Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Trips, Pain, Smiles, Birthdays, and Anticipation

Hello Everyone! Hope you are doing well. I did get many of your emails after I left blogger...some unhappy, some hopeful, some angry, and some wishing me well. Thank you all for your heart-felt words. They mean a lot to me...truly. I may not be around in person but I am definitely around in spirit. I often wonder what you are doing, how your blogs are going, and what must have transpired in your lives. I wonder if you do the same about me too. And if so, here is a small update for those who really care.

In the past few weeks, a lot has transpired in my life. Some events were planned while some decided to surprise me. For beginners, I took several trips. One to Las Vegas, one to Malaysia, one to Thailand, and am currently in Singapore. Las Vegas was great, and surprisingly, eye-opening to me in many ways. I discovered personal things about myself that I had no way of knowing prior to this trip. That was not all. I also developed some sort of a neuroma after I returned from the trip which could have been caused by wearing heels and trotting along like a model all day long for 4 days in Vegas.

What's a neuroma? The doctor said its a kind of a tumor caused by the nerves. As of now, it is not clear to the doctors what the problem is. I was frustrated. But more than that, I was in pain. I could not walk and when I did, I cringed, and often cried. What did the doctors do? They injected me in my foot with steroids. I am a thousand times better now. I can walk. I cannot run, though. I am still confused about the problem too. And I have no idea of when I will find the solution.

Today is the 6th day of my vacation in Singapore. I am smiling. I love this city. I always have..for years together. What I am smiling about is the fact that I met several of my family members this trip who I had not seen for a decade. I find that I still love them. I find that we still connect. And I find that their presence still fills my heart with warmth.

Now let's come to the selfish part. I have missed you...some more than the others. Now that my birthday is only 2 days away, I find that I miss you all even more. I remember my birthday post last year and I remember how your warm wishes came in and wish the same for myself this year. I also take this opportunity to wish Kanan and Ceedy a happy birthday for I know that their birthday is around the corner too. And yes, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I have saved the best for the last. There is a book coming out on the 4th of January. I hope and anticipate that nothing untoward will happen at the last minute. I wanted to share the good news with all of you on the d-day but cannot contain my excitement anymore!! Its not MY book. However, its a beginning. One of my stories features in that book. I will keep you all posted more about it as the time approaches. Looking forward for your support and thanking you all a zillion times for your strong words of encouragement all along my journey. You are my inspiration!


Saturday, November 1, 2008


Every so often, on the path of life, we come across crossroads which lead to several paths. This creates dilemmas within us. Questions arise. We wonder. We think, ruminate, ponder, fret, despair, consult, and finally take a decision and walk ahead on the path that we choose in that particular moment. Miles later, we may realize that it was the wrong path. We come to a decision making point again. Do I turn back? Or do I walk ahead looking for fresher pastures and hoping that what lies ahead is what I will grow to like and want.

When we all decided to blog at whatever points in our lives, we pretty much made an active decision at a crossroad. We decided whether we should blog or not. And then some of us started like there was no end to it, while some abandoned it at another point, and some never took off. When I decided to blog, it was out of sheer boredom. Writing was always a passion. Writing for people never occurred to me, though.

It served as a medium for me to connect to other people. It normalized my conflicts. It validated my emotions. It made me laugh. It made me cry. More than anything, it made my conviction stronger, my desire to write a book even deeper. I was blessed enough to have readers who genuinely encouraged me. I was blessed enough to realize who was actually engaging only in social desirability. Above all, I was blessed enough to have met some angels along the way who have enriched my soul in many ways. Some have stayed. Some have left. And some forgotten.

Today, I stand at another crossroad; one that I had never envisioned I would be at. Rather, one that I had hoped I would never come to stand at. And yet, I have. To continue blogging or not. I have realized over the last few weeks that what I had been seeking has already been attained in many ways. Once a white shirt is washed, bleached, and starched, it cannot get any whiter and crisper than that. That's how my soul feels right now. Blogging has changed my life in many ways. And yet, there is no deeper fulfillment as I continue blogging today.

I would like to leave this world and choose another path for myself while the positive energy still remains so that the sweet memories linger on for days to come. Sometimes, I wonder if I should return with another profile and another name. Sadly, if I did that, I would only be fooling myself. What's in a name? The soul and spirit remains the same.

Comfortably numb, as I write this post. I do not know if it is impulsive. I have been thinking about it for the past few days on a very subconscious level. Today, I decided that if I did not choose another path soon, it would only get harder for me. Do not ask me what my new path is. I have no clue myself. I can only say this...if in walking away from this world, I realize that this decision was a wrong one, I will not hesitate in returning.

All my dear friends, the ones who care, and the ones who think they care..I am much into closure. I hate rejection. I hate abandonment. So I would like to reiterate again, that in no way, is this a reflection of what we have shared together. It is only a choice that I make for myself. I am right here in my physical being in the same world as you live. I will visit you every so often and I will remember you even more than that. You all have been good to me. While I personally cannot thank each one of you, do know that we all learn from each other, either in grand or in simple ways. I wish you all the best of luck. Life moves on. So shall we.

Yours lovingly,

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Any presents? Anyone?

We often hear things like..

"Live in the present. Not the past."
"Learn from your past and move on."
"Forgive and forget."
"The present is a gift."

What great words. Great ideology. Great philosophy. Awesome consolation. Words of wisdom. No, really.

But hey, how many times are we constantly reminded of the past even when we want to move on?

A girl married at the age of 22, naive, gullible, and innocent, divorced later, may constantly be reminded of her "one mistake" when she attempts to find a partner again, a mammoth task for those who live in conservative cultures.

A woman who has had an abortion for practical reasons may be told later when she indeed wants to embrace motherhood that her chances of conceiving are now close to minimal due to that one abortion.

A teenager, drunk at a club, involved in a fight, may have charges of misdemeanor placed against him and will continue to face issues when trying to find employment even at 40 after years and years of a dry spell.

A man who has unprotected sex with his partner just this one time realizes that he now has the HIV and will never be able to lead a normal life again.

Rash driving, road antics, cheap thrills causing someone to fall off their motorbike, hitting their head on the pavement, losing consciousness, and perhaps mobility for the rest of their life.

Sometimes, try as we might, we may want to learn from our mistakes. The question is will we ever be able to? Sometimes, try as we might, we may want to undo just that one moment. The question is can we do that? Will we be punished for the rest of our lives only to hear over and over again.....what we always do. Those golden words of wisdom.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sweetest Day

October 18th is SWEETEST DAY. I have no idea where and how it originated. I also am positive that many people even in the United States have never heard of it. I, on the other hand, have gone to the extent of celebrating it, and even expecting presents on that day. My enthusiasm had always been short-lived when the others did not really appreciate my sentiments about a Hallmark created birthday. I grew to come to terms with it..only until the next Sweetest Day arrived. It has, once again.

Diamond rings, flowers, cookie bouquets, and personalized candygrams are currently being advertised on air for those cheesy romantics like me. I have no money to buy those for myself nor know anyone who would be invested in buying those for me. Frankly, the excitement of receiving those presents would also wear off in a couple days. So on the occasion of Sweetest Day this year, I would like to acknowledge some sweetness that pervaded my life last week.

Last Wednesday, something dreadful happened. Something that I knew was going to happen and yet I was not really that well-prepared for it. No one knew about the pre-planned horrible event save a couple very, very close friends. And as I was driving back from the event at 8 am almost in tears, M, my best friend, who I had not spoken to in 2 weeks, texted me out of the blue asking me how I was. Later that day, another friend, P, took it upon herself to send me a good morning email every single day to brighten my mornings. She has been doing such a good job of it that I actually trot to work happily only to see what she has written for me each day.

Around 3 pm that day, N, asked me to cheer myself up by hanging out with friends. I was reluctant. He pushed. I listened. I hung out with friends, had a great time, and thanked God for the push that he gave me. I thanked him too but he thought nothing of it. As I walked out of work at 5 pm, S, a dear friend of mine, who had last called me to share the news of his engagement two months ago, called me "just to catch up". And last but not the least, I got a very dirty email from someone that very same day but somehow I did not chance upon it until Friday, out of sheer luck.

Last Wednesday was ironically one of the SWEETEST DAYS I have had in a long time. It was full of reaffirmations, signals, and signs that someone up there loves me and cares for me, and is there to protect me, sending across guardian angels when I needed them the most. Friends with who I have built great connections but who have been busy in their daily lives called me as if it was a telepathic connection. Life has not been the same since last Wednesday. I did not expect it to. But neither did I expect to find so much love and warmth around me.

