Friday, October 29, 2010

You know you have been working too hard on new technology...

... when you google for a recipe for Vegetable Pulao and are surprised to not be flooded with the usual results featuring a cornucopia of foodie blogs and instead seeing generic food sites.

Then realize your search term was not "Vegetable Pulao recipe" like you thought you had typed but "Vegetable Pulao example"

Sigh. And they say working remotely is so much more relaxing.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm waiting

Now I know what I have been missing for the past nine years:
(in no particular order)
  • Deciding what fireworks to order.
  • Planning for the arrival of guests.
  • Happily braving the crowds to get new clothes shopping done.
  • Visiting sweet shops buzzing with activity, busy handling advance orders.
  • Seeing offers on sugar, ghee and other such groceries so that the ladies of the house can get a head-start on the sweets and snacks prepartion.
  • Reading newspapers filled with pages and pages of special offers.
  • Navigating through temporary platform shops selling mud lamps.
  • Watching TV inundated with ads hawking everything from sarees and veshtis to discounts for refrigerators and TVs.
  • Feeling the festive spirit all around, Indian style!
Yes, Deepavali is fast approaching! I can barely wait! So much so, I am even eagerly waiting to get up at 4.00am to have the traditional oil bath. Really.

Yes, it feels great to be home for Deepavali!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


With the number of reality shows broadcast on Tamil television growing by the minute, the number of judges required for judging such shows is also going up exponentially. Thus, any person who is even slightly famous (read: acted in one movie) can be spotted "judging" one or the other of these reality shows.

S and I were watching one of these shows today while playing cards. The show featured participants who had some special talent to showcase. The best of these participants then got to go to the next round.

The judges were JM (male) and JF (female) both of whom have in all probability acted in 3 movies(combined total) so far. Which explains why I have absolutely no clue who these folks were. But I can tell for sure that both these judges were definitely over 20 years of age, quite possibly older. Definitely not 2 years old. This point is relevant later in the post.

On the show, one of the participants let hot candle wax drip all over himself (!!!!) and finished the act by dripping wax over his tongue (!!!!!!). Not surprisingly, JM and JF ooohed and aahed over his ability to endure pain. JM then jokingly told JF that she should try to drip wax onto her tongue too. JF refused pronto - obviously. Then JF volunteered that she would let a bit of candle wax drip over her hand instead.

The compere promptly brought over some lit candles to the judges table. JF was about to drip wax over her hand when she suddenly stopped and said in a childish voice, "Wait a minute. I need to ask mummee". I thought this was her way of releasing tension before doing some thing.

Nopes - JF was serious and her mother was in the audience. JF turned her head to mummy to wait for the response. A second later she said, "Mummee said no, so I am not going to drip wax."

I was gobsmacked. Which adult person asks their mother to give them permission to do something so trivial? On TV? Especially when they are judging some show? Unless of course, said person is 2 years old which JF was most definitely not.

I have heard that many adult actress's mothers come along for shoots. Never realized that this could be because darling daughter might die otherwise because she could not ask Mummee permission to breath.

p.s. In case either the channel or JF thought it was "Awww - so cute!", unfortunately, it was much more like "Ugh - so retarded!".

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ayutha Pooja

Happy Ayutha Pooja!

Remember the part about being in India to celebrate festivals that I had written about in my moving to India post? Here's one of the whys:

That's the absolutely delicious home-cooked Ayutha Pooja special lunch at parents' place today. Shown in pic: Medu vada, sundal, beans usili, arbi fry, sankegourd kootu, potato pal-curry, poori and appalam. Not shown dal, sambhar, rasam, rice, curds and payasam.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Strangers and magnets

Yesterday noon we were at home. Being the good bharatiya nari that I am 0:-), I was busy making lunch. The door bell rang. We usually don't have visitors showing up without calling first. Thiking it was the service-person asking if we had clothes for ironing, I peered through the peep-hole. Only to find a complete stranger-lady outside. I cautiously opened the door.

This lady said that she was coming from the Indane (gas company) office and she had come by to check the safety of the gas connection. Now, considering that we have not even received our long-ago ordered gas connection yet (we are cooking on a borrowed gas cylinder currently), I thought sending someone to check the non-existent connection was a bit rich. However gas-lady was not to be put off. She was running checks on all houses and would check borrowed connections too - for free! Thinking it over, I realized, a) S was at home too b) gas-lady was female. So risk of letting stranger into home was kinda minimimal. Thus I took her to the kitchen.

