Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Chivalry.. not dead

While girls do not look for it in a guy, it still makes us feel very special when one shows us the courtesy.I am sorry to say India is not conducive to chivalry. Not unless the guys have had unusual parents or they have spent some time out in the western countries.

It is not that girls cannot open their doors or move their own chairs. Most of us neither expect nor wait for someone to help us with these things.

Anyways what I am getting to here is that I see a young american everyday morning in the bus. If he has a seat and any woman near him is standing, he always calls them and offers it to them. Needless to say all the regular women passengers in the bus have a smile for him.

Reminded me of the guys in our Pallavan transport who used to sit in the ladies seat and close their eyes whenever a lady asks them to get up.

It seems second nature to most of the men here to hold the doors open when they see a lady coming.
The other day i saw this guy coming up the stairs loaded with things. I held the door open for him and he was like 'no no ma'am, you first' .. and held the door for me and thanked me too.

The desi guys here too have adapted that style, which is very nice.

But I am probably being perverse...for amidst all these very polite chivalrous people, I still miss my Chennai rudeness. :-)


I was walking down the corridor, woolgathering as usual, when this american gentleman came to me and said 'you are pretty'. I was shocked. I mean here is a guy I only know by sight but have never talked to and he suddenly calls me and compliments me... Could he be hitting on me? naaa.. he was quite old and dignified for that. So thinking that these americans were real nice people, i smiled and thanked him nicely.

He again stopped me and said 'You are pretty'. Confused, I said thanks again.

Looking even more confused than I, he said "Are you pretty?"...

Only then I realised he was asking if my name was 'Pretty'. Abashed I shook my head 'no', smiled sheepishly and walked back to my seat without looking back...

The old guy was, needless to say, grinning.

Friday, July 21, 2006

I’m a princess.

Is it not a wonder how a kind word, from even a stranger, can make an otherwise dreary dull day into a bright one?

Oh! People will tell you that making a day good and bad is all in our mind set and all that blah blah. Good to listen… Just does not happen!

Today dawned rather weirdly with my bro getting our time differences mixed. He called me at 4.00 AM and I was so groggy I was probably blabbering. Then I over slept, ran to get the bus. Came to office to find my Phone Voice mail had not yet been reset and all my voice mails have been going to another voice mailbox. The security calls me to say he has been having my access card for over 10 days and if I do not get it immediately he was going to give it away.

Needless to say, I ran down to get the access card. I was waiting at the elevator lobby when this lady came to me and said that the way my Dupatta was flowing behind me when I walked was very pretty … and that it made me look like a princess :-)

Oh yeah! That brightened my day. Suddenly it did not seem such a boring day. I did not feel like an alien in a different country. Not some one who dresses different from everyone else… I was some one better…

I was a princess!!!

(ok I am exaggerating a wee bit here... but it still felt good :-))

Buses Here... (Travelogue)

I heard somewhere that the local transport system in India and especially in TamilNadu is one of the best in the world. I have always had great admiration for the TN bus services, especially the conductors. How they remember the exact amount everyone gives and tender the correct change back is awe-inspiring.

The same cannot be said for the buses here at US. The buses almost always go only in a straight line down one end of the road to the other. If we need to go down a perpendicular road, then we have to get down and catch another bus.

The bus fare is not based on the distance one travels. It is same whether you plan to go from end of town to the other or just down to the next stop. Therefore they have no need for a conductor. They just have a machine into which one puts the necessary coins. If you have a bus pass (which one can get at any super market) you just show it to the bus driver, who makes a note in some machine.

As there are no conductors, there is a cord running all the way through the bus and if any one wants to get down, they have to pull the cord, something like a conductor whistling for the bus to stop. There are display boards that might or might not let you know which bus stop we are approaching. So we have to keep our eyes peeled for the road names hanging on the signal corners or we might miss the stop. Remember there is no different rate for different distances, so no one cares where you get down and no conductor to let you know which stop you have reached.

The bus stops are always at the signals in cross roads. So the bus stops are called by the name of the two cross roads meeting at the bus stop… for e.g.: 8th street and Normandie Ave.

