Thursday, December 29, 2005


.... Dreams need an engine and four wheels
.... An engine and four wheels breed dreams
.... I now have a winter-storm-overcoming-challenges-getting-a-good-deal story to tell my grandchildren
.... This is a one-of-a-kind feeling
.... I have never heard the twang in the guitar in "Mora Saiyyan" (Fuzon) or the shifting Dolby-like effect in "Suzy Q" (CCR) as clearly as I do now
.... My perfect travel mug of coffee beckons
.... The illusion that you own the car is sweet (the credit union owns it actually)
.... Exhilaration needs a mere 5-speed automatic, 156 HP, 4-cylinder engine to express itself
.... There are memories hidden in the Northwest waiting to be found

.... There are boys waiting to be picked up (yeah, right...who am I kidding!!)
.... I now firmly believe that distance is an ambiguous, subjective, flexible concept whatever the physicists may say. 2 miles is long using two legs, manageable using two buses, nothing using a 2006 Toyota Camry LE.
.... There are scenic routes waiting to be made favorites
.... There are shady areas in downtown waiting to be lost in (or 'discovered')
.... There are excuses for being late for work waiting to be invented (No more "I missed the bus!")
.... It is time!

Say hello to the new car owner!

Shamelessly copied this idea from Parth, who wrote a beautiful celebration of buying a house here

Friday, December 16, 2005

Time and Tide wait for none...

The growing pile mocks me
And reminds me of my 'issues' -
Time management, bad memory...
It almost makes me blow my fuse.

It's been just about two weeks
And I'm almost reaching the limit
"Do it now!" my inner voice shrieks
As the rest of me tries to dim it.

I try to find other distractions
But they all involve so much work
I pull myself together in fractions
It is a duty I can no longer shirk.

The time has come to face facts
If only to save me from tomorrow’s shame
I can no longer afford to be lax
I have certainly lost at this game.

With a wistful glance at the sunny road
I resign myself to the dreaded chore
I sigh and pick up the heavy load
And toss my clothes through the washer’s door

What is it they say about
Washing dirty laundry in public?
It’s just my clothes, without a doubt

But not washing them now will make me sick!

P.S. By way of explanation of title: Tide is a very popular brand of detergent here. And tomorrow is laundry day :(

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

For you a thousand times over!

I'm reading "The Kite Runner" (almost done...even flipped to the end and satisfied myself that I'd known it all along!). This phrase is taken from the book, and is the phrase that haunts the protagonist throughout because his friend yells it out before going to run his kite, and that run changes their lives forever.
Set mostly in Afghanistan, a little in America and Pakistan, it reads almost like a direct insight into the deepest recesses of a man's mind. It's a story about friendship, betrayal, guilt, cowardice and courage, and ultimately, redemption of the kind that makes you believe in destiny. It's a story of politics and its potential for ripping apart lives literally and figuratively. It is a story of growing up years after you're grown up. It's a story about the loss of one's land, one's 'watan', one's identity. And about 'a way to be good again'.
I am really thankful for the fact that I am reading again. The magic of books is that they transport you to lives and cultures you may never have imagined otherwise. While I've occasionally mentioned books and music and movies in this blog, I have never done a review before, and part of the reason I am doing it is I wanted to write something in this space! Another part of the reason is that I wanted to share this and make a semi-public commitment:
Even if this story and the writing fade from my fickle memory, I hope that this phrase is something that will stay with me: "For you, a thousand times over!"
I hope to say that someday and mean it.

Friday, December 02, 2005

...And the return of the (romantic?) story...

Caffeine Hi...

He saw her first in the Starbucks five blocks from where he worked. He still doesn't know what made him walk into that Starbucks that day, seeing that there was one only two blocks from his office. (After all, this was Seattle.) Maybe he wanted to avoid the pesky woman at the counter there he felt obliged to talk to.
When he saw her, she was reading a Nick Hornby novel, and the only person he knew that read Nick Hornby was himself. As if that wasn't enough to pique his interest, there was that quick smile and flash of familiar friendliness in her eyes as she looked up from his book to catch him staring at her. He tried to look away quickly but didn't succeed, and so ended up giving his shoes a shy embarassed smile. A woman who looked like that and read Nick Hornby and smiled at him? Was he still asleep? He ordered a peppermint hot chocolate for a change, and decided that, since he was feeling adventurous, he'd try talking to this woman. For a change. "Good book, huh?" or "The book's better than the movie, huh?" or "Have you read 'A long way down' by Nick Hornby?" or just "Hi!". Yes, he decided to start off with the hello and if he got any reaction, to follow up with some pseud comment about the book.

He picked up his cup from the barista and turned around preparing his shaking hands and nervous mind to say "Hi". She was standing right there, and he almost spilt the hot chocolate, peppermint and all, on her.
"Shit, sorry...I mean...God, sorry! I mean.." His voice tapered off as he realized that his first words to her turned out to be less intellectual banter and more clumsy mumbling.
As he recovered and decided to leave before he seriously embarassed himself, he heard a soft voice, "Hey, no problem...Didn't mean to startle you. I just wanted to say hi."

Sugar Rush...

All she knew about him was that he worked around here somewhere because she'd seen him get off at the same stop everyday at around the same time and walk by here. And that he was cute in a grungy Seattle way. And that he was kind enough to make polite conversation with the pesky woman that everyone avoided at the other Starbucks she'd seen him go to often.
She knew that he didn't know that she even existed. I mean, how was he supposed to just know that she sat here almost everyday hoping he'd stop by here instead and pick up a coffee, and let's face it, her. She also knew that she was chicken enough to not wait for him at the other Starbucks but hopeful enough (or crazy enough?) to wait for him here.
The other day she'd spotted him in the Borders where she worked and discreetly followed him around and picked up the book he had been thumbing through. It turned out to be quite good, and had made her little crush on him grow.
She was reading it now, trying to not to look at the door every second. When he did walk in, she quickly shifted her gaze but couldn't quite stop herself from looking up again. She was so surprised that he was looking at her that she smiled in wonder, almost to herself. She cursed herself at once for seeming so like a stalker, as he gave her a half smile which he quickly turned to the floor.
"Get a grip, woman!" she told herself.."He's probably gay or married or as intelligent as a door-mat. Just find out which one it is, before you torture yourself to death or bankruptcy by Starbucks!"
So she picked up her book, her mint chocolate and her nerves and went up to him to say hello. She made him jump, and he stammered out a shocked apology for almost spilling his drink. She smelled the mint...At least they had the same taste in sweet hot expensive beverages, she thought, and it gave her such a teenage rush to hear the eagerness in his deep warm voice as he said hello.

I'm always amazed that two people (often a man and a woman) can live the same experience but yet experience different things. A lot of what happens to us, happens in our minds. What seems like a friendly smile to one, seems like a stalker's give-away to another. An experiment in choice of drinks for one is a signal to the other that they were meant to be together. An obligation to one seems like kindness to the other.
This could be the start of a relationship built mostly on (wrong) assumptions in the protagonists' minds...
Then again, this could be just another encounter and a sweet way of starting something special.
Or it could be just one of those countless missed connections which end with a look or a "Hi" or a moment shared and treasured for a few days or weeks, and then relegated to the bottomless pit of lives we never allowed ourselves to live.