Friday, 6 April 2012

Princess Charming

Recently I have had to travel around in a new country i.e. within cities and between cities. And with all such travel, adventures are inevitable. I had the chance to fly Melbourne to Sydney solo and ofcourse travel within Sydney. Through this journey I had the oppoturnity to meet some nice and interesting people. This story is of my encountance and perception of these individuals.

Since my stay in Sydney was not of a long duration, I travelled light with just a shoulder bag. Passing through the short customs check I gained entry to my flight. Searching for my seat number I spotted 11E. The overhead lockers were left wide ajar for me to place my bag. Standing on my tippy-toes I tried with all my might to shove the bag up but failed miserably (being short has never helped me in such situations). That's when the kind Indian gentleman who was sitting in the seat in front immediately offered me a hand. I was greatful for the favour and thanked and flashed him a smile. I went and took my seat and had a long (an hour and a half), uncomfortable flight to Sydney. Landing in Sydney, the same gentleman pulled out my bag and even enquired if I would be fine when I was the outside the airport. Being a girl, the principle of awareness  had been instilled in from age unknown (from young you are taught to look at overly friendly male strangers as if they are going to rape you), so, I lied through my teeth that I had a friend picking me up from there and thanked and flashed my smile at him for all his favours.

Being in a new place, it is not only a challenge to get used to the different means of transport present in that area but also to obtain a valid ticket from the installed hi-tech ticketing machines (where are the times when people used to sit in counters selling tickets). So, I took a couple of minutes reading and figuring out how I could obtain a ticket to my destination and when I thought I could do it, I proceeded to follow each instruction to its minute detail. I pressed all the right buttons and put my money in only to get my money spat out and no ticket. I repeated the process a few times with the same result. By this time the God sent Indian gentleman behind me had arrived. I politely pulled a sullen face and stepped aside to let him buy his ticket and stood a couple of step behind him watching his every move in front of the machine. I do not know if my intent gaze appealed to him but voila! he offered to help. With his magic touch the ticket was issued and I again flashed my smile and thanked him.

Next, I proceed into a jammed train and do even have to ask who wins fighting over the singular seat when competing with an Indian gentleman? Yes, ofcourse he too got a flash of my smile and  a thank you.

Moral of the story:-

I have realized that Indian men are knights in shining armours who can never leave a decent looking damsel (with the creation of make-up even I can look pleasant) in distress alone. I am thankful to all the men I met on my journey. Without you I wouldnt have been able to successfully complete my trip.

But (I have to add this but), I wonder if these men who were kind to a cute strange girl ever lift a finger at home to help their womenfolk. Watching and observing my dad, I have to conclude he may be the most useful man to the whole wide world but not at home. So, Indian men you might be blessed beings outside but please show some consideration and love to the women at home as they offer you more than a smile and a thank you everyday. Treat your mothers, sisters, daugthers and  wives wife dearly.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

A Suitable Boy

For those readers in pursuit of Vikram Seth’s novel, I kindly advise you to take a U-turn and drive out, as the information written here is not even remotely related to the novel. The information held here is an interesting memory that I will like to come back and read when I am grey and dying.

Before I begin my story, I think few paragraphs of background blurbs are in order.

My sister’s background: My sister has recently attained what people would call of marriageable age. She is a cute, bubbly, short, chubby, a PhD pursuing career woman. She is innocent, naive, stubborn, obstinate and intelligent. Until the last year, she puked at the idea of marriage and became extremely violent at the mention of the topic. My parents clueless of how to tackle the issue approached my sisters most trusted ally, ME, to help deal with the problem. With a few tricks up my sleeve, now she agrees to marriage with a list of set conditions. The future prospects need to be rich, smart, intelligent, work as a doctor, have personality, be humorous, have Lady Luck as his mistress and last but not the least be handsome. By my experience of living with my sister, I would say she will make a good wife. She is an excellent cook and her bad qualities such as her moods, quick-temper, bullying nature, laziness (which can be overcome by bribes) and her awkwardness to hugs can be overlooked.

