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We adapt

You grow up. You are forced to work 9-5. You adapt and learn to co-exist with your peers.

You get married to the woman you love (hopefully, :roll: ). You adapt and learn to co-exist with your wife.

You move to a new country. You adapt and learn to co-exist with your fellow countrymen.

You buy your first house,borrowing from others. You adapt and learn to co-exist with your mortgage.

You change jobs. You adapt to the hectic schedule and co-exist with your new bosses.

You move to a better neighborhood, a very nice house with a big yard. You just cannot adapt and co-exist with pooping,hole digging animals, can you???

Here, let me…..

We moved to one of the nicer, posh localities in the bay area, very close to the woods, where deers, raccoons, skunks co-exist with humans.

Week 1:
On the day we move,we see some poop in the lawn. Assume it to be the negligence of the previous owner who had a cat. Obviously, not the owner, but the cat. 😉 And clean it up. Alas!! the mysterious poop reappears, some mornings, with intervals every now and then.Partner investigates the yard and finds a gaping hole,under the fence that we share with a neighbor. In glee, fills the hole , assuming the neighbor’s two cats to be the culprit.

Score: The mysterios poop 0- Suresh 1


Week2 :

Just when you think that the sun and moon are perfectly aligned , favoring you, there it is again.. The poop. And the plot thickens. The hole gapes at you again. The situation calls for drastic measurements.. 💡 Partner finds some loose stones , cement slabs and slams them on the sand near the fence, waiting for the cat to give a try and thereby slam its head on the stone, all the while dreaming of a Tom & Jerry sequence, where Jerry pushes something very hard, huffing and puffing, only ,here it was Tom, presumably.

Score: Tom 1 : Suresh 1


Week3 :

There it is.. again. Exact same spot. Happens somewhere between 11:00pm and 6:00AM. Looking at the poop size, a loud debate pursues.. Its a cat, no that cannot be..”I think it is a squirrel. The squirrels in this country are as big as a cat.” ” No, mom, squirrels are not nocturnal” . ” Could it be a raccoon, may be???” . ” But the hole is so small, how can a raccoon fit in there?”…” And raccoons can climb over fences, why dig?” A dire, messy situation. Drastic measures. 😈 😈 😈 . Scare tactics. Search, search. The internet god comes to rescue. It is called a scare crow. A motion sensing water sprayer. With sharp cones from one of our trees added as buffer in ..ahem.. the spot. Just when you think Suresh scores, there it is again, I mean the hole, not the poop. I guess we can give 0.5 to each at this point.

Score: The Unknown animal 1.5 : Suresh 1.5

Week 4:

Happy that he need not throw the poop any more, partner decides to spend his time building the fort under the fence. With stone slabs not being enough, a long wooden slab is bought and nailed to make the fence longer , leaving no space to dig, for the still unknown animal. As a dutiful wife, supporting the spouse in this game, I try to get a motion sensing camera from a friend and we fit it near the bedroom door. Rise and shine, run to the backyard, only to find a..!gasp! hole 😳 under the new slab of wood and all that the camera could catch was the sunrise and the motion of some trees.. tut tut…

Score : Mysterious,hole digging nocturnal animal 2.5 : Suresh 1.5

Week 5:

The puzzle continues. WTF??? The only way to find would be to do a matha ka jagran or celebrate shivarathri earlier/later ??? OR go to the neighbour and find out their take in this. The problem with housing in these locations, is that you cannot just holler over the fence without getting introduced first. Instead of a 1 second hello, I walk for 5 minutes to reach their front door as they share our fence in the back, which faces a totally different road. I meet Mr. R and ask him if his cats are the culprits or if it could be a !gasp! raccoon. He answers politely, “Oh! it is not a raccoon, it is a family of four! I saw them over the fence last night, around 11:30PM”. 😯 😯 Cross my heart. A family of four frolicking in my back yard. “But Sir”, I ask, ” Why the hole??” . “That is what they do, lassie. They love to dig.” The hole was not the means to enter our yard, rather it was just peekaboo time for the family.I could almost hear the papa Raccoon admonishing the kids, “Enough of your peekaboo. Lets go , get some food. You kids can play some more while we come back to poop.” 😆

Score: Raccoon Family 3.5 : Suresh 1.5

Week 6:

Partner fills the hole, religiously plugs in the scare crow every night and I refrain from stepping out of the house after 10:00PM. The score still stands the same , while we wait…one day the family will want to upgrade and move, just as we did from our old house.. 🙂
“Hum honge kamyab, hum honge kamyab, hum honge kamyab ek din” ..

