Thursday, May 19, 2011

So, you must be the elder sister...

When you and your sister are just a couple of years apart, it is a fairly normal occurrence for a person you have just met to incorrectly figure out who the elder sibling is. Especially, if you, like me, are taller as well as more broadly built (and I admit, weightier) than your elder sibling.

So, from the time I overtook my sis w.r.t height, I have heard my fair share of "Oh, you must be the elder sibling." Hearing it once was annoying enough but some of the strangers persisted with "Oh, but I thought you are the elder sibling. Aren't you?" even after I had corrected them the first time. Ooooh, you caught me! I am one of those weird people who pretend to be the younger sibling when they are not! Grr.

I know it shouldn't have irritated me so much. Especially since my sister, knowing how it grated on me, never took these insults (according to me) as an opportunity to tease me and instead was quite sweet about it. Besides, people thinking you look older than you are is quite low on the list of life's tragedies. Still, it rankled every time it happened.

With time, I reconciled myself to grinning at every wedding or family function or lots-of-strangers occasion I went to with my sis when I was greeted with "Oh, you must be P's (my mom) elder daughter" even as I inwardly ground my teeth. For, you see, I always translated this innocuous remark to mean "You look like the old woman of the mountains".

Then, yesterday, at a family party, a clueless relative by marriage stopped by, looked at me and my sis and exclaimed, "Oh, you must be P's daughters." Looking at me, she said, "I remember you." Then, turning to my sis she said, "I don't remember you though. You must be the younger sister who lives in the US." Sis pointed to me and mildly said,"No, that's her. She used to live in the US but moved back. I live in Mumbai."

Clueless lady could not get a clue still. Ignoring me completely, she continued enthusiastically talking to my sis, "Oh, you are from Mumbai? No wonder. You have that Mumbai look.", meaning it as a compliment. Evidently, according to Clueless, not only did I look older, I also looked like some fresh-off the bullock-cart villager. Gee thanks!

Obviously, I was annoyed. That was not the surprising thing. The surprising thing was, after a couple of minutes of bristling, I thought about it. a) I had no idea who Clueless was. b) There was no reason why what she thought about me needed to affect me at all. c) I thought I looked fine. d) Life is too short to be wasted over clueless people.

Two minutes after this introspection, I forgot all about the incident(till now) and totally enjoyed the rest of the party.

I tell you, this is the best part about growing older. Things which seemed like tragedies even a few years ago, no longer bother me much. The older I grow, the more secure and confident I am getting about myself and the less I base my worth on what others think of me. Especially when these others constitute people who have little or no role to play in my day-to-day life.

I must say, life's good :-)!

p.s. For heaven's sake though, if you meet siblings, wait for them to bring up the topic themselves instead of playing the "Are you the older one?" guessing game. Being mistaken for the older sibling is a pet peeve of many younger siblings I know!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tamilnadu election results

Note: This was supposed to have been posted before noon today (May 13, 2011). Unfortunately, blogger decided today would be a good day to go into read-only mode. Thus you were deprived of my excellent (and now, dated) writing till now.


And so, after a whole month of suspense, vote counting for the Tamilnadu Assembly elections was today. S and I turned on the TV first thing in the morning. Most of the Tamil channels were busy broadcasting the preliminary results. We surfed through all of them and were amused to find that the "results" varied widely depending upon which channel we were watching. Essentially, depending on which party's mouthpiece a particular channel was, the number of seats garnered by that party would be higher. LOL!

Thus, we resorted to watching an English news channel which seemed to be broadcasting something closer to the truth (as in, the results were an average of what was shown on the party channels).

But around 9.00am or so, it became quite clear that the AIADMK front was heading for a sweep. And the DMK party channels could no longer keep broadcasting their elevated numbers for DMK. So, some of the DMK party channels dejectedly switched to telecasting a movie or regular programming instead while the others somberly started sticking to the real results! Meanwhile, Amma clearly believes in rubbing her opponents faces in the mud. Because, Jaya TV (the AIADMK party's channel) for quite a while kept displaying such a low number of leads for DMK, in single digits in fact (the actual count then was closer to 33)!

Now that the numbers have pretty much coalesced and the final results almost decided, all channels are finally beginning to broadcast similar results. And with that, the last bits of the voting tamasha is coming to an end.

I admit, I enjoyed the whole election process a lot more than I thought I would.

Now, let's hope that this change of government brings at least some good news for the people of Tamilnadu. The general thinking seems to be that given the magnitude of scams the DMK front has been involved in, it would be difficult for the AIADMK to match up. Ergo, AIADMK will form a less corrupt and better government (I know, excellent logic for choosing a government. Still it trumps voting for a party because they promised a free food processor or some such)!

I really hope that Amma proves to be worthy of this trust!

Monday, May 09, 2011


How can I call myself a self-respecting fairly newly-returned NRI if I don't sigh, moan and complain about the weather? So, here goes!

It is so darn, horribly, terribly and infinitely frickin' hot. I now totally believe our bodies are made of of 98% water. Nothing else can explain the amount of sweat I shed every day and the fact that I still haven't run out of sweat. Or maybe it can be explained by the amount of water I drink every day. I drink like a camel. And still can put away more glasses of water at any given point in time. Phew! Summers in Chennai are really, truly HOT.

On the brighter side, with the advent of summer, a whole host of summer fruits have been showing their faces: mangoes, jackfruits, palmyra fruits (nongu), watermelon - yumm! Having to face summer in order to enjoy them even starts to feel worth it when one of those slices of deliciousness are sliding down one's throat!

But, remember that post from before? Kindly ignore the advice in that post at least till August unless and otherwise you are a masochist. The new advice is: at the first sign of a day-long power cut, put on your walking shoes and head out of the house to the nearest fully air-conditioned mall. Do not come back home till you are reasonably sure that electricity has returned to your house.

Like Mom sarcastically said, "The government is so nice. They force us to save on our electricity bills by not supplying any electricity. Then they also make sure we get our daily exercise by forcing us to walk around the mall". Dad quipped, " Yeah, I am planning to send a bill to the government to get reimbursement for all the money I spent as a result of all that mall walking!" See, we can now laugh through our frustration. So much character building, I tell you!

With the temperatures hitting 42C in the past few days, there is finally something I very, very, very much miss about not being in the US. The awesome California bay area weather. Yeah, those were good weather times!

p.s. In the last sentence, I had wanted to link to some post in which I waxed eloquent about the bay area weather. Then I realized, the posts I have about the bay area weather are the ones where I complain about how it was not to my exact specification! Truly, you never fully realize what you had till it is gone!