The making of a pompous jerk

Oh yes i laugh along at Portlandia when they roast the guy who forgot the grocery bag and when they talk about the life of the chicken that they are about to eat and whether he lived a happy life. By the way I chanced upon this series MUCH older than Portlandia and from our very own Seattle that spoke about similar quirks in the pacific northwest- Almost Live! Note this bit where they talk about Alan, the salmon which will be their entree. Funniness existed here before Portlandia people! (Just had to get that in). 

Yes so i laugh and look at my better/worse half and we tell each other, ‘we won’t become like THAT right, haha’ and move on to the next old episode of Cheers to plagiarize some of the more cooler jokes from there that you can still get away with repeating in 2014 (there is a treasure trove out there my friends; only i’m not the kind to regale you in public with funny stories, else I’d definitely use them). I do cringe to tell the cashier every time i forget to bring the grocery bags with me but I live.

We are always teetering on the edge, we are. I mean in the pacific northwest, Seattle and Portland and even smaller islands around like Vashon and Whidbey are all havens for organic, local, sustainably and ethically produced food and we are kind of proud of it. Every store here, including Walmart (!) has an organic selection and of course we have the most number of dustbins ever! I went to Las Vegas last year and spent 5 minutes staring at the lone dustbin standing in the corner of the massive casino wondering where to throw my food-waste and paper. Honest. And it doesn’t help when my dear brother sends me links like this one. It is tough, one doesn’t want to be become the one we make fun of. But but..

So our recent visitors were really nice people both professionals and well to do and genuinely nice. I observed that they bought bottled water everyday but reserved judgement (i thought) and concentrated on playing with their little one- vastly entertaining at just 6 months of age. Then on day 2, the girl asked me how i didn’t get thirsty. It was a hot day, we had been out and i hadn’t had water in a while so it was a normal question to ask. Before i knew it i had launched off into ” oh i just don’t buy bottled water. You know we are very proud of our water in Seattle. We spend lots of money to clean it and the city tries to encourage us to drink the water. Anyway the quality of water in general is excellent, one of the best, in Seattle..” As i said the first sentence i knew i should stop but it was like I was unstoppably highfaluting. I just couldn’t stop. But I knew it. I knew i was being a jerk and I knew it was a normal question from a normal human being and that I was being judgmental and windy but I couldn’t stop it. 

I made up for the behavior. I didn’t say anything about it but kept my mouth shut for the most part. I am still abashed just thinking of the new douchebag levels I achieved that day. I am sorry my dear girl. I know I won’t have the heart to bring this up when we meet to apologize but I really am sorry and didn’t mean to be judgmental. Till the next time I act like a pretentious jerk…






Lets be British..

…And talk about the weather for a bit, shall we? Crash boom bang, is how it happened. How the glorious Seattle summer turned into the glorious seattle every-other-time-of-the-year-weather. Just like that, one day it was bright and shining and the thoughts of rain long forgotten and the next day was dark grey and weeping, saying, sun, what sun? No easing slowly into the seasons for us nope!

Seattle is forever known as Rain city; it does rain a lot here. But that is precisely why it is so very beautiful all year round! I love the dark, doomsday scenarios that occur on a daily basis in this city. Except of course when the sun is shining all through the summer months. I hate it then. Yes I am one of those weird ones who thrive in the dark, dreary weather and perish in the heat. Being indian, i guess my body wants the sun but my mind is quite happy without it. I mean it can be there in the background, does it have to beat down on me so?

Most people here gush about how lovely the summer is and i nod politely and don’t tell them that i can’t wait for it to be grey again! Such a misfit i tell you! I don’t drink coffee, don’t gush about the sun, don’t work at Microsoft or Amazon even though I am an Indian! 😀 But i am also so perfect for this hipster town, a hipster at heart i am, a vegetarian, lover of the green, lover of the rain, day dreamer and now more than 2 years old here and just part of the fabric like all other misfits and perfect matches. Just like that i am no longer a new comer anymore. I started the other day when i said I am new and then said oh, it was two years in August. So happy two years to me! And thank you Seattle for not being as American as other American cities. And thank you for the rain. 🙂

