Simbly Bored

It's me that's bored enough to blog. The posts are interesting enough.

The Brahmin Thing January 28, 2010

Filed under: Growing Up,Life in Amreeka — The Goddess @ 2:49 pm

So, for the longest time, I never knew what to answer when someone, anyone, asked me, “Are you Brahmin?”

I started out being stunned. I was naive enough to think that because caste didn’t matter to me, it didn’t matter to anyone.

After a while, I moved on to being judgmental. I always looked down on people who asked about “caste” as people unworthy of my attention. But then, I realized there were people right in my (extended) family who I liked to whom caste mattered a great deal.  This didn’t seem right. How could ordinary sane, rational, “good” people care about something as silly as caste?

When I turned seventeen, I identified myself as “OC” for the first time. Suddenly, it started to seem unfair that there were people who attended the same school as mine who were in no way “backward” who would be chosen over me. The system didn’t seem right. But more importantly, it didn’t seem right that there were people who didn’t mind lying about being  “backward” just because it meant they received additional benefits.

I went through college with a kind of resentment for those who managed to get to where “they didn’t deserve to be” just because of their caste. Looking back, it seems very hypocritical to me. After all, I benefited from the “women’s quota” reservation myself!

With time, judgment gave way to curiosity. I dabbled with the shadier sides of Orkut  and joined quite a few of the “brahmins unite” groups just to see what the fuss was about. The larger groups were more of a symbol on someone’s profile. The smaller, regional groups played the same role as telugumatrimony.com. Overall, the experiment was a failure. I learned nothing new.

When I moved to the US I thought caste wouldn’t matter given it doesn’t matter to anyone around. But I’ve heard the question on occasion, “Are you vegetarian? Is it by choice or…” Granted, not everyone who asks the question is interested in knowing your caste. But you can tell when the person is interested in learning about more than your dietary choices.

Last semester, I talked about India in my International Business class. The biggest question everyone had was about caste. “How does it feel”, a woman asked, “when you look at each other and know the difference in caste, but we can’t tell the difference?” Something cleared up in my mind after that. I replied, “All societies find ways to classify people. Caste just happens to be the Indian way. ‘Upward mobility’ and ‘financial success’ are not a function of your caste. Caste is just something you’re born with and you choose what you want to do with it.”

What made me think of this today? I just finished checking the “I am not Hispanic” box on all my grad school applications.

 

Goodbye TV! January 20, 2010

Filed under: Life in Amreeka — The Goddess @ 11:10 am

Yesterday, we finally cut cable. Now we only get to watch reruns of Friends, Seinfeld, That 70’s Show and Scrubs in the evening and “Judge Judy” kind of shows in the afternoons. Granted, we still have Youtube, Netflix and a hundred or so dvd’s at home but we still feel liberated.

TV in America is so specialized. There are channels dedicated to Home and Garden (HGTV), cooking (Food Network), real and imaginary catastrophies (The History channel), mating habits of animals (you know which one that is) and reality shows (all of the others). It’s so different from Indian TV where on any channel, at any time of the day, you can only find gaudily dressed women wearing atrocious makeup plotting against each other.

So now we’ve slipped into this little cocoon where we’re cut off from mainstream America. I feel more desi than I ever did in India.

I think the self imposed holiday is finally over. If I don’t find a job soon, I’ll turn into one of those wonderful NRI aunties who do “all housework without help” and also find time to knit and sew.I’m going to go job hunting! Wish me luck!

 

The Most Pointless Hobby of All January 8, 2010

Filed under: Life in Amreeka,Little Things,Randomness — The Goddess @ 11:07 am

My newest hobby is baking (yes Avu, laugh away). Given I’m on a new fitness program and The Hero has cavities, there seems to be no point.

I love the smell of cookies baking in the oven and watching butter and sugar cream to perfection. That a teaspoon of baking powder will always yield the same results is refreshing change from the uncertainties of a job hunt or applying for a PhD.

