Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Wither our souls?

An explorer, a white man, anxious to reach his destination in the heart of Africa , promised an extra payment to his bearers if they would make greater speed. For several days, the bearers moved along at a faster pace. One afternoon, though, they all suddenly put down their burden and sat on the ground. No matter how much money they were offered, they refused to move on. When the explorer finally asked why they were behaving as they were, he was given the following answer: “We have been moving along at such a fast pace that we no longer know what we are doing. Now we have to wait until our soul catches up with us.”

Excerpt from Paul Coelho's maktub.

Made me wonder, If we are leaving our souls behind ?

Monday, May 29, 2006


Iatrogenesis etymologically refers to anything brought forward by a healer. It could be pain relief or further misery. However since ambiguity is generally abhorred , the word has commonly come down to mean negative effects. These could be unwanted side effects of a drug , malpractise by a physician and so and so forth. Essentially any negative effect one could associate with medical practise. I would like to concentrate on psychological iatrogenesis however. Now since I don't have a medical degree and my training so far has been in biochemistry, I can only talk about information culled from google searches. I read up about MPD sometime back. This was to do with some story I was planning to write. For the moment, its been shelved. Coming back to MPD, the essence of what I'd read up was this- its a psychiatrist created disorder. Patient comes in , starts talking and the psychiatrist, through and during his sessions starts teasing out different aspects of his personality and before you know, there are a few personalities present when there weren't any to begin with. Hence Iatrogenesis. Won't go more into this as I am out of my depth.

What I would like to throw into the mix next, is alcohol. Now this is something I've observed from personal experience. I am a better person drunk than sober. Not that I don't like myself sober, but, I do like myself better drunk. Reason being , I am much more relaxed, much less uptight and generally a more fun person to be around than when I am sober. Heck I even dance. Something, I am terrified of doing, when sober. But, mind you, the liquer is not making me a fun person. I am already a fun person. What it is doing then, is getting rid of the inhibitions that I find myself bound with when sober. So if I think of doing something while I am sober, I can stop myself from doing it before I actually do it. Liquer removes that step between thought of an action and actual action. Mind you again, I am not using liquer as an excuse for doing what I am doing, just analysing it to heck and back. Why, because while I like my drunk persona, I detest hangovers. So trying to be a more fun person while being stone sober.

Lets see, we got inhibitions and we got alcohol, how about sex. Lets add that too. Again , I feel , the same analogy applies. Alcohol may help us unwind but won't really make us sexual fiends if we aren't that way. Seen any painfully shy people ? The ones who don't have a clue about the dating jungle? They are just as painful even when drunk , in fact , worse, If that was actually possible. So where does that leave us.

Depressed I'd say. Bring on the prozac. Except, that most people on prozac can't really get it up. The only good thing that comes out of it is that they aren't bothered even. Most drugs for depression won't cause one to act out all their lustful fantasies. Really too bad. ( though I used the phrase "get it up", I do mean to include the females in this travesty)

By all this, I don't mean to pooh pooh iatrogenesis. As a phenomenon, it exists, and any concern in this regard is valid. However I do believe that educated decisions can and should be taken about personal health. Rhetoric about pharmaceutical industries creating new diseases should not sway a cardiac patient in need of his meds, against them. But, the said cardiac patient should think about lifestyle changes geared towards better cardiac health.

Similarly, drugs should not be blamed for any behavioral traits ( especially by non medical personnal- blame , not the behavior) and should definitely not be used as an excuse or scapegoat. Not by the consumer of those drugs and definitely not by people who have the knowledge of the consumption.

Iatrogenesis, in today's world is a demon in its own right. Lets not create more while trying to destroy it.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Woh kagaz ki kashti

Ye daulat bhi le lo
Ye shoharat bhi le lo
bhale chheen lo mujh se meri jawani,
magar mujh ko lauta do , wo bachpan ka sawan
magar mujh ko lauta do , wo bachpan ka sawan
wo kagaz ki kashti , wo baarish ka paani..

So goes a favourite ghazal of mine. It goes on to recollect a childhood spend listening to grandma's stories and planning the weddings of dolls. A childhood spent in playing around in the sun and not worrying about the SPF values.