Gas-lady started checking connections. That was when my brain engaged into paranoia mode. What if this lady belonged to a gang of thieves who were surveying potential houses to rob? Or what if she was a solo-robber? I stood a little away from gas-lady (to avoid being chloroformed - I told you I have an active imagination) and watched her like a hawk so I could scream at the slightest odd behavior.

Gas-lady made some motions of checking the connections. Then she revealed the real reason for her visit. She was selling some magnetic gas saving gadget. Instead of being annoyed at being conned like this along with being interrupted in the lunch-making process, relief flooded through me. Yaay - she was not a potential burglar!

By this time, S came by to see what gas-lady was upto as well. We both listened open-mouthed as gas-lady gave some ultra-vague theory about how affixing magnets near the cylinder source would miraculously allow gas in a cylinder to last for 60 days as opposed to 40 days. Umm - right. We asked if she had proof of some study conducted to validate that claim. Oh no, said gas-lady, people have been using the device only for 6 months or so now. That there are plenty of 40 day chunks in a 6-month period did not strike her.

At this point, gas-lady realized that S and me were of too scientific a bent of mind to buy into her magent-attracts-steel-in-gas-tube-leading-to-fuel-efficiency theory. Disappointed, she packed her magnets and left.

When I later narrated my thought-sequences to S, he told me that it was good idea to listen to misgivings *before* letting strangers into the house rather than after. Good point, that.

p.s. I did google search and apparently there is some credence to magnetic fuel saving contraptions. Who would have thunk! Though the reason is most definitely not what gas-lady told us.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Conversations with friends - II

So this morning sis sent a forward. I found it funny and forwarded it further to a few friends. This was the subsequent email conversation between friend V and me:

On Sun, Oct 10, 2010 at 11:46 AM, V wrote:

On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 12:15 PM, Archana wrote:
Oh no - does this mean I am going to be smote by lightning anytime soon :-P??

On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 12:32 PM, V wrote:
God is very angry with you right now .
You know which God, dont you... dont you, infidel?

On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 1:10 PM, Archana wrote:
Um - are you talking about Jesus? One likes to be clear about such things so that when one is about to be smote by lightning one knows which name to ask for mercy.

On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 1:30 PM, V wrote:
no, idiot - Jesus is the son of God, not God! - duh!
just God - English God!

On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 1:46 PM, Archana wrote:
Why English God? Huh, huh? Why this racism? That too, for a forward forwarded in India. Hmph. Racist Gods!

On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 1:49 AM, V wrote:
Ufff - it is the official language!

On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 2:26 PM, Archana wrote:
No dummy I was referring to English as in the race. Not English as in the language. Doh!

On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 2:52 PM, V wrote:
English is not a race.. Doher!!

On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 3:37 PM, Archana wrote:
Um - so explain the term Englishman.... Dohest!!!

Much later:

On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 7:07 PM, V wrote:
Yea.. there was no comeback for dohest. So I slept and took a shower instead.

On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 7:40 PM, Archana wrote:
Eeeehaw .....
*Archana does a victory lap around her Gmail Inbox*


And they say you get more mature as you get older. Right!

In case you are wondering, this is the forward which started it all:
There were 3 good arguments that Jesus was

1. He called everyone brother
2. He liked Gospel
3. He didn't get a fair trial

But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was

1. He went into His Father's business
2. He lived at home until he was 33
3. He was sure his Mother was a virgin and his Mother was sure He was God

But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was

1. He talked with His hands
2. He had wine with His meals
3. He used olive oil

But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was a

1. He never cut His hair
2. He walked around barefoot all the time
3. He started a new religion

But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was an
American Indian:

1. He was at peace with nature
2. He ate a lot of fish
3. He talked about the Great Spirit

But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was

1. He never got married..
2. He was always telling stories.
3. He loved green pastures.

But the most compelling evidence of all -

3 proofs that Jesus was a woman:

1. He fed a crowd at a moment's notice when there was virtually no food
2. He kept trying to get a message across to a bunch of men who just didn't get it
3. And even when He was dead, He had to get up because there was still work to do


p.s. All of this is in fun. So please to not come after me wielding pitch-forks.
p.s.1 First installment of conversations here.

Friday, October 08, 2010


I doubt anyone remembers the days of yore when 25MB of email account space was a great big deal. I love holding onto paper letters, greeting cards and any other form of personal communication. Ask my long-suffering mom about the big bags of memorabilia hogging space at home which has every single card and letter I have ever personally received in my life. No big wonder then that, when the Internet age arrived, I hated deleting any of my emails as well.

