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Thursday, 11 June 2009

Apne Pair Par Aap Kulhadi

Couple of news items that caught my attention

One in the Hindu - Male power officials forced to wear bangles. Is it not about time women realised that a using female adornments to insult men is insulting to women too? Bangles as a symbol of cowardice? Put on those men by female workers of congress, why?

Then this brilliant piece of deduction and problem solving by college authorities in Uttar Pradesh. Meeta Jamal says the "only" way to prevent eve teasing is to prevent girls from wearing jeans.

Is it too much to ask that when you are taking away the rights of women or being an ass in general you get the men to do it so it makes my anger a little less complicated?

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Mystery of the Lying Weighing Scale

If you read my blog at all you would have noticed the shameless, self congratulatory way in which I mention my return to running. Yes, I can weave it into just about any blog/ conversation and if there have been blogs/ conversations in which I did not mention this, it was a result of extreme self restraint along with some lip biting and swallowing words that are stuck in my throat.

So back to my running ( Yes, yes, I realize I am doing it again) -my evening run has become less painful and I reached my goal of running 5 miles without wanting to crawl into bed and cry myself to sleep. Last week I managed to run 13 miles. I am not a marathon runner by any standards and so I am quite proud of this.

The scale in my bathroom however is having the last laugh. As I limp onto the scale every morning still sore from the previous night's run the weighing scale edges its way to a scarier and scarier number. The digital scale I bought for accuracy seems to take a full minute longer to flash my weight in which period you would think just the excessive sweating would result in a more merciful number.

After a past month and a half of running I have gained and lost the same 4 pounds around 5 times. The running just seems to have resulted in shorter time period of my normally more dragged out yo-yo dieting cycles.

So I got onto the scale this Monday morning to face the music yet again. And when in low budget, bloody slasher style the number flashed just as the horror music in my head was reaching its crescendo, my heart sank. In an attempt to understand how this happened I tried going over last day’s intake.

- Got up at 5 to run the 5K Asha run.

- Cup of tea and out the door by 7. So far so good

- Eat an egg and cheese at Starbucks. (You try finding a restroom in New York City without getting a bite to eat, hmph)

- Ran 5K

- Happy with self, crammed the stale bagel and cream cheese into mouth. (Just being polite and pretending that I was as hungry as the 16 year olds who made it to the finish line in half the time)

- Continue to congratulate self on the drive back and decide on a lunch of dosa and sambhar. Healthy, light, delicious...

- Pick an Indian restaurant which we frequent for the fabulous all you can eat buffet (cough.... total accident)

- Decide to eat the buffet instead and spend the meal eating everything on my plate while keeping a close watch on my husband's plate. Getting seconds and thirds to eat all delicacies that I had missed but had spotted on husband's plate.

- Stagger out of restaurant and decide to not eat anything for the rest of the day.

- Spent relatively busy afternoon attending a concert with husband. Not thinking about food... So far so good.

- Evening: Decide to watch James Bond movie - Quantum of Solace

- Decide to watch James Bond with Martinis.

- Decide that home made hummus in large quantities would be ideal with martinis.

- End up full of martinis, hummus, pita bread, veggies and craving something sweet...

At which point I stopped counting the calories. I had already reached a number that should have been enough for a 17 year old Olympic runner for a day and a half.

OK so it is no mystery why I am not losing all the weight. But at least it is not a mystery anymore. Yes I had no idea ... that is the story I am sticking with...

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Meeting Mania - work place

Disclaimer - The following does not talk about any one work place. I have worked in many places and have had a mixed bag of experiences and colleagues.

4pm to 5pm meeting.

Phone meeting where all of us call into a bridge number. Meetings over the bridge are common since some of us work in different locations and the rest like to sit in their 6 x 4 cubicles and only talk to the chap who sits in the opposite cube on the phone. This is not done because we cube dwellers gradually begin to hate all human contact (though there might be some truth in that) and also not done so that we can have an official meeting while checking mail, sending twitter messages, updating our facebook status and reading our favourite blogs. This time is also not considered quality "me" time that can be used to pick the pearly whites with a toothpick, clean the ears out, file nails etc. This is done to promote communication and interaction between teams and in turn improve our productivity.

This particular meeting was attended by Team A and Team B that work in two different time zones.

Main players

X - Team A. Loves meetings. Attends as many of them as he can. Spends a large portion of every meeting trying to schedule another meeting. He likes to spread joy so he also tries to schedule meetings for other folks attending current meeting.

