How I met my driver’s license – Part 1

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2009. Yes, that’s how long back this story goes. When I first set foot in the US soil, I thought let me give the people here a marana bayam by driving on their roads. But then, everything was upside down. Left became right. Three pedals became two. Gears went missing. And, I became pregnant with twins. See, I told you everything was upside down.

Anyway, I was not one to give up. So, two months after they were born, I gave my first knowledge test. (Yeah, first. Because, there are many more coming.) And, I failed. I came back crying. What? I had never failed a test in my life yaa. This was a first. My mom was here with me and she promptly blamed it on the hormones; both the test and the tears.

A few months later, I took the test again (second time!) and I passed. And then, I started to prepare for my road test by driving alongside the husband. He is a very patient man, the husband. You must’ve guessed it by now knowing that he’s surviving a eight year marriage to me. But just reiterating. Despite the non-panicky husband, learning to drive a car with two little babies strapped behind in their car seats is like walking a tight rope. Anyway, I must’ve practiced with him for about a month when someone told us the road test is waived for anyone with a India license. You must be thinking I already must’ve had a India license. But no.. I was traveling to India in the next two months and thought getting a license there would be easier. So, off I went to India.

I did get a DL in India. But. My life is filled with buts. When I returned, we had decided to move back to India for good. So I spent the next few months tagging along with the husband/neighbors instead of going to the DMV. But then, we did go back home for good. Only the good lasted a four and a half years.

Cut to 2015. We moved back to Dallas. Within two months of moving to Dallas, I did take my knowledge test. Third time, if you haven’t yet lost track. I passed. Unlike here, the learner’s permit there was valid for an unlimited period of time. Which only meant one thing – procrastination. I did drive around with my husband by the side for sometime but then the novelty wore off. I started hopping on to ‘my’ seat next to him and became the GPS operator, the car DJ, the food supplier and the general ummm lazy person that I am.

Slowly, I started meeting new people and making newer friends. However, the conversation with everyone only meandered towards this.. ‘What? You don’t drive? That must be very difficult for you and the kids.’ That’s what they’d say. But it would always sound to me like this.. ‘What? You don’t have a hand? That must be very difficult for you and the kids.’ I really wanted to give the driving test but God knows what stopped me. Oh wait.. I know. Fear. Fear of failure.

Fall came. Winter came. Spring came. I gave the India vacation as an excuse. More to myself than to anyone else. Then, the move to NJ came. ‘I have an India license. So, may be, they’ll waive the road test this time. Let me go and take the test there.’ Idea Mani means me only. Two months later the move happened.

To be continued…

 

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And it ends!

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One more year. One more blog marathon.

It’s been fun these past four weeks thinking up topics to write about every day, waking up wondering if I’ll make it today, feeling bad for the people who come here looking for something to ‘read’… Erm, let’s just say it’s been fun on most days.

I’ve been doing this Blogthon for four years now (the first year I gave up midway!) and has it become easy? A little, yes. Like I was telling Ani the other day, a couple of years ago I used to fret about finding something to write or about missing a deadline. This year, I didn’t feel that anxiety about not finding something to write. Have I grown up gotten used to it? A little, yes.

But more importantly, I’ve learnt to write nonsensical posts. I don’t think I did justice to this space on all the days. About forty percent of my posts are fillers and I wish I could’ve written better. Maybe, next year. What? We are doing the blogathon next year too, aren’t we?

Aaah.. Let’s talk about that next year. Now, yay to all of you who were sportive enough to join in despite the mundanity of life. Whether we did it through the thirty days or bravely gave it a try come what may, here’s to all of us.

Party time!

Musical Monday

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Today is Vidyasagar day. One of my favorite but underrated music directors in Tamil Cinema.

Iruvizhiyo siragadikkum from Pirivom Sandhippom. This is one of my favorite songs. I ❤ Saindhavi’s voice in this song. The best part of this song are the visuals. The entire Karaikkudi side weddings are captured so beautifully.

