The Indian Diaries- Air miles & more

I knew there would be drama involved in my trip to India-after all; India is the land of drama (besides being the land of kamasutra that is). But what I didn’t know was that the drama would start during my travel itself. My disappointment came to surface when I reached the airport and I saw a huge line of brown people on my flight. FML was what came to my mind. I had carefully articulated the facts that this flight would have less brown passengers as compared to the others. My reasoning was very logical and calculated. I was hopelessly wrong with my assumptions and I knew I had no other option but to think positive. It can’t be that bad-I thought to myself.

I don’t like flying with a plane full of brown people because most of them are loud and disrespectful to other people’s space. I say this coz I have many in-flight stories and they all involve disturbances caused by brown people. Like for instance, last time when I was flying to India (like that’s  a surprise!) an old woman (around 70) got up after dinner (when the lights were dimmed down) and took her pillow and threw it in the aisle and then she lay flat in the middle of the aisle-trying to take a nap. I got the shock of my life when I saw this- OMG OMG OMG!. I woke up sister to show her the sight. I was sitting two seats behind on the aisle side watching all this drama unfold. Later the FA (Flight Attendant) came and took care of the situation.  Thank god! I went first class for the rest of the trip coz I don’t think I could have handled any more shock for one flight.

On a similar flight this one time there was a Sardar with a turban sitting in the middle row. After few hours of flying time he removed his turban and put it aside. Just like that he removed his turban amidst of all the people and didn’t bother putting anything else or fixing his sunflower shaped hair. How disrespectful  is that to the other person’s space? Being comfortable is one thing but making others uncomfortable is another.

See I wasn’t lying when I said these things always happen in my flights. This time when I was coming home there was this one annoying kid (about 2-3yrs old) sitting 3 seats in front of me. There were more than 12 kids on the flight but I didn’t hear anyone else except this one. She was throwing tantrums and shrieking nonstop-seriously!. After few hours of trying to divert my attention when it was time to take a nap, and I tried really really hard to ignore that kid but I couldn’t- I had a THAT’S IT moment. I buzzed for an FA.

Me to the FA: “Could you ask that woman to quiet her kid. It’s highly annoying”.

FA: “It’s hard to say that ma’am. It’s a little difficult to travel with kids”.

ME: “There are more then 10 kids on this plane. Do u hear anyone else? And this kid is not an infant or a toddler (trust me, I’ll be understanding then) this is a 3 year old who needs disciple”.

FA: “I’ll try to do whatever I can ma’am”.

ME: “Thank you very much’.

I see the FA go to the lady and say something to her and since then for the rest of the flight I did not hear even a squeak from that kid. My sis who was traveling with me rolled her eyes for I had given her the look of ‘And that’s how its done!’ I was so glad that the attendant talked to the lady coz I was this close to go myself and give her a piece of my mind. If you can’t discipline your kids don’t bring them to this world to annoy other people coz it’s not the kid that is being blamed for but you and your upbringing.

All this drama before I touch India. Imagine what is in store for me while I am there.

More to come…

Cheerios

I love cereals. From healthy ones with fiber content more than 3gms to not so healthy ones like Fruit loops that will make me extra sweet and keep my energy level to the roof. I can eat cereals for breakfast, dinner, I-dunno-wa-else-to-eat-times, and if that’s not all I think they make a great dessert too.

My absolute favorite is Honey Nut Cheerios (thou I love the new Oat Cluster Cheerios & Multi-Grain cheerios amongst others)

I have a cupboard devoted to my cereal boxes (no they are not arranged alphabetically- am not crazy you know!) When I started watching Seinfeld, a decade ago, I was elated to notice that I was not the only cereal fixated in the world. And since then I have great respect for Jerry Seinfeld. Possessing a marketing mastery, I have a keen eye on the boxes and its contents, knowing how the company is playing with the minds of customers using various marketing clichés. But I do admit all my business knowledge goes out of the window when I open the box and expertly open the off-white plastic bag and smell the contents with ‘aahhhh….’, which is usually followed by a handful taste checks, as if I suspect the contents inside.

