Wednesday, February 28, 2007
I can't ice skate - never learned on my own and was never taught

My major in undergrad was psychology, with a minor in geography (social) and almost in religious studies (needed one more full credit that I never bothered with...)

I'm currently on page 2 of "The Book" I'm supposed to have written by the end of November 2006

I used to pick off all the vegetables on my veggie pizza, but now I love the ones with broccoli, zuccini, red pepper and whatever else odd that could go on it...

My mom, dad, my brother and I ( I had just turned 14 and had just started grade 9 in high school) moved from Toronto to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where we lived 2 years. We then moved to California for a year and then we (my mom, dad, brother, new baby sister and I) finally moved back to Toronto just before I started grade 12. This past November marked exactly 10 years since my family and I embarked on this "adventure".

I have a love for the Impressionist era in art history, but have never studied it on my own or know all to much about preceding or following periods.

I also love photography, so much so that I want to use my student loan money to buy a new camera. Though the one I want costs just as much as one credit at school...decisions, decisions..

The first car I wanted was VW Jetta - what I got was a 96 Pontiac Grand Am (which is now resting comfortably in a junk yard somewhere while my Buick LaCrosse has taken its place)

I started working for a bank a little over 4.5 years ago and I both love and hate it.

I'm not allergic to anything that I know of, but I have told people I'm allergic to dogs because of my irrational fear of them (when a woolly mammoth-esque dog comes barrelling across a park at you when you're 6 years old, then we'll talk about 'overcoming fears' - and yes, even the Taco Bell dog scares me)

I hate to be girly and dress up myself, but at the same time I love different types of jewelry and clothing design. And I do have a thing for purses. Guess I am getting girly after all...*yuck*

Skydiving is still something I want to do. Despite the chagrin of family and friends :D

I don't mind the Canadian Southern Ontario winter other than the freezing rain that causes you to have to scrape off an inch of ice from your car windows in the morning when you are running really late for work. AND I am exceedingly afraid of slipping on ice and break bones, which thank God, I have never broken, yet... maybe I should learn to skate...

I'll play it cool, but I love the TV shows Prison Break, LOST, Heroes, How I Met Your Mother and Ugly Betty, Scrubs and above all, ER. Before you think I've shoved my law books under the sofa in attempt to watch all these shows, I'll have you know that I watch them on weekends while eating or simply taking a break. But seriously, don't tell my mom, 'kay?

And before you think I'm an illiterate fool, I am also in between two books right now: Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and Asra Nomani's Standing Alone - this is why I don't have the time/patience/energy/motivation/incentive/consciousness to finish my own book. Don't give me that look...

I am finally learning to cook like the decent Indian girl I ought to be.

I took French until midway through university but still can't hold a decent conversation. Though I also want to learn Spanish and ASL.

I played the clarinet for two years in junior high. The furthest I made it was to second chair. Just wasn't good enough for first. But I have always wanted to learn to play the drums, so maybe that's my true calling? Besides being a lawyer, of course...

Okay, so I've blabbered on about all these things about myself, but what I would like to know is more about other people. Maniac Mommy posted a contest on her blog where she asked everyone to to post something unique and interesting about themselves in her comments section. I thought it was a great idea to find out something new and maybe even discover a few new blogs like she has.

She wanted to get 100 comments, but I know I'm not going to get anywhere near that (though it would be nice), so instead I'm just asking that you post something about yourself - anonymously if you really want, but preferably not. As well, she had it running as a contest, but I thought I wouldn't do that since I know some of you outside the blogging world and it just wouldn't be fair - I couldn't live with the cold looks I'd get afterwards.

So - if possible, please spread the word for my little social-blog experiment and maaaaybe I'll give you a prize. Just don't tell the others.

What do you think - should she be allowed to play or does hijab (headscarf) pose a "danger" for her?
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Recently, a friend of my mom's decided it was her duty to point out my age and marital status in a gathering of Indian family friends for a dinner party.

Now, as some may know, in these family parties there comes to be 4 subsections to the general party. First, there's the Ladies' (aka The Aunties) section, which tends to be in whichever room is closes to the kitchen where the hostess is buzzing about warming up each entree from the moment you arrive. Second is the Men's (aka The Uncles) section, usually the household living room or basement - closest to where the food will be laid out buffet-style, but furthest from the kitchen. The third is the Kids (The-Annoying-Hyper-Brats) section that is either the whole of the upstairs floor (if there is one), concentrated in one child's room, or the whole of the basement (if The Uncles haven't made it their habitat first). The last subsection is usually the smallest and most ignored - The In-Betweeners. These are the not-kids-but-not-adults who really don't know they're place in the party. They're usually pre-teens and teens who don't want to hang out with the young kids and don't necessarily want to hang out with each other but somehow manage to congregate in one area in one of the previously mentioned subsections, or, if they are lucky enough, in front of TV somewhere tuned to something no one really wants to watch but won't decidedly change either.

