Band-Aid Covers the Bullet Hole..

Excerpts of dialogues between friends, and friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends…

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[Guy talk]

“Friends with benefits should be a legitimate option in India.. Look at us- we’re 26 and still are not used to the cruel ways of love. Yahan ke logon ko heartbreak ki aadat ho jaati hai by the time they are in their twenties. That is the healthy way of living life..

“Oh please, do you want to give girls more avenues to use the “let’s just be friends” dialogue?! No ways! No friends, only benefits..”

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[Girl talk]

“I think sex is over-rated”

“What? How can you say that?”

“No, seriously. I think it’s not as big a deal as people make of it”

“I’m sure it’s not but you haven’t even done it yet- so you never know!”

“Exactly! I haven’t even done it yet but I still know I’m going to get bored of it in a few months..”

Turning to friend’s fiance : “I feel sorry for you man, really sorry!”

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[Mush]

“I think love is like friendship with two shots of espresso topped with two scoops of chocolate syrup!”

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[When Harry met Sally..]

“I think we should just be friends for now..”

“Isn’t that supposed to be a girls-only dialogue? You cannot infiltrate our territory like that!”

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[Ex-files]

“My ex-boyfriend just sent me his wedding invitation card.”

“Oh? Sooo…you’re going?”

“Going? Seriously?! What do you want me to do – go on stage, congratulate him and his wife, shake his hand, pose for an awkward, corny picture with them, and act all dignified while the whole time I am imagining myself dunking him in sulfuric acid?! NO! I’m not going !!”

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[How to Scare Your Mother]

“Do you know there’s a vaccine for cervical cancer now? I was speaking to Dr. Bhidaye and he said you are a good candidate for the vaccine. You should take it when you come to India.”

“Why am I a good candidate?”

“Coz the vaccine is most effective if you take it when you are unmarried..”

“Unmarried? You mean if you are a virgin right?”

“Huh?!”

“I’m sure marriage has nothing to do with it. I guess you have to be a virgin to be able to take it?”

“Usually, the assumption is that the two are inter-dependent… But the world is changing, so…”

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[Arranged Marriage 101]

“Dude, however cool he may be, the fact is that no Indian guy is going to marry an Indian girl who voluntarily has a tattoo!”

“Are you trying to scare me?”

“No, but I’m just telling you to be prepared.. You signed on for a very difficult life..”

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[Good girls finish last]

“You are too nice”

“Awww… Thanks ya, that’s sweet..”

“No, no. Listen to me- you’re too nice”

“And….that’s not good?”

“No – guys don’t like nice girls! You need to grow some horns!”

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[True Story]

“I know this may seem like a rip-off from the Jerry Maguire dialogue but the fact is that you had me at ‘Tujhe dekha toh yeh jaana sanam..‘ Seriously..”

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[Teen-ache]

“Yaar, I am in trouble. I try to be mad at him, I want to be mad at him. I get mad at him too- like really, really, really mad- the maddest I can be! But it all goes away when his stupid, smiley face flashes on my cellphone when he calls..”

“You need a new face; or honestly, you need a new life.. Join a dance class or something!”

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High School Music

Okay, so I write this post at the risk of completely changing the image most of my friends and blog readers have had about me!

I have always been into music- played the synthesizer for about 5-6 years, dabbled in singing a bit, was in a “band” in school and engineering college. I do not have any particular influences as such because my interests have ranged from Indian and Western classical to hard rock and somehow, I still have favorites in each of these categories! What happened was that at different stages of my (rather short, but memorable) musical journey, I met people with such different interests, and each of them introduced a new dimension to my awareness. Like, my very first music teacher was into hardcore Carnatic music. My mom has always been more into Hindustani and was the one who introduced me to Marathi classics too! Chirag- who is one of my very good friends and the most amazing musician I know- is a huge fan of Yanni and I was addicted to his music at one point of time, thanks to Chiggy! The music class I went to in Pune focused more on Bollywood music and stuff.. Then, in my first few years of engineering- I got introduced to all kinds of rock music because of Nish- he also taught me to play a bit of drums! But the biggest constant through all these years has been my sister. She doesn’t really sing or play any instrument- but she has always been into music of all kinds. Sometimes I’d wonder where she found out about all these songs! So my tastes in music have probably been concurrent with what her current favorites were. Of course, then- it is no surprise that there was a point of time when all we used to listen to was Britney Spears! I mean, she was a big thing when my sister was in her pre-teens !! Then, I remember this time when she was obsessed with High School Musical- when it released- like a zillion years ago!