Thaalattum Kaatre Vaa from Poovellam Un vaasam. The entire song is set to the beats of a running train. Shankar Mahadevan’s voice just about give the right amount of sadness and feeling to the song. And Vairamuthu’s lyrics is filled with so much romance you can’t suppress a smile when listening to the song.

Poi solla koodathu from Run. It’s one of my eternally favorite songs. The tune, the lyrics, the location it was shot are all so beautiful. Hariharan and Sadhana Sargam would’ve carried off this masterpiece so well.

Azhagiya poigaL pookkum poochedi kandean
Ragasiyamaga uyiraiththondi padhiyam pottu kondean

Buck buck buck from Paarthiban Kanavu. This is Vidyasagar’s complete package film. All the songs in the movie are super nice. I particularly like this song because it has three time periods covered. Although we can differentiate the music based on the time period, Vidyasagar ties it up all so well. Props to Karu Pazhanippan for the idea and the way it was shot.

Un samayalaraiyil from Dhill. A typical Vidyasagar melody sung beautifully by Sujatha Mohan and Unni Krishnan. The lyrics of the song was a rage when it released. I particularly like ‘Nee pudhumai endral naan Barathi yaa Barathidasan a’.

Well.. That’s it for this Monday. Have a happy rest of the week, you guys! 🙂

Movies 2016

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I watched quite a few movies in 2016.

One of the movies that I really loved watching in 2016 was Aandavan Kattalai. The entire plot of the story, although supposedly an extremely depressing subject, was treated with so much humor. Right from the name of the girl (Kaarmegakkuzhali, what a lovely name!) to Vijay Sethupathi’s casual acting to Nasser’s drama troupe to Yogi Babu’s character to not meaning to sermonize about the subject. There was nothing to not like about the film.

The other movie that I really enjoyed watching was Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum. It was a very slow film but it never felt like it. The relationship between Vijay Sethupathi and Madonna Sebastian was depicted so wonderfully avoiding cliches as much as possible. And both of them played their parts like pros. Especially Madonna for being just a few films old. Props to SaNa’s BGM and the much catchy KaKaKaPo.

Kabali. I went into this film with so many negative reviews coming mostly from social media. My expectations wasn’t as much as it would generally be for a Thalaivar movie. But honestly, I still don’t understand the large amount of negative reactions for the movie. I watched it twice and I loved it. Let’s face it, it wasn’t a typical Rajni movie but some portions of it (the introduction part and the climax) were total paisa vasool for us. But otherwise too it had Ranjith written over it. The subtle messages about Dalit oppression, the construction of the Johnny character, the Malaysian backdrop and their beautiful Tamil – it was all typical Ranjith. Also, SaNa’s songs and BGM was his best till now. The fact that Thalaivar acted his age (that too, he was semma in the first part, no) and he actually was given a wife and daughter who were strong willed characters were unknown of until now. What exactly were these critics thinking I really don’t know!

Now that I’ve written about the good movies of 2016, let me tell you about the movies that I hated watching. Rajni Murugan and Remo. I really like SivaKarthikeyan. Which is why I fall prey to watching his cliched, unfunny, torturous movies even though I know I would never like them. I am seriously **this** close to hating him unless he starts choosing scripts that don’t assume that the average viewer is dumber than a second grader.

While I at least finished watching Rajni Murugan and Remo, I couldn’t even stand more than half hour of Kashmora. Yes, yes.. I still am a fan of Karthi but that film was.. well, a typical Karthi film. Local language, cheap jokes and nothing engageable. But hey.. Mani saar’s Kaatru Veliyidai is on the way to revive his career.. or so I hope. After all, hope is all we Karthi’s fans have!

One of those days…

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… when you feel like you are all over the place;

… when you question every one of your decisions made until now;

… when you can’t decide if the day is good or bad;

… when you wonder what this life is all about;

… when you lose hope in yourself and the world around you.

One of those days. Sigh. 

Random Friday

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– Today is Holocaust Memorial day. I woke up to a couple of Twitter threads on the Holocaust and shuddered reading through them. Every time I read about the events that unfolded then, it makes me aghast at how low human beings can stoop to.

