Austin, Life, Music, Piano


Today is a landmark today. Took a tiny step to re-kindle my synthesizer/digital piano passion and ordered a decent model for myself. My metalhead-tattoo-rendering-always-buoyant boss (who shall remain unnamed on this blog not because she’s less important, but because letting out her identity would mean revealing secrets at various levels, something I take very seriously now and more on that later), provided the necessary artistic inspiration and the name of an amazing local, independent shop in Austin. I had to do my bit to Keep Austin Weird.

I am ecstatic; feel more cognizant of my hands and the nervy quiver that hasn’t left them since late evening. Do they still remember how to create music? At least, they’ve been provoked.

For the crazy metalhead, whose fortitude knows no limits, who knows how to live life more than anyone else, and most dearly, who is still living it up.

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Crossword Puzzle

How do you make an insecure person feel insecure? How do you bat off senseless, mindless and baseless questions? It’s sad when people want you to prove yourself even though you’ve known them forever. Or, at least it feels like it’s been forever.

Are we living a pretentious life? Sweepings things under the carpet, until it gets too late. And when you stand on such a crossroad, you don’t even realize that you just missed the last bus.

It’s easy to say “don’t let anyone else dictate your happiness”. If you actually let no one affect your moods or feelings, you are probably not human. To what extent? That’s the question.

It’s difficult to know when enough is really enough. Wish everything were black and white. Even if I read every damn psychology or philosophy book out there, nothing will ever teach me how to deal with real life situations. Besides, I’m unique. You are unique too.

Every single incident is like a crossword puzzle- the pieces are in your hands. You need to learn how to put all the pieces together.

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Three Men

(Picture symbolizes hope and funnily, shows Liberty Island- which was the Port of Entry for most immigrants to the United States. What I’m facing is something to do with immigration too)

I’ve been going through a difficult period in my life. Lots going on and nothing is in my hands. I can only play the wait and watch game. The worst part is, this might affect my career. I know that this is not the end of my life and even if things don’t go my way, life will go on and I’ll find something else to do. I’ve been in a melodramatic mood since the past couple of days, hardly sleeping, hardly eating, rejecting invitations by friends to go out for a drink. You get the scene.

Then I saw three different people last evening, who seemed to be facing greater troubles compared to me. I was waiting in the parking lot of my company, in my car, waiting for my friend to join me. A man on a wheelchair rolled out. I’ve seen this man before. He opened the door of his car, threw his suitcase in the backseat. Next, he glided on to the driver’s seat, dismantled his wheelchair and threw that on to the backseat too. He lifted both his legs, one by one and literally kept them in the car, as if they were dead objects. Which I suppose they were. Semi-dead. And he drove on. As if that was the most natural thing to do. Then I looked at these women walking around in high heels. Did they know how fortunate they were? Their legs could also bear the burden of those high heels!

I was driving back home and on my way, stopped at a gas station to get some soda and chocolates. That’s when I saw the second man- he was bending over a crutch and trying to cross the small lane. In the process, he was holding up a couple of cars behind him. It’s weird that the car closest to him went on advancing at a slow speed instead of stopping completely, and waiting for the man to fnish crossing the street. The man felt so guilty/awkward/uncomfortable because he was making these cars wait. I felt really bad that these SOBs were making him feel so.

Anyway, I drove on and ended up going to a full fledged grocery store next, because I needed to buy some alcohol. The third man was a Salvation Army man, standing outside the grocery store, ringing a bill in this bitter cold. Small donations are what he was looking for. I bought the alcohol and was walking out of the store, when I saw him sitting on a bench inside the store, coughing profusely. The cold weather and the wind was obviously too much for him to take. After he felt sufficiently warmed up, he resumed his duty of ringing the bell. I can’t even begin to tell you how upset this made me. I donated some $$$ and got back to my car in an even more sullen mood.

Were these three gentlemen trying to teach me something? I think so. People have greater miseries in this world and here I am, wallowing over mine. Yet, I can’t help it. My misery is my own and I can’t seem to find a solution. I wish I could leave all of this, stop being so materialistic and put my life to good use- take care of old people, poor people, people truly in need and stop trying to be “efficient” (yeah…the cliched stuff).

