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Showing posts from 2012

Education and Learning

Fourteen years of school. Three - four years of undergraduate college. Two years for a graduate degree. Start working or making babies.

Sound familiar? It should, it’s what the majority of lives in this country look like. Ten years ago, I was headed down the same street. Engineering, MBA and then on to a fat pay check, like countless other teenagers, products of a system seemingly obsessed with stability and an extreme aversion to risk and failure.

While I did end up getting 2 degrees and the pay check (with a stable, GOI company no less!) I also realized I hated it. Going to work from 9 to 7, doing the same endless, mind numbing, repetitive tasks, sitting in the same chair for ten odd years before getting promoted and dodging responsibility in order to retire with a pension suddenly seemed a lot less attractive when I was looking at it from the wrong end of 35 years!
And history shall say I quit. But now what? I did what any sane person without a job and all the time in the world would …

Top 5 Reasons To Date A Geek Girl

The rise of Google, Twitter and Facebook has changed many things in this world, one of them being the image of a geek. Used to be that geeks sucked in gym, were weird people who argued a lot about Star Trek like it mattered and everyone picked on them in high school. Now everyone knows they’re the ones you wind up working for as adults.
Tech companies scramble to hire them and woo them with everything from gourmet food to fitness facilities. They earn twice as much as people in most other jobs and if they aren't employed, it’s only because they will soon be creating the next Google, Facebook or Twitter in their garage. In short, Geeks are cool! But there is a certain sub species of said geeks which is only now started to come into its own. The Geek Girl. Once dismissed as a mythical creature, geek girls are more common than you might think. Because of their rarity, geek girls have always been looked at with awe. But are geek girls really awesome? Is it worth the effort of finding o…

I Met My Love In Ghost+Town

2062 A.D
She slowly wandered around the town square. Too often there was nothing to see, no one around and she would panic, thinking how lonely it was compared to her old town. Then she would breathe slowly, count to ten and remind herself that she had actually wanted to leave.

It had been chaos there, bustling with people and always noisy. Oh the noise! At first it had been exciting, heady. She had been surprised to be greeted by people she had lost touch with over the years, often by people she had no interest in talking to any longer. Only to be reminded again, just why she had stopped talking to them in the first place. But sometimes, she would find one or two friends she’d wanted to talk to and then tell herself that it was worth it. As the days went by, the excitement paled. She didn't like being connected to everybody and not really knowing anyone.
All around her friends continued to revel in the chaos and noise, as she had in the beginning. Sharing pictures and titbits a…

Dungeons & Dragons

The last two years have been very trying for my mother. Try as she might she has been unable to find a mate for me. If you say the fact that she’s doing the finding for me has something to do with it, only goes to show you’re not an Indian. Over here in this part of the world, it is the duty of the parents (and they like it too!) to get their children down the wedding aisle. Why any sane person would want another person’s life on his/her head I won’t get into right now, suffice it to say that’s just the way it is.
Seeing as how I’m the oldest of all my cousins, my wedding is to be the guinea pig. The knowledge gained by my parents through the mistakes they make with me will be used to fine tune the efforts next time round (particularly for my sister and generally for the rest). While the long awaited wedding hasn't materialized yet, mainly due to the lack of groom, I've seen many many /*makes me want to tear my hair out/* things that go on behind the scenes to pull off that gre…

Jumping Jacks & Tumbling Jills

For all the intelligent and ignorant people out there, today is Mahasivarathri. To sensible people like you and me it means nothing more than yet another festival for which we get a much needed holiday from the drudgery of work. And seeing as how this made it just in time to make it a glorious weekend, maybe even take a little trip someplace.
But to the thousands of religious people in this sleepy little town of Guntur it is apparently a time to crowd into what seems to be the only Siva temple for miles. Mom having persuaded me to come by means of promising to 'make it quick' I followed in the car. The fact that my mom made that promise should have itself made me suspicious. As for trusting a woman to know the meaning of quick, only goes to show what an incurable optimist I am. Or an ass. One of the two.
We reached the temple and what a scene! The first day first show of a Rajnikanth release in the nineties could not have been more spectacular. There must have been a line at lea…

Round & Round The Mulberry Bush

"I'm going to the temple tomorrow morning and doing 108 Pradakshinas."
Silence greeted this once in a lifetime announcement. And then came the reactions ranging from incredulity to amazement.
"Thank God!" breathed my mom, her eyes shining with unshed tears, "At last my daughter sees the light."
"Why on earth?!" "What the hell!" exclaimed my uncle who couldn't for the life of him imagine such a scene.
"You can't get up that early in the morning, nyah nyah nyah." This from my 7 year old cousin also known locally as a  pest. Hopefully it's just a phase and he'll grow out of it. Given the track records of little brothers however, there isn't much hope.
Suffice it to say that my announcement had quite the effect and with good reason. I'm an atheist which means I'm a card carrying member of that tribe so thoroughly despised by religious people - One Who Ask Questions. Though not many people know that I do…

Money And Cake

Money can't buy happiness. If I had a penny for every time I heard that old chestnut, I'd be a millionaire by now. Funny part is that it's usually spouted by people who don't have any. Talk about rationalizing! I guess they need to feel that rich people  have to have some handicap in exchange for all the money they have. All I say is  - it's way more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes than on a bicycle.
But lately I've found that it is a truism, albeit in a way I never thought of. Money can buy happiness, but only if you're willing to actually spend it. There isn't a store in this world where you can walk up to the counter to buy joy. But, if at this moment, a particular video game is the key to my happiness, then money can certainly buy that. The only thing to keep in mind is that you have to hand over the moolah to buy it. Once that game/food/whatever is paid for, your stock of money - the key to your future happiness - is reduced by that amount. Which i…