Saturday evening, I was where I wanted to be, a friend and I had tickets to Da Vinci Code , we had time to kill , paper in our hands and to complete the picture, it was raining. I guess the childhood was needed. For all the enthusiasm I have , for all the efforts I make to keep that child in me alive, its becoming a losing battle. Yes, we thought of making paper boats and if I could find a puddle , I am sure, I'd have tried sailing them too. But, first things first, the boats needed to be made. While my friend went on in basanti mode, I did a Jai and Veeru. Veeru laughing at all the talk and Jai trying to make the boat. It took me quite a few attempts, a couple of the brochures, but finally I made the boat. Must be the memory of making it an era back. And the fact that I am an obstinate gal and cannot let anything beat me. If I want to do something , I have to keep at it till I can.

And I guess, now I am showing my age. First I could not make the boat for the longest time ever and then I analysed it to heck and back.

I want that bachpan ka sawan back now!!!

Monday, May 22, 2006


I've been drooling over the rebel ever since it came out. I finally got my hands on it last wk. My first reaction- Sheer fear. There are way too many buttons on this baby, an absolute contrast to my point and shoot. Not to mention that it is bigger and heavier. Finally got over the fear of dropping it and forced myself to read the manual. Sunday was a nice day and since I'd lazed around the whole day, I got off my behind in the evening and took some shots here and here.
I had fun doing this and am looking forward to exploring this baby's full potential

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Everything I know , I learnt from calvin (almost)

Just sharing some cartoon goodness on a sunny sunday.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

A Philosophy

" Everybody in the world, little and big, has one special friend, a friend that he is glad to favours to-not sour about it, but glad- glad clear to the marrow. And so, I don't care where you start, you can get at anybody's ear that you want to - I don't care how low you are, nor how high he is. And its so simple: you've only to find the first friend, that is all; that ends your part of the work. He finds the next friend himself, and that one finds the third, and so on , friend after friend, link after link, like a chain; and you can go up it or down it, as high as you like or as low as you like."

Taken from one of the short stories in the complete short stories of Mark Twain. I am reading this on the commute these days and something abt this quote struck home. Does it not boil down to just this, finding that one friend ?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A really enjoyable wkend

I’ve had an amazing wkend, so, I thought, I’ll share the details.

But, I guess, first some background needs to be provided. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun wkends. And I can squarely lay that blame on the doors of my partners in crime. Apy, and shu. Shu is my lab mate and has made an appearance on this blog earlier and Apy is threatening to be a regular. I guess a happy mind leads to better productivity and I’ve been having some good days at lab with all my stuff working. That just lets me enjoy some good wkends guilt free leading to some more good days at work. I am in a positive cycle. And it's a dramatic change because just a short while back, I was telling a friend that I am in a negative spiral and it can only end badly.

Last to last wkend, Shu and Apy had come over to my place. I’d cooked and apy had had some warning to stay away from my cooking. Brave of him to come! (I guess he must be thinking of getting back at me, since he invited me over for the wkend that just went by). We also watched swordfish and reservoir dogs and then went for an awesome walk on the beach.

So I was all set for getting some good food on Saturday. (We had decided on a menu earlier: P), when on Friday morning, I get a call. Turns out, a colleague of dad’s, wants to have me over for dinner. Bilbo is suddenly very popular. It feels nice, but is going to involve a lot of commute. Not to mention decisions on outfits and yada yada. Yep, sometimes I can be a typical gal and bore a person to tears talking about clothes and make up and shoes. Before I forget, we also had plans for Sunday evening and tentative plans for dinner. This was a shindig at the Indian embassy. I am guessing soon, the embassy would be the Tokyo chapter of Indian bloggers J

So, on Friday, between my experiments, I RSVPd for my two invites and thought about what to wear and all that girly stuff. Finally, I decided to go to the dinner directly from Apy’s place instead of going back to my place and then proceeding to it. Now, while it saved me half a commute, it presented the additional problem of carrying my outfit, and then changing into it. But, I guess one step at a time. So, when I got home on Friday, the first thing I tackled was the outfit. I had to find one, that was formal enough, was light enough to carry, would not get soiled or crumpled in the commute and holy of all holies, should still fit me. (I gain weight with each breath I take, my last trip to India was a good 4 yrs back and that's the average age of most of my Indian outfits. So when I fit into one, I feel pretty triumphant. Needless to say it isn’t a given and is very rare. If I am not mistaken Haley’s comet is more frequent)

Will wonders ever cease? I actually found one that fitted the bill and off course me, and, hold your breath people, I’ve had it for the last 5 yrs. Smartass (that's my bro), brought the material for me on his trip to lucknow and I got it stitched before I left for New York. If my mom had a say in it, the material would still be languishing in some trunk some where, cuz mommy dearest for all her love, is suspended in the belief that I should have my life on hold till I get married. That includes getting outfits that I am dying to have, this one included. Yeah mom, sure. (That’s an entirely different post, coming soon to a page near you. Meanwhile, watch this space).