And, yes, you adapt and co-exist with raccoons.. 😀

PS: My attempt at using most of the emoticons in one post.. 😆

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2010 in General, Humor.. or not?

 

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Creative??

My sister wrote this nostalgic, sweet blog post about her childhood. It makes one think how sweet kids are and be happy with their own creations, in their small world of organized collections and suitcases.

Happy, I was. Creative, I wasn’t.

I was a happy kid with my hand-me-downs. Having two elder sisters is as good as settling in a hand-me-down warehouse. More often than not, you get to use their writing desk, their collections, their table, their books, their clothes.

I have inherited my share of salwars and skirts from the aforementioned sister and always found hers always better than mine. Wonder how the brain works? The dress is always greener on another person (or) another’s dress is always greener on you. Be it the black& red salwar or the america-bought saree of mom converted into a chudidhaar, sisters rule and their dress even more so. I was happy even when the sister cunningly enticed me into liking a dress that she never wanted , making it look as though she was the magnanimous one. Yes, sisters can be evil, I tell you.

As for the creative mind of kids, I was disabled. Very much so. The one time when I got creative, by wearing my sister’s dupatta as a dhavani(or) saree , on some kind of old Pavadai(Tamil for a long skirt), I was mistaken for the maid servant by some visitors. A very humbling experience, no , not for me ,but for the visitors. One cannot blame them. What would you infer if you see a small , emaciated,dark girl ( in a household full of fair damsels) , wearing an old pavadai and a totally mismatched dhavani tied around her ,peeping from behind a curtain.Well…Well… life goes on and my creative part of the brain has been dead ever since. It just couldn’t stand the pressure of going through that ordeal.

Let me take it back. The creativity was dead even before.Family expected it from me. As a kid, when playing “I spy” ( popularly called “Ice Boy” in those days) with my sister,I was known for hiding in the same spot as where my sister did in the previous round. Yes,very very humbling though entertaining. No, not for me, but for my sister.

After seeing her post, the past came rushing and I realized that life has indeed been a humbling experience every now and then. And, yes, for me.

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2010 in General

 

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Teenagerized

Over the weekend, we attended a Tamil light music concert by a local bay area troupe.It was a tribute to Ilayaraja, so quite a few songs were from the 80s. Melodious, awesome ones. We were humming for most of the songs and singing quite a few of them too. When they sang “Nila Adhu Vanatha Mele“( A song from the movie Nayakan), both Suresh and I were singing the whole song, not missing even one single line. I don’t remember many details from my school days, but I remember every single lyric of that song. I was in 8th grade when the movie was released and remember singing that song day in and day out.

Isn’t it interesting how the brain/mind works? It is what we perceive as a teenager that stays in our mind. Most of us think that the songs from our teenage era are the best ones. No wonder people were criticizing the latest “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara”. We didn’t have much options then and whatever we heard, sounded really good including mile sur mera tumhara in various languages, and everyone sang all the lines in bengali, malayalam, kannada ,tamil ,hindi without even understanding maybe. The present day youngsters have too many options, songs , channels to watch and I am not sure if the “Phir Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” will ever stay in their mind. If it does, I assume they might actually like watching Vikram and Surya over Kamal and Deepika Padukone over Sharmila Tagore.

Madhavan, the actor is currently touring here, visiting various states for different events helping charity organizations. When he visited the bay area, I dragged Suresh into attending the “Coffee with Madhavan” event and was thrilled to sit in the front seat. The program was very good with my only grouse being that I couldn’t take a photo with him. My envy was kindled on seeing my dear friend K doing the same when she was not even a Madhavan fan and didn’t care one way or other, though it has waned now as I see facebook full of girls hugging Madhavan. 🙂 On mentioning this to a volunteer friend of mine, she was flabbergasted at my reaction. She knows I don’t usually care much for any celebrity unless he/she is a big time philanthropist or genuinely helps charities.And I said, “It is a teenage crush thing .A tiny flame is still lingering.” The one that makes you like any good looking guy in television including Maddy in Banegi Apni Baat,Sharukh in Faugi and Arvind Swamy in the Leo Coffee AD.
AH ! TO BE A TEENAGER..

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2010 in Life Philosophical Thought

 

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Mothers

Dear Shoba,
How are you? We are fine here. Take your medicines regularly.Don’t worry about your exams. Eat well. It is boring here. We are eagerly waiting to see you.

All my mother’s letters had more or less the same format. When we were studying, there were no cell phones. Even STDs were a bliss. There was no phone in our hostel. We had to travel a few blocks and place a trunk call. Our college was on a hillock , very much away from the main city. The only medium of communication with parents was through inland letters or postcards. I have saved every single one of the letters I received during my college days, from mom,dad and sisters. Thanksgiving day seemed like the perfect day to browse all of them which brought back old memories.



