Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

A tale of two tears..

Scene 1:

Sunday 21st August 2005, morning 12:00 AM. Sri surprised me with a cake, candles, banners and a balloon for my birthday. He was doing suspicious stuff all evening long, but I gave him space as I didn't want to spoil it ;-) Well, that's not the point of the story. Its just that when he sang happy birthday, I was so overwhelmed that tears just flooded my eyes. It was a mingling of happiness and sadness. Happy that he had done all that and sad that we are two people on the other side of the world celebrating it all alone, together, but alone...

Scene 2:

Tuesday 23rd August 2005, evening 4:30 PM. Just went to the apartment mail box place, to collect our mails. One of the mails was a package from mom, dad and Darsh. They had told me on my birthday that they had sent something by courier, but didn't tell me what. Yet, on opening the package, again, tears started forming in my eyes. Ran home and had a good cry. Precisely another situation where happiness and sadness mingled. Happy that they had managed to send a gift across two oceans and sad that they didn't manage to send themselves or pull me there :( Sri consoled me and later teased me saying "You are crying only because you think that the ear rings they sent are really small". That earned him a teary grin and a playful punch :)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Twenty five years later...

Yup!! My 25th birthday - quarter century, silver jubilee and what not! Hey Chans, I am proud to say that I too am an ollllllllld married woman now :-D (Chans always claims that women on the other side of 25 are old :-D). So, now that I'm also the occupant of your territory, how do you feel? :-D >:)

By the way, my previous post Time and Tide Part 2 was a subtle reminder for my birthday ;-) :-D Got the hint? :-D Well, if you haven't, then be ready to face dire consequences :))

I thought a lot on what to blog on my 25th birthday. I had thought of a post called "What I wanna do in the next 25 years", "25 and not out" and so on. But finally decided that the post has to be a kind of dedication to all the people in my life who have influenced me in various ways for TWENTY FIVE years. Thanks for being there for me all you people :) And, yup, you guessed it, this post was not written in one day. It was planned for more than a fortnight and executed step-by-step :-D

25 years ago...

The diva was born on Thursday, 21st August 1980 at about 5:35 AM in the morning in a small town Shimoga, Karnataka, India hehehehe :)) My mom tells me I was a small pink pretty baby in her arms. It seems my parents decided that when I was born, they'd strive hard so that I'd be educated and I'd be able to stand on my own two feet :) They have succeeded and how! I owe my life to them. Thanks mom and dad, for believing in me and for making me into what I am today :) The only problem is that right now, I'm thousands of miles away from them. But distances shouldn't matter as long as, in our hearts, we are close..

24 years ago...

My mom tells me that my first word may probably have been "Ma ma". She's not sure. I asked her and she said "How can you expect me to remember after 24 years?". I ask you the same thing. How can you expect me to remember what my first words were, 24 years ago? A big :-p to you!!

(Update: Mom tells me she thought a lot about it and that it was ma, later pa and then ja. All short forms for amma, appa and ajja :)))

23 years ago...

I've been ragged about this story all my life :-! It seems my aunt got married this year. As a young child of 2 years who is able to talk, I was totally impressed with my aunt's saree, moggina jade (Jasmine-knitted plait) and the whole dressing up :). It seems I went to my ajja (grandfather) and asked him with all innocence "Ajja, when will you marry me off?" Heheheee. This is not an in-built memory, but an embedded one, cause I really don't remember saying it :)

22 years ago...

It seems Ammi akka (my cousin) used to stay with us then. But I really don't remember. What I do remember is that a fruit used to grow in our house. It'd go "pop" when you smash it to your forehead :) I also remember that I had a nanny by name of Vasanthi and that once she had hit me with a stick very bad. I remember mom being really angry with her. Isn't it strange, the way we remember beatings more than the kisses, the way we remember the scoldings more than the loving words? Later Vasanthi left one day to go to her town. I have no idea at all where she is now..

21 years ago...

Dad was transferred to Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh and mom was expecting Darshan. Everyone always used to ask me "Do you want a brother or a sister?". I remember saying "Sister" promptly. And I ended up with Darsh :-D I remember being a bit disappointed then. Now I'm not. Darsh is a wonderful brother as well as a wonderful friend :) He is studying his final year of Computer science engineering now. He's already placed into a good company through campus. Cannot believe we have grown so ollllld :)) Darshu, looks like we are heading very fast towards being a muduka (old man) and a muduki (old woman) as you call it ;-)

20 years ago...

I have my first memories of school from this year. I remember one day being taken out of one class-room and seated in another. I didn't understand what was happening then. Later I was told that I was given a double promotion. It seems I already had learnt the whole syllabus of U.K.G (ha ha ha :-D) and was ready for 1st std before I was even half-way through U.K.G. So they put me into 1st std class mid-year :)) There were no age rules then, it seems ;-) Archana was my best friend then. It seems I used to speak Telugu like a pro. "Archana raave" used be the oft-repeated phrase that people heard from me. Heck, I even remember saying it. I remember playing with her a lot. We used to live in an outhouse then with the owner's house right inside the compound. They used to have a dog. Don't remember his name, but I remember he bit me twice ;-) My mom tells me that he used to bark like mad whenever she scolded me :-D Love and hate relationship huh? :-D

19 years ago...

