October 31, 2009


imageNaBloPoMo is short for National Blog Posting Month. Its a community of bloggers who post everyday for a month. PB is taking up the challenge this month. I have always admired her frequency of post. Unlike me, she tries to post everyday and quality of her post never suffers by that frequency. My best to her for this endeavor. She has managed to inspire and motivate me to increase frequency of my posting.

I used to post quite regularly once upon a time but I haven’t been able to maintain that for past few months. I am pretty busy this month what with the internships and trying to get a job as well as working on my research, trying to submit a paper and managing my life in Houston without a car (Have I yet complained about the absence of proper public transportation in US?). However, I will try to post everyday this month, even if it means posting 4 lines summarizing my day. If I succeed to do that this month, I will take up the challenge next month. I have a lot to complain about these days, so I don’t think I will have dearth of topics to write about. I will also try to reply to comments, at least once a week. So please be patient with me. :)

See you tomorrow…

Happy Halloween


October 28, 2009


(Img from: http://choombak.com/boyfriend-ke-saath-bhiaya-117/)

I wonder if it is meant for auto rickshaw driver or the boy friend?

For non-hindi speakers, it says: If you are with your boy-friend don’t call him (or the auto-rickshaw driver, I think) your brother.

Link via Alok.

October 27, 2009

Name Game

And it happened again. I am not sure if people realize how rude it is!

Okay, let me start over. As I have told earlier (here and here), I have only one name: Richa. I don’t have a last name. Period. And YES that’s how it appears on my passport too as well as in all my legal documents. Indian government doesn’t have a problem with that (Did I tell you that I love India? Well I do, sometimes.). But obviously US system doesn’t accept that so everywhere I go they ask for my last name and when I tell them I don’t have one, they repeat my name twice. And I wouldn’t have problem with that, as long as it remains on paper. But no! People usually insist on calling me Richa Richa. It’s very amusing for them. The secretaries like to print my name on official badges as Richa Richa even though I would have requested them not to do so the evening before. They find it highly amusing as they point it out to others and tell them that I don’t have a last name. I DON’T FIND IT AMUSING.

I don’t get it! They are okay with people shortening the names or someone insisting on being called by their nick names then why, in heavens name, do they have problem with me insisting to be known as Richa and not Richa Richa? Gerald can become Gary, Richard can become Rich but I can’t be Richa when it’s actually my name. Why? Just tell me, why?

P.S.: Don’t try to call me Richa Richa for your amusement or as a joke . You might get an earful or a very cold treatment. I mean it.

October 26, 2009

A note from Houston

Okay, I know I promised to be more regular with reading and writing blogs and I haven’t yet started that even though I have plenty of things to complain about (as usual). For imageexample, the TV set they provided in the Extended Stay  I am staying in (I am in Houston  for an internship) doesn’t have any A/V output for plugging in a DVD player (thankfully I noticed that before I decided to buy a cheap DVD player here). The cable has very limited channels. So basically I don’t have anything to watch in the evening even though I have a lot of work (I am trying to work on my research while doing this internship: not much success so far though). Lack of proper TV makes working a lot more difficult.

Other complains include: lack of public transportation, rain, unsafe environment, HR  questionnaire, the cold temperature in the temperature-controlled offices and people’s reaction on my name. But guess all these can wait for a later time.

triathlon123However, I do have something fascinating to share. Today I met someone who won first place in triathlon in their age group twice (50-54 years and 55-59 years)! It made me feel guilty about myself. That guy is almost double  my age and is far more healthier/fitter than I am. Well, someday I might run a triathlon (forget about winning). Someday…

October 20, 2009

You are not dead yet

… You said “Til death do us apart.”

No, this is no Psycho story. It is the new campaign by someone called John Marcotte to outlaw the divorce in the state of California. I kid you not! He is trying to “rescue” marriage.

The rational being: Same sex marriage was banned in California as it endangers the traditional marriages (Prop 8 in 2008 election). Well, honestly, divorce endangers the traditional marriages more than same-sex marriage, don’t you think?

I think this is a very compelling argument. I am all for it. :)

P.S.: Last of the saved draft series :)

October 19, 2009

Dropping a line…

…to say that I have reached Houston and am trying to settle in. I am sorry for not replying to comments or for not visiting your site recently (I have more than 500 posts in my Google Reader!!). I promise I will catch up soon. Just let me catch my breath…

October 18, 2009


For past few days I have been wondering if I have turned into a hard-core feminist. Not that it’s a bad thing in any way. It’s just that I never consider myself as one. And I admit I imagedo get angry whenever I hear about an injustice but I think any sensible human being will and should be outraged by such stories. Nevertheless such stories are catching my  attention more than ever and I have been writing about such issues quite so often. And yet, I still admire chivalry in a man. Actually, I almost expect it from a man. Of course, that’s not true when it comes to Indian men. Not that I haven’t been pleasantly surprised by a few of them occasionally but I simply don’t expect them to be courteous. If only Indian men knew or rather were taught to respect women, we wouldn’t have so  many “feminist” issues in the first place, would we? But then I digress.