Thank you sweet friends for being there. I now no longer need to wait for a Hallmark created cheesy day to recognize the sweetness around me. I need no diamond rings, for you are my gems.

What's your Sweetest Day story? Are you going to spread some sweetness today and make someone recognize who their guardian angel is?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hail the Queen!

Just got back from a club where Bally Sagoo played his music and did whatever he is good at. Meanwhile, there were men all over trying to grab girls' attention, shaking their hips vigorously, and trying to touch them wherever they thought was safe enough to not be slapped in return. On the sides, there were a few men who perhaps thought they were quite macho and ended up in a fist fight. It seemed straight out of a movie, where the two men in question were punching each other in the stomach, and other men were trying to stop them. Alas! They got kicked out of the club by the bouncers. Meanwhile, a guy comes up to me and puts his arm around my shoulder as if to protect me, as I gaped in shock at the men in the fight. I shrugged and pushed him away.

Not too much later, a guy came up to me and said, "Yaar. Tu badi soni lag rahi hai. Teri umar kya hai? Haan I know its not good to ask a girl her age but still..bata de." I simply shrugged and said, "I am not telling." He left. Another guy immediately made the decision to take up his position and tried to grind against me. I froze. And thus, the night passed with me trying to avoid the sleazy men and they trying their hardest to woo me. The last guy I met in the club was the funniest. He held my hand and said, "yaarrrrrrrrr sneha...number de de yaar!" I said no and walked out. And if you know what my latest post on Warm Fuzzies is all about, you perhaps also realize that I have the least amount of patience for guys who are trying to win girls over based on their so called non-existent charm.

A few days ago, a guy friend of mine asked me not to apply perfume in his presence. When I asked why, he said, "I would like to believe that girls naturally smell lovely". Is that what we always were and will continue to be? Are women just sexualized objects meant to be great to look at, good to smell, and sensual to hold? Are men not looking for like-mindedness, ambition, intelligence, and love? Are we women mere showpieces always under the pressure to look great. How come we have to tolerate men farting in public, growing their nose hair, and flaunting their measly chicken legs during the summer while we have to always be well-groomed?

Are women never going to be taken seriously? Is Sarah Palin going to end up being the vice-president of the United States only because she is "hot"? Will I always be a Barbie Doll?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What's Love Got To Do With It?

Picture this.

1. You get a call from your colleague. The one you sit next to all day and exchange a few pleasantries with every morning. He wants to go out with you...yet again. You call your girlfriend and say, "Honey. I have to go out with a friend. Will call you when I get back." She says ok, with a dejected voice and awaits your phone call all night. You come back from a guys' night out, tired and drunk and fall asleep. She sleeps with the phone next to her pillow.

2. Your friends invite themselves over for your birthday. Panicky, you ask your mother to cook up some nice grub. She does. She slogs in the kitchen for two hours so that your birthday party is a success. When your friends come over, you take them to your room, have a gala time, hoping that your mother does not disturb you. When she does come to interact, you say, "MAaaaaaaaaaa" in an embarrassed fashion. She excuses herself and you get the entire evening to yourself and your friends.

As far as I know, all those who read me, have loved ones. Some love their partner to death, some their parents, and some can devote an entire lifetime to a friend. And yet, we sometimes choose to be nice to those who do not really matter and shun those we profess to be most important to us.

Why is having an old grandmother who cannot speak English embarrassing? Why is dejecting a partner okay to do but not okay to say no to a colleague, neighbor, or casual friend? Why do we take for granted those who have been there for us but seek out the attention of those who never have and probably never will? Do we like challenges or does familiarity breed contempt? Are our priorities messed up or do we like being in control?

There are many souls out there who are loveless in life. So please. Cherish those who have chosen to love you and you have chosen to love back. Your colleague may not be in your life 10 years from now but your loved one most likely will be. Remember, just because someone loves you, it does not mean that you can treat them anyway you want.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Watering Your Trees?

When the Houston heat kills, most of us at work scramble to find a tree to go sit under. The hour passes under its rich foliage, with mouthfuls and giggles, and then we walk away with content to our overly air-conditioned offices. The tree is left alone.

Then Ike arrives and decides she does not like the tree , kills it, brings it down, and leaves. When we return to work, we see the tree is dead, groan and grumble, and find another upright tree to sit under. The dead tree is left alone. And ultimately gotten rid of by some random stranger who never sat under it, ever.

This is what we do with some people, too. We take from them, just like we take from the tree, and leave without saying anything. Yeah...sometimes, we do say thank you, and then quickly forget about what they gave us, assuming that it was our birthright to receive what we did in the first place. We assume that the janitor gets paid for sweeping the floor and needs no acknowledgment. We assume that the auto driver is doing his job when he takes us from place to place safely and yell at him when he asks for a rupee more than what you think it should be. We assume that the maid is supposed to replenish our beauty supplies when out of them and get irritated and have a bad day when she does not.

We take a lot from others. We give them back a lot too but not necessarily what they want. Irritation is not what they asked for. Nor cold looks or admonishment. Sometimes, all that it takes for the tree to flourish is some nourishment. If you think the tree SHOULD give you shade, it is your duty to make sure that the tree remains capable of doing so.

Go and thank someone today who made your day once upon a time. Go and thank someone today who made your life easier once upon a time. Go and thank someone from who you learned a valuable life lesson.

Go water your tree today.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Movie Stills and Reviews

Ike released last Friday and still has people awed by its performance. Rated R, this movie is a sure-shot hit. Dramatic, brilliant, and a tearjerker. Guaranteed to run for at least another 6 weeks if not more!!

Here are some movie stills captured by an amateur photographer on a mobile phone.

This is what the university of Houston (and the roads of Houston) looks like these days.

This is what remains of a once beautifully landscaped restaurant.

Traffic lights are not working. Not only that, some of them are on the roads.

Some houses are damaged beyond recognition.

Broken fences.

For more information about the movie, you can visit or Here is a brief snapshot of what life was before the movie and how it is today.

As of today, 1.93 million residents in Houston still do not have power and water. Grocery stores (if open) have signs up that say "You can shop but there is no light. Only buy canned foods." Essentially, all the shelves are empty. Gas stations have long lines often forcing customers to wait for hours.

Some people at work complained about their windows breaking and causing puddles in their homes. Some talked about the roof blowing away. Some complained of car damages. The people who are not complaining are those stunned beyond words. Their relatives are missing, their homes are swept away, some even saw their family members being engulfed by the waves and swept away into the sea.

The world is becoming a dangerous place to live in. Hurt, tears, grief everywhere..either due to a bomb blast, hurricane, or floods. These movies continue being made whether we like them or not. Sometimes they are super hits. Sometimes flops. I prefer the latter.

Let's pray for those affected by all these movies today and everyday. Thank you.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Dramatic Movie

On early Saturday morning, she arrived. Hurricane Ike came with a majestic power that left many powerless, helpless, and some without even a real life anymore. At precisely 2 am, we decided to go to bed because a friend thought "the storm was not fun" and no point staying awake for. He wanted drama. He wanted howling winds. He wanted rainfall. He wanted excitement. Nothing happened. Not until 4 am, at least.

And then he got a blockbuster hit. We lost electricity. The winds howled like I had never heard them howl before. It was like one of those horror movies that you want to watch but do so with your eyes shut through most of it, except here, there was no obvious blood or gore (unless trees swaying from one side to the other count as gore). At least when a horror movie ends, you can turn a comedy movie on and try and forget about it. This was different. I woke up to worse horror. Trees had died, blocking roads, traffic signals had either changed direction or fallen on the street, roofs and fences were shattered, and I felt that I was walking through the sets of a disaster movie. It felt like a scene from a CNN news broadcast that I am used to watching on tv. This time it was real. And the same excitement-seeking friend said, "yaar itna nuksaan nahi hua." I guess he wanted a blockbuster hit that lasts for 365 days. Little does he realize that it may very well be one for those who are homeless today thanks to Ike.

Amidst all this, I get a message from someone asking me to come online for free counseling. Yet another someone asks me why I am not publishing his comments. And then there was a someone who called me to ask me "How is Dayton?". There was a friend grumbling that he ran out of cigarettes and that the stores were closed. Another someone was worried that his taxes would go up while the government tries to restore the 4th largest city in the United States. And then someone else who thought it was funny to say "Why are you not online? Did Ike damage your internet?" Everyone was starring in their own dramatic movies assuming that it would entertain their audience.

