Friday, November 28, 2008

I salute thee!

In every place where terror strikes, heroes come through! The hotel staff at Taj and Oberoi some of whom are said to have literally put themselves in the line of fire to save the guests. The Police, Special Task Force, Army who put themselves at risk while they meticulously saved the innocent victims one by one.

As I sit here watching the news.. the seige goes on, people are expressing displeasure against the Commandos for not ending this faster! But the intensity is unimaginable! Crazed Killers, Brutal killers who hold no value for life sit there with weapons and explosives. Lives of innocent hostages lie in balance. If you need to detonate this with as less damage as possible, it does take time! You can't really expect them to run in guns blazing and take them down!!
(img: http://www.timesrelieffund.com/)
I am proud that I belong to a country of such heroes. A country that refuses to bow down in the face of terror. And I hope this episode only makes us more resilient and urges all Indians around the world to look at your nation with pride at their armed forces and execution in such a tense situation! I am aware that there is a faul finding exercise going on.... about how the Indian Intelligence failed. But lets focus on the positive and grow stronger for this experience!

Even in the face of terror, life goes on.. and such episodes only show us the value of life and the need to shed fear and fight back!

Indian Security Personnel and all the unsung heroes of the past 2 days... I salute each one of you!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Why? Seige of terror!

All it takes is one moment, one gun and one crazed killer.. and the world can go berserk for many... Throw in months of planning, loads of ammunition, 2 dozen trained killers and a busy city...what ensues is complete chaos. And 24 hours later the stand off continues.
I turned on my computer last afternoon randomly surfing the net when MSNBC sent me a note.. Breaking News they proclaimed... Terrorist shootings, bombings reported in Mumbai, India. I was unable to find much information over the net.. but as the story unfolded and CNN kept at it all night I was shocked and at loss for words to describe what I was feeling. I called my dad in South India at 6 am and asked him to turn on the television. Although my family does not live in Bombay I felt the need to connect to them.. the need to bond with them! I can only imagine what people on the ground are going through. As I watched the news late into the night and turned it on again early this morning.. I was overwhelmed by a feeling of utter helplessness.. what use is security measures and elaborate screening mechanisms in airports.. the terrorists continue to meticulously plan and execute their attacks!
Many movies have been made about how the Islamic militia recruit young kids and brain wash them to make them believers in a so called ideology that calls for the blood of innocent bystanders. These kids whether or not they have sight of any purpose have turned into crazed killers.. attacked by what seems like a permanent case of insanity. I was only reminded again as the TV flashed images of this boy with a crazed/glazed look who is believed to be one of the terrorists!
Not so long back I wrote a note on the world being in wrong hands. It still stays posted on my blog Creative Outbursts as the last piece written by me. Maybe a Deja Vu? I have always been at loss to understand what motivates these guys? Religion? Politics? Quest for World Power?Thirst for blood? How can they live with themselves at the end of the day? I know I am joined by millions others who are also trying to make sense of this crazed world we seem to live in! If you havent already read my poem, do read it and tell me what you think?
CNN reports that many bloggers have been expressing concern and fear about living in Mumbai which has lately turned into a volatile city. I wonder, where is it safe to live in the whole world? And this makes me ask how can I help? How can I help making this world safe for my children and grand children? Is this the legacy we want to leave behind for them? If not then how can you and I change it? For now all I can do is watch with a growing sense of panic and helplessness while many live through this nightmare! All I can do is pray that justice be served!
[CNN reported almost as an after thought the seige on Thailand Bangkok airport where a group of political protesters have taken over the control room. Again, what is the world coming to?]Images - from CNN.com

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Life's like that!

I seem to be having frequent bouts of writer's block. And when I have them bouts I wear it proudly on my sleeve claiming with audacity .. for now I can call myself a writer.. not on days that I actually write but on those that I don't or rather cannot! While being so audacious, I decided to try a few other things.

Reading - Its been a while since I read a book.. I seem to even have developed the habit of falling asleep over books.. something I have never done in the past (at least not over fiction).. this is either the mid life crisis hitting me, or a contagious disease from M who has never been known to read a work of fiction! While I have not been able to figure this out, I have been relentless. I pulled out a book by RK Narayanan last night.. his selected essays! What was I thinking? I was only reminded why I never could be a writer (at least not as good.. for good or not I seem to have taken it on myself to torment unsuspecting souls on this blog unleashing my paltry writing skills.. even when marred by a big block in the brain!!) Back to RK Narayanan, the man is truly amazing!

