Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Few of My Favorite Things

If I sat counting the number of times I have watched The Sound of Music, I might eventually fall asleep. The reason could be due to the fact that it was the only video cassette my parents possessed. When we lived in Andhra Pradesh, we didn’t have cables running through our primitive dwelling (or so called colony) and hence didn’t even get Doordharshan. Apart from my family, Dev uncle owned a TV. But without a VCR, the TV served no one. So 34 movie deprived colony folks would cram into our living room and my dad would screen ‘The Sound of Music’ with pride. The audience was thrilled and would clap every time someone said something- even when Captain Von Trapp was telling the teary eyed Maria to shut up.

They came diligently the next Sunday and they were treated to ‘The Sound of Music’ again. By the third round they had gotten over the novelty of a television actually working in these parts and paid rapt attention to the story and characters instead (while ooh-aahing over Salzburg). It took them some five more sittings to finally give up on the movie and look for other avenues of entertainment like climbing trees.

During New Years, the club house boasted of showing a new movie. ‘Not Sound of Music’ was printed on the flyers. People flocked eagerly and when the screen showed the breathtaking Alps and a little speck that quickly grew in proportion to look like Julie Andrews, the guests wanted to ship my dad off to Austria. The truth was that the organizers wanted to get the movie ‘Sita aur Gita’, but as luck would have it, there was some last minute betrayal. Hence my dad was their last resort.

But I was hooked to the timeless story of the seven children, their lovable governess, the stern captain and mostly the immortal score that was so pivotal to the movie. As a kid, I was enamored by those children. As a teenager, I was lusting after Christopher Plummer (like I said, I wasn’t exposed to any other man). I got quite intrigued by the story and poured into books on the World War and Hitler’s Nazi army. When I was 20, I was jealous of Maria because the guy I had a crush on, told me that he wanted to marry a girl just like her. As much as I may, I could’t stitch clothes or sing.

To this day I watch the movie when my heart is lonely. I still insist on crying.

'My favorite things' is my all time favorite. I won something for singing this song at a school competition. I might have been the only contestant or I might have been studying in a ‘hearing and speech impaired’ school, I don’t recall. I couldn’t get enough of 'Do Re Me', and in an effort to shut me up, my parents recorded my rendition and played it back to me. It did the trick.

Kala and I became very good friends as we bonded by singing ‘Maria’ mimicking the different high-pitched shrill nun voices. It was late at night in her house and her parents came running to the room thinking we were killing her cat.

I was inconsolable when I turned seventeen coz I could no longer croon -‘I am sixteen, going on seventeen’ with that conviction anymore. Innocent as a rose? Who was I kidding! No longer timid and shy and scared. Men, beware as I embark.

One of the best times I had during my Himalayan expedition was singing ‘The Hills are alive with the Sound of Music’ on the top of my lungs when I was surrounded by the snow clad Gharwal peaks on all four sides. I could feel what Maria felt in those hills. On top of the world. The rest of my team seemed to be freezing as they were clutching their ears with their gloved hands. I think am ready to visit the Austrian Alps. My practice ought to be thorough by now.

One day, completely throwing me off guard, a certain special someone sang to me ‘For here you are standing there loving me, whether or not you should.’ Reciprocating this romantic gesture, I laughed. Real hard.

I’m thankful to the movie and to my parents for shoving it down my throat. I still feel the lump. Thanks also to a friend who got me the DVD and CD a few years ago. Man, if one movie can give me so many nostalgic moments, I wonder how much more interesting life would have been if my parents had something that resembled a movie collection.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Interested Anyone? -Season II

Interested Anyone?, the hit show on POTP is back for its Second Season! The last one was a grand success (to my knowledge only). Every human candidate on the list got hooked up. Some are even married. (Yogi, I did mention human, didn’t I?) Ok, somehow it didn’t work the way it was intended…people protested and took matters in their own hands hoping never to be featured again. Patrix dumped Smiley and got engaged to Ash just because she looked better. Whatever it was, it worked in getting people moving. Now Alpha is considering a new set of not-so-fresh faces to be this season’s Bachelors and Bachelorettes. We hope our ‘single’ readers plunge in and seek companionship with our noteworthy candidates. Alpha is maha concerned about their lone standing in the universe especially when time is jaunting happily ahead.

Presenting to you *Tipu Sultan soundtrack*-

Pickup line: You are priceless. Can I take a picture of you?
Expected answer: Absolutelee! Censored or uncensored?