Today as I write thist post, I am seated at a friend's place who is among the 1% of Houston's population who has power and water. I am amongst the 99% who does not have power and has no chance of having it restored for another 4 weeks at least. We are surviving on frozen foods and hoping that we don't run out of it. And yet, life has to resume on Tuesday. I don't know when this dramatic/horror movie will end for me. I move to my own apartment tomorrow night. I wonder how it will be go to work without showering and wearing unironed clothes and eating candlelight dinners by myself. But that's not all.

Someone else at this moment is probably thinking how it will be for them to live in their own home once again. They are starring in a horror movie that someone else is watching seated in their very own home theater.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Yesterday, the weather was perfect. The skies were blue, the waters green, the sun shone bright, and a cool breeze blew. Yes, it did seem picture-perfect as I enjoyed every minute of my lazy afternoon watching little children jump joyously, splashing water at each other in the lake. Nearby, their parents watched them lovingly, enjoying a beer or two, and basking in the sun, wearing the bare minimums. Couples held hands and kissed in the water while I sat there on the grass with a smile on my lips, thanking God for a wonderful day.

And then it happened. On my way back home, I began to dread Monday. Monday blues are something that we all commonly experience at some point in our lives, whether or not we love our jobs or whatever else we do for a living. I began to groan in my head at the thought of waking up to a shrill alarm clock at 7:20 am, dressing up to go to work, juggling my way through horrible traffic, and going through boring training seminars for half the day. For dinner, I stopped by at my favorite cafe to eat a healthy sandwich and enjoyed it thoroughly as I bit into the greens smothered with feta cheese and a mediterranean dressing. The moment I set foot into my car, my Monday blues returned.

I came back home and turned on the TV, a luxury that I have now begun to afford after my school days. And yet, I could not focus. I kept glancing at the clock, wishing bedtime never came. However, as hard as I tried, I was unable to change my destiny. The clock did strike midnight. My eyes did get droopy. I did fall asleep. And I did get up on time to go to work today.

As I write this post, another Monday has passed by. I now await the weekend and am counting my days till Friday. But then I wonder, what is the point? In waiting for the Friday, I am losing out on all the experiences of joy that I could have encountered today or might tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that too.

In waiting for the future, am I spoiling my present? Did I miss out on experiencing the full joy of hearing from someone I had not in ten years today? Did I miss out smiling genuinely when the cashier at the gas station told me that I looked beautiful today? Did I miss out on the great sunset while driving back home on Sunday evening?

Some of us are truly living in the future with the hope of making it better without realizing that in doing so, we are losing out the opportunity of enjoying an already good present. We have to live in the NOW. Not in the THEN. They don't say "tomorrow never comes" without a reason.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Are You Multi-Faceted?

Last week, when I wrote up an intake interview of one of my clients, the first sentence read as...

"Client is a 22-year-old heterosexual White female, majoring in Biology, currently in her senior year, seeking counseling for issues related to depression."

Essentially, I captured her age, gender, sexual orientation, major, educational qualifications, and emotional problems in one sentence. But was that all there was to her? Was she only a young white female majoring in biology, about to graduate, and all that jazz? NO. She was much more than that.

She played the guitar. She had grown up poor. She had been sexually abused as a child. Her boyfriend is in prison. She has a cute dimple. She likes pizza. She has a heart. She loves her boyfriend. She is all that and much more.

Sometimes we focus too much on what we see and less on what we do not see. They say "seeing is believing". But then they also do not see God and yet believe in Him. So maybe not seeing can also be believing. And maybe, sometimes it would do us good to see the entire picture and not just the small dot on a big white poster board.

This post has been inspired by Neeku who beat herself up and called herself a bad person who failed in multitasking. Frankly, I think a lot of us do that...a lot of us are harsh on ourselves (and others) when we do not meet with our own expectations and standards. We forget that that one mistake or failure is not the only thing that makes us.

So what if you failed a test? So what if you lost your driving license? So what if you burned the vegetables while daydreaming? So what if you did not understand the joke? So what if you cannot drive? So what if you put on weight? So what? That does not make you a BAD PERSON. Maybe a bad test-taker, maybe a clumsy person, maybe inattentive, maybe a bit slow, maybe challenged in your motor skills, maybe impulsive....but not a BAD PERSON. Likewise, so what if the person next door wears mini skirts too short for your taste? So what if your classmate got her belly button pierced? So what if your best friend only eats out and does not cook? So what if your blogger friend forgot to give you an award? Maybe it is a flaw that they have, maybe not. But it definitely does not make them a BAD PERSON.

Remember friends. You are all multi-faceted. You all have wonderful qualities. You all have some weaknesses but are also blessed with some strengths. Do not let your weaknesses define you. Do not hate yourself (or anyone else) for slipping and committing an error. We were not all born perfect and learn through our mistakes. So go forth and appreciate all that you do. Be nice!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I expect it to be that way!!

Suppose you are 25, a fresh graduate out of college, a newbie in the world of work, gone through a couple failed romantic relationships, and in the eyes of others, a trifle bit inexperienced. Get the picture?

Then you meet a 35 year old, who "obviously" has more experience than you in all these aspects of life. Correct?


Sometimes, we indulge ourselves too much with an EXPECTATION BIAS. Yes!! Yet another term coined by psychologists. All that the expectation bias suggests is that when we expect something to happen or be a certain way, even when results suggest it is not true, we continue to be in denial and believe what we always expected. So even if the 35 year old turns out to be "stupid", not really a genius full of wisdom, and certainly has nothing valuable to offer in terms of experience, we continue to believe that he/she is more experienced than us!!

Yes. There is no denying that some people genuinely know more than us but sometimes, they do not. Likewise, when we expect someone not to fulfill our expectations, even when they do, it is hard for us to believe that they did!!

This is an error that we really do not commit as much as the fundamental attribution error or the out-group homogeneity bias, but nevertheless we do. Can you think of times when you committed this error unknowingly only to realize later that you were under an illusion?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


All Indians are dirty!!!

All Indians are great at Math!!!

All Indians live in villages in India.

All Indians are poor and malnourished!!

All Indians have arranged marriages!!!

All Indians have family values!!!

All Indians speak Hindi!!

All Indians are poor!!!

All Indians are smelly!!!

All Indians eat curry!!!

All Indian women are pretty!!!

This are only a few of the perceptions that non-Indians have about us Indians. Some may be right. Some may be wrong. Some stupid. Some worth a thought. Some plainly to be ignored. Maybe some of you are FURIOUS at what others have to say.

Want to know the psyche behind this thought process? It is called OUT-GROUP HOMOGENEITY BIAS. Yes. There is a name for it. What it means that we humans believe that all those who do not belong to our group are the same while we all in one group are different!! Now before you get furious too much, stop to think. Don't we do that too at some level or the other?

All Chinese look alike.
All women take too much time to get dressed.
All men are practical.
All Gujjus are business-minded.
All goris are good in bed. (Read this post of mine on Short and Sweet if you have not already done so!)
All Westerners have no family values.

So the next time, someone says something about Indians that offends you, take a chill pill. Forgive them for the outgroup-homogeneity bias, educated them about the truth, tell them about the bias they committed, and then do not go and tell someone else..."ALL THESE PEOPLE FROM SO AND SO COUNTRY ARE SO DARN IGNORANT!" Not all of them are.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gay and Happy?

You are a heterosexual man. In other words, you are straight. Your sexual preference is the opposite gender. You prefer a female partner.

Now here is the twist. You are a heterosexual in a homosexual world. Everyone around you has same sex partners. Amongst your school, college, and work friends, no other person prefers someone of the opposite gender. You are committed to a woman and she lives at home with you. But no one knows about it. Sometimes people tease you about the way you walk and talk and make jokes about your sexuality. You just bear it all and hide it quite well.

While driving to work, you turn on the radio and listen to George Michael croon about his boyfriend. You change channels and find the same song playing. It is on the top 5 that week. Sadly, you turn the radio off and play the CD in your player that has the very few opposite sex partner songs in the market. Billboards and commercials talk about proposing to your same-sex partner on 08.08.08. You are unhappy because you know you can never get married to your love because society looks down upon it. You are furious when a billboard advertises shared insurance rights only when living with a same-sex partner.