Higher Mathematics - RK Narayanan wrote about his abhorrence/ intolerance for mathematics... higher or otherwise! My nemesis in school was chemistry - the equations kept doing a silly jig in front of my eyes and for the life of me I never could recall anything when the question paper was handed out. And whats more I had crammed for 3 days straight without much sleep, and still could not get my chemically challenged brain to focus! My friends talked about balancing and valencies and I looked at them with that blank look while I nodded my head fiercely to seem intelligent. At the end of the school I was so glad I never had to see those books again! I did do chemistry yet again in the first year of my bachelors degree.. but thanks to certain friends who drilled me enough but never shared their answer sheets with me .I have to seriously question their friendship right.. I wonder why they were so possessive about their answer sheets.. a peek here and there.. well a rather long peek would have helped my grades! However, thanks to them I only did barely make it through!

Gadget hoarders - Even though I am not geek-ish enough to love Chemistry, I am geek enough to have an inane love of gadgets! I am not geekishly oriented enough to understand the science behind the gadgets .. unlike M who talks in terms of high school physics with such vividity that he scares me! But still I am attracted enough to all gadgets thanks to his highness's influence! We own all those highly regarded gadgets that go out of fashion very soon... In this race we once bought a palm computer. If you haven't heard of these things, you have been saved! They are the most useless things which hold your appointments and contacts and such things, but cannot connect to the Internet without a wire! (I hate to mention it, but it is a very expensive digital diary actually) We have never used this useless contraption we spent 100's of $'s on.. and it still lies in one dark corner of our home! Till recently it was kept charged but never used till I pulled the plug one day out of sheer frustration. So this reminder of our frivolous waste on gadgets has been put out of direct line of sight!

The idiot is home - After months of arguments, the 50" plasma has finally arrived and we have not been able to take our eyes off it. 1000's of $ later there is still nothing to watch on TV!! click click click! But that does not stop us at all..

Doing The 1080p

De clutter the house - It has finally dawned on us that while these contraptions keep coming in, nothing goes out. So we are hoarding more and more stuff everyday. No wonder we keep tripping over furniture and toys in our house. I do agree that this test of agility is very healthy and keeps us fit, but maybe it might help to have a place to sit without bumping on an entertainment unit, a table or sitting on a few hundred remotes! So then I thought of the most dreaded thing, how do I get rid of stuff. In India I just call the Kabadiwala (who by the way is one of Cheeky's favorite people.. he thinks a kabadiwala is a termite... maybe because of the disappearing furniture?) . Here I thought of the dreaded craiglist.. but my paranoid mind kept drawing up images of people turning up with a gun and holding me at gunpoint to take away the stuff! Do I really want to give away all my stuff to charity or worse still the trash can and not gain a penny out of it? If I had the penny wouldn't it be easier to spend? The clutter still adorns my house.. let me know if you are visiting! I might be able to make some space for you to sit as well.. but no promises! (img: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com)

Gaming solutions - While the house is in such shape what other better way to avoid the clutter than leave it behind? In the quest to do that we went to an NBA basketball game this weekend. I don't follow basketball so had no clue that the Charlotte Bobcats were not a great team.. So we cheered and watched our team lose! While Cheeky got tired of cheering and yelling for the BOBCATS who were not even wearing the blue jersey. Also he was very annoyed with the camera man who would not take his video.. so he decided to switch teams. The blue team is mine now.. so he was the only one in the stadium yelling MAGIC!! Unable to put up with the dirty looks from fellow fans we left the game for our cluttered home in the 3rd quarter!

When the guys leave - When the guys in my house leave I would love to lie on the couch and sip a margarita while watching my big screen TV in absolute peace. You would think! But every few days I get tired of my couch potato demeanor and claim to hit the gym! While those immediately around me know that this is a complete hogwash.. as I remain yours truly XL sized self.. others who I make sure to meet only on chat keep imagining my bikini clad image when I claim to hit the gym! A couple of friends found out the true story a couple of weeks back. I went to the gym one morning to find it occupied.. to save my face, I actually attempted to jog on the treadmill when it was running.. who does that? While I managed to stay on it for a full 5 Min's without falling flat on my face, while holding on to my dear life.. what I did on it can only be described as a stroll. The other occupant a lady much to my dismay went on to pick heavy 20 pound dumbbells and exercise. Not to be outdone, I picked up a single dumbbell with both hands and hefted it while trying to lift my hand in the process. Lunges and squats later the lady left and I actually saw the reading on my dumbbell.. It read 2
Despite this, I was found limping and walking like a duck for a full 3 days after this mishap! I have avoided the gym since!

