Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I want MORE.I want it ALL.

We are seldom satisfied with what we have.We want more.We want a better job that would bring in more money to be able to afford fancy stuff.And once we burn a huge BMW shaped hole in our pockets while attempting to buy the aforementioned fancy stuff,we want more money to fill the gaping hole and thus continues the saga.

We are also very susceptible to the perils of comparison in terms of materialistic possessions or otherwise(beauty,intellect etc) and that is when jealousy rears its ugly head.On most occasions,we manage to groan and curse inwardly and not display our true emotions on the outside.As long as one manages to acknowledge the truth that it is supremely difficult to be all zen and remain unaffected by another person's success but at the same time be civil enough to not let negativity get the better of him,its all good.

Sue and Parul talk about how a strong sense of resentment is building up in the lesser privileged folks.I am yet to encounter this form of resentment but I have however been subjected to a different form of resentment and that too from very unexpected quarters.Let me elaborate.

An acquaintance from Bangalore was in town for a month on work and visited us quite often during that period.Now this guy is about 6 years older than we are and works as a HR manager in a highly reputed and big company and his wife is doing pretty well for herself too.They have a 3 year old son.They recently bought an apartment.Nothing wrong with this picture right?I thought so as well but that was from from true.Now at the outset,everything seemed good and he seemed happy to meet us and spend time with us.We dutifully took him around the city and showed him the sights and had him over for dinner every now and then or took him out to dinner so that he could try a new cuisine.After a few visits,I started noticing his resentment.He would often make comments on how his flat in Bangalore had 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and yet, was smaller than our 1 bedroom apartment on the whole.Or how we eat out often and we can afford to do so since we do not have children yet.Why do you need a big screen TV? A regular TV isn't good enough for you any more is it? he asked. You people here in the US are so spoiled, he said.Everything of course was said in jest and was supposed to be a big joke according to him but it was very hard to ignore the inherent bitter undertone.It was like he was challenging me to a duel to see how I would react.Not the one to be cowered down,I gave it right back to him of course but I could not go all out.It was after all a double edged sword.I say too much and I will be eternally branded as a big show-off.If on the other hand,I say too less and I will have to live with the knowledge that this guy almost insulted me and got away with it.

It was a revelation,his behavior and reaction, to us and our lifestyle.He was trying so hard to make us feel guilty for being better off than him inspite of us being younger.It was almost as if we had been given everything that we owned in charity.I just don't get it.Its not like we started of like this.In fact,when M and I got married, all we truly had that was ours was a hefty student loan.We had very little money but somehow it never affected us too much.We were happy.We worked hard and we got by and we saved and we scraped and here we are.Whatever little we have today is what we earned.And I am guessing this is the case with most people,isn't it?We of course are discounting those lucky bums that had rich forefathers leave behind pot loads of gold and a palace or two.

The icing on the cake,however, wass this ridiculous assumption that since we lived in the US of A,we made more money than our counterparts back home and that money here,came by very easily.So as a rule of thumb, we are forced to do the spending every time we go out with him and his family, either here or in Bangalore.

I can perhaps understand if my maid or my watchman or that homeless person on the street showed resentment.I would attribute that to lack of education and class and years of suppressed angst.But when a well-educated man makes such banal comments and shows such utter lack of good judgement,respect and class, it is very hard to digest.

Monday, September 15, 2008


This weekend was a quiet one and was mostly spent indoors thanks to the incessant rains that came our way courtesy hurricane Ike.The husband was engrossed in Wii Tennis and monopolized the television.And like any other self-respecting techie,I took control of the laptop.During random website hopping, I chanced upon some videos of the Tamil talk show hosted by Anu Hassan.We used to watch this show quite regularly when my parents were here on vacation and I did quite like it as Anu did a darn good job as the host.So this week, her guests on the show belonged to the cast of a newly released Tamil movie which was apparently about a prostitute with a golden heart.The interview itself proceeded along familiar lines and everything seemed ok until the producer of the movie decided to share his two cents.He said something along the lines of :

"I come from a Brahmin family.When I heard the subject,I was very apprehensive about producing such a film since it had a prostitute as the main protaganist.I had several discussions with my family and only when they gave me their blessing,I decided to go ahead."

