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Archive for August, 2010

Poll please!

We have a family reunion and friends reunion(2 separate events) coming up in a few days and I look like a giant bear, all hairy and unkempt. At this point I look like I can give Kroor Singh a run for his money when it comes to the shabby-brow look, my face hasn’t seen a hint of care for ages now, my nails are like an ogre’s, dirty and faded, and my fingers and toes could use a nice scrubbing with sand paper. But I only have two evenings in which to accomplish everything, and a ton of laziness to stop me from doing so. On one hand, I know my friends and cousins really know me well enough to not get shocked by my appearance, on the other, I, for once, want to be this svelte and polished woman who takes care of herself(loud guffaws). So, dear readers, I am doing what any self-respecting blogger would do. Poll all of you.

So tell me, should this blogger shed her laziness and visit the beauty parlor this evening to make herself presentable, or would she be better off lazing on the couch, watching Friends?

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More heartbreak

I was just talking to my friend about this news link she sent me about the Srilankan maid who was operated upon to remove nails that her Saudi Arabian employers had hammered into her. And we got talking about what gives people the right to behave in such an inhuman manner with other human beings. This triggered an old memory.

There used to be this family who lived in a house diagonally behind ours, and we shared a wall corner. The family consisted of father, mother, a daughter and a younger son and there was a weak, frail old person too, the grandfather. We used to call him dadaji. Dadaji was a couple of years older to my own Tata and they both were good friends, going on walks together and going to the temple with flowers ‘picked’ from all neighbors’ plants ;-). We kids also got along quite well. So everyone got along well, but there was an unspoken tension between us two families. The reason for which I understood when I went to their place one day, and saw that dadaji lived in the space under the stairs, outside the actual house. And his ‘room’ had an aluminium plate, an old glass for water, and a thin mattress. A small bag held his possessions. He was provided 3 meals a day in his plate, and he had to eat them in his ‘room’ and wash his plate afterwards. He was not allowed to play too much with his grandkids. My parents and grandparents knew about this, and hence they were always cold to dadaji’s son and bahu.

Dadaji often came over to our place to have tea, and sometimes to eat too. One day, since dadaji was not feeling very good, I and my sister were asked to walk him home. We did so and waited at the gate so dadaji could safely walk into his ‘room’. No sooner did he step into the premises, the bahu walked out of the house and started yelling at him. I don’t exactly remember what she said but the essence was about why he ate at other people’s houses and tell them she doesn’t feed him well. I remember the tears in dadaji’s eyes. He mumbled an apology and closed his eyes.

I never ever spoke to aunty after that. We had two grandparents at home and I could not imagine any one of us yelling at them for having eaten at a friend’s place. That was the last we saw of him. 2 days later we found out that dadaji had passed away the same day the incident happened, and they only found he was dead the next morning when he did not wake up. For a whole evening the old man’s body lay there, and no one knew. Because none of them actually spent any time with him.

Why did I think about this? Because if human beings are capable of behaving in such a disgusting manner with their own relations, imagine what they can do to strangers.

I still remember dadaji’s smiling face, his old, bent body, his bald head and his flimsy clothes. He was a very nice person, who, I am sure, went to heaven, unlike his son and bahu, who are going where the bad ones go!

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Food Network FAIL!

Thanks everyone for commenting on my last post.

I have been watching too much television these days. The kind of television that doesn’t need brains to process or enjoy. The next food network star for example. It was clear from the get go that the network people and the judges simply knew they wanted Aarti Sequeira to be the winner, still they dragged the show on, for 15 weeks, created a false chink in Aarti’s armor and tried to keep us lesser mortals on the edge of our seats. I don’t think it works. Do I like the new Food network star? I don’t know. I watched the premiere of her show, Aatri Party and was underwhelmed. She made a crappy looking sloppy joe with Turkey, only, she Indianized it by adding some Garam Masala, she showed us her masala dabba(the masala dabba made its debut on American Television this week) and made some stupid looking kulfi and she said that she remembers old Bollywood movies where the heroine is eating a kulfi and walking along the water and the hero is trying to woo her. Now, one of you dear readers please tell me what movie is that from? Didn’t she totally make that up? And the most annoying part was she kept saying “we” do this, “we” do that, meaning that Indians do this, Indians do that, etc. I am not even sure what information that gave to the viewers, except that Indians do some things and that Aarti is an Indian! I was so excited at the idea of an Indian themed show on Food Network, with Globalization and so much awareness about international cuisine, it was time for such a show, but Aarti seems like a total phony! Now, had she made ‘real’ Indian food, that people identify, like Samosas, Chat, Butter Chicken or the good old dal(lentils) I would have loved her. This weak attempt at fusion cooking is not working for me, if all fusion means is a dash of jeera and some Garam Masala! Right now, other than the competition type shows, I really don’t like any other shows on the food network. Ina is super annoying with her “Good vanilla” spiel, Paula gives me heart attacks every time she puts a little bit of butter(read 2 sticks) into that biscuit, the Neelys just need a room to themselves, they don’t belong on a food based show, and Rachel Ray is getting so plastic that she will cease being a human soon. The best FN shows right now are Chopped, Cupcake Wars, Iron Chef and of course Good Eats!

