8

Of sun, snow and crazy floods

It is a pleasant 14-15 deg C outside. Rest of the USA is freezing under the insanely cold Arctic winds. It is pretty much a 100 deg difference between Chicago and Southern California. Gotta love SoCal! I stepped outside last Saturday in my gym shorts to do my groceries. It felt amazing in the lovely cool weather to have the sun rays splashing on my skin. It just makes me so happy to get warmed up by sun.

But I am also jealous of the mid-west to the east coast! So many people are contacting me if I am okay, or warm enough and to take care. It is almost an anti-climax when I tell them I am sitting in my room with my small fan on. Gee, by the sound of their voices, it definitely feels like I let them down or something. Hey! I don’t control the temperatures!

My friend Mo left USA for India 2 days back and yesterday her city Atlanta experienced 3 in of snow, which is rare for Georgia. Apparently, all hell broke loose! There were choked up traffic jams, people had to sleep in offices, kids in malls and stores. School buses, ambulances, cars were struck. People from her office left after a day and had to sleep there itself. She just escaped the whole tamasha. I almost feel she should have experienced that, just because it will be a great story to tell! Mo, please don’t kill me for this! 😉

Well, I always feel whenever something happens, people only say ‘we just missed it by a week, a day, an hour.’ I am glad it is like that, but I would like to hear something from the horse’e mouth someday. If everyone just missed it, who the hell experienced it??

Well, jokes apart, just the fact that Atlanta went through this mess has made national headlines here. Similar snow fall had happened in 2011 and the city was simply paralysed. They had just 4 equipment to deal with it and the situation was simple way worse that time. I read it is better this time(relatively) because they are well equipped with snow removal equipment now, both in quantity and quality. When I compare this to Mumbai getting stunned by rainfall year after year, I pretty much want to jail the government incharges for life. I can still remember seeing the ambulance stuck in traffic and the driver stepping out to see if there was a way in the rain. It was not even heavy rains. Those were some of my last visuals of Mumbai while going to the airport in June’13. I could only pray for the person inside. Even in Pune, when it is known that every year, there is a period of heavy rain, and normal rain otherwise, why does it wreak havoc on the city? My ground floor house was flooded 5-6 years ago and destroyed a lot of our stuff. Obviously we don’t even expect any compensation. Due to the drain blockage, the rain water was collecting in the building parking lot. We were anxiously watching the water reach the 1st to 3 rd step on the door. And then, I saw disgusting water starting to come out of the Indian toilet and bathrooms. Ugggghhhh! And in minutes, the whole apartment had 4 inches of water. Thankfully, foreseeing the rapidly rising water, my mom and I had started to pile up stuff on the dining table and on top of the bed and other higher levels and let her tuition kids go home. But the clothes, beddings, stuff kept in the bed storage, was pretty ruined. I tripped and fell in that gross water while picking up my confused dog to take him upstairs to my neighbors. The water receded after a couple of hours and my dad, after coming home from work, promptly got into cleaning with my mom and neighbor aunties. He is one crazy fellow. He went to show people the hole in the backyard wall he had made to let the water flow away, and every time ended with his chappal flowing away and he splashing around to retrieve it. Crazy!

My mom and I slept at the neighbors’ place for the night, while my dad slept at my place in the living room. We had to keep the windows open to let the stink go away and poor dad had to volunteer for security. Haha! Now my parents, empty out the bottom drawers of the cupboards every year before monsoon. We are really looking forward to moving to our 4th floor new apartment soon and avoiding this whole drama.

Needless to say, that day, I was very busy taking care of my dog’s tummy rubs, so I pretty much did nothing to help.

6

Bollywood shollywood: My guilty pleasures

I am a big movie buff. I think more than movies, I am a big gossip buff! I am always browsing Bollywood websites in search of those spicy tidbits that newspaper or PR articles tend to miss. It somehow gives me great pleasure to tell people that X is involved with Y and not with Z actually, or A cheated on B with C, you get the idea. One of the first few blogs I had come across were the celebrity style decoding experts. Oh, what fun those are! I don’t know a squat about why are Ritu Kumar’s clothes more expensive than my mortgage, or why Sabyasachi’s one pastel blouse makes the bloggers go ‘OMG’, but the clothes sure are pretty! But still, nothing beats the gossip sites!

The blind item columns are my guilty pleasures. Although I can tell how some stories are absolutely fake and so randomly made up, nonetheless, they make for a fun reading. I had a phase a while back, where I would dig up stories about yesteryear’s stars and their naughty doings. This was when I used to be in the lab at grad school ‘working’ on my research ‘sincerely’. My mom was one prime source of the juicy tidbits. She remembers a lot of stuff covered in Stardust, the super controversial magazine at the top of their game that time. So I would google old news and articles to find out who did what exactly. Like a good girl, I would report my findings back to my mom punctuated with ‘Arre, nahi, waisa nahi tha, sachchai toh yeh thi” while my dad would shake his head like an elephant troubled by a fly. Trust me, stars that time, were upto no good! The things they have done, the steamy affairs that they have had, can put a current Bollywood star to shame. 2-3 weddings, religion changes, pregnancies by rakhi brothers, shaadi stoppings at the dot of time by another jealous actor and the actresses mother, ooh, so much fun!