So, now that you've got the setting down, imagine about 15 or so 30-to-50+ aged women who have this insane ability to start talking about some political issue in India and eventually, without fail end up on the topic of marriage. Who recently married, who will be getting married and who should be getting married. I landed myself smack in the middle of the latter category.

I've made it a point not to attend these parties as I got older. The kids of the family friends are mostly all grown up, away at school or we just are different people who do not get along anymore. My brother and I do make it a point to visit a select few homes who we've known since childhood and who are the ones we genuinely love (aren't they lucky?). So this is where I was. Sitting with The Aunties, making small talk with a newly immigrated bride (the hostess' sister's sister-in-law - i.e. Transitional Aunty) and minding my own business when my mind suddenly sprang to attention on the topic of potential suitors that Aunty S was looking at for her daughter, one year older than me. Then, all eyes turned to look at me. I pretended I was suddenly very interested in the purple embroidered cushion I was holding in my lap, but could feel the stares burning holes in me. Oh good God, here we go.

>>"Sooo, how about AKA here? How's school going? Almost done?"

>Oh no, a direct question. Which one said it? They're all looking at me sitting in this corner. Too late to escape to the bathroom. Can I pretend someone is calling me? No, they'll never fall for it.
"It's going well, not done yet, I just started in September so about 3 years to go" I say, attempting to plaster a smile on my face.

>>"3 years? Wow, long time. We'll have to get you married before that! Ha ha ha! Girl's shouldn't wait too long. All the good boys will be taken. You're how old now? 23?

> Mommy, help. Please!? "Uh, no, I turned 24 in October"

People, I could feel the wave of shock spread through the room. It's was a somewhat muffled but collective *gasp*

Like so many other girls in the South Asian culture, I'm tired of being made to feel ancient and good only if I'm married. I do want the marriage and the family but I'm just doing it at a different pace than others. I think my own parents feel caught in the middle - they would prefer that I be married, but can't force the issue because they want me to finish school.

On the other hand, I don't want people to misunderstand my culture to think that it is some unrefined and orthodox way of thinking. I have never been discouraged from pursuing a higher form of education. Both my grandmothers were teachers - one even having a Master's in the Urdu language - though, in their time the system of education was different, where they would have started college around the age of 16.

Being born and raised in Canada has made it difficult for me and others who were also born/raised here to find a fine balance between the two, very clashing, cultures. Add a heavy dose of religion and you contribute more twists and turns to the tangle of knots. I know that no one has it easy, regardless of the form of background and upbringing you have, but most are apt to believe that there situation is more poignant than others only because they are living it and not just imagining themselves in another's shoes.

I've lost my train of thought...where was I? Ah, yes, trying to block the images of all the 'Aunties' staring at me in vain shock. What happened after that is a blur to me but I do remember one of my mom's nicer friends chiming in about how I had lots of time to get married and that girls in general were getting married later and later. Then she launched into a number of examples of girls who were becoming doctors, engineers, teachers or setting up their career in other jobs and not yet married. Which I believe then eventually lead into a conversation about which brand of basmati rice was better. At this point I had stopped holding my breath and was trying to get the ringing in my ears to stop so I'm not so sure...
Monday, February 12, 2007

In a word, this is pretty much how I'm feeling these days. Nothing exciting going on, not much to do and being almost bedriddenly sick doesn't help. Other than the few (ok, not so few) TV shows that I've been watching (read: glued myself to, to the point that I will yell at anyone who dares call me during one of the shows I am watching - sorry Mom), there's not much else to do and I feel myself slipping in a serious case of the Blahs. Which, I must warn you, is much more grave than having the case of the "Meh's" (of which, some will remember, I suffered during the Christmas holidays).

I should just blame the blistering winter weather. Everyone else seems to do it. Or maybe I should blame the weather guy on TV for reminding me every evening of what the forecast will be like for the next couple days ahead.

"Why don't you just stop watching the weather on TV if it makes you 'blah'"

...Yes, a possible solution, I suppose, but then I won't know what the weather is like, would I? Now what do you have to say Smarty Pants?

I used to be down with the whole pop culture scene. I knew where Sienna Miller ate last weekend, who wore the fab Oscar de la Renta dress to the latest movie premiere and which starlet just broke up with her latest beau and was on the rebound. Heck, I even used to watch the boring award shows (Golden Globes, AMA's, MTV, Grammy etc). But then I just stopped, cold turkey. I thought only a gossip-patch would be able to wean me off that gooey stuff and help me overcome my dependency. But maybe I just grew up overnight? I didn't even know the Grammy's were coming up until I logged into my daily news RSS feed and noticed the headlines that were announcing winners. I still listen to music and watch movies, but I've just lost whatever it is held my interest in the everyday doing's of the stars.

"I think you just got a life..ha ha, ha?"

