Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Brothers and Sisters

You are travelling in a train and your co-passengers strike up a conversation with you, and if they happen to be aunty – uncle types, they start asking all sorts of varied details about your family. And if you happen to be travelling from Hyderabad to Vizag, the questions are asked in even more detail in the hope of finding some tenuous connection (because, you know, all Vizagites know one another) and then bafflingly, delighting in it.

Well, a lot of times when I say I have a sister and no other siblings, they respond with ‘Just two sisters? No brothers?’ in a tone of mingled surprise and pity. Since I also felt sorry for myself for not having a brother and being stuck with a little sister instead, I actually appreciated their sympathy, and vaguely assumed they felt sorry simply because we were missing out on the fun that comes with having a brother. As a natural corollary, I thought they would feel pity and surprise for male siblings without any sisters.

A couple of days ago, I was ruminating over this, and I wondered if my theory that it was equally applicable to male and female siblings was right. So I carried out a small survey – I asked six guy friends and six girl friends, all of whom only had siblings of the same sex, if they were ever met with a ‘Oh! No brothers/sisters?’ in that tone of surprise and pity. All but one of the girls said they had faced this – either very occasionally or several times. Not a single one of the guys said they had faced such a question, and found it rather funny – three of the guys also added that usually there is a sense of appreciation/ envy that it’s just boys (but these guys could very likely be saying that just to irritate me so I won’t really take that into consideration).

Clearly a significant section of middle class (though middle aged / elderly) urban Indians still consider a male child more desirable than a female child (do note that I am just saying preferable – doesn’t mean they don’t want any girl children at all). Not that I’m surprised in the least bit, because there are definite historic, economic and social reasons which have formed this bias, and it’s hard to easily shake off something that has been so ingrained.

So while it is a little sad, it’s not something that makes me particularly surprised or angry or indignant. I just thought it was an interesting snippet, and wanted to share it.

Yeah, that’s all, that is the end of it!

P.S: Do try to come up with some thing more original than 'burn burn burn' if you are going to comment (You know I'm looking at you guys :p)

P.P.S: Just like I predicted, it was a MI – CSK final. I thought MI would win, though I didn’t really care who finally won. Meanwhile, is it just me or is anyone else thoroughly sick of the IPL tamasha and the random, hyper media coverage?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekend Diary

So ArmyBoy came down to Hyderabad from London for a month long holiday. This was his first visit back home after he left for the UK almost two years ago, and I was dying to meet him but I was reluctant to travel to Hyderabad, what with my exam hardly a month away, and another trip to Hyderabad anyway scheduled in the 2nd week of May for Samee’s graduation. So the gang very sweetly planned a trip to Bangalore to visit me. Yayyy for my awesome college friends! 

They landed here early on Friday morning and the rest of the day was spent lazing around the house. It was a cool and pleasant day, and the guys chugged away the beers. Swetha made Chicken Manchurian and Prawn Something, both of which were gobbled up in a couple of minutes flat. Army boy made some spicy chicken, which we ate along with dal and rice. After that lunch, everyone just lay around on the carpet and dozed off. It was a great way to spend the day with old friends.

In the evening, we dressed up (the girls, that is) and headed out to Opus. We were imagining a pub/club kind of place with a big screen where we hoped to catch the DC – KXIP match, but it turned out to be more of a rather quiet, sedate lounge kind of place. We were initially disappointed with the atmosphere but the service more than made up for it and we ended up cheering them before we left. They have some great value unlimited food and drink packages, and they kept both coming even before we finished what was on the table.

Now biryani was part of the package we had ordered but we didn’t get around to it since we were all so busy dancing. The wait staff very generously packed the biryani for us to take away, without us even asking for it! How is that for service to please? So here is a shout put for Opus! So we finished the day with midnight ice-cream at BR (slurp slurp) and a late night game of Taboo! If you know Nike at all, you will also know that there will never be a time when we don’t play Taboo if there are more than 4 people in the house.

The gang left early Saturday morning to Coorg. It took me a great amount of willpower to refuse to go with them, but the darned exam! L Like I always say, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do! So Saturday was largely spent with my books – I was feeling so sorry for myself for not being in Coorg that I thought I might as well make it worth it by really studying, and so I did study longer that I have for a while now.

Sunday was spent cleaning up by me (since our maid has gone AWOL and we are desperately looking for a new maid) and cooking (by Nike). It drizzled and was really pleasant in the evening so we went to an open-air CCD and spent a couple of hours there playing Ingenious. Tomorrow is ArmyBoy’s birthday so it is party time, before they leave for Hyderabad tomorrow night.