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Blog Closed

I’m off blogging for a month or so. Too much work and other stuff going on! I’m not being able to read anyone’s posts or write comments. Please don’t mind! I’ll probably be back next month. I’ll try to read your blogs, but will probably not be regular. 🙂

Miss you wonderful people!

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Another Tag!

Nova has tagged me to do this meme and I think I’m the first person to respond to it, even though she didn’t expect me to 😉 Let me add Suda’s name too. He’s also tagged me for the same meme!

1. Last movie you saw in a theater?

Errmm…do I need to answer this one? I’m embarrassed to admit that it’s Tashan. But in my defense, I walked out of the theater during the interval.

2. What book are you reading?

Age of Iron by JM Coetzee. Also reading the CFAI Text books- thanks to my exam in the first week of June.

3. Favorite board game?

I like Monopoly, Pictionary and Scrabble. Haven’t played Monopoly and Pictionary since a long long time. Last played Scrabble on New Year’s Eve.

4. Favorite magazine?

Business Week and Fortune Magazine.

5. Favorite smells?

Elizabeth Arden’s Splendor, Davidoff’s Echo and Hugo Boss’s Deep Red.

6. Favorite sounds?

My heart beating. I don’t know how it will feel when I’ll realize that it’s going to leave me. I also like the background noise of the AC fan whirring.

7. Worst feeling in the world?

When you know that things have changed for the worse, even though you don’t want them do.

8. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up?

My inbox 😀

9. Favorite fast food place?

Taco Bell and Jack in the Box.

10. Future child’s name?

Babloo and Pinky! As if! Dumb question.

11. Finish this statement. “If I had lot of money I’d….?

Donate some to some charities, take some long vacations, buy big houses…have lots of dogs…and lie at home all day, reading books and watching movies.

12. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?

I want to type something else here, but I’ll refrain myself. Don’t want to be labeled as a pervert. For the record, I don’t sleep with stuffed animals.

13. Storms – cool or scary?

Cool if it’s at night and I’m sleeping. Scary if I’m wide awake.

14. Favorite drink?

Banana shake and Orange Juice.

15. Finish this statement, “If I had the time I would….”?

Actually, I have time for everything I like doing. We’ll live only once…why not spend time doing things you enjoy doing? So I don’t believe in “If I had the time I would…” Make time if you don’t have any time.

16. Do you eat the stems on broccoli?
Oh yes! I love Broccoli. 🙂

17. If you could dye your hair any color, what would be your choice?

I wouldn’t dye my hair again. I have abused them enough. Thankfully, they’re still very soft and healthy. I had some brownish and dirty blonde streaks when I was in college.

18. Name all the different cities/towns you’ve lived in?

Quite a boring list actually- Calcutta, Pune, Bombay, Bangalore, Springfield, MO and currently, St. Louis, MO.

19. Favorite sports to watch?

I hardly watch TV.

20. One nice thing about the person who sent this to you?

Nova-She sees pretty things through her eyes!

Suda- He’s a very soft spoken and jovial fellow. Besides, I’m his favorite blogger. 😉 So he can’t be bad at all.

21. What’s under your bed?

Nothing! I don’t have a bed now. Still in the process of buying a mattress. I don’t enjoy shopping for such stuff. So I don’t make any time for it.

22. Would you like to be born as yourself again?
Sure…why not? I’m very smart and intelligent. Heh.

23. Morning person, or night owl?
Night owl. But I’ll have to change that in the next couple of days.

24. Over easy, or sunny side up?

Both…depends really. I’m a very serious and cranky type of person. 😛

25. Favorite place to relax?
The restroom.

26. Favorite pie?
I hate pies. But if I were to pick one, then it would have to be banana pie.

27. Favorite ice cream flavor?
Banana Split from Cold Stone or Baskin Robbins.

28. Of all the people you tagged this to, who’s most likely to respond first?

I don’t know…really. Maybe Ashish? Maybe Dinsan?

