Friday, September 5, 2008

Done being quiet for so long

Regarding the Bristol Palin pregnancy: do you get a free pass on everything else if you are pro-life? And all the conservative media going on and on about how in real families "things happen". Of course things happen, which is exactly why you need real sex education, not some deluded abstinence only stuff that exactly no one believes in. And next time a conservative columnist laments about inner city kids for having kids out of wedlock, I'm gonna send them Bristol Palin spam.

Laugh of the day: This blogger opined that "Bridget McCain is a testament to John and Cindy's pro-life views". Whaa?? Bridget was already a living child with a cleft palate when the McCains adopted her. What exactly was pro-life about that?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

participative filmmaking

This post may turn into a mini novella, and a boring one at that, so be warned.

Well, I've been thinking a lot about turning a script for a mock reality piece I have into a film, but a lot stands in the way of ever getting it done. My excuses range from a young daughter to a 9-to-6 job to, well, the "Intelligent Designer" who decided randomly that there would be 24 hours to a day.

Given the situation, the key to getting my film made would be to split the entire filmmaking process into delegatable/distributed parts. The existing process is that way already - no single person writes, directs, shoots, edits and distributes film - not unless you're Steven Spielberg. Each of these is controlled by a different department.

Of these, to my mind at least, the most essential to getting a film made is to get the shots/footage for it. Without it, a film is just a bunch of papers stapled together. Combine that with the power of the Internet and cheap video/editing technology, and you got a low budget film.

Consider this:
- a script is published somewhere on the web
- people discover it, decide they like it, and decide to make a film with it
- through word of mouth, blogs, etc, more people become aware of it.
- people with camcorder wielding skills sign up to shoot any part of the film they like, and send the footage to a central place
- an editor sifts through the footage, decides what makes the cut and what doesn't and puts together a film.
- the film is published - again on the web. It's free to download, distribute. Whoever likes it donates whatever amount he feels like to the team that put it together, which divvies up the spoils, based on contribution to the final film.

This wouldn't work for all types of films - maybe reality TV type programs that have low production values in the first place, also maybe ensemble films that can be easily broken up into parts.

I'm dying to get this idea out, and maybe do a practise film or something. Let me know what you all think - I know there are really creative people that visit this site.

is anybody home?

Hellos my lovelies. Happy New Year to all of you. It's been a while, since I visited here. In these one and a half months since my last post:
- I've moved from an apartment to a home of my own.
- My daughter's going to a new daycare, and she hates it. I'm stressing over how her stressedness is affecting me.
- A [url=]child was clubbed to a coma with a baseball bat[/url] and people were debating her mode of death. It's perhaps only my mommy radar homing in more on these types of stories, but some days I feel like I can't bear it any more. I don't know what I can do that will help in anyway. In the big scheme of things, do our individual narratives matter?
- The 1 year anniversary of the tsunami happened, pushing me anew into a morass of guilt and helplessness
- I developed an apathy to my work. I don't want to work anymore than is absolutely necessary. I'm back to dreaming up stories, but too scared to tell myself to either get it done, or leave it to people with more talent in their grimy toenails than I will ever acquire in my lifetime.
- I became an expert Brickbreaker player :)
- I clung to my weight, despite the sugary holiday temptations that continue to make their way to my desk.
- Ate some kind of seafood, thinking it was artichokes. Surprisingly enough I liked it. I don't know, maybe I'll turn into a carnivore yet.
- Drank responsibly on New Year's, and it felt good.
- Looked up Bangalore White Pages online, and called an old friend at 6:00 am her time. I'm now sitting around wishing I hadn't called in the first place, because she hasn't responded to those four emails I sent.
- Have been lurking @ []Apartment[/url]. And here of course :)

This year, I want to:
- Write something and get it published - a story, a non fiction piece, a poem, a kid's story. Something, anything. Anything to see my name in print.
- Make more friends. One attempt at conversation with a stranger a week. I'm going to act like those Amway people, look out for segways into conversation with strangers. I've realized that my brooding silences are not really a choice, I don't like being that way.
- Improve my relationship with my dad.
- Be more patient with my husband and daughter.
- Prevent my holier-than-thou ethics from getting in the way of my having a good time. Maybe I'll steal sexy lingerie from a store or something ;)

Out of the woodwoork and into the maelstorm :)

So howz everyone doing? I haven't read a single entry here in almost a month, and the one day I decide to visit, there's a ruckus going on. Couldn't resist joining in. I'm sure we'll sort it out, more or less.

Life's been extremely hectic with the job and everything. We're moving to our new home during Thanksgiving, so I've started doing some packing, a lot of shopping. The little den that housed our desktop is now chockfull of furniture - wicker chairs, random unassembled Ikea stuff waiting patiently to be built into something of use, floor pillows. There's hardly any leg room anywhere.

I love the mess. I love the scattered clothes and toys and books jostling for space. It seems to me I have too much, and I'm paring down some of the stuff. It seems as if against my will, longing for my country, whining about this new land - I've still managed to hold on to somethings. I will make a home of this place yet.

ha ha

I had an alarmed reaction when I saw BL's new format, and it's taken a while for me to get my bearings back. But, I'm thinking this can work to my advantage - I don't have an avatar so if this blog shows up in recent entries, no one knows whose blog this is, unless you click on it. So if some people have been avoiding me like plague, you have no choice. Today's the day you visit me :D without preconceptions. Mwuaha ha ha.

You can probably tell I'm acting silly today. I'm down with the flu/cough, and have been told by my co-workers not to spread the germs around, so it's a bit like an unexpected snow holiday. I can patter around in my jammies, make myself soup, and generally have a nice time working by myself at home. To think, a few months back, this solitude was what I detested. How things change.


Several things have been haunting me this last week. It's a mish mash born of [i]21 grams[/i], the movie (if you haven't watched it, you should), the one year anniversary of the [url=]Beslan siege[/url], and a [url=]Newsweek essay[/url] by a girl whose family takes in foster children.

21 Grams is a beautiful exploration of death and grace, and the unknown ways in which grace can work. Despite its Christian theme, the movie has meaning for all of us. As has become typical in my life, my understanding of the movie had its fulcrum around the accidental death of the children.

I've been reduced to a wordless seething mess, and find the change in myself quite unsettling. I don't think I can bear to open the newspaper again, and read another account of children dying, anywhere in the world, accidental, intentional. I can almost understand why some people would want a God. Am I making any sense? I don't know.


Ok, I've given up trying to make a decent 30 * 30 px image for an avatar. Please guys let me know if there're sites you can download jpegs or gifs from.

Other than than, Bush's proposition to extend daylight savings by a month from 2007 has me up in a tizzy. I can't understand why a country would want daylight savings in the first place. Someone explained to me, on the way to work this morning, that it was established about 200 yrs ago to help farmers. In my poor Asian country, if it's too dark when you get up, you postpone going to your farm, you don't legislate time. Ah well...

And now when daylight saving's settled in, here comes Bush traipsing along, trying to change everything. Who does he think he is - master of the fourth dimension?

disjoint thoughts

If you have escalators popping up in the daily course of your lives, you've probably noticed this by now, but... The bold announcements read "Right side for standing, left for walking" up/down the escalators. In the mornings, on their way to work, you'll find more of the right side standees, stragglers trying to prolong the journey to work by those additional seconds.

Evenings are different, evenings are fun. There's a flurry, feet getting in way of feet, curses flying, purses spilling secrets as nimble fingers search for Metropasses. Everyone's walking up or down, no one 'stands'.

Last evening on the Metro, there were announcements at every stop, telling us to make sure our fellow passengers were taking their belongings with them, and to report any suspicious activity. I noticed an Israeli man - at least I thought he was Israeli because of the Star of David locket on his necklace - staring at me. Maybe he thought I was beautiful (oh vain me!), or maybe I looked like a suspicious person. By journey's end, I was inexplicably sad, it felt like the world's innocence joyride is over now.

In other news, I defended my screenplay to my advisers. I was told my storytelling was "ok... sort of" and I've got a bunch of changes to make. But yay, it's over at least! And..... I got my first paycheck yesterday!!! All those dollar bills flying around me - it's an early Christmas. Muah!

My daughter is adjusting to daycare far better than I ever thought possible. On weekends, she walks around with her wicker basket, putting her milk bottles, and diapers into it, probably getting ready to go to daycare. Because I see so little of her, I go into guilt mode, and pamper her too much. But all in all, life feels so much more bearable now than a few months back. Tomorrow I might write in and say the opposite but we'll see then :)

Hellos everyone. I want to write back to everyone on their blogs, hopefully when I've mastered the art of staying up after 9:00 on a weekday, I'll be more active.

Founding a country

Every time I couldn't get along with someone else when I was a kid, I would threaten to go live by myself and what's more, start my own country. Today's Express (Washington Post's watered down version for metro rides) had an article on individuals doing just that - finding unclaimed pieces of land and creating their own countries. The guidelines are surprisingly restrictive:
- find land which is not the site of a dispute between two or more countries
- where no sign of prehistoric human activity has been discovered,
- and then filing a claim with the UN, no less.
No wonder separatists around the globe have a hard time getting themselves recognized.

Here's the link for [url=]Express[/url], the edition is available only as a pdf, so can't give a direct link to the article.