Lee is very much single and would have settled with any random person a few years ago (yeah, even Yogi). Now she says she knows exactly what she wants- the strong silent types who like to be surrounded by local news. They look like mannequins to me. Before the desert heat gets to her and she breaks into one of these department stores in Dubai looking for the oasis in her life, we need to get her settled down quick. She can’t be running marathons and climbing rocks at this age. (Basically I am jealous, that’s all.)

Helpful hints: It’s not easy to impress her. Hmm.. that was not very helpful na? Ok, learn to solve the Rubik’s cube or be a cabbie who doesn’t ask silly questions.

Pickup line- “Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr !! It’s cold …. yuxtremely cold !”
Expected answer- Can I dig my nose?

Guys, proceed with caution and don’t sue me if a husband tapkos from somewhere while you are getting all mushy for her. Obviously my homework is not very thorough. But I strongly suspect she is single as she put up this matrimonial on her blog. (Wonder who does her PR! Big head, maniacal laugh, Capsicum nose!) Please be kind to her in spite of all that.

Some helpful hints: To get her attention you could dedicate a song in Radio City. She dislikes male colleagues in general and abuses them on daily basis. Not advisable to secure job in her company unless you are a masochist. Don’t bring up baby issue in your first date.

Pick up line- Wanna see my centipede?
Expected answer- *blush*

A milkman by profession who travels with a centipede. When you ask him,’ Kya bhiayya, this is water or milk?!’, he’d let his centipede loose on you. Unbelievable business acumen that!

I urge you NOT to read his matrimonial. Now I am not to be blamed if you are spooked out. I DID warn you. Now you have no option, but to buy that Vanilla flavored toothpaste and keep it near the bedside or hoard on vanilla ice-cream all night long. I heard Goofy is giving classes on licking elbows if you might be interested. In any case, please be applying soon. Last I heard, playboy playmate Synus Mucus (that takes care of the porn insecurity point), daughter of renowned insect collector of exotic Timbuktu, is in the line for Rhyncus’ hand in holy matrimony. She can cry through her nose (hence the name) and she loves diamonds. Why she is almost perfect except for one point- her morning breath smells of two dead centipedes. So hurry up gals!

Helpful hints: Buy vanilla toothpaste.

Pick up line- You are probably a Raffaello- someone whom I wouldn’t try, given your specs… but might end up loving you if I did.
Expected answer- Buffalo?

Hardu means ‘hard’ in Kannada just like softu means soft. I don’t want to know the origins for that name… does sound very kinky to me. Well, Hardu claims she is actually a softie with a hard shell (sorta like a turtle) and says she is not interested in love (psst..this is all for the nosy brother’s sake). But then she goes around making a checklist in the sly. Only worrisome aspect is that the brother spent all his money on Hardu’s education and is borrowing huge sums for his wife’s education. So don’t expect much in dowry. The whole family speaks in German when they have nothing better to do. The freaky part with German is you can’t tell the good from the bad. They all sound like bad words.

Helpful hints: Learn German so you both can watch Harry Potter. I couldn’t muster enough guts to see it in English itself. Also try to butter up the sister-in-law. She seems like the control freak types. Helpful hints in that regard: SIL loves food and Hritik Roshan.

His pick up line- I’m NO Superman.
Fully expects the girls to go- Awww…you are!

I had to include him as I can’t deal with a grown up man sulking and all. He already has many women vying for his attention (in his dreams) and claims he is … (oh, he claims a lot of things that haven’t been verified by yours truly). So we’ll leave it at that. He does have a sensitive side when he poses for photos and not so sensitive side when he tries to impress women with his Hindi.

Helpful hints: Look past everything you see and you may find what you are looking for when you aren’t looking at that.

Leave your interests and whereabouts in my comment box and mention a wedding date before consulting astrologer. The couple who sends in proof of 5 love-email exchanges will get a free couple template designed exclusively for you by the exalted Chugs (if the girl doesn’t like his design, she can have him). They will also be mentioned in Desi-Pundit with appropriate links.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

White, Black, Brown and Red

Now who stops at an intersection when the light is yellow? Some idiotic guy with a gleaming new red Pontiac did and he was duly rear-ended by me. It’s rather difficult to pay attention to the road when one needs to change the CD, reach for the phone and dig the nose at the same time. So like I was saying, I was forced to come to complete halt while I was trying to make it to work in decent hour. Next thing I know the darn fellow jumped out from his car, ran to his bumper and started jumping up and down, screaming expletives with flaying hands at my direction! I guessed he might be a little pissed and thought of sliding my window down and offering an apology to calm him down. Before I could even say Sorry or something to that effect, he ordered me to get off the car and check out the damage to his new car. (Who buys a brand new car in Chicago anyway?) Fine! What a bore! I got off and looked... now carefully… now squinting. Dammit! Just a teeny scratch and he was causing a ruckus for that?! ‘I need your insurance details, miss’, he demanded.