So we had this ritual okay- my mom, sis and I would have lunch every afternoon (on holidays and weekends)- and then mom would go off to work and she and I would be “allowed” an hour of break time (Well, if you have a teacher mom, you understand what I mean! :P). So in that one hour, we’d watch either some serial episodes or part of a movie on the computer. Most of the time, my sis would decide what we watch. So she’d download some stuff on Limewire and Napster (it was free then!). She was the one who introduced me to Friends- I used to think it was cliched and sexist before she had me hooked! She also made me see movies like Bend it like Beckham and of course, High School Musical!

So what’s the point of all this?! Well, so turns out I haven’t updated my iPod playlist in yeeaaarrrsss… So even though it is the end of 2010, I still have some HSM songs on there, which happened to come up this morning in the shuffle list thingy! I couldn’t help but smile when I heard some of those songs- remembered all those times when we used to actually learn the lyrics and try to imitate the scenes and stuff !! Yeahhh well, we still do that sometimes- what’s life without a little goofiness eh! 😛

So this goes out to my lil’ sis who is unfortunately not so lil’ any more! 🙂

Remember the days when we believed with all our heart and honesty that we’d grow up and do something so “different” from what everyone else was doing and believed that the guy who was our “best friend”, would end up becoming the love of our life !! Ahhh…the good times! :D:D

Notes

  1. Exactly a month from today, I will be in India !!! I cannot wait! I know I am luckier than most students because I have got the chance to go to India every Christmas since I arrived in the US- but this time’s trip is more valued because for the first time, I have a crazy, maddening urge to see my parents. I saw my mom six months ago during her trip here, but I think I have never missed her more. So much has happened in the past two months and I think we as a family, have been trying to get over things just through conversations over the telephone. I really really need to feel my parents’ physical presence and support around me.
  2. Point 1 brings me to my second point- It’s funny how you realize the value of every friend and family member when times get a little difficult. In the past two months, I have been at my communicative best with my friends, some of whom I haven’t spoken to in over 3 years- got in touch with so many of them, and it sure feels good! I intend to keep it that way.. 🙂
  3. I have also realized how some people can get so superficial- people you thought you could bank on at any time of day. This has been one of my biggest lessons since coming to the US, but I think this warrants a separate post.
  4. Three weeks from today, I will be done with my thesis defense! D-O-N-E !!! Yesterday, my thesis advisor asked me how it felt. I told him I couldn’t believe it was over! O-V-E-R !! Work that have been doing since March 2009 is finally coming to an end!
  5. Before I rejoice over point 4, one of the biggest things I need to do in the next three weeks is write my document and funnily enough, this time writing isn’t coming easily to me! I think I should seriously consider Gauri’s advice of treating it like an 8 hour job and just getting it done with, once and for all!
  6. Even though things didn’t go as planned on some fronts of my life recently, there are still so many other things that have gone way better than I thought they would. I am a person who believes in signs and if the signs of the past few weeks are anything to go by- then I am grateful and thankful to God. I know things are changing for the better! I can feel it. Amen.
  7. I also believe in jinxes- which is why I hate people telling me that I am lucky or constantly talking about any minor successes or good things that come my way! It scares me. I know it is paranoia, but I have had some experiences which have made me believe in these things.
  8. I am so tired of living alone- I think that has made the past few months a lot worse than they should have been. I cannot wait to live with some people and have a social life again… 😛
  9. Another thing that is funny is how you realize so many things about yourself in times of adversity. Even things that were glaringly obvious in the past, but you never chose to pay attention to them. I seriously think that if we really believe in this, getting over difficult times becomes a lot easier.
  10. I have been off Facebook for three weeks now- for multiple reasons which I do not wish to get into. But I don’t miss it now at all! I did have withdrawal symptoms for the initial few days (sigh!), but now I am happy to be away from all social networking stuff! It gives me more time to do productive things. I think I’ll be back though, just because it’s a good way to keep in touch with some school friends living in other countries- maybe after 3-4 months.