Funnily enough most of the bus drivers I saw were women. Made my heart feel good to see them.

Unlike our buses at Chennai, these buses will not stop if they have people standing in it. No hanging out of the buses, so be ready to cool your heels until one of the buses deign to stop. There are two kinds of buses here too like our LSS and ordinary. One stops at all stops and one only at specific places and is faster.

Amazingly polite people (made me a little uneasy and suspicious when strangers wished me), the travelers in the bus always wish the driver when getting in and thank them while getting out. I am still getting the hang of this though.

A note before I sign off. Do not depend on buses if you are not going to be in downtown. Yahan sirf Car chaltha hai... and kya car hain... Man! i have been drooling over them.. and the bikes (read motorcycles) are just outta the world

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Two kinds of people

During the induction meeting at my first company, my project lead told us all new "bakras" to not work hard but to work smart. Now that sounded quite fancy and i was duly impressed. But i sure didn't understand what working smart meant. It was only later with a little experience that I understood that...

There are two kinds of people in this world, the smart ones and the dumb ones.
The dumb ones are the idiots with the Worker Ant syndrome. They work and slog and kill themselves to do the given task and quietly fade away into the background thinking that their work would speak for itself.... idiots, as I already said. But the positive thing is that everyone loves them. (Who does not love a Bakra huh?!)

Then there are the smart ones...Don't be mistaken... these people work hard too, at things like apple polishing, getting credit for other people's work, playing politics etc. They can create an impression of having the whole world on their shoulders and only when they vacate the position, can we really know, how small the world is... :-p. No one can make mountain out of molehills better than them.
Not the most loved ones, they get their work done and reap great benefits.

Personally I have great respect for the latter and I have been working towards becoming smart... not in the least bit successfully. But I will persevere :-)

PS: *Phew* feels good to be catty. Saw some people play politics and could not say anything to them... so this was the next best option. :-)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Be careful what you wish for...

*phew* I am back into action...not as regularly as i would like to, but in action nevertheless :-)

Some very smart person in China once said 'Be careful what you wish for or you might get it"... very very smart person whoever she was...

So hey here I am in US and feeling terribly homesick. The travel was funny as hell... it was not funny then ofcourse. The first leg of the journey was in Indian airlines and it was my first flight ever. It felt more like going in the train than a plane. But for some reason i was grinning like crazy when the plane took off.

My idea of a personal hell was my last leg of the journey.. 13 hours of journey. My business class seat got downgraded to economy and they only had a middle seat. Think of 13 hours sitting squeezed between two people not being able to move this way or that and the kid sitting beside you constantly puking and the one in front of you constantly crying. But the last straw was when it was time for dinner and they said they do not have any veggie food as i had not confirmed it at the airport.. "Hello? I did not even know I was supposed to confirm that".Had to make do juices and stuff like that.

But eventually ended up here and started work the night after i landed reeling with Jet lag. Most of the people at work speak tamil and its like being back in chennai. The buses here need a special mention and i shall post separately on that.Meanwhile i did manage to get lost inside my apartment complex and lock myself out of the dressing room .. hehehe..

Its one helluva learning experience, especially for people like me who have never had to do one little thing by themselves :-)

The one thing that still daunts me is cooking... Lets see what the future has in store for me there...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Too many cooks...

*BANG BANG BANG*... in case you are wondering, thats just me banging my head on the wall.
Ever wondered why we have this tendency to share similar experiences and if possible one-up the others whenever we hear of any incident.

I had the misfortune to see what happens when there are too many cooks around.
Many relatives had come over to bid me adieu... all well meaning folks and absolutely caring.

So here I was sitting amidst them and talk went all over and came back to my flying abroad. To add to my further misfortune most of them had been abroad at one time or other and what began as an advice giving session ended up as who-has-had-the-worst-experience and who-knows-best.

Half an hour down the lane and I was literally shaking with fear and had almost decided not to step out of the house for the next decade or so.
Mom finally took pity on me and pulled me out of the melee... but I am still reeling...


ps: Hey this is my 50th post... :-D