Friday, November 16, 2012

Books and openings

Friday nights - the best nights for a date with a horror/mystery movie/book. I have some interesting movies/books lined up and can't wait to devour them. Now to the next prompt:

Talk about the opening of your favorite book.

I had three answers pop in my head as soon as I read the prompt. Yeah, you guessed it right, I don't have one, but three most favorite books and a lot of close seconds! So, I did some pattern searching and found that most of my favorite books had lush natural scene descriptions as the opening for the books. Some of them were Ponniyin Selvan (all five books) , Anne of Green Gables (and other books in the series). Or they described something very ordinary in life in the first couple of pages (read Agatha Christie novels, Anuthama novels and more). Of these, I love the nature descriptions best because they encourage me to imagine right from the start and make me get into the book pretty quickly. Its harder with ordinary life descriptions since I start comparing it with the experiences I've had in life. 

Talking about the opening of one book, my best choice would be Ponniyin Selvan - Kalki has done an amazing job of it and I literally experienced what the hero Vandhiya Thevan sitting atop his horse across the Veera Narayana Eri experienced. I read it 15 years back but the experience is still so fresh. I guess that is the mark of a great author! 

Also, Anne of Green Gables' opening is worth a mention! I was able to imagine Green Gables and the White way of Delight and the Lake of Shining Waters without any issues at all - though not as impactful as Kalki's, this one was sweet in its own subtle way. Sadly, I haven't read any other author  (including my favorite JK Rowling or Arthur Conan Doyle or Michael Crichton) that has had such a powerful impact. Even other books by the same authors haven't had this impact - Sivagamiyin Sabatham and Parthiban Kanavu were way more disappointing to me since I had a very threshold for Kalki and other Anne books never touched me as much as the first one did. Even though I like Naindha Ullam, I'd have loved it more if Anuthama had spoken about Sri Lanka and the beauty of those places before jumping into the dynamics around Mythreyi. But I'll take Anuthama any day even if it doesn't explain about the natural scenes as much I want. :)

What is your favorite book's opening? And any recommendations for books to read?

Library lock up

Doing two posts a day is getting to be interesting and fun. The weekend is already off to a good start - I have a list of things to do this weekend and am going to turn it into a game to see how much I can do :) Now onto the next prompt:

If you had to get locked in some place (book store, amusement park, etc) overnight alone, where would you choose to be locked in?

This one was super easy: the library or the book store. I can read to my heart's content, use the library's computers to be online (and connected to the outside world), use the vending machines if I get hungry, use the restrooms and the sofas/comfortable chairs if I need them, not be worried too much about any noise since the library is usually pretty quiet, etc etc. My basic needs of food, water, shelter and connectedness are met - so the library would be an awesome choice (btw, I have another free writing post idea: where is the best place to hide from zombies? keep thinking and I'll come back with answers soon!) Also, a well stocked five star hotel can be a close second choice but the movie 'The Shining' makes me think an empty hotel is actually weird. I think I would go for my home as the second best choice :) The library still trumps it since it has a lot of books to read and is a public space (which is one of the implicit conditions of this prompt, me thinks) and hits all my requirements perfectly.

I was super curious about the next prompt since the last two were somewhat challenging and I didn't have clear answers to them even though they were easy. This one being a no-brainer pushes it more towards the easy part :) 

What would be your ideal place for an overnight stay?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Haunted Dreams

I just realized that I had not only caught up to the prompt blogging but also would be crossing it today with the next prompt. Yay to that! :) I'll take it! Here is the next prompt:

Would you buy your dream house if the price was right BUT you also were told it was inhabited by ghosts?

This is an interesting question. My first thought was yes, I would buy it since I don't believe in ghosts (no one I know personally have seen ghosts). But on further thought, I would be living with my family in my dream house (otherwise, there is no point buying that dream house) and wouldn't want them to be harmed by anything, imagined ghosts or otherwise. So my answer would be: it depends. If it was a friendly/harmless ghost or a ghost that can be removed from that place (anyone watched Malayalam movies with lot of tantrik tricks to remove ghosts from someone or some place?), then I might risk it. But if was something with a sinister past, then ghost or no ghost, I'm not getting that place. I don't want to stay in a place that has a bad past - that is pure ill luck. I know loads of people don't mind it and I definitely wouldn't know if something bad happened in the house I live, say, a hundred years before. So I might already be living in one. But living in a place where you know someone was murdered or tortured enough to become a ghost is super icky and gross. 