Back to some thesis writing now.. 🙂

Happy Diwali !!

Happy Diwali to all my amazing friends and readers of this blog! Wishing you a year full of lights, prosperity, happiness and success.. :-):-)

Diwali is my most favorite festival of all time. Not that I don’t like other festivals, but there are some occasions that resonate more joy than others- Diwali is one of them for me. Like I know Ganesh Chaturthi is a big deal in Maharashtra, but some how it has never been a very big deal in my family because we never kept Ganpati at home. I like Dussera too, but somehow the excuse to light lamps and Lakshmi Pujan and everything just make Diwali a lot more festive for me! Surprisingly again, while most people like Diwali for the faaral, it was again never a big thing in my family. My grandmother would make some faraal type items, but my mom was always so busy around this time of year that she had time to only make one sweet or something like that.. And to be frank, that was completely fine with all of us in my family. We still had such a good time getting together and celebrating!

Obviously, such days make me miss my family even more. It’s funny how every family has these peculiar stories associated with certain traditions or days. My family is not very ritualistic- I mean, my grandparents are, but my parents’ generation downwards is ritualistic to an extent. We do all that is needed to be done, but suitably modify it to our comfort level- which I think is a good sign of evolution. My extended family consists of 14 people in all- 8 adults and 6 children- which is quite okay compared to those Big Indian Family standards! So, every Diwali day, we all gather at my grandparents’ house for the aarti.. And we’re talking like 5 AM! Of course, even though we all stay within a 3 mile radius, we always end up getting late to reach their place and eventually can start the aarti only by 6 AM or so! At home, mom is yelling at my sister and me to put on a bindi and some jewelery, which we never want to do! My grandfather gets agitated coz we’re all late, but eventually everyone gathers around the small little devghar they have and start singing the bhajans (which I don’t think any of us cousins know! :P) Finally, about an hour later, we’re done with everything. We all ask for out elders’ blessings and the usual hugs and wishes follow! 😀

Then, we have another ceremony where the women in the family are supposed to perform aarti for all the men and then the men do the same for the women. Now, I don’t know what this part of the ritual is called and why it is done, but it’s always nice for the women coz that’s when they get loads of cash as a Diwali gift! 😛 This is again a hilarious ceremony. First and foremost, out of the 7 men in the family, 3 are kids (my cousins), so getting them to gather in the living room is one big task! Meanwhile my grandmother is bustling around the kitchen getting the puja ki thali ready, coz frankly speaking, she’s the only one who does this ceremony with all seriousness! So finally, the aarti begins. Now in India, when performing the aarti, you are supposed to sing a hymn or song too. We, being from Karnataka, sing a Kannada song- which again only my grandmother knows the lyrics too! But this is the song she’s been singing for centuries now, so we (my mom, aunts, sister) kinda know the distorted Kannada words and the rhythm- so we just sing along with her, basically messing it up more than required! And of course, this is accompanied by a lot of laughter and very amused expressions on the men’s faces, demanding a more sincere aarti from the womenfolk! 😛

So anyway, the aarti is done, the thali is full of money and now it’s time for the men to repeat the same thing for us. This part of the ceremony is a lot funnier because well, the guys don’t know what they’re supposed to do! And my grandfather cannot participate actively because he cannot stand for long without support. So he sits on his “throne” in the living room, presiding over the function and giving out instructions to the others. The men mess up the aarti song even more and apply huge tikas on our foreheads with their giant hands and it’s all one big laughter riot! Finally, the ceremony is complete and everyone heads to the dining room to eat the faraal my grandmother has laid out on the table.

It’s funny that this is the part of Diwali I miss a lot because to be frank, it is just something we do because our grandparents want us too- none of us understand the significance of it all! But still, it is one of those unique family bonding things- it makes us all come together at 6 AM on a weekend morning and laugh and be merry! And frankly speaking, even though we stay so close by, it is only occasions like these which cause the 14 of us to gather under one roof..

