Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It is hard to forget you, New York

So today I read a brief article, an artistic comparison of Paris and New York.
Although I have never been to Paris (but really want to, specially after watching Midnight in Paris;)) this comparison brought back memories of New York.

*Highline Park, running from Meatpacking district to Midtown

There is a strange mystic to New York. And by that I am not talking about the flood lights at Times Square, or the much talked about nightlife, or haute couture stores or innumerable skyscrapers.. They all fade into the background to me. Save them for the movies.

I am talking about the "real" stuff that got me everyday - hot bagel trucks and their delicious aroma, parks that never seize to fascinate me, museums that take you into a different era, artists engrossed in their work, festivals of every kind and plenty of subway encounters of a different kind. Those moments that take you by surprise or the irony of catching a really sad person come to life because a baby sitting beside him happened to smile at him. People celebrated sunshine (after a long winter), rainbows (if any!), events unique to New York like Manhattenhenge or just strolling by Central Park. While others only see the rush, the mad chase to make money and the act of survival in one of the most expensive cities of the world.

Because even in recession, New York gave me what I cherished most - Solitude and not loneliness. Surprises and not the mundane routine.

New York, I miss thee

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why the next Steve Jobs will be a chick

I was so taken aback, when I read the title "The next Steve Jobs will be a chick" in the January edition of Fast Company.

Louis C.K couldn't put it more charmingly:

"The next Steve Jobs will totally be a chick, because girls are No. 2--and No. 2 always wins in America. Apple was a No. 2 company for years, and Apple embodies a lot of what have been defined as feminine traits: an emphasis on intuitive design, intellect, a strong sense of creativity, and that striving to always make the greatest version of something. Traditionally, men are more like Microsoft, where they'll just make a fake version of what that chick made, then beat the shit out of her and try to intimidate everybody into using their product."

You go girl! :-)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Nails & More

Yes I am talking about fingernails.

The first time I came to US, this struck me odd. What is the deal with so many "Nails" stores?
Ok, this is the second thing that struck me odd. First one was shelling out 3$ odd for a tiny bottle of water. But nails? This is taking it too far, don't you think?

And slowly I discovered this is a nails obsessed country. Manicure, they call it.

This nails thing cant evade you for long. I log into Instagram, atleast a third of the pictures are of nail paint. Amusing. (Another third is of course cute Asian chicks)

Seriously, what's the big deal about nails?

I think this blog lacks theme

Yes, that's what someone told me. Recently.

What, I thought having no theme was the cool factor about this blog. No? And that was the end of the conversation. Seriously, some people take things too seriously. By some people, I mean myself. Maybe I must watch more of Arrested Development. That is if I get time off from Twitter, Instagram (my latest crush on Web), iTunes U. God knows what else is lying out there on the Web. Maybe Tumblr? I am too chicken to even go down that route. Too scary, this Internet addiction. Notice how I didn't mention Facebook?! Well you have a keen eye, my dear Watson. It happens that I can live without Facebook. There, I said it. So slowly, I must eliminate my favorite website pit stops one by one.

So back to the blog-lacking-theme thing. I must do something about it no?

At first I thought all my rants would make for a cute collection. That was way back in 2006. You know when I was young, naive (ahem!) and so full of life that I thought my blog was the next big thing to happen to mankind. And then slowly, it was all consumed by laziness when I moved to grad school. Then I relocated a LOT and that consumed all my time. Then I thought I was too busy doing the home to office to home routine. Go ahead, call it bullshit. Because it is precisely that bullshit.

Picture tho abhi baaki hain mere dost! (Translate that, oh Google Translate;))

Then I said "Heck I am the next Julia Child". I started posting a lot of recipes. People will eat this up (pun intended), I thought. A strange thing happened, blogger started puking all over when I put up some nice big ass photos because it was running out of space. Sigh! Whatever happened to the promise of unlimited storage? x-(

So I moved all my cooking posts elsewhere. Naturally, I was more excited about that blog now. So "being-manju" was never the same. The randomness increased even more. Days, weeks and then months without blog posts. Not even those cute rants anymore (wait, you thought they were cute, right?)

