Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I'm a believer!

Someone once asked me, whether I am a believer. I said, "Yes, but of what?"

Do I believe in God? Yes, but not in the sense of Jesus being the savior of my sinning soul or in the sense that if I make a pilgrimage to Kasi I will attain "moksha" or if I read a certain prayer 108 times I will not be afraid anymore.
Do I think that seeing is believing? Actually, I think that first you believe, then you can see..Human perception is a remarkably tricky thing!
Do I believe in life after death? I don't know but I sure believe that sadly, there's often death within life.
Do I believe there are angels among us? Definitely! Not the kinds with wings and a harp, but the kind that helps you get home when you're stranded in a broken down car. The kind that helps you carry your groceries. The kind that asks you how your day was, and actually listens to you grumble about the traffic or the hated boss. The kind that offers to fix your computer for free. The kind that forgives you when you make a costly mistake at work. The kind that sends you a text message for no particular reason other than telling you that you are loved no matter what. The kind that senses when you need water and brings you a glass without being asked to.
Do I believe in soulmates? I think the soulmate theory is an unfair one - it confines each person's love and passion to just one other (watch the commitment-phobic in me make that up!) But I have definitely felt an uncanny sense of connectedness with people I might have just met compared to people I've known my whole life. "You know your friends the moment you meet them" I think there's something basic that binds us all together, some more than others.
Do I believe in love at first sight? Not as much as I believe in hate at first sight..Don't you always know so much quicker that you could never be with certain people than you know that she or he is 'the one'? I think human sensitivities are more ready to detect and prevent negativity than to promote positivity. But I believe too, in second chances, and growing to love someone, as well as in raw meaningless irrational passion that starts the first time you see someone and lasts forever. That doesn't make it love though. Love is not in chasing after the man/woman you want, but in wanting them after you don't need to chase them anymore.
Do I believe in fate? I don't know...but I do attach meaning to coincidences and signs and serendipitous meetings. I believe that luck is when preparation meets opportunity, but also that sometimes life leads you in ways that you are never going to be prepared for.
Do I believe in fairies? Yes, in that I think imagination is more powerful than the truth sometimes, and we need to believe in fairies and magic and miracles. And hope.
So, what about it? Do you believe?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Pleasures and some poison

It struck me yesterday that I am an insanely easy person to please! Also easy to piss off, but heck, emotional stability isn't my greatest strength!
I slept a good 9 hours, watched a good movie (The Last Samurai), ate a good dinner, met up with some friends, put out some fires at work, got one word of praise from the boss, spoke to my parents, and voila! I'm happy again! And the best thing is, any sub-set of these things could have done it...
This post has little more rhyme or reason, except perhaps to tell you about my current fascination - this CD of songs from 36 "letest" (not kidding!!) Bollywood movies..And I have been constantly listening to one song it re-introduced to me - the remixed "Woh Lamhe" from "Zeher". The singer's voice is magical, the beats are amazingly just right for the tone of the song, the tune is really haunting, and for some reason, I love the thought of "bheegi bheegi yaadein"!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


So, I got tagged by Dinesh in what seems to be a revelation of people's reading lives. For someone who really used to believe that books are one's best friend, that friendship circle has certainly changed over the years. So here goes:

Last book I bought - Michael Crighton's "Great train robbery", for my brother. I am notoriously kanjoos about buying books, in that I rarely experiment. I borrow about 5 books at a time from the library, manage to read 2 or 3 of them in time, and if I like any enough, then I go out and buy it. Cheap.

Last book I read - Since I read 2 or 3 books at a time, each catering to a different mood/interest, I guess the answer to this is,
1. Sisterhood of the traveling pants (Ann Brashares),
2. The curious incident of the dog in the night-time (Mark Haddon I think) and
3. What do you care what other people think? (Richard Feynman)

Books currently reading -
1. Jurassic Park (Michael Crighton) - again!,
2. On bullshit - Harry Frankfurt,
3. Moral Politics - George Lakoff

Total # of books I own - perhaps around 30-40 here (not counting academic books), perhaps around 100 back home.