I remember only three things about this year. The first was that we had a annual school day function in which I had danced a deepa (candle light in hand) dance and another dance with a guy Abhishek who was Archana's older brother. I remember I wore my white frilly frock for the second one and Abhi wore a suit kind of thing. The frock was really my favourite at that time. We danced to "Ye he mumbai meri jaan" :)) The second thing was leaving the school as my dad had been transferred to Bangalore. I remember I had gone to school to bid farewell and the principal had given me pakoras to eat. I don't remember his name, but I remember the pakoras ;-) Sad :-D The third thing was that my mom tried to put me into 1st std in the Bangalore PTA school I was joining as she was worried that it may affect my future studying with older students. But there were no seats available for 1st and she had to resign to the fact that I'd join 2nd std. Thats why most of my classmates have always been 1 year older than me, other than those who had situations similar to me. I've never had a problem with this as it has never mattered for friendship or competition :-D

18 years ago...

The only few things I remember of PTA school are four friends Mangala, Yasmin, Shobha and Akram, the way we used to play tag, that I had won a first prize for singing a rhyme (!!! :-D, it was "sing a song of sixpence" with a dance ;-) I still remember the dance :-D), that whenever we used to see a plane we used to sing "aeroplane tata" :-D (Those were rare those days :-D) and I had got mumps from my neighbourhood friend Smitha. Small moments do make great memories :))

17 years ago...

We changed houses and hence I had to change schools. I completed my 3rd standard and joined SSVM for the 4th. We shifted to Banashankari. Amit and Charu used to live the house opposite and we became friends almost instantly. Charu was in the same class as Darsh. We used to have wonderful imaginations and we'd pretend we are all in the same family and that one is a doctor, one is a scientist, one is a pilot etc. I remember watching jungle book at their house and playing legos :) Charu is all grown up now and Amit is no more. He died in a motorcycle accident few years ago which was a shock to all of us. He was only 2 years younger than me. Don't know why God does that! But I have so many memories of the house. We had a guava tree in our house as well as the neighbours. I used to climb it :) I also found a dead butterfly once and I remember cremating it with all ceremony!

16 years ago...

I didn't talk about the new school in the previous para because I need to fill 4 years worth, cause thats how long I was in the school :) I met 2 of my best friends here. Sushma and I were immediate friends. She was a total fighter cock and a tomboy. Now she's married to Sham and she's the mother of a sweet little girl Sunidhi. I had gone to invite her to my wedding and she said "We were 2 little kids with 2 pig tails, how did we end up like this?" :)) Another was Soumya. I was always jealous of her as she was good at everything (Soum, there you have it! The big confession ;-) :-D). She was always the first in class, she was good at singing and dancing. She was not a best friend as such in my primary school, but later in P.U went on to become one :)

15 years ago...

I remember so many things about S.S.V.M, I could write a separate post on it :)) The teachers Padma miss, Nalinamba miss, Chandrika miss, Shyamala miss, the fighting with the boys, oh yeah, that was the best part. Girls and boys would always be fighting each other. We were competitive from ranks in class to who gets how many prizes in what :) There were 4 guys we considered as enemies Aravind, Rajaram, Anand and Sunil. We had named them ARAS (first letters of their names :) ) and we'd have codes and what not :) What fun!! There were other girls and guys who were friends like Anusha, Gayathri, Manju, Anil, Brijesh and Guru Basava. I have to write atleast a few lines about Guru Basava. He used to sit right next to me. I used to help him out with his studies. He always would say "After 7th std, I'll go back to my native place Kollegala and do farming there." I remember I had literally wrestled with him once (not at all like a lady :-D). He was lots of fun though a total budhdhu. I'd be so proud of him whenever he'd get good marks. I hope he is where he wants to be now. Again me not knows where he is..

14 years ago...

I was the class minder when I was in 6th std. Sounds like a big title but all I had to do was watch if anyone was talking when the teacher wasn't there in the class and write their names down on the board. I would jot names and later erase them before the teacher came in :-D I was in the singing team for assembly (What we had to do was sing prayers and all other students would repeat after us) and I was also in the singing team for the school. I remember we won a prize in the inter-branch school competitions. I also used to sing for annual days. We'd have special poojas on Fridays and yup, we'd have a singing session. The exams were also lots of fun with oral exams also added. We would have posters and ask questions to other teams. Man, I truly miss those days!

13 years ago...

Completed my 7th Std exams. Scored a really good percentage which got me a seat in Vijaya High school which only took the top students. I was proud as a peacock then. I remember having a farewell party where we had a fashion show. I remember dressing up and cat-walking and later being really embarrassed :-D But it was really sad parting ways with my closest friends. Sushma's father was transferred to Mysore. So we exchanged mails addresses (NO email then ;-) ) and we kept in touch to the surprise of many people. Soumya joined Vijaya High school too but she was in a different section. Some of the guys joined there too. As for the rest, I don't even know what happened to all of them. Yes, I have their autographs safe in a book and most of their addresses too (which would have probably become null and void long time back :-D). Wish we had had emails then. Email address is something more constant these days in the constantly changing world :)

12 years ago...

