Thursday, June 28, 2007

Music Madness

Taking a cue from Mad Momma's blog and tagging myself to talk about the songs that hit the Billboard charts the year I turned 18 -- 1992. Those who read this, consider yourself tagged!

Here are the rules:
1. Go to or
2. Pick the year you turned 18
3. Get nostalgic over the songs of the year
4. Write something about how the songs affected you
5. Pass it on to more music-loving bloggers

Michael Jackson's Black or White: OK, this was likely the last MJ song I loved. I thought the video was especially cool and cutting-edge, and I remember looking at MJ and thinking, boy, if it doesn't matter to him if he's black or white, why the heck does he get whiter every year?

Right Said Fred's I'm Too Sexy: Ooooooh, parttyyyyyyy! This song was played at every party and nightclub I went to! Everyone knew the words.

Vanessa Williams' Save the Best for Last: Have it on CD and still listen to it and still know all the words.

Boyz II Men's End of the Road: Tragic break up song. Sigh, sigh. Brings back bittersweet memories.

Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You: Same as above, except now I find it slightly boring. WH does go on and on. I remember I saw "The Bodyguard" at the Eros Theater near my college in Mumbai. That was unforgettable.

Your turn, folks!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


If you've ever seen the above decal on U.S. cars, you may have wondered what it means, like me. Last week, I found out. My friend D was visiting from my all-time fave American metro NYC, and she and I went to Anaheim Hills to grab haircuts. Our hair was treated by this amazingly nice hairstylist, who at first glance, appeared as desi as they come.

So while he shampooed my hair, I asked him if he was Indian. He guffawed out loud, saying no one had said that to him before. He wasn't Indian, but NDN (pronounced like the letters) aka American Indian, which he prefers to the "corny" native American. His family has both Kumeyaay (tribe from San Diego) and Chumash (Santa Barbara) blood, and he himself is married to an Apache from New Mexico.

He was discernably proud of his heritage, and I asked him something that had been on my mind for a long time. "Don't you -- and other native Americans -- mind being referred to as 'Indian'?" He shook his head, saying that American Indians had made the term part of their identity a long time ago. He also told me a little of the history behind the word, as he understood it:

Apparently, Christopher Columbus who's credited with "discovering" America for Queen Isabella of Spain was Italian. So his Spanish, apparently, wasn't too hot, and in his journal, he wrote about discovering the children of God in America -- "in Dios" -- which somehow got corrupted to Indian. Also, he'd believed he'd reached India. So it was a combination of factors, he said.

Don't know how far this is true. But I finally get NDN.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Notes on Yashomati

As you can see below, the mountains at Yosemite were awe-inspiring. The last pic shows P. and Raina frolicking in the icy cold water (yep, that's snow you see in the hills beyond) of Lake Tenaya on our way to Tioga Pass. What you can't see are the gigantic mosquito bites P.'s back was covered with -- no one warned us about the bugs! We are so duh.

Also, what no one warned us about was how hot Yosemite Valley would be. We stayed in 90+ degrees in a wooden cabin (sans a/c, of course, this was our getting-away-to-nature fling), and the heat sapped away what little was there of my energy. As a result, we did a lot of Yosemite via a/c minivan -- very comfy -- and sympathetically watched folks in bicycles puffing up steep hills under a blazing sun. Then, there were the hikers, but never mind about them.

What we were warned about -- repeatedly -- were the bears, who apparently had a tendency to tear up cars that not only contained the processed food we cannot live without, but also innocuous boxes of Wet Ones. So P. hauled all our stuff to our wooden cabin, that looked flimsy but had to be sturdier than the tent cabins also at Curry Village. Sturdy enough to ward off a marauding bear -- that I did not know and was to spend sleepless nights worrying about.

You see, the first night we slept in our tres lumpy beds, I heard one. What I first heard were loud clanging sounds of people beating up pans. Being reasonably intelligent, I concluded that we had at least one bear on the prowl, and lay terrified, eyes wide open, the bedcovers clutched with tense fingers. Then I heard the growling. More clanging and more growls later, shots were fired, probably the rubber bullets that we read about in the Bear Aware fact sheet handed to us at check-in. Then silence. Then I hear this humongous being brushing past my cabin that shook like it was experiencing an earthquake. They say your life flashes before your eyes in moments of extreme fear, but all I could think was "F%$K!!!!!!"

And that was it.

It was probably just an half-hour of drama, but seemed like an aeon. And P. and R. slept through it all. P. was sore about missing all the action and lamented I should've woken him up. I think he's half-crazy. He didn't spend our remaining two nights there with the covers over his head. In the bloody heat, I should reiterate, because we slept with our windows soundly closed (yes, our windows were covered just by a mesh screen when the bear brushed by).

