Thursday, June 25, 2009

Planned or Spontaneous?

I have been asked(don’t ask me why), whether i am planned person or a spontaneous one. Well i don’t know! And here is my reasoning for the same.

Like everyone else, we love to take vacations, short ones and the long ones. Travel to exotic and touristy places. See new things, do new adventures, meet new people, collect more magnets and shot glasses, take pictures and build memories of a lifetime.
SD and I are road warriors and have done our fair share of travels. Making the planned and the unplanned trips. Taking just couply trips, to chilling with a large group of friends and family. Enjoying it all! A lot!

For our vacations, I want to get the most bang for the buck! This means, countless searches for activities, bidding on the best deal for car rentals, flights, hotels. Calling up friends who have been there for recommendations, and oh yes, i almost forgot- there should be something for everyone. We need to plan trips which are toddler friendly, but not adult boring. This implies, there should be a mix of things, the adrenaline rush needs to be there, with aah so cute toddler parks.

So the planned trips: i need to have a list. A list for the things we need to cover, places to see, people to meet, things to carry, toys to bring along, food to carry, medicines to bring along(just in case) and so on and on.
Yes, i am anal. Before the trip, i will view, review, add, things to this master list with person responsible, status and comments. Yes MS excel is my best friend. I will send this list to SD and filter by his name, so he knows. Two days before the trip, i will start taking the clothes, shoes and all else out of closets, and put them in bags. I explain to SD that its my trips excitement, he shrugs, since we both know, realistically, i wont be able do it last minute, i will forget something and then fret over it!

I know that the night before the trip, i want to do nothing else, but
a. double check my lists that everything is checked off it (Smile!)
b. Ensure that on our return, we enter into a clean house (Aah!), and
c. Chill back...and enjoy some TV while my mind is already in vacation mood!(Grin!)

And then comes to the unplanned trips, i dont know how, but my mind switches off automatically. List, what list. I will ensure i have flip flops, sneakers, and one decent pair of shoes, and a swim suit just in case...the rest i dont care and i tell SD, Oh its America, if i dont carry it, no matter where we go, we'll find it! The bag gets packed in 20 minutes flat, the toys are put, V's stuff is in her diaper bag! Her food is ready.. and we can be out the door in less than an hour from the time we decided to take the trip. The only thing that i still do is "b. Ensure that on our return, we enter into a clean house (Aah!)"

Mind plays games you know. Both our trips- the planned and the unplanned ones, we enjoy immensely, the process, the aftereffect, the sore bones.. all say the same thing: Vacation well deserved and much needed! So if one asks, are you planner or a live by the moment person.. Honestly, i draw a blank, since i dont know! My preference: I dont care.. as long as i am away from home and on a trip- planned or unplanned!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sweet Nothings.

It's those sweet nothings you do, that makes the heart skips a beat, and cause the flutter in your stomach. The fancy gifts, the candle light dinners are a complete waste without the sweet nothings that your partner pampers you with.

Fathers day is around the corner, and for the past month or so, i have been stressing over what to get for SD on V's behalf, for SD's dad, for my dad. Agreed its a hallmark holiday and a perfect marketing gimmick. But i don’t see anything wrong with that. One may argue; you don’t need just one day to celebrate the father's day and mothers day and valentines day and the plethora of other hallmark days, you can do that any day, or should do that every day--- but you know what, we don’t.

We don’t make the mother sit and pamper herself everyday, while the father and kids cook up the meals. We don’t let the fathers go golfing every weekend and pamper them to the tee. We don’t take our partners to the lovely play every Friday night. These hallmark holidays, are necessary to just to step back and cherish the occasion. There is a reason behind these days, to make the recipient feel very special and cared for and count your blessings and smile. For the rest of the 364 days, you have the sweet nothings to make you smile!

In a crowded party, where you are mixing in, meeting friends old and new, laughing at lame jokes, and shying away from those bashing ones.... i tend to look over my shoulder and catch a glimpse of SD, and when i see him looking at me, with that sweet smile, and shine in his eyes...I smile! and i know that gestures means the world to me. Don’t get me wrong, Yes, i do love the gifts... i am a material person! ;-) So SD hard luck.. keep the gifts coming! But i do know that the day i get a gift, just because hallmark dictates so, it will not be worth it. I need the sweet nothings to go with it! And Yes, i am demanding.

I observe V, she will see someone new, offering her goodies or chocolates or toys.. she will just stare. May be grab the object, turn away and may be pretend to say thank you.. with just a small smile of acknowledgement. On the other hand, if someone sings her a song, makes her chase the ball, see a butterfly, smell a flower, i see the childlike glee in her eye, the naughtiness in her step.. and then the adorable laughter! Even for this 17 month old, sweet nothings made the difference!

So as another hallmark occasion comes, here is my two cents! By all means, get a thoughtful gift for the fathers who make everyday special and have taught you ride the bike, fall and pick up after yourself, and bring a smile to your face...But most definitively, for the rest of the year, do the sweet nothings which will make them happier, more proud and more special!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fad or not?

Its choices and preference right? Some people call it fad, others find it cool. One may find a yellow chunky brooch awesome and others find it garish. The pastel colored jacket may be soothing to one and boring to the next. The bright red hat might be inspiring to one, but loud for the other. I-phones are a must to one and an overpriced accessory to the other. The fashion trends are the same way.... i don’t know who decides that long tresses are out and bobs are in.. And then the next day, i will see 20 people on the street sporting these bobs.. Oblivious to how it actually looks on them. They are following the trend!