Restrictions not withstanding, I think it's a cool idea, and if I had the wherewithal to go land-hunting, I'd probably find a few rocks to call my own country by now. Pramland. I guess if privacy notions are taken far enough, that is how fragmented the earth can really get. Each individual for himself.
Thanks everyone for your comments on my previous blog :D


For today, now, this instant at least.... I've been scrambling to get the finishing touches done on my screenplay, enjoying "last" naps with my daughter, shopping for officewear like I'm a prospective poster girl. There's dread, elation, worry, sick-brown feelings, excitement, greed all thrown into the mix. Monday is D-day, the end of a slower time, the beginning of a different life. I don't know - yet - what to make of it.

Initially there were blogladder withdrawal symptoms - then I realized life could go on without compulsively checking the site every few minutes. I lived. And so did you guys :) Thanks for your comments, much to ponder. Will write in more in the next few days.

Today I feel like being a show-off, so without much ado... check out a few pictures of my [url=]daughter here[/url]. I really love these ones :D

bad weather

An evangelist just woke me up with her incessant banging to share an "encouraging thought from the Bible". Lady, how can it be "good news" if you're desperately banging on someone's door just because you heard the stirrings of a sleeping person inside?

I'm a crab today. Everyone *seriously* now's the time to stop reading. Especially if you're feeling sunny and upbeat, because I think everything from here on is just a senseless tirade. I don't feel like being nice. I'm not an innately nice person anyways..... This is not a bid for attention, I'm so embarassed writing this, I'm almost hoping no one reads it.

Kit commented something on my last blog that had been bothering me for a long time anyway. I've always been a sort of perfectionist, and so nothing is ever good enough. Couple this with stumbled upon opinions of what others think of me and you have a neurotic personality, quite like a puppy - always trying to learning new tricks, eager to please. Ingratiating. Usually.

[i]But that's not who I am[/i].

Being nice takes a toll on me, it doesn't come naturally. I feel like a phony every time I search for something nice to say to someone. Because my first instinct is sometimes a sarcastic remark, or a giggle in my head. And I hate myself afterwards for trying to be nice.

While I'm at it, let me come out about my blogging too. Yes, my concerns are little - my small personal world, my narrow tastes, the few places I've lived in. Yes, I'm not well read (but I do appreciate the links many of you post, they're often so enlightening and interesting). As I see it, I reserve the right to sound like a cretin in my blog when I feel like it. What I don't like is someone rubbing it in.

Some of the problems stem from the way BL is. It's more a community - I've traded anonymity for belonging, and sometimes it feels like there is no place for me to feel crabby, because I don't want to rock the boat (I think Kit wrote about it a few days back, can't find the post) There is also - I think - a subtle need to be crabby in the presence of known people - if only to be told it's ok to feel that way.

Between musical discussions and heavy duty philosophy, I don't seem to fit. A very [i]third wheel[/i] kinda feeling. Whenever I post, I wrack my brains to come up with something that might sound remotely clever. *phony* Or if I write something that a few people comment on - as if I'm borrowing them away from the stuff they would naturally tend towards. When this happens in real life, I usually withdraw into my shell. And it seems as if that's what I'm doing with my (non) blogging these days.

I'm not feeling very coherent. There seem to be connections in my head that I can't quite express. Oh well, enough for now. I don't know when I'll post again.

the power of solitude...

All is quiet around me now. There's a fridge hum, the sound of a click ticking, tib-tab-dib-dibble of a pair of five-toed beasts dancing away at the keyboard. We've got guests at home - my sis and b-i-l from LA, tomorrow three other family members come. All in time for Megha's first birthday.

Her growth is so tied up with my own. I'm more patient, more forgiving of noise now. There used to be a time when my house had no working clocks because the tick-tick-tick drove me crazy. If the floorboards in the apartment above creaked, I would wake up and have trouble going back. Now that I have M in my life, I can take all this and more - even 10 minutes of incessant crying.

I've become everything that I didn't want to become - a bragger of my child's achievements, a worried mom following her every move with my eyes. I take pleasure in the soothing refrains of childhood poems, the logic and simplicity of numbers 1-10. With her I learn that a TV remote held to my ears is really a telephone. And that small as she is, she relates better to 'little' people than adults, quite like the subconscious way I scan unknown crowds - virtual and real - for brown faces/experiences. Like I go [i]Desi[/i], she probably goes Baby! inside her head.

In maybe ten minutes they all - my west coast dwelling sis and my daughter - will be up from their naps. We will return to enjoying the rest of our day - maybe a trip to a nearby beach, maybe some mall hopping, calorie-conscious-free eating at least till the weekend. See you in a few!


I have this habit of putting things off, knowing really well I have to eventually get to it. I don't know, probably I have this stupid idea at the back of my head somewhere that if I leave things as they are, take no action, things will just sort themselves out.

Other times I prepare days in advance. Are any of you last minute people? Is just sitting on something a valid option?

Thanks everyone who replied on my last entry. It was a nice to be able to share.

job :)

I got a job with a television channel yesterday. I've got some amount of anxiety - leaving my daughter at daycare but the work is in my area of interest - software programming for TV shows and it's paying very well.

So it's a bit of mixed feelings. Yesterday I was euphoric, but today I'm a bit in the troughs. I feel like someone who knows when she's going to die - somehow I want to hold on to every moment spent at home. My joining date is next month, 11th. I might not be able to visit blogladder that often, and that's bothering me too. For all I know, my daughter might love day care. More than her I'll experience separation anxiety I think.

Can someone explain...

I've always been a little perplexed by the shrillness with which average Americans denounce communism. In one of the scripts (set in 2003) in my Advanced Screenwriting class, a board member of a housing society is found out to be a communist, the rest of the board hounds him out. Wow. There were two things in the script that surprised me - the need to keep communist leanings a secret (after all, it's no longer the age of HUAC), and the hounding.

In India, two states - Kerala and West Bengal - have communist (Marxist) governments, and incidentally both these have one of the highest rates of literacy in the country. So I've tended to look at communists with a sense of admiration for what they've achieved.

I've asked my profs/fellow students about the kneejerk reactions to communism, but never got a very satisfactory answer. Maybe you guys can explain to me... Is it a very American trait? How about Canada/countries in Europe?

Why, the little Squirt!

Here's something some fans of modern design will like: [url=]furniture[/url] with a sense of humor.

My favorite is the one that comes up when you click on Interested (the blue square - the site is Flash based, so I can't give any direct links)

Collaborative Art anyone?

In the spirit of Jenny's World Photography Day links, here're some other collaborative projects that are going on around the world. My favorite is the [url=]Degree Confluence[/url] project. The idea is to photograph intersections of latitudes and longitudes, and as someone on the site says, it frees one up from the fetters imposed by the need to be touristy, takes one off the beaten track.

Another one is []Phototag[/url] where disposable cameras with names like Zebra and Opossum are released into the wide world in public places. Finders are expected to takes photographs, pass it on to others, and when the film runs out, return it to project headquarters. The cynical me hehes at the idea of a cheapskate using these free cameras for birthday pictures of his snotty son, but that's the reason someone like me would never be able to start such a project. And yes, many of the cameras have come back from the wild. ( is a similar project, but with books)

I think Nick had written about [url=]lomography[/url] a few days back. I went back and read up more, and it seems such a fun way of looking at life. I don't have a Lomo camera, but I'd love to be emulate the principles with my digital one.

Today's goal - get an avatar! I've been promising myself, and never happy with the resolution I get, so today's the day....... Or this week. We'll see ;D

ultimatum to myself

I have precisely 14 days to polish my script into something submittable to my thesis committee. It's got too many boob jokes currently. But I should change that. I will change that.

Much as I love this place, I'm coming here too often. Gotta get some discipline in life. Maybe an hour's visit at day's end would be good - instead of refreshing the page every few minutes till I know, off the top of my head, how many comments some of my favorite bloggers have, whether those have changed or not, and running to check them out as soon as the number of comments on [i]their[/i] blogs change. Reeks of despo-ness.

A month to get a job. A month to land my first writing assignment. I was a software engineer five years ago, now I've got a masters in film, video and new media. If I get a programming job in the next month, that's what I'm going to do for the next few years. If I manage to land a paying writing assignment, I'm going to be a freelance writer for the next few years. So what I do with my life will be decided by what job life throws my way. Wooh. Big. Thank God, [i]I[/i] don't have to decide :D

Is anyone on this site a lover of modernist, mass-produced stuff? Newsweek recently had a story on [url=]prefab[/url] homes. I loved the clean lines of the homes showcased. Now they tell me. (If we'd known before we bought our townhome, I'm sure I'd never have the guts to invest in something so [i]out there[/i], anyway)

Words on words

I spent a lot of yesterday researching ideas. I came across a couple that I thought people here might enjoy. One, on AARP's magazine site, was about the [url=]loss of old time phrases[/url]. It was written from a very American perspective, I thought, but could strangely identify with some of them. Probably the effect of those innumerable Nancy, and Trixie Beldens and Rusty Rustons of the footpath shops I frequented in my childhood.

Another was by an Australian bemoaning [url=]officialese[/url] in schools. Sadly enough, this is the way most academic writing is still done - bloated words, convoluted paragraphs. I'll admit it, I kinda enjoy the feel of those long words which no one uses. As one of my professors once declared with relation to films, there's more [i]cache[/i] when we think we're the select few who've managed to labor through the whole thing, and emerged with a semi-understanding of what is being said.

In a way I think we love our words to death.


Thanks everyone for your kind notes yesterday. Very much appreciated. It's not a "loss" loss, as mdhis asked, but more like a pervading sadness for the way we once were, something I can't shake off. And a dread for the time when I might have to go through a similar situation. My own death does not worry me, I'm worried about how death of others might affect me.


