Indian summer

It is 10.30 AM and the mercury has touched 40 C (~104 F).  Today is forecast to be the hottest day in the past ten years in our part of the world.

So, people in the eastern portion of peninsular India, stay safe and cool.  Try not to use the AC – you’ll only be throwing out more hot air outside.  Drink a lot of water and stay indoors, if possible.

Unless, of course, you have to go to the gym because you already missed the gym two days in a row.  Oh bother.

Sharing my world

Through Cee’s questions.

How many languages do you speak?

English and Tamil fluently.

I love to speak in Hindi, although I am not very good at it, my main problem is knowing the gender of nouns – nouns in both English and Tamil are not associated with gender, so, using gender address for inanimate nouns is an alien concept to me. I have the same problem with German as well. There is largely no logic to the assignment of gender to nouns as well.

I have a serious problem with people mocking those who speak an alien language with mistakes. When I was in grad school, there was a Tamilian girl, who would make it a point to speak in Hindi with the North Indian friends. There was a Bengali girl who was pretty snarky about G’s Hindi, and I thought it that was unfair. I once told her that G is making an attempt to learn and practice a language alien to her. Has she (M) even bothered to speak in anything but Hindi? Needless to add, M stopped talking to me.

Back in grad school, a friend tried to teach me Telugu, I learnt it enough to understand when someone talks, but I can’t talk. It is my dream to be able to talk in German some day.

I love languages. All of them. Even the click languages. Especially the click languages.

What are you reading, watching, listening to, eating?

Reading: Eggs, beans and Crumpets (PGW), for the umpteenth time.

Last night we watched the movie, Vertical Limit during family time. On a regular basis, I follow “The Big Bang Theory” although it has lost all its juice.

Listening to Silence.

Eating: I had sathu maa kanji (a protein gruel thing) for breakfast this morning.

What was the last photo you took with your phone?

This was taken in the beach last weekend.

What is your favorite time of day?
Any time I am working – on my job, on the blog, on the yard, in the gym.
Least favourite time: Any time in the kitchen.

Grateful for: A peaceful week.

Looking forward to: Getting a lot of work done.

Of dreams and thoughts

The dreams are back, but with a variation. Usually, I would go unprepared for an exam, usually Tamil exam, in high school, and naked, to boot.  Or I would be lost in a colossal multi-storeyed white empty building with large stairs and run up and down these stairs in abject panic.  These days, I am in a large college campus, trying to find the classroom, and being completely unprepared for college.  Half the time I don’t even know which course I have taken, or if I do know which course I need to take, I have no clue what is going on.  There is no panic, but a dull sense of hopelessness.  My brain is a garbage dump, and really stinks once the lid of consciousness is opened in slumber.  My daughter gets weird dreams too, but my better half says that he does not remember any of his dreams and feels no aftertaste when he awakes.  I, on the other hand, need a couple of extra strong doses of coffee to break free of the gloom that lingers after I have awoken from my dreams.

Something else interesting happened.  Yesterday, a friend and I were discussing dreams.  This friend is a talker, and usually when we are conversing, it is one way, I listen more than talk, partly because I don’t like talking too much, and partly because this person leaves no breathing time for response.  This person notwithstanding, in general, contrary to my image from this very verbose blog, I am not a big talker.  As I told this friend about my consistent dreams of being unprepared (for exams/for class) , I was told “you have no thoughts in your mind…you never think of anything, hence the singular dream”.  The tone was not indicative of “you are thought-free, you enlightened soul”, rather, “you are stupid and empty upstairs”.  I know it because more than once I have been told by this person that I have no interests in anything (e.g. I don’t like watching movies, the only movies I watch are with family – both my better-half and kid like to watch movies, as “family time” rather than any personal interest in watching them), no passion (because I don’t passionately argue about or discuss anything), uncultured (because I don’t listen to music when I am working, and I am usually working most of the time), am a hamster-in-wheel (because I am doing something all the time without staring at the ceiling and thinking thoughts) and am, in effect, intellectually dead-as-a-dodo.  These have been told to me at different times, under different circumstances, and so I believe that “you don’t have thoughts in your head” is an extension of me being of vegetative state. For a moment, I flared up in my mind as “just because I don’t overthink everything and verbally vomit every thought that crosses my head, I am not a doorknob”, but figured that such a response would only lead to me having to listen to more arguments, and thus moved on.

The thought I had then was this:  It is so easy for the world to consider silent people/introverts as being stupid.  Being an introvert myself, let me tell you – we are not stupid.  In fact, we have more thoughts in our heads because we are not wasting time communicating it to others.  We don’t communicate our thoughts because we don’t need inputs from anyone else.  My thoughts usually range from banal stuff such as “where can I get a neem sapling to plant on my backyard” to philosophical/spiritual musings on God, mindfulness, hope, faith and death, none of which needs a recipient.   We are also sensitive people, and can gauge by the talker’s tone, what he/she really means beyond the words uttered, because WE LISTEN and not just hear.

