Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Diwali!!!

Dear Bloggers-
Have a happy prosperous and safe Diwali...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Breakfast- These are a few of my favorite things................

(Thanks to google images for mouth watering pictures of my favorite breakfast goodies)

Was responding to Aparna's blog on C-ereal addiction and found myself thinking about my favorite breakfast treats. Unlike several others, i belong to the category that doesn't like eating cereal. Though, i think that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a person and am a firm believer that having some calories in the morning contribute to getting some energy to work through the day till lunch time arrives.

Now, then what do i enjoy eating for breakfast-first of all, i love having variety and my favorites are banana bread baked by me or some Doughnuts-hate the west coast for not having Dunkin Donuts here, just the sugary Krispy Kreme ones which aren't so good once you have savored DD. Coffee cake and variety muffins come next followed by raspberry danish, chocolate croissant, strawberry croissant and finally bagel and cream cheese- yummy.

My poor husband does find it hard to go grocery shopping with me on weekends as he is happy to eat a cereal in the morning.

Folks- eat a tasty, sweet, filling (maybe healthy) breakfast every morning and enjoy it......

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Happy Indians

Was reading an article from Hindu recently that talked about how Indians are rated the fourth happiest people in the world. Am surprised on what statistics they used to arrive at this conclusion. India is usually on the top list for not securing an Olympic medal, for poverty and caste system etc, but happy people come from India- reminds me of the advertisement on TV- "Happy Cows come from California."

The theory behind this conclusion was that "Indians are pleased by small things and happenings." Examples stated in the article that were given by folks who were interviewed for this poll were hot steaming idlis that are soft to eat and starched cotton saris to enhance one's mood. The article proudly points out that Indians love to yap- drinking filter coffee, a married son visiting his parents home for a lzay weekend and being in a contented relationship with someone you love are all anecdotes that the people mention as reasons for their happiness in India.

The article ends with a note on how some folks have a cynical viewpoint and say that the IT bubble that is currently ruling India would eventually fade away leaving behind more homeless beggers on the side-walks and happiness for those folks would by helping do their share for the social welfare.

Finally, my thoughts on this- is happiness so easy to achieve that people in India attribute monitary successes and daily mundane tasks to happiness? Or are we folks living out here in another part of the world still struggling to interpret what happiness for each one of us is?

Would be interested to read your thoughts on this-Have a Happy Day!!!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Salaam Namaste aka Cultural Cross

Significant K and i went for Salaam Namste yesterday afternoon. Have been wanting to watch this movie for a while now, its been running at the local Naz 8 theatre here in Fremont for the past 5 weeks and finally we got to get out of the house last minute and landed 10 minutes after the movie started.

Another Yash Raj Banner production with a remake of its english counterpart 9 months and reminds the viewers of Hum Tum, another hit of Saif last year. Heard quite a bit about the controversy the film brought to the conservative Indian audience, as the storyline brings in a new concept to Indian cinema: "Live-in relationships." The entire movie is set in Melbourne in scenic "Austriliya"--thatz the Aussie accent the folks use on screen and starts off with a nice intro on each new character who appears. Saif as Nikhil Arora aka Nick is the handsome chef who leads an enviable carefree zindagi and finds himself getting into the wrong side of cuty Preity aka Amber who is a lively RJ for the "Salaam Namaste" show on radio. A few clashes and the opposite personalities attract each other and decide to move in together to get to know one another better. Marriage isn't an option that either of them want to consider and sharing a house with different rooms seems a daring beginning to this lively pair. Differences in habits and daily lives paving way for the adjustments each make in order to live with the other and eventually physical attraction sans logic and Amber gets pregnant.

The latter half of the movie is more poignant as Nick is afraid of commitment and Amber beautifully emerges as an independent woman who proudly carries her twins:) oh yes, they did that right! Javed Jeffrey and Arshad Warsi add to the story, but Javed's Aussie attire as Landlord and his australian english is hillarious enough to bring the roof down. Abishek Bachchan has a small role in the end, seemed a bit too annoying and unnescessary. The movie is definitely worth a one-time watch for all those folks who are still youthful at heart and for all those Preity Zinta fans and babe watchers.

Salaam Namaste- a recipe with a taste of cross cultural stuffing garnished with youthful decorations.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Chinna Kalaivanar Namba Vivek

Was reading about Vivek's sudden absence in one of the movie websites and also ended up reading an interview given by the comedian. Also, watched a Raj TV or Vijay TV downloaded interview of this nagaichuvai mannan and throughly enjoyed it. Just thought it would be nice to review this man's background.

Many of us remember the thin, spectacled character who played a secretary role in K.Balachander's Pudhu Pudhu Aarthangal and also his Manathil Uruthi Vendum. Both these films had a serious story line and Vivek was plugged in to lighten the moments along with playing a part in the main story. He refers to NS Krishnan, the olden days comedy veteran as his inspiration for choosing social issues as comedy scripts.