The warmth of the oven… Watching the batter rise (I keep peeking into the oven. Can’t leave the stuff alone)… The light crumbs… Ah Bliss!

Send me a self addressed bubble wrapped bag if you want the calories.

 

Pickles Packing for Abroad December 6, 2009

Filed under: Life in Amreeka — The Goddess @ 10:48 am

That’s exactly what’s written in big bold letters on the packet. (English words in Telugu script)

 

Nick November 25, 2009

Filed under: Life in Amreeka — The Goddess @ 6:30 pm

The ad said, “rent room in the house of  retired professor”. The prospect of not signing a lease drew me in, so there I was a few days later, renting a room in Nick’s house.

Nick is a seventy seven year old retired professor of English who lives in a large house he shares with two dogs, a cat, two mice, some gold fish and anywhere between two and five tenants. He owns two battered cars, three refrigerators, assorted pieces of exercise equipment (which he puts to use from time to time), an old wasp’s nest and a basement and garage full of fascinating odds and ends.Rest assured, anything you ask Nick for, he will have two of. How a person who doesn’t play a piano can own two of them is beyond me!

Each evening, he would greet me with a pleasant, “How was your day, dear?” Such a welcome change from coming home to an empty apartment! Most nights, we would have dinner together. It was usually something simple I cooked or something complex I brought back from my weekly visits home. Sambar, stuffed parathas, spicy tomato pickle, tamarind rice, you name it – Nick enjoyed them all. We would start out talking about Indian spices, Western cooking and my vegetarianism over dinner and move on to more interesting things like his bike rides in Scotland or the house he built in Colorado over tea. Sometimes, he would tell me about his plans for the weekend which usually included either his grandchildren or picking apples or corn from a nearby field.

Occasionally, I would come home to see Nick entertaining a lady guest. Nick would cook a lavish dinner for her and the other tenant and I would join him in the kitchen after she left. While we helped ourselves to the food, he would tell us about the difficulties of dating at seventy seven. These easily outnumber those of people in their twenties. Alzheimer’s for one, is not a serious concern for those in their twenties.

I could talk about what the seven weeks of living there meant to me, or about what I learned from him about growing old but I can just hear him say, “More action, less thoughts”. So here I end the description of one of my newest friend. We’re meeting again next month when I go back for my convocation.

 

Yawn! Is it Spring Yet? November 23, 2009

I’m hibernating. This time, for real. I’ve been reading books at a remarkable rate, cooking, eating, sleeping, spending time window shopping on Amazon (I love the used books), chatting with friends, reading random news (even more than when I was working at Tech Support) and been generally day-dreaming…

I’ve also decided to apply to some PhD programs. 🙂 I know, like the Husband’s PhD wasn’t hard enough, we’re going to live through another one. This time though, Husband will be making tons of money and also, he’ll be forced to be more “understanding spouse” than I was because he’s been through the PhD thingy. Whatever… This assumes that I am actually going to get an admit from a school I like. With funding being cut everywhere (in everything except healthcare and related fields) it might not be all that simple.

Other updates (bulleted list because I miss writing case papers for school):

  • Texas is warm
  • We’re finally living within 10 miles of Mysore Masala Dosa serving restaurant
  • We’ve been driving our car on its spare tire because we’ve been too lazy to get the flat repaired
  • We own actual furniture (bed, dining table, futon and TV) Yay Ikea!
  • bought a completely useless appliance called electric kettle (I’m too lazy to even heat water on the stove now)
  • decided to make new friends and well, blah blah blah!

Ooh! Forgot! The Husband and I are going to celebrate “one month of living in the same apartment” in a few days. Major milestone for us. So, this is what being married really feels like!

 

Master of Science in Information Systems October 21, 2009

Filed under: Life in Amreeka — The Goddess @ 11:50 pm

Today (well, technically yesterday) was my last day of classes in the Kelley School of Business (Indiana University, Bloomington). I will have a Masters degree!

Whenever I pictured myself coming to the US, my dreams always ended with a Masters degree. And now that I have one, I find myself wondering what’s next. Any suggestions?