Friday, July 25, 2008

A Double Tag Post- Genie and a Song

Tag 1-

Usha of Veg Inspirations tagged me. According to her tag the rules are as follows:

"At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 or 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read my blog". Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answers."-

1. What was I doing ten years ago?

Successfully completed first year of Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering at an all-girls college in Chennai. Was enjoying my college life like crazy.

2. Five things on Today's "To do" list

Get through this dull Friday afternoon at work.
Goto Curves.
Decide if dinner is at home or go out.
Complete The Mistress of Spices novel.
Try to end arguement with spouse.

3.I am addicted to :

Checking email every 5 minutes or so and wondering why someone didn't reply to my email promptly
Worrying about small things
Desserts and sweets
Illayaraja's music
Harry Potter books

4.Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

a) Build 2 dream houses, one in Chennai and one in Cupertino
b) Start my own HR consulting business
c) Travel to the world wonders
d) Live life like royalty, sigh...............

5. Places i have lived:

T.Nagar, Chennai.
Worcester and Wayland, Massachusetts.
Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, California.

Magic Lamp of Luck - The mighty Genie King and the beautiful Genie Princess from the magical Land of Faraway are back! Upon escaping the clutches of their Evil Master after being held captive for 1000 years, the magical genies have been busy flying on their Magical Flying Carpet, granting wishes and spreading love throughout the blogosphere.And now, the genies are back with a special gift for everyone! Behold the sacred, Magic Lamp of Luck! With this magic lamp, your blog will enjoy much good luck and fortune, warding off all things evil lurking around in the blogosphere.

We would like to share this magic lamp with you so please pass on the Magic Lamp of Luck to those in need of some good luck. Remember, do not be greedy or unkind, evil or vengeful and good luck & fortune will always be with you! Join us on another exciting magical adventure as we spread goodwill and good luck to one and all!

1. Add your site(s) to the list once you have received the Magic Lamp of Luck.
2. Pass on the Magic Lamp of Luck to as many people as you like. After all, everyone needs some good luck!
3. Leave a comment HERE once you’ve passed on the Magic Lamp of Luck. Once the Genie King and Genie Princess have visited your site to make sure your links are complete and proper, you will then be added to the Master List.
4. To ensure everyone receives equal link benefit, please UPDATE your list regularly!

I would like to pass this magic lamp of luck to all my blog readers and feel free to pursue this tag trail, if you are interested.

Tag 2- The Song Tag

Bavani of The Journey of Life has tagged me. Here are the tag rules-

1. Choose a song that describes/represents “you” and post it on your blog. You can add a story to it if you want.

I thought about this for a long time and can't seem to find one song that would describe me the best, I have pieces from song picturization and lyrics that I relate to at different times in my life. Illyaraja's music is my greatest salvation and while there are numerous songs of his that I am crazy about, I have always loved his "How to Name It" and "Nothing But Wind" albums.

The first one is an instrumental fusion album. The tracks how many ever times I listen to, woo me into their music and my mood changes with this background score. I love the tracks that are used in the movies Mouna Raagam and Veedu.

Song : Illayaraja's How to Name It

Tag Completed....feel free to take it up if you would like to share the song that best describes you.

Happy Friday.........

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Taste of Ethiopia in San Jose

Pics: Courtesy of Zeni

Where is Ethiopia and what kind of food do they eat there were questions that were on my mind before K and I decided to try out this Ethiopian restaurant called Zeni in San Jose last Friday night. While we entered the restaurant at 7:15 and found that the place was a small, 2 roomed restaurant that (resembled a fast food place) had a combination of Ethiopian cultural seating arrangements on one room and regular tables on the other room. While there were 4 other couples waiting before us to be seated, we thought we should get a table in 30 minutes. But, we weren't seated until almost 8:00 or later, a good 45 minute wait time. While we were waiting, we noticed that the food was taking time to be delivered to the tables, causing the diners to linger more at their tables and hence a longer wait time.

We observed that the people who dined were mostly Ethiopians and extremely tall folks and several Indians were also present. I guess the reason for that would be that the menu had several vegetarian options and once we tasted the food, our suspicions were confirmed.

