Tuesday, September 27, 2005


How priorities change!

My parents are in Vancouver these days and asked if I wanted anything from there. I did, and my list went like this:

  1. 9" round cake pan
  2. 2cup plastic measuring cup
  3. tension rods
  4. Ghirardelli hot chocolate mix
  5. cheesecake mix
  6. nutrigrain bars
  7. cinnamon powder

Two years ago, my list would have been drastically different, but now this is what I need. Most of these items must be available here, but I’d rather not conduct a treasure hunt on a national level to find them. So now, I want things from abroad that make living in India a bit simpler and more similar to our life there. We miss the way we lived in Providence, RI, all the little components that went into making our lives there, and love it when we are able to incorporate them in our lives here in Bombay.

It’s an odd world. When we were in the States, we wanted to take some of what we missed from India and now that we are back, we want to bring back some of our life from there. Balancing the two will be perfection.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Bombay update

Ok, so there's hope for Bombay as yet. For us to start liking the city, that is. We're reaching the point, where we need to decide once and for all to love or hate the city forever. In October, it'll be 8 months since we've been here....high time to figure it out, we think.

Two things happened this past week to somewhat improve our impression of the city. The first one, was a sign I saw on an empty plot of land just down the road from us, announcing the area belonged to the Postal Department. It may not mean much to a lot of people, but to me, having a post office nearby, raises the quality of area immensely. Just the possibility of having a post office in the neighborhood, makes me see Bombay in an entirely new light. I have to admit though, that they might just be building flats for postal workers but I have to hope it will be a post office.

The second was that I finally bought Suketu Mehta's book 'Maximum City'. The book is meant to make you fall in love with the city, understand its complexities and never ever want to leave it again, especially not for Delhi. I had resisted buying this book just as I resisted having to actually like Bombay.

I didn't realize I was thinking this way, until I started reading Swati Kaushal's book 'Piece of Cake' and found myself disappointed that it was set in Delhi and not Bombay as I somehow assumed. I think the time has now come for us to give the city a chance and at least allow it to grow on us like it does on everyone else.

Friday, September 23, 2005

IntentBlog

IntentBlog is an interesting site that's been around only a few months. Lots of interesting opinions from a wide variety of Indians across the globe. The blog was started by Shekhar Kapur and Deepak Chopra as a way to connect, inspire and stimulate views and ideas of Asians and Indians across the world.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Wah China!

Been totally absorbed doing a research project on 5 provinces in China and have come away too impressed for words. By separating the government and the economy, they have opened the door for progress and are miles ahead of us. It seems unlikely that we will share the glory with them; this is China's century. Hopefully, we can get our act together for the next one.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sienfeld, finally!

Today is the day. The day that Sienfeld starts in India. It's been one of my favorites and I have been addicted to it from the word go. The show about nothing at all, always had lots to say about the people, places and going-ons of New York City. Its a more grown-up and witty version of Friends.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Writing like a man?

I found an interesting site recently called Gender Genie, which is part of the BookBlog site. Based on an algorithm developed by Moshe Koppel, of Bar-Ilan University in Israel and Shlomo Afgamon, of Illinois Institute of Technology, this program is able to predict the gender of an author. The algorithm uses a selection of words that differentiate between the sexes and is said to be 80% accurate. I tested it and found that it was wrong 4 out of 5 times for me, guessing my writing to be by a male author. Quite a surprise to discover that I supposedly write like a man. Try it out.

Monday, September 12, 2005

26/7 after effects

What a relief to get our car back from the workshop. The 26/7 flood really did a number on our car. It was a bit of a delayed reaction though. Initially, we thought we had managed to avoid the endless lines at the service shops even though the car was driven in almost 2 feet of water. The starter finally gave in to rust 2 weeks later and so we ended up at the back of that long line of cars waiting to be serviced.

We handed our car over on 6th September and got it back today. Thankfully we are not at the mercy of a moody starter or auto and taxi wallahs anymore. The guards of our apartment complex and office must be more thrilled than us that the starter is fixed; they were the ones always recruited into pushing the car to get it going!

The entire experience made me think of something that has troubled me for a long time. What works best, anger or politeness in getting someone to do the work? In this case, when we were at our wits end, we scolded, berated and shouted at the poor quality of parts in our brand new car or at the delay in service and at other times we were polite, smiling and courteous when we saw some progress being made. I wonder which worked more to our favor. Did we manage to get our car fixed for free because we threatened them by knowing the top bosses or because we were courteous and polite. I think its the latter, while my husband thinks its the balance of both that works best.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Wise words

One can't really build a relationship on a rotting foundation....not unless one wants to smell the stink everyday!

-Wise words from a wise sister.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Silent rain

I love the rain. I love pretty much everything about it, the before, during and the after. Since coming to Bombay, a city famed for its monsoon, I have been a bit disappointed with the rains. Or specifically the type of rain that rains on Bombay.

Growing up in the lower Himalayas and then going to college in Kansas in the US mid-west, famed for its tornadoes, I had developed a taste for a certain type of rain. The type that comes in grand style with thunder and rumblings in the clouds, the sky darkening to night in the middle of the day, the breeze picking up and bringing with it the smell of rain. And this was all before the rain started itself. I relished the prelude to the rain, the anticipation, the exhilaration and the energy it brought.

Here in Bombay, one hardly knows when it starts to rain and when it stops. It arrives without fuss, rains quietly and leaves without any drama.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Seraglio

Eighteenth century Turkey is wonderfully recreated in this engaging novel of sultans and harems as seen through the eyes of Aimée du Buc, a thirteen year old girl who is kidnapped by pirates as she travels from her school in France to her home in Martinique. Renamed Nakshidil (“embroidered on the heart”), she becomes part of the sultan’s seraglio in Topkapi Palace, where she learns new sets of rules for etiquette, for survival and for happiness.

It is the first novel for Janet Wallach, who has earlier written a number of biographies. A very enjoyable and fast read, I finished it in one day. Read it if you like history, the mysteriousness and politicking inside harems and most especially romance.

A Year in Provence

I finally managed to read a book that I had been wanting to for ages—A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. It was even better than I imagined it would be. I got started on travelogues when I first read Frances Mayes Under the Tuscan Sun, which I absolutely adored. Under the Tuscan Sun is not as polished as A Year in Provence, quite rustic actually, but is charming nevertheless.

Mayle recounts their first year in Provence month by month. The experiences range from the never ending house repairs and alterations, intricacies of buying meat and bread in the local markets, picking grapes, dealing with an endless queue of uninvited guests and so on.

A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Happiness

"Our happiness or our unhappiness depends far more on the way we meet the events of life than on the nature of those events themselves."

— Wilhelm von Humboldt