Monday, December 3, 2012

Storm clouds, where be you all?

Accidentally cleaning a build that takes forever. Store employees being particular about the distinction between retail and outlet. Crappy lunch. Websites that crash when you need them most and assertions that refuse to be ignored. I'm hating this sunny day. I wish the bloody weather agreed with me. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Food dreams

I'm hungry again. So hungry that I'm weighing christmas menu choices. I have come up with these options to guarantee a food baby:

Ideally, I would have a breakfast of chilaquiles with fresh tomatillo salsa, crispy taco chips and a dab of sour cream. Lunch would be a relatively laid back affair with some form of pasta rounded out by a bowl of heavenly brownie-icecream. Around evening-ish, when it's starting to darken outside, some hot chai and pakoras would sit well. And dinner would be a 4 course monster of a meal with gobi manchurian, cutlets, tomato soup, dal makhni and bhindi masala with some garlic naan.

Alternatively, it could begin with some hot idli-vada-pongal for breakfast with some filter coffee followed by a lunch of potstickers, scallion pancakes and fried rice. Evening could entail a fancy cupcake or two and dinner could be lentil soup, a steaming falafel dish with fragrant rice and baklava.

Other options to throw into the mix are some cheesecake, a pack of kurkure with aforementioned chai and mulagurasam.

P.S. Screw the baklava. It always sounds way more appetizing than it tastes and is waaay too sticky.

Friday, October 12, 2012

True Story

You spend your childhood being the tomboy, the errand runner, the mischeif maker. You are defiant, independent and breeze though life. You have standards and are picky.

And then life catches up with you. You get a job that you didn't want in the first place. You try to fit into the mold that you never thought you'd belong in. You get married and have kids.

Defiance gives way to contemplation. You struggle to make peace, but put up a brave front so that your parents don't feel guilty. You compromise. You lie to keep others happy, something you thought you'd never do.

You focus on getting through each day, and forget the dreams you once must have had. Go without. Try to be good. Get amazing at cooking. Get constantly berated and take it all in. Be the only source of true love for your kids. And think, was it worth it?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Past me

I saw a question on the interwebs today. It asked whether past you would think present you is cool.

6 year old me would be in awe of the fact that I have the ability to bestow a box of assorted fancy chocolates on my cousins whenever I visit India.
12 year old me would be super excited that I have gone whale watching (Just like on the discovery channel!) and visited the Grand Canyon but would be slightly put off that I work a 9-5 ish job and not some mash up of marine biologist-explorer-travel show host.
Summer intern me would be jumping from sheer joy that I have the ability to go on long drives and own a god damn car.
3 years ago I remember marvelling at someone knitting a scarf. That actual clothes came out of a ball of yarn and patience was astonishing to me. I finished one last week, I think past me would be proud.

It sometimes helps to review your past perceptions. Because they change, like everything else. Don't let current you be the only one that calls the shots. There's a lot to be said for spontainiety, but there's something to be said for healthy self reflection too.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Of Finance, craft and animation

Watched a boatload of animated movies this weekend. I forgot how hilarious Finding Nemo was. Anybody remember those crazy surfer dude turtles? I mean, they sure were high on something.

Being ill forces you to stay indoors and in bed. Times like these are when you miss home the most. Even the smallest chores like deciding what food to order felt like a Herculean task. Slept a lot, berated the lack of a thermos flask and a mom to make me some piping hot filter coffee.

Couldn't do anything productive that required any mental/physical strain, so opted to crochet myself a beret. Picked out a nice bright blue yarn, hopefully will get done with it soon, my thumb is getting quite sore and my patience is on it's last legs.

I have early morning customer care calls to look forward to. Damn you Experian for billing me for five months for a subscription I did not take out! And damn me for not figuring it out earlier. I've got to be more fiscally responsible.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The great, but crowded outdoors

For Labor Day weekend, I went camping. Why I chose to go camping in another state, when California has such gorgeous state parks? Because I haven't flown anywhere recently and I missed airports. Result of all the flights (and of the fact that we put off reserving a campsite, as good procastinators do), we went camping for one night. Still major fun though.

Did some touristy things before the actual camping, drained the rental cars battery by leaving on the headlights and took lots of photos and had a fancy chocolate fondue the night before. After parking the car at the campsite, we walked to the firewood shack and then realised that we didn't have enough arms/muscles between us to take back an entire stack of firewood. Luckily, the campsite 'host'(I wonder what his job description is) drove up in his mini lorry and offered to take the lumber and kindling to our campsite for us.

