My Life, my dreams, my musings……..

July 23, 2009

25 and over..

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Shyamala N. @ 7:09 pm

I was going through my older, unread forwards in one of the id’s which I rarely use, and lo! This is what I stumbled upon. I read it, re-read it and fell in love with it. It’s awesome, so putting it here in my blog, for the benefit of all the readers! Digest the truth behind it, savor the way it’s written…

“If you have reached the age of 25, I have a bit of bad news for you, to wit: it is time, if you have not already done so, for you to emerge from your cocoon of post-adolescent dithering and self-absorption and join the rest of us in the world. Past the quarter-century mark, you see, certain actions, attitudes, and behaviors will simply no longer do, and while it might seem unpleasant to feign a maturity and solicitousness towards others that you may not genuinely feel, it is not only appreciated by others but necessary for your continued survival. Continuing to insist past that point that good manners, thoughtfulness, and grooming oppress you in some way is inappropriate and irritating.

Grow up.

And when I instruct you to grow up, I do not mean that you must read up on mortgage rates, put aside candy necklaces, or desist from substituting the word “poo” for crucial syllables of movie titles. Silliness is not only still permitted but actively encouraged. You must, however, stop viewing carelessness, tardiness, helplessness, or any other quality better suited to a child as either charming or somehow beyond your control. A certain grace period for the development of basic consideration and self-sufficiency is assumed, but once you have turned 25, the grace period is over, and starring in a film in your head in which you walk the earth alone is no longer considered a valid lifestyle choice, but rather grounds for exclusion from social occasions.

And now, for those of you who might have misplaced them, marching orders for everyone born before 1980.

1. Remember to write thank-you notes. If you do not know when a thank-you note is appropriate, consult an etiquette book — the older and more hidebound the book, the better. When in doubt, write one anyway; better to err on the side of formality. An email is not sufficient thanks for a physical gift. Purchase stationery and stamps, set aside five minutes, and express your gratitude in writing. Failure to do so implies that you don’t care. This implication is a memorable one. Enough said.

2. Do not invite yourself to stay with friends when you travel anymore. Presumably you have a job, and the means to procure yourself a hotel. If so, do so. If not, stay home. Mentioning that you plan a visit to another city may lead to an invitation to stay with a friend or family member, which you may of course accept; assuming that “it’s cool if you crash” is not. Wait for the invitation; if it is not forthcoming, this is what we call “a hint,” and you should take it and make other arrangements.

3. Do not expect friends to help you move anymore. You may ask for help; you may not expect it, particularly if your move date is on a weekday. Your friends have jobs to go to, and you have accumulated a lot of heavy books by this point in your life. Hire a mover. If you cannot afford a mover, sell your books or put them in storage — or don’t move, but one way or another, you will have to cope.

4. Develop a physical awareness of your surroundings. As children, we live in our own heads, bonking into things, gnawing on twigs, emitting random squawks because we don’t know how to talk yet. Then, we enter nursery school. You, having graduated college or reached a similar age to that of the college graduate, need to learn to sense others and get out of their way. Walk single file. Don’t blather loudly in public spaces. Give up your seat to those with disabilities or who are struggling with small children. Take your headphones off while interacting with clerks and passersby. Do not walk along and then stop suddenly. It is not just you on the street; account for that fact.

5. Be on time. The occasional public-transit snafu is forgivable, but consistent lateness is rude, annoying, and self-centered. If we didn’t care when you showed up, we’d have said “any old time”; if we said seven, get there at seven or within fifteen minutes. Do not ditz that you “lost track of time” as though time somehow slipped its leash and ran into traffic. It shows a basic lack of respect for others; flakiness is not cute anymore, primarily because it never was. Buy a watch, wind it up, and wear it everywhere you go.

6. Have enough money. I do not mean “give up your scholarly dreams and join the world of corporate finance in order to keep up with the Joneses.” I mean that you should not become that girl or boy who is always a few dollars short, can only cover exactly his or her meal but no tip, or “forgot” to go to the ATM. Go to the ATM first, don’t order things you can’t afford, and…

7. Know how to calculate the tip. Ten percent of the total; double it; done. You did not have to major in math to know how this works. You are not dumb, but your Barbie-math-is-hard flailing is agonizing and has outstayed its welcome. Ten percent times two. Learn it.

8. Do not share the crazy dream you had last night with anyone but your mental wellness professional. Nobody cares. People who starred in the dream may care, but confine your synopsis to ten words or fewer.

