23 September, 2010

Just married. Forever!

A couple of weeks ago, hubby and I hit another wedding anniversary and a friend of mine wrote to me and teased, "You might be able to mislead people by saying ... completing a year of marriage, but I know the truth. Your hubby's been putting up with you for four years. Poor thing!"

Yes dear girl, and that's how its going to be for a long time or at least till Google does something about it.

It happened four years ago, when Google's Orkut was the more popular social networking site among my friends (most of them have now wrapped up their Orkut accounts and moved on to the hipper Facebook). Back then, Orkut, did not have the status message facility and so when we needed to put up a `status update,' as such, we did so in the space meant for our names. When we did that, the update would also replace our gmail chat/gtalk usernames. It was my first wedding anniversary and being proud of the fact that I had successfully completed a year of marriage, I put up a message saying so. Just around that time, Orkut introduced its own status message feature and our latest updates stuck as usernames.

Eversince, in many of my friends' address books, my name has been `Div completing a year of marriage.'

The whole thing is funny now. While I will be completing a year of marriage for ... I don't know how long, I have some friends whose names continue to have some meaningless prepositions (because only half the message is seen) attached to their names. Some others have parts of adages there. Then there other cases: Arch will continue to be smitten. Jen has been out of town for many years now. And poor Ganesh will always be working on his thesis. Ha ha ha!

PS: If I'm in the middle of an IM session with Ganesh, I see a message that says "Working is typing." :)

10 September, 2010

A few dog tales

I was just reading Chelsea Haywood's 90-day Geisha and came across a little story in the novel. It is the story of a dog, in whose honour they now have a statue at Shibuya Station in Tokyo. The dog, Chu-ken Hachiko  is said to have been the pet of a professor and is said to have accompanied his master to the railway station everyday. The loyal canine saw his master off every morning and escorted him back from the station when he returned from work, until one day the professor died at work. However the dog continued to go to the station and wait for him there for years together. Some 10 years later -- they say -- Hachiko was found dead at his usual waiting  place.

Misnomer and unconditional love

This anecdote reminds me of our pet Terror. His name might have been that. but he was actually anything but a terror. Anybody who has known him will agree that he was the best of dogs they ever saw. Coming from a place where dogs are an inevitable part of the household, I remember most of the canines that have been a part of the family over the years. Terror is the oldest one I have known and I can't help saying again - the best!

This brilliant pet had several types of barks, friendly woofs for family, quick short barks for strangers and an aggravated one for a cousin of ours, that he was quite indifferent to, for reasons we know not. Dear Terror  and I grew up together. He was almost my age; slightly older to be exact and my brother often joked and said I'd have to be more respectful of him and address him as I would an older brother. I must say --Terror was very protective of me when I was a little girl.

That apart, he loved shaking hands and loved playing fetch in the river nearby. Terror also had a special bond with my brother and undoubtedly loved him more than he loved himself. We cannot forget how this  lovely pooch, even when he was old and ailing, followed my brother wherever he went, as if he were a shadow. Even if it was a chore that required going round and round in circles, he would be there. Be it day or the middle of the night, if his favourite person in the family stepped out, the poor senile doggie was sure to go along.

When we lost him, it was like having lost a member of the family. Thankfully I was away at boarding school when he or any other pet dog we had, passed away. I remember them all with fond memories and I can write up character sketches of each one of them.

Dingo and Bingo
I remember Dingo and Bingo, the twosome who came charging out when they were let out of their kennels. Little me was often terrified by their sudden burst of energy. That seems like a long, long time ago.

Fluffy Brat, I miss you
I'll never ever forget Panju (meaning cotton in Tamil). His first owner, a dog-trainer in Ooty gave him that name and we continued to call him that when we brought him to Mallu land. He was huge and fluffy and almost lion-like with a furry coat that made it seem as though he had a mane. His disposition was also very royal indeed. His deep-throated barks were majestic too. The people who worked at the estate and every visitor to our house was terrified of this tough looker. I was scared of him when I first met him. However when I befriended him him, I was fell in love with him. I'd make sure to send him my love when I wrote my weekly letters from school. And I had to hear about how he was doing in every reply I received from home.

He was strong. I was no match for him if he decided to go on an adventure all on his own. He was not allowed to run off from our field of view, considering his notoriety with some meek creatures in the neighbourhood. Such a brat! You couldn't help adoring him though.

Everytime he sauntered off, his tail would be up in the air, seeming like he was waving out to everybody. Oh that tail! 

You know how as teenagers we get into those disagreements with the family and end up feeling so unloved? Well, a rebellious teen that I was, I had many of those moments and I just had to take a walk to this canine friend of mine to feel better. He wagged his bushy tail and I was convinced there was 'somebody' who loved me. Panju boy, I miss you so much.