These days, gossip begins and ends with PR stunts. Telling if relationships are real or fake is sort of hard. Two exes and co-stars praise each other, like no tomorrow for promoting their movie and then drop each other like hot potatoes as soon as #200crores are achieved. Plus, whatever they do is not so out of the ordinary anymore. Everyone around have girlfriends or boyfriends and are pretty much doing the same thing. But what makes it interesting is the play of the feelings in front of the entire media and world and the game of truth and lies.

There have been times I have found myself insisting really hard while gossiping with my friends with a “Yes! It IS true!” and throwing in a “You guys are useless, know nothing, I KNOW it!”. It is hilarious how I find myself insisting on something really happened, or defending why it happened or did not happen. I am practically a third(raised to the power n) person, yet I find myself so involved with the lives led in Bollywood.

It is funny how we stand so far from the glittery world, yet somehow get drawn so easily to it. People in India live for the 3Cs, Chai, Cricket and Cinema. I definitely find it hard to disconnect myself from the entertainment news. It gives me a vent, it makes me relaxed and it is pure, unadulterated fun.

Maybe that is really the magic of Bollywood lives.

3

Compassion in the times of cruelty

Is the earth really meant only for humans?
Since the last few days, I have been following the Taiji cove dolphin killings. I do not have the nerve to open their live feed links and watch the reddened sea water. It pains me. It disturbs me, the ease with which the world can defend such violent killings of innocent beings who do not even understand why they are being subjected to such abject cruelty. I do not understand what part of the human brain or heart can drive a human being to rationalize this kind of a slaughter. I do not understand how a human being, supposedly the most intelligent mammal, can laugh while stoning a dog, kicking a kitten, slaughtering a rhinoceros, breaking the spine of a bottlenose dolphin. I cannot even understand how it can be so easy to turn your head away from such gory truth.

It really pains me to see humans falling to such levels where money, profit and luxuries are the only things that matter.

I guess this will never stop. I have to build my strength to be able to see such happenings and do whatever I can, in my capacity. I cannot accept it and move on for sure.

There are several people like me who want to do something but don’t know what to do. Here are a few things amongst many, that you can do to make a difference in your own small ways for your co-habitants on earth.

1. Try and use cruelty-free cosmetics and beauty products.

2. If you see an injured animal, call Blue Cross(google their local number) and let them know. They will also neuter the dogs and mark them. The animal becomes calmer after sterilization. You can even get them vaccinated, if you want. It is not very expensive. Whenever I got it done for the strays in my area, I would just skip watching a movie in a multiplex.

3. Keep bowls of water in your balcony or outside the housing societies.

4. You can call certain animal groups in your area and donate old cotton clothes that are not in a wearable condition, your old newspapers, gunny bags, etc. The cotton clothes make good bandages, and the newspapers and gunny bags help recovering animals keep dry.

5. If you want a pet, I highly suggest adopting a rescue rather than buying a purebred. The animal is not a status symbol.

6. Do not get a pet if you intend to treat it as a door show piece. Please!

7. Energy conservation goes a long way and helps everyone!

For now, I can just pray for the lives being snatched away, at no fault of their own.

Rest in peace, dear innocence.

(I know this post comes across all preachy, but it is just what I am feeling.)

15

Inky blue love

I painted again after a long time…. Lately weekends scare me. I look forward to weekends after working for 5 days, but as soon as Friday dawns, that familiar darkness starts to engulf me. I have people around, yet it feels extremely lonely. My friend and my xroomie K encouraged me to start pursuing my hobbies again and develop new ones. She says I must keep myself busy and get rid of my laziness and loneliness. I followed what she said and I felt much better after my painting was done. The turbulent feeling of despair seemed to have calmed down. Hopefully I will continue this with regularity.
So here is my painting, Inky blue love.

This is acrylic in medium with prussian blue, white, black, sienna brown, canary yellow, crimson red thrown into the mix.

painting1

ETA: Going to gift this to my friends A and N. It should make a good housewarming gift.

2

Of random stuff…

I have been typing, deleting, typing and deleting things since the last half an hour. I feel like writing something down, but don’t know what to. I cannot even call this a writer’s block. Maybe a faux-writer’s block? Haha

So I will list done 5 random things about me.

1. I am like a magpie. I keep everything people gift me, including wrappers/ribbons/tiny cards. I keep a lot of keep-sakes. I have kept the BF’s empty face wash tube after he left. I am that bad. I want to keep ‘last’ everything. Movie stubs, pebbles from the beach, empty small boxes, etc. I qualify to be a hoarder.

2. I need my tiny yellow palm size giraffe clutched in my hand while going off to sleep. If I wake up in the middle of the night and he is not in my hand, I will actually look for it, clutch it tightly and then only I can peacefully snooze off again.

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ETA: That is my giraffe. It is the size of my palm.

3. I think I have a mild OCD(hopefully it does remain mild). I have to move my palm on any utensil, glass, bowl or plate that I use for food or drinks. It makes me a little uncomfortable if I get served and I have not ‘cleaned’ the dinnerware myself. But I don’t complain.

4. My nose itches a lot after some meals. I am trying to figure out if I am allergic to some ingredient. It is pretty annoying to start scratching my nose halfway through the meal for about an hour, not to mention the strange looks I get from people around.

5. I have a certain set pattern after I wake up and I have to bathe immediately. I hate the feel of my skin right after waking up, right after showering and before moisturizing and right after cooking(?!?).

Yup, that is all for now. Someday I will disclose more things about me, when I won’t know what to write. Lol.
Till then, ciao!