Friday, July 28, 2006

55 Fiction Friday: MLS edition

Friday ponders moving.

“2BR/2BA, W/D, vus!” trumpeted one ad, while another promised “Gourmet kitchen, hardwood floors, many original details.” She skimmed the Real Estate section armed with her trusty No. 2 and a dreamy look in her eye. She projected herself into condos, co-ops, townhouses and SFHs with abandon carried on the whispered, seductive adjectives of the industry.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thinking Cap

The most tumultuous week of my life: quit my job (with nothing else lined up), adopted a cat, broke up with a friend, sent an "it's not me, it's you" email, and decided to take the LSAT. (I can't really say "decided to go to law school" because I wasn't that committed yet - I was sort of dipping my toe into the water.)

A few months later, I applied to law schools. I applied using the Interweb at a friend's house (the better to use her laser printer, more reliable internet connection, etc.) I remember clicking 'submit' and coming upstairs to announce, "I just applied to law school!!!" Her incongruous response was "What happened to your face??"

I rushed to the bathroom. Somehow, in the process (really, because of the process) of submitting my applications, the left half of my face had broken out into hives. To my knowledge, I'd never had hives before (or since.)


Recently, I had an experience which mirrored the above. I was online, submitting information - committing to a decision I wasn't 100% sure about. I found myself alternately pressing the palms and the backs of my hands against my cheeks in an attempt to calm myself (or perhaps to prevent hive formation?) It ended up being anticlimactic, the website wouldn't take my information and I had to call it in and deal with a real live person (sadly, not from the motherland.) Chatting with her and relaying my information turned out to be less nerve-wracking.

End result: I have tickets to go to India in December for my girl's wedding! Three weeks in South India, how you like me now??

Monday, July 24, 2006


It's T-minus 1 hour until D-day here in California (because of the time difference, it's D-day already in the other time zones.) Bar exam time. Best of luck to everyone taking a Bar exam - I'm thinking of you. I fully intend to be stupid(er) for the next three days as I channel my brain waves to my exam-taking friends.

I can't believe it has been a year since I was in your shoes. More accurately, at times, it feels like just yesterday (because - hello - there's no way I'm ready to be a 2nd year associate ... I don't know anything), and at other moments, the Bar-taking process is shrouded by the mists of time (some would say "blocked out.")

Taking the Bar exam was on par with completing my first marathon in teaching me things about myself. It was simultaneously the biggest challenge to, and the greatest opportunity to see Zen lessons at work. It was a short, intense flurry that left me dizzy and worn-out.

I'm not saying I'd do it again in a heartbeat, but some good things came out of the whole process for me. With that thought in mind - go in there, kick ass, and take names!

Friday, July 21, 2006

55 Fiction "Friday": I hate Mondays edition

Friday gets it twisted.

Shit! Shit! Shit! One brown shoe and one black shoe. She glanced at the clock again, and it still wasn’t on her side. Hair combed, teeth brushed, deodorant and perfume sprayed on. Cursory makeup applied. Purse? Keys? Cellphone? Locking the door, she felt a breeze and looked down to discover a distinct lack of pants.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Just like Honey

SJM and I once talked about starting a (comedy) desi writing group here in the Bay-area. The reason we wanted it to be "comedy" writing was because, as I put it, "How many more "my mom - she doesn't understand me!" stories can we listen to??"

I only joke because it's true!

And I'm about to add to the cornucopia.

During my childhood, my parents gave me a great gift: travel. With my family, I've been to Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Taiwan, Italy, England, and Germany - not to mention India and Malaysia. I've had the travel bug ever since, and it is insatiable.

As some of you know, one of my fave bloggers is getting married in India and I'm very excitedly planning my first trip back in .... EIGHT years. Because India and Malaysia are home to my mother and father (respectively), I've seen *nothing* in either country (aside from the insides of houses belonging to people who are, allegedly, tangentially related to me.) Besides the 'vedding', I'm also excited about SEEING India for the first time. I'm concentrating on South India and I'm planning to spend 3 weeks. Part of the time, I'll be with friends from the wedding, and part of the time, I'll be traveling by myself.

My mother (and here's where the sob story starts) has problems with this. I can understand that, but instead of being direct about what's bothering her, she must throw out a few warm-ups first. Apparently, she feels I should not go to India for that long because:

(1) "Insects will bite you." Seriously, what? And if I were traveling with other people, the insects would preferentially bite them?

(2) "People will stare." As opposed to .... how they stare when I'm with you? Or how I'm always stared at in India? To me, this is part and parcel of traveling in India, and I'm not concerned about it.

(3) "Kerala is like this, and like that" My mother hasn't been to Kerala since I was 12 years old. When confronted about this, she claims that her assertion are based on the observations of two of my aunts. My paternal aunts. Who live in Malaysia. Translation: not bloody likely that she's talked to them about Kerala ... ever.

(4) "I'm not sure how safe it is, and I'm worried." Bingo! We have a winner! This, of course, is what was really bothering her - and it's completely legitimate. I'm not sure why she tried to Jedi-mindtrick me with the former, all it did was annoy me and make me less receptive to talking about this point.

Sigh. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm (more or less) direct simply because my mom is not.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Do the Right Thing

I have been accused of holding myself to overly-high standards. What this means is that I will often do things that I think are the right thing to do for that reason alone. I may not want to do them – but it is the right thing to do. This isn’t a fear of what other people think (because usually I just don’t care – I’m a founding member of the Partnership Against Guilt), but a weird matrix of moral obligations I’ve created for myself.

