6

Busy, busy week

So many things happening this week! We have a major customer appreciation event on Thursday and golf event on Friday where I am going to be *tadaaaa* ‘the photographer’s assistant’. I am going to do the most important task of printing pictures and putting them in frames. There shall be legit boozing involved. On Thursday we will have a show and tell and demo of our new pumps that I have designed. There will be many presentations from my R&D group.

As soon as I learned of this event, my first thought was ‘Gotta shampoo on Wednesday night, and flat iron hair on Thursday’.

Good to know, my priorities are all sorted out.

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9

Vote hai toh hot hai

Most of the people I know did an incredibly wonderful job of exercising their right to vote. I am happy that even if most of my Facebook friendlist is suffering from some sort of Party-fandom, they are atleast becoming more politically aware. The real knowledge and an open mind will come eventually to all of us. These are baby steps, and they are pleasing me. Most of my friends voted. A couple of people I know did not, because they think they could not vote since their home towns were different. A guy I am very good friends with said that he did not vote because his name will appear in Jalgaon. I am not sure what makes him think that because he has been living in Pune since years! My friends who just moved to Bangalore in Nov, or just moved back to India, could register and vote! Well, actually, knowing him, he can be really incredibly stubborn and the least bothered to find out the process to vote. Hmmpphh… :-/

 My parents went out to vote really early in the morning. My mum informed me how Kothrud had the second highest turnout in Pune after Kasba Peth. *Pumping fist in the air*. Yet, Pune had just an average turnout. A lot of youngsters who have just stepped out of their teenage years, went to vote. I believe they were lured out more because of catchy slogans and the urge to post their inked finger on Instagram. Search #gotinked and you will know! 😀 But whatever works! Atleast it is a step forward. 

My mom told me about three people who did not vote. We have a neighbor, who I will call R aunty, about 60 years of age.. My mom said she said she is not going to vote. She believes nothing happens by voting. What will one person’s vote do. My mom told her to atleast go and click ‘None of the above’ if you feel no one is worthy. But she just refused. “I don’t want to do even that”. My mom said she can be very very stubborn. ‘Adiyal’ is the word in hindi. Then another neighbor who celebrated her 30th birthday yesterday and recently got married, N, she mentioned to mom that she wonders if her name would be there or not, she wasn’t sure. She wasn’t even sure of the procedure to register. According to my mother, she really lacks any knowledge of current affairs. She doesn’t subscribe to newspapers and doesn’t watch news. Whenever her brother comes for a visit from the UK, he is the one who starts a paper subscription. All this is pretty much expected from her. The third person is our maid, S. Her reason was that her husband said that there is no need to do it. Again, one person not voting or voting does not make a difference. My mother somehow told her that India has given one single and only good right to the people, and that is to exercise our vote, and she doesn’t want to do that also! But then her husband has the last word. *Shaking my head*

I looked at all these three women and realized they come from different backgrounds, are of different ages, and have a very different status from each other. Yet, their awareness level is so low. Sure, things haven’t improved in the past. But what makes them have that attitude that it just will not happen? One small little right has been granted to us, and they want to give it away. Clearly, just being highly educated isn’t everything. I hope sometime in their lives, they will understand this small responsibility of being a citizen.

As for me, I have signed every petition I have come across to make the Indian govt make amendments and give Indians living abroad the chance to vote. The PM proclaims that NRIs are very important and there are Pravasi Bhartiya days organized. The Supreme Court directive that the EC should look at ways to make sure that NRIs get a chance to vote even if they are not physically present in their constituencies, is a very hopeful sign. It will not be possible this time, because the elections are already underway, but atleast should be on for the next elections. It is a welcome break from the usual ‘Indians living abroad gave up on India’ opinion. Yes, I know people who put up statuses on FB ridiculing us students or workers for being vocal about politics. I just roll my eyes and move onto the next item on my newsfeed. This article will shed more light on the topic of NRI votes. I have voted before when I was in India for the state elections, and I hope I can always do it.

