Simbly Bored

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

My Husband’s Wisdom August 6, 2009

Filed under: Discovering marriage,Growing Up,Personal Favourites — The Goddess @ 8:56 pm

Me: Why should we lie just to spare someone’s feelings?
and that too for someone we don’t like?
especially when it’s wrong to lie?

Him: Yea, it makes life easy :p


The Great Indian Railways July 15, 2009

Filed under: Little Things,Nostalgia,Personal Favourites,Priceless — The Goddess @ 5:37 pm

You can’t really separate the railways from the food. Most of my memories seem to revolve around food. Read on!

Travelling from Tatanagar to Howrah on the Steel Express eating Jhalmuri. The amazing bhel that came seasoned with mustard oil. It never ceased to surprise me that Nanna didn’t object to the rusty cans the ingredients were carried in, the jalmuri-wallah’s dirty hands or the coriander, onions and lemons chopped with a very suspicious looking knife. But he seemed to feel the need to draw the line somewhere, and that was at the sliver of coconut bhaiyyaji used as a garnish. One of my first acts of “rebellion” as I grew older was to eat the coconut. It was terrible, of course. But I proved a point. I think! 😀

Stopping at Kharagpur and Rourkela stations, we would never miss the puri-bhaji. The puri was fried in oil that no one wanted to learn the origins of in a blackened kadhai perched atop a kerosine stove. The liquid potato curry (the potatoes still had their skins on, of course) would miraculously never drip out of the leaf-cone it was served in. Amma or Nanna would hold up the curry for Annayya and me to dip into. Self-centred brats that we were, we never bothered to ask why they always waited for us to eat first…

As we moved further south, we hit the Vijayanagaram and Vizag stations. There was amazing Mango Jelly and even better milk sweets, pala kova as they were called (Vijaya dairy of course!). The best of all were the packets of buttermilk. Spicy, salty, cool, wet packets picked out of the ice bucket cut open deftly with a small blade (or one’s teeth) and sipped through green, blue and pink straws. No one worried about holding the “cold” packet with a tissue or wiping the water that dripped off the packets (Vizag humidity… Pah!). The clothes just dried by themselves as the train moved on towards more goodies!

At Samalkot station came the meals plate. Who can ever forget the dal/sambar/unknown liquidy substance and the unidentifiable curry and the sour curd that was inevitably part of the meals plate? For some reason, we considered this a treat, growing up!

Then came Rajamundry station with a treat unknown to many children “back in the old days”. Pineapple juice! Fresh pineapple juice poured straight out of the mixie with a foamy top J

The idly wada and the dosa at Vijayawada (and Rajamundry too). The masala chana in the South Indian stations. The biscuits, chocolates and gold fingers. The constant flow of food in the Shatabdi trains. The tiffin dabbas of other families that always seemed so much more interesting… The chicken curry-chapati of Vijayawada families, the idli, curd rice and pulihora from Vizag, the biryani from Hyderabad…

Food just seems to define Indian life. What we eat, when we eat it, how we carry it… It’s all such an intricate web. But nowhere more so than on trains. We inferred so much about a family just from their dabba. How many times did we hear the question “Brahmins aa?” as mom shared out the puri-curry and curd rice in the train? How many times did we whisper under our breath, “They must be xyz (caste, state, religion)” just by observing their lunch?

Train travel was certainly the “national integration” experience the posters said it was!

Watching North Indian women cover their head and knit furiously. Watching the obnoxious traveler occupy half the space of the meek one. Watching students get onto the train traveling to the city nearby where they attended college. Watching little children make friends with each other just as we did as little children ourselves. Listening to the men discuss politics and cricket.

Watching the hills, the rivers, the trees and the villages speed by. Watching little children wave to the train. Reading Tinkle and Chacha Choudhry. Feeling grand and important when Nanna allowed me to accompany him to get water at unknown stations. Looking wide-eyed at the stations around. Listening to Nanna bargain with the coolie and then watch him pay an extra Rs 10 because, “The poor man depends on us to make a living”. Taking an auto to go back home at the end of a vacation and asking the autowallah, “Did it rain recently?”

As I think back, I feel some of the best times we spent as a family were the train journeys we made. On the train, Nanna had no phone to answer, he brought no reports to read, he was relaxed and talked to us about everything we saw. Amma didn’t care what we ate and when. She would eat everything that came along too! There were no rules. We all talked and shared jokes and stories. For the 18 hours or 24 hours or 36 hours it took to get to wherever we wanted to go, it was all about us as a family.

As I think back, I finally understand why my parents continue to travel sleeper class even though they can afford the AC.


Home is… May 30, 2009

Filed under: Life in Amreeka,Personal Favourites,Priceless — The Goddess @ 5:58 pm

Where I don’t have to constantly chant in my head “keep right, keep right” when driving

Where I don’t have to ask for “no meat” just say, vegetarian

Where I don’t have to worry about credit scores, just show my “three months’ payslip”

Where all buildings don’t look alike

Where I hear a familiar language when I step out

Where silence is the exception

Where I can call out  “Auto” on the streets and go wherever I like

Where I don’t have to search for something edible on the menu when I go out to eat

Where I can stop someone on the street to ask for directions and not have to carry a GPS

Where Upma for breakfast is what’s normal and bread is for “emergencies”

Where I am not worried that I can’t afford to fall sick or have a tooth ache or break my glasses

Where I see familiar faces and smell familiar smells when I go to the mall

Where I know where I am

Where my accent is not out of place

Where business casual means salwar kameez and formal means trousers that are not jeans

