Knot ready yet !!

By some strange coincidence, a lot of people I know have got/are getting married in the period from May ’07 to July ’08- at least 20 people until now and another 15-20 people due in the coming few months. (Please note that for me, being engaged is pretty much equivalent to getting married; hence I include both the sets of people in the same category!) Now though I always used to be (pleasantly) surprised as each wedding invitation kept landing in my inbox, it never bothered me that much coz all were people who were at least 2-3 years elder to me, if not more.

Anyway, cut to about a week ago. I’m talking to one of my best friends- Z, on the phone. We were discussing some teaching assignment she’s doing and that is the moment she chooses to tell me that her parents are “looking” for a boy for her and she’ll probably be married in the next one year! Now, that freaked me out for three reasons :-

1. I’m petrified of marriage. No, I’m serious. Love and relationships is ok, but marriage is a very different ball game man…impossible to think about it right now!
2. She’s my age. Actually, she’s 35 days younger than me.
3. She seemed cool about it! I kept yelling and screaming on the phone (which isn’t something I do very often, it’s a skill only Gauri has!), while she was like, “Yeah! So…just thought I should tell you. My parents think it’s the right time!” :-0:-0

See, I know of girls who turn 21 and all of a sudden, the only thing they want to do in life is- get married. I’m not judging them or anything. They’re just people who’re happier when they’re running a home and managing a family. That’s a hard job too. But Z is not like that. I know she needs a great career as much as she wants all of the other stuff. Sure, people say a marriage doesn’t mean the end of a career, but it surely delays the process a bit right!?

I also know that Z’s parents are very cool people, so I never thought they’d be the type who’d get unduly tensed about things like settling down and all. But I guess, on some level, parents of girls are all of the same kind. (Damn!!) I actually had an argument with my mom on the same issue once, when I told her that I felt she was treating me like a to-do list- you don’t feel satisfied unless you tick off one of the activities on that list each year!

Anyway not much point to this post, except that- Z, I don’t know if you read my blog. But if you do, I’m not dissuading you from going for it. But only if you feel it’s the right thing to do! Also, make sure I’m in India for the big day ok! 🙂 And secondly, parents- please stop worrying about your girls! Don’t try to force them down a path when they’re (k)not ready yet !!



My future lies in a nadi !!

Ok, so not exactly that kinda nadi ! 🙂

People who’ve read this blog from the start know of my mom’s obsession with the stars. I had another experience in the same domain, a few days ago. I don’t know how many of you are aware of this branch(?) of fortune-telling called “Nadi Astrology“. The first time I heard of it was on this show on Tamil Nadu on Discovery. It looked pretty simple then, and the anchor didn’t quite explain the whole thing well enough. Anyway turns out, my mom’s sister’s sister-in-law (!!) knows someone who does Nadi-reading right here in Pune. So obviously, my mom had to pay homage to this great art. After her visit, she was so impressed with it that she dragged me along to the revered centre last week. I found the whole experience rather interesting, so I’m going to cut the sarcasm now and tell you what it’s all about –

For background information on Nadi astrology, check out this link. Quoting from here –

“Nadi is an ancient astrology, which has been composed by great Maharishis (sages) of India in the past using their spiritual powers. The sages recorded these predictions for every individual for the betterment of humanity and to safeguard dharma (righteousness). These sages predicted the characteristics, family history, as well as the careers of innumerable individuals contain in several thousand volumes, each containing around a hundred predictions. The Rishis, who dictated those Nadis, were gifted with such a remarkable foresight that they accurately foretold the entire future of all mankind.”

And here’s what happens when you visit a Nadi reader –

First you’re asked to give your thumb impression on a blank piece of paper, along with your date and time of birth. No name or any other info to be given then. This guy then takes the paper inside (to the bank of palm leaf bundles, I presume- which is called the Nadi) where one of the Nadi readers matches your thumb impression to the corresponding bundle. It’s not always that you get your match though. My mom got her’s immediately, whereas I was asked to come back in a week. (They got the correct set from Tanjore, which is like the headquarters) This is your first step.

Next, the reader asks you a number of questions about your name, parents’ name, siblings’ names, other biographical info, events of the past etc. Now here’s the interesting bit. He’s actually reading out this info from the leaf- you’re not asked all of it directly. And you’re just supposed to answer with a yes/no! This is to verify which leaf from the bundle belongs to you. What shocked me the most about this part was- how, on earth, does this guy know every single detail about all the significant events of my past!? And when I say “every single detail”, I mean it! There was actually a point where he asked my mom to go out of the room coz he was going to talk about stuff he wasn’t sure my mom would or should know! (Thank God he had the sense to do that!) I mean…to believe that all of this was actually written down by some Maharashi centuries ago, is like being told that- “dude, you’re the actor, the film’s already been scripted and no matter how much you object, it can’t be changed coz the director’s dead!” It’s like taking Shakespeare a little too literally..!! But it’s all there, written in some weird Tamil script, so you can’t even not believe it! Anyway once this is done, you’re through with step two.