Anyways, as I mentioned earlier, these are baby steps. And baby steps are so much better than no steps at all. So I am happy.

27

All things shaadi

I was talking to my mum the other day and I mentioned to her how all beauty blogs mention that girls should start using anti-ageing skincare after 25. And I  am 26.5. I told her that I just learned washing my face properly and it is time already to begin worrying about my crow’s feet, laugh lines, sparrow beaks etc. I made up the sparrow beak part. I know it is not funny. But sparrows are cute. Anyways, I digress. She took the whole thing as ‘that is why girls should get married before their skin starts to sag’ lecture opportunity. My mom is sort of giving me time to ‘normalize my heart’ by November and then she will go get my name jotted down in some Marathi boy search registries. I shouldn’t even be calling it boy search because everybody knows a Marathi Manoos is well, so not a boy. The very thought makes me cry. I need a boy toy, stat!

I am just not ready to get married. But the weird thing is I love everything about a wedding. Except the spending money part and the getting married to a stranger part. My heart feels very torn between wanting a Yash Chopra style shaadi and wanting to do a simple arya samaj wedding to cut expenditure. I just love reading wedding blogs. I was obsessed with Mehak’s bridal files, and I would read and re-read her posts a couple of times in a day. And the woman went ahead and created this huge website called Wed Me Good to feed my obsession even more! Her website is fabulous! It has everything from clothes to photographers to makeup to invitations, and listed according to cities. Even though her lowest range is probably twice the amount I am willing to spend on my own wedding, I cannot stop myself from drooling over the stuff.  Her blog and some more blogs are responsible for the horrible tug of war in my head, between pretty shiny things and the desire to stay unmarried.

Even if I decide to go all out, Maharashtrians are not known to buy 50k worth of ONE SINGLE lehenga for ONE SINGLE use. I don’t even have siblings to re-use my piece of bling. We do not have Karwa Chauth or Teej. Most likely, I will be living in the States for some time atleast after marriage(if it happens). So it is totally pointless to collect Indian wear as trousseau. It will end up as a decoration for my wardrobe, but shut inside the suitcase. Also, what do I do with the 6 chip n dip trays and 12 vases that I will receive in my wedding? My cousin did a smart thing. She requested everyone to not give her sarees or suits or anything, and to give her cash only if they wanted to gift her something. She ended up making the guests partly sponsor their own dinners. 😀 Veeerryyy smart indeed, especially for the Baby Atyas and Mangal Kakus and Madhukar Mamas I will most likely meet after 20 years and for probably the last time ever. I love Indian weaves and the traditional sarees. I like the chiffons and silks equally. The Bandhanis, Leheriyas, Kanjeevarams, Paithanis are so gorgeous! It makes me super sad that I can’t get a collection of my own pretty sarees and jewelery because I am a lousy dresser. I have such pretty things in my closet, but yet I tend to wear the same t-shirt and shorts/jeans wherever I go. I am not even thinking about all the beautiful jewelry I want but I know I will never use it again. It makes me cry.

One thing that I learned after perusing these wedding blogs like they were a part of my syllabus was that there are several chapters dedicated to ‘candid photographers’. Basically candid photographers take pictures of random things like your kajaled eyes, earring, feet, your laughing face, your husband looking far away at your choli clad cousin, yawning, picking your nose and such stuff. The pictures are all touched up and look simply amazing. It is like Instagram on crack, where your new saree is made to look old and your face glows like a million bulbs put together. The groom is usually overlooked and the pictures are all about the bride. Well, lets face it, shaadis are about the brides. Even I sort of want such a photographer. But holy molly! They charge around my month’s paycheck before taxes. When I get married(again, if I do) I will call my friend Abhi9, feed him very good food, maybe sponsor a Goa trip for him and make him take my random pictures and re-touch them. This is also what some blogs suggest, to enlist a friend’s help :). Problem solved!