At work, people ask you what you did over the weekend. You quickly say "nothing", when people begin to share their experiences with you. How can you tell them that you went to a "straight bar"? When using the restroom, you overhear people outside talking about you in a hushed manner.

Do you think he is straight?
Oh no. I hope not.
Ya I heard that's why he never invites us to his place. He lives with a woman.
Oh my god. He seemed like such a nice guy.
Ya. Too bad, isn't it?

You do not know what to do. You are sad. Unhappy. You do not how long you can hide it from the world. You feel judged because of your sexual preference. You do not know how to face your adoptive mothers. You tried therapy in the past to change your sexuality but it did not work. Now you do not know where to go to.

This is how a gay/lesbian feels in a heterosexual world everyday.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

On the Highway

Imagine buying your first vehicle. It could be your cycle, your motor-bike, your car, your van, your truck, or even your own bus. It gleams and shines while adrenaline rushes through your body.You cannot wait to be seated on or in it, resting your hands on the steering and driving/riding away to some place that makes you happy. You speed, you slow down for bumps, you accelerate again, you dodge puddles and potholes, brake, change gears, stop at traffic lights, swerve, take a u-turn, come back home, and park your new precious vehicle. And then you look for excuses to go out on it again....maybe.

Many of us get overwhelmed with life, its worries, its stressors, often wanting to run away from it all, wanting someone to come save us, wanting to move ahead happily. How many of us do that while driving, though? If we come across a bridge that is closed for the day, do we not turn around and find another way? If we come across a bump, do we not slow down and go over it such that we don't fall off the bike? If we fall off a two-wheeler or are in a motor-crash, do we not find someone to nurse our injuries, take the required rest, and go about our daily ways as soon as we are well?

Speed breakers are those problems in life that halt us when we are being impulsive or rash, often causing a dent in our plans. Potholes are those problems in life that often come unexpectedly causing us to detour or fall right into it. Closed roads are those problems that cause us to start everything right from the beginning, wasting precious time and energy. One-way roads are those problems that have you stuck in them once into them and there is no looking back. And then we have accidents where someone else's plan does not co-incide with ours and there is a crash, often causing much damage, to our mental health, relationships, stability, and so on. And yet, when these things happen on the road, many or most of us survive with some assistance or not.

Maybe, life is not that hard as we think it to be. Maybe, when the traffic gets too bad, we can take a detour. Maybe, highways are not always the best or the fastest. Maybe, its ok to take another route sometimes. Maybe, we need someone to lend us a helping hand when we are stuck.

This is what I was thinking this weekend as I drove 21 hours from Dayton to Houston for my final stint in my doctoral program. I am now in a new territory, on new roads, trying to find my way around. What road are you on?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Life or Death

Listen to the song on the sidebar. What does it talk about? Nothing but the positive contribution that death makes on life. We always view death to be something hurtful, painful, that which makes us nothing but a dead body from a once living being. Maybe, there is something that we can learn from death. Something that will make our lives worth living.

I am young, have never been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and have never had a close encounter with death. I believe that I have at least another 50-60 years to live in this world and yet, when I look at that number, it almost feels like time will fly by. I have already lived 1/3 of my life and I have no idea where they went!

People usually fear the end of their lives. What I fear is not living life completely before I die. What is living life completely to you? Buying your own house, earning a 6-figure salary, owning a Mercedes Benz, wearing only branded clothes, or mingling in a high-profile social circle? Is it being able to travel around the world, eating exotic foods from different countries, or going dancing, bungee jumping, skydiving? Or is it having a huge family, becoming a parent, and living a life full of love and kindness?

As I hear about the bomb blasts, violence, terror, around the world, I begin to realize more each day that life is uncertain. Though common sense and family history tells me that I will live to die very late, I might also live today to die tomorrow. I do not care if its a painful death. I do not care if its an early death. I do not care if its a lonely death. But I do care if its a death after having lived life the way I want to.

So today I hope and pray that I do not begin to take precious time for granted, do not leave things I can do today until tomorrow, begin appreciating life's little blessings more and more everyday, and live today like there is no tomorrow.

This was a class assignment, a journal I wrote that wanted us to talk about "death anxiety".
Sorry folks, been tied up with some stuff. Will come around to your blogs in a few days. Will also respond to my commentors in the previous post soon. Take care!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bad Women Drivers?

I recently saw SEX and the CITY..twice! Needless to say, I loved it. The first time I went with a few girlfriends. The second time I coaxed a guy friend to come with me. He agreed...reluctantly. On the D-day, he called me and said, "Will I be the only guy there?". I could almost feel him breaking out in a sweat. I laughed and said, "No. There will be many other guys there who may have come to look at the beautiful audience, if not the movie." I knew he was not assured but he decided to be nice and come anyway. Right before the movie began, his friend called and asked him what he was doing. Quite embarrassed, he told him where he was. His friend chuckled and said, "Tum ladkiyon wala kaam karo. Kal baat karte hai". (You do what's meant for women. We will talk tomorrow).

I was irritated at his friend. My friend was irritated at me. I decided to keep mum but the train of thoughts continued. Why? Why is there an assumption that men will not like the movie? When I told my friend about the several husbands who have stated that they enjoyed the movie, he managed to grunt, "They only said that to make their wives happy". I felt like he had already assumed that he would not like the movie and felt that he was not giving it a chance!

Why do we stereotype genders so much? Why do we assume that certain behaviors are appropriate only for one gender and not the other? Why do we expect certain behaviors from one gender and not the other? And if God forbid, the opposite gender acts in a way that they are not supposed to, they are teased, poked fun at, and ridiculed until they pray for the skies to fall on them. Why?

  • Why do people assume that all women are bad drivers?
  • Why do people assume that all men make good engineers?
  • Why are women expected to be good cooks?
  • Why are men expected to be more practical and less emotional?
  • Why are women expected to be less aggressive?
  • Why are men forgiven for infidelity just because they are "born that way"?

These are only a few of the stereotypes that we hold in our minds when thinking about a particular gender. I am sure there are a lot more "should"s and "must"s and "have to be"s in our minds. Whether we began thinking like that because that's what we observed in the world around us, or picked it up from adults during our childhood, or saw it on TV, is altogether another issue. But I do know that we were not born with these ideas and thoughts. I also know that we do see many examples of those who do not appear to fit these stereotypes. In an effort to comfort our confused minds, we end up saying, "Oh they must be an exception" to ourselves.

Look carefully. How many women do you know who are good cooks? How many men do you know who are cheats? Are you an exception or a stereotype? Or is the exception actually the norm? And the stereotype just a silly error, a quirk, a human tendency? Do we really have to stereotype? Do we really have to attribute people with certain traits just because they are men or women? Can we not just see them as UNIQUE INDIVIDUALS? Can we not accept them the way they are?

Maybe we can...if we try harder.

Oh, and those, who still believe that women are bad drivers, you might wanna read this.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You are STUPID. I was FOOLED!

This is a repost for people who have missed knowing how they are stupid but I was only fooled. Do not understand? Let me ask you a few questions!

  • Why is that when you are not able to respond to someone's calls or emails, its because you are "BUSY" but when they do the same to you, they have an "ATTITUDE"?
  • Why is it that when you are being noisy when you have a party, you are being HEP and FUN but when your neighbors do the same, they are being "INCONSIDERATE"?
  • Why is it that when you are late, its because you were "CAUGHT UP IN TRAFFIC" but when they are late, they are labeled as "ALWAYS LATE"?
  • Why is it that when you do not like what someone said, its because its "TRULY RUBBISH" but when they do the same, they are "JEALOUS"?
  • Why is that when someone tells you some good news and all did not end well, its because of "BAD LUCK" but when you tell them something and it fails, its because they cast "THE EVIL EYE"?
  • Why is it that when you hang out with people who speak your native language, you are only being friends with people you are "COMFORTABLE" with, but when they do the same, they are being "CLIQUISH"?
  • Why is that when you forget to share some information with someone, you assumed "THEY ALREADY KNEW" but when someone else does the same, they are being "SECRETIVE"?
  • Why is it that when you don't invite someone to a party, its because its for a "SELECTIVE GROUP" but when someone else does the same its because they "DO NOT LIKE YOU"?
  • Why is it that when you write a post on your blog, its "GENERAL" but when someone else does it, its keeping "YOU IN MIND"?

Now you know why when someone cheats you, you are STUPID but when someone cheats me, its because I WAS FOOLED!

