24

If Social Media Came To Life…

Time and again I have mentioned how addicted I am to Social Media. I usually end up sleeping late thanks to endless browsing and pinning on Pinterest or looking up something on Instagram. And if nothing else, Facebook to the rescue! If I had devoted so much time to books during my academic career, I would have been in an Ivy League. Ah well…

The fluff in my head was uber active today morning and cooked up this delish idea of how Social Media would be if they lived amongst us. So, I humanized the ones I know and use and chalked out their traits.

· Facebook : Incessant chatterbox they are. They don’t know what information is too much to share and when to stop. Now, who announces that “Hey! I just pee-ed!” I am just glad they don’t show me a picture of it. They will always tell me what their current location is and with who. What? You want me to stalk you? They have a hard time understanding that reading out their personal diary when you are hanging out as a large group is highly inappropriate. But atleast the whole ‘too talkative’ nature comes into help when they help update the people hanging out with them about some relevant social issues and general awareness. Of course, offending someone or themselves is a side effect.

· Instagram : If you decide to hang out at a cool place with them, get out of the car, meet them and don’t take a selfie right away, they are going to be so pissed! Vanity is their second name. The iPhones are kept completely charged lest the sky manifest itself into striking colors or a rock is placed suitably well next to a leaf. They consider themselves almost professional photographers thanks to bending down at weird angle to take pictures. They are usually philosophical who attach deep meanings to most every day, mundane things. Do not dare to eat your food right away after served and before they are done taking pictures of it at weird angles.

· WordPress : If anyone can beat Facebook at talking, it’s them. You know those people who can speak for an hour about ‘The green chair’? Yep, you know WordPress rather well then. Classic overthinkers, they can whip up a problem in their head and drive themselves nuts with the thought that it is only them who are the most miserable. But they usually are very well researched and knowledgeable. If you are in the market for a new computer/camera/makeup, you can ask them and they will help to get the most bang out of your buck. Some have a great sense of humor and will keep you in splits while you are in their company. But yep, be ready to listen about some topic for an hour at least, because they will not know when to stop! Some will even try to humanize every inanimate thing, what losers.(Ha!) Which brings us to…

· Twitter : They are the exact opposites of WordPress. They are the kings/queens of short and crisp talks and like to keep things moving. Hour long drawls are succinctly expressed by Twitters in 140 words or less. They like to wrap up things fast and if you want an explanation, they will promise to ‘tell you later’ and slink away. It doesn’t help a curious cat like me, but, well… Most of them are sort of up there in social status and fame, so they are your fancy buddies.

· LinkedIn : Extremely career obsessed is one of their traits that stands out. In a group of people, they will be the ones who are most likely to start talking about their jobs and what projects they are currently working on and how their GPA is better than yours. They are always looking for networking opportunities. Some will not hesitate a bit to ask you to refer them to your company even if they met you for the first time, like, 5 seconds back. They don’t want anything to do with friendship, so consider their involvement with you more at a professional front.

· Yelp : I love these fellows! They are my favorite people who don’t eat to live, but live to eat. I can hang out with them for any meal and have a grand time out of it. They know cool places to eat in and out and aren’t afraid of checking new cuisines out. Complete foodies, through and through!

· Google+ : Sigh.

Regina: [referring to Cady’s bracelet] I love it!

Gretchen: So Fetch!

Regina: What is fetch?

Gretchen: Oh, it’s like slang, from… England.

Poor Google+ is our very own Gretchen from Mean Girls, insisting they are cool to fit in. Aww. Don’t worry, it’s not about being cool, it’s about getting things right and one day you will. 😉

· Pinterest : You would always want to hang out at their beautiful homes with flowing drapes and handmade French cookies. They are the loveliest, biggest DIY-ers. The only hitch is they are always broke, thanks to spending $ 50 making a shower gel that could have cost $ 5. But at least they smell like Lavender.