So so so many more aspects to a wedding ceremony, all beautiful though! While writing this, I remembered this Tanishq ad where the girl is very resistant about meeting a guy but warms up to the idea after trying on some wedding jewelry. I have a strong feeling that my mom is using the same technique by mentioning her P.N. Gadgil visits and showing me saree and anarkali ad cuttings. I am still extremely resistant about getting married and will continue till I feel ready. Till then, I will satisfy my pretty-stuff-cravings on Wed Me Good. Adios, amigos.

 

9

The Times or The Trash

I am petrified of opening news websites at work. I was very used to reading TOI in India, everyday, for almost an hour and half. Even during engg, I would go home over the weekend and take out the week’s newspapers and read all of them for almost 3-4 hours till dinner.

After coming to the States, I had to depend on the e-paper which was convenient, since I could read Pune Times too. Although, it is embarrassing to admit it, but the best place to read Pune Times/Pune Mirror(paper copy) is the Loo. 😀 But then they started charging for the e-papers and so only medium that remains is the website.

Now, I feel the entire website belongs to the sh*t pot! If you are at work and you open the news websites, anyone who peeps is going to think you are on some gross adult website. Right next to the leading news of the day, you have videos and pictures titled ‘hot celebrity flashes her whatever’ or ‘watch the steamiest scene in so-and-so movie’. Next to the scroll bar will be some ridiculous article about what the current Miss India suggests as a latest bikini trend. Like, really?!? If you scroll down to see the sports section, you risk displaying pictures on the screen that are titled ‘vote for the bunny of the day’ or something even worse. Seriously, what is wrong with these website owners! It is impossible to catch up on serious news when the major headline jumping at you is Ranbir-Katrina-Deepika-Ranveer did/said something, for the 84786th time.

I miss the days when you could catch up on good articles that screamed of excellent journalism. I used to love reading the editorial page with the editor’s view and the for/against debates on some topic. A Jug Suraiya or Swaminathan article was a treat while having the Sunday morning patties from Hindustan Bakery. Several times, I have opened an article or an interview after reading the headline, and it turns out to be something totally different! I am not even mentioning the sorry excuse of journalism where one tiny sentence becomes the title of the interview which turns out to be absolutely nothing about it. . Now the good articles have all reduced to a small little section that you have to look for between ‘hot tollywood nav*ls’ or ‘wardrobe malfunction’ articles. Poor dear Manmohan Singh’s very Yeti-like rare speech gets lost in the mass of the naughty videos vying for attention, right when the website is loaded. I was discussing about some new iphone tech development with a friend once and I opened the website to show him the news about it. Much to my embarrassment, he glanced at the Lifestyle section underneath the Tech news that was full of articles that I definitely wouldn’t want him to see in front of me. :-/

Sigghh… I really hope they do something about their website. It was once a leading news establishment in India and several people loved the newspaper. They need not resort to mass entertainment to satisfy the creeps to grab more eyeballs. There are plenty of people who want to just read the news, in peace, at work, in public without getting embarrassed. I do not want a situation where my kid will be asked about the latest Indian foreign policy and it will say that ‘hot moments of the year 20xx’ was way too distracting to even open the policy article.

Can we please have our regular plain, old, simple, vanilla news back??

19

The city of many memories

I had a really fun weekend. Some bar hopping on Friday in Santa Ana, some super awkward dinner incidents with people who I don’t like and who don’t like me on Saturday in San Diego, giggling away with a girl friend and a new gal till 3 am and a fun Mexican lunch with half a glass of weirdly spicy margherita, turned out to be just what Dr. Life ordered.

I am not sure if I have mentioned this before, but I am in love with the city of San Diego. I just love that place. Although it makes me tear up inside every time I am there and engulfs me in nostalgia, but I simply love San Diego. It is like that torrid love affair that harms you from the inside, but is too passionate to break off. *I think I am watching a li’l too much of ‘Scandal’.* 😉 The city is splendid. I spent my Master’s years there and my last two years were some of my best times ever. The xBF and Abhi totally made my time worth all the ache that has been left later. I would not trade any of it away for anything.

