Monday, December 15, 2008

"You guys make a cute pair"

I've noticed this phrase in many couple's albums. I might have blurted this phrase out myself many a time. Lately I've been wondering, what the hell, everyone says this to each other irrespective of whether they mean it or not!

"You look great together", "You make a cute pair", "Sweet looking couple", "You guys are the perfect couple" - jeez, what a bunch of crap, especially when the guy has six packs and the girl has a double chin, or when the girl is a skinny short middle-school looking person and the guy is tall and mature. Sometimes it's an obvious mismatch, yet you hear people say "Ooh you look so good together".

When I recently blurted this out to a couple I know (they definitely did look good together), I was wondering out to him, and he had a good theory. People are mind-washed into saying things especially when the couple is a newly wed. Makes sense. But hey, I've seen some pictures of people well into marriage, and there again I find the same old hypocrisy - lies.

No offense to anyone, I sure have meant every compliment I've given, but if I haven't given you a compliment, then you know what I mean! *wink wink*

Memoirs of a part of me

It's gloomy and cold. The eerie silence is broken by the sounds of sleet and hard rain against my window. I close my eyes and see visions of home, back in India. Beautiful summer vacations at my maternal grandmother's home. I imagine the aroma of hot fried "medu vadais", a staple snack at Paati's home, made especially for me. I relive those precious moments of laughter and playing with my cousins at Paati's terrace.

I can clearly see a younger version of my grandfather travelling all the way from Tambaram to Besant Nagar to spend time with us. They never had the comforts of luxury and always travelled by bus. I'm stricken with guilt that we never visited them often when we should have. There's a tear drop in my eye for all the times Thatha came home in a crowded Chennai bus.

And I open my eyes to the present, where my mom warns me over a Yahoo! chat window that they're getting older and older and that Thatha had fainted in his living room. How I wish I could visit them! I haven't forgotten a single beautiful memory with my precious grandparents. My grandmother is the most amazing woman I've ever known - gentle, kind, generous, and so hard working. At this age, they still live alone - she cooks, cleans, shops... and she's so kind hearted she couldn't wish the worst even for an enemy... of course, she has no enemies.

I miss them so much. Married and now in the US, when I can't fry a "medu vadai" properly, or when I don't want to venture into deep frying "bakshanams", or even when I'm just generally getting accustomed to this new role in life, I always think of these wonderful people who passed down everything they know to my mom, and she in turn to me.

We love you thatha and paati, and we'll pray you won't give up on us and will be around when we come visiting India next time around.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Noisy Neighbours!

No one, not anyone out there, can have noisier neighbours than us! Having a fireplace is a nice thing, but the biggest con is having to sit in your living room listening to all the muffled crap that goes on downstairs - predominantly Hindi crap. As I type right now, they're being atrociously loud. I wonder how none of our American neighbours have complained about this to maintenance yet.

Sometimes, S and I feel like banging on their door and asking them to keep it low. Sometimes I just feel like rattling at the fireplace and scare the living daylights out of them...

Just to get some payback, I'm going to have a baby and make my kid jump all day long, giving them a perennial headache... watch out noisy neighbours, my kid's going to bring you down. *muahahahhahaha*

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Poker Night

Well, we've made the move. Crossed continents. Chosen this temporary lifestyle. So, we decided to learn a little more that was something American, Poker! We love card games. S and I have played trump way before we met, with our families. We rock at Rummy. So we though it was time to try our hand at Poker.

We're hosting a Pot-Luck Poker Night tomorrow! Whew! We owe H for teaching us this game. I think there should be tremendous improvement by the time we decide to visit Vegas, let's see. We're looking forward to the weekend and round after round of royal flushes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Will you fight cyber crime?

I was rummaging through some blogs I usually read to kill time and this is what I found right now. Go through this post when you have the time - this could happen to you or someone you care.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Finally, the United States sees an interracial president - something that seemed utterly impossible decades ago. And he's not just interracial, part of his name is Hussein! Next, it'll be time for the first ever woman president of the United States and then all taboo will have been lifted.

In one of his speeches, Barack Obama said that he would never forget one particular voter for obvious reasons - she was a 105 year old African American woman. After having lived through a terrifying abduction from her homeland, slavery, racism and every other by product of being a coloured person in the United States, voting Obama to presidency must have been the day she had been waiting for in a very long time. This simply took me back to Alex Haley's "Roots" which I thoroughly enjoyed reading several years back.

There is a multitude of races in the US - Mexicans, African Americans, Indians, Chinese, Europeans, Native Americans... while most of them made it to this "land of opportunities" out of their own will, two races were put through tremendous trauma. In my opinion, when a Native American or an African American ranks the most powerful, it is indeed an achievement worth gloating about.