  

Advertisements
22

The ‘Om’ Project

Since more than a month now, I have started going for Yoga classes on Fridays. I used to go for yoga once a week at San Diego State with Karen and then I stopped after I moved to OC. It could be one of the hundred things I try when I get bored of myself, or it could be a lasting thing, I don’t know. But the experience so far has been good. I feel more supple when I stretch because strength training can leave me with aching tense muscles, and I know I don’t stretch every day. The first day that I walked in, everybody’s expression was like “Hey! You are Indian! You got this!” I was feeling all gung ho about it. I had chosen to ignore the fact that I hadn’t done a dot of yoga in almost 3 years, not counting the 10 min of stretching when I used to learn belly dancing. We started with basic breathing techniques and stretching and I beamed with the thought, yes, I really got this. And that’s when things went downhill.

      “Oh my God! My wrists are going to snap! There is zero strength.”

      “Breath!”

      “Why the hell are my feet and palms so small! Such less square footage! Downward dog… Arrggghh. It’s like making a Honda Civic balance itself on skinny cycle tyres.”

      “F@$#”

      “Breath!!”

      “Don’t give up! Don’t give up! Fine, one knee down.”

      “PB, keep breathing! You are killing yourself!”

Nisha, having a lot of experience with yoga, had explained the difference between Hathaflow and Vinyasa and to my utter horror, my teacher makes us practice Vinyasa for 60% of the class. I have no sense of direction or side. With her left and rights and turning towards the front, I end up working out the same side twice and then I feel imbalanced. She has to tell us/me to not look at her with anger and smile in her delightful sing-song East-European accent. “Daunt look at mi wid angerrr. Smyle everrrybaady!”

Yet I was managing things just fine. Till a cute guy joined the class two Fridays ago. He looked at me and smiled and I so did not want him to see me contort myself in grotesque shapes with pain writ across my face.

By the end of the first class though, everybody’s ‘You got this!” look had turned into utter disappointment. It’s okay. I am used to that expression. Crushing hopes is a hobby of mine!

But I will chug along the choo-choo train of Yoga. One day I will progress from my shoulder stand to a head stand and I will have the last laugh while I look absolutely comfortable in a full-split.

22

Pseudo-memories

Let me start by saying that I have a great memory where I can embarrass an elephant into invisibleness. I can remember small things and details and bring up age-old incidents during fights and arguments. I remember important incidents of my life vividly, and my many firsts!

I was reading some stories on Reddit, and lately I have been obsessed with those. Some comments made me very nostalgic. I could feel the rush of my childhood in my mind and heart. But some part of it was what I call pseudo-nostalgia. I could feel that warmth and the feeling that ‘that’ has happened, but I, for the life of it, could not remember that incident or the moment when that haze of a memory was created.

I have an amazing father. I have written so many times about him and that I am very close to him. We have an odd thing going on with us right now and some distances from my side, which will hopefully go away soon. He has done a lot for me since childhood and has been a wonderful daddy. One thing that comes to my mind is how he has picked me up while walking when I was tired. But I can’t remember when he carried the asleep me to bed from the living room. I am sure he has done that. I wish I remembered that.

But what I remember is the absolutely goofy look and glinting eyes and the lopsided tongue that a very young puppy, our Moony, used to have when any of the three of us would carry him like a baby around the house and talking/singing ‘Majhi rani beti, majha raja bachcha’(My little prince/princess). Then he grew super heavy. 🙂

My mom told me this super cute story the other day when we were driving to San Diego. I used to love going to the zoo. Mind you, the zoo in Indore was rather crappy, and after a few years I lost total interest in them and in circuses and I grew more aware and repulsed by them. Eventually, now I am one of the many signatures demanding releasing animals from circuses and better habitat in zoos. So, we used to go to the zoo on my dad’s Bajaj scooter standing in the front. I would be dressed in my best summer frock and I would insist on a small picnic. Many times it would just be me and my dad. I would insist on carrying this small rectangular picnic basket and I always had a water bottle and hat in it as well. Because I would want to eat something rather than actually getting hungry, my mum would pack exactly 4 homemade chaklis, which are these fried spirally snacks. Yet, I would ask for something or the other at the zoo cafeteria. Every single time. And my dad had to buy some sort of soda or snack to shut me up. In fact, this habit is legendary where however well fed and watered I was, if we went out, I had to buy something and so it was nightmarish for my dad to take me out. Now I remember the zoo time, but I don’t remember these details that I really want to!