Okay, let me tag- Amit, Anand, Ashish, Balu, Dinsan, and Shefaly. Any one who wants to take it up is free to do it too! 🙂

General ramblings

Random Act of Kindness

I just got gifted $30 by POBox42111 and I hardly know him! In fact, he commented for the first time in my post, Desi Connection, only a week ago. I’m quite surprised and pleased/shocked at the same time. I guess it doesn’t take too much to make someone happy.

That’s a sum total of two random acts of kindness that I came across this year- First, the lady who helped me after my car accident on the freeway and second, POBox42111. I’m amazed how some people like POBox are so big hearted. I know that money is not a big thing, but still, it never occurred to me that it takes so little/much to make someone smile. 🙂 I have a lot to learn.

My mom asked me- What’s his name?

Me: POBox42111

Mom: You mean you don’t know his name?

Me: No!

Dear POBox, I’m sure you are reading this post. I owe you one and I hope you will let me do something for you if you come to this side of the country. I have no doubt that you are not like other desis that I come across here ever so often. 😉 Anyone who tips $7 for a $13 haircut cannot be bad! I’m not going to give you a gift in return because that would mean that I’m trying to settle accounts here. I will hope that sometime, in the future, I’ll be able to put a smile on your face too. I really appreciate your generosity and I’m very bad with words; so this does seem like an awkward post.

Ish, this time, I had an OMGWTF moment. 😀

I’ve used $15 to get myself a personal domain. Still have $15 which I don’t need.

General ramblings

Desi Connection

I’ve realized that majority of the Indians are the same everywhere, be it India or the US. In fact, US brings out the worst in Indians. My first experience with an Indian couple, in fact, was on the very first day I came to the US. It so happened that I was getting late for my connecting flight and being new to this country (just stepped out from the plane that brought me to the US from India) and the system, I was in need of some desperate help. I made the mistake of talking to the Indian couple behind me. This is how the conversation went:

Me: (Really worried and tensed) Hi! I have a connecting flight in less than 30 minutes and this waiting line for the security clearance is very long. Do you have any idea what I should do?

The husband (typical Indian) replied: No.

Yes, that’s it. That’s all that he told me and that too in a very rude tone. His condescending tone was too much for me to take. I really got pissed off. Spoke to an American Airlines employee and then got ahead in the line and managed to catch the connecting flight.

Lesson Learned: Ignore all Indians in the US henceforth. Don’t even look in their direction.

I guess almost all the Indians who come here have similar experiences with other fellow Indians. The end result is that we prefer to stare at our shoes instead of looking at an Indian’s face. Even if you come across a desi by mistake, you need to act as if you didn’t see him/her. And never ever smile or say “Hi!”. Greetings are reserved only for Americans here. You can continue to be your usual rude self in front of other desis. And you have the full freedom of being a kanjoos too. Tip a little less in Indian restaurants. Who cares what other desis think? Correct?

What made me write such a sarcastic post? That’s incident no. 2! I was going through some classifieds because I really need to buy some household items. A desi was selling a very nice vacuum cleaner for a good price. So, I called her up and ask her for a picture and some specifications. She took roughly 50 minutes to email me a picture- something that should have taken only 15 minutes, at the max. I can hear you saying that maybe she couldn’t find her digital camera or maybe she is not very comfortable with the camera! Okay, her being late can be discounted. What happened next can’t be discounted! I called her back and told her that I’ll be there at her place in an hour to pick up the vacuum cleaner and that I’ll pay her in cash.

I got ready and was about to sit in the car when my cell phone rang. Usually, I don’t answer my cell phone, unless it’s a professional call. Thank God I answered it. This is how the conversation went:

She: Hi! My name is XYZ and you spoke to me sometime back regarding the vacuum cleaner.

Me: Of course, I remember. How are you?

She: Fine, thank you. I just wanted to let you know that the vacuum cleaner has been sold.

Me: Sold? Yes, to me right? In fact, I’ll be there at your place in 15-20 mins. I’m about to leave.

She: No no…I mean…someone else came now and they liked the vacuum cleaner and took it.

Me: Took it? What do you mean took it? I thought I told you that I’ll be there at your place in an hour’s time?

She: I thought that you’re not too sure…so I gave it to them.

Me: (Temper rising)- That’s very unfair of you. I was just about to leave for your place. You could have at least called me up once before giving it to someone else.