So outfit done, err almost. Got to pick out the footwear. The devil is in the details and from the looks of it; I am on a spree and would be providing each one of em. Since my outfit was a dreamy thing in pink chikan, I decided to wear my kolhapuri chappals. My good friend Nupur hails from Kolhapur and was kind enough to bring over two pairs for me on one of her India trips. Needless to say, I am overtly in love with them. Since I did not want to carry too much stuff, I decided to go with the chappals and decided to wear a white shirt in chikan with my jeans for the lunch. Great. Done with the outfits for the day.

So, along with my handbag (which had my outfit), I had one bag containing the dessert I’d picked up and another bag containing the little plant I’d picked up for the wife of my dad’s colleague (they will hereafter be referred to as aunty and uncle). If you ask me, that's way too much stuff to be carrying around. But, a gal’s got to do what a gal's got to do. I called up Apy and let him know that I'd be carrying that much and warned him not to ask me If I was moving in. That took care of another detail.

Come Saturday morning, Bilbo gets up, gets showered and picks up her bags and is out. Guess what? It’s raining. Not cats and dogs, not atomizer rain but rain nonetheless. And Bilbo is wearing her priceless chappals and alternatively muttering under her breath and praying. (Muttering, “darn it, I should have checked the forecast before I picked out the clothes and the shoes, don't have the time to do it now.” And praying, “ Hope the chappals last the day.”). And the first moment, I got indoors, out of the rain, out came the tissues and I set to wiping the chappals. I mean I am anal, but did not know I was that anal.

Okay, now I know. Got to Apy’s place around 11 AM. And the first order of the day, get the outfit out where it wont get any more crumpled. Now, apts in Tokyo are amazingly small. Apy’s is no exception to that. It is just one small studio apt. So, he knew he’d have to step out when I changed. When I took out the outfit to put it aside, his question was, is that a sari (translation, man I am going to be out in the rain and cold for ever)?

Food, where’s the food in this blog about a lunch and dinner, one may ask. Well, Apy had made dal makhani. With, one call to India to dad to get the recipe and then one trip to the store to get the ingredients, he was all set to exact his revenge. Death by overfeeding it seems. He added milk and butter and cream to the dal, and it turned out to be amazingly good. We ended up taking second helpings. Of course there were other things too, like chapattis that puffed up (okie, one definitely did), but the dal took the cake literally.

Satiated, we set to watching Man on Fire. One word for this one – SLOW.
We’d planned a walk to the Tamagawa River nearby, but since it was raining, we had no other option, but to sit and watch the movie.

Oh well, by the time the movie ended, it was time for Bilbo to change and head out. Am glad I’d let uncle know that I might get delayed. Time again, for me to step out in the rain with the chappals. Some more prayers were sent up. I finally made it to uncle’s half an hour late. Good way to make an entry though, since every one was already there. Some more food, rich and yummy. When I moved away from the dining table after helping myself to all the goodies, a fellow guest complimented me on my plate. Turns out it was looking pretty. That's when it hit me. I am so thoroughly bitten by the foodblog bug that I even plate my own food photogenic ally. Wondering if there’s a foodie anonymous in Tokyo. Though, I am not really looking forward to getting up in front of strangers and going, “Hi, I am Ed, I have a problem.”

The Dinner was a farewell for another colleague of dad’s. He is highly talented and has tried to encourage other members of the embassy to follow their passions. He was asked to sing and instead of breaking out in one of his melodious numbers, he started calling up random guests to come and join in. Bilbo was called too. None of us having a clue to what we’d be singing. Finally we sang the Satte pe Satta number pyar hamein kis mode pe le aya. That song brought back some memories.

Some more songs later, it was too late for Bilbo to be heading back home. So while the other guests took their leave, aunty showed me the guest room.

Sunday morning, I was up bright and early. Talked to uncle and aunty over coffee and then headed out. And as soon as I got out of their place, I called Apy. I was up and he was sleeping and I was jealous so woke him up too.