Books that mean(t) a lot to me -
1. Go ahead, Secret Seven - because it was the first real book I ever read.
2. The complete short stories of Sherlock Holmes - because I know every story and every character and can perhaps recognize which one any given paragraph is taken from. Or at least used to! Because it helped me get into quizzing in college with the answer to this question: "How does the Ku Klux Klan gets its name?" Answer in "Five Orange Pips" And try answering it!
3. Illusions - because it got me into my brief period of spirituality and philosophy.
4. Surely you're joking, Mr.Feynman - because it introduced me to Richard Feynman, the closest that anyone I know about has come to being a hero to me.
5. Isaac's Favorite Asimov - a collection of the master's favorite short stories that had me spell-bound with the sheer magic of his combining science fiction with humor and literary genius.
6. Catcher in the rye - because I identified with Holden Caulfield then, and because a married guy had a crush on me for that.
7. The Prophet - because it contains a lot of truth.
8. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - because it brought my childhood back to me!

And here I tag..
and also, Vivek

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Tripping on India, in India and for India

And what do you think this post is about? It ain't about dope, so sorry to disappoint you, my large stoner audience..go away! For the two of you left, it's about my trip home.
Got back couple of days back, and as it is after every trip, I am deeply depressed to be back. I am such a dissatisfied soul. I keep missing things and people, and expecting things of people, and wanting things and people..I will never reach Nirvana! Anyway, as a means of catharsis, I am going to recount some of the highlights of this trip..
1. My brother got married. To a wonderful, polite, sweet, smart woman. Good for them.
2. The journey there was the funnest ever - I traveled with 3 of my favorite people in the world, my cousins, and my brother-in-law, the infamous Parth (I have christened you Parth Pater, since u took care of us kids like the evil Vader!) and they made it so memorable.
3. Speaking of Vader, I saw the Revenge of the Sith and loved it. Despite the distractions of the college couple making out in the seat in front of me.
4. I saw Bunty aur Bubbly. Twice. Eww! But I love the music, and Rani's jhakmak clothes, so I guess it's ok.
Almost forgot - I watched Parineeta with 10 of my family members. It was surprisingly good. Quite melodramatic (a la Devdas), but for us, it was a revelation because we happen to know Vidya Balan. She looks amazing, and acts amazingly well, especially for a debutante. The songs are lovely and Saif is awesome as a hot, hot-tempered (okay, "passionate"!) Bengali babu.
5. I was amazed once more, at the Mall-onization of India. Thanks, this time, to In-Orbit mall (which was one that I had never seen in my earlier trips). The neat thing about Indian malls is that they have Indian, American and European stores, and wonderful food courts.
6. Speaking of food, I ate BRILLIANT food for 3 weeks straight, and it shows. The immigration officer looked at me and looked at my passport photo and told me to my fat face that I've put on some weight! He also said that "Industrial Organizational psychology is the weirdest major!!" so I decided to take his comments not-so-seriously. Anyway, I ate at amazing restaurants like Samrat, Relish (both at Churchgate), Peninsula (Sion), Only Parathas (twice!), etc. Also ate Pav bhaji, Pani Puri and the rest. Didn't eat as much as I'd have liked to, (or as much as Parth and Swetha), at the wedding, since I was actually running around running errands, plus I had a bad throat and fever.
7. I got several compliments during the wedding, in my new sari(s). Plus the innane, fishing for a bride for my son questions from some aunties: "So, when will you finish your PhD? Do you plan to settle down in the US?" As if I don't know what you're asking!! Fortunately (or unfortunately?), my parents seem to have given up on the idea of me getting married!
8. I spent some time with some friends, but didn't even get to talk to so many others. Which is a damn shame. But I guess this was a very family-oriented vacation, so it's all good.
9. I learned that marriages in India are marriages of more than two people. My sister-in-law's family and mine bonded so easily and so much and so quickly, that it gives me more to cherish and miss.
I realized that coming back never gets easy. This time was even harder because I don't know when my next trip will be, what with expiring visas and uncertain futures and possible new jobs and all in the next 2 years.
Oh well..guess it's time for the withdrawal symptoms after my heady dose of India tripping.