I want to list down some of my absolute favorite places in the city that have given me amazing memories. If you ever visit San Diego, you should go to some of these places. Some of them can be rather touristy or just a taste of culture or could be just a balm of peacefulness. I am not even going to mention the legit beaches here, because, well, they all are ah-mazing!

  1. Seaport Village : My absolute favorite, hands down. I just love this quaint little part of San Diego harbor. It is right on the harbor line and boasts of tiny shops that sell anything from hot sauces to handmade soaps, beads and jewelry to magnets, mugs and tea cups to exotic hats and fascinators. There is this small shop that sells swings and hammocks. They don’t mind people sitting in the swings or lying down on their hammocks. The sales assistants are very friendly and usually are ready for conversations. This place has some very nice eateries as well. Nothing beats sitting at Asaggio’s with a pitcher of beer and their delicious hot cheese garlic bread. It was my date spot. Just perfect when there is a nip in the air.Image
  2. Sunset cliffs : I can sit here forever on the rocky cliffs and get drenched! It feels like someone is throwing buckets of salty water at you. The force of the water has knocked me back several times and I never come back from this place without some cuts and bruises. 😀 There are adorable little pools of water that form on the rocks and you can see an entire little sea world in those. I have a paranoia though and I am insanely afraid that a crab will come and attack me and I will die. The insanity notwithstanding, this place can be amazing if you want to sit on the cliffs and catch the sunset, or if you want to be a total nut and jump off the cliff into the Pacific. I was not allowed to even toe the waters from the edge of the rock at sea level, courtesy the paranoid xBF. “Bahu jokham che!”(Very risky, in english) Haha!Image
  3. La Jolla shores and coves : If you are into snorkeling or scuba diving, this IS the place. I have gone snorkeling here for a Tiger Shark tour, and it blew my mind! We saw sting rays, tiger sharks, so many colorful fishes that I know I will never remember the names of. It was a lot of work though because we turned up in our glasses(the snorkel gear isn’t meant for glasses), and we had to reschedule it. Thankfully I found a set of my unexpired extra contacts and the xBF had a pair too. We used those and threw them after we were done. The guide was sweet enough to hold my hand throughout because I was having real trouble breathing through my mouth. Dude, seriously! Once your face is under water, you totally forget that you have a tube in the air! It just becomes too scary and you end up gasping frantically for air! It takes some time to get used to the nausea and saltiness. But I powered through and enjoyed it immensely. The La Jolla coves is an adorable rocky and cliffy area where you can see seals lazing around shamelessly. It stinks of fish, but the sight of seals flopping around, basking in the sun or plopping down on top of each other makes up for everything. This place is a little annoying when it is cold, but is just perfect when it gets warm. There are little caves you can go to at water level. You just have to climb down the cliff for that. This also is a great spot if you like kayaking. There are many tours here.Image
  1. Point Loma : The panoramic view of the sea is spectacular here! You are surrounded by a vast expense of azure blue Pacific with teeny tiny yachts and ferries dotting the sea. I have actually been here only once when five of us had some time to return a rented car and we just wanted to skip classes that day. We did some crazy picture session in the light drizzle. There is an old lighthouse and museum here. The lighthouse was the perfect studio for even more mad pictures.Image
  2. Coronado beach and island : There is a wonderful bridge that takes you to the Coronado beach and islands. There is a rumor that the bridge was curved and not made straight, in order to get it to a particular length to qualify for federal funding! Sneaky, sneaky. Not sure how true it is though. But what is true is that it has the third highest suicide rate in USA. Anyhoo, the Coronado beach has ‘Coronado’ spelt out in plants that you can see from an airplane! The Hotel Del Coronado boasts of lodging some famous Presidents and movie stars and is known to be pretty haunted. The Coronado island has some lah-di-dah restaurants that boast of a killer view of the water and San Diego skyline.
  3. Mt. Soledad : I have been dragged here at 5.45 am in PJs, boots, a sweater and a hoodie by my sunrise/sunset crazy xBF. This is a beautiful, extremely peaceful place though. One side covers the city scape and the other has a view of the sea. Some sunrises have been pretty awesome here. Especially when it is just a little misty. This is the spot that has inspired many a bromances between the boys. *Rolling my eyes*Image
  4. Old Town : If you want to experience some delicious Mexican food and culture, that is your spot right there! Fun food, fun music and dancing and cute little shops to collect knick-knacks, make this place up.
  5. Gaslamp, Hillcrest : For the best downtown experience, Gaslamp is the place. Period. Amazing clubs, food, my favorite dessert place, Extraordinary Dessert. Hillcrest is a foodie’s and a brewery enthusiast’s delight! I think it has an extensive LGBT settlement and that gives this place a very free, happening vibe for some reason. Some of the best breweries and restaurants are located here. And, of course, San Diego is known for its amazing micro-breweries!
  6. San Diego State : My awesome campus! 😀
  7. Fashion Valley : Countless of indecisive shopping hours have been spent here. Enough said. 🙂