I got home and brought my groceries (a tonne of fruits), made some palak pancakes and had a late brunch. Nap time. Not really, since my washer dryer creates a racket while it is on and I cant really step out. So, while it was on I tried to catch mah 40 winks.

Got up, showered and time to head out again. Am sure people are glad there are no outfit dilemmas for this day. Off late, the club at the Indian embassy has been making their own movies and screening them. They screened a spoof on sholay some time back and I’d missed it. I ‘d heard a lot of good things about it so did not want to miss the screening of their latest venture.

Apy had joined me for the screening. While we waited for it to start, we hung around the place. Bilbo smiling to random people and bursting out into hi how are you(s) and big smiles and the folded hand namaste(s) and also making random introductions that went like so and so meet apy. Note to myself, I need to pick up some people skills.

Finally, after every one settled down and all the speeches were made, the screening started. Not much to write home about but definitely not bad for an amateur effort.

Next stop, the dinner after the screening. Another farewell dinner, this time, a joint effort in hosting. We were both uncomfortable when we got there. I was uncomfortable because I did not know all the people and we were sitting with strangers and Apy, because hell, he did not know anybody. We grabbed for the spirits being served and feeling slightly fortified, began interacting with our dining partners. It wasn’t a bad experience in hindsight. We actually ended up enjoying ourselves and the food wasn't bad either.

And that brings me to the end of this great wkend. Am looking forward to some more like these. And yes, I am a greedy gal.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Just another mom's day post

Back, when I was in school, and then later in college, mom and I had a daily ritual. I’d get back home and then perch on the nearest surface available. It could be a counter top, a cylinder, a small stool or maybe a chair I’d dragged in. The important thing was to be sitting down, preferably close to mom where she was making my lunch for me. And then I’d go into motor mouth mode and give her an account of the day, moment-by -moment, word-to-word. I haven’t done that in ages, but it spoiled me. I can’t have leftovers, so cook my meals whenever I can and to this day, hate to open the door of my empty apt with no mom to talk to.

The Master’s program changed things a bit. I was at a hostel, and not coming home that frequently and even then there were plenty of things that were going on. The ritual underwent a metamorphosis and it was more on the lines of gal time than anything else. While mom updated me on the gossip in her social circle, I did mom’s nails. She is much fairer than me and any nail paint I have looks way much better on her than me. So its always fun to do her nails. And then mess around with her hair. Ever since I remember, I’ve loved playing with her hair. Her’s are long and silky and non fussy. I’ve recently started growing my hair and while I am forever on the look out for the perfect shampoo conditioner combo for my hair-with-an-attitude-problem, hers are forever tangle free and shiny. She does have a strand of white, which I try to disguise with henna. That's fun too.

On my birthday last year, I wasn’t feeling too well. I also had a relatively free day at work. So I took the day off and spent it at home. At the last moment, I got a salon appointment and got a haircut. While mom kept asking what I wanted to have for my special day, I just wanted to lie low and have a slow lazy day. I did not even bake a cake. Mom met me at Arisugawa koen after my salon appointment and we just spent a nice winter afternoon sitting in the sun. And in the evening she made something special just for me. I don’t think I could have had a better b’day.

My folks left for Ho chi Minh soon after that, and, my b’day was probably my last gal time here with mom. I am leaving for Nam in June and mom is going to pick me up at the airport. We have one day all to ourselves before dad and bros join us. I am looking forward to some gal time then. This time I am hoping to shoot a nice portfolio of hers. I don't think I can get a better bakri then her to satisfy the shutter bug in me.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Day 0

I picked up these two pots for 100 yens each . The blurb on the package says , " you can raise your own plants in the convenience of your own home. Planting the seed and watering it will make your nature experience more complete. "
The pots are made of compressed and molded coir and come with soil and seeds. I picked up mini tomato and sweet basil.
Years back , I'd taken to gardening with a vengeace. I found it very therapeautic to go out on the terrace and water my gazillion plants every time and any time the whim took me. It came to the point that my parents believed me to be the original green thumb. Then I took a break and after that the first plant I bought, I promptly killed. Took me a while to get any more plants. Finally got two and watched for quiet a while. When I was satisfied , that I was not going to kill them, I felt brave enough to get some more . By the time I was ready to quit, I had quite a collection.
And now, after another hiatus, I got these Natural pots ( thats what the package said) . Do I still have that green thumb. Can I look forward to some basil if not mini tomatoes. Dekhenge HUM LOG

Color me blue

Just took a quiz and here are the results. Almost on the money and its kinda freaky

Existing Situation

Seeks to express the need for identification in a sensitive and intimate atmosphere where esthetic or emotional delicacy can be protected and nurtured.

