Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Q&A Time

Tagged again by TBG here. Delayed a little – but well, I am on a vacation and I forgive myself ;).

Yes, and I do realize this month has been more of tags than blog posts :)!

Anyways, so I'm supposed to answer these questions, then make up my own ten questions for you and pass on the tag.
I learn quickly, and like TBG will let you answer the same questions. Please feel free to tag yourself – Let me know if you do – I’ll catch you on your blog!

1. What one material thing are you hoping/ scoping to inherit?
I would love to inherit a huge palatial house on a sea side – Pacific sounds great or even a castle somewhere in the Norwegian wilderness!

2. You're driving. It's great weather. Attractive member of opposite sex in expensive car looks at you and half-smiles. You're in a relationship. Do you return the look and half-smile back?
One, if I am driving I’d be too nervous to notice either the expensive car or the good looking hunk. Two, even if I did notice, in all probability the half-smile would be because either I am too slow or in the wrong lane! So no, I would not return the look or the smile, irrespective of my relationship status.

3. Can't smell or can't taste? For six months, and if you had to chose, would you rather lose your sense of smell or not be able to taste anything?
I would rather lose my sense of smell – It doesn’t matter. My food needs to taste good!

4. Pick a situation
a. You're 42. Would you rather go without sex for three years and win a lottery after that, enabling you to never have to work again? Or
b. Get twice the lottery money now (at 42) but have your partner sleep with your boss?
So option b is lame! Option A, if these were the only two choices with None of the above not being an alternative.

5. What's a quicker turn off, bad pronunciation or maroon lipstick?
I assume this question is to be answered by the guys.
If not, a guy with bad pronunciation would be a definite turn off, and a guy wearing maroon lipstick would be a revolt to my senses!

6. Would you rather your kid turn out to be a nymphomaniac or gay?(For my amusement, please answer in the format: I would rather my kid be ---)
I would rather my kid be confident, poised, sure of himself/herself and my support and backing irrespective of sexual preferences.

7. For which one thing have you not forgiven your mother?
For not going for regular cholesterol and other checkups.

8. Would you rather go bald or lose your front tooth?
Hmmppphhhh – Artificial dentures would be irritating – so I’d rather go bald and get a pretty wig!

9. Your sibling is sleeping with your married close friend. Who do you go to first, sibling or married close friend?
Though I would like to believe I have no right to interfere and that I would stick to that stance if this ever happened, but in a practical scenario, I think I would have a word with my sibling.

10. When was the last time you cried that wasn't while watching a movie?
It doesn’t take much to make me cry – I cry out of joy and sadness. I am quite your typical emotional fool :D

Phew! Am done. Your turn now!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tagged (by TBG)

My first ever tag - tagged by TBG here.

Okay, so I'm supposed to mention 9 things that I've worn the most. These could be anything!

And, here I go:

1. My wedding ring - More than 3 years now, and it is on me almost always!

2. My pink flip flops - I am wearing them right now and wear them pretty much all the time I spend at home - Have owned them now for more than a year – and love them!

3. My plain black hair pins – Very rarely will I be seen without my hair pinned back ;). And if I tell you for how long I have been using hair pins, you will pretty much guess my age :D.

4. My favorite denim skirt – My parents bought this from a Numero Uno sale in CP when I was in Class X for my birthday! With each passing year I fall in love with it even more! (and yes, I still fit into it :p)

5. My blue jeans – basic Levi’s 584. Very comfortable for just about anywhere and everywhere. I have owned this one for more than 5 years now!

6. My favorite pair of earrings – and obviously the most worn pair ever! One of the just-after-wedding gifts from my hubby!

7. White capris/shorts – My first ever buy in the U.S of A at the American Eagle Outfitters store on the Third Street, Santa Monica, a couple of years back. And that’s not the only reason I like it so much. It’s convenient for most activities – walk, trek, trip to the theme parks, etc etc.

8. My only khaki skirt – Have owned this one now for almost three years now and whenever I have got the opportunity to wear skirts (which I don’t do much in Chennai) this one’s always on the top!

9. Last but not the least - My formal black trousers – I have this pair from Van Heusen that has been with me since my first ever job interview. It’s classy and neat at the same time. Team it up with any formal shirt and am ready to take it on :).

All those who read this, please consider yourself tagged and I am sure it will be fun reminiscing on all the treasured possessions over the years!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Sin City

Las Vegas has been on my list of must dos since a long time now, so when finally Vish and I got down to making the trip, I was super kicked!

