Wednesday, August 29, 2007

amriki chai.

so my latest quest at work is to make a good cup of chai. since we dont have the chaiwallas to bring us a cup of kadak dood wali chai, we have to make our own lipton tea bag-fat-free-milk-hot-water versions. yes, this is the wally in me. [in case anyone doesnt know what im talking about, wally is a character in dilbert cartoons that doesnt do any work and mostly is wandering around with a cup of coffee/tea in his hand). [however i do, do work].

so ive tried different variations of first putting 3/4 hot water and 1/4 milk then the tea bags then microwaving the sad styrofoam cup (is there a more depressing thing than looking at white styrofoam cups, but i shouldnt complain coz im too lazy to actually remember to rinse my ceramic coffee/tea mug.)

so as i was saying ive tried different combinations of the above in different orders. but it has the same bland yucky taste that everytime i take the first sip i cringe. ( again im not a tea drinker and i only do it so i dont fall asleep after lunch time) ( i cant even surf the net, to stay awake, coz of my manager and his manager sitting in so close proximity). and coz apathy hasnt hit me yet. ( the secretary of the head of the group actually makes bids on items on ebay during work quite obliviously to whoevers watching and she actually asks me whether they are good bids.)

anyway i don know about others i sort of expected a variation of the boss in dilbert. not my boss ( coz hes awesome) but i expected some other bosses to be that way. (yes i can be naive and all that) and so sometimes i expect the head of the groups not to absorb all this heavy duty math stuff and not to really "know know" whats going on. but impressively they do and they actually ask insightful questions that make you think why didnt i think of this. so yes dont believe everything you read and definetly not a comic book.

and today my boss gave me a tip about his boss, watch for the arch of the eyebrow if it is arched for more than a minute, understand things arent going that well for you.

if only we all came with handbooks for body language.

PS if anyone knows how to make a good cup of tea with only teabags, milk and a microwave. please let me know.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

is this part of an illusion?

no one friendship ever stays the same. it changes over time. you change. your friends change. and no matter how hard you try to hold on to the past, the faster it slips away. like holding sand tightly into your palm. and since im instrinsically idealistic, id like to believe that some sand grains remain in your hand, reminding you of your unique friendships.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

dillagi ka junoon, zindagi ka junoon.
i think sawant is someone to watch out for. this song has the sufistic appeal for soft rock music fans. and the video( on youtube) is good too. there is definetly something about rocky barren areas where not a single soul is to be seen and you can cruise around in a classic convertible. there is some kind of calming affect, to be surrounded only by nature and its quietness. that being said, i dont think i would be ever to take that road trip alone. or even with friends. it has its appeal but only visually. each his own. and i know you can never say never, and i do think it definetly should be tried once.
neway, back to soft rock. i wonder where those silk route guys disappeared. i actually thought they were good. and liked their other tracks far better than the one that got popular "boondein". i really liked them, they were quite an inspiration to wannabee guitarists like me.

on a totally random note, i recently read a comment on someones blog on the lines of that only sad pple blog. i dont think this is true at all. i dont htink its got anything to do with sadness. i think its more on the lines of expressing yourself. whether it may be about voicing your opinion on some political matter, cribbing about your life, posting random pictures or quizzes on your blog, writing useless stories of your day. its just a means to express yourself without the fear of sounding stupid. and the pseudo journalist in you.

sapno ko phir sajaye, umeedon ko jagaye yeh junoon

har baaton mein junoon
har vaadon mein junoon

armaanon ke diye mein jaise, lau kar chal aaye yeh junoon.


Monday, August 20, 2007

phir bi shehr ka shehr hai, main jo hoon yahan.

so today i called up a desi store in downtown manhattan coz i wanted to buy diyas. one of my best friends gets married on saturday and our gang has decided to do a dance with diyas. ive never even actually held a diya before so i wonder how its going to go. neway, so i called up this store and this is the conversation

me( in my nicest and sweetest myena jaisei voice) : hello, do you have diyas?
mean guy on the phone (thereafter reffered to as mgotp) : yes we do.
me : how many do you have and how much are they?
me (completely zapped now, thinking hes kiddding) : dont know? maybe you can..
*then hangs up, doesnt even say bye*

WTH. wat kind of shitty policy is THAT.