Met new people and made new friends. Pavana and Rashmi were my closest friends. Pavana was brilliant in Mathematics and a total tomboy. I still remember her lectures on Palindromes :-D Rashmi was totally opposite, I mean, she was totally feminish and emotional. But she was equally intelligent, but more into Biology. I was somewhere n the middle grounds :) I have so many memories with them, of Vijaya High school and the teachers there. I also had this major head-over-heals crush on a basketball player in school. He probably didn't even know I existed. Wonder where the guy is these days! Sorry Sri ;-) I am such a sucker for dimples, you know ;-)

11 years ago...

Had this silly fight with Pavana and Rashmi. I regret to this very day that I never tried to patch things with them. I could have, but didn't. It was a major lesson learnt, I almost never did things rashly again. I almost always thought of consequences first before I said or did anything after that incident. I don't even know where they are now, how they are, are they married, etc. If only I could turn back time, I'd definitely change this part of my life and wish I could be friends with them again...

10 years ago...

Finished my S.S.L.C (10th Std) with flying colours. With the great percentage I had scored, I was able to get into National, College, Jayanagar which was the dream college of every South Bangalore student. Took up PCMB. But this was not the major point of the year.

Ajja passed away even before my 10th exams. He was totally hale and hearty. He never once fell ill or never would be seen sitting idle. He had gone for a visit to Nanjangud and nobody knows what happened. He had a heart-attack that evening. My cousin Ammi and Prakash bhava, with whom he was staying then, rushed him to the hospital. But on the way, he had a 2nd massive heart-attack. He was no more by the time we reached Mysore. I remember dad driving the car like mad that evening. I remember Darsh and me crying. I remember getting his body to Bangalore in a car. I also remember seeing him for the last time. There have been so many times when I wished he was with us. Today we are so much better financially, professionally and personally and he's not here to see it. Many relatives appreciated the fact that I had got a great percentage in my 10th despite this tragedy. I believe it was due to Ajja's aashirwaada. Ajja, we miss you a lot...

9 years ago...

First P.U.C - Made new friends, who went on to became the best friends I ever had. We were such friends that after we parted, say its one friend's birthday, all of us would land at that person's house without a warning. Our moms actually got used to these unexpected visits and would be prepared ;-)

I already mentioned about Soumya. Soum is doing her PhD in Michigan here in US. In organic chemistry!! Darsh is totally in awe of her. He keeps saying "How can anyone do a PhD in Organic Chemistry, I'll never understand!!" :-D

Vandu (Vanditha) was intelligent (note the past tense, Vandu, please don't kill me :-D). Ok Ok she is intelligent now too. She got 14th rank (Hope I got it right) in 10th std and was really proud of it. Off topic, I had got the 30th rank at state level ;-). She is right now in a good position in a good software company :))

Vani was the most earliest of my friends to get married. I call her an old married woman and she flares up :-D Says, a woman can't be too old anytime :)). She would pretend to be a bit serious then. She is now happily married to Prasanna and expecting her first child this October.

Susmith (Susmitha) was probably the quietest in the group, I really can't say who was the most talkative. If I claim it was me, I am gonna get minimum 3 mails contradicting me :)) Quietly studious, she is now in Pune in (again!) a software company. She was the first to get into a job.

We used to call hammering lectures as kivi alli raktha barodu :-D (means blood is flowing from my ears as I can't stand the lecture :-D). We even had named 2 lecturers as full-blade and half-blade as they used to be maha-bores :)) I also remember that Vani, Soum and me won a prize in the Kannada anthakshari with the prize being 5 cassettes each :)) Again I could write a whole post on this period of my life :)

8 years ago...

I finished my 2 PUC with fly-able colours. Got into P.E.S.I.T which was again, precisely the college I wanted. But took up electronics, while I actually wanted computers. Anyways thought the exposure to hardware would do me good. And boy! Was I wrong! Whatever I'm doing now has no connection whatever with what I learnt then. It was the time for new friends as all the close friends went to different colleges/ took up different options. Susmith and Soum stayed in National college to take up BSc. Vandu and Vani joined Ambedkar college of engineering.

But the hightlight of the year was a drama we played in 2nd P.U. "Ondu Lokada Kathe" which's been recently made into the movie "Paheli" with the ending changed a bit. And I was the ghost :-D I said this to someone and was told "You must have been very apt for the role" hehehe :)) I had to whirl and swirl, swallow a knife (actually it went into my gown front pocket) but it was loads of fun. Mohan who is a pretty famous kannada actor now was our director. He always would comment on my whirling saying "You are whirling like a broken helicopter wing" :)) Vani was playing the role of Anupam kher and I'd always call her my artificial father. She'd correct me by saying "I'm not artificial, you are my artificial son" :-D It was just great!! Another thing that happened to me this year was a small accident. A pole fell on my head in college and I had to get 3 stitches.. I remember my principal VS (we used to call him Teddy bear as he was plump and chubby) and a lecturer DMR (we called him damar meaning explosion :-D) visited me at home. From then on whenever VS would see me, he'd ask "Nin tale sari aaitha?" meaning "Is your head alright?". We would laugh like crazy because it also implied mental instability in another sense :))

7 years ago...