Finally, he starts the future predictions. And he really goes to the nitty-gritties of it all! Like he told me about some accident I was going to have when I was 42 and hell, I even know the age at which I’m going to die! (Nah don’t worry, I live long enough! :-P) He records all of this on a cassette and you’re supposed to take it home with you so you can listen to your life chronology over n over again!

(Read the detailed procedure here.)

I was pretty blown over by the entire experience. But the fact is- though it may make you believe that your life is indeed, pre-ordained, not everything of what he reads out about your past from your leaf is true. So it’s not like all of what he says about your future is going to happen. Also, I know of a girl who took her two German friends along for a reading and they were told their leaves aren’t there, even in Tanjore. So I don’t know if the Maharashis limited their writings only to people destined to be born in India! I wanted to ask my reader this, but thought it would be too rude to cross-question him! And lastly, from what I gathered, he predicts the future on the basis of what’s written on the Nadi leaf and a horoscope he makes using your time of birth n all.. So once again, the whole arguement of- “what if my time of birth is wrong; then the horoscope doesn’t make any sense!”- resurfaces. Ultimately I guess, it’s all about belief. I, for one, don’t like any form of fortune-telling, science n all notwithstanding, coz I believe that the beauty of life is in its unpredictability. (Ahh the golden words! :-P) I know of people who’ve not even bothered to make a horoscope and believe me, they’re doing fine! Besides, I don’t want to live knowing that I’m going to be faced with a huge crisis in my 27th year! If some hardships/obstacles do come your way, as they obviously will, I think God/Nature has made humans strong enough to fight them. It’s just up to you now, to decide whether you derive strength from within yourself/God or take the help of some pujas/lucky charms!

P.S.- Anyone wanting to visit this centre- it’s in Kothrud near Vanaz. Leave me a message, I’ll give you the contact number.

Tryst with the kitchen

I’ve always taken some sort of perverse pride in the fact that I suck at cooking! In the sense, I not only was absolutely inept in making the stuff deemed “simple” by my mom like an egg omlette, but I couldn’t even distinguish between the different dals (you know…moong, udad and the like..) and different masalas! It never bothered me, of course. For me, cooking was never one of those skills a person needed to show atleast minimal expertise in. Infact it’s a standing joke in my family that a guy fit enough to be my life partner would need one of these qualifications- he should either be a good cook; or should be rich enough to afford one !!

I think my hatred for cooking was because my first two attempts at it failed miserably. The first time was when my sister and I decided to surprise my parents on their wedding anniversary by making them pinwheel sandwiches! (I was around 12 then; I had simple tastes :-P) We were supposed to mix cream cheese and tomato ketchup, add salt and pepper, apply it on the bread slices and roll them up. Simple enough, eh?! Well, everything that could possibly go wrong, did. The cream cheese and ketchup mix wasn’t smooth enough, I added too much salt and pepper and the bread got all soggy when the mix was applied on it, so it didn’t even roll up properly! We ultimately ended up eating the mixture without the bread so as not to waste it, and bought a cake for our parents! So basically, when you mess up something as simple as pinwheel sandwiches, it doesn’t do much to bolster your confidence! Added to that is the fact that my mom always says that I look my awkward best when I’m in the kitchen! The icing on the cake was when I messed up Maggi noodles! Huh! Well, over time I did manage to make a decent omlette, so I could atleast rake up something to eat in case of an emergency.

The past week has been a radical change though. I think it all started when the admits count reached four. I think my mom had been waiting for this very opportunity all this while. I knew it was coming of course; I didn’t want to be thrown out by my room-mates in foreign land coz I didn’t know how to cook! So now I proudly declare that the jinx is over and I can make edible food, fit enough to be consumed by fellow graduate students! :-D:-D Of course, I still hate cooking and I’m bored of it in just a week but atleast I know that I won’t go hungry now. And I admit, it’s pretty easy to make the simple Indian stuff, as long as you get a judgement of the proportions of the salt, sugar and the masalas. Besides, it does feel good to sometimes cook for your people- even if it’s a simple gobi ki sabzi! The best part was when my dad told my mom ki kabhi socha nahi tha ki kisi din apni beti ke haath ka bana khana bhi kha sakenge! Lol.. 😀