We all commit the Fundamental Attribution Error more times than not, until we become aware that we are doing so. Don't get too bogged down by the term. All it means is that when something bad happens, we attribute it to outside causes for ourselves and internal causes for others. Likewise, when something good happens, we attribute it to internal causes for ourselves and external for others.

If I do well in an exam, its because I studied hard. If I do badly in an exam, its because the paper was difficult!!

Get it?? Now reflect back and think of the times when you did that. And if you cannot think of any, make sure you are aware of that in the future?

Go forth!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Words help us communicate. Words help us feel. Words help us think. Words help us live. Words are those groups of letters without which our life is very hard. Words act like magic. You think of something, you form a sentence, you express them and voila...there is a reaction to them.

The words in a great book can move us to tears. The words in a melodious song can create a wave of emotions. The words in a well-scripted movie can remain etched in our minds.

Unfortunately, harsh words created in an agitated mind can pierce our hearts like daggers. Even more unfortunate is that many of us live with bleeding hearts waiting for someone to come lick our wounds and nurse us. We rant, we cry, we crib, we bitch, we yell, we shout, we scream, we cuss, we mock, we accuse, we judge, all in a desperate plea for help.

Why? Because we are hurt. Because we relied on others for OUR self-worth. Because we gave them the right to control our emotions. Because we are insecure with ourselves. Because we think someone else is better than us. Because we think we do not have it in us. Because we believe them.

The truth is...YOU, I, Him, and Her. we all are unique. I have my own set of fingerprints that you don't. I have a face that you don't. You have a fashion style that I don't. You have a writing style that I don't. He has a thought process that I don't. She has a talent that I don't. That is the ultimate truth. I am special. You are exception. You are you. I am me. And so are they, they. Together, we add diversity, beauty, and variety to this world. That is the ultimate truth.

So when they try and put you down, realize that you are worthy of much more and beyond. When someone says, "I hate you", realize that you love yourself. When someone says, "You are mean!", realize that you are different from what they want you to be. When someone says, "You suck!", realize that that does not necessarily make them a better person. When someone lies about you, it does not necessarily become the eternal truth. You know it. And last of all, realize that these are words that were created in someone else's mind. You do not have to believe these words and bring your self-respect down.

"Don't let those prickers bother you", says A mother of two....

You are special and you know it. If you did not, now you do. All that you need to do now is remember it. ALWAYS.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Those Married Folks!

Most of us have been placed in a stage where matters of the heart are taking priority over all else. If its not you, then its perhaps a friend who is looking for his or her soul-mate, or a parent perplexed over your nonchalant attitude. Or maybe it IS you wandering helter-skelter, month after month, keeping your eyes and ears open for the ONE. And then there are some of us, who have found our mates, and are basking in the glory of being a part of a couple.

In interacting with many of my counterparts raised in India, I often get the impression that marriage is put on a pedestal and is portrayed either by our family, friends, or media to be the ultimate goal in life. So come our 20's and that's all that everyone talks about!

At a cousin's wedding, you may hear, "You are next!" or "When are you giving us the good news?". The usual yawns.

At home, you may hear, "Beta. If you start looking now, you will find someone in a couple years". The usual trap.

From committed friends, you may hear, "Come now. Its high time you too joined the bandwagon". The usual camaraderie talk.

And then some of us succumb to the pressure, either out of frustration or perhaps boredom. The rest exert free will and do what their heart tells them, whatever it may be.

What do observers do? The ones who are not ready for marriage make derogatory comments about the institution. The famous shaadi ke laddoo phrase. Calling married couples (no matter how young they are), uncle and aunty. Emphasizing over and over again about how excited they are about their freedom. The ones who are ready but are not yet in the institution put them on the pedestal. The "Wow you are married?!" phrase with an expression of awe. "Oh my God, please don't change!" phrase with an expression of helplessness. The "Oh when will my turn come?" phrase with an expression of longing.

What follows is the categorization of married couples. Yes, we singles categorize them as if they have their own clan! I was once introduced to a guy through another friend at my university. My friend said, "Hey Rajeev, this is Solitaire. Hey Solitaire, this is Rajeev. He is married." Is marriage the only thing that makes Rajeev's identity? Was that sort of an introduction necessary? Was it a subtle warning to me from my friend as if to say, "Stay away..not our type!"

Why? Why do we make such a big deal about someone being married? Why is it not ok to call a married friend at 3 am but ok to call a single friend at 3 am? 3 am is an unearthly hour for a phone call, married or not married. Why is it assumed that married people have a real life and single people really do not (now this altogether is worthy of another post)?


Monday, July 14, 2008

You OR Them?

  • You open a birthday present with great eagerness. It is a small box, (apparently jewellery), and think its a diamond ring from your better half. Turns out to be a coral pendant. You are very disappointed and say, "wow!" and put it aside, forgetting about it the next day.

  • Your friends invite you home and you plan on going there at noon. At about 2 pm, they ask you if you are hungry and offer you some cookies. Obviously, they did not cook lunch. You are shocked, suppress your hunger somehow, and walk out bitterly and drive into McDees for a quick sandwich.

  • You have a very important interview for a job that you have coveted all your life. You have been studying for it for a month. On the D-day, your best friend does not call you to wish you good luck. You get the job. You call him to tell him the good news. He says, "Congratulations. Guess what movie I saw is called blah blah.............." You are irked by his behavior.

  • Its Saturday night. You have made no major plans for the day and intend on spending a quiet evening with your partner/spouse. He announces that he is going out with his friends for dinner. You tell him about what you wanted to do. He apologizes and says he did not know and has already given his word. You are very angry, throw a tantrum, and refuse to talk to him the rest of the day.

  • You have a flight to catch tomorrow. You call your brother who lives on the other side of the town to drop you off. He says he cannot make it because he has a party to go to. You are furious with his attitude and vow never to call him again for help.

Can you identify with any of these situations? Have you ever felt disappointment when you EXPECTED someone to do something for you but did not live up to YOUR expectations? Whose fault is it? Yours or theirs?

They never made promises, they never gave you false hopes, but they DISAPPOINTED you when they were unable to read your minds.

Sometimes, we assume that people will do certain things for us, just like we think we would for them. But that is not always true. People have their own priorities, their own values, their own set of thoughts, and their own way of doing things.

Just because we like chocolate cake, we cannot expect them to like it, can we?
Let's stop expecting from others. Maybe, that will lead to lesser disappointments and more contentment in our relationships.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Over the last few months, many of you have sent me comments, messages, offliners, emails asking me about when Psychobabble would be up. Its up on the day Solitaire babbled her way through her dissertation. And today, I am promised.

I remember the day a friend sent me an I-pod in the mail as a surprise gift. It was something that I had been yearning for for months together. When it arrived, my joy knew no bounds, as would be the normal reaction, one would assume. A few hours later, I was shopping for skins on e-bay, checking the manual out, and begging savvy friends to give me songs. From then on, I was actively hunting for those who had I-tunes and would be willing to allow me to steal a few numbers off of their computers. For days, and even months, I regularly recharged my precious I-pod, now decorated in a pastel blue skin, and even slept with the earphones stuck in my ears until the wee hours of morning. Today, exactly 21 months later, I do not even know where my I-pod is. I mean I do have a remote memory of it being in my laptop bag somewhere but its novelty has worn off. No more is it the precious little gadget that I cannot live without. I have moved on to the Blackberry Pearl now.

I wonder then, is that how we react to all the new things in our life?

The excitement over finding a new friend who has the exact same interests as you. The excitement of getting a saree of the latest fashion from India. The excitement of the first roses that your new boyfriend sent you. The excitement of the first time you shook hands with a celebrity. The excitement of the first time. The excitement over getting admitted into a competitive doctoral program. The excitement about having your first blog post.

Do we all move on eventually from one state to another, some quickly, some at a slow pace? Is this what we call "change"? Is this evolution? Growth? Maturity? Ficklemindedness? Aging? What is it called?

A friend recently had a message on his profile which read, "Change is the law of life". If it indeed is, and if excitement does wear off so quickly, and if what excited us ten days ago, does not anymore, is it not the same for negative emotions as well? Think about it. If you have changed in ways described above, then maybe you have the capacity to change and overcome the sorrows that face you.

Remember that sad breakup? Remember that death of a family member? Remember that job that you did not get? Remember that precious thing that was stolen? Remember how you bawled your eyes out, or probably felt miserable for days, skipping meals, not sleeping well, and wondering how you would do after the tragedy. If you reading this, you are doing fine. You have survived. And you will continue to survive.