Engineering life was fast. One semester would start and be over in no time. Its as if we never got any time for anything :) I made another group of great friends here which I ought to mention.

Habee is a wonderful friend and was again the the first in the group to get married. She married Aijazullah (Hope I got the spelling right :)) I always would pinch her cheeks :))

Hema is another good friend. I would land at her house whenever I wanted cause she used to stay very near to mine. Another wonderful coincidence is that she was born exactly the same day as me only an year earlier. So, Happy birthday Hema :) She got married to Raghavendra just a week after my marriage and is expecting twins somewhere in Jan :)

Geetha was the delight of the group. She'd look at any of our dresses and say "This thread might get undone after a wash :-D". She said it so many times that later we started saying it before she'd even think "Geetha, this fabric might fade away na?" :)) She was totally against marriage, hope she has changed her mind a bit now :)

6 years ago...

Engineering was tough in a lot of ways, but it was fun in a lot more. I was in the music club and would sing for annual days (named first Techniche` and later Atmatrisha). The classes were fun and so were the labs (except when we'd struggle to get the outputs). There used to be fierce competition in the three tests we'd have. I always strived to get 25/25 in every test and would succeed most of the time :) But it was basically being with friends which made it more enjoyable. There's lots to write about the lecturers like Bindu maa'm, Anuradha maa'm, the principal Sathyanarayan sir (I could dedicate a whole blog to him!), and how we'd play pranks in some hopeless classes. We sat in the first bench but would play tic tac toe ;-) Thankfully unlike my previous year classmates, the engineering class has a yahoo group and we still get updates of the important things happening in every one's lives :)

5 years ago...

In 6th semester, I got through campus selection into my first company. I remember I didn't even want to take the test as the placement was in Chennai and I didn't want to leave Bangalore. I simply attended the presentation for timepass. But I was so impressed that I stayed on for the test and got through!! I had an interview in the afternoon and I wasn't even dressed for it! I called up dad and asked him "What do I do?", he replied "Go for it!". So went to a friend's house and managed to make myself look a bit better. But while coming back, it started raining heavily and I got thoroughly drenched!! I attended the interview looking like a wet rat and still got through!! Later luckily for me I was placed in Bangalore. I was the first in the family to be placed through campus in a software company for such a high salary and yup, I was proud about it and so were my parents.

4 years ago...

I completed my B.E with distinction but sadly, it was the time of recession. My first company had postponed my joining date with no specific date in mind. I was pretty depressed about the whole thing. At this point of time, I decided to join a light music class and am I glad I did. Narahari Dixit was the teacher and I have never met a more impressive music teacher. I joined with a class of students much younger than me. It was as if I was returning to primary school. I was a kid with those kids - Apoorva, Namratha, Sreelekha (who sir would deliberately call with other names), Kaushik, Shruti, Sagar and so many more. I would pull somebody's ponytail, make faces at others and joke. I really loved it and it helped me get over the depression..

3 years ago...

I had just joined my first job. Finally my company asked us to join after a 6 month delay due to the recession. There were a batch of us who got in together. Oh, it was the strange era of recession and all the campus recruitments were being placed into my company in batches. Ours was a batch of 10, but we made friends with the other batches too and all of us are great friends. Most of us are not in that organization anymore, but we still are in touch. So here is the list :)

Chans (Chanchala) and I hit it off pretty soon. Evil minds think alike and all that ;-) The both of us together meant royal ragging of the others around :-D Our thoughts were sometimes so alike, that it was almost scary. We would make the same kind of comment together at the same time. We had crazy arguments about Rahul Dravid (do you remember that Chans? I still have the mail :-D) and plotted against others ;-) I have always bombarded her in case of emotional troubles and she's been a great sounding board. I remember, when she got married, I dedicated a month of messages on Yahoo messenger to her. Now she's happily married to Amar for more than a year and they are expecting their bundle of joy in November :) She's also doing her M.S. Chans, thanks for being there for me :)

Jaya was not of our batch, she was a senior to us by 2 years. But friendship doesn't go by age. She, to this date, calls me "Deepthi ki bachchi" and Chans as "Chanchala ki bachchi". Her pinches are deadlier than missiles and she always used to think my arms are the only targets around ;-) She is working for another company now and she was in US till the beginning of August. Jaya ki bachchi, I miss your pinches (never thought I would say that :-D)..

Prats (Prathibha), the most-often teased about girl in the group. We used to rag her about all sort of things. Her speciality was writing poems and sending to the group. That'd start a series of chain mails :) Now, she's done with her M.S through correspondence, got married last year to Yogesh and is expecting her first baby in October. It looks like its raining babies this year end :)) I recently mailed her saying "I miss your poems" and her reply was "No time for that. Only time for work and cooking". Sad, I really do miss them..