Also, call it watching too many bad tantra/mantra movies but I'm kind of wary of irritating anything not human (good or bad). I definitely don't know how people and non-people beings work with one another and don't wish to do anything that might put me or my loved ones in danger - guess its the better safe than sorry attitude. But I'd take that any day to risking it foolishly and losing it all. 
What would you do?

PS: It was funny how one of my friends said he'll buy the house and rent it out - that way, he gets to keep the dream house and others get to deal with the bad ghosts. That is an interesting thought but I believe Karma too much to actually do something like that! 


Busy day but loved it! :) Finally going to start coding soon!! No more of these meetings and discussions.. Here is the next prompt:

Tell us about your favorite pet.

My favorite pet is Jimmy (our dog). Even though I've never touched him nor played with him, he is super special to me. I love getting special treats from US for him and Jerry (my cousin's dog) and pampering him with food whenever I'm home. His white coat and loving eyes are really pretty. The way he ensures that he is the center of attention is very comical. And the way he gets jealous and bothered if my dad favors us, his daughters, is endearing. He even won over my mom's heart with his antics. But he is the laziest dog ever seen. Sadly, Jimmy is no longer with us - may his soul rest in peace! I still can't see a labrador without remembering him. Guess he is the only dog I call using 'he' or 'she'. All other dogs are 'it' to me. Though I was super afraid of him (and dogs in general), he made sure he never alarmed me - quite surprising for a dog! So, hugs to you Jimmy. Thanks a lot for understanding my fear and making sure I felt comfortable with you. May you have loads of fun in dog heaven! :) 

What is your favorite pet? Leave in comments.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Meal time!

I'm trying to do two posts today - just to see if this idea would work and let me catch up to the 30 day post challenge. Here is the next prompt:

Tell us about the best meal you ever cooked.

Funny, I cook a lot of meals but there is never one meal that I'm especially proud of - simply because I haven't cooked that many meals that are very significant. Most have been meals for me and H, me and roomies, etc that was daily fare. But there are these dishes that you remember with superb clarity because you made them for someone special and their appreciation of it takes the simple dish to a new height. First, the Maggie that I did when in fourth grade - I still remember the happiness that came with it when my sister commented it was better than my mom's maggie (I suspect that the facts that she was starving and that the maggie was decently good made her declare so). Second, the first time I cooked pasta in US (I hadn't made a single good meal in US till then and the spicy hot pasta seemed too good to have been made by me). Third, the cookies that I made in Rain city (still remember the looks and comments from my friends appreciating it). Fourth, the egg curry that I made for my dad in India in a few minutes ( he super loved it and made sure to tell one and all that I was a whiz at cooking - which I'm not but I was super glad to have made something special for him in a matter of minutes) and finally, the full meals I cook with H ( those times are super fun irrespective of what we are cooking). The vadais and payasams I've made till date get special mentions in this list :) 

Now I've gotten super hungry writing this post.. Off to dinner!

Do leave a comment about your best meal cooked!


Today was way less work compared to the past two days - but then its the next day of Deepavali! Belated Diwali wishes, everyone! Btw, I did the math.. if I wanted to finish 30 posts and I'm already lagging behind, I might have to do two posts on a couple of days. Thinking if it is a good idea to do so. I'm pretty sure it would be fun since the topics are predecided - and it would mean I get to finish the prompt ones soon and then spend time writing the free writing ones later in November. Marching onto the next prompt:

What is the bravest thing you've ever done?

Not sure if not being too afraid of dogs is counted as bravery! On a more serious note, I've not encountered too many things in life that required extraordinary bravery - I've had a life that is very similar to thousands of Indians. I grew up with a happy childhood, good schools, college life, masters and now marriage! So, I'm not really sure if there is one thing that is really brave and out of ordinary. That said, I really don't fear animals (except dogs) or ghosts too much. This might be because I tend not to cross their path nor they mine. I also don't fear too much before doing something different - I'm up for a lot of challenges (read skydiving, rafting, ziplining, car racing, new food, adventures, hobbies, etc)  but generally make sure I have a couple of back up plans if something gets screwed up. Guess that is brave of me since I see a lot of people don't experiment a lot with all that the world has to offer. This is the first prompt that had me stumped for some time. Hope I did justice to the prompt.