Morning Games

I woke up with a start. Finally managing to see the time after several attempts, I practically leap out of bed. Or tried to at any rate. I'm not one of those people who jump out of bed in the morning and sing along with the birds. In that respect I’m more Rachel than Joey. It usually takes me some time to adjust. So the fact that I tried, even just once, must be enough to tell you that it was eight and I was unpardonably late. Making my bed and brushing my teeth took the usual 15 minutes.
Most people begin the day by wishing others good morning. My mother, on the other hand, makes a resolution to tell me to do something exactly 30 seconds before I drag myself to do it. It's a gift; one which most mothers seem to have, especially mothers with lazy children like me.
As per schedule then, she popped up in the mirror behind me and said, "Drink your lemon juice and wash the glass when you're done."
"Already did." Ha! score one for me.
The glow faded when the re…

Bovine Rites

The Date – 4/2/2012 Time – 8:30 AM Venue – Front yard (My grandparents’ home in Guntur) Scene – The space usually occupied by a white Skoda was now home to a white cow & a calf.


Bovine Rites VIEW SLIDE SHOWDOWNLOAD ALL What were they doing here? They were being given away (donated) by my grandmother. What their feelings were on such a momentous decision I do not know. Why was my grandmother doing this? She just bought a place in heaven for the next 7 generations of this family! (promised by the Brahmin).
Don’t follow? Neither can I. The little I know of Hindu philosophy tells me this is not possible for the simple reason that every person’s sins is his/her own little burden (as evidenced by Valmiki himself). It’s also highly improbable given that we don’t even have a concept of heaven/hell in the first place. Glossing over all that, it got me wondering what gave birth to such a concept.
Note - The following is purely fictional but something similar probably happened in history
Think back …

Reality Check

Two things I really really hated to hear when I was growing up – ‘You’ll understand when you grow up’ & ‘That’s what you say now, but just wait.’ The first I stopped believing quite a bit before now, seeing as I’m now 25 and still don’t understand things. I don’t get why staying up past 10 is a punishable offence or why I need permission to get my hair styled even though I’m 26 going on 27. I’m as grown up as it is possible to get & no closer to enlightenment.
As for seeing things differently when I’m older or in this case when I have my own kids, there’s just one way to find out. One sticking point between my mom and me has been how much control parents should have over the behaviour, thoughts & feelings of their adult offspring. I say none while she says all. Will I be singing the same tune when I’m 50 and my kids 20? How do I find out? Time to put my money where my mouth is & my words on paper aka my blog. Reality Check time. Will an older & wiser me look back …

To Be With Shoes Or Not To Be?

Guess whose birthday it is today? He was a music legend (south of the Vindhyas) and was born long long ago. Still nothing? Today is the birthday of Tyagarajar, one of the greatest composers of Carnatic music along with Muthuswami Dikshitar & Syama Shastry aka the Holy Trinity of South Indian Carnatic music. By a curious coincidence all three were born in Tiruvarur. Wikipedia says he was born on May 4, 1767 but then we all know how accurate that is. Besides, the Indian calendar is based on the moon you know, so we can just about pick any date we want.
So today is his birthday. To celebrate, there was to be a procession from our school to the temple and back again (I assume, I don’t know the exact route). After all the confusion that such an occasion entails in my house, we were finally prepared for it. Mom and I left for the school but unfortunately the procession started the moment we reached. There was nothing to do but walk along with them. Then we waited for it for to reach the…

Path To Belief

Two days ago, I ran an experiment. 24 hrs. with no gadgets and by  that I mean my phone, Nook & laptop. Not my idea of a grand old time but still, in the name of science and my mother I forged ahead. Now what could I do to fill those 24 hours? In a house where the average age is about 55, my options where pretty limited an anyone can imagine. As part of Operation Rehabilitate Shilpa, my grandmother and her daughter took me to the temple first thing in the morning. Cue the usual rigmarole Hindus do in temples and hours (well more like 30 minutes but it sure felt like hours to me) later we were on our way home again. An ordeal but I managed to pull through, without  murmur. 
Later that afternoon, the following conversation happened between my mother and me: Mom: I don’t like what you did in the temple. Shilpa: What did I do? Only everything you told me. Mom: (& I quote) But that’s not enough. You can’t just go through the motions. You have to love God and believe in Him. Being a girl…

Time To Grow UP!

It’s been two years now since I’ve started hearing the dreaded M word, no not money but Marriage with a capital M. And of course being an Indian girl the only real option you have is to let your parents ‘arrange’ it, which by definition means Arranged Marriage – Process by which family A condescends to let their son be married to the daughter of family B who is in turn thrilled that their precious daughter is able to marry someone who can provide for her (mostly through the dowry given by family B not to mention her salary at her ‘day’ job). In addition the son has approved the daughter’s looks while the daughter was just annoyed enough to say yes to what ever sample of homo erectus the family B has managed to dig up. Now come the Rules of Engagement for both the sides. Say what you will about arranged marriages, you can’t accuse the family elders of not playing by the rules. Here then is an extract from the Rulebook for both guys and gals. Different rules for guys and gals, you didn’t …