Speaking to my mom in India yesterday, I heard that a family friend of ours, Avtar Singh Aunty had passed away. I wrote an entry, lost it somewhere in the internet ether..... Can't let go, let her go without a few words I can muster. It leaves me with a sadness, as it makes me aware that I'm at the age where people I once knew are gone for good. I'd visited her the last time in India. The next time I go, I will have to face her daughter and diabetic, blind husband.

Much has been said on this forum in the last few days about unity, religion. I have my doubts about these things. At times like now, the following passages from Bhagavad Gita give me the solace I need. Much of it is cultural, and it reminds me anew that religion - with its associated literature, ritual - provides a sort of framework for the natural lows of life.


Gita - Quartets from Chapter 2

That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul.

Neither he who thinks the living entity the slayer nor he who thinks it slain is in knowledge, for the self slays not nor is slain.

For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. It has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. It is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. It is not slain when the body is slain.

O Partha, how can a person who knows that the soul is indestructible, eternal, unborn and immutable kill anyone or cause anyone to kill?

[i]As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.[/i]

The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.

This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. It is everlasting, present everywhere, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.

It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable and immutable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body.


Excerpt from Vikram Seth's [i]A Suitable Boy[/i] p 1331

Ash and bones, that was all Mrs Mahesh Kapoor was now, ash and bones, warm still, but soon to cool, and be collected, and sunk in the Ganga, at Brahmpur... Fat, ligament, muscle, blood, hair, affection, pity, despair, anxiety, illness: all were no more. She had dispersed. She was the garden at Prem Nivas (soon to be entered into the Annual Flower Show), she was Veena's love of music, Pran's asthma, Maan's generosity, the survival of some refugees four years ago, the neem leaves that would preserve quilts stored in the great zinc trunks of Prem Nivas, the moulting feather of some pond-heron, a small unrung brass bell, the memory of decency in an indecent time, the temperament of Bhaskar's great-grandchildren.


So too I remember aunty - cheerful dispenser of Avtar uncle's medicine, a woman without a name of her own, just the 'aunty' appended to her husband's. Chatterbox without malice. Provider of cold lassis on hot, summer days. The glue that held her family together. Go in peace and love.

inspiration has run dry

Trying to work my script, but it ain't happening tonight. I was trying to include something, anything about rock, paper, scissors into it, came across this official [url=]RPS[/url] site. I especially liked rule 7.

Indian flowers

We went for our usual 5:00 pm walk today, even though it had just been drizzling. It's getting too good to stay indoors. My daughter leaves a trail behind her - her socks, her sandals. If she were ever lost in the woods like Hansel and Gretel, this is how I'd trace her, not by breadcrumbs, but her pink socks and those velcro'ed sandals.

Our home is on one tip of a triangle formed by three roads. In the winters from the main road, you can see our apartment in the distance. Now it's too green to be able to see far. When I wait for the bus, I often have to duck down under the low cherry branches to check if one is actually coming.

I took the longer route today, walking uphill towards the middle school, instead of doubling back the way I came. Somewhere near the wild growth on the roadside I smelt a mild fragrance that reminded me of home. I peered, and found something that smelt like jasmine, but didn't look like it. There were whole bushes of it, low on the ground, instead of the stubby, rounded shrubs back home. The fragrance wasn't as intense, but I think the rains had washed some of the intensity away. When we were younger, flower vendors would pick the buds early in the morning, string the jasmine pearls into garlands and come selling them - all by 8:00 in the morning. We'd wait till evening, and when they would just begin to blossom, we'd pin the garlands around [url=]our plaits[/url]. (Not me of course, but you get the picture, what the Tamil ideal of beauty is.)

As young, unmarried girls we were expected to wear flowers in our hair, a bindi on the forehead, and jewellery around the neck and hands, which should never be bare. I used to rail against these things when I was younger, couldn't wait to get out of my orthodox family's clutches so I could wear jeans and shorts, but now I deck up in my Indian clothes every occasion I get :)

Indian flowers

We went for our usual 5:00 pm walk today, even though it had just been drizzling. It's getting too good to stay indoors. My daughter leaves a trail behind her - her socks, her sandals. If she were ever lost in the woods like Hansel and Gretel, this is how I'd trace her, not by breadcrumbs, but her pink socks and those velcro'ed sandals.

Our home is on one tip of a triangle formed by three roads. In the winters from the main road, you can see our apartment in the distance. Now it's too green to be able to see far. When I wait for the bus, I often have to duck down under the low cherry branches to check if one is actually coming.

I took the longer route today, walking uphill towards the middle school, instead of doubling back the way I came. Somewhere near the wild growth on the roadside I smelt a mild fragrance that reminded me of home. I peered, and found something that smelt like jasmine, but didn't look like it. There were whole bushes of it, low on the ground, instead of the stubby, rounded shrubs back home. The fragrance wasn't as intense, but I think the rains had washed some of the intensity away. When we were younger, flower vendors would pick the buds early in the morning, string the jasmine pearls into garlands and come selling them - all by 8:00 in the morning. We'd wait till evening, and when they would just begin to blossom, we'd pin the garlands around [url=]our plaits[/url]. (Not me of course, but you get the picture, what the Tamil ideal of beauty is.)

As young, unmarried girls we were expected to wear flowers in our hair, a bindi on the forehead, and jewellery around the neck and hands, which should never be bare. I used to rail against these things when I was younger, couldn't wait to get out of my orthodox family's clutches so I could wear jeans and shorts, but now I deck up in my Indian clothes every occasion I get :)

feel the love

Lots of things have been happening! I got the job where I'd called at 12:00 Friday night! I'm having second thoughts because I've got another interview lined up for next week. Then I'd sent out an email query to a publisher about my collection of children's stories, and he said he wanted the hard copies, since they had the 'international flavor' they were looking for. You cannot believe how good these feel, even neither is a [i]bird in hand[/i] situation.

And then of course, blogladder is rocking these days. Have you noticed how all of us are back here - Debbe, Jenny, Ali, Nick. Generally happy with life, commenting, getting commented? It's got a lot to do with the newcomers too and the regulars and the special energy everyone brings, and GB who's got this thing hosted. I think mdhis was wondeirng in one of his blogs where we/this blogsite would be 20 yrs from now. I wonder too. Maybe this place will have evolved from a ladder, to a treehouse? Maybe there'll be an annual meeting of old-time Bloglads and Blogladies in Bombay or Belgrade? Who knows? For now I'm content with the company.

I'm feeling happy with life today. I sat down to get a sofa slipcover project done, but it went totally haywire on me. It was probably the most peaceful thing I've done all week. I was actually humming as I pulled out the stitches after my umpteenth mistake; I usually get crabby when things don't turn out perfect the first time. Please God let this new me last, it feels so good to be happy.

Recipes - For Anna and any other adventurous souls out there

This entry is mainly the recipes Anna had asked for. I'm feeling quite self-important, now that she's asked me for a recipe. I'll have to warn you though, I'm a bit of a fudger when it comes to cooking. You'll know because I'll be adding my short cut tips.


Note: Everything that's marked with a * is optional. Most spices can be found in Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi stores.

1. Spinach Kofta - Spinach Dumplings
spinach/other greens - 1 bunch, chopped
chick pea flour - 1 cup
*turmeric powder - a pinch
*cumin seeds (jeera) - 1 tsp
*onion seeds (kalonji) - 1/2 tsp
oil - enough to deep fry dumplings
salt - to taste

Wash the spinach and pat dry.
Add the chick pea flour, salt and all other ingredients.
Sprinkle water little by little till a loose dough forms (think cookie dough consistency).
Heat the vegetable oil in a deep fryer.
Drop spoonfuls of the mix into the hot oil. Koftas are cooked when they appear golden brown and/or the oil stops sizzling. Place the koftas on paper napkins to drain excess oil.

These can be eaten just as they are. They freeze well too. They can be cooked with the onion-tomato gravy and served as a side with bread/rice. To make the side: Dilute the onion-tomato gravy with water or cream/milk. Add the koftas, and cook on low heat till the koftas cut easily with a spoon.


2. Basic Onion-Tomato gravy: makes enough for a side to serve 4 people
Yellow or White Onions - 2 large, chopped
*Green pepper - as much as you can take
Tomato - 2 large, diced
Ginger - inch long piece, julienned
Garlic - 2 cloves
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp, or more if you really like it spicy
Salt - to taste
Oil - 3 tbsp
*Milk/Cream - 1 cup

Heat the oil in a wok on medium heat.
Toss in the pepper.
Add the ginger. Fry a couple of minutes. Then add the onions. Fry well, stirring occasionally, till the onions are browned.
Add the garlic, and fry a couple of minutes more and then put in the diced tomatoes, salt and spices. Cover and cook till the tomatoes are done. Check occasionally, adding water if the gravy seems to be drying up and the tomatoes are still not done. The gravy is ready when oil separates and floats on top of the gravy. Blend the gravy with a hand blender if you want an even, smooth consistency. Add milk/cream and cook a few minutes more.