Before I could dig into my purse and throw that information on this chap’s face, a brown town car screeched to a halt with some loud jarring rap music causing the birds in Chicago to migrate. A bunch of black guys with lot of chunky silver and gold jewelry got off. Never knew rear–ending was such a serious crime that would get the hoods involved. I was done for. Someone needs to make sure Pi doesn't remarry after my death. Oh well fine, even if he does, she had better not be strutting around in my new shoes I bought yesterday.

Unexpectedly the black brothers verbally attacked the Pontiac fellow, ‘Yo wassup maan, whassgoinonhere?!!’ They ruffled him up, told him it wasn’t my fault as they had seen the whole thing. Yelled at him and told him to get going. The poor guy was so rattled. He mumbled an apology to me and sped off in a hurry. I was too numb to even thank my… well… angels. I drove off in a trance. This whole racist thing being advantageous to me was a new angle to be explored.

Today (after a week of the incident) I saw the Pontiac guy stopped at the same intersection in front of me. He looked at me with disgust from his rear view mirror. As I gathered courage, I smiled at him genially. He glanced around suspiciously and when the lights turned green, he took his ultimate revenge. He shot up his middle finger as I watched in abject horror!

Spread the love people. Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Move before the walls collapse on me

It’s normal for me to come back from work and get surprised in some way or the other. No no, not the husband cooking for me, lighting candles and putting garland on my portrait kinda surprise. That sorta thing will surely facilitate my name becoming a part of statistics for heart attack deaths. I was talking about pleasant ones like someone parking their car on my spot. I look forward to this. I rub my hands in glee, park my car in some public spot that I find after 20 minutes and a mile away from my apartment, lug myself back in the snow to the place where the culprit has parked his car. If you think this is too much work to derive pleasures from, stop bothering me in the middle of my narration. So I look around hoping the owner doesn’t suddenly appear when I am getting to the best part of the deal. I pull out my weapon- disgusting orange stickers that were handed to me by the building Supervisor, old man Jim. I peel them off and stick them liberally all over the car and proceed to my apartment feeling satisfied.

Old man Jim gave a stack of these stickers to calm me down once when I complained about the 100 bucks a month that I pay for the building parking. If I wanted exercise that bad, I would be giving the money to the gym, I argued. He said the building covered their basis and that it wasn’t their fault. Yes, there is a nondescript sign behind the bushes that says-… wait let me go closer to check what it says- Not Public Parking. Violators will be towed at their own expense. Apparently towing companies weren't told. The stickers would do the trick, he said. The stickers are really difficult to remove and can cause public humiliation. It says- Illegal Parking- Can be Towed. I wonder why I still see cars with scraped off stickers on my spot every day.

Yesterday I got back from work and lo!.. no stray car (sticker seemed to have worked at last) and so I glided into my spot and was wondering what I could do with all that extra time I had saved. As I was thinking of ways, I stepped into the elevator and tried to hit the 5 button after the door closed. It (the elevator) decided to retire from services just after I had walked in. The sinking feeling was not mental… the elevator actually was going below the first floor and came to a jerking halt. Swell! All my life I had been waiting for this moment. Now I can press that red button that says ‘In case of Emergency’ without feeling stupid. With trembling fingers, I gingerly pressed the button fully expecting the earth to split open or worse, my hubby materializing from somewhere and smacking my hand in admonishment. Nothing happened. Maybe I should give it some time. Meanwhile I pressed the ‘Alarm’ button. I could hear a bird chirping in Alaska, but I didn’t hear any alarm going off.

Maybe I ought to panic at least now. Oh wait, I had a cell phone. I called Pi sitting on the fifth floor not aware of his wife’s captivity in the Venus flytrap. He said he would try getting me out. Try? Is that the word he used?! I asked him to get the fire department here for my rescue operation. They would know how to break open the door and would have the required equipment. I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t look as handsome as a fireman.