Road trips are always fun in the US thanks to the wonderful infrastructure that provides for basic amenities that human beings would require on a travel – food and restrooms!

As we left balmy coastal California for one of largest deserts – Mojave in California, and of course Nevada itself - the change in scenery was prominent. The elegant palm trees gave way to stunted shrubs, cacti and prickles, as I learnt, white cotton wool over a blue spread covering the barren mountains also make a picturesque site.

After a 5 hour drive, the fabulous city of Vegas welcomed us. There was an unmistakable sense of excitement and abandoned gaiety (no pun intended) in the air. So I was at THE Entertainment Capital of the World – true to its word, the sin city offers everything it promises – glamour, glitz, gaming, fine dining and a truly high end shopping experience.

The Venetian is undoubtedly the classiest and the most happening (and Vish will add the most expensive :)) hotel I have ever stayed at. Everything about the hotel was awe-inspiring – beautifully done up scaffolding, the Grand Canal, the Gondola, Madame Tussauds, casinos – It took us a couple of hours just here!

I will not get into details of what the attractions at The Strip are – just about everything is available on the Internet and trust me when I say that all what they show in the movies – The Hangover, What happens in Vegas, and the many others IS absolutely true :D.

Vegas is, in many ways, the embodiment of what the big American dream means to most outsiders – fast money, instant gratification, an oasis in the middle of a desert, convenient morality, enabling anonymity – the chimera of the Midas touch.

It also, at multiple levels, exposes the shallowness of a whole civilization of people that most of us – across the world – represent. Short lived relationships, compromised solutions to problems we don’t even try to understand, complicated sensibilities, the rat race to own it all, the enchantment of the blinding neon lights fading into obliviousness in the reality of the day, the urge to risk it all in a gamble and the obsession to not let go, the irony of doing whatever it takes to get inside a limo and then rolling up the darkened window to avoid recognition.
We have learnt societal and political diplomacy – aren’t, so very often, our smiles and polite nothings as fake as the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty that adorn the Las Vegas boulevard?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Winnie-the-Pooh diagnosed with behavioral disorders - What Next?

Apparently, medical schools in the US have commenced using fictional characters to train therapists on psychoanalysis and other related behavioral sciences. This article from the Wall Street Journal makes a very interesting read.

Actually, as fascinating and innovative this may sound, associating fictional characters and their behavior patterns to symptomatic “types” is not really a new phenomenon. Those with a background on psychoanalysis would instantly remember Freud’s obsession with Shakespeare – Oedipus complex, anyone?

At one level, of course, this approach towards classroom teaching is highly advantageous with the positives ranging from retaining interest of the students in the “subject” to securing the privacy of the “subject” - I mean how paranoid would Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind be if her narcissistic personality disorder case is discussed openly in a med school class room!

At another level, the concept actualizes what can only be imagined by reading dry theory. I knew what schizophrenia meant but I understood it so well only after John Nash’s stunning performance in A Beautiful Mind.
Books, plays, and especially motion pictures strongly appeal to one’s cognitive senses. I have had so many conversations with friends and colleagues revolving around characters from novels and movies as if they were real people.
Such is the power of a well communicated fictional piece – given a holistic context to the plot and people, you begin to understand not only the social milieu but also the subjective emotional construct. And exploiting this facet for inclusion in the formal mainstream education structure is, I think, a definitive step in the right direction.

On a lighter note, as I smiled at some of the diagnosis of famous fictional characters, I wondered on a parallel “desi” version.
So, if the good ol’ bear, Pooh, is a bundle of co-morbidities that may include cognitive impairment, how does our very own Baloo and his subservient love for Rebecca in Tailspin fare?
If Bella from Twilight represents a case of chronic low self esteem and depression, what kind of a complex behavioral pattern is exhibited by the character of Paro from the hugely popular DevD.

Is Ranbir Kapoor in Rajneeti a guy with deep seated insecurities and judgment impairment leading him into mindless violence and forcing him to live the life of an escapist who is circumstantially coerced into wrongs after wrongs?
And then isn’t Katrina Kaif a classic case of bipolar personality disorder – on one hand, she is this beauty with brains – a fast paced go getter, and then she goes and enters a marriage alliance because her dad pressurizes her into marrying a to-be CM. WTF!
No, I did not think much of Rajneeti, and this is just one way of trying to get even for my lost money :D)
US med schools should try including some of our bollywood classics in their curriculum!

P.S: Just in case you didn’t notice, this post also covers the movie review of Rajneeti, which was a huge disappointment.