9. Learn to walk in heels. Gentlemen, you are at your leisure. Ladies: If you wear heels, know how to operate them. Clomping along and placing your foot down flat with each step gives the appearance of a ten-year-old playing dress-up, but a pair of heels is like a bicycle — you need momentum to stay up.. Come down on the heel and carry forward through the toe, using your regular stride. If you feel wobbly, keep practicing, or get a pair that’s better suited to your style of walking. It isn’t a once-a-year prom thing anymore for a lot of you, so please learn to walk in them.

10. Have at least one good dress-up outfit. A dress code, or suggested attire on an invitation, is not an instrument of The Man. Own one nice dress, or one reasonable suit, or one sharp pair of pants and chic sweater — something you can clean up nice in for a wedding or a semi-formal dinner. You don’t have to like it, but if the invitation requests it, put it on. Every night can’t be poker night. Which reminds me…

11. Do as invitations ask you. Don’t bring a guest when no such courtesy is extended. Don’t blow off an RSVP; it means “please respond,” and you should. “Regrets only” means you only answer if you can’t come. If the party starts at eight, show up at eight — not at seven-thirty so you can go a “better” party later, not at eleven when dinner is cold. Eight. Cocktail parties allow for leeway, of course, but pay attention and read instructions; your host furnished the details for a reason.

12. Know how. Know how to drive. Know how to read a map. Know how to get around. Know how to change a tire, or whom to call if you can’t manage it, or how to get to a phone if you don’t have a cell phone. We will happily bail you out, until it becomes apparent that it’s what you always need. The possibility of a fingernail breaking or a hairstyle becoming compromised is not grounds for purposeful helplessness.

13. Don’t use your friends. It’s soulless. It’s also obvious. If the only reason you continue to associate with a person is to borrow his or her car, might I remind you that you have now turned 25 and may rent your own.

14. Have something to talk about besides college or your job. College is over. The war stories have their amusements, but not over and over and not at every gathering. Get a library card, go to the movies, participate in the world. Working is not living. Be interested so that you can be interesting.

15. Give and receive favors graciously. If you have agreed to do a favor, you may not 1) remind the favoree ceaselessly about how great a pain it is for you, or 2) half-ass it because the favoree “owes you.” It is a favor; it is not required, and if you cannot do it, say so. If you can do it, pretend that nobody is watching, do it as best you can, and let that be the end of it. Conversely, if you ask for a favor and the askee cannot do it, do not get snappish. You can manage.

16. Drinking until you throw up is no longer properly a point of pride. It happens to the best of us, but be properly ashamed the next day; work on your tolerance, or eat something first, but amateur hour ended several years hence.

17. Have a real trash receptacle, real Kleenex, and, if you smoke, a real ashtray. No loose bags on the floor; no using a roll of toilet paper; no plates or empty soda cans. You are not a fierce warrior nomad of the Fratty Bubelatty tribe. Buy a wastebasket and grown-up paper products.

18. Universal quiet hours do in fact apply to you. They are, generally, as follows — midnight to six AM on weekdays, 2 AM to 8 AM on weekends. Mine is a fairly generous interpretation, by the by, so bass practice should conclude, not start, at ten PM. Understand also that just because nobody has complained directly to you does not mean that a complaint is not justified, or pending. Further, get your speakers off the floor. Yes, “now.” Yes, a rug is still “the floor.”

19. Take care of yourself. If you are sick, visit a doctor. If you are sad, visit a shrink or talk to a friend. If you are unhappy in love, break up. If you are fed up with how you look, buy a new shirt or stop eating cheese. If you have a problem, try to fix it. Many problems are knotty and need a lot of talking through, or time to resolve, but after a few months of all complaining and no fixing, those around you will begin to wonder if you don’t enjoy the problems for the attention they bring you. Venting is fine; inertia coupled with pouting is not. Bored? Read a magazine. Mad at someone? Say so — to them. Change is hard; that’s too bad. Effort counts. Make one. Your mommy’s shift is over.

20. Rudeness is not a signifier of your importance. Rudeness is a signifier of itself, nothing more. We all have bad days; yours is not weightier than anyone else’s, comparatively, and does not excuse displays of poor breeding. Be civil or be elsewhere.”

Presuming you read all of it, I must daresay that it DOES apply to all of us, whether 25, or getting there! Thanks to the author, whoever it is…

July 17, 2009

Musings of a Madrasi-2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Shyamala N. @ 1:48 pm