At nights, we are all in our separate houses, getting ready for the Lakshmi Pujan- my mom gets out all the jewelery and does the prep work. The actual puja is pretty short- maybe 30 minutes at the most. The beautiful star shaped aakashkandil is burning outside our house. Finally, my sister and I go outside and light lamps around the whole house- in the windows, at the doorstep. The whole housing community is filled with such pretty lamps and lanterns- truly like the festival of lights! We have never burst firecrackers during Diwali because it’s harmful to the environment and is a waste of money. And most importantly, we have a cat who gets petrified of crackers, so we’d never make it worse for him! And that is it- we all just spend the evening chatting or watching a movie or taking family pictures!

Sometimes I wonder what will happen when my grandparents are gone- will we all meet again on Diwali morning for the aarti? Will all of us even be in the same city/country- coz I’ve already missed two Diwalis now! I guess my mom will carry forward the tradition coz after my grandmother, she seems to be most inclined towards these rituals. And besides, I think when you grow up watching these rituals, then you gravitate towards them without realizing it. Like for example, my mom always says that you’re not supposed to leave your house dark and empty on the night of Lakshmi Pujan and so on instinct, I refused to go out with my friends last night coz the idea of leaving my apartment empty was unacceptable to me. It has become a part of my belief system now- regardless of whether it’s true or not..

I guess for now, I thank God for all those wonderful memories! This has been a very quiet Diwali for me- I went to school in the morning (wore a salwar kameez after months, which was enjoyable!), got a small box of sweets from an Indian store, did a quick Lakshmi Puja in the evening and then lit a whole bunch of scented tealight candles all over my room. I had a long conversation with my family and got to speak to a childhood friend who I had not spoken to for more than 15 years and chatted with a few other friends online. I was happy and content. This is Diwali, just the way I like it! 🙂

Music that binds

It is often, very difficult to describe the connection between two people. More often than not, ties that bind people go through a constant metamorphosis until that stability, a comfort zone, is reached. This is true even for people integral to your life’s fabric, people you interact with on a day to day basis. In this case, I am referring to my mother.

There are, of course, a gazillion things that bind us together- we have, after all, spent 24 years in each others’ company !! 🙂 But there a few things that I have and always will associate with “us”- things that have defined our relationship over the years. And one of them is Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. And before you shriek out in horror, let me clarify that I am NOT referring to the Himesss and Bappi da version (Aap ne ye jo gayi hai, bahut badhiya gayi hai !! LOL !!) I am talking about the more authentic, real, Marathi version that airs on Alpha TV. And though I do hate the channel for dishing out “creations” like Asambhav and Ya Sukhanno Ya, I do sincerely believe that it has done the Television and the Music industry proud by managing to maintain the sanctity of the show over the past so many years.

So anyway, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa has always been this one show we both saw together. We stayed up till late at night to see it, saw the repeat telecasts over and over again, much to the chagrin of my dad and sister, and invariably sang along in our loud, slightly-out-of-tune voices !! Let’s just say that it was our two nights of bliss- where music took over studies and work! So as was inevitable, this is the part of our daily routine I miss the most in the US. She does keep giving me updates over the telephone- who is competing, who the judges are, who sang what, who got voted out etc etc. But it’s not the real thing!

But today was different. I happened to call her at the same time the episode was being aired and though she usually refuses to talk to me during such “critical” times, today she decided she could speak to me while watching (note the order of importance :P). And that’s when one of our favorite all time classics by Asha Bhosale came on. My mom immediately put the phone near the TV’s speakers, all conversation came to a halt and for the next three minutes, we simply listened to this wonderful classic. And then out of nowhere, we started singing along too! (Now this was okay for my mom coz she was within the confines of our home, but I was sitting in my Grad Assistant’s office- thank God no professor walked in! :P)

It was just like old times !!

Hats off to the maestro whose voice still manages to bind hearts that are 8000 miles away!

My Daddy Coolest !!

Yeah well, as the title suggests, this post is dedicated to my Dad. Not coz today’s his birthday or coz he did something great today. Even it were a special occassion, it would be very uncharacteristic of me to write a post about him because as I mentioned earlier, I’m a private person and besides, my dad and I aren’t the very vocal-with-our-feelings kinda people.