If you are a close observer like me, you’ll notice that when you put milk in your cereals they always make a crackling sizzling sound. That’s sugar for you baby! Unfortunately, most people mess up with the milk/cereal ratio. It always amuses me that how some people can never get it straight. Making the rite bowl of cereals with the perfect milk/cereal ratio that makes rhythmic sounds-is an art! I also believe if you can listen to someone talk while your eating cereals then my friend you’ve waited too long to get to your bowl.

I know there will come a day when people will go out for cereals-like going out for drinks, coffee or pitas. I wonder what it would be like to own a place called ‘c-reals’z’ with cereals displayed in fine cylinder like glass containers (as in glass bar or assorted candies in the grocery store). You could order your own cereal-mix it and match it with your choice of milk (or perhaps Baileys: for those who like to live on the wild side) with add-ons like freshly cut fruits to dry nuts. Ok, I guess I may be on to something. I think am gonna stop writing about what could be a potential business plan. Also, all this cereal talk has made me very hungry. Excuse me; I think I need my bowl of ‘o’s. Cheerios for Cheerios!

Indian Railway Stations

Delhi StationDelhi Station

I’ve always hated Indian railway stations. Every time I have to take the train (which is always when all other options are opted out) I suffer anxiety, panic attacks, suffocation, sweating, and my pulse rate, heartbeat and breathing pattern becomes irregular.

Its not just one particular station; its every station located anywhere in India. Every station has a peculiar smell. People gathered under the radius of the slow curling fans, tea stalls selling fried delicacies, overcrowded benches with mostly women and children while all the men are usually found leaning on the edge of the platform looking for the train (as if that will bring the train any faster), a miniature shop selling magazines, someone’s radio playing (old classics, cricket commentary or latest cabaret songs) people swaying handkerchiefs and dupattas due to hot weather, non-stop announcements of change of platforms, stray dogs looking for some shade, coolies loaded with luggage brisk walking their way ahead of their luggage owners, and how can I forget the beggars on the platform.

When I have to travel by train I always reach the station on time so that I don’t have to wait and I never go without an escort (who drops me off to my seat)…yes am that meticulous about it. The minute I get to my seat I just want the train to start the journey so that I can get some peace. Other thing I can’t stand is once the train is in motion people lean over the gates of the train. I can’t see that and I don’t allow anyone to do that (if someone is travelling with me). I understand its quite a site to see the train when it turns but still its no logic to risk your life standing there. Neither do I like people to get out of the train to fetch something when it stops at a remote station. I actually time them as if we all are in some marathon.

Going to the station will always send a shiver to my spine any given day. Ironically, I do enjoy the journey and I prefer taking the train to a domestic flight because I do feel it’s the real way to travel. It’s just getting to and from the train that is the dreadful part. I have tried many ways to calm myself before going to the station but all fails the minute I step in the railway station and see the crowd. I guess this is something I have to live with for the rest of my life. And no I won’t stop travelling by train ever. Heaven help me!


Are you _____?

It’s a question am asked often, so often that sometimes I feel I should include the answer to my middle name. This week it happened twice. Few days back a colleague (let’s call her ‘H’) comes to my desk and after the initial five minute chit-chat this is how the conversation went:

H: “…Are you French?”

Me: =) (this was my exact reaction)

After 4 precise seconds, “No I am not French”

H: “You don’t look like French but your accent and some of the pronunciation of words seems French.”

Me: “Ahun…reaaaally?”

She has the look on her face as if she is trying to figure it all out and is thinking out loud. So I give her time as I was very intrigued as to where she was going.

H: “Have you ever lived in U.K.”?

Me: =) (by now you must have realized this is my standard answer) “No, not lived but I’ve visited many times”

After few more minutes she gives upon her guessing game by throwing her hands in the air.

H: “Where are you from?”

Me: =) “I thought you’d never ask. I am from India”

H: “Noooooooooooooo wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy” (she was nodding and she couldn’t stand at one place)

Me: Smiling cheek to cheek… “well, yes I am. Believe it or not! But I must confess that’s the first time am hearing this one, French!.”

H: “But….but you don’t look Indian, your English is so good. You name is not Indian either. What part of India do you come from?”