Smart Gypsy 
I remember Gypsy too. This Alsatian was so full of life and looked so perfect. She was beautiful. If she was not hungry at her mealtime, she would hold her dish by her teeth and take it to where she was usually secured once her eating, pooping and playing time was over. That way her food was ready when she was ready for it.

Spoiled Scotty
Scotty the first of the Dobermans (yeah, that's the plural noun) at home and was probably the one who was most-pampered among the whole lot. He walked into any room like it were his own. He once made his way into my room and looked into a tall mirror in there. You can imagine  the ruckus he created that afternoon when he saw 'the dog in the mirror.'

He had a fetish for toothpaste and gunny bags. And when he rested he crossed his fore paws one over the other and literally held his head high. If he were sitting by your feet (I should say `knees' considering his height) he would take the freedom to lean against you like you were his backrest (Ooh! and he was heavy) or happily place his muzzle on your lap. Spoiled sweetheart!  He really was a darling. And one other thing: he would sometimes fuss over his food and we had to feed him with our bare hands. He would eat then. I swear, he'd make sure that he never hurt us with his sharp teeth.

Then there was Danny, also a Doberman. This fellow was always playful. He was a pup when he came home and grew bigger and older in time but he just never grew up. Then there was Hito and Tito named. Sadly Hito had a short life and poor Tito just led a quiet life without his sibling.

I've seen that dogs are very human-like in the fact that they have their own distinct characters. However man's best friend really is sometimes more humane than human beings. They are some of the finest creations the earth ever saw.

Dear Terror, Panju, Gypsy, Scotty, Danny and the others,

31 August, 2010

30 and TTDBT

Bucket List seemed interesting to me when I first heard of it. Then I heard of it again...and again and again. It has been mentioned on television shows, blogs, status messages, so and and so forth till I began to tire of hearing of it. Initially I thought it was a great thing -- a list of things to do before you kicked the bucket-- it speaks of goals, of dreams, of optimism and the like. Good thing. BUT... how are we supposed to know when the deadline (pun totally intended) is?

Anyway, I kicked the idea of a bucket list and made a list of things I would do by birthday 30, which then was barely three months away. My list had three (one for each decade) things. Anyway the birthday came and went. (Gosh! now it sinks in: it's been 360 months and in `days' it would be ... oh! never mind. I'm not any better in mathematics.) Coming back to the point, a friend of mine said to me when he wished me, "Welcome to the thirties." Thank you Joe, but it just dawned on me that I hadn't striked out anything from my 3-point-list of things to do before 30.

Out of the three things, the first two have come a long way, just not enough to deserve those strikes. (I'll make sure to get it done by the close of the year and shall blog about it. Remember to come by to see what I was talking about.) Now the third point on the list had three sub-points. (Sounds complicated? Never mind.) I've had I don't know how many people tell me I'm lazy when it comes to writing. So I thought I'll make it a point to have 30 posts in each of my blogs by birthday 30. Anyway, because I hadn't gotten to where I wanted to, there also (I really am lazy eh), I vowed to get that done by the end of the birthday month. Now out of those three blogs that I have registered, I managed to hit THIRTY- ONE  in one, ( http://dnambiar.wordpress.com/ ) 26 in the travel blog (could not travel too much but I will get to that number asap. That is a promise to myself.) http://dnambiar-travelblog.blogspot.com/ (Actually I started a few `pages there, and that along with some other pictures I have put up there could actually be passed off as posts but it is ok) As for the third blog; this one, where I just write about this and that (aptly named Odds and Ends. Click here http://dnambiar11.blogspot.com/2010/08/ttdbt.htmland I promise you will come back to the same page) I almost got to thirty. I had 29 and then, now that I write about this list (now what do we call a list of things to do (or attempt to do) before 30? Just `Things to do before 30' or TTDBT for short?), I have the 30th post here (with lots of brackets, figures, ellipses, colons, semi-colons and craziness).

I have to drink to this one. Cheers!
(Now you go and write your TTDBT or TTDBF or TTDBTF or whatever. Good luck.)

24 August, 2010

Revisiting childhood

It was only a couple of years ago that I was sounding like a bereaved grown up crying over the passing away of my childhood. I was missing the toys, the carefree life and the fairytale world I had left behind. People say you have a second childhood when you slip into senility. Really?

Well, I'm not there yet. Even middle age is pretty far off but guess what: I'm on a (re)visit to childhood. Yeah. You heard me right. These days I listen to Old McDonald and This old man. I re-enact that action song I learnt in standard II : I'm a little teapot, short and stout (which I actually am; not the teapot bit tho' shh!). How I love doing that "here's my handle, here's my spout..." thing. This is such fun.