The issue here is that whether one can be feminist and still expect men to be chivalrous? Isn’t that breaking the unwritten code of feminism? Or is that rule simply an absurdity that was derived by over-enthusiastic feminist who took feminism to an extreme? What’s wrong with man being courteous to woman?

P.S.: Yet another saved draft from my Window Live Writer. I am not sure if this post should actually see the light of day. I am gripping here: there is no flow in the post. But as I promised to publish all my saved drafts, I am putting it out there…

October 17, 2009

Must-watch Bollywood Movies

Okay, for some reason or the other, I have met quite a few people who have learned Hindi and loved watching Hindi Movies. Trouble is their bollywood knowledge depends mainly on their instructors (one instructor actually made them watch Main Hoon Na) or the latest in Bollywood. I strongly feel that there are tons of great movies that our Bollywood has spun out over the decades that should be watched. And then I also realized that it’s the same with the non-hindi speaking desi population. So I thought of putting a list of bollywood that I think everyone who loves Bollywood must watch. So here it goes:



1. Guru Dutt Movies : Guru Dutt was an amazing director and actor who worked from 1940s to 1960s (till his untimely death). His movies were usually a social comments about  that era. Almost all his movies are in my must-watch list including: Shaib Biwi aur Ghulam (1962), Chaudvin ka Chand (1960), Kaagaz ke Phool (1959),  Pyaasa (1957), C.I.D. (1956).



2. Raj Kapoor Movies: Raj Kapoor is yet another director and actor who worked during image the same time period as Guru Dutt.  He is not one of my favorite actor or director though  his studio (RK studios) did make few masterpieces as Boot Polish. If you want to understand Bollywood culture, you need to watch few of his movies including: Awaara (1951), Boot Polish (1954), Anari (1959), Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hain (1960), Sangam (1964), Teesari Kasam (1966), Mera Naam Joker (1970).



3. Navketan Studios: The Navketan Studios was owned by famous actor Dev Anand and his brothers. They produced some brilliant movies as: Kalapani(1958), Kala Bazar  (1960), Guide (1960), Jewel Thief (1967).



image 4. Bimal Roy Movies: Again, almost all of the movies directed by Bimal Roy are now  considered classics. And yet again, like Guru Dutt, his movies were a social commentary. His must watch movies includes: Do Beegha Zameen (1953), Parineeta (1954), Devdas (1955), Madhumati (1958), Sujata (1959), Parakh (1960), Bandini (1963).




5. Nasir Hussain Films:  Tumsa nahin dekha (1957), Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai (1961) , Phir wahi Dil Laya Hoon (1963), Carvan (1971), Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973).




6. Hrishikesh Mukherjee Movies: Another great director. Must watch movies include: Satyakam (1969), Asli-Naqli (1962), Anupama (1966), Anand (1970), Guddi (1971), Bawarchi (1972), Abhimaan (1973), Namak Haram (1973), Chupke Chupke (1975), Gol Maal (1979), Khoobsurat (1980).




7. Yash Chopra Movies: Waqt(1965), Deewar (1975), Kabhie Kabhie (1976), Silsila (1981), Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Hum Tum (2004).




8. Gulzar’s movies: Khamoshi (1969), Mere Apne (1971) , Aandhi (1975), Namkeen (1982), Angoor (1982), Sadma (1983),  Ijazaat (1987),  Maachis (1996), Hu Tu Tu (1999).




9. Other movies: Sholay (1975), Shakti (1982), Mughal-e-azam (1960), Chalti ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Mother India (1957), Pakeezah (1972), Damini (1993), Ghatak (1996), Karz (1980), Masoom (1983), Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994), Lagaan (2001), Rang de Basanti (2006), Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Saaransh (1984), Daddy (1989), Arth (1982), Jaane Bbhi Do Yaaron (1983), Black (2005), Mr. India (1987), Sagaar (1985), Sanam Teri Kasam (1982), Anjali (1990). Zanjeer (1973), Muqaddar ka Sikander (1978), Namak Halal (1982), Do aur Do Panch (1980), Aradhana (1969), Kati Patang (1971).

P.S.: This is again one of my saved draft. I apologize for the haphazard  way this post is composed. I know it’s a very long list but trust me, I didn’t name all the movies ever made. They are simply landmark movies according to me. I might have missed few movies so feel free to add them in your comments. :)

October 16, 2009


Few days back, I was having dinner with my friends. A friend of mine, who just came back from India after spending a few months there, narrated an incident. They were driving from Delhi to our hometown. As they drove out of Delhi (where wearing seat belts are necessary) everyone unbuckled themselves. When she insisted on having them on, they told her that they don’t have to so they won’t. No amount of insistence can make them put the seat belts back on.

I grew up in India. And like all Indians, I used to consider helmets and seat belts to be un-cool. This perception changed the day I joined my job. On the first day of job, we were shown videos about how helmets and seat belts can save our lives. It was company’s requirement that we wear seat belts and helmets at all time. And yes I was working in India. And unlike most of Indian companies who have these rules for namesake, our company was very serious about implementing it.