Downtown seattle in all its doom and glory

Downtown seattle in all its doom and glory

Bye-Bye Grand Fella

I had a tough day at school yesterday. Well, it was about people, interpersonal skills, us taking ourselves too seriously, people feeling they weren’t appreciated enough, one person leaving the classroom saying they are withdrawing from the course, one person leaving a small group saying she doesn’t feel safe in a group. Essentially a day made up of the foibles of modern day american (or anywhere really) urban living where individualism is paramount and working on a remotely communitarian model makes people feel powerless, alienated, unwanted. Ram picked me up from school and said we are making a detour to Seahurst park and I thought oh why. Apparently news was that a fin whale had beached at the seahurst park beach. I was super excited to hear that; my last encounter with a whale was on the Oregon coast when i sighted a whale through my brand new binoculars. I saw the whale just dive back into the water, must have been frolicking, so I saw his tail go last. BEAUTIFUL! So we made our way there. By then Ram says the whale is dead, are you sure you want to go? I was a bit unsure, but curiosity got the better of me. It is a whale after all, so i say, let’s at least bid adieu to the grand fellow.

Hundreds of people. This couldn’t be the normal park crowd. We make our way to the spot on the beach that is most crowded. I see him from afar. Surprisingly, he is not as big as i would have imagined. A whale? This is about the size of an elephant. We go closer, its high tide so he has thankfully the water in between his resting place and the sea of humanity on the beach. Something looks amiss, this can’t be a whole whale I say. He is grey, with huge splotches of skin colored flesh. Ram looks up news and tells me the fellow was hit by a ship. Agh. He must have been dead a few days then, I say, for him to have been washed ashore. I know whales are found in the nearby ocean and puget sound. Later research shows that this particular kind of whale is not common to the puget sound. Still, I’d loved to have seen a fin whale spout so long as i knew it was alive.

I didn’t find myself thinking back of the mad discussion earlier in class based on the insecurities we humans have when interacting with others. We are responsible for so much loss of beauty around us, the way we treat each other is an extension of the same.

That golden statue thing

Of course there has been enough newsprint and blogspace devoted to the Oscars. Much of the humor was crass and juvenile and we shall not go into that here. Why it was momentous was that for the first time in my life, i was watching the Oscars in the time zone of the ceremony! Umm, yeahh.. big deal but since there is not much big deal worthy stuff going on, might as well right? I am almost 2 years old in this country now and last year i was in New York attending a conference so was not technically in the same time zone as the Kodak Theatre. I remember for years, only ever reading about the Oscars in the next day newspaper, making elaborate plans to stay up late to watch the ceremony but not finding the sole channel that was broadcasting it. So yeah watching it on Pacific Standard time was the highlight of the ceremony for me. Oh well. Big Deal.

What’s going on

I have tried ‘tension tamer’- its a tea you guys. I have tried honey and lemon in water. I have tried yoga and i have tried ten deep breaths, 100 times a day which might be mathematically impossible. I am restless and ill at ease. All my equanimity seems to be eroding away and am so much on the edge its not funny. What has happened I wonder. Age is supposed to calm you down i thought. And here I am. I used to be the calm one- through school and college and work. Did typhoid take it all away? Or did I leave it behind in my country. Argh. Was all my life the calm before this storm of restlessness?

The silsila of twitter

First of all, I am alive and kicking. Barely- I started writing this post on July 29th and its September 26th today. *hangs head in shame*

Now that you have suitably rolled your eyes at this most hackneyed of blog come backs, hello! I had this bout of nostalgia all of last night and decided there is SO much to write about! The present for sure, but so much in the past, all that I live in. Have I told you lately I love to live in the past? But then I haven’t told you anything lately!

So yes of course I am on twitter. Many people have said how twitter is the death of blogs. Mine died a number of deaths even before twitter, but then I digress as usual. Twitter is of course this great coming together of the jobless, super busy, interesting, boring, news- full, nonsensical, opinionated, idiotic minded, troll attracting, ‘handles’ (not all rolled into one). Of course I am on twitter, to talk to no one in particular, to air my opinion on completely useless things to people who don’t care and who don’t know who I am but still follow me. To ward off trolls and feign irritation at the number of trolls who are jobless enough to haunt the cyberspace to trouble hapless tweeters.