Stress Sources

Has an unsatisfied need to ally herself with others whose standards are as high as her own, and to stand out from the herd. This desire for preeminence isolates her and inhibits her readiness to give herself freely. While she wants to surrender and let herself go, she regards this as a weakness which must be resisted. This self-restraint, she feels, will lift her above the rank and file and ensure recognition as a unique and distinctive personality.

Restrained Characteristics

Feels cut off and unhappy because of the difficulty in achieving the essential degree of cooperation and harmony which she desires.

Circumstances are such that she feels forced to compromise for the time being if she is to avoid being cut off from affection or from full participation.

Desired Objective

Alert and keenly observant. Is seeking fresh avenues offering greater freedom and the chance to make the most of them. Wants to prove herself and to achieve recognition. Striving to bridge the gap which she feels separates her from others.

Actual Problem

Feels insufficiently valued in her existing situation, and is seeking different conditions in which she will have greater opportunity of demonstrating her worth.

A walk in the rain

Remember that walk I took sometime back? Well , I did it again yesterday. Except, this time , no camera , no cell phone, not even my ipod. Just me and my keys , so that I could get back into the apt. Earlier in the day, it had looked kinda cloudy. By the time I got out of the apt, we were having , what I like to call atomisor rain. It feels like some one up there sits with a spray bottle and keeps spraying little droplets. Kinda fun to walk in that. What made it even better, was the fact that I had the entire place all to myself. Like a greedy little hobbit, I revelled in this exclusivity and all but gloated "my precioussss"
There is a play area for little kids in the shiokaze koen. In the day time , little kids hog it. Yesterday night at around 9, you guessed it right. It was mine. Oh boy! Its been ages since I've been on a swing and loved every bit of the little time I spent on it. Imagine rain coming down and the sound of the waves lapping at the shore to keep you company and just water as far as the eyes can see. And, a swing. Bliss.
But I was determined to complete the walk , so , very reluctantly said bye to the swing and plodded on. Shiokaze led into the odaiba marine park and then on to the beach. Again just the light of the cruise boats on the calm water and me on the beach. One step in front of the other and thats it. Different shades of grey mixed with the orange and blues of the cruise boats and their occasional flicker. Even the rainbow bridge which is usually lit up was just a mute spectator to the play of light on the water. Oh yeah , how do I forget the lights of the ferriswheel. The colors and patterns on the wheel change every minute and one can watch it for ever. Its entertaining to watch this dance against the skyline. As a visiting blogger put it, its such a patel shot. Patel shot or not, its home and I love it.
On the way back, I picked up some fruit ice and walked back chomping on it. I was out in the rain for more than an hour. By the time , I got home, my hands were frozen, but my spirit felt warm and I guess thats what matters.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Words and I

I’ve had this blog for over a year now and was thinking about it. More in terms of why write. I’ve always written, in some way or the other. Have always enjoyed putting pen to paper and putting down my thoughts that have been swirling in my head at that particular moment.

Words have been friends, and man, there’ve been so many of them. Not one getting jealous of other, rather, they bring out the best in each other, offsetting each other brilliantly, and bringing out so many of my moods. I can be pensive, naughty, flirtatious, angry, lonely, sad, happy and they project that. They make me look smart and intelligent and thoughtful and caring. No wonder they are my playmates and I am so happy to acquire more of them.

And yet there are times when words fail me. I do wonder if it's the words failing me or me failing them. Because they are there as usual, it’s just that I feel myself unable to use them. Whose fault is it then if all I can say to something is dunno.

I started this blog because I needed a method to my madness. While the insanity has only increased, the method still eludes me. I still cannot just decide to write something and then write it. It has to be an inspired moment and only when the words all come together in a thought in my head can I write them down. That's my first draft. Then it gets typed. Some times, as is the case now, it gets typed directly. Then a spell check and sometimes that's all it takes to post. A spell check.

So here I am writing about my friends, hoping to rein them in. Have them more at my command than they are at the present moment and continuing a lifelong association that has been an enjoyable experience