OK, so other than the heat and the bear episode, Yosemite was incredibly beautiful. It was a wonderful experience to sit on the deck outside our cabin enclosed by tall pines. No sounds of TV or music, just an occasional laugh from real live humans hanging outside their cabins playing board games or cards, or reading or watching the twilight fall softly around them, like us. The multitudinous squirrels darted around the pine cones, stopping to munch on some bug or nut. The night brought soft, cool air, scented by pine. We breathed in gulpfuls, and slowly headed out of Yosemite, making plans to be back someday.

Yosemite Pix As Promised

Sunday, June 17, 2007

In Recovery

Returned last night and we're still in various stages of recovery. We covered 1,100+ miles in eight days, including Los Angeles, Fresno, Monterey, Solvang and trips to and within Yosemite. P.'s at the gym, R's sleeping, Pikey's in cat heaven and Mommy needs to hit the sack -- again. Will post pix as and when there's an energy influx.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Pilgrimage to Yashomati

Yep, that's how one desi friend touring Amreeka pronounced Yosemite, insisting that she had it on good authority (doubtless another desi touring Amreeka). After all, the pronounciation of Yosemite by a Cali resident was bound to be suspect.

Anyhoo, the family's off leaving Pikey to guard the silver. A bientot!

Friday, June 08, 2007


Raina and I were at the library recently, and while she hugged an awfully ugly grey stuffed mouse (whom she loves and regularly visits at the lib.), we cuddled together and read a board book called "HUG" by Jez Alborough. The book's about a little chimp who sees mama elephant hugging baby elephant, mama hippo hugging baby, mama lizard with baby, you get the picture. Each time, the chimp points to them and says, "HUG!" A few frames later, the chimp looks sad because everyone's hugging and he wants one too. Soon, he starts to cry "HUG!" Next thing I know, these big, fat tears are plopping down my arm. "He wants a HUG!" wails my 3-year-old. "Why is he crying?"

I am speechless. "Err, he wants to get a hug from someone who loves him," I stutter. "Where is his MAMA?" she howls. "Right here," I say relieved, pointing to the next page. Mama Chimp yells "Bobo!" Baby Chimp yells back "Mama!" And they run towards each other and hug, very hindi movie style. Raina chuckles through her tears. All the animals hug each other, yelling "HUG!" one last time for good measure. The end.

We checked out the book at her insistence. She read it again, cried again. The third time she read it, she gave the book a hug to comfort Bobo. I am still nonplussed -- should I have read a book that obviously made her sad? Why did she want to read it again if it made her cry? Can kids that little be that empathetic? Is it good for them? I guess the third time she read it, she didn't cry and gave Bobo a hug. Is that about learning to control emotions and take action?

Am scratching my head over it.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Of Nightmares

It's 5 a.m. and I've been up for more than an hour. What woke me up was a wonderful nightmare about being bit by a waspy-spidery-black thingy, which definitely is up there among the pantheon of night monsters, including serial killers (who've also been my bed buddies offlate).

So waspy-spidery-black thingy bit me and I woke up biting off a scream of pure yuckiness. Then the mindwheels began to churn, the hunger pangs hit, and further sleep being temporarily futile, I am up and blogging while downing a bowl of Kashi Go Lean with milk.

P's up too, only for him, it's usual. He actually wakes up early on some weekdays to go to the gym before heading to work -- a dedication and discipline I admire but have consistently refused to emulate. I love my bed usually and detach myself from it only with the greatest reluctance. Don't know what it is with pregnancy and nightmares. Yet another way for nature to prepare mommies for forthcoming sleepless nights? Nooooo, I am not even in my 3rd trimester -- still got a few months to go.

I see the first glimmer of light from my window. If I want to grab some zzz's, it's now or never.

Friday, June 01, 2007

It's a Boy...

...oh joy! Both P and I are really thrilled to eventually have one of each, and even Raina quickly reconciled to the idea of having a baby brother -- largely due to Mommy telling Naani Raina that she'll be free to teach him how to sing and talk and eat and take baths. She's especially glad to be able to teach him not to scratch or hit her like Nemesis Henry does at her preschool ("I'll just tell him, 'NO! That's not nice," Raina says emphatically). She's even promised to share ALL her toys with her baby brother! I can't ask for more.

It's interesting that a lot of friends and family reacted not only positively (which was expected), but by saying, "Now, your family's complete." What the heck does that mean? Wouldn't my family have been complete with the addition of a baby girl as well? Or if we'd decided to stick to one child only (and heaven knows we've contemplated that), would we have always been made to feel there was a spot vacant on the table of 4 so to speak? (OK, no one's counting Pikey The Cat, but then she has terrible table manners.)

Just odd little irritants on an otherwise joyful time which we largely spend contemplating boy baby names. :) Suggestions are welcome. The rules are, it's got to have no more than 2 syllables and be easy for non-desis to pronounce.