I am back! How does it feel?

*Thank you for all those who patiently waited. Your support and encouragement means much to me!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Story Time

Its your turn to get creative on CALM FRENZIES.

Check out my new story..."With Love From Bangladesh" and give it a twisted ending in less than 40 words!


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Answer to Trivia

Now on "Woes of a Psychologist"..Check it out!
For those interested in an invite, please leave me your email address in the comments section.
It won't be published.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Trivia + Tagged

Anyone wanna answer a trivia question? Go here (if you have been invited).

Tagged to do God Knows What...(Some love link apparently where I see no signs of love at all!)

Copy paste the link below in your post and add your name and pass it along..(What is the purpose of this? I have no idea and everyone refuses to tell me like its a mafia code or something!!)

BennyLiew, RamblingMoo, Mum & Kids In Wonderland, Judelittle, Our mini blogsphere, Rooms in My Heart,, ChinNee, Jo-N, LadyJava's Lounge, Strange but True, Mariuca's Perfume Gallery,Meet Uncle J-Uncle J, Farah,aNgRiAniWoRLd,How’s Life Bout,The Three Heroes, Ceedy, Veena (the girl who tagged me!), Solitaire, (You here)...

Here are the next ten victims of "love"...

Satish Bolla
Karthik S
Soham Shah
Crimson Feet
Badshah Khan

Go figure!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Short and Sweet

Hey all,

Psychobabble is resting a bit but Short and Sweet is still up for those who want a quick smile, less debate, and some fun!

Check out today's post. There might just be a compliment from someone for you. Spread the joy!


Friday, April 18, 2008

No Ordinary Friday

Thank God It's Friday. I have lots to catch up on. I have to focus on classes that I missed recently, go to a semi-formal (prom) this evening, and decide on what sari to wear for the International Friendship Affair at school. I also have to do four loads of laundry, some cleaning and tidying around in a pig-sty looking apartment, go grocery shopping, and amidst all this, find time to relax.

Sounds like a usual story, doesn't it? Especially to those folks who do not have any domestic help and work five days a week spending their Monday to Thursdays waiting for a Friday. But today is no ordinary Friday.

Today is the day that I had been hoping would never come. But it has alright! Its the second half of April, the second week into my final quarter, and time seems to be flying by. It seems to me that in the past four of five months, I have lived my life more as Solitaire than who I am since I was born. I have made friends on blogosphere, met many interesting people virtually, read many creative blogs, and built my own little sweet world that I loved to bask in. Amidst all this, I forgot that in my non-virtual world, I have a dissertation pending, a degree to focus on, and a lot of hard work to put in.

I was so reinforced by the love and appreciation that you all gave me that I ignored the threats that my advisor gave me. It hurts me to say this but I still have to...

I have to go.....

I told you. It is no ordinary Friday. Its a sad Friday for me and Psychobabble. I have loved all of you, all you precious people who left your valuable words in the little comment box, all you silent readers who have returned time and again to see what I have to offer. Psychobabble is now taking a short break from blogosphere for I have to put other things up my priority list.

I promise you. I will be back. How soon, I cannot say. But no later than July of this year. Will you guys promise to remember me? Will you guys leave a light on for me? Will you guys take care of yourselves? Will you guys stick around? Will you guys welcome me when I am back?

Hugs and Kisses!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Friday Angels

You and I. We discussed how we categorize our friends in this post. But did we talk about uncategorized friends at all? Friends who are just there....friends who may or may not come out for sushi.....friends who we do not know will come watch a movie....friends who we think about often but hardly talk to....friends who are friends.

I had a couple friends that I had categorized as "Friday night movie/dinner friends." And it was on a Friday, I found out that they were more than that. Friday of last week was a BAD FRIDAY. It was the day my symptoms of a "severe kidney infection" displayed themselves. I have often wondered who would care if I did not come home for two days but never answered the passing thought. On Friday, I found out.

Friday morning, I called S and told him to come pick me up from school. He came promptly no questions asked. On my way home, I told him about my condition, how unwell I was, and blah blah. At home, N and S discussed my condition, made quick plans of what they should feed me, and attended to me, all without being asked to. Ok..that is for humanity's sake, I suppose.

I think the cause of humanity was carried too far. One of them stayed by my side constantly. They checked my temperature at regular intervals. They gave me medication per schedule. They even bribed me with bourbon biscuits when I threw tantrums. And they constantly reassured me that I would be fit and fine the next morning.

They were wrong. I had to be taken to the hospital the next morning. Any guesses who took me? Any guesses who stayed there the entire time? Any guesses who ate only cookies and cereal bars in the hospital so that they don't leave me alone when they go out to grab something to eat? Any guesses who ran to the pharmacy for more medication? Any guesses who went and bought edible food for me? Any guesses who took complete care of me? S and N.

Oh wait! Do you think this is shortlived? 5th day in a row and still going strong. Same treatment. Same concern. Same care. Yes...humanitarian attitude carried too far. This is an angelic attitude.
And angels cannot be categorized. They can only be thanked for coming into your life and being there when you needed them the most. In a world where coochie cooing on the phone with a boyfriend, watching FRIENDS on TV, going to the gym, and cooking a lavish meal is more important than dropping a quick phone call to ask a friend how she is feeling, such angels are far, few, and rare.

On Friday I found out that I had angels in my life. Bad Friday was not that bad actually.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Precious Life

Fever. Ibuprofen. Cold chills. Nausea. Pain. Weakness. Skin irritation.

Clinic. Waiting room. Doctor. Thermometer. Temperature. Blood pressure. Urine test.

Shock. Concern. Panic. Instructions. Warning. Caution. Kidney infection. Prescription. Pharmacy. Tears.

Sleep. More fever. More pain. More chills. Headache. Guests. Liquid diet. Night. Nightmares.

Morning again. Worse condition. Emergency room. Nurses Admission. Doctors. IV. Saline. Morphin. Antibiotics. Blood test. Nurses. Doctors. 8 hours. Discharge.

Evening. Fever. Pain. Weakness. Guests. Flowers. Fruits. Night. Sleep.

Morning again. Nausea. Puking. Red swollen eyelid. Weakness. Get-well-soon card. Time. Slow recovery. Liquid diet. 12 pills. Guests. Evening. Movie. Night. No fever. Sleep.

Morning again. Doctor. Examination. Change in medication.

Home. Blogger. 100th post.

Life is precious. Health is wealth.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Are you her?

I would not be surprised if an 8-year-old boy chose to buy his grandmother a video game? Would you chuckle? I would not. Most kids tend to be "egocentric" (not to be confused with selfishness). Egocentrism is the phase where children are unable to separate their beliefs from others. They think that if they would love to have a video game from Christmas, so would grandma!! Gradually kids learn to put themselves in other shoes and learn that everyone's life experiences are different. REALLY?? Then why do I see so many of us adults still egocentric, unable to believe that others are different than us, that what others may want or not want may be different from what you think they should want or not want?

I recently put up a post on how some women are still oppressed, not treated equally to men, and that they maybe need some upliftment. Some of you agreed, some disagreed, some with passion, some with nonchalance, and some of you felt that the woman has many choices to be in or out of a situation. REALLY?

Do you think that a girl child in Africa who is genetically mutilated (as per cultural practice) for the preservation of virginity, enhancement of male sexual satisfaction, and prevention of promiscuity is treated fairly and has a choice of being or not being in that situation?

Do you think that a woman in Iran, Iraq, or Afghanistan who has to walk around in a burkha everyday, unable to work, having no access to health care because the doctors are not female, and has to submit to domestic violence, is being treated fairly and has a choice in being who they are?

Do you think that when a girl child in countries such as China, Korea, and India who is abandoned, not favored, or even killed before she is born because of gender favoritism is in a fair position and has a choice in removing herself from being at risk for her own killing?

Do you think that the women who continue to practice Sati in the remote villages of India do so out of immortal love for their husbands? Do you think that the pressure from their relatives to commit this act is fair and that the girls have a choice in going against them?


Think again. You might think that the world is changing, that the women are in a much better position than they were years ago, and that there is gender equality present today. All true to some extent. But there is a lot that needs to change. There are a lot of women out there who are not as fortunate as you, or your mother, sister, friend, are. So before arguing with women who appear feminists about making false accusations against men, stop to answer this question.

Are you that woman in India, China, Africa, Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan....


Monday, April 7, 2008

Whiners Winners?