either he was in a really bad mood or he really does not know how to do business. im guessing he didnt want to tell me coz it was overpriced and terrible quality too. everything in the city is 10 times the price. the other day i saw kurtas that you get for 400 Rupees in Mumbai selling for 100 USD here.

ridiculous. they really think we are from ali-bhag. (no offence to alibhagers). not even nondesis fall for that.

neway so then i told my friends at work and after some voice modulation classes on how to say "diya", they are each to call that guy and ask for diyas. we will crack him by hook or by crook.

i know, im evil.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Baat dil ki kahoon, Hindustani jo hoon..

so i couldnt blog on independance day (15th august) and the only remotely celebratory thing i did to was read the inside special in Financial Times about India. then there are some elaborate plans to go tommorow to see the Indian Day Parade, where Priyanka Chopra is supposedly attending or something. God knows if thats going to happen. Nobody is that enthusiastic.

I guess its different if you actually are IN the city when independance is celebrated. and sometimes I dont really know what independance means to the newer generation. other than a day off from school and fireworks and bright lights. (of which i never did, coz fireworks were not allowed in dubai and i was never allowed to be part of the cool kids who did them anyway(

even my parents who were too young during the years after independance, dont really feel any "connection" to this day. its the case where if you dont go through it you dont feel it. "rang de basanti-ish" is our attitude. (the earlier part, i mean)

but that doesnt mean everyone feels the same. for some its a remembrance of how after so many years, we still are "qaidi" of own personal demons of race, color, religion, corruption, poverty and greed. for some its a case of looking at others and passing judgement from our own bubble. for some its a painful reminder that an eye for an eye makes everyone blind. for some its a recollection of things that could have been had we not been separated into smaller parts, only to suffer without each other.

its time to accept that whatever has happened has happened. its time to move on and be optimistic. if you dont, you will fall behind. i didnt make those rules, its just the way it is.

for me the strange thing is i grew up in dubai and i lived all my life there. so i could never really associate myself with india. i was very anti india. yes it sounds really horrible. it probably was. i was the spoilt kid who could only associate india with mosquitoes (blame my parnets for taking us there during the monsoon season). and i was the kid who used to cringe when we saw flies in the house and until they were all "eradicated" i couldnt sit in peace. where the guy who would be yelling while selling something early in the morning, would irritate me so much that i remember once actually going out and telling him to stop. ( i was that spoilt) . where i would ask my dad a zillion times "when are we going back". where i would actually lose weight on a holiday to india. the land of relatives and good food. where i would use all tricks in the book to avoid going out to relatives houses or even going to town(bombay main city) for that matter. i have so many stories.

so its a little strange, that when im here now in US. i find that i started speaking hindi more. and i as i grew older, i find that all those things which used to bug me dont matter anymore. i look forward to going to india, and especially during the monsoons. and if someone told me that you would have to move there and actually work there i really wouldnt mind. i like the bustling city, i like the haggling in the sabzi market, i like the joggers park near where we live. the street mess doesnt bug me as much. and i actually want to go to town, panvel and other areas which i never visited and want to see the city not just the touristy places. not only mumbai but even places like calcutta and chennai that ive never gone to. i cant explain why i feel this. well maybe coz i m not now so narrow minded and pathetic. but i feel almost like i belong. and i guess thats the indianness in me. theres a lot of loyalty i have for dubai coz i grew up there but theres also a lot of belonging in india. and theres also a lot of fondness for the US coz thats where i made the greatest friends, had the most opportunity and i guess the place where i first felt independant and felt i have potential to do anything.

ok now that i have rambled like a mad person.

heres the "filmy quote of the day" from someone who im a big fan of (majorly paraphrased). heard it on koffee with karan (ok, i admit i do like that show)

"we, generally keep on talking about generation gap. Generation Gap is generally there becoz there is some kind of lack of respect. If as older pple, we understand there are certain things that our children know and we dont understand.... And, we should be humble enough and honest enough to be able to learn that from them..... And then there are certain things, that YOU better understand, which we know and they dont know. We enrich each other. Then there is no generation gap."
- Javed Akhtar on Koffee with Karan.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

aaj puri azaadi

so im sure lot of pple have heard of jerry seinfeld's famous joke of a poll where they found that more pple are afraid of public speaking than skydiving. in other words you would rather be the person whose dead than the person who is giving the eulogy.