I have a fashion designer friend, one of the bigger labels in India, who will raise her eyebrows at my ignorance. I respect this line of work a lot. The styles and outfits and accessories which come up are unbelievable... and I bow down to their creativity! Honestly, as an engineer, my mind is corrupted by the straight lines of my profession. I could never imagine a safety pin being used as anything else but that... only to see dresses, necklaces, hoops et al sporting safety pins... and making it look really nice... it's someone’s style, but hey. To each their own right!

The same piece/ whether its religion, art, home decor, accessory, clothes, fb quizzes whatever: invokes one feeling in a person, and it may be exactly opposite to the other. We should learn to respect those preferences... and choices which people make.

Lately I have been in such discussions. Someone asked me if they liked some neon pink jacket, pretty cool cut. For boring and conservative me, it’s a big no no and i said the same being very honest about it. I am hoping the other person didn’t take any offense, since he was sure about the colors and styles which work in India. The very next day, i read an article on rediff/style that neons are very in currently in India.. and hey, the person was right! And i owned up and send the article across with sincerity.

These fads, trends, statements.. etc.. are all for the broader audience. Each person will pick a style/a home color/ an art piece which reflects them best. Even wearing a hat slightly tilted to the right versus the left, can make a huge impression and a style statement. It is not what you wear but how to wear it, that makes the difference.

There have been times, when i have stepped out of my comfort zone and wear something which I’d never imagine myself in..(Like at a recent do, a nice pink and silver sequined pauncho!) I have always admired it on mannequins and other people...but was too shy to actually wear it. We have all done this at some point. It’s a choice we make. One may prefer pastels all the time, but out in the sun, they choose the bright red and white polka dotted dress which appeals to them more than the grey jumpsuit! Its your preference/ choice that day.

I am blessed with very good friends, and within my set of school girlfriends.. we all have different professions, styles, tastes, lifestyle choices and very varied dressing styles. It ranges from models to journalists to art directors to architects to engineers to economists to photographers to SAHM's.. you get it...its varied~ But all of us gel very well.. And appreciate our interests, likes and dislikes... We don’t agree on everything; but hey, we will voice our opinions and know very well, this set of people will understand and respect our personal choices.

Discuss and argue all you want: Choice needs to be respected, and preferences need the space! This applies for all facets of our life. So next time you call something a fad, just give it some thought before.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It’s a guy thing!.. It’s a girl thing! Is it really?

As per a recent article I came across, which said: "There were others (women) who admitted to being control freaks, and didn’t trust their partners’ cooking. " and the article title read "Mums are still kitchen queens".
Hmm... it struck a chord, is cooking predominantly a girl thing... in today's day and age, are there still things which are considered as a guy/girl thing? Even now?

Mind you.. as i write this, i am ONLY thinking about our generation.. And not our parents or future ones....

Cooking... SD and I both cook around the house... no turns or such, whoever is up for it.. or nowadays, the less tired one.
Yes, when we have friends visiting... i become the chef. He does everything possible to help like chopping, cleaning... but the cooking will be my deal(most of the times).. and i don’t think that’s a girl thing! Its me being a control freak, since i would want the paav bhaaji to taste like one and not some mix veg+tava masala style!

There are a couple of things which even guys claim they do it better..... and would prefer girls not doing- like Grilling.. I recently went to a BBQ party, where all the guys claimed that grilling was a guy thing and women should chill and enjoy... Only to realize 20 min. later the grill was on, the guys were playing tennis and the gals were working the grills with corns, veggies and paneer!! Hmm!

Guys claim they are better at mixing the drinks.. well in all honesty, in the domain of mocktails.. its the other way around! And hence, there is no one gender again!

In 21st century, i think.. and i really hope, there are not a lot of things which ONLY one sex does better.. excluding of course child birth. but come on.. the guy is next to you.. holding your hand.. and listening to the "beeps" that he never thought the dainty wife even knew ;-)

A couple of years ago- guys did the poker+cigar, ladies had their rummy kitty parties or some retail therapy.. No more i say, the guys and gals, all sit on tables, floors with their poker face. And yes.. in the set of friends i know, the girl seems to kick ass at poker!

Spas, shopping.. no longer is only a girls forte. There are loads of spas offering a couple massage with a waiting list of over a month. May be the guy would not go out every week... but he will go once to the outlet mall.. and fill up the stock!and shop!I think what girls do better here is - stretching the dollar! We will check the online store albeit daily.. and when the price is just right..... they’ll place the order!

As i continue to ponder on these chores, i pen all the things which we has discussed as couples and friends being done better by the "other one": lifting heavy stuff.. hmm.. i see girls pumping enough iron to have the strong arms, cooking up a romantic meal.. i know a guy, who would stage him being out of town, only to surprise the better half with flowers, and gifts... and a home made strawberry cake!
Handy work: I guess both do it equally well.. may be the gal will hammer the nail and the guy will line it up right! Cleaning: Come on how hard is to vacuum? Both do it.. and nowadays i see more men on it than before (thank god!). Laundry: Separate the clothes, put it in the difficult is it? Child Care: Its a shared responsibility.. and trust me, when i take V to the park- i see more dads there than moms!
Work: We all know both are equally good whatever they do.

From my perspective.. its a partnership in its true sense.. and yes being in the US has pampered me to live in this partnership of chores/ work and child care! Even in couples i see around me, there is no particular "Guy thing or a girl thing" There is a balance. and an understanding of who does what (most of the times)

Come to think of it.. there is barely any particular thing which is a "Girl Thing or Guy thing". Am i missing something here?
There are enough contradicting articles out there which would disagree.... and again, i am not talking about who does it better.. the competency, but just the fact that both sexes can do it!