A background of my community: The community is a small orthodox business community that belongs to the central heartlands of Tamil Nadu. It was once a prosperous community with business ventures spreading far and wide from India to countries of the East.  With the lack of young enterprises, now the country produces young intellectuals who had rather work and earn large pockets of wages from multinational firm rather than enter into a risky business world. It is famous for its hospitality, cuisine and old classical bungalows that are now rotten in their unkempt hometowns. The huge villas of heritage are now mostly let-out of for Kollywood shooting or have been turned to resorts for foreign visitors who want a luxurious feel for India. As I said, being a small orthodox bunch inter-caste marriage has been in practice from time immemorable.  And being a genetist, I cannot avoid talking about the limited gene pool. The gene pool is very small and due to the selection of the more unfavourable traits over the years, the community has repeated produced offsprings resembling mutant SRKs (Ofcourse, with a few exceptions). So, a worry that looms over my sisters is that there is a 100% chance that her child could look like a hybrid between a monkey, donkey and a buffalo if she fails to choose wisely in a setting without much choice. ( Note for those among the readers with a bit of a wild imagination: When I say small, do not even imagine that we all go around marrying our 1st cousins but just that everyone’s related to everyone in a strange way. For example, a prospectus groom could be my cousin’s uncle’s sister-in-law’s father’s brother’s grandson. Now do you see the relationship?) And I again stress, it is an orthodox community and so do not go into and try typing Maya’s sister out of sheer curiosity as this may not result in anything. Alliances are normally passed on by word of mouth and the news normally spread through the wind by gossiping elders to reach within ear shots of families with brides and grooms. 

Now to the main topic of discussion: As I was saying, my sister is now of marriageable age and my parents have excitedly taken the first steps into the groom hunt market. For my entertainment, I would like to keep a list of all the candidates that have been introduced to my sister and will keep editing the list till Mr. Right has appeared. 

Starting with, Mr. No: 0, other than information on his financial status, I was not updated on anything else. My grandmother had shown a picture of my sister to the groom’s mother and she seemed very interested. The chemistry been my grandmother and the groom’s mother clicked liked magic on the first day of their meeting and the second day there was talk of flying my sister to Malaysia to meet the groom. The proposal to marriage seemed extremely speedy that made me go write my letter to my brother-in-law at once (maybe I will post that up another day). The third day there was a new discovery, there was a case of mistaken identity and the proposal was dropped as speedily as it appeared. He is Mr. No: 0 as he would not have made the list if I had not written my letter then. I was amazed at how fast things were proceeding. 

Mr. No: 1, he and his mother were coming home for tea and my sister on that day was not at home. Before the appearance of the guests, my mother had warned me that I could be meeting my possible brother-in-law.  So excited, my mother and I stood by the door to welcome our guests and our jaws dropped when we set eyes on the groom. What stood before us was a scrawny, thin, dark, not too tall figure with white teeth (if you are wondering if the groom’s side had a clue as to what my mother and I were doing, I would say no. They genuinely had just come for an evening’s visit). So, we welcomed them into our warm home and were talking. He had studied engineering and had found employment in the same field. He seemed nice, easy to talk to and overall had a pleasant personality (though I wouldn’t say the same about his mother). He earned a couple of Brownie point from my mother and me, despite his looks. Next, was to test how my sister reacted to him. My mother planned a date where the clueless groom would drive us (Mum, sister and I) to a temple 3 hours away and my sister would have the opportunity to see him for herself. The date went as planned and the verdict from my sister was a no. He was rejected without knowing that he was being rejected (I should add, my sister did feel bad for doing so because he really did seem to be a nice person...only if he had the looks). 

Mr. No: 2, was my dad’s friends neighbour. He had completed dentistry and had set up his own clinic. His photo was emailed to my sister and the mail was opened to set eyes on a young man covered in chest hair up to his neck. He was wearing a formal shirt with all buttons done up except for the collar. So believe me when I say he was covered with hair up to his neck. It was hard for my sister and me to look past the hair and when we did, we were certain that lighting in the photo studio had enhanced his colour by a couple of shades. I think you would all know have guessed the verdict that followed for Mr. No: 2 but this experience had made my sister add a new condition to her list and that was NO chest hair.  

Mr. No: 3, chanced upon us in strange way. My sister had sent her CV to my father’s friend couple of years back in hope that he could help her find a job but the CV found her a prospectus groom instead. The friend had seen my sister’s grades and was truly impressed, so he set to match-make his brother’s son for my sister. The boy had completed medicine and was practising medicine in Malaysia. My father gave my sister the name of the groom and asked her to search it in Facebook (Facebook comes in handy in many ways). The search returned and my sister immediately reacted with a strong NO. After seeing her potential partners, so far, my sister has returned to square one. She is now again refusing to marry. 

For now, the story ends here. I will try to update as events progress. I personally feel that my parents have more closely matched my sister’s requirements with each coming groom. I see a pattern and I think it will only get better, with Mr. No: 0 – unknown profession, Mr. No: 1 – an engineer, Mr. No: 2 – a dentist, Mr. No: 3 – a doctor, I hope that Mr. No: 4 – will be a doctor with good looks and the deal will be done. Now wish my sister Good Luck on her groom hunt.

Thursday, 26 January 2012


For people who have read my Title and are running away worried that I have lost it, I would like to assure you I am still quite sane. I have not regressed back to elementary school though the thought of it appeals to me.