So yes,the oldest trade known to man is a touchy and uncomfortable subject to dwell upon.But what does being a Brahmin have to do with it?And this was just cinema.A form of art.Why the need to over-indulge and pontificate? Why unnecessarily bring in religion and caste ?

I was now curious to see what the fuss was all about and proceeded to watch the movie online.I could just about sit through the first 10 minutes.There is acting and then there is acting. Even if I could ignore the absurd and ridiculous portrayal of a harlot by the lead actress,the way the story was unfolding was just so damn ridiculous.This woman lives in a small town and everyone in the town knows what she does for a living.But she is so overly generous and helpful that everyone worships her.She is portrayed as this pious goddess who would have had a temple constructed in her name if not for her profession.Every other dialog was a eulogy to her.I really did not get what the director was trying to convey through this film.Why the need to glorify this character? So it does not matter that you are a prostitute as long as you spend the rest of your time and all your money in emulating Mother Teresa?

Amar Prem and Pretty Woman belong to the same genre and then there is this excuse for a movie.Enough said.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

And the award goes to...

It is always a good feeling when your presence is acknowledged by others and hence I graciously accept these awards that come my way thanks to lovely La Vida Loca and the brilliant Thoughtroom.

Brilliant Weblog is a prize given to sites and blogs that are smart and brilliant both in their content and their design. The purpose of the prize is to promote as many blogs as possible in the blogsphere.

The rules:

1. When you receive the prize you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back
2. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in their content or design.
3. Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘Brilliant Weblog’
4. Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize (optional).
5. And then we pass it on!

I find many blogs to be brilliant in terms of content,some of which are as follows:

The Bride : I am regular reader of her blog where she writes about her life as a journalist in Hong Kong and life in general.She has a very unique style of writing which is very thought-provoking and sattirical at the same time.

Biker The Dude : A celebrity in the making,this guy can knock your socks off with his humour.A multi-faceted guy,his hillarious bengulooru banter makes for a fun read.

Ms.Loca was sweet enough to consider her blogging friend forever and confer upon me this award as well:

Keeping with tradition,its my pleasure to pass this one to the following wonderful folks that I was lucky enough to get acquainted through my blog :

Dottie - a wonderful friend with a cheerful disposition.I could talk to her for hours on end!

Silvara - she writes with such honesty and innocence that it is like a breath of fresh air.I am so glad I discovered her blog!

La Vida Loca - she has a quirky sense of humor and is always so positive!

The Mad Momma - She dons several roles and manages to perform each one with aplomb! She is a very warm person and I am a huge fan of hers!

Chandni - A selfless person involved in some amazingly selfless work and yet you would never find her blowing her own trumpet which she so easily could if she wanted to.Its been a pleasure knowing her and I am looking forward to meeting her in person someday soon!

Orchid - She is another blogger that I had the pleasure of meeting in person.She threw open her lovely home to us by inviting us over for her son's birthday party and made sure that we never felt out of place that evening.

Divya Iyer - She seems like a very easy-going and intelligent gal who can turn even a mundane event into an exciting adventure on paper!

Renovatio - A very talented and creative guy with such a mature head over those young shoulders! Its been so much fun knowing this guy and he is yet another Delhi-ite that I look forward to meeting someday.

Pri - She writes so well!Her blog is as hillarious as it can get!

ThoughtRoom - A brilliant writer and an amazingly talented artist! She writes with a lot of honesty and integrity and I am really glad I got to know her.

Clueless Chick - We supposedly went to the same school!Though our acquaintance has been a recent one,I hope it will mature into a wonderful friendship.

Dewdropdreams - She comes across as a very vibrant and cheerful gal!I am so glad I came across her blog!

