Thankfully all-American,my workplace is my window to American Culture.The part of it which I never got to see through F.R.I.E.N.D.S. or Will & Grace.Heres a thumbnail of some people at my office.

Ms.Boss : She must be in her late forties.A trip to India apparently changed her outlook so much that her house doesnt have electricity or heating.Has daughters who drive her to work when she gets late.

Miss.Take-care Single : She is 42 and single.She is responsible for making me feel at home at workplace.Cheerful and talkative,sometimes labelled the office bully,she never fails to stand up for things she truly believes in.In her own words "Oh no, see I cant do this,me and my morals have to wake up together every morning!!".She thinks Americans are the most spoilt beings in the planet,and we have slipped into the habit of discussing everything about India and the US daily, a sort of a culture-exchange session, if you will.She sort of looks out for me,and in her mind I am still this "Small girl alone in a big new country"!!!Very concerned about the fact that I am still single,she tries her hand at matchmaking every time she meets any desi that drops by my office.

Miss So-UnAmerican GradAsssitant : She is 21,a grad student in Education.She worked her way through undergrad, and when she got an assistantship in gradschool,she was so happy she got herself a car.She still lives with her parents, calls mom from work,and stays at home for thanksgiving,cleans out the house.I am amazed how much I know about her family.I know her twin bro's birthdays,how they camp-out in the parking lot of BestBuy before thanksgiving,playing Poker with friends she can barely stand,how they are the "worst drivers ever", or how they go up to smokies every summer with their girlfriends, and of course,their dating record,pickup lines and so on.I know so much about her mom and dad, and how they had blown up a picture of her grandparents wedding snap for their Anniversary and how she is amazed they still fit into their wedding dresses.

Mr.Family Man :A formerly a much travelled Army man,he loves his brood of four daughters.A devoted family man,he drives his kids to school,stays up all night to take care of his newest 3 month old, and cries everytime he sees "Father of the Bride".

Mr.Sports Freak : A crazed Football freak,the types who would come to work and open before his Outlook.He suprised me by recognising a picture of Schumi and Barrichello on my wallpaper,and since then we have become F1 pals.He still cribs about the fact that F1 is not as popular in the US at it should have been, and since then we have been imparting F1 wisdom to our poor co workers.

Mrs.Big MOmmy : She must be in her late fifties or early sixties.A grandmom many times over,she never fails to bring yummy chocolates and home made cookies or her bear hugs to work.

The other day, I was talking about how I was performing for an Indian cultural event the next weekend.And I was wished "Break a leg"!!! Seeing the expression on my face, people went on to explain how it is a theatrical expression,against wishing an actor good luck.They stare at me quizzically when I talk about "long queues during thanksgiving" (I switched to using "lines" thereafter!!),and when they are warning me about how the weather gets nasty around thanksgiving, and touches thirties,at the back of my mind I am still working out to the F to C conversion.(Yes, the weather did get nasty, and it was nice seeing my first snow!!! Ok,discounting Kulu Manali for you perfectionists.. but whatever!!!).

It has been a good learning experience learning about the American Culture, firsthand.I personally think,media presents a very stereo-typical picture of the US.Much alike the India of fakirs and snake charmers that is portayed to the world.Yes, people do stay married for longer than a year too, and yes,families drive accross the country to be with each other on thanksgiving,grandparents still watch over the small kids, and daddies take pride in displaying thier kids drawings on their desks.

f6-Souls in ecstasy !!

"om ganAnAm tvA ganapatim AvAmahe, kavim kavinAm-upama shravas-tamam jyeshta-rAjam brahmanAm brahmana-spata Anah shranvan-noti-bhih siida-sAdanam "

I am no music critic, but I know good music when I hear it.AhirBhairavi and Malayamarudham, mixed so beautifully,heavenly voices presenting a very well orchestrated peice.Life cant get better folks !!!!

Souls in ecstasy....

Is what they call themselves.Believe me, just listening to them is is an experience I was fortunate enough to have had.I am very proud to have had a chance to perform with some of them.

Their latest production -Brahma's Dance had me mesmerized.Here's hoping they go places.Maybe I ll tell my grandkids about the time I went to school with these guys !!!

Yipeee !!!!
One more birthday to write about....


Hope the choco cake messed u up just enough so me and Shobi can style your hair a la Leona !!!!