You’ve not seen or experienced Madras if you’ve not shopped in T.Nagar. Wow!! Nothing gives a better kick than buying two bags full of stuff, without even a slight dent in your pocket! Of course, the durability of such stuff is dubious, but then, who cares??? You just go wading through the crowds and get jostled and trampled upon, but never, not even once does the idea of leaving strikes you. The above description is subject to planetary differences. I am talking strictly about Venusians. They don’t make shopaholics in Mars, you see. There is absolutely no means to differentiate the crowd that’s overflowing from the shops, and the one which is walking on the streets. And come “Aadi”, we put off everything else and shopping takes priority. Reason? The Aadi discount. The thing is, during Aadi one is now supposed to buy anything new. Marriage talks are put on abeyance in this season. But, but…the various shops play to their advantages. Practically everything’s on a sale in this season. Mobile phones, laptops, clothes, electrical appliances…you get a flat 5-50% off on anything you can lay your hands on. Who can resist such an offer? So we throng onto the shops, from 9 to 9 and come out with heavier hands and lighter purses, but most importantly, a smile of content on our faces. 🙂 . By the way, I bought my Nokia 7500 on Aadi sale only…got it for Rs.3000 less than the MRP!!!

Madras boasts of a beautiful blend of the old and the new. We have the aatukkal and the Wi-fi. Grandmothers use ammis while talking to their grandchildren on their mobiles. We have Dakshinchitra and Tidel Park. Automobile industries, IT Industries…you name it, we have it. We are the land of the Valluvar Kottam and Thousand Lights’ Mosque and the Fort St.George. Our proximity to the sea has given us the title of “Gateway to South India”. Madras’s climate is quite interesting; we have three climates like any other North Indian state, just that we call ours “Hot, Hotter and the Hottest”. You’ll find this fact interesting about us Madrasis. When we see a co-Madrasi, we talk to each other in English. I have no clue why we do so, but we  do so!! Ahh…how can I forget Tamizh, the language of us Madrasis! Tamizhukku amudham endru paeru”– Tamizh is known to be the nectar amongst all languages. Life is a celebration for us Madrasis, and most fascinatingly, so is death. Had it been our way, we’d have festivals all the 365 days.

Madras is a wonderful melange of different cultures. The agraharams of West Mambalam co-exist with the posh Nungambakkam. We are simpletons at heart. Yes, our auto-drivers charge 3 times the actual fare, but we mean no harm otherwise. Our MTC buses are by far the best networked ones. You can go to any A from any B, thanks to our meticulous bus networks. Our local trains are not as crowded as the Mumbai ones, so you definitely will get a seat. We have Hotel Saravana Bhavans and Anjappars sprinkled at all places; I’ve told you- we take our food seriously. In all, we the Madrasis are wonderful people to be with and to mingle with. 🙂

On a serious note, Madras is not just about the filter kapis or the bhavans and saagars which are so conspicuous on almost all the streets. Being a Madrasi is not just about speaking Tanglish or Engineelish , or being on a shopping spree all through the Aadi Maasam. There’s more to it. We are the harbinger of an age-old culture, of an ancestral pride which is called Tamil Nadu. We still hold on to our orthodox ways, and derive comfort from that. Change as we might, there are some things about the Tamil Culture (and the Tamil Platter too, which gives Pizza and pasta and Chowmein a run for their money :P) which keeps us rooted firmly to the grounds so carefully harnessed by our forefathers. No matter if Amma rules or Kalaignar, no matter if more Cognizants and Tatas sprawl in the city,  no matter the name changes from Madras to Chennai, we remain Madrasis to the core! Vaazhga India, Valarga Tamizh!!

July 16, 2009

Musings of a Madrasi—1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Shyamala N. @ 4:12 pm

I remember the times when I was at school, vacations meant an alternate trip to Delhi or Madras. Yes, I prefer calling it Madras. Somehow, I feel, calling it Chennai makes it lose all the quintessence associated with the place and people! Well, I used to associate Madras with the treat usually any north India dweller would jump at…beaches! Having lived mostly in the North, beaches used to entice me, as a child. More than the water itself, it was the sand that attracted me a lot. I used to love collecting the shells. Conch shaped shells, smooth ones, coarse ones…I used to go back home with a huge collection every year! (Pity, I’ve lost them now!). And then, there were the amusement parks. Though I hail from the land which gave India it’s first amusement park, somehow MGM, Little Folks, VGP always fascinated me to the core. Finally, the visits to my relatives’ places. Perimma, Athai(s), Perippas…whew!! This was one tummy-unfriendly affair. My dad and mum, both are the “kadakutties” of their individual families. As a result, whenever we visited our relatives, they used to ensure that we never left their homes, unfed and unattended to! On a normal day, it’s okay, but not when you visit 3 or 4 relatives on the same day!

