Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Disappear/Re Appearing Act

Hello Masala lovers.

My sincerest apologies for disappearing into the internet ethers for a while. You can read all of my excuses here if you’d like.  My apologies also for dropping the ball with the What the Hell India project. Rest assured that I am still fully intending to continue that. Hopefully by tomorrow.

So. Bangalore has continued to treat me with the utmost respect and kindness. I still love it here.
I do not, however, really love fall here. It’s a bit too reminiscent of February in the northern half of the U.S. Minus the snow and freezing temperatures. Every day brings an overcast, grey sky that gets rather depressing after a while. I’m ready to be done with the clouds and the rain. It shouldn’t be much longer here. Winter is always beautiful.

Daddy G is again headed to the US in a few days. Hopefully for the last time this year. I’ve kind of had it with his job taking over every waking thought. Alright, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration (jeez, I still hate spelling that word), but not by much. Please dear, enjoy your nice long hot showers and not so expensive booze.  At least it’s only 10 days this time.

In other news, I have totally taken over most of the vegetables in India. My vegetarian repertoire in the US was sadly lacking, it isn’t anymore. I’m pretty excited about this. The only food related woe I have is finding a good ground meat shop. I have a serious yen for keema, which is ground meat mixed with spices and a few veggies. Serious yen. I’m good at cooking it and haven’t really had it in India. I have found a shop, I just need an excuse to haul Daddy G all the way across the neighborhood to check it out and make sure we won’t catch mad goat or mutton disease or something equally dreadful. He’s much better at knowing these things than I am.

One thing that I’m not too pleased with myself over is the health initiative that has gone nowhere. My vitamin habit have remained spotty at best (yet my hair has for the most part stopped falling out!!!) and my exercise habit, if you can even call it that, is spotty at best. Like once every 2 months spotty. I haven’t gained any of that weight back, and I suspect I’m still losing. I haven’t actually stepped on a scale since I left the US and I’m kind of afraid to lest that number didn’t actually move and I imagined the whole thing. I’m sure this isn’t true, but I’m still not checking. I now only have 1 pair of jeans that isn’t falling off my disappearing behind, and it’s pretty loose too, along with way too loose pajamas and even yoga pants.

 I did actually take out my blow up… exercise ball (And here you thought I was going to bust out an inappropriate comment about a blow up doll. You were right.) and my kettle ball. I bought these two wonderful things almost 2 years ago and now they’re finally out of the packages. I still am looking for a good routine to really challenge some muscles with them. The inserts that came in the package were sadly not all that effective. I do have a community gym at my disposal too, but between my penchant for catching up on sleep in the morning, my housekeeper showing up at random times, and my 5(!!) piano students, that is kind of hard to swing. Excuses excuses.

I’ve been on a two day binge of deep cleaning and writing these past two days, and it has been glorious. My housekeeper cleans some things for me and completely ignores others. Those cobwebs that pique my irritation every time I walk by them are conveniently ignored, as well as the dirty ceiling fans. It is indeed time to bust out the cleaning chair and slop wet, soapy, dirty water all over the floor in an attempt to clean them. It has been slow going, but oh so satisfying. I find that leaving the cleaning to someone else here has not been good for getting things done how and how often I want them too. I know that I cleaned the entire house way more in the US than it ever gets done here. Tradeoffs I guess. I work a lot more here than I did in the US too. Daddy G has been trying to campaign to get more household help so that I stop bothering him to help me do stuff. Nothing doing Mr. The last thing I need is more responsibility by having more people to manage. I’d rather just spend a day cleaning myself and have you pitch in a little bit more than normal. He’s charming that way. J

I think I’ll stop here so I can go research a topic for some What the Hell. See you soon!


Monday, August 6, 2012

What the Hell India: Bomb Blasts

Listening to: Shadow of the Day – Linkin Park

There was a bomb blast in Pune recently. For edjumacation purposes, Pune is here:

One of the most amazing things (and one of my personal favorite things) about India is that it is truly a country that absolutely oozes diversity. You can’t throw a stick around here twice without hitting 2 completely different people. The wonder of this, is that for concentration of people combined with all these differences, the amount of violence seen is relatively low. Unfortunately, it does happen.

So here’s the What the Hell for the day. Bomb Blasts.  The Pune bombs were designed to be a terrorist act that backfired and didn’t cause as much destruction as it was meant to, thank goodness. As with other attacks of this nature, they were designed to cause chaos and fear and had cause roots in both political and religious retribution.

India does have its fair share of terrorists, both domestic and imported. What is unique about the problems that India has of this type is that not all of the terrorism is related to religion, as we are used to thinking in the U.S. In India, politics often inspires this level of violence too. In fact, if you are interested, Raajneeti  is an absolutely excellent movie about Indian politics if you can find a copy with subtitles and are into foreign films.

There are always the wars that occur between criminal factions that occasionally catch an innocent bystander. As you can imagine, religion does play a part in some attacks. India is a secular country. The two main categories of religious believe in this country are Hindus and Muslims. I’m not including Buddhists because they tend to leave everyone else alone. For many reasons, there is much bad blood between the two groups and sentiments against the other group from fundamentalists from either group sometimes wander into the hatred and violence arena.

I get frustrated with action of this type. It tends to lead to bloody, unnecessary, drawn out retributions that are born out of hate for others and what they are/what they believe in.  The tragic thing about this problem is that it is probably impossible to get rid of. Biases get passed from one generation to the next. Backward thinking in people determined to stay that way is damn near impossible to change. With India being what it is, there will most likely always be points of friction when people of opposing views are pushed up against one another. What bothers me about the bomb aspect if this problem is that the perpetrators don’t care about casualties in their personal wars. India isn’t short on violence – but it can never hold its own with modern countries when blowing up different people seems like a reasonable retribution option.  There are plenty of other types of crazy here (postal system anyone?) that wouldn’t hurt India as much in its quest for modernity as bombings do. Indians, this destroys your credibility and makes the world want to lump you in with the scary fundamentalist countries - which really doesn’t do this amazing place justice.  Knock that shit off.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Mood:  Hyper (my coffee must have been strong today) and Irritated (why oh why does the housekeeper feel the need to come at a different time everyday and be here when I have to pick up my youngest from the bus stop???)
Listening to: Blow Ya Mind – Eve and Gwen Stefanie

Hello Lovelies. I hope everyone is having a great week.

I wanted to tell you about a project I’m launching this week for Following the Masala. It’s called “What the Hell India?” I came up with the idea based on a previous post I had written during the A-Z challenge, which you can read here if you are interested.

India has the distinction of being an up and coming country. It is both a place where modernity has prevailed and ancient attitudes hang on stubbornly. I’ve been reading Times of India since we moved here. It tends to focus most of its stories on Bangalore, since that’s where the G family resides, but also includes lots of news from other parts of the country. Every few days, I’ll read an article that will make me stop and wonder what the hell is going on that this stuff still happens in a country that struggles to be up to date as India does. This is where we’re going to take a look at them.

Disclaimer: Most of these stories won’t be funny or comfortable. If you are a reader from India, you may even have strong feelings about a subject and/or me raising an issue as a foreigner.  I welcome comments, from any viewpoint on a subject. Please do let me know what you think of any of these posts. If you think I got it totally wrong or are missing an important aspect of something, please do let me know. I can only share from my own perspective, and one person can rarely understand every element of an issue.

Most of all, I want people – especially Indians - to be aware these things happen and that they’re not ok. This is your country.  I can sit and holler all I want as a foreigner, but it won’t do much good unless Indians decide they have had enough and won’t tolerate this anymore.
 I hope you guys enjoy it.