Shan (Shanthi), the most flamboyant of us all. With Prats, Shan used to get ragged a lot :) She'd try to rag me and Chans, but would almost always get ragged with double measure :) We used to tease her about a guy, who was younger than her and she'd always deny it ;-) :-D Anyways, that teasing became irrelevant, as she got married to Vinay this very month. Happy married life, Shan :)

Aarts (Aarthi) came from Chennai to get married in Bangalore to Shabari. One of the genuinely nicest girls I have ever met. She used to learn Kannada from Prats, while Prats tried learning Tamil from her. These interactions used to be funny, to say the least :) She is here in US with Shabari working for the same company :) That reminds me, I haven't talked to her for days, have to call her :)

Arun - the kannada pandit. It was always Kannada or Aeroplanes. Oh god!! Sometimes, it'd grate on my nerves :-D But us both being the same age (Ok, he's 10 months older) both being kannadigas and both being in the same team, we became friends very easily. What more, we even used to crib about the same things, played pranks on poor unsuspecting people and sometimes would have intellectual discussions too. I remember there used to be a girl Sandhya sitting behind me. She had lots of phone number extensions written on her board. Arun, Ranjini (another of our friends) and me had added Police -> 100, Fire -> 101 and Ambulance -> 102 into the list of extensions when Sandhya had gone home :) Poor girl, the next day she erased the whole list :-D Arun's now finished his M.S in Germany and will be continuing his PhD there. All the best, buddy!

Sara (Sarada) was in another batch but joined the same team as me. We weren't great friends as such in the first company but we were friends. We became great friends later when we left the first company for the second together. I remember once she had asked me how to spell "Club Cubana", which is a club in Bangalore. I had suggested some 10 suggestions anything from "Klub kabanna" to "Clabb Kabana" hehehehe. She was so infuriated :)) She is still a colleague to me and more than that, a great friend for life :)

Vishesh, a genius, who didn't want to be stuck into our team but had to, was Sara's batch mate. He always used to call Sara as SaraDa with D as in dome :) He'd sit two rows behind me and would ping me on Yahoo saying "hey come here". I'd reply saying "Why should I? You come hee if you want to" :) A very playful and mischievious guy, he was the first person to leave the company to work for another. Now he's in XLRI, Jamshedpur, doing his much-dreamed-of M.B.A.

Kaushik, Pandu (Amruth), Kaashi, Sachin and Tarun - Other batchmates. Kaushik and I would have long mail fights where each of us would try to get the better of the other. I remember calling him "Kauk-a-doodle-do" once :-D Pandu and Kaashi sometimes also would get involved in the fights and both were kings of puns :) Sachin was a pukka kannadiga and would always address everyone as "Maga" meaning son :) Kaushik completed his M.S recently here and got married. Don't know whether he's back in India to stay. Pandu, Kaashi and Sachin are here in U.S still working for the same company. Now coming to Tarun, the genius of the batch, the first to get promoted and a linux geek. You talk to him about Yahoo messenger and he'd give a lecture about how Jabber on Linux is a much better tool than yahoo and so on and so forth :-D The genius is now working in another company :)

I think and hope that I have covered everybody in the batch as such. There were more people in other batches, who were friends, but not were that close :) Another thing is that I used to be known as Dcube then, Dcube as in D to the power of 3 - Dare Devil Deepthi :-D :)))

2 years ago...

I was leaving my first job, saying bye to so many people whom I knew, to enter a totally strange environment, a fresh outlook and a new beginning. Sara and me both resigned together, as I said earlier. But it was still sad in lot of ways. A person is supposed to be emotionally attached to his/her first job and all the colleagues. That holds good for me 10/10. There were tears in my eyes as I said bye to so many wonderful people, most of them continue to be close friends. Some of whom I would like to mention here as this is a dedication:

Keli (Elizabeth), who I consider my guide and mentor is a wonderful person. She is in a different organization now and is the mother of 2 lovely girls Shalakha and Trisha :) She is the sweetest and the most kind-hearted person I have ever met. Sometimes over-sweet ;-) But sweet didn't mean not-naughty. We both got together for a prank once. It was the birthday of a guy by name Rahul. Keli got a cake. I had a tool (courtesy another friend Oneil) from which I could send a mail as anyone to anyone. I sent a mail from Rahul saying "Happy birthday to me, please come and have cake at my desk" to the whole team. Keli carefully sneaked the cake to Rahul's place. The hungaama after that was total fun :-D Rahul was flummoxed, but later found out through the network guys that I had sent the mail :-D Thankfully the network guys were all friends and which is why I was saved :-D Keli, I miss you re..

Viddu (Vidya), another of my close friends and mentor is a fun-loving ever-cheerful person. I learnt how to enjoy work life from her. She used to and even now calls me Jhansi-ki-raani and I used to tease her that I'll influence her kid into becoming like me :-D Yes, she is the proud mother of little Meghs (who's already on her way to become a Jhaansi ki raani :-D) and works for some other company too. I remember once she saw this gorgeous guy in one room and called all of us for our opinions on him :-D She got an opinion form me (unmarried then), Deepa (she was engaged then), Viddu herself was married, Keli was married for 3 years with one kid and Rajashree who was married for 7 years with one kid :)) Survey, she said and we all agreed that the guy was yummy ;-) :)) Viddu is another person I miss..