Vivek specifically likes to target the youth as his audience, as he feels that reforming the society likes in their hands. His favourite author is Sidney Sheldon and he also reveres Abdul Khalam to a large extent. He believes in all Gods and religions, but wants to put an end to the superstions and man made religious practices that he often mocks about in his films. On a personal front, he says that he takes things lightly and doesn't have great ambitions and hence looks young :)

The man talks passionately about comedy being an important part of a film and also the essence of humor in our daily life.

Out of his numerous comedy roles, I have lovedhis performance in Minnale, Saami and Anniyan. Of course, there are countless other scenes of his from different movies that i have enjoyed. His Aal Thotta Bhoopathi role in some film was also one of my favorites.

After Anniyan, he has been out of the buzz world for a bit and rumors have that he is facing issues with the release of movie Solli Adippen with him playing hero.

Somehow, seeing Vivek as a hero will probably be well received by his fans for the first time, but am not so sure, if i want to see him do traditional hero roles and hurt his beloved comedy image.

Vivek vaazhga!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Power of a Smile

Yesterday, i really learnt the power behind smiling. When we pose for pictures, we have the person behind the camera saying "Smile please or say cheese." We have smiley mouths that tell us to buy everything from toothpaste to jewellery, and stylized "happy faces" sporting huge smiles that peer at us from posters and stickers. What the heck-smiling is even considered a milestone in a baby's growth, as parents anxiously await their baby's first smile and wonder if its mistaken for gas or is it a genuine smile?

But, for adults, especially as we grow older, smiling is something that we forget to do often and thereby making things more serious for everyone around us.

Coming back to my incident yesterday, I had to interview this candidate who was way senior to me in age and work experience. In my past experiences, i've often held a pleasant disposition towards candidates we bring in for interviews and i do my best to make sure that the other person feels comfortable and less nervous by breaking the ice. Yesterday, i wasn't sure if i needed to maintain the same attire or if i should appear more uptight, as i result i was feeling a lot more nervous than probably the candidate who came in. Anyways, as soon as i met this person, he smiled at me-not sure if it was a smile intended to make me feel inexperienced in questioning this individual or if it was a smile that was genuinely intended to make me feel more comfortable, but ignoring the various other interpretations that my mind could churn for his smile, i smiled back and it was easy afterwards.

Just thought about the difference a positive and genuine smile can do at the right moments. A smile is a happy curve that sets things right and makes your day seem brighter and lighter. Irrespective of the several interpretations at different situtations, a smile only eases the tension of the moment and breaks the ice.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Name the place

Was rummaging through some old photos yesterday and pulled this one out. This is a scenic state in the US- any guesses as to which place this is?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Today's blog is about a person who is a good friend and who is going through a lot at the moment.

Talked to this friend after years recently, we have known each other from our school going days and had lost touch in the past 4-5 years. I have known her as someone who had a lot of zest for life, very enthusiastic, fun-loving person whose mere presence brought a smile to the people around her. We caught up with each other on the happenings of the past 4 years and i was shocked to hear and visualize the transformation that this girl has undergone.

Although, i don't want to go into the personal details of her life, it was indeed heart wrenching to hear how misunderstanding, poor communication and contradicting expectations between a couple could lead to painful events. Inspite of the saying that marriages are made in heaven and that as per Indian arranged marriages, tying the knot to a stranger and marrying into a different family etc forms the basis for everlasting bonding of true love-there is nothing like a misfit couple who are unable to overcome their differences and cause one another immense pain and hurt all the time. Even a simple, polite conversation is filled with tensions and sarcasms. It is not like the two parties involved are bad people or something, its just that they bring out the worst in each other when they interact on a daily basis.

What does this kind of living do do a self confident person?

Does he/she go into depression cos they no longer have any self-esteem or trust in themselves and strength in their heart to put themselves through more trying times?

And, what is the treatment for this kind of condition- is a prescription of anti-depressant tablets along with a few tranquilizers and counseling sessions with a therapist going to bring that person back to their old self?

What is it going to take on the part of both individuals to come through this and what if one of them doesn't have the will to take anymore of this tension and stress?

I just hope and pray that the supreme force that we all believe in works miracles in the minds of such folks and brings sanity and peace into their lives.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Chettinadu Special

(Pictures from Hindu online)

Was reading about the popular tourist spots in India from one of the country's well known magazines recently and was pleasantly surprised to find that Chettinad was one among the top 5 fast growing vacation spots in India.

Karaikudi, which is the main town in Chettinad, is 80 kilometers away from Madurai, another city in South India. Personally, found myself going back in time while reading the article as i reminisced my experiences at this place. One of best friends from undergrad was a Chettiar who hailed from a very well connected affluent family and she invited me and a few other friends for a 20 day vacation to her native village of Kanadukathan in Chettinad. It was one of the most unforgetable best vacations that i've ever had.

