Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I dont like Hurdle the verb

Before you think I'm a crazy dork who rants about inane words and their meanings, let me say in my defense that I AM a crazy dork who rants about inane words and their meanings.

Dictionary.com is my favorite website and I check it every single day. Another is www.urbandictionary.com because I am obsessed with how the Americans have transmogrified English and confused about why I love their version(s) so much and mostly, I just dont get it half the time. To understand American English, its not enuff to know that colour is color or the lift is the elevator. You're supposed to understand the goddamn cultural meaning of Jeff Goldblum and what Jon Stewart stands for and what Martha Stewart and Oprah really mean, and get obscure references to Star Wars and such. They say things like:

"He’s the Chuck Norris of exercise dancing."

And then, you're supposed to go look up who the fuck this Chuck Norris is. Then, you learn that all the Rajnikant jokes are actually Chuck Norris jokes, and then, you get super pissed off.

I even watched Star Wars just so I could understand what all the goddam references meant and what Fanboys (the movie) was about and what is with all the Princess Leia and the gold bikini references?? Now, I get it....a bit? So yea, I end up looking up words a LOOOOOOOOOOOOT as well.

Then, I learn all these obscure things which tickle me to bits. For example, did you know that "grandfather" is a verb? That pretty much made my day. Recently, I looked up "hurdle" and...guess what...its also a VERB! and I dont like it. I mean, I dont like its "verb" meaning, coz its the exact opposite of its noun meaning and even WORSE, one of the verb meanings is the opposite of the other verb meanings!!!!!! I mean, isn't English confusing enough? Do we really need to assign confusing meanings to the same word to overcomplicate an already befuddling language?

So, I propose a new meaning to Hurdle the verb: May people never confuse you with "overcoming" problems. May you always BE a problem or an obstacle and always MEAN "to have problems, obstacles."

Yes, I'm taking away the little happiness the word has, but its for the greater good. I have no qualms in pulling a Snape. (Dont make me explain this!)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

This Christmas...

Christmas was never a big deal for me. Back in my school days, it was just a holiday. The concept of Santa and Christmas did not come through strong enough to register the same kind of enthusiasm I would have for Holi or Deepavali or even Sankranti, despite the carol singing in the school assembly and the Santa giving us candy at school and at the community Club. I guess my lack of enthusiasm was owing mostly to the quality of candy…it was usually the sour kind with an occasional piece of toffee thrown in.

Then came the US years which, ironically, added to my disillusionment of the whole Christmas hullaballoo. The way I saw it back then, it was just a whole lot of shopping, lots of fake sparkly stuff that would stick to you all the time, writing out cards that didn’t really say anything meaningful, feeling left out and not getting the whole drama…and yes, the unbearable cold. The only thing I liked was the snow and, this time, the candy :D By the end of my four years, though, I was sufficiently converted…made a few friends, got into the spirit of exchanging greeting cards, began to understand the romance of the sparkles and the lights and the tinsel and the wrapping paper and the piney, minty scent. A trip to NYC around that time really added to my joy…I still love lit up cities in chilly evenings (Ooooooh! I never get tired of the view of a lit-up Hussein Sagar in the winter evenings). The Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Centre, the people skating at the rink, the brilliant lights at Times Square and the bustling people in that busy corner of the world…and watching all this sipping Dunkin’ Donuts’ Vanilla Chai off of their “Styrofoam” cups…aaah bliss! :D Isn’t it ironic that I’m actually getting nostalgic for my days in the US? Weird how shit works out. 

And yes, after coming back to India, I guess I turned more “American” thanks to finally being able to watch TV! Despite all that HCU did and all the dissecting and analyzing and DE-CONSTRUCTING, all of sudden, today, the Christmas thing did creep up on me. Perhaps it was just the extra bite in today’s chill, perhaps it was just leisurely sipping the morning chai with my parents and talking or maybe it was the unexpected tears at the thought of a colleague moving away, who has managed to become quite dear in only a month and a half…or perhaps it was all this and so much more. But today, my favorite Christmas song is stuck in my head and I’ve been humming it all day. It just about sums up how I feel today…a quite, calm happiness. Merry Christmas, people! Wish you all a wonderful time filled with beautiful moments that give you a lifetime of happiness. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I've often wondered about India and what it means. How do you define a country with a gazillion languages that come from 4. FOUR. language families, over a billion people with all kinds of races, with varying skin colours, hair types, eye hues, leg shapes, living over a mass of land that has all kindsa terrain, from snow-throughout-the-year to blazing-hot deserts complete with baked bits of land and colorful tribes with cracked lips?? HOW HOW HOW??

Wondering why I would even bother to define India? I have this overwhelming need to box things/people/ideas/concepts to begin to understand them. Yea, they can meander into deeper meaninglessness later on, but to BEGIN with, I need a basic definition to comprehend it, picture it in my mind.

But with India, as time passes, the picture only gets murkier, more amorphous. My Personal India has evolved and even de-volved, got oversimplified on the rare occasions that it was IN MY FACE in a nasty, ugly way. I'm sure everyone whoz ever even spent a weekend in this country knows what I'm talking about it. India is just like that. Some generalizations fit all the time and still manage to have exceptions all the time too!!?? I can only attempt to break it into pieces and collect as many as I can, stick 'em together and try to look for a coherent image, something WHOLE through these broken bits. I've tried it. But you know, its just like a mirror. When you look at broken pieces stuck together, they dont give you just one reflection. You end up looking at multiple bewildered faces reflecting your own questions, magnifying the uncertainty and chaos.