Then I caught up on The Big Bang Theory and all was right with the world again.

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There is a huge ongoing debate in the US about an Islamic cultural center that is proposed 2 blocks from the WTC site. And every loser of a politician and their mothers are jumping at the opportunity to add to the noise. Most, as expected, are opposing the construction of the center, which will also include a mosque, saying it will be an insult to the memory of the thousands who were killed my Islamic terrorists on September 11, 2001.

I heard on the radio this morning that more than 50% of Americans are not sure if Obama is a Muslim or a Christian, only because he does not seem like a very religious person.(rather, he does not flaunt is religion). No one asked them if it matters to them what religion he was. Why is that important? Because there is separation of church and state in the US. So it should not matter if your leader was a Christian or a Muslim or an atheist. But in reality, it does, and Obama, instead of saying “So what if I was a Muslim”, continues to say, “I am not a Muslim, I am a Christian”. Boy, I would hate to be a Muslim in this environment. I mean, some crazy fanatics do something bad, and the whole of my community is ostracized for that. The president is ashamed of being associated with my religion, most Americans openly oppose the building of a cultural center in Manhattan, something that was on the cards for decades now.

If you hear the opposition to the Islamic center, you would think that the exact same Muslims who want the center built actually flew the plane into the twin towers. One popular republican even went so far as to say that there wouldn’t be a Nazi center near the holocaust site, or a Japanese center near Pearl Harbor. But then, isn’t it an unfair comparison? Can you say all Germans are Nazis? Similarly, a German center is very different from a Nazi center. Germans are to Nazis, like Muslims are to Islamic terrorists. There is NO CONNECTION as far as I see it. Also, there is a Shinto temple near Pearl Harbor.

I was listening to all the opposition to the center, on the radio this morning, and Sarah Palin started to talk about why it would be disrespectful to build a mosque at the WTC site. But then, the proposed center is a good 2 blocks away from the site. How far away is far enough? 10 blocks? Would that not hurt the sentiments of the public?

If all religions are to be treated equally, the Islamic center opposition really has no ground to stand on, unless they want to say that all religions, except some, are to be treated equally.

**Update** I just realized that this is my 300th post. In honor of this milestone, I would ask all of you lurkers to show yourself. Go on, show of hands 🙂

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Someone tell me already!

Is the end of the world near? Did I miss the memo?

We had record cold temperatures and snow levels this winter, as late as January end. Then, come July, we had record heat, now it is raining like the end of the world. Pakistan is getting submerged, the rains in northern India are not stopping, China has the same fate. There are storms every other in the US. Soon it will be time for wild fires on the west coast. Young, vivacious little kids are dying of horrible diseases, tell me, really, is the world going to end soon?

There is so much bad in the world that it seems like the world would just crumble over itself, trying to support all the sin. You turn on the news and all you get is sensationalism. An 18 year old mother dumped her new-born in trash, where the baby suffocated to death. Now the girl is undergoing trial, and looks stoic. How do you not see this and cry? How do you keep the faith anymore? The world is indeed going to end.

There should be a sign, something that should let us all know that our time is up, so we can go ahead and do whatever it is that we wanted to do before we die. I for one, would quit working, stop caring about that savings account, and go on a world tour, And not complain about taxes, after all they won’t be permanent anymore!

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I have been thinking a lot about Tejaswee. The 19-year-old, vivacious, smart daughter of our own IHM who passed away on August 11th, after a futile battle with dengue.

In what kind of world do 19 year olds die because of a disease. It is not supposed to happen that way. Kids are supposed to live a full life, get a gamut of experiences and grow up into smart and compassionate adults. And how come parents are left to deal with 19 years of memories to look back on, and lament the loss of their lovely child? What kind of God looks over this world of ours where the innocent and the weak have to go? And what scientific advances are we boasting of when a fever can kill people? If there is a God, these things would not happen. And where is that God when hundreds of us were praying for the poor girl’s life?

Please do read Tejaswee’s blog, and do leave a thought for IHM. Although she is coping with the tragedy in ways that none of us could ever imagine, I am sure a kind word from all of us would sooth her crying heart.

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Please join me in sending good vibes and thoughts IHM’s way. Her daughter is fighting for her life as we speak. Hoping and praying for her speedy recovery.

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