The basic tomato gravy is a staple in many North Indian dishes. It can take anywhere from half an hour to an hour to cook the onions/tomatoes, and for the gravy to thicken. When I've got unexpected visitors, I use substitutes to get things done faster:
Dried onions - from Costco/Sam's - Used instead of fresh onions. Brown them in a little oil, add water/milk and blend. Then add tomato paste or pasta sauce instead of fresh tomatoes, and cook for a few minutes till the gravy thickens. Milk or cream takes away some of the artificial redness that comes with pasta sauce or tomato paste.
The dry koftas can be made in advance. But they get really soggy if they're left in the gravy for too long. So cook only 15-20 mins before you're ready to eat.
You can make the koftas with other substitutes too - kale, watercress, shredded cabbage.

Poll time

Do you have any skill that you think is pretty unique, but is generally useless? I mean something like being able to wiggle the tips of your ears, or touching the tip of your nose with your tongue. These are useful skills for moms, dads - I know from first hand experience - entertainers also, but not something you would go around advertising or put in your resume.

While you guys reply, I'm going to rack my brains for a completely useless skill I possess. Will add a comment if I find anything.


Time feels longer when you're waiting for something to happen. I'm on a chat line waiting for an immigration attorney to answer my question, and blogging while I'm waiting for her reply. These are the random thoughts running through my mind right now:
When you feel like you need something, that's when you will not get it.
These last 2 sentences were typed without looking down at the keyboard at all. As is this one. I've definitely started spending too much time on the computer.
My baby is wailing. My husband speaks to her in a soothing voice. Sleep is hard for her today after all the excitement of spending the day at our friend's place. When it'll get too hard to sit around in the chat session, I will go back to being a mommy sleep-inducer. See ya, folks.

if there's a hole handy, will someone kick me down please?

I cannot believe this is how stupid I am. I had a job interview, then the guy who interviewed me gave me an assignment to do, and asked me to mail it in today at 3:00 pm. Me being the super achiever type finished the assignment last night, let it sit on my lappy and stew in its beauty for a day. Then I read, re-read, finetuned, spell checked and sent it out at 2:00, an hour before deadline. Oh the joy of being such a perfect little prospective employee.

Then, it being a beautiful day, and there being a great sale at Hecht's I took the local bus to New Carrollton and the commuter bus to Annapolis, and hitched a ride with my husband to the mall. Met up with a friend there, had dinner, hung out etc, and just got back an hour ago. Then I checked my email to see if there was any response to the assignment.

Well, wouldn't you know it? The email had bounced, and I had gallivanted all over town without knowing about it. Cocksure I was right in typing out the email, I looked into my diary for the guy's phone number. That's when I realized I had typed out the wrong email id. So I resent the assignment.

Then I decided it would be good to call his office and leave a message about the whole mix-up. Time: precisely 12:23 in the night. It would be nice if the guy would get the message first thing in the morning. I rehearsed the answer I would leave on the answering machine, smiled a few times so my voice would sound pleasant and dialed the number.

A voice answered. I got this totally groggy, disoriented voice at the end of the line. He didn't know me from J. Lo (oh great!), had no idea what I was babbling about. My first instinct was to just cut the call, but I soldiered on. Explained everything, apologized a billion times, and made as graceful an exit I could under the circumstances.

Guess what? The guy had forwarded his messages to his cell phone. There should be a law against forwarding your work messages to your cell phone. And for the mental health of employees, it should be compulsory to switch off cell phones at night. And there should be a law against having names that are longer than two alphabets. My husband is rolling on the floor right now. I better join him I guess.

And oh, someone please come and help me dig some of the earth off the grave I'm digging for myself. Oh what a day. I'm never going to get hired at this rate.

Trapeze artist on a thread

Last evening I went for a long walk. It was one of those sultry days - nothing was really happening, you could hear the twitters, the low hum of a bee somewhere, but nothing really moved, you had to look close to see any life.

And then dancing in the air - so dainty and slim it was almost invisible - was a green worm, maybe half an inch long. Near where its mouth/mandible should've been was a creamish glob of something - crushed petal? pollen? It squirmed and slipped, trying to reach the rear end of its body close to its head. Doubling back, falling. I changed positions, peered closer, but no matter how hard I looked I couldn't find what it was clinging to, what it was trying to get back to. Very slowly I waved a finger in the general direction I expected its support to be. The worm lurched a few inches in the air. Aha! I couldn't see it, couldn't feel it, but I'd found the thread.

I was scared to break the link, so I just let go. The worm continued to bob on its cobweb swing. A car passed by, and a total redneck looking man gave a loud whoop. Yes, I looked the part. Single female with a stroller parked on the sidewalk, wide eyed, peering hard at god knows what. [i]Cuckoo[/i]. The moment passed. I walked back.

For some reason I was reminded of this snippet of a poem by a Sri Lankan, whose name I've forgotten. Quoting from memory, so there might be errors.

[i]I saw a bird
And heard a voice
I ne'er before had seen or heard
To sinful me
such grace was given
On earth to see
The ways of heaven.


Some overzealous cable guy probably cut off our cable this morning. I'd been watching HGTV before that and had switched the TV off to put my daughter down to sleep. And in the interim, it happened. Since then, all I can see are those million mosquitos buzzing around in some kind of frenzied dance.

I feel what Dentona must've felt when she pulled the plug on her TV. There's a sudden vaccuum in the normal sounds of my home this time of day - chirpy newscasters, second hand sounds of a powertool whirring. White noise to let me know all is well in the world beyond, because people are fighting wars, building homes, worrying about rainy weekend forecasts.

It's disconcerting - this lack of noise. But we've adjusted to it, at least for today. I spent some time cuddling with my daughter. Did a silly dance. Read. Today's Washington Post had a piece on performance artist []Melissa Ichiuji[/url]. The essence of her art is to do away with every need, and see how far she can go. Is there a strange coincidence that my cable was cut today, right after I'd read about renouncing things? It's kinda like how you learn a new word, and it seems like it's suddenly cropping up all over the place.

meltdown day

Today I just wept in the middle of the mall on the phone to my husband, because my daughter was acting up. I felt stupid, dumb, guilty afterward. It seems like she makes me behave like a kid, all complaining, not in control of myself. And it felt like everybody, their mother and their dog was staring at us.

I guess in terms of what I want to do, my last week or so should be called productive. I've got some story ideas, a couple which are actually not the fluffy stuff you find in women's magazines. I've contacted people for interviews, sent off my first children's story for the very first time, got some of my script written.

But... There's always a but, isn't there? I'm feeling like I'm whoring myself. I've always wanted to write [i]literature[/i]. Try as I may, all the writing I've been doing is non-fictional or children's stories - which is still not [i]literature[/i]. My friend Monica always used to say - [i][b]life is wiser than you are[/b][/i], so for now I'm just going with the flow. Maybe one night, fresh with the stuff of my dreams, I'll wake up and write my first piece of good fiction. It just doesn't look likely right now.

bluey bluey

I'm really not in a love song mood right now, this is one of my favorite songs for my darker days. I absolutely love the sandpaper voice that he sings in.

Leonard Cohen - Everybody Knows

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you've been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Thanks Jenny for the idea :)

I really don't know what to write

It's such a crazy world I'm living in right now. Decoration ideas, freelance article ideas, bank loan applications and stuff. Suddenly there is absolutely nothing to write about. There's this feeling I have that I should be writing something deep over here, or nothing at all. So nothing it is.

wabi sabi

We went and signed our contract for the townhouse this weekend. It's the last second home on the lot, faces a small strip of very young trees, for which we paid a lot premium. There's still hope that by the time we move in, the trees will actually have grown, and will give us actual greenery to look at.

We've got a small patch of land in front and a decent sized lot behind. I'm thinking I'll plant seasonal plants, so I can fill bowls with stuff from my own tiny garden. I'm enamored by the wabi sabi aesthetic - the stark beauty of things impermanent, incomplete. I want low furniture, floor pillows, informality. A few objects taken from the surroundings to add accents. This is me now, I don't know how I'll be when I have a little more money to spend.


So much is happening here that I want to be here, not my regular life. I might want to post my pic, but then again maybe I'll post my daughter's so you guys can figure out what the tree looked like from the fruit.

Kit's Kafka-messiah post had me thinking - does anything matter in the scheme of things? Do we want or need a messiah?


This post is sorta coming out of []Lithium's[/url] interesting post on flaws and our perception of them.

Have you noticed how easy it is to tell whether we've lost or gained weight from looking at a photograph as compared to a mirror? What is it in the transfer from virtual space to tangible object held in hand that makes this change in our perception of ourselves possible? Does a mirror lie then, or at least not tell the whole truth? Curious to know what you think.

In a pickle

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Knowing that I could upload avatars had me scrambling to create something, but my photoshop skills have rusted. Plus the pressure to create something cool like Jenny's - oh, I know the dictum about keeping up with the Joneses and the Jennies, but I'd like to try at least. Hopefully something this week.

I got some of my script down in long hand, and made two jars of vegetable pickles, so I'm feeling nice and dandy with the world right now. On Sunday we made a deposit to hold the townhome we both liked. Now all we do is sit and plan finances, putting in this option, taking out that, so we don't shoot our budget. After a point I just needed to do something more restful. So I hacked veggies. Go figure.

Here's a Newsweek article that might interest some of you - the zealotry of non-smokers. I think Dentona wrote an entry on this a few days back. [url][/url]. Also something else that gave me an upset stomach - foie gras - [url][/url].


Fishing around for story ideas Friday night, I landed up at BBC's website, and they had a story on Sudoku. It's a fill in the blanks type puzzle. You're given a 9 * 9 matrix, subdivided into 3 *3 matrices. The idea is to fill in numbers from 1-9 so that each row, each column, and submatrix contains all numbers from 1-9 once.