Each day I started inventing new ideas. Once it was a writing challenge. Then it was about self-help posts. Then I thought curating some web links would be great (turns out it lasted only one week). Then I attempted short stories. Then I thought I will go "Shit my dad says" way...by journaling everything my dad talked (moments of desperation, my friends) Then I cooked up a "one happy post a day" about something that made me happy each day. Again, turns out being happy is a tough thing yo!

There I said it. Dangerously honest post, this.

So here I am, sitting and writing this apparently random post. Life has become so "sigh" right now.

What to do?

PS: I don't even know what to label this post as. Rant? Yes, rant it is.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

366 days of happiness Day 15 - Happiness in Pongal

Ever since that trip to Guruvayoor this year (my first time) I came back home relatively disturbed. And am not even that pious to boot. So I was surprised at the chaos within me when I saw people going to crazy lengths to visit this temple and get one glimpse of Lord Krishna's idol (Little Krishna, the devotees call him). I witnessed the entire routine, baby Krishna idol carried on top of Kesavan (elephant), the elephant procession and the darshan

Let me tell you how I felt moments prior to this procession. I was wiped, exhausted and famished by the week long road trip and also filled with anxiety about the even longer trip ahead, after this visit. Plus I had to force myself into a traditional dress before visiting this temple (there is a strict dress code in this temple) and was obviously irked by how hypocritical people can be (Why do I need to dress this exact way to get a glimpse of God?).

And moments later when I saw the throngs of people (many elderly) with crazy devotion in their eyes, many of them who traveled barefoot for hundreds of miles to reach here, not partaking food or water, clinging on to the temple pillars to get that extra few seconds of God's glimpse, I was struck by the divinity of everything around me.

Maybe there is such a thing called Faith and we should all have it.

Happy Pongal to you all :-)

Friday, January 13, 2012

366 days of happiness Day 13 - Happiness in breakfast

I didn't think I would find happiness in...err...breakfast.

It has been a month plus since I have had a hearty and filling breakfast as the one I had this morning.
All because I had a meeting early morning (9 am, ahem) and so I was forced to get ready and catch the 8 am bus to reach work. That gave me a tiny window of 10 mins before the meeting and I grabbed some eggs, blackberry agave shake and a small cup of oatmeal doused in cinnamon.

I forgot to take a picture. After all, I had only 10 mins to boot.

Food certainly makes me happy:)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

366 days of happiness Day 12 - Happiness in a book

Today is the Mobile Library day. Yay!

Let me explain. Every Wednesday the town's library drives up to my work in a truck full of books. How rustically romantic no?:) This time my co-worker came along too. Usually I pick my books alone. So this time it was nice to go by someone else's choice, for a change.

I had a book pickup waiting, so I thought I would go right in and out. But my co-worker's eyes fell on this book and she spoke joyously of the three books her dad gave her to read when she started at college...

One day in the life of Evan Denisovich
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
(Third book I don't remember :( )

I picked up the first one with my co-worker commenting heartily that this is one Russian story that won't be too tough to read :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

366 Days of happiness Day 11 - Happiness in guitar

There is something eerily magical about musical instruments. Can't quite put a finger on it.

I had bought this stand for my guitar and never gotten to use it. Secretly happy about seeing the guitar sit pretty on it. And now if only I could just magically strum it like a pro! (That should happen soon:-))

Dum di dum di dum..

Sunday, January 01, 2012

366 days of happiness Day 1 - Happiness in beauty

It is post New Year's Eve. What do you expect? A hungover day? So passe.

With me, I am always expecting the unexpected. Of course, I went with an intention to party on the 31st. Only to be miffed by the very ordinary party (boring DJ, lame ass crowd, cliched shows..) I stormed out. 


So imagine my day on 1st Jan. I woke up, not extraordinarily, early in the morning with my latest SLR camera in tow. I got some great shots of Munnar in all its beauty. Little villages nestled on the hills, plenty of tea estates and spice plantations and the smell of fresh homegrown Cardamom. Now this is what I call happiness. Happiness in Beauty.

Happy New Years to all :-)

PS: Of course, I didn't tell you the windy paths made me sick and throw up twice in a 6 hour ride to Munnar from Kochi. But that was so 31st of 2011;-)