I finally got out of my own damn way. I’ve been hemming and hawing and wondering why I wasn’t excited about my “planned” vacation – going to a law school friend’s wedding in Ireland. And by “planned” I mean that I told her I was going, but have been procrastinating and procrastinating when it comes to booking tickets or accommodations, etc. I know why I wasn’t excited about going. It wasn’t the wedding, it was afterwards: Ireland just doesn’t seem like a fun place to explore by yourself. I’d asked a few people if they wanted to tour around, and nothing ever quite worked out. I’ve traveled by myself before, and I’m usually up for it. But not this time.

What I wanted to do for my post-Bar trip: go to Costa Rica for a few weeks and attend an immersion Spanish program. What I ended up doing: revamping my condo with my dad to put it on the market. Looking at my GMail account, I have a tag for Costa Rica and all the emails I sent out last year re: immersion programs - I had even flagged two schools as being at the top of my list.

When the proverbial lightbulb goes on, it is a brilliant, shining beacon. Once I accepted that I was NOT “going to do the right thing” and go to the wedding, I knew what I wanted. I emailed the two schools I was interested in to see if they had availability during my desired dates. That night, I voraciously consumed my Lonely Planet. The next day, I heard back from both schools, chose one, and booked airfare.

That’s right – in 2 days, I planned my entire trip.

I’ll be in Costa Rica for the last two weeks of August – actually, I’ll have 3 weekends and 2 weeks there. I’m going to school in Arenal and Dominical. I’m so excited my fingertips are tingling.

Friday, July 14, 2006

55 Fiction Friday: Thorn Tree Edition

Friday has a vacation coming up.

Her mind devoured the forums, her eyes lingered on the photographs. She tried to store it all away: the best place to get faeda in Barcelona, the can’t miss site in Nairobi, which ferries to avoid in Nicaragua. Even if she couldn’t get there just yet, some small part of her could travel and experience.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


I've often seen life as a juggling act (or, possibly, plate spinning.) At any time, there is the friends & family ball, the career/school ball, finances ball, mental/physical/emotional health ball, etc. You try to keep them all up in the air at the same time - but from time to time, one falls and needs extra attention. Maybe just dusting off, maybe KrazyGlue or more dramatic repairs.

And occasionally, they all fall down (and crank you in the noggin as they succumb to gravity's sweet seduction.) You're dazed, looking at all these balls rolling in different directions and wondering which one to pick up first. Should there be some kind of triage? Maybe deal with the one that would be easiest to repair? The one that is the most cracked?

With enough fire drills, you come up with a plan that works for you, a kick-start to getting the balls brushed off and back in the air. It becomes an almost familiar procedure, and comforting in its routine and its guaranteed results - return to juggle-mania. An auto-reset button.

Unfortunately, eventually, the kick-start button stops working.

Not surprisingly, that's where I am (and where I've been - hello, Lack of Posting - Population: ME!) The little tricks and manoeuvres I usually use to get things going again aren't working. My bag of tricks is still a bag, but it's not so much doing the trick. And when you're trying to cope with what you perceive as disappointments in a lot of different arenas, it's hard to be creative and open enough to come up with new ways to get back up to speed.

Friday, July 07, 2006

55 Fiction Friday: Cosmo edition

Friday reads trashy "women's" mags, but will never admit it.

Thumbing through the magazine, she found the pattern: page 11- “Being Single is Fabulous”, page 15 - “Snag the Hottie of Your Dreams”, page 35 - “Improve your Body Image!”, page 72 - “10 Get Fit Quick Tips.” She flipped it closed in disgust – they really were trying to drive her crazy. At $5.99 an issue, no less.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Note to self:

Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency is crack. I'm getting stupider by the second, but I can't stop.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Jiggity jig

It's funny how little things seem to change. I arrived in DC late last night. For whatever reason, my father turns airport pick-ups into some sort of Ocean's 11-type mission. He picks up at DEPARTURES, not Arrivals and sends one of the little brothers in to wait by the escalator between baggage claim and Departures. Last night, we had a three-person team on the mission. I have no idea why - many of his more recent peculiarities, I blame on retirement.

This week, every time I've told people that I'm going home to DC, I've indicated apprehension about the heat, humidity, recent flooding, and weather in general. However, I found myself rushing outside. Humidity at night retreats to something lush.

I opened the car door and was enveloped in the scent of jasmine - not the cheesy air freshner kind. My mother (staying up way past her bedtime) had come along and brought me a jasmine mala . In the car, my parents studiously only asked me questions about the flight. (I have complained, quite bitterly, about the Spanish Inquisition on the car ride home.) My mother started the smothering (notice how the word 'mother' is right in there?) on the topic of climate control. The smothering is like a physical entity - ivy growing, entwining itself around the victim. The worst part is that I find myself doing it too. There are times when my mother pries open my jaws and has her say: "You'll be cold without a sweater" (said to Neel Mehta at our Maverick dinner - more to come on this.)

We piled out of the car and I took my things up to the bedroom of my childhood (recently abandoned by LB2.) I slept in the twin bed I occupied from age 7 to 17 (canopy removed to "butch it up" for my little brother.)

And now, I'm watching the World Cup with my parents, just like I did in 2002, 1998, 1994, etc.