Monday, September 03, 2012

She & Me - Part VIII

Back home in Pune, like many medium-class households, we have one television set, and usually the remote control is in the hands of mom in the morning for the share market news and in evening/night with dad for news and some sit-coms. 99% of the times it is SAB TV channel playing out at our home. So I sometimes miss out watching How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men or the re-runs of other English sit-coms. Torrent downloads or swapping hard-disks did enable for some viewing on the computer, but with the available time it usually ended up in watching a couple of episodes of a season. With quite a lot of free time over the weekend here I am getting myself immersed in all the shows I love. I am currently on the Season 5 of Two and a Half Men, Season 5 of How I Met Your Mother and Season 4 of That 70s Show, apart from Season 3 of 24. Though I do like a couple of characters from FRIENDS, I am not very much fond of the overall show as such. A friend here wanted me to start with LOST, but I haven’t yet. I prefer the comedy genre over the others. By the way, there was a character with the name Sudeep in one of the episodes of HIMYM :-)

We had a team builder event on one of the Fridays last month. It was supposed to be a bowling alley event with a positive response from 95% of the team members on the first day itself. But somehow the plan changed to go to a food bank as volunteers. The second day the responses dropped to 5%. I was also in the ‘not coming’ category because I was not sure if I was going to be comfortable handling non-vegetarian food items while serving there, and did not want to be a volunteer who turned up to do nothing. Then there was an episode of HIMYM in which the characters Ted and Robin sift through dry & packed boxes of food items in a food bank. So I made a call to the organizer and she said that all food items will be sealed and there would be no actual food serving there. Also another colleague insisted that since everyone sits at different locations it would be a good chance to interact with others considering that I had recently moved and very few in the team knew me. So I went to the team builder event and there were many who did not know what was to be done at the food bank.

She (seated next to Me at the assembly-point table): Hi! I am She.

Me: Hi! I am Me.

She: Whose team are you working with?

Me: X’s team.

She: It is such a bad turnout for this event.

Me: Hmm, the bowling thing would have been more fun for everyone.

She: Do you know what is to be done here?

Me: I have a very faint idea, but do you know how I met your mother?

She (ecstatic): OMG, you are from Chennai? How and when did you meet my mother?

Me: Err that didn’t turn out the way I was saying…

There were many other groups for volunteering and every group was assigned to a different area in the food bank. By the way, all that our group did was prepare the paper bags for the food delivery.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Kid me not

In case you know Marathi language, and you have travelled/going to travel abroad then you should definitely listen to Pu La Deshpande’s Pravaasachi Tayari. If you find a video then have a look (and share it with me). It is not that you won’t enjoy it if you were not travelling, but then it is worth when you get to compare it to the travel tips/instructions you get from your family and friends, even if the instructions are different in the modern world. I am glad I copied all those audio files while packing my stuff and I enjoyed listening to it more than I had heard it back home. One of the instructions I had got while leaving for US was about kids. I am fond of kids, and a cute little kid is an absolute delight to watch (only when he/she is smiling). So I am bombarded with – Don’t pick up any cute looking kid you like in a mall/on the road like most of us do here. Don’t smile at them. Don’t even look at them. With all the paedophilia scare, I took all those instructions to the heart, and in the first two weeks here I even avoided one of my colleague’s one year kid when I was visiting him at his place. With not many friends staying close by and the transportation issues here all I get to do over weekends is keep myself engaged in some activity at home or visit a few colleagues in this same community, or swimming (more on that in some different post). One of the colleagues has a one year daughter who has started speaking a few syllables, and when I visit them the conversation with her goes like this.
Ba (both hands up in the air)
Yes I know we are late for the pool, but your dad is still by his laptop for the office work.
Ba (touches her nose)
Is she having a cold due to the pool water?
Dad - No, we are teaching her facial features
At the age of 1?
Aa (points to the gallery – or patio as they call it here – door)
Yeah your parents should be kicked out of there. I am sure that at the age of 5 they want you to win the spelling bee.
Aa (both hands up in the air again)
They never tell you those things while bringing you to this world. It is a big bad world out there.
Pe (shows three fingers of one hand)
You want to see Teen Thay Bhai movie? Cocktail was released yesterday, so better to watch that.
Uu (points to the television set where Pingu the penguin show is on)
Pingu is cute, but Diana Penty looks good from the promos.
Ka (brings her toy car)
Yes I am saving to buy a car. A real one.
Ba (points three fingers again, this time with one bent)
You are absolutely right. I downloaded some of the Two and a Half Men seasons.
Aa (both hands bent with the I-don’t-know gesture)
I don’t know if this country has any laws against downloading movies or series from torrents. Or for that matter p0rn.
Mom - Downloading what?
Err Pawn Stars, the series where they show buying-selling historical stuff. Is it legal to download it from torrents?