I am a sister, wife, daughter but not a mother. When I started my career, I had plans of adopting a child and be a revolutionary single mother. But, life takes surprising turns and you follow the path that is laid out in front. Do I regret not being a mother? Maybe, sometimes,but definitely not enough to brood over it. I think a mother should first be a woman and then a mother. There are different kinds of mothers, the insecure , needy, protective, calm, strong,aggressive,impatient, but one feature that unites them all is their love for the offspring. Call it maternal instinct or womanly sacrifice, they do work a tad bit more towards their child’s care and I guess that makes them a bit possessive too. They don’t divide their love between children, rather multiply it.They may not make great mothers-in-law but they are always excellent mothers.


My mother is a woman first and I love her for just who she is. She might be outspoken, but the beauty in those angry words is that she speaks her heart and is not a hypocrite. She is very practical and calls it as she sees it. She accepts and says that her children studied and came up in life on their own with her duty being they were well fed and clean. Sometimes, I feel it is a thankless job as the children might take it as a norm .


My mother was married at an early age, just one day before she turned 18 and has been cooking food every single day ever since. I have been cooking, maybe not every day, for the past 10 years and I am already exhausted. Imagine doing that for 48 years without a break. Yes, tomorrow is her 66th birthday and I wish I were with her .


When I was in college,my trip to hostel consisted of pulikachal(puliyogare mix),menthiyada hittu(dhal powders),pickle,dates with honey and other snacks. Things have not changed much now. I bring seven different varieties of spice mixes on my trip from India. All homemade, thanks to my mom.


My eldest sister is going through a tough phase with her health and mom goes to temple every single day. When my other sister had tough times, every single call was filled with her news. When I was diagnosed with chronic renal failure, the mother in her readily accepted to donate her kidney which has given me a new lease of life though the woman in her was actually frightened. Mothers become strong when their children need them.


Most mothers all over the world are the same. Every one will have similar stories about their mother. What better day than thanksgiving and my mother’s birthday to salute all the mothers and a special salute to my dear mother.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 26, 2009 in General

 

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Birthday Wishes

shoba_86

It was 2000 July and we were visiting Universal Studios at LA. While the three of us went for the “Back to the Future” ride, he waited outside and to my surprise, gifted me with this bracelet when we came back.He might have forgotten but I remember and preserve it till this date.I am a sentimental goof when it comes to gifts and this is special because I love him so much.

When I was 10, he surprised me with a movie after a doc’s visit, “Digby, the biggest dog in the world”. We rode on the bicycle all the way from home to the doctor and on to the theater.

Till I was 9, he used to give me piggy-back rides after a tiring day at work. Anything for the brat.

I was physically eve-teased for the first time in my 8th grade, when I ran home and waited for my best friend to come back from work to pour it all out. He took leave the next day and followed me to school and back without my knowledge just to make sure I was safe.

I fell ill with Measles in 10th grade and he took leave of absence, just to carry me around the house and look after me.

In my 2nd year of college, when there was a major bus strike with me traveling and was supposedly missing , he panicked , started his search and gave me the biggest hug and kiss on finding me after an interval of 7 hours. According to the driver, ” Sir. azhudhu naan innikidhan parthen.”( I am seeing him cry for the first time. )

He spent all his time planning for his three daughters’ education,sacrificing luxury,making sure we get the best and be independent in this wide world. A man very content with life and who finds happiness in small things and goes out of his way to help others. He was recognized as one of the best senior citizens in our vicinity.On the first Sunday of every month, he wakes up at 6:00 , ready to go to the free clinic , which is organized by their Welfare Association and gets busy in volunteering doing registration, blood tests for people younger than him.:-)

Yes, That’s my dad. A man full of energy, enthusiasm and epitome of service.

Happy 76th Birthday , Dad !
-From all of us.

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7 Comments

Posted by on November 4, 2009 in General

 

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Project Runway

Project Runway is an American reality television series on Lifetime Television, previously on the Bravo network, which focuses on fashion design and is hosted by model Heidi Klum. The contestants compete with each other to create the best clothes and are usually restricted in time, materials, and theme. Their designs are judged and one or more designers are eliminated each week.

Our Project Runway was on Saturday. The task was to buy me accessories to attend a wedding banquet. We had 3 hours in a mall with preferably a limited budget. And, the best part was I had my own Tim Gunn in tow. Timothy M. “Tim” Gunn is an American fashion consultant and television personality. I watched him on Jon Stewart once and have been hooked on to the show ever since.