They said, "Laugh and the whole world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone". Recently, I conjured up another quote of my own, "Laugh and the world laughs with you. Whine and the world comforts you.", based on personal experiences and observations.

Picture this.
A girl in her mid-twenties, immigrated to the United States, lost both her parents at age 18, working hard to make both ends meet and goes to school full-time to get an education. No one knows about her family background. Works daily from 8 am to 8 pm. Always has a smile on her face. Only a few close friends know that she is having boyfriend issues, problems with finishing her thesis, and is afraid that she might not be able to return to India soon to visit her older brother. When you meet her and ask her, "How are you?", she says, "Hanging in there!"
An outsider would say, "What a nice girl. What a smooth life."

Now picture this.
A girl in her mid-twenties, immigrated to the United States, lost both her parents at age 18, working hard to make both ends meet and goes to school full-time to get an education. Everyone knows about her family background. Works daily from 8 am to 8 pm. Always has a frown on her face. Her advisor, roommates, teachers, employers, neighbors, friends all know that she is having boyfriend issues, problems with finishing her thesis, and is afraid that she might not be able to return to India soon to visit her older brother. When you meet her and ask her, "How are you?", she says, "Ohhh I am having such a hard time. Life sucks man. Its all so hard..blah blah."
An outsider would say, "Poor girl. What a sad situation to be in."

In graduation ceremonies, I have seen special awards being given to people who have graduated despite hardships and I have wondered, " Who told them about the hardships?". Sometimes, as the MC rattles on the list of those hardships, I picture two other people in my head that I personally know who have gone through harder times and yet not being given any special award of that sort.

When the girl in scenario 1 eventually breaks down at some point, and starts crying, or becomes aggressive, something that she normally is not, people look down at her. Wonder how such a strong girl suddenly became weak. Wonder if she is a weirdo. And wonder if she needs anger management treatment. And no one bothers to ask her what she needs. On the other hand, when the girl in scenario 2 breaks down, cries, becomes aggressive, people lend her a shoulder to cry on, appear sympathetic, and ask her what they can offer her.

Are we punishing people who are self-reliant and independent, when they do reach out for help of some sort, by rejecting their "new personality"? Are we encouraging people to talk more about their problems if that is their habit? Are we reinforcing extroverts who may like to talk about their problems? Are we giving rewards to extroverted people who like to announce to the world their poor plight as compared to those those people who like to suffer in silence so as not to elicit false sympathies?

Are we then as a society rewarding people who whine in comparison to those who do not?

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Some people have lots of friends. And some people few. But most people have friends. Correct?

As a 5-year-old, the entire kindergarten class was my best friend. As a first-grader, the first girl to offer me candy on my first day of school was my best friend. Later on, the girl who sat with me during lunch became my best friend. And then the girl who also talked to me in the auto rickshaw back and fro to school became my best friend. Then as I grew older, the girl who knew about my first crush was my best friend. And later, the girl who comforted me when I found out that my crush already has a girlfriend, became my best friend. In high school, the girl who lent me her notes when I bunked classes became my best friend. In college, the girl who shared the same fashions as me became my best friend. In my Master's degree, the girl who took me home because I was not a localite, and fed me home-cooked food became my best friend. And then in the United States, the girl who offered me rides to school became my best friend...and amongst all these best friends, I had a gym best friend and a work best friend and a class best friend and a phone best friend and many others. And these days people have orkut and facebook and myspace best friends.

I can boast of over 200 friends on Orkut. And I can boast of over a 100 contacts on Yahoo Messenger. But I cannot boast of being in touch with all these people. Hell yeah...I do not even know what some of these people are doing, where they are, whether they are married or not, and if they still remember me. And yet, they are "friends".

I have been realizing over the years that we categorize our friends too.
Today, I have a group of friends that I know will always be ready to go out to eat if I give them a buzz. Another group will always be ready to have me over and play games all night. Yet another group will always be ready to travel with me. And another group will be ready to go to a club or movie with me. And then there is an online group, blogger friends, orkut friends, IM friends.

But how many of these people will be there when I need them? Who is that friend that you can call in the middle of the night when you need to go to the emergency room? Who is that friend who will answer your call even when at work in a meeting when you might be in an accident? Who is that friend who will come help you clean out your apartment and help you pack when you are moving permanently? Who is that friend who will cook dinner for you when you have a broken leg? Who is that friend who will answer your call to hear you wail and yet not get bored?

Who is that one friend?
Are you that one friend to someone?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Anger Management

Seen the movie Anger Management? Heard about "Anger Management"? It had been a fad a few years back to send a child for "anger management" counseling. Though the fad now is to have one's child be diagnosed as "bipolar", anger management continues to be trendy to some folks. I have one client who is coming to me right now for "Anger Management" (which a lot of you will read about on the weekend on "The Woes of a Psychology Student".

I always am amused when my clients come to me saying we need anger management. "Why! The very reason you are here is that you have managed your anger in some way, just not the right way!!", is what I think to myself!

Anyway, this blog is focused on how I have personally seen some people manage their anger. You might find it appropriate or you might find it amusing. Maybe it is, maybe it's not. Whatever you think, don't get angry...simply manage your anger.

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is surely not coincidental.

Here are some ways that you might wanna try that I have already observed in the recent past..

  • Make faces at the person they are mad at and say "neneenenene.." on their face...
  • Bang doors as well as pots and pans....oh and even the car door of the person you are mad at...
  • Pull your own eyebrows...
  • Clean the kitchen, the bathroom, and whatever else that you can set your hands on to clean...
  • Delete your scraps from the other person's scrap book and delete the ones that you received from them as well, or delete them off from your list!
  • Not respond to their scraps but respond to everyone everyone elses...(Orkut again!)
  • Shake your head like you would in a "halo" shampoo ad and walk away...
  • Shake your leg vehemently while being seated...
  • Give warnings on ORKUT to the other person about getting their act together...

(WOW Orkut seems to be a good medium these about anger management on the internet huh..)

And maybe there are many others such as speeding and driving as if you are the hero/heroine of a hindi movie and braking with the most unpleasant screech, yelling and being dramatic and rattling dialogues from a movie such as "how could you do this to me?" and "You broke your promise, I will never forgive you", and finding a private place to cry which sometimes turns out to be a dry bathtub. Of course cussing, getting thoughts of slapping the other person, or even punching them to give them a blue eye seems normal these days. My technique is to sulk, yell out expletives, go red like a beetroot, and say "I am pissed" at least ten times!

Anyone got any more interesting observations that they can add to my little list?

Thanks, and don't get mad that this is a repost. :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I love Play Doh

Have you ever played with Play Doh? Not as a child but more recently? Which color do you prefer? What shapes do you like to make? How soft do you like it to be? Do you hammer it, pull it, stretch it, pound it, or roll it? How long do you hold on to it? How does it smell? Do you like your fingers sinking into it?

Precisely, do you like Play Doh? And why?

Aaaaah what again? Not played with play doh ever? You are lying! Why, you ask?

Let me tell you why. I think you are lying because I see YOU as play doh yourself. Not weird, at all. Picture this. The hand that pounds and stretches the play doh is LIFE that stretches you thin with its problems. At first you resist. You remain hard. Then gradually you learn your ways through it. You become flexible and malleable, something that easily adapts, and does not appear uncomfortable.

Doesn't life hammer us with problems forcing us to become stronger? Doesn't life roll us over with its incessant running around? Doesn't life pull at us, forcing us to make certain decisions, tugging us in all possible conflicting directions? Doesn't life poke us, prick us, and abuse us sometimes? And yet we sail along. Some of us take a bit longer, and some of us sometimes don't (like the play doh that has been left out too long to dry). But the truth is that most of us do.

We hear ourselves or others saying, "I am never going to fall in love again" after one heartbreak. And yet, after some time, we realize it was a phase.

A very dependent girl married into an abusive home may never think that she would be able to survive on her own, and yet when she chooses to leave her husband's home for her own safety, she has adapted to life and is able to make the right choices.

A young girl enjoying her teens and dreaming about crushes may never in her nightmares imagine that she would get cancer, and yet when she does, she bears with the unusual circumstances of being in a hospital day in day out rather than attending proms and parties.

So you see. Never underestimate your power. If you feel that life is hard and that its knuckles may break your bones, think once again. Maybe they will, but the fractures will heal and you will be up and running before you know it. Keep that chin up. You are adaptable and now you know it.