The guy had a chuckle while his wife stared in disbelief. And that strikes out one of the homes-to-visit list for me. Also that made me start preparing pav-bhaji, more on that as well sometime later. So the thing is that the fear of smiling at a cute kid is more there for the desi ones, but not yet for a firangi one, even with blue eyes.

Moreover it is amazing how children are great at learning things adults take time. A Marathi speaking friend of mine who has been here for more than a year still pronounces message (as in a text message) as masej (mas as in masculine), but his 5-6 year old daughter who plays with the local kids goes Mommmmyyy in a typical American accent. I had to pay more attention while listening to her than it is necessary when I hear the client’s full time employees speak. I was going to ask jokingly, “You sure she is YOUR kid?” But hey I am not here to strike off the entire homes-to-visit list.

P.S.: Some families I saw in the malls had 4-6 kids. I mean do they really like making babies or is it just for the income tax benefits?

Monday, July 02, 2012

Life is a sojourn

It was probably my 8th or 9th birthday when I had got a greeting card, from one of my maternal uncles, which had the first line as “Life is a sojourn here on earth”. Then a brief (excerpt) of some advice/thoughts followed this which I don’t remember, but the word sojourn remains etched in my mind since that day. Back then I did not understand the meaning of that word and I am not sure if I ever got a chance later to use it anywhere. Here is an opportunity for me to use it after around 20 years.

I have moved to US last month on an onsite assignment, which could last a year (or less if they plan to kick me out :D). The location is in Phoenix (Arizona)… yes it is HOT, and people are saying this is just the beginning, phew! I find it funny when people say that this is a good weather for you to come here. Even A/B said that I would enjoy the summer. I had stayed alone for months together earlier, but that was at home itself when mom was visiting dad in his transferred places. Here it is alone in an altogether new country where I am trying to get used to call the ‘room/apartment’ as ‘home’. Add to that trying to juggle the new work routine with other daily chores which includes cooking. It has been quite a month so far! Thus begins a new tag The American Sojourn, which hopefully will see some more posts, considering the frequency of posts over the last year he he he. I wish that this experience teaches me something good for the future.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

T(r)oying with delusion

“Master your tremendous pride, Achilles. You have no need to be so stubborn. Even the gods themselves, for all their greater majesty, honour and power, are capable of being swayed. When someone has gone too far and done wrong, they supplicate gods with sacrifice and soft prayers, libations and burnt-offerings, to turn them from their anger. There are goddesses of supplication, Litae, daughters of almighty Zeus. These Litae are wrinkled creatures, limping, eyes askance, who make it their business to pursue Delusion. But Delusion is strong and sure-footed, because she is quick enough to leave them all behind. Roaming the world, Delusion brings mankind to grief. But the Litae come after and put the trouble right. The man who respects these daughters of Zeus when they approach him is greatly blessed by them, and they listen to his prayers. But when a man hardens his heart and rebuffs them, they go and supplicate Zeus, asking that Delusion accompany the man so that he comes to grief and pays the price.”
- Phoenix in his speech to Achilles from The Iliad by Homer (translation by E.V. Rieu, revised by Jr. Rieu and Peter Jones)

I am reading The Iliad, and it has been interesting so far. To read their speeches during the war is a few steps ahead than just knowing the main characters through the movie or earlier read information on websites. The characters, their speeches, outbursts and other elements of the story/book are so analogous to the modern times and I keep comparing the IT industry (or could rather be any workplace) hierarchy with the Greek/Trojan camps. A disgruntled employee thundering at his superior questioning his expertise, calling him a pig, and stating that all others are work hard whereas it is the superior who reaps benefits.