Enough about twitter, for now. I am talking about tanhaai- loneliness/solitude (any better word for it?) And why I am thinking of tanhai is because I saw Silsila, yes that of the red tulips, the original real love triangle turns into reel love triangle film, in all of its Yash Chopra glory. Let me tell you what shocked me- the two brothers Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan (small bit of trivia, I had forgotten how to spell Bachchan- its such a funny spelling! Like a musician who worships wine. which is not funny. ok sorry) were sharing a shower and it gets worse- sharing a “sabun mat utthaana” joke with each other!! Way ahead of its times man..

Anyway, as always there is a small point to this long post: twitter is my new tanhaai.. solitude. Because twitter and I often talk to each other- mostly one way. Just like tanhaai. Much like AB spoke to his solitude in this song in Silsila,  I speak to twitter about this that and the other, about opinions, my rants, my frustrations. Twitter my new found hangout, where I often wonder ye kahan aa gaye hum…

Kehte hain mujhko…..

We are all about current affairs in India. In the peak of summers and load shedding, as the scheduled power cuts are called in the metros, one oft hears the phrase: “current nahi hai.” I loved power cuts as a kid and even now in my mid life (I like to call this midlife, it can stretch as long as I choose) I still have some strange romantic notion of power cuts. Power cuts in my childhood meant, sitting outside in the balcony because it would be too hot inside the house, the whole family (all four of us) suddenly thrown together with nothing to do. It would mean the sight of lone flickerings through other windows that you could see and others on their respective balconies and terraces. It was the time that one got the break from home work although sometimes I was forced to finish in candlelight, strictly under protest. Whoever heard of candle light homework? Nothing romantic about it. I do think the emergency lamp killed that special flicker induced feeling of working really hard- the closest yours truly came to burning the midnight oil.

Power cuts also meant me singing at the top of my voice, or if there were cousins visiting, Antakshari! The craze for power cut antakshari is huge in India.  I remember years later as a graduate student when the whole campus in Mumbai experienced a power cut- once in the 2 years we were there- and how all groups  automatically gravitated (this time aided by their cellphones) to the centre of the campus and sat around playing antakshari. Its just something that HAD to be done.I remember wishing for a power cut every night after that. I was disappointed. Powercuts are not very popular in Bombay.

Anyway the point of this post is not the power cuts. Obviously! Just power. Not even the corrupting, greed inducing, government toppling sort of power.Just electric power. Just current as its called in Hinglish. Or Bijli in Hindi. Bijli.. hmm

Now one of the songs from my childhood memories is from Mr India. Its called hawa hawaii..abbebebebebe. no really that’s how the song goes for those (weird) people who haven’t heard it. I love it! Our own Kavitha Krishnamurthy sang it and Sridevi perfected it with her trademark overacting but it remains a classic!

So I always thought this song went something like “Bijlee ki raani main hun aayi”- the queen of electricity here I am.. something like that. To my yet unformed bollywood fan mind, it made perfect sense to have a queen of electricity called Hawa Hawaii. And so it was. Recently a new movie Shaitan included a Hawa Hawaii remix and i was not completely disappointed with it. In fact as a rehash of the song its quite catchy and hummable. And I asked my serial songstress Jodhpur Times for the song Bijli Ki Raani and she remarked she had never heard the song. Now I know Jodhpur very well and I know it just couldn’t be. She could not  have turned out into her awesome self without knowing this song once in her life. So i persisted.

I said, arey, hawa hawaii?

And she said, “isn’t that Bijlee Giraane main hun aayi” (Translation: To throw electricity, I have come- sheesh I say)

I scoffed and said, “haha, no child, its bijlee ki raani! Queen! of Bijlee!”

It didn’t last long, this argument. In the days of google search it rarely does. Quick search and I lost all my bearings. It really really was Bijlee Giraane. Kavitha Krishnamurthy’s accent threw me off perhaps? Or maybe there were just too many power cuts during my childhood and I fantasized about a queen of electricity.

Whatever be the reason, there is now a huge void in my life. Who will be the Bijlee ki Raanee now, now that she has gone off bijlee giraaney….


(I know, total waste of blog space.)