My daughter turns 14 months in a week.

We've travelled a fair bit in the past 5 years we've been together. First the dating part and the travel between the States and UK. Then getting married in India and eventually building a life together. We've just started travelling with LO too - we've done India, US, Italy and a few local trips - Brighton, Lake District and Bradford. This little lady has been to three continents within the first year of her life, in contrast to mum and dad who didn't get their passports until they were in college.

On Love....

I re-read my favorite poem after ages today. Has never been more relevant than it is now. Here it is again, just in case I forget. I hope my child will read this one day, and appreciate poetry, and romance and all the emotions expressed here.

Being in love with you
Is to abandon the piano:
It is to take up the castanets,
The bugle,
The kettle drum.

It is to sleep naked, with all the doors and windows open,
Fearing nothing.

Being in love with you means many days I am so happy
I can barely feed myself:
I laugh or weep or both and set aside the fork.

It means I wake one morning feeling
Such warmth rising inside me
That I am suddenly confident
All snow would melt
Within my steady gaze;
And I dress quickly
To test this
On the crisp, December Landscape.

Being in love with you further means the rhododendrons
Are in bloom, the mongoose
Is mating, the moon is full and the wind strong
Along the western ghats of South India.

Being in love with you sings arias
In my head, hums loudly
In my bones.
It beats the drum.

Some complain that being in love with you is merely an airtight ferocity,
Or a kind of rococo piety,
But we proclaim it
This Resplendent Helmet,
A radical and luminous sobriety.

Being in love with you is crucial.
Everything depends upon it.
In summer, being in love with you is red, raw and delicious.
In winter it is blue, lucent, and shimmers when touched.

Being in love with you is to forget
For a moment the use of fruit:
It is to stare long at the splendour
Of a green pear
On a white porcelain plate.

Being in love with you is old as Laughing Buddha,
And as fat.

Being in love with you is only now,
Cannot be remembered
Or imagined.

Being in love with you is to notice the basic radiance of all things,
And is thus a simple, unarmed, fundamental bathing.

Being in love with you is as well, a small well-kept apartment
In the middle of busy Kyoto,
Where, with great contentment,
A young couple sit
At a low table
Eating their evening meal
Of sweet hijiki
On beds of warm rice,
The silence broken only
By faint, almost musical
Clinks of chopsticks
Upon the oval bowls.

Being in love with you for even one second
Is enough. The big picture changes.
(When the honey jar is opened,the whole kitchen is instantly sticky.)

Being in love with you is a deep thirst,
An undermining hunger.
It is a desperation like that of a barn swallow caught
In a kitchen mousetrap,
Dragging itself with his wings
And one good leg
Towards the dog-door,
His only hope.

Being in love with you is ludicrous and cannot be explained.
Being in love with you sneaks up on me from behind.
It is a kind of ambush.
Or worse, it is an avalanche
In which I am tumbled furiously
For a time, then stopped cold
In whatever absurd position the snow
Finds me - perhaps only a hat
Or a hand
Visible to the outside world.

Being in love with you sits on my doorstep
And weeps. It calls pathetically
To be let in the house, rants
About my neglectfulness. I run
To open the door but - when I touch
The doorknob - feel a tap
On my shoulder, turn around
And it is there,
Smiling its galling
Cheshire smile.

It is the holy guardian of archways, the faithful steward of
All tunnels and bridges.

It is alpine and religious, naked and fierce.
It is the kiss of candour, and the cherished cup.
It is “the low down” and “the real dope”.

Being in love with you is to dream, at least once, that you live inside me
Like a mysterious Spanish town at twilight: you are the red dirt road
That winds into town;
You are the squat houses with lamps lit and drapes half-drawn;
On the horizon, you are sunset’s silent fire;
You, bouncing are the green and orange swirled ball that children run after
Laughing in the street - and on the porch, the old man, head in hands,
You are the young lovers in the town square at nightfall, the moon’s play of
Light and shadow on their faces, you are their lips, their kiss;
And yet you are also the several dead drunk matadors, draped over chairs,
Spread-eagled over the hotel bed;
And you, too, are the town idiot on the tavern roof, dancing a pot bellied
Belly-dance to the slender crescent moon;
And at the farthest edge of town, you yourself are the yelled-at mule, who
Will not budge.

