Admit it, you have put on weight

You are at your favorite clothes shop – the one place where you get clothes that speak the language you speak, the one place where you get clothes that personify your attitude, that highlight your personality, the one place where you get clothes that fit the one place where you get clothes that used to fit.

Whoa! 32″ waist pants used to fit! (For all you amazing ladies out there: Size zero used to fit!) How did this happen? When you came to the US, all was well! You were in the best of your health… and now you feel like a water balloon that is being tried to put into a wallet. You are obviously overcome by grief. You are probably undergoing the five stages of grief, also known as the KΓΌbler-Ross model. Here’s how.

1. Denial
The pants don’t exist. The store doesn’t exist. This is all a dream during your secret nap time at work. Or… not. This pair of pants is a factory defect. May it is 30″ and it got a tag of 32″.

2. Anger
What the $#@%! I mean $#$@*$% come on! These pants suck. This store sucks! My #&@#$% life sucks!

3. Bargaining
God… please make these pants fit. I promise I am starting to go to the gym. TODAY. But please don’t make me check out 34″ pants!

4. Depression
Why me, God, why me! What will my friends in India say! All my life I have been taking pride in my no-gym-athletic-build! Why God, why?! Why now?

5. Acceptance
“Er… excuse me, do you have this in 34″ waist?”

Well, the whole thing happens in pretty much 30 seconds, but yes, your mind does go through all of this. Speaking of #3, where you are talking of going to gym, here’s what happens.

Work out motivation chart[Left click to zoom]

And finally, when you do look at your life in retrospect, since you came to the land of burgers and fries – this is the time line of your weight. This is probably what happened. If not all events, some have definitely occurred! Come on, admit it!

Weight Timeline[Left click to zoom]

That’s something I loved about Indian food. No matter how much I eat, I never put on weight! And one more thing was that it was so freaking hot all the time, that I would just sweat it all out! Oh how I miss Indian food!

PS: Check this video out on a Giraffe stuck in a quicksand pit – undergoing the 5 stages of grief. My favorite is the depression stage!
PPS: Just a word of advice on the general idea of weight maintenance – please keep a positive body image. You don’t want this to happen.

My mother tongue is Indian

Many of you who have come to the US have had this problem – using Indian (s)language that means something ENTIRELY different in the US. Or pronounced words in a way that is incomprehensible by Americans. Or things that sound exotic but are something really mundane. I am listing out some that I experienced myself.My mother tongue is Indian

1. Passed out is not ‘graduated’
No, it is not. You pass out when you’ve drunk so much alcohol that no more blood reaches your brain. So when you say you passed out in 2006, people are thinking deeply. And wondering how flippantly you used the term, and they also wonder why Indians date their “passing out” in years. So this was the conversation that happened with my adviser (American):

Adviser: You could probably look up ____’s paper – he did some work on that.
Me: Oh ____ – that guy who passed out in 2003?
Adviser: (Long pause)
Me: Wasn’t ____ your student… he passed out of your group in 2003, right? Or was it 2004?
Adviser: He passed out? How did you know… one morning I did walk into the office and found him sleeping on the floor, I thought he was passed out… he just spent the night in the office… but how do you know about that…
Me: [Blink]…[Blink] I meant if he graduated in 2003, but now I know never to use PASS OUT instead of “graduate”…


2. Lettuce needs to be pronounced right

Or they just don’t get it. If you don’t pronounce it right, they stare at you like they’ve never heard anything even remotely close!

Me: Could you I have ‘lett-yus’ on my sandwich please?
Subway girl: Excuse me?
Me: ‘Lett-yus’, ‘lett-yus’ (I guessed she didn’t hear me)
Subway girl: (embarrassed laugh) Ha ha – I am sorry, I don’t get you…
Me now pointing at the lettuce
Subway girl: Oh you mean the ‘lett(i)s’!

Come on! How far is let-yus from lett(i)s?
3. There is no such thing as capsicum
It’s such a delectable vegetable and it goes by the name “green pepper” here. Why? Because people here find it spicy. So you have black pepper (same), red pepper (red chili), green pepper (capsicum), bell pepper (red or yellow capsicum). All of which make food spicy. They’ve got a point, so I don’t blame them. But still, it doesn’t feel quite right.
4. Eggplant is not an exotic vegetable
The first time we were hosting a party, a friend told me that he will make eggplant roast – and he told me to pick one up from the grocery store. Now I had heard a lot about eggplant, and the name sounds somewhat exotic – but I felt really disappointed when I realized it was only a BRINJAL. Sigh.
5. Use “figure out”, not “make out”
Another friend of mine also suffered an embarrassment because of the usage of this seemingly harmless phrase. Here’s my conversation:

Attempting to solve a tough assignment
Me: Damn… whatever the trick is, I just cannot make out!
American friend: Er… make out?
<silence for a while>
Me: I meant figure out…


6. Boot of the car, not dicky of the car.

This experience was more hilarious because my friend heard something totally different. πŸ˜‰ When I explained that the trunk of the car is also called “dicky” in India, he said it is better to use the word “boot” or “trunk” here.

Spring broke

I wrote this song when I was trying to get some real work done. I am suffering from “researcher’s block”.
This song has been written on the tunes of Jingle Bells. So sing along that tune as you read this song! Need to jog your memory?

The Spring 2009 Jingle (Recession Edition)

Let’s not spend any more
We’ve got to save this way
That’s all you get to hear
On TV channels today!

Wall street screwed us all
Said the bull wouldn’t sway
Now everyone is in debt
And the bear has found its way!

Spring has come, spring has come
This is not a joke!
Mend your spend right now
The economy got a stroke!

Companies at a loss
They don’t need your stay
You are given a toss
To get you out of the way

Now that you’ve got married
Being jobless could be sad
Grad school could be an option
That doesn’t sound so bad!

Spring has come, spring has come
The world is about to choke!
‘Recession sale’ is a sarcasm
Cause we all are plain broke!

They said it wasn’t difficult!

Aah, graduate life… It’s literally like you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel for days weeks months years. And probably when you do see it, it could be a train approaching. Where am I in my research? Oh, I haven’t found the tunnel yet.

The results slide is overrated!

The results slide is overrated!

What? No! This is not MY research! It says ‘YOUR RESEARCH PROPOSES’… not mine! 😐

Of balloons and explosions

At Walmart, I am looking for something in the party aisle and there is an old-woman-Walmart-employee also rearranging stuff in the same aisle.

Me: Excuse me… Hi! I was wondering if you have any balloon pumps?
She: Bombs?

Ah, so here’s the deal. Inside the lady’s head, I am a brown Indian… sorry, brown UNSHAVEN Indian – possibly a terr0ri$t, shopping for bombs in Walmart. And on top of that I am asking a Walmart employee to help me find some.

Damn racist woman.

Photography contest

I had submitted this photo for a Penn State international Programs organized photography contest – Picture Your World.
Yay, it won the first place! πŸ™‚ The category was “The human element”

“Of good times to come

It is of Boudi, taken during the wedding in Feb 2005.

Research Group Website

After a lot of … repeat – LOT OF effort, I finally finished designing and got my research group website up and about. πŸ™‚ In the next year or so, lots of changes are going to be there, I suppose.

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