I could have called them myself, but then I had to use all my cell-phone charge in letting my friends know about my plight in the hope of getting them concerned. When they started talking about their dinner plans and recipes, I was beginning to be concerned if they were friends in the first place. Anyway, as I hadn’t heard from hubby and was beginning to form thoughts of him partying with his friends, I thought of something that I could do to salvage this situation. I pulled out my lipstick and touched up my makeup. Eventually Pi would get hungry and they would save me and there might be local press. I better look good.

After an excruciating hour, I heard a faint knock and Pi asked me if I was still there. I screamed, ‘Do you think I had that much alcohol to just evaporate? Is the Fire Department here finally?’

I heard some pushing and shoving of the door and old man Jim’s drunk voice, ‘Hope you have a magazine to keep you busy. Hahaha!’

‘I wish I had planned this, Jimmy. I would have even brought some chips and coke and done some accounts while I am here.’ I was convinced that the building authorities had a problem only with me. I am the center of some building politics here. Victim of hate crime.

After what seemed like a complete waste of my time, the door slid open as I was sitting on the elevator floor twiddling my thumbs. No cameras straining to catch a glimpse of me, no neighbors standing with flowers, no CNN reporters, not even the friggin firemen. Just drunk ol’ Jim apologizing and feeling pleased with himself as I climbed out of the elevator shaft from somewhere between the basement and the ground floor. Life went back to being sucky just when it seemed promising.

This time I didn’t bother getting on the other elevator in spite of Jim’s assurance through his drunken teeth. Took the stairs. Fancy how nature conspires in making sure I get my daily dose of exercise.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Married to a Dumbo

‘Oh, Kundi told me that Bra is working in the same company as Boobs.’

I put the TV on mute and perked up my ears. Bra seemed to take centerfold of the otherwise geeky conversation with liberal sprinklings of Pinky, Lollipop and Grape. Shocking revelations indeed. My boyfriend (now hubby) was into something I had no idea of. This went a step further from the borders of kinkiness.

After this freaky phone conversation, I was all ready for a confrontation when he gleefully told me, ‘Guess who is coming down to visit us? Condom!’

This was the heights! To think IITians were a bunch of respectable folks who wouldn’t bring ‘that’ up on the second day of the relationship. And what a cheesy way to broach the topic.

Before I could call my girlfriends and weep, I was told that Condom was actually a guy who went to IIT with Pi. That was nickname given to him by his seniors as he brought some condiments from home. Yes, condiments became condoms.

So I will admit that we did have dinner with P-balls who didn’t flinch as he introduced himself. I will also admit that I don’t know his real name as it was never mentioned. My guess that it might be Prasad Balasubramaniam was of course very premature and juvenile. So I refrained from any more takes on his name especially after he assured me that his balls weren’t pea sized. Good to know, I guess.

Actually these days I am finally comfortable calling them by their nicknames with a straight face even in front of their wives, everyone except this guy called Romeo. Can you even fathom how that must be going for his wife? Me calling him Romeo is far from her troubles. Imagine a bunch of adult guys looking at him in the eye across the table in a dimly lit room going,’ Romeo, would you like some dessert?’

It’s not a very funny matter. They don’t recognize real names anymore.

‘Who Rajesh?’ ‘Rajesh Jayaraman? No, do not recognize him.’ What is the nick name?’ Oh Tampon?! Of course, he is my roomate and chaddi-buddy!’ (Note that chaddi-buddy is a great ad line for Tampax)

I believe it is a tradition, a passion and a full time hobby for many in IIT. The freshie is named, shaped and sent to the world as a different human being after four years. If only Victoria Secret knew that IITians were also involved in shaping a bra.

Say you are fed up of your given name. Now who wouldn’t be if you were named something like Karthik. How boring! You have seven other Karthiks in your class and you have no identity anymore. The other Karthiks don’t even look half as good as you. Time for a name change, but you can’t think of something that would do justice to your admirable, stunning personality. Your best bet- join IIT Madras and put the onus on your wonderful seniors. Be rest assured, after much deliberation and analysis, the best brains of India will congregate and confer upon you the name that will supersede any dull name that your parents spent months conjuring up. You will be aptly named ’Dumbo’.

