Monday, September 22, 2008

Talk Less Walk More

Happens to be an incorrect statement. I'll tell you why. I've grown up reading these lines neatly written on classroom walls and being recited in school assemblies again and again. And I tried implementing it as well. Constantly worried over my ever-increasing girth, thanks to the sweet n sugary lifestyle the U.S. has to offer, I have been meaning to start walking again. Walking it had to be, since trying to run and ending up huffing and puffing like a puppy with its tongue hanging out was not going to add much to my coolness factor. I mean, look at the people around me, who can walk for miles and during anytime of the day. Their designer sportswear, well toned muscles, and single-minded determination always put me to shame. Here I was adding pounds to myself by the day, waiting for an auspicious occasion when I could start working out. Anyway, the episode about my unsuccessful attempts of getting back in shape is better ranted on another day.

So I discovered this lake with a surrounding trail, a lovely place to spend time, walk, and work out. Soon I convinced another man-friend to partner me. I don't think I have ever done anything ambitious without some aid, and though I was not really banking on the testosterone-proximity to fuel my incentives of shaping myself up, I thought I could do with some company. My man-friend agreed, and we were soon on the paved hall-of-fame pathway where several brawny men, sexy figured women, their puppies, and other lesser mortals have jogged and walked and huffed and puffed before us. This of course happened to us a couple of months ago.

I never really did finish one whole lap, despite my teeth-gritting efforts. I tried on several occasions to walk the whole length of the lake, but halfway through the process, I would be out of breath, bored, suffer from disturbing bowel movements, be on the verge of a blackout, and would have to stop and retract. My man-friend was soon lost amidst the volley of other friends who had been promised company during rigorous gymming or working out session from me, with unfulfilled promises and lost friendship. The lake trail had just seemed too long for me to complete one lap of walk without running into considerable risk of sunstrokes, hormonal dysfunction, or nervous breakdowns. Never again did I return to the lake with my jogging gear, running shoes, or my man-friend.

A few days back, I get an email from a woman friend for a brief reunion and an evening spent catching up. The venue soon turned out to be the same lake. So we meet there after months, amidst the same joggers, skaters, and their pets, who must have hopefully forgotten me by now. My friend suggested a brief walk by the water, and even before we know, we start to discuss about everything under the sun. We spent a short time discussing international politics and game theory, but soon the discussion shifted to more girly issues plaguing the world, like clothes and shoes, perfumes and lingerie, waistlines and the ever-scaling hemlines, men and the women in these men’s lives, dates and crushes, cheesy soaps and food channels, about pedicures and cantankerous women friends and men for whom we still sigh like a furnace even after we are decades past the teenage. And even before we ran out of topics of discussion, I had completed my first ever round of walking around the lake.

There were no concerns of physical unfitness, lack of incentive, or lethargy the first time I had tried walking with my man-friend. It’s just that my man-friend turned out to be more focused, and did not give me enough verbal stimulation and girly topics to rant and rave about while we were burning calories. So the next time I am hiking the neighborhood hill, I know whom to go with now. And yeah, the saying henceforth should be talk more walk more. Or better still, talk girly, walk more.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

2 Years Of US

This week I complete 2 years of my stay in the US. It’s amazing how so much has happened over the last 2 years. I had landed here in the middle of the night, all ready to fall apart. My initial few memories of the US were long winding freeway roads, and buildings and flyovers that looked all brown and grey in the darkness. And now that I look at my own pictures 2 years back, my mood turns different shades of grey. It is amazing how thin and young and naïve I looked then. These 2 years I haven’t visited home even once, and my parents already think I am one of those who fly away never wanting to return again.

Looking back, I think I have had a good 2 years. I visited 10 out of 50 states, got to see a lot of new places one would mostly see in Discovery channels or Yash Chopra movies, collected dozens of fridge magnets, made many friends, put on pounds and lost my original shape, and acquired experiences of all kinds. I finally tasted sushi and saw the Statue of Liberty, visited Stanford and went to the first night club, wrote my first scientific paper and got my first paycheck in dollars. I’ll never know how my life would have been had I stayed back, but I don’t think I want to know. I made my own choices and have stuck to them so far. Regarding achievements, that too shall happen soon. My conviction is that more scientific papers would be written and more conferences attended, more magnets would be collected till I am forced to buy a bigger fridge, and more things would be discovered in life. But this shall remain a lesson forever, that time and age and experience makes you more independent and accountable for your actions, and that if there is that little voice in you that tells you to leave the safer shores and your comfort zone and set for an unknown journey, then despite these clichéd lines, NOW is the time to sail towards the unknown.

It’s been a great country to live in, and though I still miss my folks, the place I grew up in and the way of life I was used to, this is home now.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Humor Me

Someone asked me the other day about the kind of emotion I associate best with. I gave it quite some thought, and realized that humor is what suits me the best. Genre of humor- elements of wit, sarcasm, puns, satire, banter, irony, and wisecracks are what I like the best. Be it in my readings or in my writings, I love to get multiple meanings out of a word or phrase. I love to observe people and situations and look for humor even in the most challenging situations. There is this person inside me that loves to kibitz non-stop, with playful banters hurled at me and the people around me. Among the stuff I read, I love those that bring out a cruel, yet realistic portrayal of the nature of the humankind or that of society and circumstances. Even during dealing with personal crises, I have realized that finding the humor in the situation takes the load off it. Be it dealing with heartbreaks or dealing with abusive relationships, be it difficult employers or non-accommodating neighbors, there is only so much humor you can find in every situation gone wrong, every bus missed when in hurry, every professing-undying-love man gone astray, every movie ill-directed, every science project gone haywire, every nosy neighbor asking you about your love life, every moment spent in uncertainty, and every rejection faced in life. Like they say, it’s easier to be serious, but difficult to be humorous. Needless to say, a good sense of humor is a big turn on, not the cheesy, slapstick, eager-to-impress kind, but the one that reflects depth of thoughts and observation. It makes dealing with hardships easier. It is therapeutic. Word play and turning words to ones advantage is the weapon of the intelligent and the cogent. So the next time you read a post making fun of people, situations, or even me, you know where I am coming from.

Let me know the next time you read a book, see a movie, or face a situation that has my kind of humor in it.