She: I’m sorry…I really thought that you don’t want it.

Me: Don’t want it? Then why would I tell you that I’ll be coming to get it? I don’t have all the time in the world to do window shopping at your place.

She: I’m sorry…

Me: Thanks a lot. No problem.

(Literally slammed the cell phone).

Lesson learned: Nothing ever changes Indians. They are all the same. Just put them in charge of the US and see what’ll happen to the professionalism level and the corporate structure of this country.

Maybe I’m being very general in my observation, but that’s me. Dealing with a desi here makes me feel as if I’m back in India. It’s only when I enter an Indian restaurant and eat a really horrible plate of pav bhaji for $5.99 that I realize that maybe…I’m not in India. The Indian food here just doesn’t taste the same. It tastes too “home made”. Instead of pav bhaji buns, I was given hot dog buns. WTF?! If only the Indian food level here would improve…

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There was no system to soothe the unfairness of things; justice was without scope; it might snag the stealer of chickens, but great evasive crimes would have to be dismissed because, if identified and netted, they would bring down the entire structure of so-called civilization. For crimes that took place in the monstrous dealings between nations, for crimes that took place in those intimate spaces between two people without a witness, for these crimes the guilty would never pay. There was no religion and no government that would relieve the hell.

Kiran Desai; The Inheritance of Loss (2006), p. 200

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Blogathon and Elaan

This post is about two noteworthy causes that have been taken up by two of my blog friends. I was supposed to write about it a long time ago, but failed to do so. I blame it on my laziness.

Amit is a part of Elaan, which is an NGO that deals with child sexual abuse causes. He wanted me to spread the word by blogging about it. So, I’m trying to do my bit here. From the website:

Elaan was founded in 2004 as part of an endeavor to encourage dialogue on the issues of child sexual abuse (CSA) and incest. It functioned as a youth group for 3 years before being registered as an NGO on June 7th 2007 under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act of 1961.

Some of the issues that Elaan is addressing, and hopes to incorporate in future projects are –

  1. Parents Against Abuse (parent activism body)
  2. Education (rural and urban)
  3. Healing, Dealing and Surviving
  4. Juvenile Justice *
  5. LACSA (Law against Child Sexual Abuse) *
  6. Prostitution (adult sex workers, their rights and the protection of their children; also child prostitutes) *
  7. Human and Child trafficking *
  8. Children with special needs
  9. LGBT awareness and activism (sexual minorities)
  10. Trauma handling and disaster management
  11. Cyber crime and internet laws*
  12. Sex education and personal safety training
  13. Self esteem and communication for young adults
  14. Substance abuse and other addictions
  15. HIV/AIDS awareness and treatment (especially for underprivileged families with children)
  16. Intervention and support for high risk/vulnerable children

Elaan is based in Calcutta and there are a number of ways by which you can support them (if you want to)- sponsoring their events, become a volunteer, undergo training to become a counselor etc. Hopefully, I’m doing my bit by widening their network and by spreading the word. 🙂 If any of you reading this post are dealing with a sensitive sexual abuse issue and would like to get some help, then you know where to turn to. You can also read Elaan’s blog here.

The second part of the post is about Blogathon India, which is an “event where these bloggers can get together and raise their concerns, ideas and suggestions on different social issues through the medium we all love: blogs.” Balu, another blog friend, is actively involved in the entire process and you can contact him for further details. The event will go on during the entire week of April 20-26th and the blog topics will be released on April 12th, 2008. You can write posts and do your bit to make others aware of the problems that our country is facing. For your efforts, the Blogathon team is also awarding prizes! To read more about the participation details, please visit this page.

Note: This post is for information and for non-commercial purposes only. I don’t take the responsibility for the services offered etc. and neither am I associated with Elaan or Blogathon in any manner. Thanks.

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Bye Bye WordPress!

Had enough of this bourgeois service, where I need to pay for a custom domain, CSS upgrade (and that gives me the liberty to only “style” the look), and can’t use Java scripts.  WordPress hasn’t come out with a decent theme/addition in months!

So, I’m going to stop blogging here. I’m in the process of moving everything to Blogger (Yes, everything’s FREE!).

Bye Bye!