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2009-08-23

Hi... are you from India ?

Something happened today morning that makes me think again
-why do people try too seek cheap publicity in the name of God
-why do they wear the “Hi-are-you-from-India-too” mask and embarrass us “Indians”

I live in a private community where I consider safety and privacy as the most basic amenities. Around 1pm on a Saturday, I was freely moving around the house in my bath-robe, when someone knocked on my door- thinking it would be my room-mate, I just opened the door to see 2 strangers standing (which is not at all usual) I was obviously embarrassed a little, but thinking it must be something quick – I decided to just let them finish the work they had come for.
Apparently, they were from some Indian Association and had organized a street play to celebrate the festival of Janmashtmi (Lord Krishna’s birth)
To publicize this, they were apparently going through each name on the plates in the complex and picking out apartments with Indian names against them.
Also, the street play was scheduled to be performed in the swimming pool area of the community.

Now, I seriously doubt that the association (whoever they were) got or rather took permission to have a public event near the swimming pool. Considering a small gathering and a street-play style performance can easily be taken in the pretext of a small private party , which is “allowed “– the association people must have felt unnecessary to go through the right channels to seek permission to hold the event.

To go through every individual name listed in the complex directory, pick out the seemingly Indian ones and knock doors to publicize your event is utterly shameful. There are other inexpensive ways of publicizing your event – take print outs and ask the management of the community to distribute them along with the weekly community letter or simply drop pamphlets in the mailboxes of your short listed apartments.

You come to my apartment, knock and upon answering “ Hello – are you from India? “ and the hospitable people that we Indians are would never close the door on your face, so Inspite of being a bit awkward in my bath-robe and talking to 2 strange men, I did ask them if they would like a glass of water. And with a very brief introduction of the association they represented, I also realized that they did not even live in my community.
I was really enraged and tried hard to let that now show and rather be very polite. They started asking personal questions as in where I am originally from and then which part of Bombay (testing my patience now….) and then the main part – the association publicity….

Now I am a very big Krishna Bhakt and would really encourage such events taking place, so that we the Indian living away from the culture and tradition can get to learn and enjoy these festivals. But I would really appreciate, if rules are not broken , privacy is not breached and things are done using the right channels and hierarchy.

I just feel insecure because they could have been some impostors and using the Indian name and easily fool someone. Also I feel a little ashamed, because some people do not appreciate this uncalled visits of publicity and might go and complain to the management about this incident and tomorrow we might have the management sending us fliers that “Some Indian Association has been going around knocking doors and holding events without permission near the pool area – please BEWARE”

I don’t want that to happen … I really love my country and people and want us to be known for the good reasons…

2009-08-08

Conquer your Fears

As a little girl,driving a red convertible was only what I could imagine Nancy Drew to do...Never seen a convertible in Bombay, let alone sit in it and even more...drive it.

It was almost unbelievable when I drove my “own” car for the first time. My dream of having a convertible was on wheels. Never a great driver from my Bombay days itself, I really found it hard to muster the spunk to drive on the roads of USA… the ones that are infamously known as freeways, where one is not free to drive in one’s own way (like we do in India) Driving in India was so different and so easy:)No lanes, no signals, no cops …no Rules at all:)

With trembling hands, and fists tight around the wheel, I remember driving for the first few days on the roads of Boston. I would be so cowed, that after my drive there would be marks in my palms where my nails were dug into due to fear.
And then slowly with prep, patience and practice, I “mastered” ( in my own way ) the art of driving in the States and gradually realized how easy it was.
It was not long when I became over confident about my driving, would drive with one hand and would speed beyond marked limits. Infact, as a sign of a good and confident driver, I earned my speeding ticket also. (Yes, contrary to the belief that speeding tickets are signs of rash and irresponsible driving, I truly believe that only the confident ones can actually earn them)

All my confidence was shattered after my snow-mobile accident. Inspite of having no experience of driving a snow-mobile ( not that - it is required) , I wanted to speed across the snow tracks and drive it like a pro and Bammm!!! The odometer hitting 40mph was the last thing I remember and then was the noise. I lost complete control of the gigantic vehicle and along with it flew off the track. Going down the small slope, blocked by a tree and landed with the herculean mobile on me. 40mph and the noise of my helmet hitting the tree is all I remember. It was pretty bad…but fortunately wasn’t as bad as Natasha Richardson’s accident ( which co-incidentally took place on the same day ) Well all I can say is - HELMETS DO SAVE LIVES.I As a souvenir from my accident (which was 6 months back) , I still have an injured finger which refuses to heal.