We started with the sambussa appetizer (which is a combination of samosa and puff) that was hot and tasted delicious with the spicy sauce that accompanied it. While, the main entree comprised of vegetarian dishes like Gomen Kitfo, Yemisir Wot, Kik Alticha, Ye-timatim fitfit, foule etc. Sound like gibberish? Well, all of them fortunately had explanations in English as to what the constitutents of the dish were and while I ordered the Yemisir Wot which is a pureed split red lentil dish cooked in a spicy sauce, K sampled the Atakilt Wot which was a curry comprised of boiled cabbage, carrot and potatoes. Both our dishes complimented well with each other and were served on a giant size dosa like dish called Injera which they say is a thousand year old Ethiopian unleaved bread. The only thing that I disliked was the waitress served both our curries on the same giant injera and K and I had to tear the bread and eat off of the same big plate, not the most hygienic eating practice.

The restaurant had a key board player who played some great tunes in the background which complimented the eating experience. The restaurant owner an Ethiopian dude came around most tables enquiring about the quality of the food etc. and also sold some of the dosa (injera bread) to folks who raved about its taste.

Zeni is a moderatly priced cuisine that caters to the Indian taste buds thoroughly.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Arranged Marriage to Open Marriage

Most Indians can relate to the first part of the post. If you are born in India or an Indian born and raised in the US, you will surely have atleast heard or had an arranged marriage. India is still one of those countries that has the record high of arranged marriages, no surprises there, though the divorce rate is also slowly, but steadily creeping up in present times. What with the advent of outsourcing, BPO's, women working night shifts and having higher education and more financial independence, along with which comes lesser tolerance to put up with crap from a male dominated society, divorce is also happening more commonly these days amongst Indians.

In my grandmother's generation, she got married as a child at 11 without even seeing my grandfather, the wedding was arranged by the families and they've been happily married for 50 plus years. In my mother's time, she went through the bride seeing process and ended up marrying my father whom she saw briefly for 10 minutes before a group of relatives and my parents have been happily married for 25 years or so. Growing up in India and having come to US for a masters education unmarried, I knew that I didn't have a choice to date (given that my folks had a lot of trust on me that I would go the arranged marriage way). Thanks to all the horrors of horoscope matching, the filtering process etc. I ended up marrying K, the first guy whom I met, though we definitely interacted a lot more than my mother and grandmother ): before making the decision.

I am sure that there may be others who have gotten married the arranged way, others who were lucky enough to marry the person they fell in love with etc.

Has anyone heard of the term "open marriage". The first time I heard it was yesterday morning when I was driving to to the train station to get to work, on the Don Blue show in FM 101.3 when they talked about how the actor Will Smith revealed that he and his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith have an open marriage. Apparently, open marriage means when you tell your spouse that you want to sleep around with someone else. It seems that honesty is the basis of this relationship where in the couple are honest with one another in expressing their attractions to someone else and then ask the other partner if they are okay with them sleeping with someone else. Will was quoted saying that he wasn't sure of his reactions on how he would respond to Jada's question if she wanted to have an affair, but, he thought that she should okay his intention. Given that Jada is being given honesty about his actions first from him rather than hearing it from the tabloids or someone else.

Folks listening to the radio were asked to call in to voice their opinion on the open marriage concept. While, I personally feel that the open marriage fluff stuff will fly only for movie stars and those type of people where morals are defined differently. Even, the most liberal person who is open to gay and lesbian relationships would want to have their partner exclusive to themselves all the time. One of the callers was saying that it doesn't make a wrong doing right if you confess about doing the wrong thing.

Given the background from where I come from, this seemed like an interesting thing to blog about.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sudha Raghunathan sizzles again in Bay Area

SIFA is Bay Area's leading organization that promotes South Indian classical music, both vocal and instrumental music and also classical dance Bharathnatyam. Thanks to the SIFA committee and volunteers who manage to bring great artists from India every year during the summer season to perform for the huge desi population.

Sudha Ragunathan, one of the leading singers of Carnatic music, performed at the India Communicy Center auditorium in Milpitas last evening. The concert scheduled to start at 4:00, began at 4:30 and the crowd that thronged the entrance to the hall with the packed parking lot was an indicator of Sudha's popularity in the Bay Area. It has become a tradition to have Sudha sing in the Bay Area every year. She started off with a Jalajakshi varnam that proceeded with an invocation to Lord Ganesha. A unique feature in Sudha's concerts are that she provides a brief introduction on the song that she is about to render in her meliflous English. She also took the opportunity to welcome the Bay Area audience. I wouldn't want to forget to mention the fact that Sudha's jewellery and traditional pattu sarees add more beauty to the concert. I've always loved the accessories that she wears and found that her website has a tab dedicated to her wardrobe collection of sarees, must check out-

She sang and she sang alapanai after alapanai with the clock ticking away and it was almost 7:30 (she had sung for 3 hours). Meanwhile, requests for favorite renditions from the audience started coming to the stage and with her pleasing smile, Sudha said that she would either sing Ragam Tanam Pallavi (RTP) or change the course of the concert with the audience requests. While, the RTP calls were heard louder than the others, she proceeded to dedicate a 45 minute to prove her skill and musical prowess.