What has been the bravest thing you've ever done? Do share it in the comments. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Places to blog

Phew! Another tiring day - today was filled with A LOT OF meetings and discussions. I wish we'd just start coding already - and I can see my wish coming true soon! Now, onto the next prompt:

Where is your favorite place to blog?

In a cozy corner in a busy coffee place surrounded by friends and acquaintances all drinking coffee in companionable silence and working on their own stuff creating myriad things.... Ok! I so wish I can give that answer. But usually I'm either in the mood for writing when I wind down for the day or sit at the computer to do something else and end up writing blog posts. Rarely do I block time to write (even though I've heard most actual writers do it to get work done) and I guess that is why I really don't write detailed researched posts - I instead write what I think of at that moment (that reminds me! I have to write why I blog and what I like about blogging - great free writing topics :D ) and that suits me fine at this point. I digress...

Back to the place - it ends up being my couch or bed depending on the time of the day - I prefer writing in the bed because I can finish a post and go to sleep on a high note :)

How about you? Where do you prefer to blog from?

Monday, November 12, 2012

What would you change?

Been a long day at work!! I met someone today who kind of has a lot in common with my future self - super excited to be talking to her :) Also, I plan to make it a 30 day post in NaBloPoMo challenge instead of doing only the prompts since I just read the whole damn thing where it says weekends are for free writing - but I'll do the free writing part later in the month (I know! I can't seem to break this habit of not reading anything completely - seems to follow from college exam days :P) Here is the next prompt:

If you could change one thing about your life right now, what would it be?

What else other than making sure H has lesser travel than now? :| Sigh! Sadly that is out of my control! I so wish he didn't have to do long trips so often - though logically I understand why he has to do them, I can't seem to get used to the idea that there is no one when I come back home ( and trust me, TV and movies and internet get really boring after sometime). I've always had someone or the other home when I come back from school, college or work - it was either parents or grandparents or roomies or H at home. And coming back to an empty place is kind of weird. Hats off to those who can do it day in and day out! My mom says I should keep myself occupied to not feel it too much - so I've decided to clean up some mystery boxes at home that we've not unpacked since we moved a couple of months back and to make sure to finish some of the art work (hello, paints and brushes and needles and threads) that I had started back in.... well, never mind, long time back. Now, off to the mystery boxes!

Do leave a comment about the one thing you would change in your life right now!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ideal job

I've been reading more blogs and posts during this NaBloPoMo month-long event. I found a couple of interesting blogs to follow and I'm super surprised and excited about the number and quality of blogs compared to six years ago when I started blogging. But I also see that a LOT of bloggers that I used to follow in the past six years have stopped writing (their blogs are dormant > 6 months) due to work, life, kids, any personal reason. Blog world needs some serious attention now. Now, on to the next prompt:

If you could have any job (and instantly have the training and qualifications to do it), which job would you want?

The job that I'm currently doing... hands down! Unlike lots of people that I know, I chose Electronics and Computer Engineering in particular after considering all the pros and cons of different careers. I might have become a corporate psychologist (I still dream about it at times!) but I know that I wouldn't really be happy unless I'm creating something and can't stand listening to people's problems all day since I have the bad habit of worrying for them. This would be detrimental to my life and stress me way too much that the fun of connecting with people would be gone. 

I once read that people should really live their lives assuming that that is their last day - even though I don't follow it to the ideal state I want to, I pretty much won't change 90% of things in my day-day life. Sure, I would like it if I can have my parents and relatives close by, have more sun in the Rain city and work out more, but these are conscious choices I make and don't regret it. I try and make up for the first by spending a lot of time over phone or skype with them and try to enjoy as much sun as possible when it is out. As for the last one, I'm super lazy and am perfectly happy with it. Its my one thing I love cribbing about and not working on :P

Still what is life without some goals? If there was a position that I would love to see myself in, it would be as an entrepreneur/executive. Though both are very tempting and exciting and different from each other, I'm still not sure of the path I want to take and am perfectly happy not doing either. They are the icing on the cake and I'm more interested in the cake itself. So, I would like to lead a large company (mine!). If I can instantly have the training, qualifications and opportunities for it, then I would definitely take it. Now, can I have it, pretty please?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Couple compliments

Things have been busy at work and home in Neverland. H left for work to Sun city - and won't be back for a month or more. Yeah! he'd be missing some of our firsts :( Boo! But then, this is part of what we signed up when we decided to get married... and ended up spending some seriously good time together all last week. So I've regressed on the one post a day challenge but it was worth it. Also work is getting busier - on a positive side, I won't miss him too much :P

Now that excuses are done with, here is the next one on the list:

Talk about the last compliment you received.