Oneil was my guru in many ways. He helped me in the initial adjustment into work and later became one of the best friends I ever had. He was the brains behind most of the pranks we played, though sitting in far-away Pune. I used to call him the President of the Devils' Association of India and myself the vice-president :-D I remember once, on Keli's birthday, he made me and Viddu login with "Shalakha" as our names in MSN messenger. He also logged in as "Shalakha" and we all pinged Keli saying "Happy birthday mommy!!" :-D We had had a crazy group conversation that day with 3 Shalakhas talking to their mommy simultaneously and with Keli just not being able to figure out who was who :)) Sadly, I don't even know where Oneil is now.. Its really strange how we lose touch with the best of friends. Have to find out :-D

Dheeraj, an eccentric guy if you can call him that. He used to hate the colur pink and all things related. Wonder what he'd say if I sent him the link to my blog >:) I used to have a nice time ragging him about it. The best part was he used to get a small radio and play it loud in office. He loved the song "Babuji zara dheere chalo" and would shout "Arey waah!" whenever it played. I would playfully shut my ears and say ":-p" :-D I remember on his birthday once, Keli bought a bottle of vodka as a gift. Arun, Keli and me stole his car keys and secretly kept the gift inside. He somehow knew that Keli was behind it, but never heard the actual truth from any of us :-D Now he's in Chicago and he mailed me recently saying he's getting married sometime this year :)

Still wonder why I didn't want to leave my first job? :(

1 year ago...

Sara and me used to discuss "How the heck do people end up getting married?" There seemed to be no Prince Charming in sight. Heck, leave Prince Charming, there wasn't even a normal good guy around. Now she's married and so am I. And both of us married, I can honestly say, to wonderful guys. Made for each other stuff :-D I know that Vaithee is gem of a guy. And yup, Sriram is my Prince Charming :) I cannot believe that last birthday, I didn't even know him and this birthday I cannot imagine not knowing him :) I was asking him recently "Why the heck didn't you come into my life 2 years earlier? I could have been spared of the long wait ;-)" :-D But I guess I needed that time with my parents and Darsh :) Life and God sure work in strange but beautiful ways! Sri, thanks for simply being the person you are :) You don't know how much it means to me..

I know I have left out all the memories of the relatives. But I simply can't place the year the memory has taken place. Like how we used to visit Udupi to be with Ammamma, Gayathri atte and Raghu mava and how Rohi, Ranju, Darshu and me would climb trees, go to beach, pick mangoes etc :) Also how Manjanna and Dineshanna would stay with us, Manjanna's wedding to Devika bhabhi, how I fight with Manjanna's son Kishen (Kishu's my boxing buddy :-D), Puttanna kakka's wedding to Veena aunty where I had a bet with Veena aunty's brother Purandara that who will finish everything in the lunch will be a winner and how I actually had won the bet :-D, the fun times with Puttanna kakka's kids Sankeerna and Sanju (Sanjana) :)) How these 2, me, Ammi akka's kids Manasa and Mahima, Ushakka's kids Pallavi and Pavani used to go to a park near our house to have loads of fun :)) So many memories like these cannot be recorded in a mere blog. They need a complex human brain :-D

Today, I have a whole new family extended from what I had before. I have daddy, amma, Lekha and a whole set of almost-same aged cousins who I have always wished for. I have done the biggest bungee jumping of my life which is marriage (Sri's copyrighted dialogue) and the other bungee jumping as well which was my life-long dream. I have gambled and won :) But I know, there's still much more to be done, many more things to face and a long, long way to go....

So 25 years later, here I am, feeling nostalgic, as if I'm some 75 years old :) Honestly, its been fun thinking of all those moments. Sigh! That's it folks! New memories from now on. After all, life begins at 25 ;-) :-D

Monday, August 15, 2005

Ha Ha Happy Independence day :-p

Simply put, I hate it! I hate it when somebody sends me mails saying "Happy Independence Day"! Does that make me unpatriotic? Am I being disloyal to my country if I say I hate being reminded that its one year more and we haven't done anything at all for the improvement of the country? I know I'm pointing one finger towards all of the other Indians and 4 of the other fingers are pointing towards me...

All of 363 days in a normal year, nobody thinks about it. Nobody even bothers standing up to the national anthem (yup, me too) or nobody salutes at the national flag. On 2 days, suddenly, our so-called patriotism emerges from deep within our hearts and you see the tri-colour flags fluttering everywhere from house tops to car antennas. If this is not a show-off, what is? Oh its republic day, oh its Independence day, we say. But do we ever think about what we have accomplished in more than 55 years of independence? I know many of us do think about it, I have seen some really good thoughts in some blogs.. Our greatest achievements to-date are a huge population explosion, all-round corruption and more quality-of-life degradation. Am I also responsible in some way for this? Yup, sure I am. But I am not sure how to rectify it. No Indian does and that is the problem.

There have been other countries who have got their independence much later and are so much better compared to us. Take South Africa for example. The country has shown a lot of progress. Why? What's the difference? Sometimes I feel, we should have let the British rule us for about 50 more years. We should have waited until they introduced monorails, improved the roads and the communication channels. We should have schemed and taken our independence after achieving a really better India. Sure, we'd have been looted of probably each and every one of our natural resources, but we'd really have a very-clean looking country ;-) Other times I feel, I ought to take a gun and shoot each and every one of these politicians who only think of themselves and their profits than doing something for the country. I am sure many of us would have felt the same. But politics is a disease. You manage to kill one cell and there are two more generated with immediate effect.