Apparently it's a rage in UK, and playing around with it for the last half hour, it's easy to see why. Check out their website at [url][/url]

hidden personas

Hmm so in all the flak that's been flying around some of us have been forced to come out of hiding :) and some of us are worried we will be.

I'm a bit of a livewire crusader in real life, so it's taken me relatively long to get outed on blogladder. My mom used to say this: Tell yourself you can comment only one out of three times you feel like opening your mouth. Which essentially meant I could actually speak only 33% of the times I wished I had spoken. Ha ha. If I had heeded that, I'd probably be head honcho in some Calcutta ashram, people lining up to watch my taciturn non-responses.

Life has been roller coaster in my personal life too. Just when we think we've made a decision about the house, we see something on tv or talk to someone about the housing situation and change our minds. So we swing between first time homeowner euphoria and disillusionment with not having bought earlier.

The job hunt is still on. I'll probably go register myself with a staffing company soon. My script - the less said, the better. I'm on the verge of changing my story once again. I'm such a queen of beginnings, the middles and the ends scare me into changing the topic itself. But I have to get there, page by excruciating page, I've got two profs on my case now.


My husband and I saw a coupla houses over the weekend. One is a 3 br townhome - end unit without a garage, the other is a middle unit, with a garage. Floor plan wise they're similar, the garage version is about 30K more expensive and about 300 sq ft more in area than the the non-garage one.

My husband believes when the time comes for us to move to a bigger home, we might be able to sell the end unit at a good price, inspite of the garage not being there. Any advice from you guys is much appreciated.

walking miles

Something's happening and it's fun!

Story from 2 days back:
My daughter managed to cry her way into our bed when my husband turned in. When I decided to sleep, it was really late, 3:00. Because I was too tired to move her to the crib, I plonked down on the bedroom floor. Around 6:00 am, I climbed in beside my daughter because she was bawling again.

When I finally did wake up, I told my husband I was having backache from sleeping on the floor, and could he give me a back rub? He was like, no problem about the back rub, but you were out in the family room, remember? I said, no, I slept right here - on the floor. He kept saying, you slept outside. Both of us started laughing, I was sure he was messing with my mind and he thought I was messing with his.

Then he walked around to my side of the bed, and pointedly looked around. "If you slept here, where are the sheets?" Well I looked everywhere, they were missing. Ditto for my pillows, my glasses and the Wired article I was reading.

They were finally found in the family room, thrown around the mattress. Sometime in the middle of the night, I'd transported my favorite pillows, a fresh comforter, the magazine, even my glasses which I'd tossed onto the nightstand, and gone off to the family room. the only thing I remember are going to sleep on the floor and moving in beside my daughter. Can't remember anything in between.

My hubs is such a cute thing. He worried that I was stressed or something and reacting to it by sleepwalking. I'm shamelessly hoping it gets worse. Maybe I'll be found doing wild 80s dances in some disc where all those young things will look at me and laugh. Or driving at 100 on the left side of the road, honking wildly. It's been ages since I've got sloshed and lost control, so maybe this might be the alternative. I'm know I'm thinking movie scenes where the people walk around with eyes open and doing things they have no idea about later. I don't know why I'm so excited about it, but I am.

down and about

I'm feeling a little pissed in life right now. It's got to do with my job search. Even volunteering my web design services is getting me nowhere. I just have to self-employ I think. Maybe try my hand at freelance writing or something.

Something good happened. I started working on the Daily Prozaic exercise that mdhis suggested and it felt like the piece just became something more than an exercise. I love it when that happens. It's such a rare thing that it's made my life feel a little more bearable today. I'll work on it some more and see what happens.

Question to all you wise people out there: What's the most powerful belief you hold, and what're the circumstances, if any, that would make you change it?

a new baby

I was MIA, I plead guilty. I don't know if I've been missed, just have cheap hopes that I was..... Our friends had a baby boy, so most of Saturday was waiting for the baby to emerge, which he didn't. Sunday was the day he finally made his appearance, and he's a little thing - with a head full of hair. Ugly-cute in a day old sort of way.

His name means breeze. His parents have had some misunderstandings in the recent past, so I'm hoping he will be the respite, the spring healer that works his cool magic for them.


I'm gonna keep this entry really short, because my daughter's attacking the kbd with her pudgy little fists. It was great to hear from you guys. House hunt is still on, but I might back off for a little while - a lot of people have been telling us the market might just crash, given how inflated prices are right now.

I have my personal site up - check out [url][/url] if you have the time. I'll probably have to buy a domain name and hosting, and make it a more permanent thing soon.

Yes, the mundane does kill the creative fire. Last night I willed myself to stay up and re-look a short story I had written last month. Reads like tripe right now. Most often when I try to write and find the words sticking in the bylanes of my head, it helps me to go read other people, sort of borrow their creative genius for a short time. It also helps when I need a timeout between diapers and rubber ducky dances. This link is for all lovers of lit - [url][/url].

eerily quiet isn't it?

My recent life - nothing much happening. Sending my resumes out still, enjoying summer, wondering what I really think of the pope. We went house hunting, and the prices are far too steep. We're seriously thinking if we should buy a cheap fixer upper and unleash our sleeping decorative giants. I have lost a bit of my creative fire, mainly because of the job and home search. At the risk of sounding selfish, Weekly Poem regulars, pls come back soon, I need you to be myself!

new developments

After squabbling over the idea for 2 years, my husband and I finally decided we should buy a house soon. With DC area real estate soaring, we'll probably get a matchbox with the amount we have in mind, but we'll see. It's a little scary, because experts say the real estate bubble has to burst, since DC has had abnormal real estate growth these last coupla years.

Tomorrow I'm going to visit a property in the area. I'm so excited I can hardly wait till morning. My husband's given me an ultimatum - I'll have to get a paying job, no more volunteering for pleasure if we want to lead a decent existence. Any job leads, anyone, let me know! I've been sending out my resume like crazy this week, no responses yet. It's all happening so fast, it feels like I'm on a merry-go-round that won't stop. Fun, fun!


This Easter was miserable. My husband and I have an interreligious marriage, I'm a Hindu who's attended Catholic school all her life, my hubby's Catholic, his parents border on born-again Catholics, if there's a group like that. The main worries they have about me and my hubby is that it's all fun now, but what will happen after we die. Hubby and I discussed this, and we decided there was no hope for me : he'll be cavorting in heaven - everything in heaven is bigger and better - and I'll be burning outside the gates, wildly gesticulating to him to come and rescue me. But it'll be too late, and it'll be too much fun where he's at, so he'll just let me burn.

Our situation makes for very interesting trips home, to put it mildly.

Being Hindu has made me think that every religion, even lack of it, is a path to the One Supreme Being. Which poses problems for people who have exclusivist views. My in-laws never acknowledge any of my festivals, and this has rankled me for ages, though I've never said anything to them. This Friday my husband and I had a fight, and I told him I wouldn't ever wish his parents again for any holiday. He took my words at face value, and today wished them on his own. Now I'm feeling totally miserable. Even if I crib about something, it doesn't mean I want to be left out of common pleasantries, especially when I don't really have a problem with wishing them. Ugh, now I've made my bed and it's mine to lie on. I'm really not as obnoxious as I sound.

To everyone who celebrates Easter, my Easter wishes to you. More than anything else, I wish for the maturity to accept people with their flaws, just as they accept me with my huge ones.

Worries and a Reprieve

I met my adviser today - he says I can walk during the grad ceremony this spring and submit my script by end of summer term. So I'm happy as a peacock in the rains, which is how it is right now. I wanna get out for a walk, but it's windy and raining, so I'm raiding the fridge every half hour instead.

This week we got a notice that our apartment complex has been deemed a "breeding ground of unsavory activity" and for this reason, ours and 21 other apartment complexes might actually be shut down. Whoa! High drama. Where would all of us 1400 families go? Would they put up refugee camps for us? Would Red Cross or Amnesty care, since we're not really victims of violent crimes? A part of me selfishly wishes it would come to pass - it would be nice to observe something like this happening to me.

On the drive to Annapolis this Sunday, I noticed some precocious tulips had already started blooming. Thank god for the rebels. I lived in Annapolis for the first two years of my married life. It used to be the capital of the States at one point of time. Its downtown area is just beautiful. On warm evenings and weekends, the whole town just turns out by the waterfront. Every summer they have a tug-of-war across the lake, the rope actually snakes through the waters. The sidewalk cafes and the brick paved roads add European charm. We moved out of Annapolis because getting to DC was so hard for me. Now when we visit friends, I think the roads look more crowded. You can see more apartments and townhomes coming up. I worry about the town that has become a home away from home for me.

Sailing on the wings of spring

I've been enjoying the great weather we're having on the east coast. Hard to stay indoors any more. A friend of mine is in love. I think. Great timing - with the weather and all. Watching her act all frou frou is like watching myself eight years ago. Somewhere I read a long time ago, that everyone should fall in love at least once in their lives. I'm happy it's happening to her now. Maybe a tad envious.

This is what's going around in my head after the Cuddletime session at the library:

From Wibbleton to Wobbleton
Is fif-teen miles
From Wobbleton to Wibbleton
Is fif-teen miles
From Wibbleton to Wobbleton
And Wobbleton to Wibbleton
From Wibbleton to Wobbleton
Is fif-teen miles.

I kept thinking it should be 45 miles for the round trip Wibbleton - Wobbleton, and back, but who cares? I kept chanting it to my baby on the bus ride back. I think she'll throw up next time I go wibble wobble.