After a 2 hour hike to nowhere and back, we decided to start the fire and boy did it take a while. It had rained the day before and so the ground was damp-ish and the firewood wasn't completely dry. So it was a super smoky fire which took forever to start. Damned weather. It wasn't particularly cold, so we could have done without a fire, but I wanted smores and was unwilling to let all the campfire food planning go unfulfilled. Despite blowing at the embers till I felt my lungs would give out and carefully burning our ration of newspaper and kindling, the logs just wouldn't catch fire. They just sat there and smoked, like a bunch of chain smokers on their lunch break. When the first log caught fire, I almost wept with joy, though it might have been all the smoke in my eyes. I added another log and had to start revving up my lungs again  because the fire dwindled. While prepping the burgers and the potatoes, I realised that we had a whole block of butter. And we weren't planning to use more than a smear for the potatoes. And then I had my eureka moment. I started greasing the logs with butter and man was it effective. At that moment, I felt like I deserved my own Survive-in-the-almost-wilderness TV show. I was meant to be outdoors! Guess I get it from my grandma, who insisted on drying her own firewood and using that to boil bath water even after we installed water heaters in our house.

So there you have it folks, if your fire just won't catch, add a dollop of butter. Expensive fuel indeed, but when push comes to shove, I say throw in a stick of butter.

P.S. Don't the coal embers look like rock candy?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bucket list item #7

I want to go to Hawaii. To sit idly by the beach sipping fruity drinks, yes, but also to make popcorn in lava. For those of you who eat meat, there's even a recipe for lava roasted chicken on the web. All you do is scoop some lava on top of your chicken wrapped in leaves, and wait for it to cook. Don't count on using your shovel ever again though. Me, I figured I'd just stick to popcorn.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

American Idiots

A slight digression: My blog is going through an existential crisis. So its title has been temporarily replaced by an almost quizzical 'Eh, what?' It will be re-christened with ceremony as soon as it 'finds' itself.

The American Idiot musical was less than spectacular. I found that all the parts of the musical I enjoyed involved me mouthing the words to the songs with gusto. The cast's version of 21 Guns is what prompted me to attend the musical, and in that bucket, they did not disappoint. But when they were performing the songs which I was not familiar with, I was too busy trying to like the musical to actually appreciate it.

Truth is, the story was cliched as far as coming of age stories go, and the dialogues and acting left a lot to be desired. Before I went to the musical, I read up about it online, as any half-decent bastard child of the digital age is wont to do. There was someone out there who was complaining that they had taken their children to the American Idiot musical and was shocked at the amount of profanity and obscenity. The person is clearly tech-literate enough to leave a review on a website, and is obviously concerned about the content their children are exposed to. What I fail to understand is why they wouldn't check if a show, any show, was suitable for children. I mean, each song in the album has a minimum of 3 censoring beeps for crying out loud! Blaming a show for having inappropriate content when you didn't bother to be careful is like seriously stupid. Worse than me trying to convince myself that I eat chocolate for health reasons.

All through the musical I was hoping that Billie Joe Armstrong would drop in like the internet proclaimed he might, but all I got was a very talented (voice wise) cast, a really bad script and about 30 different sized displays flashing at me, not unlike the creepy rooms where people are locked up and forced to watch propaganda till they are brainwashed.

The choreography wasn't brilliant, and mostly involved head banging in different formations. It has now become obvious to me why I am not part of the stage. That much head banging would find me popping at least 3 aspirins a day and my liver would prematurely give out. I appreciated how they maneuvered the props in and out of the scenes without making it clunky or obvious, but that is just a drama rookie's opinion. I suspect that fancier zig-zagging happens in other, better performances.

I like to think that there were many subtle references which I did not get, either as a result of not being American or of not paying enough attention to the story. But a sneaky little voice in my head tells me that I am just looking for ways to justify my uncanny enjoyment of the show despite it being utterly mediocre.

I kept hoping they would play Minority, but that wasn't in the set list. There was a good post show rendition of 'Time of your life' though which redeemed the show slightly in everyone's eyes. Verdict? It was fun, but only if you make it fun in your head. Otherwise, just be glad that you bought the relatively inexpensive tickets in the balcony and move on.

Friday, June 29, 2012

More lists

Time for another list. I've stopped carrying a notepad in my back pocket, so I'm assaulting you guys with lists. I apologize.