Unfortunately, due to email space limitations (25MB), I got constant nagging reminders from all my free email accounts to please make space. Though I did try making backups before deletion, many of my electronic communications from this transition period - when people were writing paper letters less and less and at the same time, email accounts though free, came with space limitations - were lost forever.

Soon I realized that I really wanted to save emails and hit upon the idea of e-groups. I diligently created one for my immediate family and one each for each of my close circle of friends. Then it would not matter if I had to delete emails from my account - the e-groups archives still would hold all the communications.

I did not realize then that I was creating a very awesome source of timepass. Several years later, though some of the e-groups had become mostly inactive, I still loved going back to the e-group archives occasionally and reading about how my life had been back then. Some of the emails are utterly hilarious and I laugh out loud (as I did the very first time I read them and as I did upon the subsequent n readings) and some of them make me wonder why on earth some particular thing mattered so much back then. And then there are those emails reading which I am filled with relief that I have put some things behind me. Irrespective of the feeling reading an individual email evokes, ultimately, reading pld emails delights me no end.

How could I not talk about Google here? The great company which first allowed my own email account inbox to be used as an archive instead of having to create groups.

I can be loyal to a fault. But when my first-ever email account, Hotmail, refused to follow suit even after a couple of months of Google's 1GB storage space arrival, I switched to GMail and never looked back. So now I have every personal email anyone ever sent me since late 2004 (I told you I am a hoarder). Not that every email is worth storing but hey, haven't each one of them contributed in some way, big or small, to who I am today?

Google then upped the ante with GChat. Now I could also archive every conversation I had online. I was officially in Hoarder Heaven.

Now I have a dual source of timepass when I am so inclined - the e-group archives and my gmail inbox. It is fun to read. I never realized I was such a emoticon junkie back then. I still am, to a certain extent, but my emoticon usage then was really excessive! Reading the conversations I have had with various people at various points in time is even better entertainment. Some of those people I no longer even keep in touch with it either by choice or because life happened. But some conversations bring back big twinges of nostalgia. It was great fun when they happened and I miss having such conversations now. But like Somerset Maughman said:
Nothing in the world is permanent, and we're foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we're still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it. ... We can none of us step into the same river twice, but the river flows on and the other river we step into is cool and refreshing too.
So true, no?

Another great joy of digging into old emails is rediscovering old forwards and youtube videos (I mean the interesting kind. Even hoarder me deletes the unbearable ones pronto). Some gems never get old.

Moral of this post is: iI you have time to kill and are an avid emailer, discover the entertainment your inbox has to offer if you have not already done so! And rejoice that the 25MB space limitation firmly belongs to the ancient ages now.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Let there be light

With moving to a new place comes a new set of things to learn. Which switch turns on which light or fan. Which direction the taps need to be turned to make the water flow (my sense of direction in this regard is totally screwed now). Which keys to use for the front door locks. Thus, I am currently getting used to our new home.

The first time we stayed overnight at our new place, I was in bed before S. Reading at least a few sentences, lying on my side on the bed, book or magazine in hand, before going to sleep is my long established and cherished routine. Sometimes, when the book is too darn interesting, this has lead to almost night-outs as I devour page after page, helplessly unable to put the book down. I later pay for this enthusiasm in the form of bleary eyes and zombie mode the next day. The last time this happened was with book two of the Millenium series. I really liked the series, especially the heroine. I think Zooey Deschanel would make an excellent Lisbeth Salander for the movie version. Okay, I have totally digressed. Back to the story now.

Where was I? Yes, so, I was in bed and reading some book away to glory when S walked in. S is one of those weird people (seriously, how do you do that?) who has to have the lights off as soon as his head hits the pillow so he can go off to zzzz-land. Now you know why I try to go to bed earlier: to get my nightly reading fix.

So, S marched in, settled down in the bed and asked me to turn off the lights. I told him that he would have to get out of bed and walk to the the switch-board across to do the honors.

I could see S's brain whirring. He was comfortably settled in bed and definitely did not want to get up again to go turn off the lights. On the other hand, I would most certainly not get up to go turn off the lights till I had read to my heart's content - which might wind up taking a very long time. I watched as he made his decision and reluctantly got up, switched off the light and then came and settled himself back into bed.

At the exact instant he let out a contented "I am comfortable" sigh, I lifted my arm and  flicked on the dual-control light switch above my head. As light flooded the room again, the look on S's face was priceless. Obviously, I had known all along that the light had dual-controls and no walking across the room was needed.

I can be evil like that sometimes :-D.