Infact, my dad and I haven’t done any of the things people usually associate with “dads”. We haven’t ever discussed my career. When I decided to take up engineering, he didn’t ask me the quintessential “Why?” question even once, though he was a mechanical engineer himself. Nor have we ever discussed what I plan to do ahead. When I started my MS applications, he had no idea of the universities I was applying to. But the most amazing thing is, I’m glad he’s not like that! See, I get enough of those life-shaping discussions from my mom so I am more than thankful about not getting them from dad !! My mom was always in awe of her dad. She’s told me a million times that though they had really enlightening talks together, she always considered his words to be the pather ki lakeer. It was never that way with dad and me. I respect him and all obviously, but in the normal way one respects ones’ parents. We aren’t back-slapping buddies or anything but I definitely don’t get intimidated by him !!

Anyway, since this post is for him, and both of us share a weird fondness for list-making and bulleted info, I’m going to list out why I think he’s the coolest dad in the world –

  • He knows everything about Bollywood. The new movies, the link-ups, gossip, what happened on which film’s set…all such kind of crap. Which is rather cool considering not many 51 year old men are really interested in that kind of stuff !! So, being crazy about Bollywood myself, most of the “discussions” we have at home are on the latest B-scoop. And considering the fact that the Mumbai newspapers print a lot more of this info than the Pune editions, I sure get a hell lot of updates from him!
  • He gets all the latest flicks a day after their release! A movie releases on a Friday and it’s on his pendrive on Saturday! Some guy in their office is heavily into piracy apparently. Ok, so I’m not proud of it, but the advantage is- if there’s a particular movie I really want to see, but it’s not worth spending even 50 bucks in a theatre, then this works out perfect! I’m really waiting for him to get Tashan..
  • Speaking of theatres, he’s the only member of my family who doesn’t mind watching a movie from the first row. And my years in COEP have made it sort of a tradition to buy only the cheapest seats available.
  • We both are cricket crazy people. So if there’s a match going on over a weekend, it’s like a picnic for us. My mom watches cricket only if it’s an India-Pak match or if India is playing the final of a series like the World Cup (which is rarer than a blue moon !! :-P). That’s why I see IPL matches only on Saturdays and Sundays! Only problem though is that he supports Mumbai Indians (damn those people for winning yesterday !! :-P) while I support the Knight Riders !!
  • He knows all about politics, so he’s my one-stop encyclopedia for all the crap that goes on between BJP, Congress, Bush, Obama, Clinton blah blah..
  • He’s as technology and gadget crazy as I am (though I wouldn’t say the same for techno-savvy !! ;-)) So whenever we buy any electronic items, they have to be the absolute latest in the market. He’d rather not buy them than buy a cheaper, older version.
  • He’s actually proud of my collection of books and so in effect, appreciates my reading habit. My mom also likes “story-books” (yup, that’s what she calls my grown-up bhandars of knowledge, how insulting na!) but she considers reading them to be a waste of time and money! Maha-paap !!!
  • He’s totally cool with us drinking! He doesn’t go all “He bhagwan, my daughter’s gone haywire, ab mera hya hoga !!” My sister had her first beer with him when she was 18.. Yup, he abhors laws too !! 🙂 (Please note: This does not mean that we take undue advantage and go on drinking binges. We’re good girls and know our limits. Seriously.)
  • One thing I’ve inherited from him apart from my weird hair, is a knack for sarcasm. (Well, it may not show on the blog but when I bring it on, it’s really biting crazy!) So we have these spontaneous duels every weekend where we’re allowed to say whatever we want to cut each other and no one takes it very seriously. And believe me, it is so amazing to have a parent who doesn’t expect you to be too respectful of him every waking moment and can take a joke on him light-heartedly!
  • My dad truly understands my need to be in a creative field too, in addition having a “stable job”. And it’s such a relief to know that!

Anyway, I guess I’m going to stop now, though I can think of a lottt of other reasons. I guess the main reason I wrote this post is coz I was feeling kinda guilty about not having written about him on my blog earlier. I’ve mentioned my mom a lot of times. So this was to take that guilt away though I know he’s never going to read this coz he doesn’t have my blog address and well, I don’t intend to give it to him in the near future !! Anyway, I’m not going to end with the maha-senti “I love you, Dad”, coz as I said, we’re not very expressive people. So all I want to say is- “Dad, please don’t change ok!” 🙂

Cheers! *clink*