So don't the other countries have any problems at all? Thats not true. Corruption is everywhere, politics is as nasty as it can get and India still isn't the highest population-wise (a measure we may correct very soon ;-) ). Then what the heck is my crib about? Just call it a post from a frustrated Indian who wants her country to be the best of all the countries in the world. But do I want my India to be an US? NO, thank you very much :) I am happy with my India as it is. Mass of contradictions, amn't I?

One of my fellow bloggers Gaya also has something to say about independence in her usual style here. As I commented for her post, about 10 points mentioned in her article apply to me. Does that make me a good Indian? Well I don't know. All I know is that I hate it when I get "Happy Independence Day" mails...

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Time and Tide Part 2..

Been a long time since I wrote something that I have deeply thought about. After "Deep Thoughts" became "Dip Tea", it seems like all I've been writing about is my trips and some scattered poems. Ok, it all comes from my heart, but still there's that inherent quality of me-pondering-about-something has been missing for sometime now. This post is to rectify the shortcoming (yup, me using big big words just to make the post more powerful :-D). Why Part 2? If you are asking this, that means you haven't read Part 1 here.

Today is 3 months since I landed in US. I don't know why I keep counting. Its not because I have nothing else to do. Its not because I want to celebrate it as an anniversary. And its definitely not because I am heading towards a countdown or something. I mean, its not as if I have an idea when I am going back to India. That's still not a fixed point. For that matter, why do we keep count of anything? We remember our numbered birthdays, anniversaries, even others' numbered birthdays or anniversaries. Why? Is it to reassure ourselves that, "Yup, I am alive. I have cheated death for another year"? Or is it to say "I have spent so many years and I have achieved something"? Or is it simply to have a reason to celebrate? The first case does not make any sense. If you are happy to be alive, then you should celebrate each and every day. The second one may hold good for some people, but people who have not exactly achieved anything, like kids, also celebrate birthdays. Then the third becomes the only possibility. We have so many tensions and troubles that we need a reason to celebrate. We need occasions to remember people and be remembered. But still its strange. Wonder who introduced the concept of celebrating these occasions!

The real thing, you have to celebrate, or remember, according to me, is each and every day. If you contemplate, you'll realize that a day is the anniversary of all that has happened in your life so far, be it a joyful occasion or otherwise. A day sort of signifies a new beginning and an end to that beginning as well. And imagine!! Days are flying so fast! They are totally out of our control. Its as if the day begins and before you even think on what you want to do that day, the day is gone! Poyi Pochi!!

Reminds me of a Mohammad Rafi song "Yaad na jaaye":

"Din jo pakeru hote
Pinjre me mein rakhletha
Paal tha unko jatan se
Moti ke daane detha

Seene se raktha lagaaye..

Simply translates into "If only days were birds, I'd have caged them, taken care of them and fed them grains of pearls. I'd have kept them close to my heart forever..". But days are definitely not birds and they sadly cannot be caged.

You might have heard the saying "Live each day as if it is the last day of your life". Makes so much sense, doesn't it? Live your life now, there's not much time left :)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Ain't no small feat :)

White-water river rafting? Sure aint no small feat :) (Note that its feat and not feet. I actually have small feet, but that's not the topic here, so lets leave it for now :-p) Am sure in a nonsense-writing mood today, so beware :-D Maybe I should put a disclaimer here saying "Read on if you are very positive you won't lose your mental stability, blah, blah, blah". Hehehehehe :)) I seem to have become a total somberi (lazybug) as far as blogging is concerned, but (here comes the excuse :-D) I was really busy the whole week with work :( Anyways, today's lecture topic is "River rafting for amateurs" with illustrations. Lets start off without much further ado , or in this case, without much more nonsense :))

Lesson 1: Know swimming

No swimming, better not go rafting. Yup you do get life-jackets, but you should know at the least how to get to one of the shores. I'll stop at that, as the topic is "River rafting for amateurs" and NOT "Swimming for amateurs". By the way, don't come to me for advice on swimming 'cause I'm not an expert on that. For that matter, I'm no expert on rafting either (Get the hint? Don't follow the advice here :-D).

Lesson 2: Choose a good river

Don't ask me what the definition of a good river is. A good river is one which doesn't have level 3, 4 and 5 rapids (this advice is strictly for amateurs only :-D After you are a pro, any river with 3, 4 and 5 rapids becomes the good river ;-) ). Take us for example. Why, Sri and me of course! We chose Hiwassee river which flows in Tennessee. (Hiwassee and Tennessee, nice rhyme, have to come up with a poem sometime.. :-D) {Shakes her head to clear the ideas hovering around and drags them back to the topic} The river is controlled by a dam and has only level 1 and 2 rapids, which are very apt for learning river-rafting :)

Lesson 3: Make sure you have a pro with you

Find one, capture one and take one. Oops, sorry. Find one and go with the pro. A pro is important, after all advice and lessons on a blog won't help you when you are actually on the river :-p What we did was, we went with Sri's colleague Joe, who is a pro, his son Joey, who is a semi-pro and another colleague Jacob. Jacob's wife Janet also joined us. Joe, Joey, Janet, Jacob, Sriram and Deepthi. Which are the odd man and woman out? You figure it out :-p

Lesson 4: Camp the previous night

Don't really know why this advice is required, but since this is what we did, I thought of including it here. Maybe I shouldn't have... Well, this is my blog and I own it, I am gonna do as I please. So, we went to the Hiwassee campsite on Friday the 15th (not 13th :-D) July 2005 night.

