Friday, February 26, 2010


When the alarm rang this morning, my sleep-addled brain wondered why on earth I had set the alarm on a Saturday morning. Then I slowly realized that today was only Friday. Then began to wonder what happened to yesterday's Friday. And then - okay, as you can see, I was totally confused and annoyed that it was not Saturday today. On the brighter side, today is Friday which means tomorrow is Saturday. Which is far better than waking up thinking it is a Saturday only to realize that it is *Monday* (that has happened to me as well - that week correspondingly seemed to be the longest of my life).

I think it was only after I got to the U.S. that this concept of weekend being a BIG thing was introduced to me. I mean, I liked in weekends in India as well (other than that awesome year of my life when I disliked weekends because I could not hang out at school with my friends). However, since I was going to school/college back then, besides going out, weekends also usually meant catching up on pending school/college work. Also, no matter how much you try, such work always runs as a background process in your mind.

One of the best things I like about working life is that it is possible (at least most of the time) to completely detach yourself from work once you step away from the office. Which is why I think weekends take on a special significance as it is a complete break from the daily grind. On weekends, you can sleep better, eat better, be vetti better and the possibilities to relax seem almost endless. That is, until Sunday evening rolls around and you wonder where on earth all that time went to!

Grad school was when I first started chanting the TGIF mantra. Our department even used to host TGIF parties every Friday! My friends and I were a relaxed bunch and most weekends meant renting out a car and going somewhere, mostly to hike or camp. Of course this meant doing night-outers on other days so we could catch up on course work but hey, weekends spent doing nothing were a criminal waste of time, no? I still remember my parents worriedly hinting that they thought their daughter had gone abroad mainly to be a wanderer until I sent them my grade sheet and quelled their fears!

Though I remember doing this in childhood as well, grad school was when this "got to do something on weekends" and "got to travel for long weekends" concept got permanently embedded in my psyche. Thus, now, weekends are treated special and long weekends are treated specialer. So much so, a weekend where I don't put a foot outside the house sometimes becomes a treat in itself!

Luckily, S has turned out to be an even more enthusiastic chanter of the TGIF mantra than me. So now our household has two ardent members of the "Go Weekend!" brigade. I have no idea what we are planning to do this weekend. Still, am mighty glad it is Friday today. TGIF, folks!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

You know you have waited too long in queues...

...when you start getting nightmares which feature you standing in a queue which does not have a destination.

S and me visited LA over the long weekend and did all the touristy things - Universal studios, Disneyland, Walk of fame and so on. We had a wonderful time though I am visiting these attractions for the 3rd time!

Last weekend being long weekend and all, we had expected the crowds to be on the higher side. Universal Studios crowd was manageable but Disneyland seemed to have attracted every person in the United States.

Thus we wound up doing quite a lot of queue waiting at Disneyland - the longest being the wait for the Space Mountain ride at 90 minutes (to boot, we weren't the only morons who gamely decided to wait in line, the queue swelled behind us as well)!

Now, are you surprised that for the next few nights, I kept dreaming that we were waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting in a queue, with no destination in sight?

Regardless, the whole visit was fun from start to finish. As S put it, Disneyland is a magical place - and LA is one place which does not get boring to visit.

p.s. Both of us kept a lookout for the famous Hollywood sign. On the freeway, S spotted another huge sign which said "Save Peak" on a nearby mountain. We both were curious what this new sign which was as big as the Hollywood sign was. It was only at the Kodak Theatre complex that we realized that the Save Peak sign *was* the Hollywood sign. Apparently they had covered up the sign to raise awareness for some cause. Sheesh! So yup, no Hollywood sign patel pics this time.

p.s.1. The Universal Studios Simpson ride simply rocks - I *totally* loved it.

p.s.2. During busy season in Disneyland, get the Fastpass passes much earlier in the day for the popular rides, else they simply run out of it.

Friday, February 05, 2010


Like I have said before, by conscious choice, I have never commuted a great distance to work. Thus I really don't need to come up with many ways to entertain myself during the drive. Usually I listen to one of the many radio stations blasting pop music.