– This morning, the kids wanted to video-call their grandparents. I generally try to hide myself from the camera (you know why!) I tried to do the same today as well but somehow a part of me was shown on camera. First, my mom saw me and remarked that I’ve lost weight. A little while later, my paati came to talk to the kids, saw me inadvertently and asked ‘if I wasn’t feeling well because I’ve lost weight’. I should ideally be happy but I know I’ve only gained a couple of pounds over the last month. If you want evidence, you can ask my gym buddy.

– Talking about gym buddy, not a day goes by without me thinking about how blogging is such a blessing. We talk a lot about internet trolls but what we need to equally talk about is how we’ve built friendships over the years because of the same big-bad-internet. I don’t think I would’ve made so many friends all around the world if not for the internet. These friends, who are there for me whenever I am down, who rejoice when I am happy, who give me practical advice when I need them, who really don’t expect anything in return for their time and love. I am so so blessed to have found blogging and all you guys out there.

– It’s Allez Vs. Vamos, I mean Roger Vs. Rafa at the Australian Open this weekend. Also, Venus Vs. Serena. Do you know the four finalists have a total of 60 grandslam titles among them? Out of which, Serena has the highest of 22! It doesn’t matter who wins (except I really wish Fed wins!), it’s so nice to know thirties are the new twenties. That that person, that that problem!

– I’ve been binge watching ‘How I met your mother?’ for the last few days now. I should say I am kind of liking it.

– Today is one of those days when a lot of questions are haunting me. I am trying to find answers for these but apparently it isn’t as easy.  I hope in due course some of these questions get answered. How much ever I hope, I also do know that I’ll have to live with a lot of unanswered questions too.

Conversations with the kids

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Listen.. Both of you come here.
**they assemble after a five minute discussion on how some app in their chromebook is dispensing golden stars to everyone**
What ma?
I’ve been screaming for the last half hour to tidy up the place. At least for me to stop the screaming you could do it, right?
You were screaming, Amma?
**I try to continue as if no mann ottified in my meesai** Why are you never listening to me? What can I do to make you listen to me? Why do you always continue doing your work but not what I say?
Because what we do is fun, ma. You always ask us either tidy up or hang the clothes or eat something healthy. All these are chores. But what we’re doing like watching TV, playing games is all fun, ma. You tell me.. which one will you do?

Be right back, because now in #IndhaAsingamUnakkuThevaiya mode!

*****

Amma.. M has a crush on…
**wondering if this boy has time-travelled ten years to be seventeen now** What exactly do you mean by crush da?
**daughter grinning from the other side ** You don’t know what crush means? Really, Amma?
No, I don’t!
Crush means love, ma.
Okay, then.

******

Amma.. What exactly does divorce mean?
Do you want to eat idli-podi?

Two days later…
Amma.. You still haven’t answered my question.
What?
What is a divorce?
Shall I make Nutella pancakes for breakfast?

Two more days later…
Amma.. WHAT IS DIVORCE?
Chocolate ice cream, anyone?

And, life goes on!

*******

Do you love me or hate me?
Somewhere in the middle, Amma.

Somewhere in the middle is my new catchphrase!

*****

Tag time!

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With just six days to go for this month to end, I really don’t want to give up on this blogathon. But I don’t have anything to write. Which means, tag time. Thankooo BM for your thannalamatra seyal of giving us a tag to take up before you gave up on the Blogathon!

1. What is your best friend’s name?

Can’t tell because anonymity.

2. Who would you throw into the Bermuda Triangle?

If I throw all who I want to into the Bermuda Triangle, then the triangle itself will vanish!

3. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?

I will check tonight and update tomorrow.

4. Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from the hotels?

No. You thought I was Ross Geller?

5. Do you always smile for pictures?

I don’t know how to pose for pictures. Either all my 32 teeth are shown or I look like some ummuna moonji. I hate pics of myself.

6. Do you ever dance even if there is no music playing?

Yes. I dance only when there is no music playing. Because no one will realize that I am dancing.