1. The estranged(only slightly) love of my life is coming to visit. For a whole week. Love bubbles and rainbows all around for me and her.
2. A visit to the highly esteemed Green Apple book store was made, and homage was paid to the second hand books.
3. Euro is almost over, with all the teams I backed losing, so I'm switching to la Italia with the famously bonkers Balotelli for the finals.
4. I am giving Harry Potter books 5,6,7 another chance.
5. Pizza Chicago for dinner tonight.(Be still, my beating heart)
6. A highly biased, thouroughly amatuer review of the American Idiot will be forthcoming from me next weekend.
7. Uzair Jaswal
And since we are on the topic of lists, check out the terms and conditions Einstein laid out for his wife and other such gems at this (sometimes hilarious) website.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Kitchen escapades

I spent the last week cooking something new everyday. Well, almost. Fruits of my labor were enjoyed mostly by me, partly by my i-have-a-golfball-for-a-stomach roommate. The black bean soup was a hit and the potato wedges came out better than expected, though I suspect that ketchup had a lot more to do with that than I care to admit. The oven is a finicky beast, burning my pita chips on one day, and making them crunchy perfect the other. I will conquer you one day, Oven, you just wait!

I made a lemon brioche french toast thingamajigy yesterday, full of summery lemony goodness. My quest for brioche/challah was thwarted, so I subbed it with French bread in the recipe. Take that, universe! Though once I zested and juiced my first lemon, I knew that I had become a kitchen slave.

More baking will surely come and so will more fat. As a preventive measure, I bought a pair of cute red 3 lb weights and a yoga mat. Further plans for this week involve fixing my car, being social and not giving up on Game-Of-Thrones.

EDIT: Just had to add this. Mystery solved.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hunger and other pangs

Most coffee smells better than it tastes. Expectations seem to ruin everything, from movies to people.

I am pleasantly surprised at my increased frequency of blogging. And of day dreaming, but that is a whole different can of worms. I sometimes think about whether I should start a new blog, one that will be more successful, because this one is too personal to become one. But the prospect is about as inviting as slowly peeling off my own skin.

Vigorous jazz handsssss are going to happen soon to me and my roommate, and I’m looking forward to it. Being more fit will also happen as a result, I dare to assume.

My parents are leaving Thursday. Their trip here resulted in an increase in my fridge magnet collection and my appetite. I stuffed all the places they could possibly see in 3 weeks into this vacation. Got to hear stories about my dad, like the fact that Shiv Sena guys once threatened to stick a knife in his back. Can’t make up my mind about whether this is cool or not. Judgement call, I suppose. Parents are a weird species.

They say that the way to a man’s heart is though food. Screw men, I’m perpetually hungry. Feed me (the person who this is directed at knows who they are). I want 408-CHICAGO now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I found a new blog buddy, someone who christens himself Fez and tries to hide his blog from the world.

The last few days have been one close shave after another. I stress out, almost break down. Rinse and repeat in an unforgiving loop. Credit for keeping me from going to a dark place goes to a fitness obsessed, eternally cheerful fellar I know. You, sir, are the absolute best. None of which happened or is happening is life alteringly or irreversibly disastrous. It took a white hair on my head to put the humor back in life, to lighten me up.

Pittsburgh is beautiful, even in the blazing heat. The rivers and the bridges and the old buildings will be sorely missed. The bay area seems crass and unrefined in comparison. I will eventually move to a proper city, not a place where downtown means a half block filled with restaurants and hair salons. Move somewhere where there is still some lingering romance in the buildings, somewhere where there exists layers of memories, so that I can add mine to them.

The one thing I regret is being so caught up by graduation, that I did not take many pictures of the ceremony or my friends. Carnegie Mellon was all that I hoped for and more. Some good, bad and truly ugly times happened in those 1.5 years. But I loved it to bits. I won’t harp on the endless nights spent on assignments. It was all worth the Dunkin donuts, the discovery of Kiva Han and the teensy French crepes place; worth the last minute trips to Washington and the other well-planned ones; the student lounges and the weird street art sculptures. It was worth Tom Mitchell and the other, equally brilliant profs. I am so glad I made it there.

Monday, April 30, 2012


Moving is horrid, but planning out a new house is awesome.

A new car (new to me anyway) is shockingly brilliant, but my poor bicycle is humming 'Lemon Tree' in the office garage.

Sofas, tvs and assorted furniture. Burning a hole in my not so deep pocket never felt so good.