A couple of months ago, I re-discovered the National Public Radio (NPR) and decided to give listening to it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised to find out just how many diverse topics they talk about and how entertaining as well as educating the discussions usually were. Now, I am becoming a bigger and bigger fan of listening to NPR while driving to and from work.

This morning the talk was about the Tea Party. I have heard about the Tea Party (as in present-day usage) only a couple of times, that too in passing. Wiki tells me that the Tea Party movement
"is a United States grass-roots protest movement that emerged in 2009 and is opposed to the federal government's stimulus package, officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009."
Anyhoo, the topic under discussion was the Tea Party convention currently being held in Nashville, Tennessee. The program host gave an informed overview of the movement, what it stood for and its ideals. Then the host started to interview one of the convention attendees, let's call her Lady, about the movement.

The first question was what she thought the movement stood for [note, I am paraphrasing the dialogs, my memory is not good enough to remember exact wording]. Lady said something along the lines of "It is against a big overseeing government" or some such. Then she bristled, "People are against the Universal Health Care bill because it is unconstitutional. It is against the law. THe government is trying to pass an unconstitutional bill."

Now, though I keep reading about the healthcare bill that Obama is promoting, I have not quite gotten my head wrapped around what its specifics are. But I was quite sure that I had not yet heard of it being an unconstitutional move. Sure enough, the radio host asked, "So in what way do you think the bill is unconstitutional?"

There was a flabbergasted silence from Lady. Evidently, whoever had filled her with passionate protest had forgotten to tell her exactly why she was filled with passionate protest! Lady finally rallied around with, "I am not sure about the exact part of the constitution it violates but if you look around in the constitution, you will find that it has a section stating it is invalid". WTH!?!

I rolled my eyes and am sure the radio host did too for he promptly switched over to another question to a different person.

My question is, when you are holding a convention, how difficult is it for you to find someone who is well-informed to talk to the media? After all, this person is supposed to be a representative of the attendees. If this is the best you can come up with, what impression does it give about the rest of the attendees?

Now I know why most organizations use only trained spokespersons to talk to the press and media!

p.s. I still don't know enough about the Tea Party to have an opinion about it one way or the other.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Yesterday was my second fitness class after a longish break of about two months. I have said it before and I say it again - it is highly unfair as to how it takes several months to reach a certain level of fitness and how only a few weeks break undoes all the good work. Unfair, unfair, unfair!

Anyways, considering that these days I am looking more and more like a well-iced snow-woman, not to mention puffing like a steam-engine at the slightest exertion, I am nevertheless dragging myself to class and putting myself through the grueling workout.

So, last evening, I followed the teacher as closely as I could. Still, at the end of class I felt a bit bad that for a couple of exercises, for a short while, I had not been able to keep up. I finished putting away my stuff and was about to leave when another fitness-class participant called me and asked "How long have you been doing this?". And then continued, "I have been watching you as I could not see the instructor from where I was. O boy, you did all those tough exercises without a break - that is so awesome! I wanted to know how long it takes to get there."

I was so delighted to hear this - I am not as unfit as I had imagined then! This is exactly the boost that I need to keep me going. So maybe next week I will not whine quite so much as usual before class. Amen to that.

I don't think I could say it better than this post. Still, I really have to put this down somewhere:

The new mile sur mera tumhara video simply sucks. [Part 1, Part 2]

And not just because I am viewing the original version through rose-tinted glasses (though I admit, I get all nostalgic whenever I hear that tune). According to the new version, present-day India apparently is defined by her actors and actresses. All of whom "emote" the song so well that I felt like someone was drilling my teeth as I watched them.

Sigh - some things are better left alone, no?

p.s.1 What's with Big B speaking out words in the song? I thought everyone was already tired of hearing Big B's baritone voice in almost every movie out of Bollywood. I sincerely hope he gets an incurable case of laryngitis if that is the only way to save us from the misery of hearing him booming everywhere.

p.s.2 Amar Singh did not make an appearance in the video as an extension of the Bachchan ensemble - thank God for small mercies!

p.s.3 I even hated Vikram and Surya in the video. Ya :-(.