Time to move - Not to be outdone by some clutter and a writer's block I decided it was time to move again! Lets just move apartments I thought! After the reports of vandalism's and thefts in the area I have been shaking on my feet after all.. so lets move miles away to a quieter locality and a bigger home (aha will solve my clutter and now I would have something to write about.. perfect solution you would think?) But no.. my apartment people no matter how nicely I tell them are out to get me.. they want me to pay 4 months worth of rent just to get out of the lease.. you would think they are kidding? But no when I laughed they only glared at me.. the gun point images came rushing back and I rushed back home.. too fast and bumped into my couch! At least I could fall back on the remote and effortlessly switch on the idiot box!!

Back to my writer's block.. any suggestions how to conquer it? Or better still how to get a life interesting enough to conquer it?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

And History is made!

Should I? Shouldn't I? Write about the elections?

Yes I am thrilled that history has been made, yes Obama's acceptance speech was inspiring and touching.. especially the promise of the puppy. Except that if Cheeky ever finds out, I am going to have to run for President now! (What you think that can't happen... maybe in about 16-20 years? I will be old enough to run for President then!! wink! And for those of you who dare to point out that it is constitutionally impossible... Change is the buzz word!) (img courtesy: http://threebrothersandasister.blogspot.com)

After his constant requests for pets - first a fish tank, then a cat, then a hamster and then a puppy were rejected. Even his request to go ask the neighbor if she would let him take her puppy was only admonished! Cheeky tried a different tact. Mommy lets buy a baby.. considering that mommy had a son maybe she will like a pet of the human kind! It was only later that I found out.. when my sister wisely asked him why he wanted a baby was that he wanted the baby for a pet! I must be such a hit as a mom eh?! But when he was told that the baby would share his parents, toys and room.. (I seem to have put that in ascending order of importance!) the notion was immediately dropped! We are back to wanting a puppy dog now! (img courtesy : http://www.schools.pinellas.k12.fl.us)

Alright I have digressed enough... back to the elections. I called my dad in the middle of the night.. Mid day for him and yelled "OBAMA won the elections! And he is making his acceptance speech now".. My dad responded "I get CNN here you know?" .. So much for sharing my excitement! But really so did the rest of the world apparently... the support for Obama seem to go across national borders.


I have never followed any election with equal fervor! My interest in elections in India are limited to turning off the TV every time a politician comes on.. or avoiding all areas in the city where rally's were planned (Can't end up being blown up by a bomb can I, then who would write these blogs?!). This year I watched the elections here as the mud slinging happened across the aisles in this part of the world.

With an almost nonchalant attitude I would turn on the TV and watch the drama. And what I saw was this intelligent guy making a calm point even when he was playing the blame game. And it was easy to believe him. But that is enough about Obama, what I am really here to talk about is someone else! Tricked ya didn't I?

I am talking about this cute lady with her wink and snap, her "Maverick" talks tickled me to no end! So at the end of this election furor, I am actually sorry. While Mrs. Palin packs her bags and heads back to Alaska, I must say I am going to miss this hockey mom who wanted to sit at my kitchen table and talk to me! And I am going to miss SNL (Saturday Night Live... Live from Newyork!) and Tina Fey most of all! I am going to miss the cute wink and the "I will have to get back to ya" snap! I am going to miss all the digs people took at her! But most of all I am going to miss her sense of humor by coming right there at SNL and taking a dig at herself! (img courtesy: http://www.capitolhillblue.com)

So for more of Mrs Sarah Palin do we tune in to Elections 2012?

As I sign off.. I leave you with the link to Obama's inspirational acceptance speech . Which made even self proclaimed cynics like me to sit up and take notice. It is definitely just the beginning.. the road ahead is steep and it is going to be an uphill battle. But America and the world have been energized with the chant "YES WE CAN!". So anything is possible.. just wait and watch!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pumpkin head and other stories!

