Monday, January 29, 2007

postheadericon Meme: Five Unknown Aspects About Me

I was tagged by Gautami for this meme. Thank you, dear one!

1.I have stylish handwriting (or so they would tell me in school/college) and was often selected to write the Bachelor degree certificates in calligraphy for the University of Bombay for a small payment.

2.My college dorm was right next door to a famous Mumbai Auditorium or theater as we would call it here in North America and it aired popular plays every night. The ushers were our friends and every evening at intermission they would tell me and my friends where the empty seats were and we would watch the second half of the play. Now when I look back, I realize that I spent three years of my life watching a play almost everyday. Why am I not in the performing arts or how is it I review books instead of plays?

3.I love "people watching". When I travel, I will deliberately go to the airport early so that I can watch people...not sure what that says about me, but it's one of the most interesting things to do. Often I will strike up conversations with people that interest me and I'll have to say I have learned a lot. I would like to take this to the next level and travel with my camera in tow (a la Desmond Morris), but I'm not sure how well that would go down with most people!

4.I am a gypsy by nature. I find it very difficult to settle down in one place for a long time. I have lived in India, the Middle East, the UK and now Canada...I love Canada but am starting to feel the 7-year itch. I'd like to go live in Singapore (closer to India) for a few years, but we'll have to see.

5. I love attending seminars, conferences, talks etc. I think it's because it fits in so neatly with my love of learning. I love to record things I learn at these seminars - I think I might have made a good reporter!

Well, there you have it, 5 aspects that you may or may not have known about me.
Thanks for tagging me Gautami, I have enjoyed playing!
Monday, January 22, 2007

postheadericon Vot men? You don’t know how to tell a typical katlic? by Joan Pinto

When I first moved to Bangalore from Bombay I was often asked (after establishing I lived in the suburbs ofcourse) if I had been to a lot of Mac parties. Mac??? I didn't even know what the term meant until one helpful person pointed out it meant "Macca Paus" the term by which Bombay-Catholics are affectionately called. It came as a surprise to me, but people outside Bombay really do dig the "macca paus" - let's face it, they're one community that really, really knows how to have fun. So when I came across this article by Joan on her blog, I couldn't resist asking her if I could put it up on this blog. The Bombay Catholics, in particular the Bandra Catholics, have their own little unique thing going on, something you don't often get to see outside of Bombay.

This is a great article...if you've lived in Bombay you will read, nod your head and smile, and if you don't, you will be just as amused. Read and smile.

A big thank you to Joan for letting me use the article on my blog.

Here we go:

Vot men? You don’t know how to tell a typical katlic?

By Joan Pinto

‘Thou shalt drink. Thou shalt jive.’ If there were commandments requiring you to be a ‘katlic’ these would be first. ‘Vot to do man, bugger it comes with the genes.’

People are always exclaiming, “You don’t drink! What kind of catholic are you?” - As though the Pope decreed it. Then, as if the answer to the next question would redeem me they hastily ask “Do you jive?’ An affirmative nod saves my soul and I am admitted back into the fold.

By religion, we are Roman Catholic. Roman, because we are governed by the church in Rome, not because we have dual passports. By culture, katlic. Or ‘Mac’ as people refer to us after they’ve known us for two sentences. How can anyone miss the “Vot men? Or “kya man? ” where the ‘man’ comes free with every sentence quite oblivious to the fact that you’re a woman. Or other phonetic jewels like tree (three), aahks (ask), ‘doll’ (dal), dat (that), or the “faader - mudder” (father/mother) that I would like to believe is some dialect of German, but nein. It’s trademark ‘Mac’ talk.

Of the several theories that float around, one says Mac is a derivative of ‘macca pau’ (butter ‘n’ bread) because supposedly that’s what katlics eat.

The drinking of course, we’re sure of. “Michael daru peekay dhanda karta hai” from “Amar Akbar Anthony” tells a small part of the story. We drink at Holy communions, christenings, at other festivals too: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays…. You get the picture.

And of course we drink at those crazy carnivals called katlic weddings. Where you dress up, quaff wine, slip on confetti, stomp at the Wedding March like drunk soldiers, get sozzled, stuff face with potato chops, vindaloo, sorpotel, pork roast, let face fall forward involuntarily into plate of salad, do the mandatory birdie dance, throw the bouquet, wake the neighbours with off-key rendition of “He’s a jolly good fellow” as you zig zag home.

Katlics like to sing. Where there’s a Mac gathering, not counting funerals, there’s a ‘sing-song’ session. “My Bonnie lies over the ocean’, ‘When the saints go marching in’ and the quintessential ‘Annie’s Song’. No Mac party is complete without a guitar and one sloshed uncle who will be dragged home by the toes.