In spring, being in love with you is green, resilient, and sways to the rhythms of wind.
In autumn, it is pale gold and fills the sky.

Being in love with you is centripetal.

Moreover, it choreographs
And christens.
It cradles and cherishes, yet
Confiscates as much as it confers.
It clobbers and clocks, then cloisters - but only to clarify
And cleanse.
It seems to cathart then catnap, but later celebrates
And celestializes.
It cultivates and cumulates until it is continual combustion.
Or, saying the same, is a kind of ever spontaneous consecration.
It cures and cushions,
Compels and completes.
If threatened with congealing, it may creep
Aside, churn and circulate,
Conspiring to colour the cosmos.

Being in love with you is centrifugal.

It is hard to believe
Being in love with you
Was once
That tiny space
In my heart
That has since exploded
Into a vast cathedral
Of sky
Under which I stand alone,
Looking up.

It is raining cats and dogs.
I am drenched.
Being in love with you has soaked me
To the bone
And I will never again
Be dry.
It is the year 2013. Technically we have less than one month left of it. I was reading a friend's blog post, it inspired me to read my own and write.

Life has gone by at a hectic pace these past few years, and in a good way. Turned 30 this year, bought our first place, started a new job, enjoyed time with family, enjoyed some time off (garden leave again), travelled a bit this year and expecting our first baby in July 2014. Yes, that is quite a record for how many things have gone great in our lives in one calendar year, thank Almighty.

That familiar feeling of something missing has come back again. I used to be the "enthu girl" - unlimited appetite for people, places and merriment. It is so weird when I cannot get enthused for my office Christmas party - black tie, evening wear, the works. Chance to parade my evening gowns when I can still fit into it, get my hair done and so on. Really meet my new colleagues, bond and network late into the night, things I had a voracious appetite for in my sales life. But not this time - all I want to do is curl up and sleep. The fact that I am utterly exhausted doesn't help either. But that's not it either. 

I am not a big fan of winters, and it getting dark at 4 30 PM, I hate it, absolutely. I miss my home - I miss bright and sunny India, I miss the chaos, the sweltering heat, Amma's cooking, I miss it all.

The other day I had to fill out a "get to know each other" questionnaire that supposedly builds teams. First question : Hometown. I suppose it would be Chennai - where I was born and lived for the first 13 years of my life, and where my husband belongs to. But not having lived there in so long, I can't really show anyone around, I suppose so what is hometown really ?

My thoughts drift. I do wonder what baby is doing right now - Baby is about 8 weeks old at this point. Part of me wants to start writing again, just for his/her sake. To give a glimpse into who I was , before the baby. Will it matter ? Would they want to know  ? Would they care ?

Maybe it's Facebook and how much time I spend on it - A lot of my friends, colleagues, acquaintances - they all seem to lead an absolutely fabulous life - painting, stand-up comedy, volunteering, running marathons, travelling the world and it feels like they all have lives that are are far more interesting than mine, until I see my friends for real - and they all lead daily lives, just like me.

There were things I wanted to do before I turned 30 - Travel a bit, meet the right guy, record a carnatic CD,write a book, get fitter, and finish reading my spiritual books, hopefully know a few pages by heart. I have done some of these, I haven't done a few others. But it doesn't matter because the core things are in place, and I have plenty of time to work on the rest. And hopefully my kid will one day look at me and  get to know me as more than just a mom.

 I like goal setting - where I really struggle is the operational rigor to actually stick to a routine. This has been the case with my fitness so far, but hopefully I can set a good example for Kutti there in the future. I also hope to stick to writing a few pages everyday. Even if it is just gibberish. Who knows, maybe I can infuse some creativity into the kids life as they grow up.

The Status change...

I've been married a couple of years at this point. Being a married woman in the west didn't change anything significantly - at work, with friends, the social circle. Sure, we probably hangout more with other couple friends now, but that would have been the case even if we were just dating. Sure, that puts me in the league of married women at work who don't celebrate Valentine's day but again, neither do couples that are in a long-term relationship. In short - my identity, how much fun I have, my work, my social circle - has not been affected by marriage.