But as far as I was concerned, they needn’t have bothered with the rule. The videos were graphic enough for me. They opened my eyes. I never rode my scooty without a helmet after that and never drove my car without my seat belt on. Not only that, I also started insisting that everyone around me do the same. My family and friends looked at me as if I have lost my mind.

I couldn’t find the video shown to us by the company anywhere but this video is a good demonstration of what I am talking about:

I once had a long debate with my then room-mate about wearing helmets. She like rest of us thought that Government insistence on wearing helmets (Chennai had just implemented the helmet and seat belt laws)  was just another way for cops to make money. And it will boost the hamlet business too. I had such a hard time to convince her that these rules are for our own safety. Government doesn’t get anything out of it. Seriously.

I simply don’t get it. Why do government have to impose a law on us for something that is meant for our own safety? Are we that dumb?

P.S.: Saved draft series-III.

October 15, 2009

White Plaza Watch

…is a new photoblog by Stanford Alumni Association. I am one of the four bloggers responsible for the blog.

Honestly I am scared and very anxious about posting on this blog. I have a feeling that I am not good enough to be in company such good photographers (check out the first two posts, if you don’t trust me!). But as I did take the responsibility for the blog, I will be posting and I will be posting soon.

As for you guys: Stanford has a beautiful campus and these are some pretty good photographers so check out the blog for some beautiful pictures from Stanford. Your support will mean a lot to me…

P.S.: BTW, White Plaza is a landmark in Stanford. The fountain (the weird structure in the center of photo) shown in the first post marks the center of White Plaza. It’s the place we have our Activities fair (activities fair gives a chance for different clubs as photography club, Kenpo karate club etc to advertize/show case their club), Career fair, demonstration against issues are held. The Columbus day pictures that I posted few days back were from the White Plaza.

Nurture & Your Nature

The other day I was discussing something, actually discussing someone- a male chauvinist to be precise, with a friend and she commented on how this guy’s (the chauvinistic guy under discussion) mother never taught him anything on the account of him being the raja beta.

I have heard these arguments before, actually in numerous different cases and usually it is to justify something wrong they have done: be it a murderer or a child molester. Don’t they all blame their childhood circumstances for whatever they have done? Those are horror stories and I might give them some merit as usually those conditions should never be imposed on any human being, let alone on a child. So I understand that those circumstances leave an imprint on the person.

But aren’t we all a learning, growing species? Do we stop learning and changing after adolescence years? Don’t we have a “choice” on the way we behave or the way we treat others? Isn’t there a voice in our head that tells us right from wrong? Then how can we blame childhood or parents for our behavior? When do we learn to take responsibility for our own action?

P.S.: Second in the series of saved drafts.

October 14, 2009


imageI am back to the topic of Marriage. This time due to this news piece. So the veteran Tamil actress Manorama is demanding a law for:

…both men and women to produce medical certificates before getting married and in the case of the groom the certificate should prove that he is sexually potent.

"There should be a certification that he is potent and he doesn't have HIV. In case of women... she is a woman and she's fertile and does not have AIDS. And if the doctor gives a fake certificate, then he should be jailed," said Manorama.

It makes me wonder if marriage is only about sex and having kids? What if a woman is not ‘fertile’ (I hate this word)? Does that mean she doesn’t deserve to be loved? Is having kids beginning and end of marriage? What about companionship and love? What about a life long friendship and growing old together?

P.S.: I have a lot of saved draft in my Windows Live Writer. I have decided to publish them: just as they are. Just for sake of publishing something for next few days. I am going to Houston for two months for an internship on Sunday so I need to pack and finish a lot of pending task this week. So enjoy them…

October 13, 2009

Old Age

I went out for dinner last evening with a friend who will be celebrating a milestone   New-Year-Party-256 Birthday this Wednesday. Honoring the American tradition (she is an American), I took  her out for dinner last night as this week is career week so all the companies are inviting for free lunches and dinners.

Anyway, we were talking about different things and discussion came to age. As this is a milestone birthday for her, we started talking about things that change after these so  called “milestone” birthdays. She asked me about changes that I observed after crossing the milestone of 30.

I thought a bit and realized that only change I can think of is that I no longer remember my age. I fumble when someone ask me my age, not because I don’t want to tell them but because I don’t remember it! I usually mumble an age above 30 while trying to calculate my age.

Realizing this made me wonder- Is this the sign of old age: A failing memory? Or is it something common with 30+’s: Not caring for the number years they have lived?

October 12, 2009

Columbus Day


Found this gem while walking to office today morning. It says:

Columbus did not discover America (We were already here!)

For non-Americans: Today is Columbus Day. On October 12, 1492 Christopher Columbus arrived in America. However, as the arrival Columbus marked the beginning of dark era for Native Americans( a lot of them were slaughtered, rest were enslaved), a lot of people oppose any celebrations associated with the Columbus Day. Hence the message.

October 6, 2009

Nerdy Stanford


I found this one written on school of Education wall (yes, that’s how the wall looks like). I can bet that it was written by an Undergrad who is still in love with “School”. Grad students can’t afford that luxury…