A fridge to fill up and walls to hang with ameatuerish paintings. Shelves to fill with books.

The battle of wills with the comcast guy, the endless line at DMV.

The seemingly infinite choices for insurance policies.

Concert and musical plans. The ordeal of shopping.

Life is confusing, but in the very nicest way.

As a rite of passage, I am going to submit my head to a pair of shears on the morrow. Wish me luck.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things

Both puppies and smiles have an infinite capability to make my day.

Some people have a lop sided smile. Makes me want to be friends but I don’t know how. Everyone will want to pick you up and hug you. And buy you nice things. Just like a pug.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The tourist paradigm

A checklist. And then some more. Running to the nearest working printer to get two copies of the measly tickets. The inevitability of the last minute packing, be it a backpack or a suitcase.

The taking of public(or almost public) transport to the airport, bus or train station. The long hours where you are in between both destination and source. A kind of Limbo. That very limbo, that disconnection, that almost ephemeral feeling which is priceless. Just like the mastercard advert, with wrinkled old ladies riding elephants and watching the sunset with their equally hoary spouses.

It feels strangely like boredom, but not quite. There is something special about it, that doesn't push one over the edge and into a dull stupor. A strange elation. The unfulfilled anticipation of new encounters with fascinating people. Never fails. As reliable as the German trains. Just the journey validates the excursion.

But touristing is a whole other world altogether. What can only be described as lust. A happiness so complete when the map is deciphered, the tiny kitschy cafe is found, the cliched photos taken. Right from the constant checking to see if the camera was left behind, whether the wallet was safe, to the annoying of passers by to take pictures of me, you, us.

The cramming of a million activities in the almost niggardly number of vacation days. The debate of which places to skip in the itenrary that exists only in my head. The irritation when you get too tired from all the adventuring, the hunger and refusal to compromise on food. Crashing and burning on the hotel bed at the end of the day. The wanting to extend it all by just one more, just one more day.

And when it's all done, turning the key in the lock, and feeling, like a stranger in your own home.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lists, anyone?

This weekend has been a physical roller coaster.

Things which I have never paid attention to before are assuming astonishing significance, public transport for starters.

I'd like to give a thankful nod to the guys up top for -

1. Distributed Systems, especially VOIP.
2. Big Fat Red Markers.
3. Tiny Chinese take out boxes.
4. Knowing that there is someone always willing to go to Panera bread with me.
5. Old english ladies with offerings of instant coffee.

Learning is fascinating, be it about the Japanese Maple and root systems or the prospect of tennis lessons.

Roses come in many forms, some sweet, some pretty. But my favorites are those that come in a box.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Retarded, that's what I see.

People, especially the ones using those god forsaken meme creator things, have taken a crap on creativity.

Making a joke is supposed to require some skill, as is drawing a comic. Attaching a butt ugly troll face to an everyday situation does not make it funny, only goes to show that you have the brains of a slug. Not any regular slug, but a slime encrusted slug which never sees the light of day.

All artists are not funny and all comics can't draw. Take Randall Monroe, the creator of XKCD, he publishes one of the most funny web comics today, and he draws stick figures. You can't draw, you say. I say fine, I know regular people can come up with a funny joke or two and the pressure of social media these days requires them to 'publish' it. I don't want you to create professional looking drawings or even any drawings. Just don't use those horrendous internet meme faces. That's all I ask.

If it doesn't seem funny to you without those faces, then it's probably not funny at all. Just stop. Making. Those. Memes. Stop cluttering the internet with your lowest of the low art forms, if you can call it that. It frankly assaults the senses of any self respecting human being.

It just goes to show that creativity or self expression has just given up, keeled over and died.

Who is this Herp/Derp person. Why is it not moi or me, but 'le me'? Who thinks this is funny?
Why do all the faces have a squint? Why do they all look super f*ing retarded?

If I find the guy who first drew them, I'd like to give him a kick in the nuts so fast, all he'll remember is to never use Paint again.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Too big, too small, just right?

There has to be a secret, somewhere that I should know. Something that someone was telling me when I was daydreaming about my books.

That would explain why I am having an identity crisis. The only thing that made sense, that prompted a spark of recognition was something that I read this morning. "I'm now beginning to think the entire human experience is putting up that cheery front and not letting the cracks show through. I'm a bad human now."

Work, commute and an urgent need to check off things from a list is stretching me paper thin. There is a shell being built somewhere, just the right size for the Goldilocks in me.

Where's my baby bear?