I grew up in a place called Korba, in Chattisgarh. After 10th, I HAD to change schools. More because of the fact that there was an exodus every year, which, ultimately would mean, stripping my school of my dear mates!!! School for me spelt friends and fun. What use in going to a school where my friends wouldn’t be? So, covering this reason with the noble excuse of “Coaching not very good in 11th and 12th”, I began the most wonderful  sojourn of my life…My Life at Madras. During my childhood days, given a choice between Madras and Delhi, I’d have chosen Delhi any time, any day. Delhi’s where my maternal grandparents lived (and still do, to this day!). They dote on me and my grandmom is the best cook in the world. I say this, and unabashedly so, too, I have never tasted anything better than what my grandmom cooks. Well, so, Delhi had always been my personal preference. One more reason behind this was, most of my paternal relatives lived in Madras, and I was never much close to them. So, coming to Madras and living here for 2 years was a tough decision to make. But you know, it just took me two days and one trip to Anna Nagar to proclaim to the wide, wide world that, “I LOVE MADRAS!”.

There’s something about Madras that attracts you towards the place. You know, like, “Once a Madrasi, always a Madrasi’ kinds. Being a part TamBrahm also has a huge role to play in my love for Madras. Early morning, when you wake up to the sounds of “Kowsalya Supraja Rama” and “Bhajagovindham”, or the smell of Filter Kapi percolating in the filter, the chimes of the temple bells….wow!! I mean, nothing else could mark the start of a wonderful day ahead. My orkut profile says : Religious views : Spiritual but not religious. But somehow, the pealing sounds of the temple bells, early in the morning, makes me smile. A morning in Madras is considered wasted if you do not sip your filter kapi, while reading The Hindu. We Madrasis consider The Hindu to be the ONLY newspaper that exists in India. Call it inflated ego or whatever! In a typical madrasi household, there does not exist the concept of breakfast. We have our lunch by 11:00 am maximum. The concept of  three square meals a day somehow has not taken roots here, yet and I sincerly doubt if it ever will. Tiffin, snacks et al, food on the whole, play a very vast role in the Madrasis’ lives. We love our food! Our snacks are wholesome and delicious. Murukkus, thattais, ribbon pakodas, thenkuzhals…slurrrppp!! We take any course of our meals very seriously. Weddings are a huge thoroughfare in Madras. And a TamBrahm wedding spreads over 3 days, straight. Ahh…what festivities!! It gives me pleasure to think that one fine day, even I’ll be sent off to my In-laws place in such a grandeur!!! 😉 😉

July 6, 2009

“Mainu Amrikka Jaana Hai”……

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Shyamala N. @ 5:10 pm

Long live the American Dream! Never thought that’d I’d dream one, too!!! And before I knew it, here I am, with loads and loads of GRE preparation materials opened in front of me, and I, sitting amidst them, trying to cram 3500 “unspeakable” English words in a span of 2 months!! Now, I have absolutely no answers for the why’s and how’s, but all I know is that, on 9th September, I am gonna appear for my Graduate Record Examination. Audacious, huh? (Ahh….peeps, I knew that word even before I started preparing for the verbals!! So those of u who are stickin ur tongues out at me, kindly pull it in! 😛 :P).

Well, I have never been enticed by the glam-sham of America….yeah, sham it is!! Even though my family’s been showing a long lineage of migratory behavior, somehow, i could never bring myself to even think of doing it!! It isn’t that am a die-hard patriotic or something, it’s just that, I always berated myself, and thought i could never make it. And since, failure has always frightened me, i was happily dwelling in this cocoon that i’d spun around myself, making myself believe that am not worth it, at all! Until…..one fine day, precisely, the 1st of July, 2009, when i had this epiphany that i must, MUST and MUST write my GRE! I actually heard Uncle Sam callin me! How freaking is that!!! Whatever, i let this feeling flow in me, wash me with its strength, and when it finally sunk in, i started working like a maniac, gathering information, collecting study materials from anywhere and everywhere possible…! Kewl, huh?

I am looking at MS in IS ( information systems). Partly cuz it is NOT related to electrical, partly cuz it is 70% management! Yaayy! Implies, i’ll be making a lot of money, by the end of a year!! Yaaayy yaay!! Are u listening, ***(it is NOT an expletive, it is the MNC, which recruited me..read, SCREWED  me), u can kiss my arse! But, as everyone knows, every good thing in this world doesn’t come without a package! Preparation for GRE is a huge job in itself. Not that it’s tough or something, it’s just that, it sometimes wears you down with its sheer stupidity . Memorizing a list of words which you might never use in your later life is such a pain in the ass. And the quants! The mention of it makes me yawn. I mean, it takes you back to your middle school. Thank God, i payed attention in Verma Sir’s classes back then, else i’d be totally in a soup now.

My actual exam is 2 months away, so the chills haven’t set in yet. I really hope and wish that i crack the exam with awesome marks, cuz i’d be needing it desperately! The course that i wanna do doesn’t give any funding!! My exceptionally high GRE marks will alone fetch me a decently paying internship!!!! So peeps, DO WISH ME!!!

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