the wonderful world of veena.

25 March 2013

the joy project: weeks eight and nine.


Sunday: slept in. lazed about. finally met Ananda [my dear Happiness] after 3.5 months in Bombay. saw Bobby. finally took our 'SMILE' picture for Julia. family farewell party. thank you, Reishabh, for the chocolate cake :)

[this is actually not the one we ended up going with, but I wanted to share it anyway]
Monday: packed for my northeastern adventure. there's nothing quite like the anticipation of a fun holiday.

Tuesday: Toto's for the Lost Boy's birthday. once again, I was the only girl with a rotating cast of 7 guys. such is life.

Wednesday: met my CanofBliss boys in Guwahati and hit the road for Kaziranga National Park. good catch up time with Wasi, Tet, and Sastri. felt cold for the first time in months!

Thursday: elephant safari. saw rhinos. jeep safari. spotted a tiger. saw a tusker.

Friday: chilled out at Tet's grandmum's beautiful farmhouse. watched Blues Brothers with Tet's parents. too entertaining they are.

Saturday: went for a cooooooold swim. barbecue at Tet's cousin's farmhouse.

Sunday: nice long drive back into Shillong. we took the scenic route and got to see a lot of the villages in New Shillong.

Monday: beautiful drive to Cherrapunji. had a bonfire.

Tuesday: crossed 2,400 steps, 3 wire bridges, and 2 living root bridges to get to Nongriat village, the most beautiful and untouched place I think I'll ever see in my life.

Wednesday: nice long drinking and catch up session with my Tetris.

Thursday: visited the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures and learned about the tribes of the northeast.

Friday: nice long drive outside Shillong. met Manish. awesome Khasi dinner for my last night in Shillong.

Saturday: road trip back to Guwahati. back to Bombay. Tyler arrived!

It's been a pretty spectacular two weeks, and the next three promise to be awesome as well: Holi, Goa for Bugsy and Vikki's wedding, Bangalore for a few days, last goodbyes in Bombay...

12 March 2013

book review: catching fire [hunger games trilogy book 2, suzanne collins].

Yes, I read the Hunger Games trilogy. And no, I'm not embarrassed to admit it. I might be a little embarrassed to admit that I walked into a Barnes & Noble and purchased the first one from the Teen Fiction section myself, but I'm reading the second and third books on my iPad, which I feel is way less embarrassing.

Anyway, I read the first book around this time last year - just before the movie released - but then waited before reading the second one. I finally got so busy with school and Capstone that I admitted to myself that the book of Salman Rushdie essays might be just a tad too heavy with everything else going on, so I decided to take a crack at Catching Fire [the second book in the trilogy] to relax my mind before sleeping.

As with the first book, Catching Fire was intriguing and held my interest despite the writing being a bit simple. But then again, it is a book written for 13-year-olds as opposed to almost-30-year-olds. Although I find myself at times getting annoyed with Katniss, the main character, I can't help but become sucked in by the story. It's an interesting read, and it definitely was a good distraction from the mounds of work that I had.

I am certainly looking forward to the release of the second movie this fall as well as pulling out the final book in the trilogy - Mockingjay - when I'm in need of another time-pass reading. I'm curious to see where Collins goes with the story based on the ending of the second book.

The other good thing with this one was that it got me back into the habit of reading before sleeping. Definitely provided a few pockets of peace in those last few weeks of craziness.

10 March 2013

the joy project: week seven.

This week is generally a joyful one as it is my last week of Capstone work! I have enjoyed my project, and the last few weeks have been nice and productive, but I am definitely looking forward to having one less thing on my plate. My Grant Writing class is picking up, I've been slacking off horribly in my research for my Independent Study, and generally it'll be nice to turn in everything I've been working on and be done. And God help me, I never want to see an Excel spreadsheet ever again. [or at least for a good number of months]

But moving on. Here are my joys from this very joyful week:

Sunday: finished re-watching season 3 of Castle. yes, I am a dork. and we had yummy dinner from Spaghetti Kitchen.

Monday: first of my meetings with the teachers in Dadar went really well, and they all really seemed to be thankful for the information I was giving them.

Tuesday: found out my father has purchased our tickets for Chipper's jersey retirement ceremony in June. first family trip to a Braves game in nearly 9 years, the retirement of one of my favourite baseball players, and it all conveniently falls 3 days before my 30th birthday. #bestbirthdaygiftever.

Wednesday: one of my project supervisors told me that I've done good work. such a good feeling.

Thursday: the dudes at the railway station remembered my breakfast order! last time I will have to change trains in Dadar for a long, long time. and then Reishabh and Punit bought me 4 [FOUR!] cans of Dr Pepper! boys, you can borrow my camera whenever you like.

Friday: submitted my Capstone deliverables to my partner! got given a Reserved table at Toto's. evening of epic proportions. it was a pretty killer Friday.

Saturday: Macaroni and Cheese for brunch [thank you, Priyanka, for sharing], slept all day, did no work, nice dinner at Smokehouse Deli with Reishabh, Priyank, Steph, Pete, and Priyanka, yummy ice cream for dessert. it's been way too long since I've had a proper Saturday like this.

The beginning of the week was pretty work-centered, but the weekend definitely made up for it. And now it's back to the grind - lots of work to catch up on for my online classes that I have been avoiding because of Capstone work. Wish me luck.

08 March 2013

30 thursdays: 30 things I miss about living in the States.