P.S. I have not been paid by anyone to say nice things about San Diego. If someone wants to, they are very welcome!

P.P.S. All the pictures are mine/the xBF’s. Taken by our phones or camera.

14

Sitcom sadness

*HIMYM spoiler alert*

I am a sad bunny today. Last night I saw the final episode of How I Met Your Mother.

I had been abusing the show since last two-three seasons for copying so many things from Friends, and repeating their own story tracks from the previous seasons. Lily was becoming excruciatingly annoying, Ted was super whiny, and Barney was just not that funny anymore.

Yet, when it ended, I felt tears rush down my cheeks while watching the last episode.

Much has been said and written about how it was a good/bad ending. So many people are really mad at the way it ended and so many people have loved the way it ended. I think I was too emotional to completely realize if I liked it or not. So, I saw it again. *facepalm*

I think it was a good ending. Barney and Robin got married, but Robin loved her career as much as she loved her husband. But sadly, Love-0, Practicality-1. Barney went back to being his own womanizer self, but that changed as soon as he looked into the eyes of his baby girl. The daddy switch flipped on and there was a whole new side of him. Lily and Marshall were just the way they were expected to be. Adding another member to their family and raising their brood together while Marshall got the job he had always dreamed about. Ted found the love of his life. I don’t agree that he settled for her instead of Robin. Tracie was his true love after all, and they spent an amazing time together with their li’l ones. After she died, he hung around with her memories. Finally, after 6 years, he started thinking about that one girl again. That one girl, who was his soulmate. Robin. So, he started telling his kids about his and Tracie’s story and began it with robin because she is the one on his mind. All this while, Robin had drifted apart from the gang because again, Love-0, Practicality-2. The highly practical woman that she was, she realized soon enough that with an ex-husband and a guy-who-could-have-been-the-one, she would not be in the same place again as she was when she met that bunch. Clearly, her career took her places, just as she always wanted. She had a wonderful time excelling at her job, but came back at every important moment for her friends. Finally, she also got her true soulmate, Ted. The crazy dog lady got her career, and her man, at the ideal points of her life. It was a perfect ending for everyone.

So, why am I sad? Because I started watching the show during my Engg in Lonavala hostel. After that, I used to watch this how with the xBF. We would sit and watch this together every Monday night. After I moved to OC, we would watch it separately and then get mad at it together after the episode. It feels like the end of an era. It was around a long time, since I was a young girl in my late teens, just starting college and it ended when I am in my mid-late twenties and going through what Robin must have felt while choosing her career and seeing that guy-who-could-have-been-the-one. The stupid episode made me very senti’mental’ but left a little flickering hope in my heart.

Things do work out eventually.