The other memory I want to have is how I felt after I wore my first pair of glasses. I had really, really screwed up vision. I used to do quite bad academically because I could not read the writing on the black board and had nothing to copy down. I would have incomplete writings or nothing to write down for tests. When we moved to Delhi, my class teacher in Grade 1 noticed my constant walking to the blackboard and notified my parents. They took me to the doctor and I can remember having an ice-cream after and my parents being very upset. They did not have glasses until the regular age related reading issues. And when my bad vision was detected, I was already at -3 or -3.5, which is quite a bit for most myopics. I shouldn’t even mention my prescription now, when I am almost blind without glasses or contacts. I have heard of stories about people saying “Oh, the trees have individual leaves!” or “Wow, the clouds have shapes!” and even “The stores have names on them!” after wearing their first glasses. These are not exaggerations. If you don’t wear glasses, you have no idea how fukin’ minblowing things can be when you can see sharply again. I just wish I could remember my moment of clarity!

Guys reading this, you may feel a li’l awkward although you shouldn’t and if you really don’t, I am happy to see some normalcy. I can’t remember the time I actually, for reals, got my first period! I remember the second day because we had a school picnic to a water park and I resisted for a long time and then just said fuk it, I am getting into the water. I am sure I wasn’t too shocked because I was in 8th grade and I had had plenty of sex-ed and menstruation lectures by then. It was just like Uh-oh, so finally it has happened to me. But it became way worse after the first cycle because then I started getting horrible cramps that feel like death. Something more embarrassing about getting my menses was my mom telling my dad ‘PB badi ho gayi’(PB has grown up) and him laughing. I wish I could have disappeared.

I don’t care about the rest of the boyfriends to worry about their memories. But I can’t pinpoint the exact time when the xBF and I actually mutually knew we had fallen for each other! It is such a big timeline between September 2010 and January 2011 when things took flight between us. I remember sharing moments, that turned into ‘Shit, I am falling for this guy!’ to spending time with him and stolen hugs and kisses. While leaving for India in Dec 2010, he gave me a quick and secretive peck on the cheek and I don’t know if our friends saw that. That was also the time I was mentally and emotionally very unbalanced and immature because of losing a friend, which in retrospect was a really good thing that happened to me, and I should have handled it better, but I gained the xBF after that upheaval. So good riddance to bad rubbish! But oh dear Lord, I wish I could remember the precise moment when both of us thought that yep, screw friendship, we are more than that!

So many such incidents, that I know have happened and I have a foggy idea. But how I wish I could see them clearly.

Memories are like clouds,
Shape shifting treasures.
Some very clear and some blurred,
With bitter-sweet pleasures.

8

Of San Diego State, past life and ‘Kardashan’ business…

Whole of last week, I have been sick. I discovered that I am allergic to the smell of roasting atta(wheat flour) that my mom was prepping to cook something. In 5 minutes, my throat started closing down, my nose got blocked and I developed a sore throat that resembled a cat post after the kitty is done filing her nails. Ugghh. I went to work on and off. On Friday my dad texted me if we could go to San Diego on Saturday to see the University. I had already thought of going to either LA or San Diego for a day trip, so it sounded great. Except, I was still sick and feeling like death. Sheesh.