Abha - Her wonderfully warm and friendly smile says it all! Her passion and zest for life is reflected so well in her writing.I cannot wait to meet her and the little darling Cubby on my next trip to Bangalore!

Asaan - A supermom with so many varied interests!She does everything with so much poise and enthusiasm that she makes being a busy mom of 4 wonderful kids look so easy!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

She said. He said.

I believe in God.I am not religious per say.A puja for me is a silent conversation,which is in English most of the times, that I have with this really strong and universal symbol of strength that I simply refer to as God.But I love gaities and the beautiful bonding as a family, that a festival brings with it.All the rituals associated with a festival evokes very strong and fond memories for me since I associate them with my parents and close relatives and friends back in Bangalore.It is a very strange juxtaposition that I enjoy being a part of rituals simply because I associate them with the good times I have had at family gatherings.But I do not much care for the religious aspects of the said rituals.For instance,not being allowed to participate in functions during one's menstrual cycle or the rigorous madi system that is followed.All these customs do have a resonably logical explanation like hygiene and cleanliness and as long as that is what it is about,I am fine.But the moment people start twisting things around and turn the whole thing into a freaking circus, that's when it gets my goat.

The other day,I was invited to this distant relative's house for the traditional "arishina-kumkuma" or "haldi-kumkum" ritual after a puja.I wanted to wear a saree on this occasion and I did try to drape one too.The fact of the matter is that my saree-draping skills totally suck.I can never get both the pleats at the waist and pullu, right.It is either one or the other unfortunately, thereby enforcing a ration on my traditional and ethnic Indian wardrobe.After 3 highly unsuccessful attempts,I just gave up and went back to the trusted silk salwar-kameez.I got acquainted with this distant relative very recently and she actually appears to be very sweet and affable.Her in-laws are in town and hence the festivities in their household were on a very grand scale.So I reached their place and introduced myself and tried to explain to her in-laws to the best of abilities,how she and I are related.I don't think I made much sense though.The ice was broken as soon as her mother-in-law discovered that my parents lived in the same neighborhood in Bangalore as them.We chatted for quite some time during which she asked me about the husband and his work and I found myself starting my next sentence with, "namma yejamaandru..."(ewww gross!) that literally translates to "my owner" but is used colloquially in Kannada to refer to one's husband.I managed to surprise myself immensely at that point as this was the something about which I gave a lot of grief to all my aunts and cousins who used the aforementioned phrase.I was sub-consciously trying not to give the lady the impression that that husband and I are bohemian or liberal in any way.There was no mention made about how the husband cooks and cleans not because he wants to help but because it is his home too.You get my drift right?I had a really good time at their place but I could not stop thinking about how the evening had played out.

See the thing is I have never had to watch what I say or do with neither my parents nor my in-laws.Both sets of parents are very liberal when it comes to us so I have always been myself with them.Why, then, was I being so watchful of my actions that evening?Was it because those people were related to us and everything I did or said would somehow be a reflection on my parents and family?Or was it because she was much much older and I somehow felt a sense of obligation to say and do the "right" thing and stick to protocol?

I have come across several instances when people have blindly attributed someone's supposedly bad behavior to bad upbringing by his/her parents.Especially when it comes to the daughter-in-law.A very good friend's brother got married recently to his college sweetheart.The wedding happened with much grandeur and with everybody's blessings.A month later,my friend seemed a tad unhappy with her new sister-in-law.

"She hardly talks to people.We have visitors all the time and she hardly interacts with them.Didn't her parents teach her social etiquette?" she said.

I was too shocked to reply as this was coming from someone who has an MBA in Marketing and is one of the most intelligent women I know.Since when did being shy and uncomfortable in a new environment go from being most natural to a social taboo and a sign of bad parenting I wonder.

It probably was playing at back my mind when I visited my relatives.Communication and exchange of information between the US and Bangalore happens at such lightening speed these days.And I would want my family to continue to look good and rule the roost,no?