We recently heard from some American friends that the cops in Illinois were levying heavy tickets on people speeding by over a 5 mile per hour limit. Five hundred dollars for a speed that's five over the posted limit! Atrocious! Then we were told that they were running out of monetary resources and were therefore trying to replenish themselves. Sounds just like India, only, it's all made to look legal here, huh! Now why wouldn't this happen if this country spent so much on troops in Afghanistan and Iraq! Hopefully, when Obama retrieves his troops and backs off the war, we will pay less taxes and spend less on gas.

Either ways, we miss India and the dirty politics, dirty roads, bribery, pot bellied cops, expensive vegetables, smelly public toilets... it amazes me how the same Indian man can stand and pee on a compound wall in Chennai, while act dignified here... some things never change.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Misconceptions of the Malinformed Mind

S has been here since December and one of the most frequent questions he comes across from American/Non-East-Indian friends is how he gets to speak such good English! Sure, ignorance does prevail, but construing India to be a non-English speaking country is slightly unacceptable - considering the number of revenue generating working Indians and students out here. Sure, we owe them credit to this thought because a large percentage of Indians here are the world renowned GOLTIS. Now, that gives us a reason or two to understand why this misconception was born.

Golti: "Haaee. Whaat ees yuvar naam ra"
Mallu: "Halthy commooonicasion are yimbordant".

No offence meant, but most from these groups switch to their vernaculars and stick to their peers - this is the general feedback at S's workplace.

The other day when we were heading to Richmond from Atlanta, our co-passenger in the flight, Mr. Paul Woody, seemed rather amused that we spoke flawless English. He didn't seem to know where India was. He couldn't believe that we learned English in India.

P.W: "So which part of the world are you from?"
Me: "India"
P.W: "And which part..."
Me: Drawing a blank - that's when I realise he doesn't know where India is.
"It's far east... near China"
P.W: "Ahhh ok. You speak real good English, how did you learn that!"
Me: I'm tempted to say, "Well if you have the Poms ruling you for decades, it sort of rubs on you", but then I resort to "We have a real good education system in India and I'm just an average speaker. You should listen to some of the people who are mindblowing."
P.W: "So where do you work here?"
Me: "I'm not allowed on work, I'm on a dependent visa."
P.W: "What a waste of talent! With that smile and personality and the way you talk, you should be in marketing!"

Flash! S thinks he's flirting. But then, he's an old man. So we thought he was one of those MLM guys, since he was asking S way too many questions about wanting to set up his own business. Then he reaches to his briefcase, fishes out a card, and to our relief, it said Certified Public Accountant.

Then the conversation drifted to his political views, and he seemed completely enthused with us. When we finally landed at Richmond he made me meet his family that was receiving him. In Tamil, we have a friendly phrase called "Reyil Snegidam", which denotes a friendship that commences in a train journey. This is our "Flight Snegidam" :)

The next time someone gets amused with Indians who speak good English, I should probably introduce them to some Arundati Roy, Anita Desai, Shashi Tharoor, and The Hindu!

Here's to a happy, scary and eerie Halloween.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bitchslapped By The Cold

Whew, we got back to Bloomington on Monday, Diwali Day, after spending the weekend with family in Richmond. What a drastic change of topography! Richmond is pretty, big, elite, and gas prices are real cheap there :) On a serious note, it's a lovely place to settle with family, not too cold, and is beautifully adorned with lovely huge trees that are sporting an amazing fall foliage at the moment. We missed going to Shenandoah because of bad weather, but there's always going to be a next time. Shenandoah is supposed to be amongst the top rated places in the US to visit during fall. (You must remember John Denver's 'Take me home, country roads')

When we got back to Illinois we were welcomed by a cold slap of gusty wind. Our palms froze before we could reach our car that was parked just right across. Curiosity made us want to check the weather then and there, and it turned out to be 5 degree C with a freeze alert warning issued! That evening, I saw the first ever snow flake of my life. It was snowing off-season.

S usually withstands the cold pretty well. I was amazed to see him shudder underneath his jacket, that evening. I was clad in a saree with no jacket, gloves, or ear plugs and the people around me must have thought I was one crazy Indian who knew nothing about living abroad. Talk about a cold Diwali! We haven't even tried lighting our sparklers because of the constant cold wind.

On the brighter side, I am now a little confident that I'll be able to survive the notorious Illinois winter. Let's hope I fare well for a beginner.

Looking forward to our first ever Halloween party this weekend. There's a likelihood that S will be dressed as Jigsaw and me... uhmm, I don't know.

Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cold and Windy Diwali

It's raining here, crackers are banned unless it's the fourth of July, and worst of all - it is NOT a national holiday! Nonetheless, we are on our way to Virginia to spend our grand thalai deepavali with my ma and pa in law, and sister in law. We're eager to cuddle and coochie coo with our darling little nephew whose first ever Diwali it is too. And I just finished cutting out Kaju Kathlis...

If we were in India... Change of scenario...

- The Diwali spirit would already have been in the air... crackers, sky works, sparklers
- Messy roads with debris from all the fireworks and smoky skies
- Crowded movie halls with all the Diwali releases
- Ads on TV that start weeks in advance, about special Diwali programmes
- New clothes, sweets being exchanged, temple visits
- Best of all, a holiday and being with our entire family - considering it's our special thalai Diwali.