Where I can stop by the road-side to buy anything from food to balloons to pirated novels

Where I can strike up a conversation with the person next to me on the bus

Where the radio plays a familiar tune

Where the grocery store is called the super market and there is a kirana store wherever I go

Where I can wear a sari whenever I like

Where there are no tabloids by the checkout counter

Where I don’t have to generate 1000 pounds of garbage a year

Where I can pile up all recyclables and sell them to the paper wallah 

Where there are no ice storms

Where addresses are skewed and I can navigate through a maze

Where there is an istri wallah and a maid and a cook and a driver and I am happy to be helping them support their families

Where I am not a legal or authorized alien

Where I don’t have to be friends with everyone Indian because everyone around is Indian

Where I see change happen everyday

Where I belong…


Women and Cars March 12, 2009

Filed under: Little Things,My Idea of Humour,Personal Favourites — The Goddess @ 10:04 am
Here’s how the conversation went…
new friend: what type of car are you looking for
me: a small car, that doesnt guzzle gas, that could do another 25000 miles without troubling us too much
  that’s the female version
  will get back to you with the guy version later
new  friend: so you want a porche 🙂
me: wouldnt mind ‘-)
  can i get one for $8000?
new  friend: a really old one maybe
And now you know why women love Porche’s. It’s not because we’re shallow, it’s because they meet our requirements!

What We Will Remember of Being Young February 7, 2009

Filed under: Life,Personal Favourites,The Way I See It — The Goddess @ 6:19 am

When we’re 50 years old and watching the songs we dance to now on the oldies, what will we think back and reminisce about these days of being young? My current list:

  • We watched Sunday morning cartoons on good old DD
  • We transitioned from DD to Cable TV
  • We learned to use computers somewhere in middle school or high school
  • We marked the transition from reference books to Google
  • We started the rampant piracy of movies, music and books via the internet
  • We preferred to buy water on the go than carry a good old water bottle
  • We danced to A R Rahman songs at some or the other point in our lives
  • We started picking En-US over En-UK
  • We damaged our thumbs typing SMS
  • We propogated the Scooty family of vehicles
  • We watched the malls grow, had the first of the disposable income and effectively spawned the consumerist culture in India
  • We watched Moral Policing and Gay rights and global warming all at once
  • We (presumably) survived The Great Subprime Crisis
  • We (hopefully) reversed global warming
  • We either loved America or loved to hate it
  • We (had better have) fought terrorism and (want to believe that we) won

Quite a list! What else?


Married Moments December 3, 2008

Moments of laughter

Moments of smiles

Moments of profoundity

Moments of irreverence

Moments of being together

Moments of tears

Moments of music

Moments dancing

Moments that that never fade

Moments in the snow

Moments of stupidity

Moments of tenderness

Moments that teach

Moments that reassure

Moments of silence

Moments of nonsense

Moments stolen

Moments of being young

Moments of fantasizing

Moments of reality

Moments of togetherness

Just moments…

Discovering how beautiful marriage can be…


India Bashing November 29, 2008

There is a particularly hard hitting/nasty/insensitive (depends on the way you see it) editorial in one of the leading newspapers of America today focused mainly on criticizing Indian (political) ineptitude for the Mumbai episode. (You can read it here don’t miss the forum with the comments).

I am not in favour of the caste or religious politics in play in India right now. I am not in favour of mixing education with religion. For substituting science and geography with what is taught in the madarsas or in the little Hindu schools. I am not in favour of labelling places as “muslim areas” or talking in terms of “us” against “them”. But I defend my country for what it is.

Having been able to watch the American election and campaigns up close this year, and having seen a lot more of the world in the last year or so than I have in my life before, I can say with conviction that it is not as easy to govern in a country as diverse as ours as it seems to be. It is not easy to have a single mainstream and a single belief system. We are not united by a single language, or a single God or even a single dream. Perhaps the closest we come to in finding a single unifier is cricket.

It is time we looked at our leaders and asked ourselves why we chose them. Why do the local thugs have the power? Why is it that we have caste and religious politics? Could it be that in a country of as many voices as ours, we are scared that our own might not be heard? Could it be that right now, we find ourselves trying to find what defines us as a nation? Could it be that once we define what India stands for, no one will really feel that they don’t belong anymore?

I think if there is something that we need to learn, it is to stop being apologetic for our diversity. And if it’s something we need to accept, it’s the fact that we can never use the standard formulae for governance that seem to work so well in other parts of the world. It’s hard to find a balance between protecting the minorities and allowing them to hold us to ransom and making them acutely aware of being a minority. All extremes which we have visited.

I agree, it’s difficult to wipe away the effects of poverty and a poor education. It’s hard to stop people from being lured by money and the belief of doing something noble. But I think we’ve done a better job than a lot of other countries formed around the same time as ours (check here for a list). 

I never for a moment defend the Indian Government for the way they have dealt with terrorism over the last few years. But having been in Hyderabad when the blasts took place I can say that the problems we face are a little more deep rooted than that.

What saddens me is not the attacks themselves as much as how we seem to have accepted them as a way of life. It saddens me that we celebrate that life goes on as before a day after the attacks are done and we see nothing change. We still do not go out and fight for our vote. No one joins the armed forces or the police driven by the need to change something. No one fights for better intelligence the way we fought for justice for Jessica Lall or for more reservations or against petrol price hikes. We are not new to the concept of protest. What saddens me is the fact that we do not protest. What saddens me is that we seem to have lost the war with terror even before we really fought… Perhaps, perhaps after Mumbai things will change…