Well hello there, strangers. Been a long time. I bet you thought I'd forgotten about this series or just given up on it. Given my penchant for getting distracted and quitting things halfway, I wouldn't blame you for this assumption. The truth is, I've been drowning in work the last month and have simply not had the time to keep coming up with new topics. BUT. Today I submitted my final documents for Capstone, and now I have some time back in my life. So even though today is Friday, I am making an exception and am posting a new installment to revive this guy. Hopefully I'll be a bit more consistent from here on out.

Every now and then I'm hit with a bout of nostalgia for life in the States. Don't get me wrong, I love living in India and oftentimes would rather be here and miss these things than the other way around. But every once in a while something will happen [mum coming to visit, Super Bowl Sunday, etc.] that will remind me that there are perks to being in the States. Most of them revolve around food, sporting events, and / or holidays [sometimes all 3 at once], and they're why, even if I don't settle back in the States, I'll keep returning every once in a while...well that, and the fact that my parents and brothers and friends are there also, and I need to remind them what I look like every once in a while...

30 things I miss about living in the States:
  1. my family and friends. obviously.
  2. the Braves. the Packers. the Razorbacks. the Grizzlies.
  3. college football.
  4. March Madness.
  5. good BBQ.
  6. readily available - and cheap - Dr Pepper. especially with crushed ice. and especially from Burger Shack.
  7. live sporting events.
  8. spending Thanksgiving on the couch stuffing my face and watching football.
  9. real ovens in which to bake brownies.
  10. Memphis eateries [Huey's; Kwik Chek; Fino's; Lenny's; Gus'; India Palace; Bosco's; Central BBQ; Rendezvous; Waffle House; BBQ Shop...the list goes on for days]
  11. fall weather and watching the leaves change colour.
  12. the Town Pump.
  13. cheesy gordita crunches from Taco Bell.
  14. being able to run outside without getting stared at.
  15. good salad that's not ridiculously expensive.
  16. DVR.
  17. hopping in my car and going for a nice long drive.
  18. the buildup to Christmas. it's difficult to get into the Christmas spirit when it's 40 / 104 degrees outside and I'm walking around in shorts. that's right, that's how hot it was yesterday. in March. don't you dare complain about your snowstorms anymore.
  19. affordable bourbon.
  20. snow. we don't get a whole lot down in the dirty south [not when I'm in the country, at least], but I still miss it.
  21. weddings and babies. my friends', not my own.
  22. Super Bowl Sunday.
  23. Old Navy and Target and Barnes & Noble.
  24. footpaths you can actually walk on. I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's so nice to be able to walk on a nice even footpath that's not littered with rubbish or people peddling an assortment of items you'll never need or random drips of unidentified liquids coming from the houses above [my current street in Bombay is a particular offender of the last one. yuck].
  25. cooking. this is more because we don't have a gas connection or a fridge at home, but I got used to cooking dinner a few nights a week last year, and I miss it.
  26. wicked fast internet that allows you to do multiple things at once. including streaming television shows.
  27. miniature golf. putt-putt could be a gold mine here.
  28. bowling. especially glow-in-the-dark bowling.
  29. watching the children I used to baby-sit grow up and turn into real people.
  30. self-checkout in the supermarket.
I plan on partaking in as many of these things as I can when I return next month [approximate return date is 14 April. mark your calendars, kids!] and getting my fill while making my list of the 30 things I miss about living in India. I've accepted that this is just how it's going to be. There are many worse crutches to bear in life, so I'll be fine.

Good to see you kids again, and hopefully it won't be another month before another of these gets done.

04 March 2013

the joy project: week six.

I realized last week, when I was mired deep in work for Capstone as well as my online Grant Writing class and my independent study, just how much this little project has helped me keep my perspective in increasingly busy weeks. My Capstone wraps up on the 8th of March [right around the corner], just as my work for my Grant Writing class is slowly increasing, and the last few weeks have been crazy trying to juggle everything.

So thank you, Jackie, for reminding me of the importance of taking a moment each day to find some positive amongst the chaos.

And now on to my joys for week 6.

Sunday: finished my draft of my guest lecture for my Grant Writing class. it still needs a lot of work, but it's nice to have it off the ground and running.

Monday: first time it's been only me, Saranya, and Priyanka in the house in nearly 3 weeks. I've loved all of our visitors, but it is definitely nice to have it back to ourselves. all 3 of us were in bed by 11pm. and it was glorious.

Tuesday: confirmed my final deliverables with my Capstone organization. Last day is 8 March!

Wednesday: awesome lunch at Jai Hind with Reishabh and Saranya. S and I have been trying to have lunch there since I arrived in November - their prawn curry is pretty legendary - and it only took us 3 months to finally get around to it. finally got to see one of Manas' gigs.

Thursday: productive work day in Dadar. BOOKED MY TICKETS TO SHILLONG to see the Tetris and the Sastri. dinner with Sneha Madiath at Indigo.

Friday: first "free" afternoon in a long time. work was accomplished, but it was nice to have a relaxing afternoon as well.

Saturday: finally got to experience the joys of Janata. got to catch up with Tushar for the first time in weeks. met a guy from Bombay who's been to Beaver Lake, Arkansas.

Sorry for the day-late post; I was too lazy yesterday to come to Reishabh's house just to post this. Better late than never, yeah?

Happy last week of Capstone to me!