No, I think I realized that I was wasting my time on the flittering of insignificant people who are the very essence of what is wrong with our media and youth. Rather than being focused on political and social issues, we're worried about the designer bag BritJessParNicLindSienKat were seen with. I realized I should get back into reading more books, taking up a more active lifestyle, and focus on growing into a more responsible human being.

That, and I accidentally deleted many of my gossip-blog bookmarks and can't be bothered to remember them. counts.

The following took place between 9:00pm and 10:00pm [MSN chat conversation].

Check the Rhime....DND writing essay (reach the celly) says:
Yo... werent u gonna write a book or sumfin? lolz

AKA says:
Aren't you supposed to be writing an essay. I figured that's what the "DND" meant..?

Check the Rhime....DND writing essay (reach the celly) says:
lolz. yea im doin it now. ****in 2 many page 2 do. hehe. so for real...u writing a book rite????

AKA says:
Yeah, I think. I'm trying but not getting anywhere. The story isn't working out how I want it to so I've laid the idea to rest for awhile.

Check the Rhime....DND writing essay (reach the celly) says:
lol yea y do all that 4....u need 2 make more moneyyyyyyy :D

AKA says:
Well, that's what this law degree is for. Hopefully if I get a good job once I'm done I can pay off all my student loans quickly.

Check the Rhime....DND writing essay (reach the celly) says:
yea gotta do tha billz....u wanna do corporaote law

AKA says:
Corporate law? No, probably not, I don't think it's for me. I thinking towards either international law or alternative dispute resolution. Both seem pretty interesting from what I've looked up.

Check the Rhime....DND writing essay (reach the celly) says:
na corp lawyers make more money :D:D:D i need 2 make mad cash after im dun skool

AKA says:
What are you majoring in?

Check the Rhime....DND writing essay (reach the celly) says:
business n english...thas what the essay is 4

AKA says:

There's an actual group by this title on Facebook and I could help but laugh out loud at the title when I first read it and then frown immediately because I realized how true it was.

Now, I obviously knew there wouldn't be any spur of the moment song-and-dance routines (though one can always still hope, right?), but somehow the idea of how easy it was for boy to meet girl, for boy and girl to fall for each other, overcome some minor obstacle (usually being some evil villain, or disapproving many cases this being the same person) and then live happily ever after. As I grew up with Bollywood movies everything in the future seemed like it would be so easy because it had a fun soundtrack to it.

Doing the traditional "hide the groom's shoes to get money from him" custom at your sister's wedding? There's a song for that.

Attempting to woo the snobby rich girl at your college? There's a song for that.

Wondering if the boy you like likes you and why love and your heart are so crazy? There's a (million) songs for that.

There's songs about rain, the sun, gardens, flowers, wanting to going from rags-to-riches, the "dupatta" (i.e. the scarf material that's draped around the shoulder's on a woman's traditional indian suit - yes, there are songs about that). You name it and likely there is a song for it. So why wouldn't life seem like a breeze?

Now you could go ahead and blame this on me, saying that I may have just simply watched too many of these movies. But, when your own parents' "love story" consisted of their parents matching curriculum vitaes, family backgrounds, then retreating to their own corners to ask their child's consent and finally going back into the ring to work out what the bride's side will give the groom along with their daughter's hand (i.e. The Dowry) - life is confusing. Especially when much of the understanding of your culture comes from these movies.

This may all very well be because I grew up in Canada and am just one more ABCD (Amercian Born Confused Desi - i.e. desi = person from India) trying to find the fine balance between the clashing worlds of South Asian and Western idealisms. But since our parents were the ones who brought home these movies, it was a very long time until I (I am NOT the only one. Don't give me that look) clued in that life is just a wee bit more difficult.

So what did I expect? That by 21 or so I would meet Le Prince Charming, who would of course come from a wealthy family, be very charismatic, may even dance a bit, and that we would meet, our parents would readily approve and life would be one big swan ride through the Eternal Love Tunnel.

Well, I'm 24 (and a quarter...!), have no real prospects, stuck in school for a couple more years to come, and am being pressured from every end that my "expiry date" is on the brink of pouncing on me. Of course, at which time, I think I'm supposed to deflate in a puddle of invisible goo. But I am happy with all this...I think.

Though the idea of LPC sounds pretty good, it may just work out better not having gone that route. Meh...I'll keep you posted...
I heard today on the radio that CTV is working on a movie based on the Pickton Murders (link 1, link 2). Now I understand why they would do it - it's controversial, shocking and will attract those who are curious to see a dramatization of the grisly murders. But I wonder still how we can even fathom anyone wanting to essentially glorify a man who has admitted to murdering 49 women. The same debate occurred when filmakers were eager to make the movie Karla based on the Bernardo case . I don't know whether it's more disturbing to know there's is a remake of these incidents or that people want to be a part of it, either by making the film or watching it.