Lesson 5: Take food with you

Yup. Paapi pet and all its needs come first!! And if you are the only Indian vegetarian with a group of non-vegetarian Americans, then you better take some food with you ;-) We took puliyogare and curd rice with us and croissants for the next afternoon. They barbequed steak for dinner. See, this advice is realllllly good ;-)

Lesson 6: Think of the tent ground as your comfy bed

If you don't, then be prepared to toss and turn on the hard ground. This advice is purely for those people who need a soft, cuddly bed for sleep to come anywhere near them. Sri was pretty apprehensive about it, but slept like a log once he decided to get on with it :-D I had no such problems, since I have camped twice in India :) Before that we had a nice guitar session from Joe. He played several songs far into the night (not a very good idea but swalpa adjust maadkoli :-D).

Lesson 7: Wake up in the morning!

Extremely important! If you don't wake up, you don't get to go rafting. Simple! And a breakfast is also very neccessary :) So after a breakfast of bread and bananas, we headed towards Hiwassee Outfitters where Joe had booked us a raft. That brings us to the next most important lesson.

Lesson 8: Book a raft

Without a raft, you actually can't go rafting. Many people have tried it unsuccessfully and this statement has been proved several times :-D. Hence you need to find a raft or a place which rents rafts :) Ours was a 2 person tomcat rubber raft. We decided to go for that as I was a bit scared. Sri had done some kayaking in a lake previously whereas me, I was clueless of any sort of boating, except peddle boats of course. So, "If we go down, we go down together" policy :-p. Janet took a 1 person tomcat (brave woman, that one). Joe had other 3 boats for himself, Joey and Jacob of which 2 are his own boats (Tip: thats how you find out whether a so-called pro is really a pro :-D Find out if he owns a boat ;-) ).

Lesson 9: Get into the river on the raft

Yup. Get into the river. But don't go without the raft. Kind of negates the whole purpose. Once you are in the river, simply don't row left and right. Wait for your pro's advice. Meanwhile remember, its a river, its flowing. So it'll take you places whether you wanna go or not. So row only for direction change, so that you don't hit a small island or a tree on the shore ;-)

Lesson 10: Don't lose balance in a rapid

Another extremely important lesson! Follow the rule or get totally drenched. Thats exactly what happened to me. At the first rapid, the boat slid down so fast that I didn't know what to do and fell right into the river. The first moment was really scary as the river was deep and my feet were not reaching the ground. But since I had a life jacket and was able to get back into the boat, there were no more problems. Later Joe told me that you have to bend your body towards the up part of the rapid and not the towards the downside, so that you don't lose your balance. Would have appreciated the advice a bit sooner, buddy!! :-p Anyways the advice was of tremendous help in the several more rapids that came along later :)

Lesson 11: Don't be scared and enjoy the rapids

Again, take the pro's advice. Follow the instructions precisely (or atleast try to row the boat in the direction the pro points to :-p). Joe told us how to tackle each of the different types of rapids. Since I was already once drenched and no more scared, I enjoyed each and every rapid. Only problem was the 2 member rowing. It can get to be damn irritating when you are trying to row in one direction and your partner in another :-p I have already, very firmly, told Sri that next time I'm going in a single member raft grrrr.

Lesson 11: View the tactics of a pro and enjoy

Just don't try them now, they might look easy, but a pro is a pro. You are NOT one!! You can try them out later when you are a bit more experienced. Joe and Joey did many fascinating stuff like, turning upside down in water with the boat, surfing in a rapid etc. We didn't even bother trying. We couldn't have in our boat, even if we wanted to ;-)

Lesson 12: Have lunch at some island on the way

This is just a suggestion. Need not be followed. But stopping in the middle of river to have lunch is an experience that should not be missed :-D We had croissants with jam, granola bars and apple. Later set off again.

Lesson 13: Get back to the shore

Ok you are rafting, ok you are enjoying it. Doesn't mean that you can stay in the river for the rest of your life. You may not feel any cramps when you are rafting, but you may get some later. So stop when and where your pro asks you to. We did about 4 hours of rafting and then got back. Had a bath and got refreshed :)

Lesson 14: Get out of the campsite before it starts raining

One advice we didn't follow :( We had planned to camp saturday night too. So we stayed back. It started raining. It rained, rained and you guessed it, rained again so heavily, that our tent (Only Sri's and mine, nothing happened to the rest) got totally flooded :( Thankfully, our car was parked right next to the campsite. So, we had to sleep in the car. Well, something better than nothing.

Morning we walked on a railway track next to the river, drove to a lake and later drove back home. Yeah, it was an amateurish rafting attempt, but it was lots of fun. You ought to try it sometime :) I really, truly, seriously advice you not to follow my advice but get a pro :) That's it, that was the last lesson :-D

The following week, we went to a fair, later our car broke down and we had to ride a tow truck. But thats another adventure and another topic "How to ride a tow truck" ;-) for another time :-D