Thanks for the link, GB. The Elegant Universe is what I've been after, my library seems to have lost the one existing copy it had.

Simple things

Today was a day to enjoy the simple things in life. We took a walk in the afternoon, my daughter and I. It was pretty sunny, and spring weathery, and after a while I didn't need my jacket, which hasn't happened at all to me this year. Then I discovered a new series on A & E - I don't know if its new or not. It could have existed long before I found it, but today I did. I watched 4 back to back episodes of one of those interior decoration shows.

My house is full of stuff that I was inspired to make. There was a perfect lampshade that I covered with beige cloth. Complete disaster. People who came to my house would suddenly go silent when they noticed it, waiting for their initial words to loose the harsh edges around them. I hoard my creations for no reason, just hopeful that someday I can correct the mistakes I made, and use them.

I don't know. I'm feeling very visual and restless these days. I have to turn in my script, and it seems as if I'm having these technicolor dreams that just won't go away. I just can't concentrate on the project at hand, I want to be doing something else. Just finished reading [i]Death of a Salesman[/i]. I'd gone to the library hoping to pick up something on [i]String Theory[/i], which they had been showing on public television, but I picked up this play instead. The relationship between Willy and Biff. Spot on - how it's between me and my dad. My life revolves around my mom. My dad and I are very strained around each other. Truly great literature highlights the human condition in such clear light. I'm feeling sad, but strangely satisfied and I don't know why. Maybe because someone somewhere wrote a play with a character that could have been me. Is there a word for this kind of feeling?

Spring time stuff

I went for a consultation with my international student's adviser. My planned India trip looks iffy at best. After that we went to a park and put our daughter in a swing for the first time in her life. She loved it. We had to prise her apart from the thing.

I did some spring cleaning this week. Getting rid of all those clothes I thought I would be able to wear again. Size wise they fit, but fashion wise they do seem 5 yrs ago.

I liked Nick's perspective from the last comment he left. Building, maintaining friendships is hard work. Being part of a community too - whether it's online or offline.

I've been quite sporadic, something's wrong with my computer and it's slowing down internet access. I should take a backup of my hard disk before the 0s and 1s become exactly that - undecipherable.


I've been working on my script. It's hard hard hard to write humour, especially if you're not the clever, witty type. I don't know what made me go and choose to try to write a sitcom. Hopefully by the end of this I'll know whether to ditch this line totally, or it'll be another mountain scaled. Queen of mixed metaphors - [i]c'est moi[/i].

It's disconcerting to come to a quiet Blogladder. Faceless friends have such a presence in your life. The closest to this was having penpals when I was younger. Then, if you got pally with someone, you would send out your nice photograph. It also took a long time for snail mail to travel. This is more instantaneous, and it's kinda proliferated to take over our lives. No pictures. I actually don't want to have faces to relate to names. I know some people's real names, but I like the online identities each of us have created for ourselves. Reminds me of Savage Garden's [i]Santa Monica[/i].

I like blogging too... I do put on my thinking cap - what insight can I write about today, so the rest of my blogger friends still feel compelled to come back for more? The feverishness of my first posts is gone, all I could think of when I first started blogging was what I would write next. But if I haven't blogged in a day or two, I feel a little lost. That maybe because there're a few people who regularly check in, and if they stop coming to Blogladder, I wonder if I have the strength to go out and make more online friends.


We had a party this weekend. Another couple, who'd generally been ignoring me for the last few months, called and invited themselves over. My stupid, calculating, cheap mind immediately thought that they had been telling us for ages they would invite us over, and now this. But, spring is in the air, and I want to get back to socializing as much as before, so I'm just going to go with the flow and have them over.

Today was a good day. I managed to cram in a few hours of shopping. Mostly stuff for myself, some for the baby. My poor husband just walked around with our little girl in the stroller, while I flitted in and out of fitting rooms weighed under a mountain of clothes. It felt really good, and there's probably no better time than sale season to get your juices flowing.

The only time he put his foot down was when I picked up this lime green leather purse. In his head, he has this running mathematical total of the number of purses I have, the number of shoes, and so on and can easily spout those stats at the drop of a hat. I tried telling him that lime green was an unrepresented color, so could I give it a fair chance? No go. He made me put it down on a rack in the middle of the kiddie section. I still remember where I put it, so I can go back and buy it w/o him knowing :D

Coming soon to a city near you - Shopaholics Anonymous..... God knows I need it.

nothing much

Just wanted to check in..... TWP has taken a life of its own. I like that. I've been trying to write my thesis screenplay the last coupla hours. Trying to make it pseudo-reality, kinda like Ricky Gervais' The Office. I'm ashamed to admit this, but, I'm hooked onto reality TV, esp stuff like The Apprentice. Can't come up with an idea for a show though. I think I'll name the most obnoxious characters in my script after some of the obnoxious people who were my bosses while I was interning. It was really strange, you know, the really big bosses were very gracious, nice people. The littler ones, like the producer's 2nd assistant's secretary - those were the ones that tried very hard to seem more important than they actually were.

Kit is off to her Mckee seminar. Ali must be at some military ball. Skip is in NZ waiting for a Sunday visitor, warding off tornados :) and writing poetry. Debbe, Rachel - no news in a long time. Nick, a young man in a soldier's uniform, wondering about the futility of war. Mdhislaer and play practise. Dentona, Jesse, Gretchen. The teen brigade - Corrine, Courtney, Lori, Kayla - waiting for Friday night I'm sure..... Anthropophobe - my favorite online Buddhist (I think - from the Maya references). UncleB, Arek - our political afficionados. I've never commented on either of your blogs, but I do check out the links you post. Greedybull, somewhere thinking of the next skin.....

This is a busy, fun place, and it's nice to see the hands of all the regulars at this cafe. One of the teams on The Apprentice had Simple Plan on, thought of you - Nick, Ali, and the girls.

smiling again :)

Seriously thanks you guys, I'm the kind of person who finds it easier to write than to talk with live people, so hearing back anything at all makes it sooooo important to me. Kit, blogladder is my alternate reality. It is my adult conversation, and thanks to things like the weekly poem, I get to write as well. What more could I ask for..... Mckee's seminar and Florida! Tell me how it goes...

Ali, enjoy yourself! If you see a 30ish Indian woman, lonely and looking a little lost with maps and stuff, make sure to ask her if Blogladder means anything at all. It could well be me. Nah, just kidding, I'll die of guilt if I ever leave my sweetums and go away even for a day, but on days like today I imagine running away from everything. You're right, there're no f... its when you're a mom. Literally and figuratively.

I love how the Clutter poem turned out, after watching TLC all day long I'd started to think of it as something negative, but now I think that's what lends our lives our special flavors.

Skipper, NZ is somewhere I want to return to someday in my life. There's this place near Lambton Quay in Wellington that I swear looks exactly like a place I'd dreamt about in my 6th standard. It freaked me out when I saw it first, but I want to revisit it, and soak it all in. I also met this very interesting African American author who'd emigrated to NZ, and a whole bunch of really cool people I came across. Maybe I'll come meet you too :)


Feeling totally f'd up in life. I just have to start sending my daughter to day care if I have to remain sane. And get a job. More than anything else, this is what I wanna do - get a weekend ticket to someplace warm, Florida maybe, just go alone, take away the car and house keys, so my husband can live my life for a coupla days.

strange sensations

Today I hovered over my computer like a cat who's just birthed a litter. I created a new commune for prose writing and I wanted to start it off, but my daughter kept getting in the way.

Big words - commune, prose. I thought I had something written down as my first offering, saved it on my lappy, with numerous inputs from my daughter. She's a jealous child - she knows from the abstract way I refuse to meet her eyes that I'm in my private space, and she pounds her fists on the keyboard. In the last 2 days she's killed the number 8 on my laptop. Now nothing I write can have that number.

I saved the piece on the lappy, but my husband's hogging it at this moment, and I'm stuck with the PC which is whimsical at best. It seems like too much work now to get the piece off the lappy and onto Blogladder. So I think I'll just content myself with this entry for today.

All my writing seems so me-centric, that
1) it doesn't seem extensible at all, so I wonder if this idea to write together can ever kick off, and
2) I wonder if there's going to be any distinction between this blog and Daily Prozaic.

If it doesn't work out, I'll just let Prozaic die a happy, natural death.


Is it easier to forgive someone when they've been dead and gone, when nothing they do can affect you? It happened to me with someone I loved a lot, but who hurt me really badly... Once he died I found myself remembering him with smiles, laughing about his idiosyncracies. It was almost as if the deed that hurt me had been wiped off the slate, and it was possible for things to be the same as they once were. Except that he had made the passage and I still had to grapple with the real world.


Welcome to all the new members. I've been gone a few days and haven't been reading/commenting much, but I'd love to read everyone's entries and get acquainted. Hi to everyone else. It's great to be back.

Finally I have something to celebrate. I lost a few pounds in the last few weeks. We are the proud new owners of this absolutely wonderful bathroom scale we mail ordered recently. The equipment looks like a sleek piece of modern art. And it weighs accurately to .1 pounds.

I weighed myself in all sorts of combinations - with clothes, without. With half my breakfast in, halfway between meals, feet stuck together, placed wide apart at opposite ends of the scale. Before and after nature's calls. I even had a friend of mine, whose bathroom scales I had used and trusted, come in and weigh herself today. After she reported that my scales matched the reading on hers, I allowed myself to feel lighter!