im afraid of public speaking, im the person whos heart beats faster by the second and if its really quiet you can actually hear it. i just find it weird hearing my voice and having a roomful of pple hearing it too. its almost like having an out of body experience.

however, i do think i hide my fear pretty well. but in order to be a great and engaging speaker, its not enough to hide the fear. the goal is to conquer it and forget that you are presenting and people are judging you.

todays workshop was focusing on your public speaking skills. and what struck me as pretty funny and strange at the same time, nearly everyone said that they felt nervous. even those who you think are extremely well spoken and confident. it almost reinforces the fact that the only thing you need to fear is fear itself. no one really cares and everyone is as scared as you.

its good to know. heres some things i learnt and perhaps they may help others who come across this post.

1. fill the umms ...errrs.. and aahhs with pauses.
2. its OK to pause. in fact you SHOULD pause. allowing things to sink in.
3. the faster your delivery, the more junior level you depict
4. move your hands (ive always moved my hands when talking and it used to irritate my parents a lot. its funny how you have to unlearn everything you have learnt sometimes)
5. maintain eye contact and not too superficially, try and focus on one person at a time, then another. rather than skipping over quickly.
6. try to make the style slightly conversational
7. keep it simple dont overwhelm with superlative words.
8. ask questions, tell your stories if you have any. and only add jokes if you can pull it off well.
9. practice, practice practice
10. smile. a lot.

so these points are what i got out of the workshop. quite a few i faltered on espeically the umms. and errs..and pauses. i talk really fast when im nervous. like i want to get it over and done with. and i got a lot of feedback and towards the end i felt my nervousness become a little less.
The class was really sweet to me and i ended up getting quite a few positive criticisms and was told that they find me trustworthy and my gentle and smily demeanour is quite pleasant. this is a big relief to me, since banking professionals especially women have to project a more louder personality in order to be appreciated. but thats just not me. and as much as i try its hard for me to be something im not. and sometimes when someone comments its good to be yourself, you feel good.

point of this random verbose tale: be yourself and be sincere. no matter what anyone says.


Monday, August 13, 2007

oh how quiet..quiet the world can be..when its just You and little me.

so todays training was about the soft skills that we bring to work. we started off with a personality test based on the four personalities DISC behavior model. so basically, you fall into one or two of the following categories: D (Dominant) I (influence) S (steadiness) C (Conscientiousness). I ended up being a combination of S and C, mainly the perfectionists who are easygoing but have a tough time selling their ideas. the ones who avoid conflicts at all costs.

anyone who knows me will know im far far from the perfectionist. but i do believe some parts are true. im easygoing and will do everything possible to avoid a conflict. the reason is simple. i really dont know how to react. often when im angry i prefer to hang up rather than continue fighting or just leave the room rather than having a showdown and say harsh words. i do say them sometimes . but i just dont like it. and also im really bad at arguing, i tend to forget. i dont forget that im angry. i realize i am still angry and am still quite flushed and upset but i forget why im justified in being angry and i cant explain to the other and it becomes a losing battle and the point i wanted to make is lost. and then like most S personalities we wont really show our feelings to everyone just those who we are close to. and sometimes we brood on it and sometimes we dont. sometimes we realize its best to forget. and sometimes we hope that we can run. and hide.

and i really cant change this personality trait of mine. some pple think we are being "too nice" or in worse terms its equated to "ass-licking". which i really think is a bit unfair or a label.

i think its just really strange that when sometimes you ahve to deal with Dominant personalities. its considered perfectly ok for the dominating personalities to throw their weight around or be rude, abrupt and impatient. its considered ok coz thats "just the way they are"

and that strikes me as really odd. when did being civil to everyone and saying something critical in a nicer way became a bad thing? when did diplomacy become a negative word? when did not hurting pples feelings became a sucking up thing to do and saying it like it is the brave thing to do.

the more i go through these workshops, the more i find that in order to be successful and progress at their firm, its not enough to do an excellent job and be passionate about your work, you have to fill the stereotype that is perceived of "great leaders"


Sunday, August 12, 2007

If God is a DJ...Life is a dance floor.
You get what you're given, its all how you use it...

there are times where you think life isnt that fair and why do some things happen and why some things dont happen. and you think why does it always happen to you.