I've been going back and forth between umpteen different kinds of Indias for over a decade now. I guess my stint outside the country jarred me out of my narrow view of existence. The superimposition of my US years on my puberty is a sick cosmic joke...like I wasn't maladjusted enough in my own sphere of life, as if the hormonal shit wasn't confusing in itself!!! When I was away, I was more Indian than I've ever been my entire life...the good little silent wallflower. And ever since I've been back, I've had this overwhelming urge to be as badass as possible to make up for those lost years. Overcompensating? You betcha! I'm so much more "American" now. I cannot relate to my own parents. Okay, maybe thatz the generation gap. Fine, I dont relate to a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOT of my peers. I dont watch reality TV....lately, I just dont watch TV. I often used to have to pretend humming along to the popular tune of the day. I absolutely never knew which movie, which singer, who the actors were! I actually really do want the life of an average sitcom character (yea, deluded, I know). Recently, when I got excited that my parents were leaving me alone at home (finally!) for a few days, the girls in my office gave me really strange looks. When I half-jokingly said, "I dont even KNOW if I should get married," they winced and tried to hush me down. What, you cant see the scary part of it?? REALLY?? How do I relate to that?

And dont even get me started on the kind of "corporate" India I saw. Its mostly just a lot of young people with too much money at their disposal, working insane hours and partying everyday--can u call it partying if you do it everyday?--and calculatingly making and breaking relationships, seemingly hopping from one air-kissing friend to another. I dont get that crowd either and so many other crowds and so many other Indias...of a BILLION people!

This is the first time I've lived outside my home state of Andhra Pradesh...and let me tell you, its almost like living in another country sometimes. At work, I am again the butt of the translation jokes; I am often just either completely spaced out or end up with springwork-neck that has to move from one person to the other...in an attempt to decipher the expressions and guess at the context. Did u just call me 'bug'?? Oh...ur asking me to 'look'...RIGHHHHHTT (bagh=look in Marathi). What? Udaya(=tomorrow) is NOT morning?? Have I totally misconstrued everything in our conversations? Well, shit. And no, its not limited to the language, of course. There is sooooooo much more than just grammar and vocab that I am clueless about. Its often a whole different culture.

While all this was trying to bubble up to the surface for a long time now, I found fellow wonderers, questioners at HCU who've been just as confused exploring identities and evolving selves and shifting absolutes. And today, it gushed out because I revisited the words of one of my favorite people and her glimpses of India. When I read her words, I've often found myself yelling, "What the hell are you talking about?" or "I cant believe THAT is what you noticed. I've NEVER looked at it AT ALL." although there are many many "True dats" as well ;) It feels as if I'm reading about an India I've hardly ever seen; yet, I recognize the images. Its not my India...its the India of a woman who has set out to "see" India as only an outsider can...someone who has, in the process, become more Indian than us 06HEMAs at least. As greedy as I am for experience, albeit vicarious, can I even begin to imagine all the Indias out there?

The only comfort in this, sometimes, is the hilarity of things lost in translation. Sometimes, it's better when you share a momentary confusion with a fellow lost-soul. On rare occasions, it is amazing because you end up creating new definitions for your particular bits of India, coz it HAPPENS ONLY IN INDIA ONLY TO YOU! :)

Caffeine is for the half-dead!

I've been gulping caffeine-jacked slop all day.


  • 1 chipped piss-coloured mug with leftover stains of coffee smudges
  • one shitload of wimpy brown gook that passes for coffee powder
  • half a tablespoon already stuck with huuuuuuge granules of sugar so only about 2-3 fall into ur piss-coloured mug
  • and a pinch of stale milk powder that reminds you of babies' spit up
The really complicated procedure that even Chuck Norris cant get right:

Throw everything together in the mug and stir like crazzzzzzzzzyyyyyy until the spoon twists...this ensures a thick lumpy brown sludge that ensures you are awake forever.

This can also be used instead of cyanide for those attempting a quick and painless suicide.

I, obviously, have been using this only to pry my eyes open and keep 'em that way until the clock strikes my favorite hour. But, apparently, I'm the un-dead coz this EXACT, PRECISE recipe followed painstakingly to the most meticulous detail did absolutely NOTHING for me. Yet, I dont know where my immortality ring is, I have no slurpy-elixir-making shiny red stone, no 7 bits of creepy soul things hidden away in my favorite torture chambers (Wait, where are my torture chambers?? Oh, all in my head! check, check, check and check...oooh, these three arent empty...hmmm!), I dont have creepy leathery skin (yet!) and frog eyes and rotting fingernails (zombies, right?)....so ummmm...why is this thing NOT working on me?

I just hope the coffee gods have not cursed me for preferring the Indian version with looooooooots of milk, sackfuls of sugar and a drop of coffee decoction...oooh...and delicious froth that only South-Indians can appreciate. Or perhaps, the wizards at CCD have performed some strange coffee-devil voodoo on me coz I bitched about having to make my own coffee and pay for it and it wud never be sweet enuff, dammit! Apparently, I need to graduate to stronger drugs :D

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Today was a colleague's birthday. I'm new in this office and at lunch, I asked him what his plans were for later in the day...if we was going out with family etc. etc. I suck at making small talk, but I was determined to make an attempt anyway. I remember that he'd mentioned a 5-year old kid at an earlier such lunch session. Maybe it was his Marathified Hindi, maybe it was my half-assed listening, but I somehow got the feeling that that 5-year-old was a boy. So, today when he showed me his little girl's photo in his wallet, I was a little confused. I asked him if he also had a boy and he said that he had a baby boy but he passed away very young. The baby had a hole in his heart. I felt awful...of all the days to remind him of the child he lost!! Maybe I really should not attempt small talk. UGH.