Friday, June 4, 2010

That was not fair of Ram!

This post comes, well, a tad bit delayed. And don’t get me started on how I trapped myself into being so busy when I thought I was “done”.

Last weekend, my nephew Ads – yes the super brilliant guy I talk about here – asked me to tell him one of the Ramayana stories from his Amar chitra katha collection. This four-year old has recently acquired a new found fascination for Indian mythology – especially Hanuman, Ram et al.
I was more than willing to spend a lazy Saturday evening with him, and enthusiastically asked him to choose the story he wants me to narrate.

As my luck had it, he chose the Uttar Ramayana – For those unfamiliar with Indian mythology, this is the part of the epic where Lord Ram sends Sita to the forest after his subjects (starting with some idiotic launderer) raise doubts about Sita’s chastity after her having stayed in Ravana’s custody. As is obvious from the subject of the tale, this one is not a simple tale about all good and destruction of all evil. Many hindus in fact do not consider this part of the original Ramayana – Else how can they claim Ram to be “Purshotham” (the best among men) when he turned his wife when she needed him the most!

With doubts on how I would gloss over the uncomfortable parts of the tale, I started telling Ads the story. But haven’t I told you before – this is not just about any 4 year old – he is not only very inquisitive who wants a story neatly laid out right to the finest of details – but he also exhibits a keen understanding of the details.

As you would expect I was ragged big time; here are some excerpts from our conversation that day. Most of the vocab I have used at the first go is a direct pick from the Amarchitrakatha book:

Me: So let’s start – so as you know Ram was a just and fair king.
Ads: What is just and fair.
Me: He was honest, always did what is right, was a good ruler.
Ads: Oh ok, I am also just and fair.
Me: Yes you are.

Me: One day, Ram heard that his people did not like Sita because she had been kidnapped by Ravana – so he decided to send her away to the sage’s hermit.
Ads: Why did they not like her? But Ram fought with Ravana, right? And he saved Sita – then why should he send her away just because people did not like her.
Me (trying to spin whatever excuses I could at the top of my head – crap, as if I cared what Ram did): But Ram also thought that his children should be born in the jungle with the sages so that they become intelligent and powerful.
Ads: Was Ram born in a jungle?
Me: No
Ads: But he was powerful and brave right? Then why should his children be born in the jungle.
Me: But it’s just a story and this is what happened. Everybody makes mistakes right. Ram also made a mistake by sending Sita away. So can we continue with the story?
Ads: Okay…

Me: So Ram did the ashwamedha yajna (I explained to him as much as I could what it required) – yajna has to be done with the wife else gods get angry. But Sita was in the jungle, so Ram built a gold statue and used that statue for the prayers.
Ads: Did he ask her to come?
Me: No
Ads: He should have said sorry and asked her to come – she would have.
Me (given up on defending Ram): He didn’t think of that.
Ads: Okay, but gods know right – Ram can’t fool the gods – they know his wife is in the jungle and this is just a statue.
Me: Yes….let’s continue…

Me: So Luv and Kush were defeated Hanuman and Lakshman, and started fighting with Ram without knowing he was their father.
Ads: Why did Sita not tell them?
Me: She didn’t want them to feel bad that their dad left them in the jungle.
Ads: Ram was not a good father, no?
Me: No. Okay, so then when he asks them who’s your mother and they say “Sita”, Ram becomes very sad – he feels very bad and becomes unconscious out of grief.
Sita tells Luv and Kush about Ram and they are happy. The sage asks Ram to go back with his entire family to Ayodhya.
But, Sita wants to go back to her mother (I didn’t want to get into the insult and suicide concept) and her mother is Earth – so the earth opens up and Sita goes inside.
Ads: She kills herself (see, I told you he is no ordinary 4 year old)
Me: It’s not really killing
Ads: But why does she not go back with Ram?
Me: Because she is angry with Ram as Ram sent her away to the forest and was not there to protect her when she was scared.
Ads: But the sage protected her.
Me: But Ram just left her right?
Ads: Yes, That was not fair of Ram. Just because someone tells you something, you can’t leave your wife and children right? (Well, if this was so simple, I wonder why Lord Ram faltered)
I think Hanuman is the best person in Ramayana – he helps everyone and saves everyone – he respects and loves everyone also. I think he is better than Ram. Ram was not fair.
Me: Yes, but Ads these are all stories, okay? Now let’s order pizza.
Ads: But stories can happen for real right?
Me: What topping on your pizza?
Ads: Paneer without spice!
Me: Thank god for pizzas!


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