It is the polar opposite in India - a marriage essentially elevates a girl to the status of womanhood. It gives her the legitimacy in a society. Any socio-religious function - whether it is someone's marriage, baby shower, house warming etc etc requires you to be married - the mangal sutra is your stamp of approval. And since I haven't lived in India in almost 9 years now - my single days didn't affect me adversely, neither does my married status get me any perks now.

Until today. My Indian neighbor knocked at my door and invited me to a "women only" function. I didn't think much of it, the ladies were all decked up. I had just returned from work , so I showered, changed and threw on a salwar and a bindi and went there. Amidst gobbling all the yummy sweets and food, I learnt that today is a pooja for Goddess Parvathi - a Goan tradition apparently, involving married women and little girls. I felt a bit excited, because this is probably the first time the married thing is counting "for" me if you will.  This and the three time we've visited the temple in these two years we've been married. Because those are the only times I have been offered the Kumkum, and could wear it on my Maang (forehead) as opposed to between my eyebrows , like I should have been doing all these years.

I wonder how much of a big deal and an enormous life changing event it is for women who live in India. Believe me - it is daunting enough to get to know someone, fall in love, move in with them and make it work between just the two of you. Add these societal status changes and everything else to it, it must be a big-bang change, and, women of my grandmom's era had to do this when they were in their teens.

The more I've lived away from my own culture, the more alien it seems to me. But the more I live away from my own culture, the more I can relate to it as well. Immigrant Paradox ?
What does a job mean to a woman ?

This is a scary question. On the one hand - I have pretty much been studying or working since I was 2.5 years old. I had a break a while ago, of 2 months - most of which was spend job searching & relocation, preparing for the next job and so on.

I am on my garden leave now and time flies. I find myself left with a little less than 10 days to prepare for my next job, finish up everything I wanted to finish, and more importantly , relax. I am so wound up - unable to relax. I find myself in the familiar situation of being crazy booked - social life, running errands, personal shopping etc etc.

This is a crazy situation - On the one hand this is the perfect opportunity to just lay low and get some down time. On the other hand, what if I laze around, and am totally unprepared for the rigors of the new job ? What about, dress, hair and the thousand other things I could be doing in the meanwhile ?

Why is it just so hard to relax in life ? Is it just me ?
What do I remember about Prof. Sura ?

When I joined BITS in 2000, he was the handsome geeky bachelor that girls had a crush on. I remember, I joined as a late entry and he taught General Physics. My first class was a special class he had arranged to get us caught up.

It was probably a Saturday morning . I was very sleepy. And to keep awake I was doodling. I ended up drawing a man's profile. He gave us a problem to solve, he walked past me, looked at my notebook and said " Is that me ?" " Probably not, it's just a generic face" I said.

I ended up getting a C in Physics. I do remember him as a spic macay leader and more importantly as a chief warden. On one of our trips, we couldnt get permission slips for everyone on time. We ended up knocking G.Su's door and got told off. Not to be deterred we went and knocked on SuRa's door. We were told off again but he did give us the permissions we needed and it ended up saving our asses in the end. We all made the trip. In hindsight, that event didn't end up being a significant one in my life, or anyone else's for that matter.

But when I think of SuRa I remember this geeky, very popular professor. Someone who had the respect of all of us. The enigmatic bachelor who ended up finding his intellectual partner for life in that dreary desert that was Pilani. I was at that stage in life where was skeptical of the whole relationship-companionship-marriage side of things. He was someone I genuinely thought was soo consumed by his passion for Physics that there was no room for much else.

He did give me hope that there was someone out there for everyone.
That's how I'll always remember him. RIP Prof. Suresh Ramaswamy.

Stats are like miniskirts...

They reveal more than they conceal...

Post on marriage : 10 views
Post on BITS : 7 views
Post on carnatic music : 2 views
Post ,deceptively titled "Tamil Kalacharam and Sex" : 190 views.

Learning a little something about SEO through this.

Now let's see how many hits this post gets...:)