I don't exactly remember the last compliment I got (guess its the shoe lady at the mall who complimented me on my heels) but will write about the last one we received as a couple (I know! I'm all gloomy after H left - well, a girl can feel justifiably sad for a couple of hours! I'm just following tradition, you see!). It was from some random lady who saw H and me at the park and said we were perfect as a couple :) I was pleasantly surprised to hear it because we were just walking around the park and talking about the hundred and one things that were on our list ( I never run out of topics when talking to H! Guess I'm covered for entertainment at old age :P ) and hadn't noticed much anyone else at the park - and then there was this lady who was walking her two huge golden retrievers. She passed us twice and on the third time, remarked how perfect we looked together!! We've received this compliment at different times from different people, mostly strangers that come up to us to tell us we look good and happy together. Every time I hear it, it totally makes my day!! And glad that I live in a place where strangers take time to come and tell us so... I've not heard many incidents back home where total strangers compliment someone. Well, anything to make our days brighter :)

Now, if you excuse me, I'll go back to watching some chick flicks and eating takeout chinese and cleaning up a messy home and enjoying pseudo single life for a month or so. Gonna give the married self some rest and get back to friends, books, shopping, music and more! Here's to pseudo singledom!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election results!

As I write this blog post, the election results are getting released with Romney leading the first few states and finally Obama winning to become the next President. I wish he takes the immigration and economic issues seriously enough that he gets to do something substantial this time around. Now on to today's prompt:

If you were President of the United States, what would be your first act in office?

To thank all supporters? :D On a more serious note, I think I would set up an act such that I remain President till I die (and probably set up such that my kids and grandkids remain Presidents if they wish to) :P On a more serious, serious note, I think I would make health insurance mandatory (effective asap) and doctor/lab/hospital fees more manageable/less ridiculous, make legal immigrants and people on work visa green card holders (so they can start businesses and buy more stuff thereby improving economy), give bigger tax cuts to companies that employ more veterans/are more environmentally safe/go the organic/local route, pull out military from other countries and bring them back home, ensure that teachers and postmen and clerks have a better salary so they can continue doing their jobs more effectively, ensure that the wealthiest 5% pay more in taxes (or atleast pay normal tax on all their incomes, regular and dividend) and use that money to pay back debt, impose high import tax and very less export tax so people start producing again in US and not rely on China/India/any other country, make sure owning real estate except for personal use is harder in US, not poke noses into whatever any other country does within itself.... Ok! Now I'm dreaming! I so wish Obama would do atleast a couple of these things in the next four years to come.

Looking forward to the next four years! 

Monday, November 05, 2012

US Elections - Here they come!

After months of hearing about candidates dissing each other and telling why they are the better of the two for the job, everything comes to a rest tomorrow. While H can't wait for these commercials to be over and done with, I will kind of miss them since otherwise, I have neither the time nor the inclination to go and look up who the local officials are for my city and state. The prompt for today ties in neatly:

What are your thoughts about tomorrow's election in the United States?

Since I've seen far worse campaigning and more contestants than you can count in India, the US elections themselves seem more mild and genteel. Though I can't vote, I just wish that whoever comes into power realizes the responsibility that comes along with it and acts sensibly. Obama has been sensible in most cases, except that he did not capture the moment and get things done in some cases. I also wish the new President takes care of immigration issues (guess that's the only thing that I'm super interested in right now) and not keep pushing them as the predecessors have done. On a lighter note, I wonder how the TV, Radio stations would fill up all the open ad spots after today.... H would be happy though! No more candidate talks, no more political ads when watching series/movies.... And me, I'm happy in my own little world, no matter who wins tomorrow :)

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Second post in a second

Hi again!! Now that I have re-started blogging, I can't wait to see what the next daily prompt is and get started on blogging. Oh yeah, even though the daily prompt is basically a list of questions, I'm wiling myself to not see what the next ones are just to keep the surprise going and to make my answers more spontaneous.... for, I've found that, every time I think a lot about a topic, I usually get into an argumentative mood (with myself, that is the worst part) and argue the pros and cons of the topic to death, get tired and just stop writing. I'm super determined that is not going to plague this exercise and hence the eagerness for the prompt :)