I bet IIT-JEE has a case-question (this is taken from the 1997 paper)

You meet a guy called Srinivas Konchiluri on campus while you are happily farting with your friends. He is a freshie. He is wearing a peacock green shirt and laughs at everything you say even if it not funny. He is from Little Flower School, Hyderabad and says he plays in a Telugu band. What is the nickname you would give him? (2 minutes- 20 points)

Answers like Cheenu or Konchi will be the end of you. You might get a half decent score if you come up with LTTE- no relevance to the points mentioned in the question, but he looks like Prabakaran.

I am no expert in this field so I’ll refrain from coming up with the answer that would surely bag you the coveted seat of the IIT. I didn’t even make it past the first technical question. I went the easier route; I bagged the not so coveted husband of the same IIT.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Every Thomas, Richard and Harprathap Singh

I wasn’t warned or educated about this. That book 'Living in the U.S.A.- A handbook for Indian Students' handed out generously at the US consulate had no mention of this strange phenomenon that plagues this country. Orientation sessions conducted in the campus before we could embark on the Americans, talked about ‘kallu’ not being a politically correct word for African Americans, but no… we weren’t told about this. Maybe I was supposed to know- just like that.

Robert Stafford was to be my professor. My first day in the campus, fresh off the boat, I looked all over for him in my department…searched every corner of the campus. When I was convinced that I walked into another University by mistake (possibility of that happening was high considering my past), someone said they could lead me to this elusive guy in question. I saw the nameplate. No no, he is not that guy! I have met him before. He just shares Robert Stafford’s last name. You think this Bob is his brother?

Right there I was introduced to the American nomenclature system never to recover. Bob and Robert are the same entity? And everyone must take it for granted? Nick names are official names here? Just like Bill Clinton is actually William Clinton and Jim Morrison is James Morrison? And what? Dick is Richard? Why?

Seriously, I do not appreciate such sense of humor. Why take pains to morph a perfect name to mean a male genitalia? Me wondered if I should call Office assistant Pamela, Pussy, to prove that I got the picture.

It’s a learning process. You can’t get it all down in one sitting. I can see the American parents going, ‘Since we can’t decide on the right name, let’s name her Elizabeth. Now she can choose from eleven names- Beth, Bess, Bessie, Betsy, Betty, Bette, Eliza, Lisa, Liza, Liz or even decide to keep the actual name. Halleluiah.’ Actually I feel that comprised of 50% of the American girl names right there. Yeah, it’s like playing that game- make as many words as you can from this long word.

Talking of names and games, ever tried playing the game where you think of an important person, give out a clue (initials) and answer 5 yes-or-no questions for the other team to guess the right answer?
The opposition will never win if you think of Dick Cheney and call out RC. Throw them completely off track.

Imagine if Mahmohan was called Twinkle at home (with these Punjabis anything is possible). He would be Twinkle Singh and that would not be a cool name for a Prime Minister. To make matters more confusing, my friend Harry could be Henry, Harprathap Singh, Hariharasubbramani Iyer or Xiuxiu Soong Ching-ling.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The story behind the the pillow cover and scarf

My green long skirt is a living testimony to the great quality and workmanship of our cotton fabric industry. It was probably bought/handed-down when I was 3 years old. It was a long skirt that reached my ankles, but it was not destined to remain a long skirt.

With my brother in the alleged skirt..I don't talk about my brother's dressing preferances

A single article of clothing that can make it from black & white photos to colored ones must have lived a life that would make a turtle flip inside its shell.

As I was rummaging through my childhood photo albums, I noticed one thing that remained constant. My green skirt with three stripes on the top and bottom- yellow, red, yellow. It became a knee length when I was 6 years old and a mini skirt when I turned 11. This fateful (or rather faithful) skirt kept featuring in many pictures until the photos themselves transitioned to snapshots of adulthood. Maybe my waistline finally expanded. For once, you’ve got to be thankful for that. I was quite aghast at my mom’s despicable kanjoosi! Such exploitation will be dealt with appropriately. Actually I was hiding this fact- I even saw the same tattered skirt worn in a high school play where I was a psychopath (My dad volunteered me for that role; I was a natural I believe).

Later during my college days, I would cut off five inches from the bottom of my jeans every year till it became a bio hazard (No photos of that, sorry to dissapoint you). My mom cringed; I reminded her of the green skirt trauma. This was the same thing, in reverse. Rationale being, I wasn’t growing any taller.

One day when I come home from college, I saw an ugly patch of cloth stitched to the bottom of my jeans (which had by then morphed into short shorts). The patch was faded green with three stripes- yellow, red and yellow.