So, I'm assuming that if I jump for joy tonight, I will stay airborne just a teeny bit longer. I'm assuming my jeans which have been feeling a little loose lately aren't that way because they haven't been washed for too long.

It's enough to make me want to binge on the chocolates that sit atop my dining table. But I will continue to be disciplined and will steal those chocs only when I'm sure my husband isn't watching and will continue to hide the wrappers deep inside the trash can. Yippeeeeeeeee! I'm on cloud nine. Or maybe Cloud 23 :) Who knows.

back again

Relative peace in the household now, flu-wise. Thanks Kitlulu and Skipper for checking in. Made me feel real good. I've been longing for India ever since the flu hit all of us. Right now we're so far in the world that even if something were to happen to one of us, our parents wouldn't be able to make it right away. That's scary - the fact that such things could happen, and the fact that I've changed so much.

When I was a teenager I couldn't wait to get away from India. My sister was the steadfast one, we all supposed she would stay in our home town, find a job somewhere around there, and I would flee the first chance I got. 15 years later, my sis is in UCLA, I'm in DC and my bro in NYU. The three bedroom flat my dad struggled to buy is empty except for the smaller bedroom with the window overlooking the park. I suppose my mom sips her afternoon coffee and does her crosswords alone by the window, with no hijack attempts on the crossie from me or my bro.

My sister is now officially an aspiring American. She's got a greencard, and she plans to get dual citizenship only because she can own property in India if she holds on to her citizenship. My brother wants to get back in 2 years. Our parents are older. My mother seems so spaced out sometimes it's scary. My dad is his cranky old self, only my bro can handle him with his wit and charm.

As for me, I'm torn. I don't know where home is anymore. I mean, the apt. I live in is technically home right now, but has no permanence or relavance in the larger scheme of my husband's or my life. The home I want to go back to exists only in my mind, the cramped 2 room company flat of my childhood. It's bad enough to be lonely, it's worse to have nowhere to return to at the end of a long day.

nothing much

My husband, baby and I are busy giving each other the cold and flu. It happens in circles. The long weekend was weird. Saturday, I went to a party, my kid managed to cling to me all the time and I listened to an older woman I know go on and on about her daughter was the worst child ever. Since it was timed exactly to the minute when my daughter was misbehaving, it somehow made me feel these were scathing indictments of my daughter's behavior. I wonder if our antennae get a little more sensitive when our children or loved ones are concerned.

On Sunday I went to a Disney on Ice show. I doled out moolah to watch a greedy corporation's productions that I'd sworn never to watch. The things we do for our children.

My husband is working from home today. These last few days we've had a pact that we're not going to do any idle surfing while the other is around, only work related stuff. But I admit, I've been cheating a little, everytime he gets a little busy with his work, I come here, read a little, maybe comment and go back. What evil influence have you wielded Greedybull?

I had been wondering too about links getting *snip*ped. Glad that Debbe and Skipper got that sorted out. Which is not to say I agree with the policy, but at least it's better than wondering.


My first poem in a long long while, I just had to, with all the great energy that's coursing this site.

In a second,
the car had caressed the storefront,
nudged its nose a coupla inches into the glass windows,
knocked over stocked grocery off the shelves.
Thirty three days before I woke up
and didn't think about the
the first thing in the morning.
Few weeks - six - the insurance took
to fix the mess.
Eight thousand seventy dollars, forty one cents
exchanged hands.

A lifetime before I drive again.

It happened to me. Still recovering. Still haven't started driving.

bad words

My Valentine's was completely ruined last night. My daughter woke up every half hour and both my husband and I went simultaneously crazy. He said all I was expected to do was look after the kid, and even that I didn't do well. I'd ruined her routine by letting her sleep in till 10 am which is when I wake up.

I said, well mister, I write, read, work at night which is the only time I get to myself. You would probably never understand the need for me to get away, fortified as you are by colleagues, and working lunches, and office bets and a car to drive around in. I never do this, but yesterday I told him I wished my life on him for just some time - no job, a crying infant, zero adult company, financial dependence.

I no longer feel like a human being. Just the bitterness of a reluctant martyr. A craziness. Mother, martyr. Why, they even sound similar.

Sorry guys, I have nothing of value to offer today. Maybe just this link to this week's cover article in Newsweek - The Myth of the Perfect Mother - [url][/url]

The issue arrived last afternoon. One look at it and my husband decided it was too girlie to ever read it, but in parts, it is almost my life to a T.

happy valentine's and my first memory

A happy Valentine's to everyone who celebrates it. I hope it was a good day in general for everyone.

I'm going to try Skipper's exercise. Quilting my memory mat seems to be my fav pastime of late anyways.

My first memory - We had these huge wooden windows in our first floor flat, overlooking the street. They had horizontal iron bars and I used to sit in the bedroom window, dangling my feet outside. I must have been about two, my sister a few months old. I managed to get her off the bed and onto my lap where I sat, but she started slipping through the bars. My mother who was buying vegetables downstairs suddenly saw what was happening and ran up screaming. By then my grandfather pulled me and my sister off and I got a nice spanking from him. I remember the rush of fear the most, a hot, brown, sick feeling at the bottom of my stomach, as I sensed my sister slipping out of my hands.

The situations aren't quite the same, but I liked this poem when I read it:


I've been wondering - what's the best way to respond to your readers? Every time someone leaves a comment, I feel like responding. One way is to just add my comment as a response, or to visit that person's blog and leave a comment.

There're problems to both approaches. One doesn't feel like a conversation, the other often seems contrived, since the response we leave on blogs to comments we got often seem unrelated. What's the way out of this?

80s in India

I'm feeling totally crabby today. An exercycle I had my eye on got sold even before I reached the seller. Then I got one of those scam emails pretending to be from Paypal and I fell for the scam. Then realized that one of the sites I have had been down for almost a month and the hosts had done nothing to fix it. So I dashed them off an email to get their act together or else... Oh who am I kidding, what can I do? I've already paid them a year's subscription.

I tried watching the Grammys but even that didn't seem fun. Not as I remembered them.

I grew up in Jamshedpur, a small town whose economy revolved around the iron and steel industry. Deprived of the fast pace of larger towns, the Grammys were this glam event that we looked forward to the whole year. At least we did, the relative few of us who went to missionary schools and learnt to speak in "propah English".

We were told that our pronunciation and enunciation were what separated us from those scruffy ruffians who were apparently raised by wolves and went to schools like Thakkar Bapa Primary School. Thakkar Bapa was an Indian freedom fighter, I learnt years later, but at the time we had a rather poor opinion of him - tainted in assocation with the school he lent his name to. The school was a crumbling building, the walls were festooned with obscene graffiti and political slogans, and there were about a 1000 children crammed into the grounds under the trees. The school building itself had only a couple of rooms.

We were a class apart, lucky enough to get an English medium education. We were never allowed to forget that by our Anglophile teacher Ms. Nergis, who taught us English and history. We were told to listen to BBC for news, as well as to pick up the correct way to speak the Queen's language. The Voice of America was a distant country cousin, not half as good as the BBC, but better nevertheless than any of the other programs in the 25 or so official Indian languages.

Television happened to India in 1982, when India hosted the Asiad Games in Delhi. Jamshedpur got its own TV tower in '84 but there was only one house in my neighborhood that owned a set.

A few months after the station started broadcasting, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguards. Suddenly there was a flurry of TV buying in Jamshedpur. Maybe this was because the Gandhi clan was the most photogenic clan that had ever ruled modern India, or it seemed as if the last tenuous link to the Gandhis and Nehrus of the freedom struggle was broken. Maybe it was a touching tribute to the iron-willed lady herself. But there were huge sales that October. Those who did buy the sets generously converted their homes and gardens into public viewing places.

Each evening we religiously went for our TV watching, but the Information Minstry had deemed it inappropriate that anything even remotely entertaining be broadcast. All evening, long-faced musicians in dark clothes played their plaintive melodies. The instruments varied, the announcers changed, one mediocre musician left only to be replaced by another. But the captions remained the same. [i]Shok Sangeet[/i] they read - Tragic Music. This continued for the official 2 week mourning.

A few months later came the Grammys. Into our world came these singers with hairdos as tall as the headgear of guards at the Buckingham Palace, who warbled about "lerve" and let it all hang out. We dreamed of whizzing around in jalopies, ice cream cones in hand, in leotards and cropped tops and "doing it" - whatever "it" was. Our hearts beat with those goodlooking hunks. We idolized Cher and Tina Turner, The Bangles and Pet Shop Boys, and it seemed to us as if life was one pop song after another. The Information Ministry started broadcasting shows with names like "Pop Music", "Eurotops" and "Top of the Pops". The shows ran for an hour, on Sunday evenings, sandwiched between the Hindi and English news bulletins.

Yes, the Grammys happened to us when we were younger, and left us with words and longings way beyond what Ms Nergis had intended. When I went back to Jamshedpur last year, I learnt she had started her own school. I pitied the poor souls who would be battered with her emphasis on all things English. She left me with a sense of Western superiority and a skewed view of Indian history that it personally has taken me years to get to the other side of. I wonder how she's explaining Charles and Camilla to her kids.

good days

Suddenly I have a bit of free time. So I've been doing some amount of writing of late. It's nice to get it out on paper. I write in long hand. Much better feel. I love to write on those small secretary pads, many of which I hoard from different training programs and tutorials I attend. I write with pencil now, but my favorite writing instrument is the ink pen. The smooth flow of a nice ink pen, the kind you open the cartridge and pour in ink into. The pens themselves used to be badly built in India. They leaked all the time and left dark ink stains on the forefinger and thumb. Sometimes the skin used to wrinkle up from so much ink. Every few months the nib on my ink pen would give out, and I used to walk up the road to the Kadma market to buy a new one. Jana Stores had the best selection in my area.

