Dec 21, 2013


The first thing that amused me when I stepped out of the Pittsburgh Int'l Airport on the night of July 12th 2004 was the shining sun who did not want to retire for the day.  It was around 7.20 PM - I was so tired due to the 30+ hours air travel and the then-not-diagnosed motion/air sickness.  The short time destination became a second homeland outside of India 3 years later.

Pittsburgh, the city of bridges as it is being called, is also my amma veedu in America; my closest relatives by blood and by acquaintance are here.  I Have made some good friends and have known some lovely people. My driving skills flourished in the single lane roads (or streets!!) of Pittsburgh. 6 years and 7 months in the same city is quite enough to be attached to the place, is it not? There was a time I wanted to move out of this place but not now. It seems to be a mix of emotions at this point.

Though I lived in Pitt for quite some years, I have never been to the farms to do apple/strawberry/flower picking, never been to Wheeling ISKON temple and Baba temple which are some of the usual destinations of visitors and residents. Kept them as places to see when I become a visitor to Pitt in the next few months.

I am excited for the change of place but will surely miss the quiet living, quicker commute to work, my kids’ school and the wonderful teachers there. I had been to the Niagara Falls 6 times out of the 7 summers I spent here in Pitt – that will surely be missed. I just made sure there are eggless cakes available in my destination too else Tamarind’s cakes will also feature in this list.

What I am looking forward to? India like living (excluding chaotic roads, traffic yet no honks), more music and drama, easy travel to Chennai, close proximity to long-time friends, beaches, lots of places to eat South Indian food.

Yes, excited that I will be residing at the Indian hub of America - N E W J E R S Y. Here I come, in about a week's time!!!

PS: Interesting things happen in my life in December - this is a sure thing to count as per this..

Sep 22, 2013

A Jolly 'Parenthood' ride

What's the time now?
It is 8.20 now.
No...There is no 20 in the clock.
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Do you want me to tell you a story about Krishna Umachi?
Ok, how about a story of a boy called Prahlada?
No, I want story of a girl.
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Oh cutie Amma....
I like your hair Amma
Your hair is really long...
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Are we going to school today?
No.  We are not.
Why? School is closed?
No, I'm staying home and so you stay home too.
Ohhhh School is closed and home is open.
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What's the opposite of hot?
you tell me.
Cold.  What's the opposite of big?
you tell me.
Small.  What's the opposite of shirt?
What's the opposite of shirt?
I don't know.  You tell me.
Is it?  Then what's the opposite of Appa?
:)) Then what's the opposite of you?
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I like Camry, Amma.  Which one do you like?
Hmm I like Subaru.
Subaru? - I will buy you one.
Thank you.  Who will drive the Subaru?
Me.  But we need a Subaru saavi(key) Amma.
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Appa, we will go on the Odyssey today.
No, we go on the Accord.
No Amma, Appa is really big, he needs to go on the Odyssey.
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Amma, I dont want to go to the pool park.
Because I dont want to swim.
Because I can't swim.
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Come on, lets get ready.  Today's Krishna Umachi's birthday.
Are we going to the party?
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Amma, you really have to grow big to be a 4 years old.
(If only I could !!!)
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Apr 30, 2013

Changing perceptions

She was my tenth standard class teacher.  She must have been in her early fifties then but still looked three to five years older than her original age perhaps due to her size.  I remember her wearing glass bangles and nail enamels that matched her saree colour.  I would not call her a beautiful woman as such so these embellishments did not suit her.  I always thought she dressed herself up too much that did not match her age/look.

Another middle aged woman I knew was also very keen on makeup.  She ensured she had at least a lip gloss when she stepped out. She went to beauty salon regularly and used to prepare/use many natural face-packs to keep her beauty intact.  She is certainly a good looking woman and these little steps she did to keep her presentable did not fail to add to her beauty.  But still I thought it was too much for her age.

After a while it became a habit for me to watch any 50+ woman’s face to have a statistics on threading and about 80 % of the women of the age group I saw had shaped eye brows whether or not their profession needed it  and whether or not they were pretty.  

Women here are seldom without makeup and my thought was no different when I came across a lady who is a widow and is in her late forties.  When I met her she was wearing a turquoise blue jacket and wore two rings on her finger that had some stone in the same colour.   I wondered how Western people view life in complete opposite sense.  I am told people here think that you are so arrogant if you don’t wear makeup (you think that you don’t need it and beautiful without it!)

But I seem to have started changing my idea.  First when my mom died;  a few months later I wanted to dress myself up well to divert my mind.  And most recently, when I saw Nithyasree on Super Singer 4 again. For a moment  I thought and regretted that her career came to an end may be because we had not seen (at least I) any woman artist who lost her spouse, performing in concerts in the world of Carnatic music.  Though I wanted her to continue with her profession I was skeptical if the sabhas would want her to perform in their programmes.   It was a pleasant surprise when she sang again and she was the same old her.  What's wrong in looking good whether or not you are young, whether or not you look good and whether or not there is a personal agony.  Spending time on being presentable lets one develop an attachment towards this materialistic world and sometimes we need it.  It is one route to keep oneself happy and confident come what may. 

Better late than never!

PS: All said, I would always want to stick to "Do what suits you and stay away from what does not".