A snippet from Tim Gunn’s “Guide to Style” show

I can hear you. Please let a girl have some life trying to interpret what the fashionable are wearing, even if she roams about in Jeans and Sneakers.

Since K had already loaned me a couple of dresses, I was not too keen on a dress, but more so on buying black sandals which should not be too gaudy, but shiny enough and at the same time comfortable with a perfect fit. With just the right heels. Neither too thin nor too thick. Suresh graciously accepted to accompany me , as I said, my own Tim Gunn. There have been times when Suresh just sat inside the car, refusing to enter a shop recounting all the bad experiences he had had as a shopping accompanist.

On Saturday, Partner being in good mood, helped with scouring various shops for the right shoes / sandals and we finally found one at Naturalizer. The one that I saw another girl trying out. With eager eyes, both me and Suresh were checking out from different angles to see if she was going to buy it or not, not knowing that there were lot more of the same make piled just a foot away..Yes, pathetic, thats me. 🙂

Feeling secured and happy on finding the right shoes,walked into BCBG (following the advice from my friend K, a self proclaimed fashion guru) , found a dress that fitted me well and within the budget that I had in mind. By now, Tim Gunn was morphing into Alton Brown. Yes, Suresh was already eying the Auntie Annie’s Pretzel.

For some more accessories, I walked into Victoria’s Secret, which felt like being received into your in-laws house as a new bride. So many secrets that one would have to unravel. I put down my right foot first, took a deep breath , smiled at the sales girl and started my comradeship with some dumb questions. Alton Brown was busy munching the pretzel ,deciding to let the secret be.
After 10 mintues, walked out with a tiny garment worth $50+tax. No, I am not kidding.Now you know what secret Victoria holds. A brand name and big bucks.

Feeling morose and cheated out of 50 bucks, I walked out of V and saw lingerie stores everywhere in the mall. Where were they all a moment ago, when I was desperately looking for them. Without further ado, I confirmed Suresh’s worst suspicions and wanted to run back to V to return the garment. By now, Alton Brown had morphed into devil with tiny horns, just growing.I pacified him to go to the car , ran to V, got my 50 bucks back and bought the same garment for $5 somewhere else. The fastest shopping one has ever done.

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Yes, VANITY. Hits you when you reach mid-30s and makes you dress like a school girl.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2009 in General

 

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Past Presented -II

Some more thoughts from my perusal of my great-grand father’s biography.

1800s- Early 1900s:

    There was no concept of money then. People always traded things between each other. My rice for your milk.. My wheat for your oil…It was almost considered a sin to sell milk, food etc..You just donated it to the needy if you have in excess. A simple life, if I may say so. Yes, there was definitely a caste distinction, may be more so, but that didn’t hinder people from helping each other out.

    Students had an unique identity in the society. They had a concept ,”Varanna” where poor students visited a designated house every day of the week for food. Apparently, my GGDad learnt a great deal by visiting various houses. “Varanna” means Vara – Weekly & Anna- Food. Kind of a mobile hostel when you are away from home for studies. Some households helped them with just lodging too. Lots of give and take , a totally different India.

Middle 1900s:

    People believed in families and friends and sent their children out of state to stay with them , for studies. The concept of nuclear family formed. Money started speaking and became the crux of many a family discussions, fights etc. Both my grandmothers were known for their generosity . The house was always open for visitors and guests despite not being able to cater to even their own needs. Everyone was invited for food though sometimes the inmates did not have enough for themselves. A sad fact…I think the ladies went more hardships and managed the household at the cost of their mental and physical health.

Late 1900s:

    All the daughters from our family studied out of state and stayed in hostels. None of us know the concept of a joint family. And yes, we all earn and money is still a major part of our life, though not the main. We don’t feel comfortable just barging into a friend’s house, without informing them first. It still goes on in the previous generation and I know of people who just drop in our house at Banglore, on the way to a wedding or a grocery shop. That is, a few.

2000s:

    I guess with lot of technology advancement, life became all the more complicated though we might claim otherwise. We would rather text someone than visit.OK,…guilty..I don’t text.. And money is almost a backbone of our society.Everything revolves around it. Life seems to have been very simple a century ago..All one had to worry about was to stay away from plague, means to feed oneself and family, education if need be or if passionate. For this era,I can take myself as an example.I constantly think about swineflu ( OK, that was a stretch ;-)), how to progress in my career, my parents health,my health,when to be on my own( I mean my own business), if the gas is switched off( happens if you have OCD) ..you get the gist..
 
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Posted by on September 9, 2009 in General, Life Philosophical Thought

 

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