A quote I subscribe to is “It is better to stay silent and let others think you are a fool, than open your mouth and waste time talking” !




The beauty

It has been a really really busy day.  What’s up with Gobblefunkist, I ask.  Why is she running around like a chicken on fire, on a Saturday?  Oh well, when it rains, it pours, when it comes to chores.  The day found me gallivanting around town again, following up the bank eff-up I had mentioned yesterday, getting some cell phone issue sorted out, gymming, going to the nursery to get some pots for plants etc.

The day ended (or is ending) with the movie “Beauty and the beast”.  Not the cartoon version, the Emma Watson version. It was aired in the open air theatre in our campus, and the kid was definitely not going to miss it for the world, and given that I drool a little over Emma, I tagged along.  Emma is amazing.  Got one heck of a talented head on her shapely shoulders.  I am almost jealous.

But here’s what struck me most.  As a youngster, I hated (or claimed to hate) romance of all kinds – books, movies, real life etc.  These days I actually like romantic movies.  I think I am just too old now to be a pretentious prick, attempting to look “cool” and hiding her own lack of romantic skills under assumed disdain.  Now I couldn’t care less, and romantic movies are charming and cute to me, as they are meant to be.  I wish I could go to the young me and say “its ok to feel fuzzy inside, you don’t have to hide behind the ice curtain”.

Oh well.

Good night folks.


Between completing a difficult document, trying to get a bank eff-up fixed, my friend’s application work done (HG:  I saw your comment after I completed the job and cursed myself for not thinking of it), grocery shopping, domestic chores (the maid bunked), extra workout (just because…), playing badminton with the kid because all her friends went AWOL today, playing a bit of football in the stadium with the kid and some new found football enthusiasts (young boys, who, I was pleased to note, called my kid “Akka” (big sister)), and a very hot day, I am pooped.  The night is young, but I don’t think I will be able to see it grow old !

Happy weekend folks.

Cover it up

This is a rant.

I live in the campus of the institute in which I did my first graduate course.  So, sometimes I get requests from friends about stuff to be done around here.  I don’t like to do them,not because I don’t like to help people, but because more often than not, I feel like I am taken for granted.  Like this one.

My classmate from grad school is applying for a job in a different country (not the first world countries, just to be clear).  He lives in that country now.  The agency to consider him for the job, wants his transcripts and certificates certified as authentic by the institute that issued them. This in turn involves  getting a banker’s cheque in the name of the institute, and submitting it along with an application requesting verification and other documents to the institute. Since I live in campus, he asked me if I could do it for him.

I was very hesitant at first because nothing is as simple as that in a country like India where the red tape and formalities are unbelievable.  Still, considering that this chap has been struggling to find a job, I agreed to do my bit.

As a first step, I go to the bank to get the banker’s cheque (DD as it is called here).  It is a sweltering day here, the AC in the bank was kaput, and everyone and his cousin took it upon himself to visit the bank today.  Drawing out a single DD took one and a half hours.  I came out of the bank with a migraine.  But that’s ok.

I call this chap to tell him that the DD is ready, now what should I do.

He has no clue.  He asks me to find out.

Where do I find it out from?

Somewhere in the XYZ building, he says.

The XYZ building is a six storied building with hundreds of departments. Hundreds. And no customer service counters or a reception. U-huh.

Which is fine again. Tomorrow may not be as sweltering. And XYZ building is not air conditioned, anyway, for it to fail.

He then emails to me, his transcript and certificates that I must print out and submit along with the DD somewhere in the jungle of the XYZ building.

I look at the email attachments, and find no cover letter.

I tell him “you need to send me the cover letter”.

His response?  “Why?”

I am a little stumped because I believe it is a universally known and accepted practice that any formal application needs a cover letter saying what it is that is being applied for. Especially in India where formality is everything. The Brit may have left us alone in 1947, we don’t intend to let go of their pomposity anytime soon.

I tell him that. Not the Britt pomposity thing, but the fact that any application needs a cover letter.

“Oh, but I have sent the transcripts”

“Yeah, but you need to tell people what to do with the transcripts”
(in my mind is the uncharitable thought that with so many “E”s, you really have to tell them what to do with the transcripts – I am mean, but by this point I have a full blown migraine and this guy is being deliberately stupid.)

He sighs and says “oh well, if you say so. I will send you a cover letter”.  The tone was “oh bother, why do I have to deal with people like Gobblefunkist”.

I am still wondering who was doing whom a favour.

I am also getting a vague idea of why he has such trouble getting a job.

Third degree

The kid recounts her dream:

“Someone called Dia stole a train, but the cops thought it was me (Via) who stole the train and chased me all over.  I ran and ran to escape and P (her friend) came in a bike and gave me a mobile phone.  I first thought I would call you, amma, but then thought you’d yell at me, and it is better to go to the police.  So I started searching for the police and woke up”.

Hmm.  I think the parent-inflicted trauma is complete, what say you?