The place is very hot during summers and is best to visit from October to March. The Chettinad palace, which is the home of the Alagappa Chettiar family, is a wonderful place to visit. Several houses in this area are huge spawning the length of a street in Chennai, with an expansive verandah, center courtyard with pillars and just a grand vision of space. Eating hot favorites of Chettinad dishes on a plantain leaf, enjoying the visits to the agricultural vayals and catching a local bus to go to Karaikudi town to watch a movie or to be treated like royals when we were the only ones who were provided with chairs in the local movie shack house, it was a truly relaxing time that i will always cherish.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Paravai Muniamma

(Photo from Hindu online)

Thanks to Sundar's mention about Paravai Muniamma in his previous blog, I got inspired to know more about this woman and so here goes after my googling:

This 62 year old female folk artist attained her popularity by her peppy voice in the Madurai Veeran Thaane song from Vikram's Dhool movie. Hailing from the agricultural village of Perumalpatti near Vadipatti, this woman is all of bubbling enthusiasm for her age.

Totally, indifferent to her looks and channelizing her personality to match the pomp and splendor of the tamil cinema ulagam, this lady jumped right in with a confidence that has made a difference.

In her interviews to magazines, she references her teacher S. Perumal Konar of Paravai who taught her the basics of folk singing. She comments that her gender and family restraints prevented her from entering the cine field at an even earlier age.

She has been sought after for public stage performances both in India and abroad and has earned quite a bit compared to other folk artists who have been in the field for longer. She has also been paired with comedian Vivek in Thakka Dhimi Tha movie and is selective about the roles she plays these days.

Her other reason for popularity is the cooking show on Sun TV and few other channels, as it seems she creates a rural flavor to the samayal, not to mention the earthen pots and pans she uses. She is a confident woman who is well aware that her future with the film industry as a folk artist may not be long lasting.

Thought that this folk woman was worth writing a blog for.

PS: Sundar-thanks for mentioning her rava seedai recipe in your previous blog.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Quality Time for all

With the advent of special other's parents visit, a different dimension to our schedules and time has set in. Within a couple of days of their being here, i've been provided with ample topics to write about. One of the first thoughts is about "Time". During some of our conversations and even with talks from relatives in India, there is the conception that most US based folks don't have time. This left me thinking....hmm.... So, are we all having quality time here in our daily lives amidst careers, schools, family life etc. So, what exactly is this quality time?

Quality Time is the time that every individual sets aside for themselves to do anything that they enjoy doing. It doesn't have to be a planned activity or pertain to a specific agenda.

For those who are single, after a hectic day at work, a work out in the gym or a quiet moment in the couch with some nice music or a movie is quality time.

For the married folks, it is the time that they carve out for spending with each other or for some folks, it is the time that they devote to taking care of themselves. I have colleagues at work who take a couple of hours during a week to either go to a spa or something that makes them feel good about themselves. Personally, for me, i've started taking a professional development class once a week after work and that is quality time that i spend on doing something for myself.

For the family folks-finding quality time is really hard, cos every minute available is spent on tending to the kids and house.

Here are some basic tips on creating quality time.
  • Taking the time, even when you are busy with something, to talk to your spouse, child or parent or a friend who needs you.
  • Join a totally fun class or learning a new hobby.
  • Decide to have a downtime and let your hair down, take a nice long shower, eat at your favourite restaurant and listen to some good music.
  • Sit all day and finish a book.

I am sure that everyone can think of so many other things to add to their list of quality time to dos.

But for everybody, quality time is something that we all need to create, even if we don't have the time to do so, cos soone ror later, there will come a time when we will start questioning about what we've been doing to take care of ourselves.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Navarathri aka Golu time in Bay Area

After a hectic weekend of getting special other's parents settled here, i have atlast found the time to blog. Although, i don't celebrate all the Hindu festivals here, i get the feeling that maybe writing about such events would help me soak in the festive spirit and that should suffice.

It is Navarathri time, today being the first day of the 9 days that the Goddess Parvathi battles to kill the demon and wins on the 10th day Vijayadasami meaning "Victory on 10th day" . This is an important event in South India, especially for the women. Colorful dolls and clay statues of Indian Gods, common folk etc are neatly arranged on wooden or steel mounted steps "padis". Varieties of sundal are made on the nine days and neighbours and friends are invited to view the golu and take vethala paaku.

Even though, its hard for me to become enthusiastic and interested in the golu, its fascinating to note all the available resources for the interested bay area desi woman who wants to have a golu at her place.

KV aka Komala Vilas restaurant on El Camino Real in Sunnyvale have opened a sale of golu idols that have been shipped from India. Pictures from KV's website are the ones posted here.

Friends have already called to make invitations to visit their home for vethala paaku on Friday and during the weekend. The local Sunnyvale Hindu Community Center temple has Lalitha Sahasranamam chanting from 6 pm in the evenings and daily dance performances by the several competing dance schools here in the area.

Isn't this so close to living in India-having the best of both worlds. I am sure that several other cities that have a siginificant number of Indians like New Jersey in the east coast, Austin/Dallas in Texas etc have their own Indian community, but by far, having lived in the east coast for 3 years, my observation is that bay area has the best of all the flavours.