7. What is your song of the week?

Vetri kodi kattu
Pagaivarai muttum varai muttu
Latchiyam ettum varai ettu
Padaiyedu Padaiyappa

8. Do you still watch cartoons?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

9. Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some?

If my treasure is already hidden, why would I need to bury it?

10. Heels or flats?

Platforms.

11. What movies could you watch over and over and still love?

Thalaivar movies only. What else?

12. Last person you kissed?

Ammu!

13. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?

A letter requesting transfer for the kid’s school in Dallas.

14. Can you change the oil on a car?

Dei. Now only I am learning to drive itself, adhukkulla if you ask oil change and all, what ra?

15. Are you lazy?

Isn’t everyone?

16. How many languages can you speak?

Two plus half (Indhee) plus quarter (Telugu). What ‘jarugandi jarugandi’ is Telugu only no?

17. Are you stubborn?

Very.

18. Ever watch soap operas?

Yes.

19. How old were you when you had your first kiss?

I don’t know. May be a day or so.

20. Does anyone know the password to your email address? Who?

Yes, my computer and my phone.

21. Do you want any tattoos?

No, thank you.

22. Any strange habits?

Any no. Many.

23. Why do you have a blog?

To torture all of you only. Why else?!

24.If you were the opposite gender. What name would you like to have?

Sivaramakrishna Ganapthi Subramaniam.

25. How old are you?

Why do you want to know?

Well then, one more day over. Thanks BM!

Let’s talk food!

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My gym buddy and I go to the gym four days every week… to talk about food. Yesterday, this girl made me salivate for thengai paal sadham that I opened the coconut milk can without the help of a can opener or the husband and made it (along with tomato kurma) for dinner. The fact that the others in the house didn’t appreciate it as much as I did only made it easy for me to eat the entire thing. Go, Indu! #GymBuddyAmaivadhellam

I have a question to ask food bloggers. Actually, two. No, three.
1. How do you make the right quantity of a different variety of food everyday? Won’t you have leftovers?
2. How do you manage to eat all this lip-smacking-food without guilt?
3. How do you have the energy to clean up all the dishes after the ‘photo-ops’?
#SeriousKostins

There’s one number gulab jamun dabba sitting and staring at me from the cupboard for the last three days now. I don’t know how to say no to it because it’s asking so ‘sweet’ly yaa! #SorryNotSorry

I am going to focus this year on making and eating Mediterranean food. Falafals, hummus, tahini, pita bread, baba ganoush… You know why I made this resolution? There’s a small but brilliant falafal place near by. Even if I fail in the first part of ‘making’ the food, I can always fulfill the second and most important ‘eating’ part by going there. Really, the food is cheap and is super delicious! You want the address? #FocusIsVeryImportant

An hour ago, I googled frantically for motivational videos on ‘How to control yourself from eating away the Halloween haul of your kids?’ but unfortunately I didn’t find any. Which made me even more anxious and I found a Twix bar to combat the anxiety! #StopMeSomeone

Anyway, I got to go and eat lunch. Nothing much. Just rice, ghee, keerai kootu, kathirikkai podi potta kari, rasam, curd and kothamalli thokku. Bye then!

Musing Mondays

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Because even I am tired of my own Musical Mondays, I’ve borrowed this book tag from Smitha.

Musing Mondays are hosted by Miz B.

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Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
I’m currently reading…
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…

I’ll choose this. Up next, I think I’ll read…

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. I have two books unread from the library yet. This and a Jodi Piccoult one. I am sure both are going to be difficult reads. But I am more wary of Piccoult’s books because they almost always hit closer to home.

Let’s talk about Hosseini. The Kite Runner is a powerful book like no other. I remember being overwhelmed by the book when I read it. Even now, as I type this, I am able to conjure up the images that I had of the scenes from the book. His next book, A Thousand Splendid Suns was good too; except it couldn’t match up to The Kite Runner.

So well.. I have chosen his ‘And the Mountains Echoed’ as my next read. It’s got great reviews as usual and all I am hoping it doesn’t make me cry much.