Before I go to tonight's top story.. The Pumpkin head.. here are some Cheeky Tales for you

Knock and Run
Halloween night was upon us again this year.. for those of you who were following this blog last year, you know about all the sleepless nights we had in lieu of Halloween. This year though, we waited till the last minute to break the news to the imp
However on 31st afternoon an excited Cheeky came home and declared "I am going to be a clown tonight, that's what I told my teacher"
Momma "You can not be a clown"
Cheeky "Yes I can" proceeded to do some high kicks (??) and somersaults!
Alright said I and brought out my lipstick.. "let me paint your face now". And so the imp decided to do a repeat performance of Spider man this year and Halloween was salvaged. ALMOST! Cheeky dressed up as spider man and went trick or treating..
The sequence of events went like this
1. Cheeky knocks at doors with no pumpkins.. they don't open (Thank God!)
2. I threaten returning back and Cheeky promises to behave!
3. I knock at the door and move back letting Cheeky take position
4. Cheeky yells trick or treat.. door has still not opened!
5. Cheeky runs!
6. Mommy runs behind him hair flying in all directions(more on that to follow)...
The resident of the house looks out and yells in horror and quickly shuts the door.. and that was how Cheeky had an empty pumpkin at the end of the day! I had prepared a couple of friends.. who had got him bags of goodies thus saving the day yet again!

Negotiations!
Cheeky's school has come up with a service project.. Operation Christmas Child. Cheeky is expected to help around home and get paid for doing his chores. At the end of the month he uses his earnings to get gifts for the needy! And his teachers help ship it out!
If I started to pay him for each chore.. that would make my life very complicated.. so I told him I would pay him 10 bucks at the end of the month if he helps me out with all his designated chores through the month! Cheeky.. always the negotiator retorted "30 dollars"! So while I continue to do the chores, Cheeky continues to negotiate his wages.. soon it will be end of the month and I will be poorer by $10 (or 30) with nothing to show for it! SIGH!

Last year Santa got him Lightning McQueen. This year he has been instructed to get him a list of engines from Thomas the tank engine series! I told him "Maybe Santa will get you one engine, your favorite" (which by the way keeps changing.. once he got Thomas, Henry was his favorite, he got that for his birth day and the favorite has changed again)
"Remember Santa got you lightning McQueen last year"
Cheeky "Yeah I remember, but no King or Mater"

For Diwali on my sister's insistence I gave him some books as a gift from God Krishna.. So he was asked to go thank the God. Cheeky was found having a heart to heart with God "I would like James and Toby, a train table, a bunk bed...."! CUT IT OUT?!!

Now to today's top story ...
The Pumpkin head
My hair has always been the rue of my life!! Oh well, one of the rues.. like many other things in my life my hair is out to get me! I can see pictures of sporty bobs which they called boy-cuts (yikes) as a child.. so the phenomenon apparently started later than that!

I never did much about it although I would stand in front of the mirror and contemplate my ill luck that I had this unmanageable hair! Till one post natal afternoon in all my hormones-going-haywire splendor I decided to get a make over "So I would stop feeling so frumpy!". Cheeky all of 2 months was thrust into the novice hands of M while I hit the parlor, may I add one of the more famous ones in Chennai.

A few hours of pruning and preening later, I decided on a step cut for my hair.. a few more hours when the lady cut and tossed and turned my hair about while I was dreaming about making an appearance at work with my new look a week later!! Later that evening got home with my hair looking exactly the same as I had left and M received a bill for thousands of rupees!! Relatives arrived over the week to look at my expensive non-haircut!

Since then I have had many haircuts experimenting with layers,razors and what not! And now there are those days when my hair looks "almost" nice and we take loads of pictures of it! So this weekend I went for yet another haircut! The lady cut my hair in layers teased it, prodded it, razored the ends and my hair looked shorter and felt lighter! I was so pleased with the result I came home with an attitude, tossing my hair in pride! A short nap and an hour later, my hair had suddenly grown in volume and looked like an evil looking pumpkin! I tried washing it, it grew even bigger.. I dunked it in hair spray and it lay limp plastered to my head making matters worse!

So I hunted out my geeky glasses and sported it to take the attention off my pumpkin head!

(image courtesy: http://www.kairos2.com, http://www.catfactoryonline.com)