We're doing ok, we have mom and pop here, so it's really not bad. We have new clothes. I've made the sweets. We're going to go to the temple on Monday. I guess what we're really missing is the currently slushy, muddy Chennai with cracker stalls in every corner.

Happy Diwali to everyone out there. No matter what part of the world you're at right now, your heart belongs to home on Diwali more so ever than any other day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One Lazy Wednesday in October

It's a lazy day today. Since it's getting colder here with the onset of winter, cooking takes an unusually longer time. Some blame the cooking range that I have, some agree with me. Either ways, I know for sure maintenance is NOT going to give me a new cooking range. So I started cooking the next day's lunch the prior night. I packed a lunch box for S and I have some food for myself... so I'm just sitting with the laptop, munching on an apple, looking out the balcony... It's so sunny, but extremely windy. The weather is 7 Degree C and if THIS is windy, I can't imagine how Chicago, the windy city would be... A two hour geographical difference isn't that huge, I agree.

We're prepping up for our upcoming Diwali trip to Richmond to celebrate with the family. It's going to be our first Diwali together as a married couple - in local jargon, ''thalai deepavali''. I wonder how I'd look in a silk saree and a jacket and gloves on Monday, while boarding that plane back home from Richmond!

It's getting tougher and tougher to get up these days... this weather makes you want to laze in bed with a good book, or watch an outstanding movie cuddled up in the couch underneath plush fleece blankets.

A part of me is waiting for winter so I can get to build those abominable snow men (and women with big snow boobs ;))... but part of me is dreading the cold. You can take the girl out of Chennai, but you can't take Chennai out of the girl.

Looking forward to the weekend we're going to spend with loved ones. And yay, it's already Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Weekend at Wisconsin

S and I have been taking the roles of nomads every weekend, since Summer. We're looking forward to being at home in winter to keep away from Illinois's harsh weather. So, once again we hit the road to Wisconsin last Friday. We went to Door County to enjoy the Fall colours.

S and I both enjoy driving and love long scenic drives, but this time it was tiring - we rented a dreadful car that made us realise we had parts in our body that we never knew existed before! But those beautiful colours made us forget all the pain, and once we reached back home, we started feeling all the stress.

Door County is one of the most beautiful places in the US to visit during fall. Fall, in Chennai, is usually a bunch of dried leaves gathered on the streets, which people nonchalantly call trash... and you can find the corporation sweepers using a bamboo broom stick and basket picking up those dried leaves. We sometimes think that God has been a little too partial towards the US in terms of scenic beauty.

There's a score of trees lined outside apartments and homes... so imagine, if you owned a home out here, you'd be mowing your lawn, cleaning the porches and sidewalks off these fallen leaves, and shovelling the snow in winter, all by yourself. This country is the mother of all DIYs. And then, that's what shows us how pampered we've been in India, and the kind of things we take for granted back home... God Bless India!

P.S - We clicked plenty of pictures and some cousins thought S smiled like ''Chandler'' in a few snaps

Friday, October 17, 2008

5 Months!

I just realised that 6 days back was our 5th month together as a married couple! Does that qualify to be called newly weds? I don't know! But I sure do know that S and I haven't felt like newly weds a single day of our lives, post May 11. Right now, we feel like this is our 3rd year together, minus the kids, the smelly diapers, the messy house, and the broken toys! 

This time last year, we were shopping for Shiploo's birthday gift... Happy Days at Rage. Of course, S was already in my life. We were engaged and trying to be good kids :D And now, everything has changed. I'm doing things I've never done in my life before. I swore I wouldn't marry someone who lived abroad - and now look at me - to my defence, S was in India when we met and he wasn't sure of coming to the US back then.

Some people strongly believe that nothing changes when you're in love or married. The truth is, there are changes, but we just choose not to notice them or make a big deal out of them. If you look real hard, everything has changed.... yes, EVERYTHING. And change is good. Keeps you away from boredom.

To my dearest darling, here's wishing you a slightly belated fifth month anniversary... I don't think we went out to dinner like we traditionally do every month :P (Now that explains why I've gained some weight :D) And I'm not complaining about the changes that we've had to make :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ta Daaaa - Guess Who's Back

Push, prod, pinch, force, request, order - All of those were used on me by friends and family. Yes, oh yes, Musing Moments is back. My previous blog spot which I murdered one fine day at the spur of a foolish moment is now gone. So the more interesting, sort of newly married, living out of India with the love of my life ''me'' is now back as ''musingmoments-revival''. With too much free time on hand, I shouldn't have an excuse for not being regular, but let's see how my blogging statistics go from here on.

Thank you RDX for the constant pushing, which you eventually gave up.
Thank you my love for always asking if I made the blog already - I finally did. And it is now going to be your job to help me blogroll all my friends and favourites.

To a new beginning.