I loved the inky smell of my right hand. I used to sit with my hand dipped into a mug of water, just to watch little blue florets of ink that blossomed.

I find it easier to write in first person, because most of what I write is from my own experiences. My brother warns me if I have to keep writing from my own experiences, the well will run dry sooner or later. Agreed, but all art stems from experience, and there's a little bit of ourselves in everything we write. Of course, we're talking about different things here, my bro and I.

This is how my world is structured. The Big Five. My mom, dad, brother, sister and my husband - they're the original big five. My daughter is the love of my life, but only after my mother. I still don't classify her with the other five. She's a different class altogether. A different kind of love. Once I asked my mother who she loved most in the world. She gave me an ordered list. First came her mother. Then her children, and then her husband. I was jealous that I only came second, but a corner of my heart was happy I'd beaten my father to second place.

Yes, "childhood is the bank account we draw on for the rest of our lives". I don't know who said this, but it was a writer featured in the collection of stories, Treasury, that we were tested on in 10th standard. Look at me - revisiting childhood and all - I'm old enough to have a bank account and to draw from it.

As an aside - does any one know if you put up a story in a blog, is that counted as publishing the story? Just curious.

The veil - a different look

This entry is inspired by another blog I read on these pages about external beauty. In honor of that, let me bring your attention to the veil.

A few years ago, an Indian poetess converted to Islam. The press was agog, because she had been a controversial writer and this was viewed as a ploy to create a buzz. Be that as it may, her interview gave the veil as a major reason for her conversion. She actually viewed it as being liberating from the emphasis most cultures put on physical beauty.

Mind you, the veil that many Muslims wear in Western countries is quite different from how south Asian Muslims wear it. In our countries, the veil is not just a head scarf that covers most of your hair and leaves your face open. It is like a dress in itself, an overlayer you wear over your own head and body, over your clothes. You're covered from head to toe. The colors are usually dark - black or brown. The material is silky soft, shiny. Definitely not cotton.

I often used to imagine what the net effect of the veil might be. It must be awfully hot inside. Claustrophobic. I assumed that always having to see the world through a thin gauze might leave you a little disoriented, maybe a little like wearing dark glasses at night.

But it also does something more than that. It hides a woman's face from view. That could be seen as something oppressive, but it also circumvents the whole idea of our culture of obsession with looks. A documentary I watched at school talked about a girl's decision to start wearing the veil. It made her suddenly feel invisible, but at least it liberated her from having to be judged for her looks. Another talked about how Muslim children identified their mothers. By the smell of her body, by the toes. By the way she walked. A more primal way of identifying ourselves, quite like how infants do it.

In my country, there's the despicable way men behave in public with young women. It's called eve-teasing, and encompasses a whole range of activities from passing lewd remarks, to butt and breast pinching. The veil, by adding a layer, over you gives you a literal wall that even the scum of our society respect.

A veil also reveals as much about the beholder of the veil as the face behind it. I've seen it in action - people behave with a veiled woman almost as if she is mindless as well. Which was why I opposed the French ruling, though I can understand where they come from.

The veil has many romantic connotations in south Asian literature, but no amount of romanticisation can take away the fact that it is a forcible attempt by male dominated society to curtail the interactions between men and women, by placing the onus on the woman to not incite uncontrollable male passions. But I also think of it as a test case in how the world might deal with the external beauty issue.

What are your thoughts?

rough days

Crazy, crazy days. Just started working more with the radio show. Up to my neck with work and school, but somehow it feels more fulfilling now than ever. But still, what a relief to come back to this forum. Quite like meeting with your best friend after a long and horrible date.

I've realized this about infants - they're so beyond words, rationalizations, it's amazing. There are things you can fight, and things you can't, and trying to work to a deadline with a bawling infant is one that belongs to cat 2. Since I've always been the hyper planner that has party cooking ready a week in advance, this feels like a severe loss of control. Especially since I worry that my new boss is not going to like me enough to keep me on beyond my volunteer period. After M had cried her heart out and clung on to me like a moss on a tree and after I'd had a good cry, I decided it wasn't worth it - I might as well sit back and enjoy myself and work late at night if I had to. So M and I took an afternoon nap, woke up just in time for quick showers before T got in. It did feel a little strange, here were these precious seconds falling through the cracks between my fingers, and there was no way to hold on to them. I made up for it by working late late late.

Then came another revelation. M didn't need me to lull her to sleep. She was perfectly fine with her dad, and that didn't go down well with me at all. Last night I waited till 4 before I turned in, but she didn't fuss at all. I sort of felt all misty eyed, my daughter's growing up. I wonder what it might be like when she starts walking around.

Melting snow

Today was a good day. Good for a walk through the melting snow. I strapped up my daughter into her Snugli and walked for a half hour. She started with her gibberish, and I chanted senseless sounds back at her, till we started having a nonsense conversation. The wind ruffled the bare branches, almost like lazy absent pats from a mother reading her book. A silvery sun. An old lady at the bus stop in a vivid green coat, the kinda green you see on Valentine's Day frog stuffed toys. The gravelly crunch of soft snow beneath my feet. A dull pain in my ears from the wind.

The woman made me think - age stops mattering the older you grow. When you're 16 and you have a year old at home, people go teenage pregnancy. When you're a 107 and that child is 91, no one bothers. Either the age no longer matters, or those numbers are too cumbersome for quick math.

Got a skeletal feel for a screenplay I have to get started on. I'm going to write about an old woman, something like Miss Daisy. Cranky old bitch, those kind are the most fun! Aim: 10 pages by Tuesday night. Have a meeting with my prof early Wednesday morning, so I better get the old man something to smile about.

I just noticed something about my writing. I tend to hold back. I've been reading Sliona's entries and I think she has a lot of courage to open herself up. I replied to one of her posts telling her what we thought of her didn't matter. In her context, yes. But in a larger context of what a blog functions as - hypocritical little me. We all write for the readership, and each time I come to this site I look quickly scroll down to see if I'm still somewhere on the ladder or not. The little numbers on the right, even a small increase does wonders to self esteem. It does matter to me what people who read my blogs think. Hence the safe entries about snow. I'm not being honest with my readers. More importantly, with myself. Open me up to myself. Find me the courage to face my shadow.

a day to savor the snow

It's snowing outside right now. It's beautiful how the flakes swirl, it seems like a slow dance, ad infinitum. I spent about an hour trying to figure out if the flakes all swirled or some followed a straightish trajectory. Not wiser than I was an hour ago. But it did calm me down some. Snow watching is quite mesmerising. I didn't realize I had been at it an hour.

My favorite snow watching time is when I'm in my car though. At night, driving across a dark stretch of a freeway. No one else on the road, no cops to monitor how slow I'm going, headlights set to high beam. As I zip through, it seems as if the snow flakes are rushing to meet me, and sometimes I can almost imagine I'm in outer space. And each of those snowflakes on my windshield a symmetrical thing of beauty.

My dream is that we discover life on outer space before I die. I think that's the biggest challenge for humanity now. We've already fought our wars, worn out our weakest with inequities, and divided ourselves with imaginary maps. An encounteer with outer spacelings will be our chance to start with a clean slate. Or we may be entirely annihilated, if we meet a race as unenlightened as ours. Scary thought I know, but infinitely beautiful - this grand scheme of birth and death. Nothing really matters. And yet everything matters.

PS: please forgive me for sounding peudo. Its all the snow flakes' fault :)

remembering to breathe

Had a long and rough week. Way too much to do, and just 24 hours in a day. My friend N moved to a new house she and her husband bought recently. She's expecting her first baby, so T and I pitched in with packing etc. It took up most of our evenings, at least those when we weren't trying to get each others throats. A's husband called. She's pregnant too..... Suddenly I miss being pregnant. It's the best time ever - hog hog hog all you want, everyone showers their attention on you. And though your waistline expands, it's actually ok to let it happen!

One of our other friends in the area might move away too, by summer this year. Though we were closer to Nimmo than to these other people, I suddenly realized we could end up very lonely. I've never really left Megha with anyone else, but at least it was technically possible and I didn't have to drive 10 miles to reach a friend's place. Now every friend I have is a long drive away. I hate it. I hate it when friends move away and I have to go out and meet new people. I think I better start pestering T to buy a house too. Preferably somewhere where we have a bunch of friends.

Also realized today that my thesis prof expects me to turn up for class, and pitch my script. Ha ha. My script is a laugh, 'cos it still doesn't exist. At least on paper.

I'm feeling good about: Almost getting Cannery Row finished. It's probably the thinnest of all Steinbeck books, but it's taken me a year to get anywhere within 20 pages of finishing it. I like to close my eyes and imagine the scenes he describes, breathe flesh and blood into the characters he writes about. They're strays and vagabonds, and ne'er do wells in life, but it almost seems as though in their being nothingness, there is everything. There's a sweet sadness, a poignance to their simple lives. Somehow makes me feel there's hope yet for the world.

PS: My only real problem with the book is that it has almost no women. The only women I've seen so far are prostitutes, though Steinbeck is as generous with them as with the rest of his characters.