then there are those times where you see that you have family that care about you and not coz they are supposed to... but coz they want to and are your friends by choice. the same with friends that despite the ups and downs of your friendships, you still matter to them (and vice versa) no matter how much they or you screw up.

its the latter part of the times that count. and that help you realize how blessed you truly are.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

aat dus ki pehli local.

today was my longest ever commute to work. it took me +3 hours to get to work(normally takes 45 mins). i had more than half a mind to call in sick. nearly all the trains were out of service, because of some heavy rain in the morning. (although i really didnt think it was that heavy) and when i stepped out of the house i was like "wow aaj kuch khafi shant hai, kya baat hai" and i was also proud of the fact that i left home early, so I could reach well before time.

khayr, after i discovered this major issue, the second option was going by cab or bus. but its fate that you can never get a cab when you REALLY want one. otherwise when you dont want one, a million cabs will stop in front of you. getting on a bus wasn't an easy task either and after a lot of pushing and shoving, mera number finally agaya, but it was super crowded bus, i couldnt breathe or move. it was so so cramped and the bus was hardly moving, and i injured someone in the eye with my bag. so i did the best thing one can do in this sveltering heat: i walked. and after walking "aimlessly" south, i later on did something i've never done before either, i.e take a cab with 3 other strangers who were all heading out to wall street. we hardly spoke to each other in the commute, it was like sitting in the train but smaller version.

after having stressed the whole morning, i had a moment. while sitting in the cab i finally gave up. i didn't care anymore whether i was late, whether my manager gets called asking why im absent, whether i have to stay after training to hear a lecture on punctuality (im does sometimes happens at other places though),i just didnt care. the epitome of apathy. and when in fact, i started to feel like the guy from "Office Space", and was just about to get out of the cab and spend the rest of the day at a museum, like a sad twist of fate the cab reached work.

and then slowly but surely, my stress crept back in.

two things learnt :_
i have a new found respect for those who commute in super crowded modes of transport.
new yorkers cannot survive without the metro.(train system).
and they should not be forced to survive it either.
and as law abiding, super-heavy tax paying citizens we have a right to trains 24-7.
Sarfaroshi ki tamana ab hamara dil mein hain!
signing off for now,
- a little crazy and a lot tired me.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

darna zaroori hai..

so here's what happend to me on the subway yesterday. these two desi guys (typical software engineers guys.. i can bet my whole years salary that they were!) got on the subway yesterday and quickly sat down next to the 2 free spots next to me. after they sat down they realized, i was desi. the guy sitting next to me got super scared for some reason and was chipkofying to the other guy, almost like he was going to sit on his lap. and with every movement of mine, he would get really nervous. it only helped when i took out my ipod to change the song.

his thought process "shit desi girl....oooooh nice it 4gb or 8gb..does it have video?".

i got off at the next station and a cardiac arrest was prevented.

just to be mean, i could've taken out my camera just before getting off, and should've taken a picture and said "hey guys, say cheez". im sure they would have fainted. hahah. jk. sadly, i only think in my head.

Gabbar singh: Yahan sey pachaas pachaas kos duur jab bacha rota hai to maa bolti hai soo ja betey soo jaa, warna desi larki aa jayegi".

hahahha. im lame, i know. but they were lamer, seriously.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

phir bhi dil hai hindustani...