Now I can buy picture-books and shop for toys (Boy! these days they come in every form imaginable). I can read stories in which cats and dogs and pachyderms are the central characters. I can watch cartoons, clap to nursery rhymes and even mimic animal noises. I can make frequent trips to the zoo too. This is absolute fun. If anybody out there wants to revisit childhood, I'd recommend having a child.

23 August, 2010

Ads for depression?

Television commercials for anti-depressants are so depressing! They seem like advertisements for 'depression' itself. 

Could information about depression be directly proportional to the mood disorder? Has anybody else felt this way?

09 August, 2010

Bits a pieces from a mommy diary

Every day, every moment, every milestone of the first child, is so fascinating, so gratifying and so ecstatic for a parent. I wonder if I'd be able to be just as excited -- if not more -- for a second child, if I were to have one.  

(This is absolutely a thing for those children who come first. A privilege, I'd say.What are you complaining about, first-borns?) 

Read more in Raves and Rants

02 August, 2010

Tall opportunity

Redwood trees

Opportunity is almost always there. You see it only if you want to see it and how `big' an opportunity it is, depends on the way you look at it.      

-- D Nambiar :)

( Btw, I found this photo-opportunity at Roaring Camp and Big Trees , Felton, CA.)

26 July, 2010

We love our hands like the Chinese love their chopsticks

Just like the English cannot be separated from the fork n' spoon and knife too, the Chinese and their chopsticks go together. And we Indians - we love our hands.

We must all learn how to eat with the fork and spoon, but have you noticed how food actually tastes better when you eat with your bare hands? I have. Or is it a psychological thing? As kids at boarding school, we looked forward to those days when we got `special food,' as that also meant that we got to eat with our hands on those days. Special food came on days like Diwali and Onam and 15 of August (Independence indeed!).

In most Indian restaurants around the world, people who drop in, try to embrace the act of eating with the bare hand. I once witnessed a foreign tourist to India refuse the fork and knife that came along with his Masala Dosa order and I couldn't help smiling.

The other day we had an American friend over for dinner and she chose to have Poori and Baaji with her  hands, Indian style. Later it was desert time and ice cream was served. I went away to put away the some dishes so that I could settle down and enjoy the sweet delight. When I got back I found that her ice cream was untouched. To my quizzical look she quipped: I was waiting to see how you would have your ice cream with your hands. :D.

28 June, 2010

Coffee is my cup of tea

Spain, Barcelona
Now that's what I call good news. The latest study on coffee says that drinking two to four cups a day may lead to a 20 per cent lower risk of heart disease. That's one more reason to fight for my right; the right to my daily dose of caffeine.

And we were told that coffee is bad for the heart, right? That's what coffee haters love to tell us. I had heard that several times, so much so that I had begun to believe that it would be coffee that showed me the way to my grave. I am not into binge consumption of coffee but if you put together the two-three cups of coffee that I have everyday, we'd have a really large number.

I don't know when my love affair with coffee really began. It might have happened during some study leave, when ma brought me a cup of that magic that helped me stay awake to finish my last minute studying. I guess eating or drinking just about anything when you are feeling sleepy wakes you up, but once you begin liking the taste of coffee, it becomes an excuse to gulp down some of the caffeinated goodness. Who doesn't believe that coffee can keep you awake.

I later ended up in a newspaper office and thanks to many of my colleagues who were coffee people, we took those much needed coffee breaks to get us charged up before we filed a story. What more, a friend and I often found ourselves making our way to the office canteen to relax over a cup of coffee after the daily deadlines were met.

What would we do without coffee??

Sometimes I have a craving for coffee at bed time I've often been asked if I could sleep after I had a cup of it. The answer is always Yes. I have found that I could have my coffee and sleep well too. Coffee's been good to me so I seem to be defending my coffee or coffee-drinking habit, so to speak.

Hard core tea-person that he is,  my dad too disapproves of the coffee drinking habit of the rest of the family. Many a time, when he told me of the harm coffee could do to me, I found myself telling him that I was having coffee so that coffee as a crop could have a better market. Smart thing to tell a planter, right? Well, not this one. His reaction to that will be the fact that retail prices keep going up without  making the market any better for the coffee growers. Good point indeed. Yet, every coffee lover must learn to advocate the beverage because there is a lot of coffee-bashing going on and because we want to believe that we cannot survive without it.

Somebody once said "I don't have a problem with caffeine. I only have a problem without it." Whoever said that, collectively spoke for us coffee-aficionados. Whoever said that, was a great coffee `thinker,' I must say.