I am here to discuss the expansion of the term ABCD. ABCD stands for American Born Confused Desi, as educated by my Aunt.  It is only recently that I understood how this term applied to me after recieving it as a comment on my photo. As the obvious states I am no American born and so we shall forget about the AB part but CD, about me being a Confused Desi does probably apply. 

Yes, I am going through an identity crisis. The more I belong, the less I belong.The problem being, I was made my move to the Western world when India was slowly and gradually undergoing modernizing. I was not given the space and time to change but was trust at full force and I doubt I did a good job coping. Even so I have learnt to adjust and comply with the Western world. I am more liberal in my thoughts and actions and a lot more accepting and carefree with my attitude towards my friends but I cannot break the constrain and apply the same rules to self. I enjoy and applaud people with a view and can dare speak their mind without worries of being politically incorrect but can never bring myself to do so. I hold opinions and if I do pen then, they are edit out the next minute. I can talk all about gender equality but I do enjoy a nice chivalrious gesture from my fellow males. Yes, I am confused, not a hypocrit.

I cannot let go and cling hard to orthodox rules.  I have not coped to change as well as my fellow brothers and sisters of India and so have lost my place and my sense of belonging.  I sometimes feel I am more Indian than a Indian in India and am more Tamil than a Tamil in Chennai. I pride myself in being the true last saviour of my ancestral traditions. I think I will hold on to what I believe until I last. 

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A Late New Years Start

Its almost the end of the 1st month of 2012 and I have not made a blog post yet. The delay is mostly due to a lot of self-involvement. Lets hope to keep the number of blog posts running and hail The World Inside My Head. Resolutions are to be renewed each year, so let this not be my resolution but an hope.

Wishing you all a Happy Happy New Year!


Monday, 28 November 2011

Ponniyin Selvan

Holidays and what better thing to do than romance with a book. I am completely hooked onto Ponniyin Selvan and am at the peak of my curiosity. The last few volumes are not available. What torture!!! Having started the series I cannot rest in peace without knowing how it will end. I have heard a lot about this book being the classic of classics and had it is on my bucket list.  The book was meant to be read in its intended language, Tamil but ahhh...but why learn Tamil when there is an english translation of the book floating around. So, I got my pretty little hands on the first two volumes of the five volume story (fifth part has been split into two) with the hopes of finding the rest as time went by. At first, I was apprehensive, as I did not believe a translation could match the original flavour of the book but as I read and read and oh my god! The book is too good to left alone even for a trip to snoozyland. It just makes me wonder how well written the original must be if the translation itself is so catchy. And yes Mr. Kalki Krishnamurthy, you have found yourself a new fan. So I have been on a frantic hunt for the complete set and found it here: for Rs.950 but as Murphy law would have it, it is currently out of stock. So, for the time being, I am left with a microscopic brain and a ton of creativity to imagine the wonderful end rewritten by Maya.

So a brief account of the story so far or more like my thoughts. May contain spoilers. So the story is about the Cholas (The Chola dynasty ruled the region in and around Tamil Nadu from the 3rd century BC to the 13th century AD, for more info check out the wiki page: chola dynasty) and in particular about Raja Raja Chola, the greatest of the Chola Kings. (For people who do not know, I have been a bit of a history buff and love most history that is not Ghandhi's salt march (Dhandi March 12th March, 1930) or satyagraha and all I got while studying history in India was this. A very rare history session at school contained the South Indian history before the times of the English rule, and I was introduced to the Cholas, Cheras, Pandiyas and Pallavas. Till date I remember that class as I had enjoyed it thoroughly, the stories were interesting, the conspiracies were cool, the names were easy (most of the names were Karikala, Soundara Chola, Raja Raja, Verra Pandi and so on and so forth...very easy to remember as they were all similar to the names of my second cousins *jokes*) and the places ruled were relatable to neighbouring cities and states of the present day. Their rule did not last for long, as invasion from the north took over soon but of their short rule, Raja Raja was the most prominent and noteworthy king.) The story is a short long fictionist account of Raja Raja's rise to power despite many odds, I think (cannot confirm as I have not read the end of it). The story follows the adventures of a messenger named Vallavarayan Vandiya Devan who in my eyes is more the hero than the owner of the book’s title Ponniyan Selvan aka Raja Raja Chola. The king himself does not make an appearance till the second half of the second book and all the male leads are meant to be dashing young hot blooded Tamil men :) The coolest thing for me in the book is that the villain is a female :) and the book is definitely gripping. I have gained a whole new appreciation for Tamil literature...only if Mr.Kalki was English, he would be a global sensation.

