Monday, March 28, 2016

Scribbles: Turning 30 (Because I have a deal with God)

For those of you who got the title, you have passed the FRIENDS fanatics test. For others, it is a lost reference. So, last Friday was my birthday and I could not have possibly asked for a nicer weekend! For starters, I got more wishes through the long forgotten method of calling, as compared to social media (which can be so warm). Relationships feel so much more tangible when there is voice or a hug along with the niceties. :)

Going back to Friday. You know a day has started well when a warm cake with walnuts arrives at your doorstep (along with S) at midnight. Now S is a chef par excellence. I get to make ridiculous requests every birthday (and otherwise), and I get it all. This birthday, all I wanted was the plain vanilla cake Ma used to make in her old oven. S was not pleased. Of all the things that I could have asked for! This was underselling her capabilities. But I did get a warm, brown and very yum vanilla cake. Oh I also received a french press, because there was an obvious lack of coffee and related products at home. Not any more! Now if you visit, you get to pick between a fancy tea pot and a french press. :)
The french press :)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Kiss - Hug - Handshake Dilemma

I grew  up in India. Scratch that. I grew up in Patna. While I have a lot of good things to say about the pseudo gangster town (because it is still home), my wonder years had a few very strong social repercussions. For the uninitiated, Patna in the dark ages (aka the Yadav rule) redefined insecurity. Of the psychological and physical kind. Had written a post few years back which may give you a better insight.

To cut a long story short, maintaining distance was a healthy habit. I mean you really couldn't gauge what a naive handshake could potentially trigger. So, mum said ignore strangers and be polite (from a distance) to the ones you know. Only close friends (after a parental inspection) were allowed in our home and our hugs. Introductions were usually followed by a smile and a 'hey' from a foot away. Or more. And I am not ridiculing this. To a very large extent, you are better off in India with this approach.

Fast forward from Patna to the last six-seven years. Thankfully, the last few years have been interspersed with a fair amount of travel. Traveling with backpacks and staying in hostels. Which meant meeting a lot of people from countries we didn't know too well. This was akin to answering a multiple choice question, where all the choices seemed like valid answers. Some people do the standard handshake, some hug, then there are some who kiss on the cheek and ofcourse there are some who smile from a distance and say 'hey!'. And its not like you get about an hour to evaluate your options. I mean you really don't need to. Its a hello after all! But the thing is, you have a fraction of a second to make the call, and sometimes when you make the wrong call, it can be a little awkward.

I still remember the times I decided to go with the handshake and the recipient wanted to go with the hug. That never ends well. Really. Never.


All I can say is I have gotten better at making a self deprecating joke every time this happens. I still get it wrong. But I get it right too. :) And if I had to go back in time and meet the mini-me growing up in Patna, would have told her that 'Hey kid! World ain't that bad a place. Strangers can genuinely smile at you and a hug is warmer than a handshake. Maybe not here, but you will see.'

Footnote - 'Sup' is not a greeting. No dilemma there. 

Monday, March 07, 2016

Scribbles - JDate, Kim and Boycut

There is a story knit in your life and mine. Just that I don't know about yours and you don't know about mine. And then there are some people who write it down. Beautifully. Read this, if you haven't already.

My Last JDate

I realised today that I don't like rosemary. I keep forgetting, till I get a taste of it. And then I get reminded. Yesterday's garlic bread from the Farmers Market had rosemary. Not good.

One of the books I picked yesterday is almost un-put-down-able. Its a good thing that the author has a sense of humor. Else this would be the darkest book I have ever read. Worse off than Clockwork Orange. Quoting the author - "North Korea feels like Kafka written in an alphabet no one can read". I am reading like a student - pencil, notes et al. Re-reading some parts too. The stuff in the book is too weird to be real. Yet, it is real. Again, quoting the author - "You are left wondering at your own grip on reality, like the moment in The Matrix when Neo sees a black cat walk by, and then another black cat walk by just like the first one causing Trinity to warn him:  A deja vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something." I am about 100 pages away from finishing it. Its going to be a late night tonight.
Well written. Highly recommended.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Scribbles - Downtown LA on a Sunday

Of late, age and memory have not been best of friends. That doesn't mean I don't remember your name or the address I call home now. But, I find it difficult remembering what life was like ten years back. It is absolutely okay, I guess, to not remember what you were like as a toddler, but I am talking about early twenties! I do remember bits and pieces of it; the highs and the lows, but the mind is missing the mundane pieces. And I thrive on the mundane. The songs that were on loop, the books I read, the forgettable mistakes, the bylanes I walked in and the acquaintances who never became friends. The point being that scribbling on the blog helps in connecting the dots. So, a renewed resolution of penning down day to day trivia.

Okay, so one and a half years down in LA. Let's play catch up. I drive like a boss now. Road rage, multitasking in the car, wrong turns et al. Got slapped with a speeding ticket too, which I am still very sad about. A whopping bill and a very angry cop later, I have mended my ways to stick to +/- 5 of the speed limit. A bit of Californication has happened. I understand 101 jokes now (if you didn't get it, you haven't been here yet). A run of the mill evening conversation is always interspersed with 405, I5 and the dreaded 101. Also, I recognize cars much better now. As in, never drive next to a Maserati/Tesla/Porsche/etc. I will have to sell my car (and my organs) to pay for any damages, if I nick them!