so i found this clipping on youtube of Indian Idol 3. I didnt even see the first and second Indian Idols, so it really was very random. The clipping is of Meiyang Chang, a third generation chinese, who is now indian. His audition was on "Gunji See hai" from Kyun Ho Gaya Na. After the clipping, I was shocked. Not, coz I dont know that there are people of chinese origin living in India. I do know that. But, I was shocked by the way he sang it. and how fluent he was in hindi. (far far more fluent than me). not to mention that he has a great voice. and i really like the way Javed Akhtar ( a judge on the show) describes Chang's voice, its the voice of "a good person".
i think so too.
I started thinking about this time where I was interning, there was a guy who could only speak his native tongue fluently and only broken english despite having lived in the States for 10 years and having gone to an Ivy League school. At that time, I was shocked too. Coz, I couldnt understand how that would be possible. how can you not speak english after living here for 10 years and having gone to school here. But as someone explained, if one sticks to their own community and never ventures out of their "comfort zone", the zone that one grew up with- that one is habituated too. it then becomes possible to live in your own world.
im not passing judgement on them, coz I feel that I have done it too/do it too. After having lived in the Gulf so many years, I feel almost ashamed when someone asks me " so do you know how to speak arabic?" and the most I can answer is only words and I can string a few sentences together. and sometimes to defend myself i will add that i know how to read and write. sometimes I have to explain how everyone speaks english there and how you dont really need to know arabic and how there is a huge expat community there..blah blah blah.
but it really is a shame, that i dont know. i blame it on my high school and there clear separation of arabs and nonarabs. they really should make arabic a mandatory language to learn in school in the Gulf. its just part of being assimilated, in the true sense.
im also tempted to say when in rome, do like the romans. but honestly i dont feel that. i think we all are different, and its stupid to be all homogenous in every single thing. coz friendship transcends all that. however, key to friendship is having an understanding of each other. and when you can speak the language, you are now able to make yourself be understood.
back to the topic at hand, heres a dekko of meiyang chang's rendering (who is super cute as well) . hes also a dentist . (my dentist so does not look like this)
(courtesy youtubers)


Friday, August 03, 2007

you're beautiful... its true.

Hanging out. Down the street.
The same old thing, we did last week!
Not a thing to do, but talk to you!
We're all alright..We're all alright!

- That 70's song

they say relationships are difficult. i, sometimes agree and sometimes i really dont. i often think that we get many a signs and we actualy have all the "clues" and we have all the pieces we need to make the puzzle and therefore see the clearer picture.

but often we dont see it coz we dont want to.

a friend of mine recently was very mistreated by someone she used to "see", and as much as i sympathize with her , i couldnt understand why after being rebuffed so many times in a very cold way she still went through round after round of humiliation. and even after i gave her the sympathy talk, the no nonsense talk, the angry talk she did the same thing over again and faced more humiliation again. the more it happened, the more her confidence level went down. and seriously if someone doesnt treat you nicely, they really are not worth even thinking about.

i guess there is only so much you can say or do for someone, after that its upto them. and perhaps its the bitter truth but some pple prefer to realize it the hard way.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

abhi abhi merai dil mein..yei khyaal aya hai..

so im really not fond of networking and am quite famous/notorious for not having attended many a events in college/work. i guess small talk really annoys me. and there is only so many times you can ask pple the same repetitive things feigning enthusiasm. weather-check. where do you live-check, which group are you in - check. so to avoid the boredom, i just skip the whole event altogether.

but this week, i did the "be a good friend" thing and accompanied a friend of mine to a far east asian event, so that she can meet more far east asian pple and possibly meet someone. [it can happen]. so other than role of a friend i became in addition the overbearing mom.

sadly it wasnt a great event, pple were quite pretentious. and now im quite convinced its not a desi thing the whole putting up an accent and pretending your ancestors were related to Columbus. its an all world phenomena. and to top it off, i was one of the three only non far east asian person . so hardly anyone spoke to me, which was not a bad thing. (antisocial, i know). the only pple we met were more interested in getting our contacts so that they can land the greatest jobs at our firms. the grass is always greener on the other side. but what they dont realize is im a tiny fish in the vast vast ocean. im not even those fish who look tiny but bully the other fish in the tank kinds. in fact, i m not even a fish im like the tiniest pebble in the sand. i have little to nothing say in who gets recruited.

anyway, i wish sometimes i could say exactly wat is in my head. sadly, i know i cant, so i blog. anyway back to the story, there was however two guys who showed interest in my friend, and coz i know my friend i knew the first one wasnt really her "type" (everyone has a type whoever says they dont is just plain lying),
so neway i became the pushy mom and tried to cut the conversation. (coz im such a villain). the second one was a doctor but i got really weird-shady-vibes from him. and there is just no reason why. u just do sometimes. and it wasnt just me who thought it, so did she.

i wonder why some pple give off the weird vibe, i wonder if i, myself give off that vibe to others too. i probably do.

so neway the doctor did call my friend. he cant be angling for a job in her firm for sure. so he is probably interested and considering theres nothing to lose, u never know. so being the over protective "mom" that i am gave the following advice,meet in a public place and dont ever leave your table even to go to the bathroom. the other plan b is for a bunch of us to shadow their table to make sure the doctor is normal. hopefully the phrase never judge a book by its cover holds true.


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