Sunday ended on a good note with the DD – DC match, which DC won. :-) Now my top two teams – RCB and DC – are in the semis, and I’m a happy girl! (My Dad is being randomly regionalist and is happy that all the 3 south Indian teams are in the semis) I will be cheering madly for RCB and DC in the semis, but I have a feeling that it will be a MI – CSK final this year. RCB is performing rather disappointingly despite their amazing batting line up, they have been losing wickets way too easily, and have lost matches that should have been theirs (memories of the match against DC are especially painful). 

I’m not too happy that RCB is playing against MI in the semis – it’s less to do with MI’s invincibility and more to do with my suspicions that Lalit Modi will ensure that the home team will play in the finals. It’s also sad that RCB won’t be playing at home during the semis, but given they won the away match against MI and lost the home match, it could be a good sign (yes, we are vague and random and superstitious about IPL). Whatever, it’s going to be a very exciting IPL week ahead.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Of Summer Showers

Today, as I got home from some grocery shopping and sat down at my desk, it suddenly started raining. You know that incredible smell of the earth cooling down, that comes before it starts raining? That’s how it has been since evening. And then it rained, and it was a sudden, short, strong burst, and now the air smells wet and clean and fresh. Sigh!

I always associate these lovely summer showers with Bangalore. In fact, some of my nicest memories of summer are in Bangalore. The first time I visited Bangalore was in the summer of 2003, which was the starting point of a trip with a whole bunch of aunts and cousins. We all marvelled at how cool and pleasant it was, right in the middle of summer. We admired how green and clean it was. We went to Lalbagh and Cubbon Park and bought saplings to take home. We walked along MG Road and Brigade Road, and had lunch at Pizza Hut, a very rare treat for us in those days.

My second visit to Bangalore was in the summer of 2004, for my IIM interviews, which were held at the IIMB campus. The first time I went to campus, it was a very bright green, and it looked brighter and greener against the grey stone and I fell in love. After my interview, my mom and I went to the charming little CCD on the campus. I remember telling her that I was in love with the campus, and it was too bad I wasn’t going to study there since I was going to go to IIMA. You know what they say about being careful about what you say, because the Gods are listening? Well, within two months I was back on campus, and this time, I was going to be there for the next two years.

The summer of 2005 remains my best summer as an adult. After a week’s break at home, I came back to a Bangalore that was raining and so incredibly beautiful. That day remains etched in my memory. I landed at the airport on a hot afternoon, but by the time I went back to campus, it had gotten cooler. I unpacked and got out on to the mezzanine area, and suddenly it started raining, and the campus just transformed into this green paradise. That night, we went to the recently opened PVR in Forum, and watched ‘Socha Na Tha’, a movie that completely floored me, and which remains a favourite to this day (and laid the foundations for a long lasting love for Abhay Deol).

That summer was lovely. I had a summer internship which was very laidback. I went to work in the morning (my work often involved spending the day organising training programmes at 5 star hotels across the city so it was rather cushy); I came out of office quite early, got back to campus, and sat at the CCD with a book in my hand and a coffee at the table till the sun went down and it wasn’t light enough to read anymore. (Till this day I  can't resist the urge to sit in an open air CCD when the weather is glorious). Later in the night, we would go out for dinner; that summer, we went out for dinner every single day, and discovered many lovely little places.

Sometimes I went skating in the tennis court. Nobody would be around and I’d skate around aimlessly for hours, just lost in the moment. I learnt to play basketball. I shopped on the streets on weekends. We got wet in the summer rain. We often had movie nights at l-square. One night, we ‘borrowed’ the projector, projected the movie on to the wall of a friend’s room, and watched a horror movie. It was an unforgettable experience. We watched a movie almost every day. We often slept on the terrace, under the stars.

It wasn’t just a carefree, happy time; those two months were almost magical, like everything else around me got suspended at the time so that I could live in that moment and experience it with an  intensity I never have before or since. Every summer since, I have thought of that summer with a sense of nostalgia and longing and wistfulness so deep that it makes my heartache just a little, for that time that is over, and will never come back again.

Monday, April 05, 2010


Sunitha Krishnan fights sex slavery | Video on TED.com

This video breaks my heart.

But this woman inspires tremendous respect. I can't imagine the extraordinary courage this woman possesses to talk publicly about being gang-raped, and to not see herself as a victim. She's stood up to violent attacks during her rescue missions, she's lost a worker in the process and still continues to do carry on her work with conviction and passion. 

If this affects you strongly, check out her website here. Spread the word.

P.S: Thanks to Rahul for the link.