Here is day two's prompt:

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

The second I read the question, I knew the answer (there, that explains my post title - may be the question was designed to keep it really simple). Hear my reason out: Going back in time, when I was thinking of moving Neverland from black city for work/internship, I listed all the criteria I wanted in a place I would be calling home for a long time. Some of them were:

  • Not too many Indians but not too less Indians (black city has way less and bay area has way more - I wanted a happy medium)
  • Neither too hot nor too cold (even though I'm an Indian, I/my skin can't handle heat well - so a maximum of 80 F is all I can take - also, I have this innate fear of slipping on snow, so places that get snow more than five days a year are out of the list)
  • Not a large city but not a small town either (I can't handle the hustle and bustle of NY, I love visiting but I prefer a quieter place to actually live - also, I hate the concern that comes with a small community - I prefer being left to myself and my friends and not be worried about other things. Having a decent international airport close by for India trips is a definite plus)
  • Should be a place where I can get a job (being in engineering is kind of cool like that!)
A super short list - but you would be surprised how many places in US got eliminated as a result. I ended up with just two or three and chose the Rain city out of them all because it reminded me of Ooty and Munnar and Kodaikanal, my favorite destinations. It was cool even in summer yet never had too much snow, just enough to enjoy hot chocolate/book and not go to work for a couple a days. Then it cleared and things became gray and rainy again :D (and you thought bright and sunny?? ha ha! ). I don't mind the rain too much - I actually like it that the rain just pitter patters all the time, a constant sound that is oh-so-comforting! And the fact that I don't ever have to wash my car is icing on the cake!! We can do with some more sun but I've gotten this attitude that if it is sunny, it is a day not to be wasted indoor and is actually considered a holiday! And rainy days are more for work and not play (as a result, more gets done in winter here than in summer! H teases me, to no end, that he can predict when I'd come home from work based on the weather!).

Fast forward a couple of years and I'm still in love with this place - great friends, awesome work, lovely weather (H loved this summer here - he loved it that we can get out and not need sunscreen too much - and that the weather kind of stayed cool even at noon/late afternoon) and yeah, did I mention great friends? 
  • Enough Indians to make you feel secure but not enough to make you feel as if you are in India - check! 
  • The max temperature in summer is 80 F and the min temperature in winter is 40 F - so neither too hot nor too cold - check!
  • Rain city quiets down usually around 9 or 10 on week days and 11 or 12 on weekends but there are pockets that are all nighters if that is your style - check!
  • Loads of job opportunities - check!
And it is our honeymoon city! After wedding, we didn't have time for a specific honeymoon due to lack of vacation days, but with H being home all these months, we've been doing smaller and more honeymoons :D And I so don't think that he'd have been home if it was any other city. And we didn't have to stress about hitting the perfect score on honeymoons!! A win-win-win situation :)

So, my friends, Rain city takes the over all prize! :) What is your favorite place to live in? And are you living there already? Share it out!!

A Post A Day!

After a loooonnnngggg time staying away from blogging, I'm getting back to writing with the National Blog Post Month. Using the daily prompts as a tool against the ever crippling writer's block, I'm going to restart posting - I'll try and post one a day based on the prompts and see if I can fill in the weekends as well with my own prompt based posts. Lets see how this one goes!

I'm already two days behind. But I'll still work through from the first because yeah, I try and do things from the first - including trying out items on a menu from the first to the last. Hopefully I'll catch up pretty soon and get into the schedule. Here is the first one:

Tell us your favorite quotation and why?

I'm not usually a quotation person but love some of the sayings that I found when I read books. Most of them are on the side in this blog. So instead, I'll write about a poem I like. Here is my all-time favorite poem:

Then whisper, blossom, in thy sleep
How I may upward climb
The Alpine Path, so hard, so steep,
That leads to heights sublime.

How I may reach that far-off goal
Of true and honored fame
And write upon its shining scroll
A woman's humble name.

You guessed it right! This poem is the inspiration for my blog. I so hope I can follow my alpine path and have fun doing it :) So far, looks like its happening right and I can't wait to see how the rest of the path looks! And I dream on.... :)