marry. People who are together for years might get some benefits by getting married, especially while filing taxes.And , I firmly believe that Church and State should not be mingled. There were mormons from Utah, who came to Cal , with all their multitude of wives and children in tow,just to campaign for Prop 8. How ludicrous can it get?
If you were a citizen, would you have voted for Prop 8 ?
On a lighter note, whenever I type Obama,MSWord asks for a spell check and tries to replace it with Osama. Obviously, Osama has been popular till now and is definitely going to be ousted by Obama.:-)
I claim that I hate stereotyping, though I catch myself doing it at times. Frankly speaking, I do get nervous when I pass a couple of black teenagers while going for my walk. And to strengthen my point, once I was teased by a 5 year old and was afraid to retaliate as I was not sure of the protocol, especially when it comes to black kids. It could be interpreted as racism just to admonish the kid… Would the kid have teased me if I were a white woman? Would a white kid have teased me? Will it be considered racist if I shout at the kid? With all these thoughts, I just walked and made sure I ignore him and his friends, just a bunch of 5 yr olds.
A couple of months after joining linear, an engineer from the Singapore plant visited us for some training on a particular tester, of which I was supposed to be an expert and was hired for the same reason. I was sitting at a station debugging some board, when this guy walks over to me and asks about some operator setup. Firstly, I was new to the place and had no clue about what he was asking and secondly, I was not an operator. I looked at him and said that he needs to ask that question to an operator. He just blurted out, “Oh! I thought you were an operator”. Apparently, in Singapore, lots of srilankan and Indian women are operators and he had never seen a female test engineer till then. Go figure!! That was just the beginning. I have been mistaken for an operator a few times ever since just because I am female and it is very rare to find women in my area of expertise. I tend to laugh it off or give some smart-aleck retort, which usually forces them to laugh or blush.
If you watch sitcoms, you can see the Indian stereotyping. Any sitcom based in New York such as “How I met your mother” will see an Indian taxi driver, which can be quite annoying. But a sitcom based in CAL will usually have an Indian doctor or an Indian scientist,aka Raj from “The Big Bang Theory”. I don’t mind the Indian accent though as I think almost 95% of Indians have their Indian-American accent, in slightly different flavors. When watching discovery channel, it looks like we have snake charmers in every nook and corner of India. People are too busy catching snakes for dinner, to be had along with Monkey Brains(thanks to Indiana Jones) while making phone calls to American customers, with a cow standing just outside the door( Have you seen the movie “Outsourced”?)..Just yesterday, a colleague was talking about catching snakes to explain to me about something as if talking about snakes will make me understand it better and no, I am not making this up. When a junior Indian guy joined our team, which was a rarity in our firm, people came up to me and seriously asked if he was my brother, ‘coz we look alike you see..:-) I could go on and on..
Talking about the upcoming elections, I am yet to see a single Indian who supports the republican govt. Is it just because of Bush and the Iraq war or is it just because we like to be democrats? Most of the Indians in the bay area will have an increase in tax cut if Obama gets elected. He has given the limit as 250K. Obama always talks about the middle class, well, I can guarantee you that most of the Indian engineers , especially with a two-income household are not middleclass. The average salary for a middle class family in SanJose is 70K. Is it because we associate Democracy with freedom back home , that we like to vote for a democrat , if we were citizens? Yes, Bush can be hated and you can be against the war, but are we stereotyping here?
Be it race, gender, country of origin , government , I think our brain has some association for certain words , which triggers a set of actions. Maybe, that is stereotyping and it may not be easy not to.
Have you ever been stereotyped or have you found yourself stereotyping someone when it was otherwise?