February 19, 2012

Technology and me - Part 1

I've never thought of myself as being addicted to technology of any kind. I don't have too many gadgets and even the ones I have are nowhere near top of the line. The only thing I use everyday is my laptop. Since it's always around, I guess I never realized how addicted to it I was...until 3 days ago...when I turned it on.

Instead of seeing the familiar login screen, I saw the black screen of death! Pandemonium ensued, solely in my mind. Loads of questions but no answers. I was panic-struck and very upset. Denial, anger, sadness and finally, much needed acceptance. The hard disk was gone. The data might be there but I wouldn't have my dear little laptop for another couple of weeks. Thanks to a friend, I'm at least online but it's just not the same.

Being connected by technology is so much more than just being able to stay online. Connections...how important they are...

February 13, 2012

Road Rage

Traffic in Bangalore is a nightmare. Everyone knows that. What annoys me is that most of the time, the reason it gets so crazy is something absolutely foolish. Here are my top 10 road rage causers...all during peak hour traffic time too.

  • Heavy vehicles (minimum 16 wheels) carrying ridiculously heavy loads and crawling between two lanes
  • BBMP workers sweeping near the median and loading all the sand and dirt onto a tractor that is parked in the middle of the road (tractor driver stares with a puzzled expression when passers-by honk and show make rude gestures towards him)
  • BBMP workers drawing white divider lines, which people drive over even before it gets a chance to dry (we don't have a lane system...are the white lines really necessary?)
  • Random dig-ups for either water or electricity cables
  • Pot holes the size of cars
  • L-board drivers who always lose the battle with the clutch, just in time for others to miss the traffic signal, too
  • Garbage collection trucks parked in the center of a service lane with the garbage collectors nowhere in sight
  • Autos and bikes who block the oncoming traffic in an effort to squeeze through before the traffic light changes
  • The jaywalker (pedestrian) who, while on the phone, puts his hand out to stop vehicles coming his way and just saunters across
  • And my all-time favorite, cows being ferried to their eateries and watering holes
And to think that everyone believes that traffic woes in Bangalore will be sorted once the innumerable flyovers are completed.


February 11, 2012

Music and Lyrics

Music has a way of moving us. It could be the tune, the lyrics, the voice of the singer, the mesmerizing beat....anything. But what is amazing about music is how it adapts to our mood. The same song heard many times over, can mean something completely different each time. The same lyrics can bring a smile or a tear. The same tune can make us hum along gently or scream it out loud. The same voice can trigger memories both good and bad.

What better song to bring out these thoughts in a usually more fun me than Pink Floyd's High Hopes.

I hope you don't skip this post thinking that it's about the movie by the same name. Don't judge a book by its cover and don't judge a post by its title!

February 9, 2012

Wedding wows

South Indian (rather Tam Bram) weddings are mostly quite boring...the actual wedding ceremonies, anyway. The rest of it - the guests, the food, the outfits and jewelry, the gifts and the drama make up for the boredom in many ways.

Most often, the guest list i filled with people that the bride and groom don't know. So introductions during the ceremony are mandatory. What makes this horribly painful is that the couple is presented with boring facts about how the guest is known to whichever family member invited them. And to top it off, it usually ends with the guest telling either the bride or groom "I saw you when you were x years old...do you remember me?" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the most interesting part of the wedding, especially for people like me who really don't care about all the dressing up and the socializing. Yelai saapadu filled with items including vadai, payasam, a host of other sweets and savouries make any wedding bearable. What is very interesting is that close family and friends, who are fortunate enough to get a personal face-to-face invitation routinely ask who the cook for the wedding is! Like it matters really! I mean, if it's someone who isn't that great, will they not attend the wedding? Seriously! And it's a given that people will ask...so better be ready with a good enough answer in case you're not the kind to want to disclose such information.

Outfits and Jewelry
The majority of people who attend weddings like this part the best! It's a great time to show off all the finery that they possess. What's funny is that some people end up looking grander than the bride herself! Talk about stealing someone's thunder! What I love the most is the after wedding conversation between friends/family. "Did you see what she was wearing? It must have cost a bomb!" or "How could she have worn that choker? It didn't go with the sari at all!" I have an answer for such types of questions..."I didn't notice at all"! :)

One wouldn't think that something as nice as gifts could be a talked-about topic...but it is! Mostly because other than the cash and gift vouchers that the couple get, the rest of the stuff is rubbish! Clocks - 10, Flasks - 7, Wall hangings (not coordinated) - 4, Paintings - 20. Gift registries are the need of the hour...much more than cricket wins in test matches!

It's hard to classify what actually goes into this category. It's like a pot-pourri of things...or events...that lead up to the wedding, or happen at the wedding, or even just after. There's the usual family squabbles about absolutely unimportant stuff, out-of-town relatives reaching the wedding hall even before the bride and groom have entered, the groom forgetting his belt and realizing just before the reception, kids feeling sleepy at inopportune moments, the kitchen running out of sambar...the list is endless.

On reading all this, it seems like weddings aren't so bad after all...even Tam Bram ones...right?

February 5, 2012

Celebrating good times - the Social Horror's take

Weddings and other family functions are a two-edged sword. Lots of fun but lots of socializing too. Social gatherings are fun but also get a little tiring after some time...the clothes, the food, the chit chat and the rest of the gossip. But if you take away all the 'in your face' aspects, these gatherings make for an interesting experience.

These are 'her' experiences...the social horror's I mean. And any coincidence to anyone you might know of is purely coincidental...really!

The Social Horror and Jewelry
She's never been a fan of jewelry and related accessories. Ironically though, she always found herself caught in the thick of conversations about it. Questions about what stone it is, whether it's set in gold, who made it, which store it came from, how much it cost were always thrown at her. Not one to get caught without having a retort, these situations were hard for her as she never had a good-enough answer...almost all the time. So she took the easy way out - ask amma!

The Social Horror and Beauty
You've become so fair! Your complexion is lovely! Your skin is glowing! As much as these sound like fantastic compliments, the social horror found that there was actually a hidden question in them which she was expected to answer voluntarily - what have you done to yourself? What cream have you been using? Which parlor have you gone to? Again, not one to spend much time in parlors, not having a suitable answer to these questions only made her look a bit suspect...like she didn't want to share her secret beauty tips! Use kadala maavu on your face - her planned retort for the next time!

The Social Horror and Clothes
I love your salwar! What material is it? Who designed it? Who stitched it? The answer raced through her mind even before the questions were asked...I have no idea! Whoever stitched it is the person who said they will give it to me the soonest, really that's it. Really! I'm not lying! No, it's not that I don't want to give you the name...hang on, let me find the bill!

The Social Horror and Music/Dance
She was good at music but not good at dance. Did that mean that she had to sing every time there was an occasion? Did it? Dodging requests with excuses like bad throat, out of practice and so on she mostly escaped but had to put in considerable effort to come up with 'good-enough' excuses. Dancing, on the other hand, was never a part of boring Tam-Bram wedding customs, so she was spared. The 'two left feet syndrome' yet unexplored...in a 'high-free' setting anyway!

The Social Horror and Mehendi :)
She did not like mehendi...the smell, the awful color when it started to fade...everything! But as an important part of the wedding she was about to take part it, she just HAD to get it. After some dodging and time-delaying tactics (gone wrong), she got a wee bit on one of her palms. Unacceptable was the verdict! She had to get more! She was one of the important ones at the ceremony...no, she wasn't the bride but still! So what did she do? Did she get out of it or did she cave in?

To be continued...once the mehendi dries out... :)