September 27, 2010

Thinking aloud

So few days back, as I was leaving California, I went to an Indian restaurant with some friends. We landed there around lunch time, and as almost all the Indian restaurant in states have buffet for lunch hour (really, what’s up with that?), we opted for that. None of us had a clue whether this restaurant was a north Indian or south Indian cuisine and they had both north Indian and south Indian dishes in buffet menu. I first attempted some dosa with sambhar in my first round which, btw, was delicious. However during the second round, I went for north Indian dishes and realize that this was in fact a  south Indian restaurant (and a non-vegetarian one on that. They could have fooled me). Reason you ask? The baigan bharta had jeera (cumin) as well as curry leaves in it. Seriously! Jeera with curry leaves.

Honestly, I don’t get why south Indian cooks insist on mixing south Indian spices as curry leaves or rai (mustard seeds) in any and all north Indian dishes they prepare. I will never add jeera in a sambhar instead of rai (mustard seeds). EVER. Just imagine how will that taste like? So now can you understand my distaste when I discover south Indian spices in north Indian food? They simply don’t taste right. Period.

Normally I refrain from ordering a north Indian dish in a south Indian restaurant or a south Indian dish in a north Indian restaurant. If I want to eat north Indian dish, I will go to a north Indian restaurant and vice-versa. Simple. But I am not sure what to order when they prefer not to specify which cuisine they subscribe to, and the name of the restaurant is not obvious, and then, to top it all, they offer both options. I don’t have problem with either cuisine. I just want them separated from each other. Please don’t mix them up. They both have some great tasting . Why spoil any of them?

P.S.: 1. This reminds me of an ex-room-mate of mine (she was south Indian) who insisted that I don’t know how to make rotis (aka phulka), as I don’t put any oil on it. I tried to explain that that’s how we make roti in north India. She wasn’t convinced. And then one day when I was making parthas, she started screaming at me that I lied to her and we do in fact put oil on our rotis. I tried to explain to her that this is what we call a partha and not a roti. We don’t normally put oil on it unless you count people who like to put ghee on it afterwards (we, as in our family, normally don’t unless we have guests). But she was intend on proving me wrong and telling me how I don’t know my own culture and food habits! Needless to say, we went our separate ways soon after.

2. I should also mention that I have some great south Indian friends and this post is not about south Indian culture or people. I just don’t like people mixing the spices like that.

September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Not Bad, huh?


That’s how my new room looks like. As I said its a nice looking apartment. Note the phrase “nice looking”, that’s what it is. The building material is actually pretty poor quality. Paint is already chipping off, carpet is frayed and spotted (I haven’t been here for two weeks!). But look-wise its a good looking apartment and costs me same as my previous apartment. I guess I was lucky to land this deal.

I know its a bit personal but I don’t really have anything else to post. Haven’t felt comfortable enough to venture around to take pics in the new place. I will soon, I hope.

September 16, 2010

Suggestions for Mapping Software Companies

So the other day as I was trying to get to my destination using my now-a-days ever-confused GPS (Disha), I found myself driving in a seedy part of the town. Being new in a big city can be scary that way. You don’t know which turn will lead you to a place where you can be simply “at a wrong place at a wrong time” victim. As I drove away (as fast as I could) from that place, it occurred to me what if the GPS (or even the online mapping sites as google maps, mapquest or yahoo maps) have a system to warn about such a neighborhood.

I understand that such a system will have a lot of implications, including the real estate prices but it will help people like me who have no idea what so ever about this new place. May be they don’t have to downright announce a place to be unsafe but instead give some kind of crime index or something similar. A warning before cruising such areas can reduce the shock value at the least and put the stranger-in-the-town on their guard. Like this poor guy who came to bay area for a job interview at Google and for some reason, was in the shady Oakland. He was murdered for a mere $17. Having lived in bay area for 6 years, I know to avoid visiting Oakland (or Richmond, or East Palo Alto), if I can help it. Guess he didn’t know that.

I don’t want to end up like him. Seriously.

And while they are at it, it will really help if these GPS have a small text in some corner, indicating the maximum speed limit allowed on the road (if they already don’t have it. My GPS is around 3 years old so I have no idea about current development in this field). Again, stranger-in-the-town and state at times miss these signs since we are trying very hard to find our way and avoid having an accident at the same time. I really don’t want to get a ticket when I don’t have any address for it to be sent to. I will miss all the court summons and subpoena  associated with it as well and very soon I will become a fugitive (oh yes, I have a wild imagination. The story actually ends with me living in Canada under an assumed name and being found by the authorities using my blog. This blog. I will never leave you guys!).

Anyway, just few suggestion that I would find useful in my GPS or online map search. Is someone listening?

September 15, 2010

September 14, 2010

The Emotions of Relocation

So the relocation company helping me out with the move, sent me this document titled “Your Positive Relocation”. According to this “brochure”, there are five emotional stages of relocation: 1. Confusion & Denial; 2. Anger; 3. Loss & Depression; 4. Resentment; and finally, 5. Acceptance. I think I am somewhere between stage two and three. I remember being in stage one for quite a long time, actually till a week before the move at which point I could no longer deny it. And now its a mixture of the next two stages.

