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First car

18 July 2010 3 comments

We are thinking overtime about the used car purchase process. There is no point living in America without a car! We have a 3o day deadline to close the deal. We are reading websites  like the Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds to understand what we should be looking at – costs (purchase price, running costs), mileage (gets counted in running costs I hope), comfort, looks, resale value, etc. We have decided that our budget will be between 3000 and 4000. I don’t drive to work. So I estimate that our monthly miles will be under 700 and for the long drives, we can always rent cars. If we need the car for 3-4 years, resale price shouldn’t be big on our priorities. The idea is to get a decent car with low running costs. We have been talking to friends and most of them talk about 3 Japanese cars – Honda/Toyota/Nissan and buying from individuals. For a 3-5 capacity, we would need a compact or mid-size sedan. We have started looking at ads on craigslist and sulekha. What will you recommend us? You have a week to suggest 🙂 I’m looking to tips from SK and Archana.

PS: Jax has written a splendid post on reading for freshers.

Categories: Me

Every weekend long

29 September 2007 2 comments

First things first. I can’t drive though I have an Indian car driving licence. In a car-crazy America, that is sin of the first order. My second big mistake is to have left that Indian licence back home so as not to carry many identities. So, I cannot even try to use it here and test some cars 😉 These make my weekends miserably boring and long. I am stuck to my suite and there is no public transport in my suburb on weekends. Damn, it all adds up. I carry a big bias against cabs. I haven’t been to downtown yet. That explains. So, what do I do on weekends? Talk to wife, eat, sleep, watch some stupid Tamil movie I downloaded on a torrent, …

It is strange to realize that I am practically immobile without a car here. I must learn to drive properly and believe that the car is not only for the others.

My colleagues have been nice to drive around me a few weekends. I don’t feel too nice to be at another’s mercy. I am hoping to have some friends visit me here. Another option I have is to rent some bikes (not the motorbikes) and cycle along some good trails around here. Sadly, the rentals equal my daily allowance. I have less than two months to go now and I don’t know if I will be able to see around yet. Why is America so fond of cars? 

Categories: Me

My favourite card game…

12 July 2007 1 comment

… is literature, (excellent description here). My schoolmate Hem taught me after his first year at PSG and we got addicted. Ever since in all our vacation breaks, we used to gather at different homes and play this for long stretches of time. It is such a simple and skillful game. In our 10day long NSS camp at a small village on the outskirts of Chennai, we spent all our nights playing this. Some of my Guindy classmates also got addicted to this neat game. On every long trip, a pack of cards is quite handy to play this. Be it my last place of work or my last place of study, this game has got its own fans. Once when we played it on the BOM-IND train, it turned to be a boy-vs-girl messy affair. It calls for fair play though the cheats do all their tricks and make it more lively 🙂  It always reminds me of the good times I have enjoyed with it. Friends, travel and fun, this game is all that and more. When am I going to play it next? Are you game?

Categories: Friends, Me, Travel

The after life

22 June 2007 3 comments

The burden of expectations. The pondering over relationships. Marriage is a fantastic change. Two different families cannot agree over the various ceremonies, each wanting to prove a point. The parents of the bride think, “Will our girl get a good man?” The boy’s mom feels, “Will my son succumb to the fatal attraction of the mother of all 3 letter words?” The girl wonders how she has to give up most of her comfortable environment and adapt to a totally new one. The guy only hopes that the new relations are smooth. My case is no different.

The reception, where the proud parents show off their happy kids, gets longer and longer. I can stand neither the rituals nor the crowds. The marriage is more fun. To this day, her friends mock at my standing up and tying the sacred ‘thali’. I really did expect to see more of my friends. Why? The bitter truth is that there were more friends of mine at my sister’s wedding. After the wedding, we have a whistle stop tour of my beloved Thoothukudi, not to forget the customary visit to the only Murugan temple on the beach at Tiruchendur and some crowd-free spots at the Hindu Uvari and the Christian Manappad. I introduce her to the famous parotta chalna shops and the pleasant Thoothukud beach. On returning to her place, we do more soul-searching in the temple circuit around Kumbakonam where we get special entries to most of the temples. We end it with a special pooja at Tiruvannamalai. After all this, we head to Bangalore and do our last bout of shopping for our honeymoon in the Sikkim Himalayas. We also head to Mysore for a day trip.

Those were the days when I cooked up amazing stories and enjoyed her initial gullibility. All the while I am learning about relationships. One has to be careful before saying anything. A generous dose of role-playing helps. We are bemused by the benevolent feasts at our relatives’ places. And finally we are all by ourselves.  We relax the whole day in Kolkata (It is Tagore’s birth anniversary and a holiday) before catching the Darjeeling Mail. We have ample time in Sikkim and we do just about everything there. A sample here : shake hands with a Chinese soldier on the border, go crazy on snow, frolic about high altitude lakes, see the Kanchenjunga peaks (obviously from far) and raft on the Teesta river. Now is the time to see each other naked. No pretenses.

I join work on the day we return. No work till this day! Meanwhile, we start to set up our little home. Scratch is where we begin from. Renting a home in Bangalore is now an expensive proposition. Big Bazaar is our first stop. Not all goods are cheap there. We bought 2 mats at Rs.500. The third we got from the neighbourhood at Rs.50. Deciding the high-valued purchases takes more time. My credit card and my Appa’s wallet come to our help this time. She starts her experiments with cooking. They are limited to breakfast and dinner on weekdays (Amma prepares lunch to carry) . The weekends is when special lunches are tried out. I find less time for myself and lesser time for friends. There’s always something to do at home (get the phone connection, where’s the cable guy?, why’s the newspaper so irregular?, buy a sofa). Hopefully by next month, we should have a more organized time.

I had the dirty habit of imposing myself on my well-wishers and I have given it up some time ago. Our differences are many and that makes life all the more interesting. We laugh a lot (at ourselves and the observations we make). It helps that she is very understanding and I am older. It’s still early days for our relationship. The biggest change is now it’s mostly us, us and us. We won’t have it any other way. I only wish that I do lesser role-playing in the new relationships and none at all in the ultimate one.

Categories: Me

The before life

20 June 2007 4 comments

Plenty of warnings, plenty of hopes… The girls are happy on the new life and the boys sulk over the loss of bachelorhood. Will I be able to live with a girl? Will she put up with my whims? One heart tells me I should be able to live with any one. It’s just that I have become so detached and my expectations from any one including myself have gone too low. That’s the irony of life expressed beautifully in this quote from Jan de Hartog “Do not commit the error, common among the young, of assuming that if you cannot save the whole of mankind, you have failed.” The other heart chides me that I simply cannot live with anyone. I am so self-centred. It will always be me, me and me in my little space with my crazy thoughts, feelings and ideas.

The half-year has sped like a dream. 21 Jan. The day I saw her and she saw me. The relationship got fixed even before that and that day was just a ceremony. I could not be probably all she wanted and vice-versa. But the story starts that day. Phone calls and chats help us know each other for two months. Who cares about a job now? The life long time is prioritized. I’ve always been the ‘open’ ‘foot-in-the-mouth’ type. She loves me a lot. My indifference is getting lower. Will I be ever mad in love? The age gap probably puts me in a more mature situation. I’ll be her prince charming. She shall be my true love. The secret dates follow the long distance relationship. A couple of movies and naughty shopping make them sweeter. And then it happens. One fine day we get married…

Categories: Me

Sleepless in Sikkim…

20 May 2007 3 comments

Categories: Me

Pudhu Mappilaiku…

15 April 2007 8 comments

…babbabba babbabbare! 🙂

Categories: Me