So what troubles me is... the age old movie of Raja Raja Chola screened in 1973, starring Nadigar Thilagam Shivaji Ganeshan as our dashing young hero, in the fading colour print of those times. Being a young lady, I tend to have a wild active imagination and love to draw up my own picturistic images of the male and female characters that appear in the stories I read. Since I have known the existence of the movie and may have possibly watched in my incomprehensible younger days, I face a road block, a corrupt image of Shivaji Ganeshan never fails to pop up on the mention of Raja Raja Cholas name. I find it hard to get past this imagery and am not satisfied with him playing the role in my head. This difficulty has been faced by my poor mind on numerous occasions such as the creation of the Harry Potter movies before the completion of the Harry Potter book series and so on, where Daniel Radicliff ugly visage popped up at the sound of Harry Potter (though I will have to give it to him, he looked cute in his first movie and then become like a gwaky teenager undergoing puberty). The only character that has been deemed acceptable and I find quite pleasurable imaging when re-reading Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is Darcy acted by Colin Firth.

Now on to my plea to the Indian education board...I completely and truly understand the importance of the Indian freedom struggle and our fight for independence but we have much more interesting history which will be easily forgotten if not taught in more detail and with greater passion in our schools. So a little less freedom struggle and a bit more Cheras, Cholas, Pandiyas and Pallavas in a similar captivating style as Kalki's Ponniyin Selvan will be perfect. Or maybe even a slight taste of global history such as the World Wars, German history describing the life and times a charismatic but mentally retarded leader, Adolf Hitler.

Stills from the movie Raja Raja Chola, 1973 starring Nadigar Thilagam Shivaji Ganeshan:

Saturday, 12 November 2011


Phew!!! What an extremely long year it has been. So yes, at last I have completed an enormously large 100 page thesis. I began this project with the hopes of trying to cure sheep of a disease but somehow ended up curing mice of the same disease. If you are confused so am I but ah well I am done and that calls for celebration.

Went to Contagion movie following our dramatic rush to the submission box (don’t ask how we scientists can watch a movie on viruses and epidemics soon after handed a boring thesis on a similar subject). The movie was do-able but seemed like a documentary. And then came the time for fireworks (had a late diwali). We bursted till every single cracker were shred to pieces and that ends my story of my graduation. Now I am officially a bum with absolutely nothing to do. Being presented with a one way ticket by parents to go figure out my life and not return back home till I have.

It been about a month and a half since I have last posted and I haven’t written the end of the story of the RWC post. So without further adieu, NZ won the world cup. The finals was an exciting match to watch, France vs. NZ. The French team had performed poorly throughout the series and no one was expecting them to put on the show they did on the finals night. It was quite the match, the final score being 7 vs 8. So we won by a single point. Celebrations were long (the problem of being, NZ never quite get over things as easily as Indians do). The whole nation was painted black (being the colour of our rugby team) and everyone was out on the roads to soak in the mood. The All Blacks paraded their Webb Ellis Cup and it took us sometime for normality to set back in. I have definitely enjoyed the Rugby season and can now do more of it (I am worried to say even more than cricket). So will leave you all with a shot of the triumphant

So now that I am officially jobless, I have decided to take on a 30 day letter challenge. I have always wanted to do this after reading other blogs but I feel like I have lost my mojo for writing ever since handing in my dissertation. I am hoping to find it again and write some entertaining letters. Most of the topics are to people who I have always wanted to write but others are from what I found interesting in other blogs.

Sunday, 25 September 2011


Watching reality TV, a dance program to be more specific, I sat back in the couch looking at the performer and pondering...I will never marry a dancer and that’s how this post has originated. So, here is a list of professions and my reaction to them. So let's start with the obvious.

Dancer: No, as I am prejudiced.

Doctor: Yes, money.

Engineer: Yes, smarts.

Actor: No, too much trouble.

Johnny's boys: Yes, worth the trouble.

Author: Definitely yes, this is as romantic as it can get.

Poet: No, as most poems sound like riddles to me and I dont enjoy it. But most authors are also poets, so that’s a problem.

Accountant: Yes, a man who enjoys numbers is fun.

Businessman: No, you never know when he will lose it all. A man in a stable job is more attractive.

Biologist: No.

Physicist: Hard one. Smart yes...but he will be crazy too right?

Singer: Yes, also part of my romantic idea.

Teacher: No, somehow not attractive.

Sport’s star: Yes.

Comedian: Hmmm possibly a no. Every man needs to be humourous but not necessarily a comedian.

Politician: Definitely not.

Policemen: No

Fire-fighter: No

Pilot: Yes, though I did reject the above two professions with uniforms, but I had be a fool to reject this one.

Mangaka/Cartoonist: Yes, I can get him to draw me BL cartoons.

Journalist: Another hard one.

I know there are many other professions out there like zookeeper and so on but I think I have addressed enough of them for my overworked brain.