Monday, March 31, 2008


Do you have over 20 pairs of shoes, a closet overflowing with clothes, and 4 vip bags full of more clothes that did not fit into the closet? And yet, do you look at your clothes each morning and let out a sigh while saying, "I dont have anything good to wear!"?

This is a repost but apt to be published again. Ten days ago (when those dreaded floods turned my life topsy turvy), I realized that I fell into this category of girls described above. The number of clothes in my possession overwhelmed me as I cleaned out my closet in frustration. I came across something I bought in 1995 that looks hideous in 2008. I am proud to say that it used to fit me up until last year. Perhaps, one of the reasons I never threw it away!! Maybe I was waiting for a day that I would outgrow it (today is the day!) and hence have a "valid" reason to chuck it instead of merely being bored with it, and thus be in the danger of looking like someone with whimsical tastes and a lot of money to spare and spend.

And as I spent the entire week unfolding and folding the huge mountain of clothes, I realized that there are some garments that I bought just for the heck of them being on sale and had never worn them, while there were some that I had held on to with the hope that I would one day be "thin" enough to look good in them. Needless to say, that point of satisfaction has still not come and they still remain new with labels on them.

Well, the 4 VIP bags have now been reduced to 1. And the wardrobe that was once overflowing is now quite open to newer clothes. What an irony!! Guilt laden, I think of the number of rupees and dollars spent on these clothes, and how I could perhaps use this money today towards the gas that my car guzzles each week these days. Thank God for Salvation Army (who accepted 8 trash bags yesterday from yours truly) that accepts donations. At least, I know that these clothes will be put to good use as opposed to being used as a mop for the kitchen floor.

Now let's start talking about the shoes and the handbags..(or maybe not)!! I guess, by now, you must have an idea. Are you one of those girls too (or in the company of one of those girls)? Any Carrie Bradshaws reading this article and wanting to rave about the number of Manolo Blahniks they have!!?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I love my Vicco!

Beauty..the much coveted attribute. Sighs of relief ,when a baby is born fair-skinned in India, are commonalities. Children these days aim to be Miss Universe. Teenagers read Cosmo Girl and persuade their gullible and giving parents to pay green to straighten their hair. Young women live through crash diets and find more to experiment with. And the others ogle at them, reinforce them, and say, "WOW! You are so skinny. I wish I were like you" or "She is so beautiful".

Beauty...the most coveted attribution and perhaps, the least useful for a worldy woman. What use are admiring glances and compliments apart from the momentary sky-rocketing self-esteem and maybe, some unwanted vanity? Heard of derogatory terms such as bimbos? I also take the word "chick" to heart. I do not wish to be a doll for someone to look at until they are bored with it or the object of someone's lustful fantasies.

Beauty..the most coveted attribution and perhaps, also a curse. Your face value remains your only value. People fail to appreciate your intelligence, your hard work, your qualities, and your achievements. And when they do, its usually a "Beauty with Brains" comment...with a topping such as "a rarity".

Is that really true? Do beauties rarely have brains or do we fail to pay attention to their brains because we are so smitten by their beauty, because beauty in our minds is more glamorous, or because beauties are not that common? People often ask me why I dont exercise to enhance my curves, of course in not such an explicit way. They also ask me to go get my hair done or to wear certain shades of lipstick. They are often appalled that I dont like to wear make up to work. I only say, "Thank you very much. I love my Vicco Turmeric. That suffices!"

Thanks, and pay attention to the beauty within.

And the winner is...

And the winner is............................rolling drums.......

Story 6 by Ashish!

It was a bright sunny afternoon. He arrived in his Chaddis at his own wedding .

Guests came out, saw him, and screamed.

He smiled and said "Ye Andar ki Baat Hai".

She fainted.


Ashish, you will soon receive a gift hamper in the mail (which might get lost)!

Thanks a ton everyone for your votes, and stories, and smiles, and laughs. This was fun!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Future

I was asked a few days ago, "What are you looking forward to in life?".

After much thought, I said, "Nothing" and I meant it.

A simple question led to a series of thoughts. I felt ashamed that I had nothing to look forward to in life, and that if I did, I was unaware of it. I wondered if I had reached a stagnation point in life where all my dreams either were fulfilled or not that important anymore, or was I simply weary and sleep-deprived and unable to look beyond my basic needs that day, or better still, was I very present-oriented, like the sages in the Himalayas?

I wonder if others feel the same way. Some people look forward to the weekends, just like I do. Some people look forward to graduation, just like I do. Some people look forward to retirement, just like I do. Some people look forward to marriage, just like I do. Some people look forward to children, just like I do.

But I remember looking forward to coming to the United States. But I remember looking forward to working here. But I remember looking forward to buying my own car. But I remember looking forward to a doctoral degree.

What changed? I was happy and satisfied when I achieved all these, for a fleeting moment, maybe a few months in some instances but then what happened? More wants, more desires. Are we innately not satisfied with what we have, always wanting more? Are we always looking forward to a future that seems more complete than our present? Is that why we run to psychics, get excited when a friend can read our palms, and read up our daily horoscope in the newspaper? Does the unknown seem more exciting? Yet, when asked, I said I was not looking forward to anything.

Is your future better than mine? Are you looking forward to something?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Short Story Series III

Now its time for those Late Lateefs..those who submitted stories long after the contest was over..

After you folks are done reading, please please take the new poll on the sidebar.

Story 17 by Amit L!

It was a bright sunny afternoon. He arrived in his UFO at Mars Disco.

His wife came out, saw him, and screamed.

He smiled and said 'Guess what-I married an Indian girl during my Earth visit.

She fainted.

Story 18 by Pavi

It was a bright sunny afternoon. He arrived in his "B'day suit"(ie nude!) at the "Blog club" .

The Bloggers came out, saw him, and screamed.

He smiled and said "I'm the Psycho, sneha was talking about"!.

They fainted.

Story 19 by Sam!

It was a bright sunny afternoon. He arrived in his car at the villa.

She came out, saw him, and screamed.

He smiled and said Mom, I'm home.

She fainted.

Story 20 by Mansi!

It was a bright sunny afternoon. He arrived in his santa costume at her bar .

Bartender Lila came out, saw him, and screamed.

He smiled and said Ho burp Ho burp Ho burrrrrrp.

She fainted.

Story 21 by Keshi!

It was a bright sunny afternoon. He arrived in his shirtless-status at Keshi's place.

Keshi came out, saw him, and screamed.

He smiled and said 'come get me babeh John Abraham is finally here'.

She fainted.

Short Story Series II

Here are some more!!! First timers, this is just a continuation of readers' contributions from two days ago. More stories later!! BTW, the contest is now closed!!


Story 9 by Amit!

It was a bright sunny afternoon. He arrived in his bullockcart at Ny int'l airport .

Angelina Jolie came out, saw him, and screamed.

He smiled and said "would like to have a test drive, maa'm??

She fainted.

Story 10 by Rohit!

It was a bright sunny afternoon. He arrived in his shorts at her office.

She came out, saw him, and screamed.

He smiled and said I forgot the condom in you bag. ;)

She fainted.

Story 11 by Ceedy!

It was a bright sunny afternoon. He arrived in his swimming trunks with his large belly hanging out at the apartment complex's community center.

Guests and family came out, saw him, and screamed.

He smiled and said (embarisingly) thank you all and specially YOU for the suprise birthday party

She fainted.

Story 12 by Vivek!

It was a bright sunny afternoon. He arrived in his bicycle at 12am .

Grandma came out, saw him, and screamed.

He smiled and said "your time is up"!.

She fainted.

Story 13 by Deobrat!

It was a bright sunny afternoon. He arrived in his coffin at the door .

She came out, saw him, and screamed.

He smiled and said "Darling, I am not going to leave you in peace".

She fainted.

Story 14 by Ankur!

It was a bright sunny afternoon. He arrived in his Limo at the airport, where Deepika must be arriving soon.

She came out, saw him, and screamed.

He smiled and said, "i want to ask you something, i was waiting, for you, the moment you come to India" , "Will you marry me?"

She fainted.

Story 15 by Vagabond Dreamer!

It was a bright sunny afternoon. He arrived in his Beatup jalopy at her apartment building.

Sarah came out, saw him, and screamed.

He smiled and said honey i shrunk the kids.

She fainted.

Story 16 by Iceman!

It was a bright sunny afternoon. He arrived in his "langot" at the birthday party.

The birthday girl came out, she saw him, and screamed.

He smiled and said should I do a favor by taking that off as well & did a full monty!

She fainted.