As for me, my day starts with coffee and sometimes ends with it too. (Kudos to the person who wrote the Nescafe Jingle, "the taste that gets you started out; the taste that gets you going on..." (You said it!) It's what I want when I'm bored or when my spirits are low. It's what I want when I want to just unwind.

Coffee is good for celebration. Coffee is great when you want to catch up with friends. The arguments about the good and bad of coffee can go on. Whatever said and done, Coffee is my cup of tea.

20 June, 2010

Toast: To all Super-Dads

Here's to my dad and my baby's dad,
To every man who takes delight in being a daddy,
And every father who has done his daddy-duty well
To every papa who can provide and protect,
Who can admonish and embrace, all the same,
And doesn't think it lowly to say,'I love you.'

Here's to the man who bade good bye
to the man-behind-the-newspaper image
and played the active parent.
To every man who has changed a diaper
Knows where to find his kids' socks
And can play part-time-mom.

Here's to every pop who's had a proud-daddy moment
Knows what his son's favourite sport is
To every man who treats his daughter like a princess.
To the man who sired and took care too,
Who decided he wouldn't rest until his off-spring
Was ready to go out into the world.

Happy Father's Day to every Super Daddy out there

17 April, 2010

Full Circle

Full Circle: Foliage to Fall and to Foliage again
Pictures from my patio

                                         One November morning

                                          One day in December

                                          A month later in cold January

                                          Finally March springs in :)

03 March, 2010

A thesaurus gone colourless

Lastnight I was looking for a title for a piece of writing and thought only an alliteration would work there. I had been up way past my bed time and my brains just refused to work. Ah! the thesaurus is where I could find the right word, I thought. And so there I was.

Sleepily I open Thesaurus.com and type in 'colourful' and click on Search, and to my chagrin Mr. Know-it-all thesaurus says: No results found for colourful.

At first I thought groggy me had keyed in the wrong spelling. Then I see this next sentence that asks: Did you mean colorful?

Oh my! I'm so tired of this. American spellings!!

Everytime I spell Organisation, Favourite or Realise; or even Centre, my spell check marks it in red. That reminds me of my second standard teacher using her red pen in my book after those dictations I dreaded so much. Back then she would cross out `realize' underline or circle the Z. Phew! I guess some of us will just have to live with these brutal red markings; first in our test books and later in our word documents.

However I wish Mr. (know-it-all) Thesaurus would realise that it is on the World Wide Web that he lives and that there are Indians and Brits and lots of other people in other parts of the world also who use the WW web. He really could be a little more British-English-friendly (and say 'also colourful, like some dictionaries do) after all, it is 'English' that we are talking about.

14 February, 2010

An open letter

Dear Hubby

When I look back at what life has been ever since you became a part of it, I just can't help feeling so blessed. You have filled it up with so much of love and happiness. If not for you, so many good times would not have been just as good, and those not-so-good-days, a lot worse.

Thank you for making me yours. Thank you for standing by me when I came into your world. Thank you for believing in me and cheering me on. With you by my side, I know I can dream and work at making those dreams come true.

It is not everyday that I tell you how much I love you. Now that Valentine's Day is here, and we enter into another year of love, I just want to tell you that I appreciate you and love you more than I can express. My life is what it is, only because you are in it.

Me :)

09 February, 2010

Just say you care

Big red cut-outs of hearts. Red balloons in the shape of hearts, heart shaped candy and chocolate boxes - all in red (or atleast has a red ribbon around it), pretty red skirts and sensuous red lingerie. These were just some of the red and lovey-dovey things I saw at the mall last weekend. Big business? Oh yeah; but now you have more ways to say you care.

'The' red (or should I say the 'reddest') letter day is just around the corner. February 14 means that it is the worldwide festival of love (who doesn't know that, right? Perceptions of Valentine's Day differ, so do the arguments on whether one such day should be observed or not.

Some of the self-proclaimed cultural police in the east, think Valentine's Day is an evil simply because it came from the western half of the world. (Now if we had people half the way around the globe celebrate Diwali, we'd be happy and proud, right? Hello!! Let's have a more open mind).

Then there are others who ridicule the day and say it is silly to set aside a day for love. 

Some say Valentine's Day has been blown up by the players in the card and gift business so that they could make big wins. (So what? They are doing their job. You do yours by finding something to put a smile on your dear one's face. Now your options are many, thanks to you-know-who.)

Still others say that you don't need a `day' to tell somebody that you love him or her. (ok dear, in that case, just how many times a year do you express your love? You surely know that love was not put in your heart to `stay.' Love isn't love till you give it away!)

The arguments about this day will go on. If there is a debate in your mind, let me help you moderate it. Let this Valentine's Day be an excuse to tell that special somebody just how very 'special' he or she is.

Happy Valentine's Day.