After giving her some details I could tell she was totally blown away by the conversation. She claimed that she has always been good at figuring out the nationalities/origins (being Swedish has something to do with this) but she failed miserably in this one. Nevertheless, one could tell that she was exhausted and soon after I saw her going for her coffee break.

It never fails to surprise me what people might guess to my origin. I have had all kinds of guesses…Persian, Brazilian, Spanish, Iranian, Mexican, and the list goes on. The most hilarious part is when an Indian doesn’t believe am an Indian. They give out the most outrageous and unbelievable expressions when they hear that I am from India.

One of these days I was having a conversation with a Greek and was telling him how I love Greek food when an Indian sitting close by jumped when I said … “I am from India” she couldn’t believe her ears and went ‘oh get outta hereee… shutuppp… ur not Indian..u don’t look Indian at all”. She said this without realizing that she claimed to have heard our conversation by reacting the way she did. Funny thing is she had spent the entire evening with me without having a clue as to what I am.

Whatever it might be: the name, the hair, the accent, the face that confuses people so much when it comes to my origin, but somehow it always makes an interesting conversation. =)

 

The Magic of Pythagorean Theorem

It’s fascinating what Pythagorean Theorem can prove. Unlike the trigonometry or probability, I can actually use Pythagorean Theorem in my daily life to prove just about anything. For example I can prove that I am nocturnal with the help of this theorem. Yeah, I knew you wouldn’t believe me…Typical!

Pythagorean Theorem states: a2 + b2 = c2

Let’s assume:

a = coffee

b = extraordinary circadian rhythm (internal clock)

c = the subject being nocturnal

Allocating the values in the theorem:

2 cups of Coffee after 4pm + special internal clock = creature of the night

Hence, it’s proved that I am a nocturnal creature.

* Contests by coffee companies, irresistible books, social networking sites, endless chats, late nite movies and booze were not taken into consideration.

The 10 Things That are Bothering Me This Week

1. News update at 5.pm: When the anchor says things like; “It is delicious, it’s an essential ingredient for many ethnic dishes and it might lead to cancer….AND YOU might be having it for dinner tonite. More on this at our 11.30pm newscast”. There goes my dinner.

2. Red/Golden Delicious Apples: how come they have such a fancy name? how did they get it? Who gave it to them? What if I add ‘Incredibly Attractive’ to my first name?

3. Restaurants giving away coupons to cover up their poor service/products so that you go thru another unsatisfying experience for FREE.

4. The term ‘on the side’ for the food and beverage industry does not make sense to me. Which smartass came up with that idea? Will it be still ‘on the side’ if its on a circular plate? Who gave the chef so much power to decide wa to keep on the side and wa goes in the center of my plate?

5. At the checkout line at the grocery store, some ppl suddenly realize they forgot to pick up smtg so they royally leave their carts & baskets on their spot, meanwhile they go fetch wa’ever they forgot. At that moment I wish I had superman eyes (heat vision), I would make those people disappear altogether.

6. Appointments being confirmed 3 months in advance by some medical practitioners. Receptionists asking ‘How would 11.15am work for you on may 26th” (Its February). I wish to say.. “Oh that’s no good. I am grocery shopping at 11.20am that day”.

7. People standing at the stop sign for more than 5 seconds. IT’S A STOP SIGN, NOT A RED LIGHT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!!

8. Have you noticed when you are coming out of a store and your walking towards your car sometimes you realize a car is following you and with that a set of eyes. Not only that it is at the same pace as you are. You turn left, left indicator starts flashing. You turn right, right indicator starts flashing. You look back and the car stops and then it moves at the same pace as you do again. It’s so annoying. Next time I am gonna trick the driver into pretending that I am in the wrong lane altogether. I’l like to see his expression then. Haah!

9. The cooking shows on tv- I just hate them. What’s the point of the food when I can’t smell it, feel it or taste it? To top that at the end of the show they always zoom on the dishes, which is their way of mocking at their audiences telling them, “Thank you for watching but you can’t eat this, NA NA NA NAAAAAAAAAA NAAAAAAAAA!!!” God dammit it makes me so mad!

10. Telemarketers always calling during dinner time. I do not have a set dinner time then how come they always get to knw wa time am dinning. Am I on some kinda reality show?? Are there any cameras here?