But when I woke up on Saturday morning, I felt great! Except for the coughing, I felt fittum-fine. And then we headed to San Diego at 11 am and then we hit horrible traffic making sure that we took 2.5 hours to finish our journey of 1.5 hours. But we had carried homemade paratha and potato fry (Indian tacos to the rescue for non-Indians!) to calm our hungry tummies. What was intended to be a picnic food at San Diego State was consumed in the car like road-tripping!

We finally reached University and I could feel flowers blooming inside me when the campus came into view. It still looks and feels just the same. 🙂 Wave upon wave of nostalgia hit me, but it was all good stuff. I could see me yelling at Brian to put his shirt on while walking to the International Student center(It is California and people walk around shirtless in summer, even at school). I could see the East Commons where lab peeps and I sat eating our lunch boxes and Adam accusing me of eating cat food/porridge. There were the famed golf carts around that groundkeepers used, which the xBF also used to trim plants, to change trash can liners, and to give me rides. Not kidding, he has picked me up from engineering building, just to show me giant snails in the gardens, because I love looking at slugs(Go Figure.) Once he was working in flower area with his older non-desi co-workers and he cut up some fresh roses and tied them up with Aluminum foil for me. His buddies teased him about his ‘moves’ to red hot embarrassment that day! And of course the library! Where I studied less, and took naps more/ watched shows/ collaborated on assignments with Karen. Then there was Educational Opportunities Office, where I worked for 2 years as a tutor to undergrad Mechanical and Civil Engineering students, that helped me ease the burden on my parents and enabled me to pay for rent and school.

IMG_9248.JPG

The iconic Hepner Hall…

It was a Saturday and I was not expecting anything to be open, leave alone Professors being there. But I took a chance and we went to see my Engineering building. Surprisingly, the door was unlocked. We got in and I took my parents to the Department, showed them the lab from outside, and even my first classroom! On a whim, I walked into the faculty area and ran into Prof. B who taught me a couple of classes. He recognized me right away and met the folks too. Being a true Indian, his second question was if I got married?! And then he went on to tell that parents need not worry, I will find a great boy. Haha! He was super nice and he offered to show them my lab. He said he will let Prof. M know later. Ooh we even spoke about our current mutual friends. 😉 You know who you are.

By a giant stroke of luck, he also let me know that Prof. M was at school today since the Research Symposium was on. I have participated in that when I was at school so I knew Prof. M would stick around till the last talk and key note was done. So, after we were done with the lab, we headed towards the library  where I was looking for the presentations. I saw a girl in a business skirt walking across the campus and I decided to ask her if the Symposium was still going on. She told me that the key note had just ended and it was at the Student Union. We almost ran there as I kept my eyes peeled. And sure enough, I reached the stairs and Prof. M was coming down! He stopped, did a double take and got mad excited to see me. 🙂 We spoke over there for almost half an hour, took pictures and then said good bye.

The folks and I got some coffee from the Aztec market and finally sat down. What had started off as a generally mundane Saturday had turned into an extremely fruitful visit to San Diego State. My professor, who is never at school on Saturday, met us, we saw the Lab, and we saw my old spots where I had left tiny pieces of me behind. My dad says visiting the University was at the highest spot in his list. He was very overwhelmed with emotions. SDSU is truly where it all started as far as my career is concerned and we shall be forever grateful.

I also successfully managed to put my finger into the Koi fishes’ mouth. Just like old times.

DSC_5830.JPG

Topping off the evening, we headed to Abhi and Nish on our way back where I learned Pav can be made from scratch and can be more scrumptious than store bought ones. After a fabulous meal of Pav Bhaji and tawa pulav and avocado custard, we set off for home. Mumbai ki galiyon se(Off the streets of Mumbai) should be Nisha’s kitchen’s name till she decides to open her food business.

I learned about another thing on Saturday night while watching TV at home. My very Indian mother who has been in the US for only one and a half month recognized this picture below as the person who is ‘Kardashan’ husband, father of North, insulted a blonde girl and is CRAZY! I think we have hit apocalypse and some magazine stories need to be banned.

IMG_9247

This generation is screwed.