Now imagine, the confident girl speeding on the Mass-pike involved in such an accident. obviously all confidence gone down the drain. I could not drive at all for almost 3 weeks ( pain and fear combined… ). After coming back on the roads after a not very long hiatus, I thought it was my first day of driving again. I couldn’t drive beyond 50mph on highways with limits of 65mph. Irate drivers would go past me giving get-off-the-road-u-old-lady looks. Changing lanes was a “feat” that I thought I could never achieve again. And the moment I would speed and see a slope and instant fear would engulf me, a fear of the road ending into infinity. These were all baseless but justified fears. My snow-mobile incident had left a deep dark scar in my mind.

And then I realized, I could not go on like this. I couldn’t wake up 30 min earlier than I usually do, to reach my office in time, I couldn’t bear driving in the 3rd lane (slow lane) always. I couldn’t bear people speculating that the driver in the red car is definitely a girl.
So slowly and steadily, with determination at heart, I laid my foot on the gas and started to get back to the pace that I define. I realized I wanted people behind me and on the next lanes to think of me as a reckless driver rather than some bloody first-timer. I realized the only way I can enjoy this again is by beating my fear at this game.

So, with miles and miles driven and a strong mind to get back on the tracks, I conquered this fear (yes... for the second time) …and I am so proud of myself:)

TOUCHWOOD!!!

2009-08-02

Happy Friendship's Day

Friend – a word that has a different meaning to each one, a relation with a different significance in each life, a bonding that holds each one in different ways.

We all have our own definitions for friendship and each one looks for something special, something unique in the person - one calls FRIEND.
Many proverbs and quotations have tried to capture the meaning of this term, each falling short of something that could do justice to it.
Friendship to me is the essence in any relationship. I think if a person can’t be a friend, any other relation will be onus. Be in a parent-child, amongst siblings, husband-wife … no relationship can survive without having a strong foundation laid on friendship.

I don’t need to be with or talk to a person 24/7 to call him a friend. But, the feeling that at any hour, I have someone to lean on to is what matters. Someone I can talk like I am talking to myself ( ??? yes I do talk to myself) and someone with whom I don’t have to beguile myself.

No one could ever know me; no one could ever see me.
Seems like you're the only one who knows what it's like to be me.
Someone to face the day with, make it through all the rest with,
Someone I'll always laugh with, even at my worst, I'm best with you.


Someone with whom I don’t have to think before framing my words and after gazillion hours of conversation there is still no sign of “what else?”
You just never fall short of talks when with a friend. That’s one of my most favorite things in friendship. Just go on and on, with no rhyme or rhythm in the conversation and yet they seem meaningful.

Today, I get very nostalgic, because I really miss a few friends that I made while walking along with on my journey till here. Some I lost to time, some to distance, some to busy schedules and some to other relations. Sometimes, when friendship starts bordering on the fringes of other relationships, it becomes a liability. And some people opt to come out of it - Its not every body’s clich├ęd cup of tea to handle friendship in the right manner. Just last week, I was having an argument with a very close friend about whether you can have someone closer to call a friend other than your spouse/partner. I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with that and I am sure everyone will have his/her own standing and opinion.
Now it’s a completely different story when I also agree on -
Everyone has a best friend during each stage of life only lucky ones have the same friend in all stages of life..

When relationships lack friendship, they become obligations and have to be dragged on. But when a relationship is founded on and sheered on by friendship – it’s just the perfectly-foolproof-ideal way you are on !!!
Remember – it’s the soul of the relationship.

Happy Friendships Day to all my blog buddies – (little did I know that I would find so many people willing to share benches with me in this blogger’s park :))

Happy Friendships Day everyone… Mwuuuah :)