While, I have a strong preference to hear more kritis and thukdas sung in the latter half of a good kutcheri, I guess it was hard for me to sit through the elaborate RTP, while I kept thinking how many beautiful thukdas she could have sung. After RTP, she moved on to Marukelara, Kanda Naal Mudhal, Vishamakara Kannan, Brahmam Okate (that had the audience clapping their hands), Chinnan Chiru Kileye Kanamma etc. I loved the tamil songs, expecially the new ones that she sang with so much spirit.

I had to leave towards the end of the concert during the Vote of Thanks, since didn't want to get caught in the crowds trying to pull out of the parking lot after the concert. But, even then, it lasted for 4 hours. I don't think that kutcheris in Chennai are sung this long, but, given that this is a once in a year opportunity, Sudha truly sang for her fans.

On the drive back home, memories of concerts that I used to go with my dad in Krishna Gana Sabha and Vani Manal during my school and college years came back and how I wish I could spare the time or turn the clock to relive those days again.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Friend's Article and a Blogger's Achievement

I have two articles/news items that I wanted to share through this post. The first one is an interview from my school buddy who lives in Dubai and works as a Project Coordinator for the British Council in UAE. She was interviewed by a journalist for The National ( and had her interview published in the "This much I know" column for their Arts and Life section. The article titled "There's no point in worrying" gives her take on life, work etc. in Dubai and when she sent me a scanned copy of the article this morning, I felt so proud of her.

While, most people have different faces, one at home/family and the other for their work/public life, what I truly like about my friend is that she is just one true face to all who know her. Her interview was as open and frank as her nature is and reading through her interview made me feel that this is one girl who hasn't changed since her school days. I am so happy for her success and accomplishments and wish her the very best in professional and family life.

Her interview can be read at :

The second news item is about a Calcutta whiz high school student Rik Sengupta who has got admissions into 7 top US universities along with stunning scholarships. He got into Yale, Caltech, MIT, Duke,Williams College, Amherst College and Princeton for his undergraduate education. My parents sent me an article on his achievments that was recently published in Times of India. The article can be read at- ( )

Rik's SAT and TOEFL scores were jaw dropping, not to forget his extra-curricular talents and achievements. We hear of high achivers here and there, but, this is one Indian boy who has truly proven his credentials and made us all proud.

While I googled his name, Rik's blog showed up and I asked him if it would be okay for me to write about his accomplishments in my blog, for which he willingly agreed.

Thank you Rik and wishing you the very best in your educational pursuits at Princeton.

There are indeed high achivers around us that we often come across and wish that more of us could be like them.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Anniversary Dinner at Arya Global Cuisine

As you drive past the Wolfe intersection on Stevens Creek Blvd in Cupertino, there is a small sign that says Arya Global Cuisine on the side and "Persian-Italian-American" at the restaurant entrance catches your eye. It is easy to miss this if you don't watch out or know which intersection to look for. This is where K and I went for our anniversary dinner last night. Having eaten at most of the South Bay restaurants to the point of getting bored, I strongly said that we try out a place where we've never been before on this special day.

Arya as the name suggests, does not have anything to do with the Tamil actor, is tucked away as quietly as Mynt is in San Jose. There is ample parking at the rear of the restaurant. While the global cuisine with the Middle Eastern, Italian and American combo makes you curious, the interior of the restaurant felt Persian. Since it was a Monday, there were many empty tables and we were given one right away. Our waitress Kara was an interesting lady who rambled off her suggestions on what we try out as vegetarians and made us feel very comfortable.

The service here is excellent, very personable and pleasant staff who kept showing their courtesies from the time we sat down till we walked out of the door. While we tried the baked Manicotti with its oozing cheese flavor for the Italian part and the vegetarian kebabs along with saffron/basmati rice for Persian taste, both dishes tasted pretty good. The pita bread served was too dry and could have been better.

The dishes are a little pricey, but definitely some choices for vegetarians. Looks like they have music and dance on a stage for late weekend diners.

If you are in the neighbourhood and are looking for a place with good ambience, okay-good quality food and great service, then Arya is worth a visit.