So my stuff arrived four days ago, which is good, except it looks so alien in this new apartment. It simply doesn’t belong here. To start with my student time furniture and stuff is no match to this nice, a bit upscale apartment (one advantage of being in Texas: for the same price, I get a better apartment in a nice place). It just give a feeling of being out of place, old and dirty. And it didn’t help when one of the mover commented on the weight and size (27”) of my TV which is unlike the TVs these days that are light, big, and very portable.

The house is a mess at the moment. I didn’t know how much stuff I have till it was time to move: about 50 boxes to fit everything I owned plus furniture, cycle, TV etc and not to mention the two suitcases (the big ones, you know the ones that every Indian living abroad owns. Well almost every Indian) that I had with me when I flew to Texas. Honestly, I could have organized everything much faster than its taking me. I just don’t have the spirit or enthusiasm to do so. Everything fitted so perfectly in my old home. I bought those things for that home because they worked there. They were the right fit. Now I don’t know how to arrange these old things in the new apartment. I just don’t. It doesn’t work. And again the feeling of these things of not belonging in this new place overwhelms me and I give up.

Its the small things too. Like every time I fondle with my keys to search for the apartment key, I automatically look for the silver key I have been using for past five years to discover with a surprise (each and every time) that it’s no longer there. I have this golden alien key that opens the apartment door. Weird.

Or,when I simply walk out of the door to do something, anything, I realize that I have no idea where the nearest store, or post office, or bank, or ANYTHING is. I have to walk back and switch on the laptop to find it.

Or, the fact that I don’t even know whether its safe to drink water directly from the tap. In my own home.

Or when the intrusion alarm start beeping whenever I open the balcony door. EACH AND EVERY TIME. I am simply not used to having an intrusion alarm.

Or the fact that my GPS, my old and faithful GPS, Disha (yes, I have a habit of naming my gadgets), don’t have an advanced lane guidance which makes it impossible to use it in this big city of road mazes where every highway has two names and has a toll for using certain lanes.

The fact that I am living off my savings at the moment doesn’t help either.

I can only hope the stage five arrives soon and brings some kind of joy with it.

P.S.: Sorry for the disjointed post. I just wrote down the train of thoughts, I guess. This post very much feel like my house at the moment: A mess.

UPDATE: I replied to all the previous comments. Sorry for the delay.

September 8, 2010

An Update

Why is it that when you don’t have access to something, you want to use it only then? I don’t have any internet connection today and today is the day I want to write a post. I guess it has something to do with human nature. Anyone wants to philosophize?

Oh well, the reason I haven’t been posting lately is because I moved approximately 1880 miles, from beautiful, picturesque California to plain, boring Texas. Oh why, yes, I am certainly not very happy about with the move. What gave it away?

Anyway, so today is the day during my entire move that I don’t have internet access. I will get my internet connection tomorrow, that is, if everything goes well and there are no technical difficulties. Yet, today is the day I have been itching to write a post since morning. So I found an insecure internet access and using that to write this update.

How has Texas treated me so far, you ask? Oh well, on the first day in this place, I got a flat tire. On my rental car (if you have rented a car, you would know the hassle it can cause). And then as I was waiting for the roadside assistance to arrive, it started pouring down. With proper thunder and lightening (it was some kind of omen, perhaps?). Poor guy from the road side assistance was completely drenched after he finished replacing the tire.

The second day in this place: I got drenched while looking at different prospective residents. However, I did find an apartment that I like (more or less), hence it was not a complete waste of time and energy.

And today, the third day in this place: I got drenched in sweat while trying to buy basic supplies for my new house. Why, oh why, every super market has to be so big in Texas? I get that everything is big in Texas but seriously there should be a limit on being big. I visited two super market and it took me 6 hours (honestly!) of driving and walking to get handful of cleaning supplies. I could have gotten the same things in under an hour in California. (Yes, I am missing California).

Oh, BTW, I shifted to my new apartment today morning. Its a nice sweet apartment but this is the first time in my life that I have decided to live all by myself. I am not sure how will this pan out. I have always had a room-mate. Although my room-mates are not my best friends in the whole wide world with whom I share intimate secrets but they usually end up being a decent friend whose company I enjoy and cherish. It is weird and kind of lonely without one. Hopefully, with time, I will get used to it.

And hopefully, with time, I will get used to this new place as well and won’t hate it as much. Someday, one day.

And yet again, I rambled, when all I wanted to say: Today is the first day of a new life. New place, new friends (well, technically, I do have some old friends here), new adventures. Life is kind of scary at the moment. Wish me luck!

P.S.: I will reply to all the comments soon. Things are getting kind of settled down now, so hopefully I will be able to become regular on blogosphere again. And then, I do need a ranting place again. So I will be back.