Katlics mourn with the same passion. Wearing black at funerals and for months after, and fasting with fervour at Good Friday. But as December knocks on their doors you‘ll find Crawford market besieged by katlics from ‘Maim’ (Mahim) to Marine lines taking home so much lace you’re not quite sure if it’s for the curtains or the dresses.

At Christmas katlics eat guava cheese and cake and drink (more) wine, go to midnight mass at 8.00 pm. because Jesus said ‘Never mind, keep the peace’ or similar, then in 27 degree heat wear jackets to Willingdon or Catholic Gym and jive the night away.

Though being a katlic may be more about cultural togetherness than going to mass every Sunday we religiously fulfil the requirements. To be a really good katlic you must go inside the church. They have a name for people who don’t “Outstanding catholics”. And if those black sheep did go in it would be a miracle close on the heels of Jesus’ turning water into wine.

If you’re katlic you subscribe to the Examiner where katlic girls search for katlic boys with sober habits and own accommodation.

Good katlics go to confession. When we were kids we knelt in the dark confessional and sincerely asked forgiveness. Standard sins were ‘I beat my sister’ for the boys and ‘I told lies in school’ for the girls. Of course when we grew up we either stopped going or told only the simple one and hoped god would get the others telepathically. We didn’t want to give old father Andrew a minor coronary. Besides, our idea of what constituted a sin had changed.

Hindi movies have katlic girls rushing tearfully to church to pray to Mother Mary for the safety of their threatened love. Maybe that’s why it’s believed that Catholic girls will anoint themselves after every four-letter word and, ‘The morning after her wedding night, she’ll go to confession.’ Katlic boys are in a different league altogether. They play hockey or football till they die and are very eloquent with words like ‘pasting’ (beating), loafer, bugger, as in ‘Vot you doing men, bugger?’

Now some katlics don’t drink or jive or play the piano or chase football, or sing off-key. To them I’d say ‘Come let’s wash away our sins, let’s have a beer. Cheers and Hic!

Friday, January 19, 2007

postheadericon Learning Hindi from Bollywood Movies

A big "thank you" to all of you who responded to my plea for tips on how to learn new languages and how to retain my fluency in the Hindi basha despite hardly ever getting to hear or speak it - your suggestions were varied and most helpful!

Whilst researching the subject ( I told you guys I was serious,lol) I came upon this brilliant site which teaches you Hindi using Bollywood movies as a tool.

I tuned into their 16th podcast and now I can have a very educated discussion on malaria! Yeay for me! :)

Thank you Cutting Chai! ;)
Friday, January 12, 2007

postheadericon Speaking in more than one tongue

This being the month of January, many bloggers are talking about new year resolutions. Some abhor making them, but I just love them and regardless of whether I keep them or not, I always make them. One of my resolutions this year is to learn a new language or atleast to go back and polish up my Arabic. I haven't acted upon this resolutions thus far (well, to be fair to me, it's only Jan 12), but after reading in today's Globe and Mail about how a knowledge of more than one language has been linked to a significant delay in the onset of dementia symptoms, I want to get to my Arabic classes NOW!

According to the article, a working knowledge of more than one language can help stave off dementia by atleast a few years! (Among the unilingual people studied, dementia began to appear in men at an average age of 70.8 and in women at 71.9. But among those who knew two or more languages, dementia did not begin to appear in men until an average age of 76.1 and in women until 75.1.)

Considering that this disease is incurable, it is heartening atleast to know that it can be deferred with the right mental activities. Working as an ER volunteer I have seen so many Alzheimer patients and what I see makes me very despondent. It's a terrible disease, both for the patient and for all the people that love him/her or who have to care for him/her.

Having said all of that, however, how does one practice a language other than English in North American society? I used to be fluent in Hindi but now I find myself floundering everytime I have to speak it because I don't speak it enough. Any ideas?
Tuesday, January 09, 2007

postheadericon Which Superhero Are You?

I got this from Anocturne, who got it from ThinkTome

I am kinda embarrassed to admit this but the only comics I read growing up were Archie/Betty, Richie Rich and Amar Chitra Kathas, so when Anocturne tagged me with this, I floundered a little because although I had heard of most of these superheroes, I didn't really know what each one did, apart from "Superman", "Batman" and "Spiderman" ofcourse. I got the Catwoman, who doesn't sound very nice! Why do I always get these negative creatures everytime I do one of these quizzes? hmmmmm
Your results:
You are Catwoman

Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
The Flash
Iron Man
You have had a tough childhood,
you know how to be a thief and exploit others
but you stand up for society's cast-offs.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test