Y- Team B. Attends meetings grudgingly. Made the mistake of being the person in charge of deliveries and also accidentally has been cursed with X as the guy he has to work with.

Me- Also Team A. Work with X. Don't care either way. Like my job but am in the blissful position where I can contribute without having too many responsibilities. I am going to spend this meeting browsing. I would feel guilty about this but then my pay check arrives my conscience is assuaged.

Y (after an half hour presentation that is rich in technical detail, lists the strengths of the suggestion and painstakingly explains the actual implementation) - So that is how I think we should handle this one and I think we can have this out the door by...

X (panicking - is not a total slacker but is deathly afraid of any sort of deadline/commitments. Likes to work when there are no other possible meetings he could attend and doesn't want any of the working to affect his social life aka meetings for the week.) Wait lets not rush things. I want to make sure that all concerned parties are present. Do we have Z on the bridge? (Fully aware that Z is from Team C and in yet another time zone and probably in his bed since it is past midnight there). How can we commit to anything without Z's consent?

Y (Triumphant voice) - I talked to Z about it earlier and he approves of this plan.

X (Hurt) - Z signed off without our feedback? He might not have the benefit of our perspective. He might have missed the changes that our team suggested.

(I might have gotten a little too engrossed in the word game that I was playing but apart from some font changes in the presentation I could not recollect any relevant "feedback")

Y (desperate) - I will take your feedback to Z and run it past him.

X - But I would like for our team to be able to give the required feedback on the feedback that Z gives on our feedback. And since our respective time zones make all of us meeting very inconvenient, I would suggest that you have a meeting with Z to present our feedback, after which You and I can have a meeting to discuss Z's feedback, and I and Z can have a meeting to discuss our feedback on Z's feedback.

Y (Silent. Probably counting down from 100 in hexadecimal to keep his cool) - I am sure that will help but that would add a week to this schedule.

X - Well I think process and interaction is a necessary evil (he got that half right). And if these meetings buy.... I mean set us back by two weeks that is the cost of quality.

Y (recognizing that he is defeated) - Sure X why don't you set up the meetings?

Me - Enjoying meeting very much. Adding masala here and there so that I can make it a funny dinner conversation. Now it has become a blog....

Recipe - Made plantain sabzi. The recipe can be found here. To make the sabji more South Indian so I can have it with my sambhar I add sambhar podi in place of garam masala.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Life After Marriage - part 2

Weekend found husband and me moving furniture to make room for visiting in laws. Dressers were crammed into a corner and my "office desk" that I don't always use was moved into our bedroom. I was helping husband carry the heavy furniture around. After months spent lifting weights albeit not as regularly as I should I fancy myself to be quite strong. And no I do not mean strong for a woman. Strong, period.

Always impatient when things are cluttered I tried to lift the dresser and move things along while husband was obsessing over some software upgrade on the desktop that we were setting up for his father to use. After much huffing and puffing I managed to move the dresser a couple of feet while stubbing my toes and scratching the paint off a corner. At which point husband swooped in and with a "watch me do it" look lifted the whole damn thing and seemingly effortlessly carried it to the guest room.

Not happy with our disparity in strength I managed to squeak out a "wow babe you are strong" before shuffling off to the kitchen and sulking.

That evening while driving:

Me - I should really hit the gym, those barbells are not enough. I am just not that strong.

Husband - You are strong la. Very strong. What are you talking about?

Me - Nope. I struggled so much with that dresser.... And.. Hmph it was so easy for you.

Husband - That doesn’t prove anything. You are strong la.

Me - No, no. You are strong; it was so effortless for you. I really have to work on it.

Husband - Silence

Me - I thought I was getting stronger. Just sucks...

Husband - Sweetie you know I was showing off for you...

Me (wide-eyed) - Really? Me? You were showing off for me?

Husband (smiling) - Yeah I was, what do think?

Me  - stunned into silence. All those times my husband took a six hour flight to meet me at the other end of the country ( which he did almost every month), when he stood up for me, when he tolerated my sometimes irrational moods I don't remember feeling this touched, elated. My husband that I have known for 5 years now was trying to impress me. Made my day :)

Recipe - Made okhra/lady's finger/vendakkai pachdi over the weekend. The recipe can be found here. When the vegetable was done I spread the thing out on a cookie sheet and stuck it in the oven to broil - just as high a temperature as you can get. This crisps, browns the whole thing before adding curd to it.