Tuesday, July 20, 2010

To tip or not to tip?!?!?

A bunch of us had gone to this Bistro over the weekend for dinner.
Friends were meeting friends, strangers were getting acquainted, relationships were being established! So it suffices to say that the ambiance and service needed to be impeccable enough for us not to worry too much about it right? Wrong!!
Here is what went wrong..

1. For starters, 8 of us (including a sweet little kid) were squeezed into a table that could only seat 5 comfortably.
2. We were left unattended for 30 minutes. So it was like we all met at the park and had forgotten to bring food to eat.
3. Service between meals -"sir would you like another round of what you're already having?" simple right? We weren't asked!
4. Change of waiters - one guy's shift ended in between waiting at our table, so another one came along and said the same thing 4 times to us - but never acted upon it.
He goes.." So I will be cleaning out the small plates and bringing in the dinner plates for you guys"
Ok...15 minutes go by and nothing!

The list goes on... but this fiasco triggered a very "touche' discussion at our table for a brief moment. I would kinda like to hover around that for a bit.
"All about tipping" How did this practice start? Is it legal? Is it frowned upon? Its kinda become a necessary evil of sorts.. if you don't tip, you are bound to get some "loogie"(YUCK!) in your food...

Yep all of the above is true. It has kinda become this necessary evil that we are forced to follow.
Many of us have fallen easy prey to this. I mean come on, do we have a choice? If we really like a place, we are going to go there and eat more than once. So why spoil things? We are spending so much on food.. Just a couple of more bucks - what is the big deal?
These are unanimous thoughts. These run within me too. But there is this other side of me..with some interesting and quite debatable thoughts too...

So here goes.. My take on this tip thingie...

1. Tipping originated in a very different form and has today come to mean something totally different.
TIP or To Insure Promptitude, can be thought of having a glass jar at the payment counter, where people can voluntarily drop in money in appreciation of the services rendered!
2. It is often closely linked with "gratuity" - a VOLUNTARY additional payment made for services rendered.
The word "Voluntary" has changed form and I guess we should inform webster or get a new meaning for gratuity - " a MANDATORY additional payment made for services rendered - whether the latter is good or bad"
3. Every time I visit a restaurant, I cant help but notice the body language and comfort zone of people waiting our table for that day. I have seen it all over the past couple of years - "Pleasant", "racist"," for the heck of it","couldnt care less", "genuinely passionate", "friendly". "just for the extra tip" and so on.
And for each of these types, our tip has always followed the limits and protocol...
SIGH!!! but why??!!! I asked once?

Why should I be forced to tip some A-hole who has done nothing special - but just his job, couldn't care less to find out if our glasses required a refill? or if we were enjoying our meal?
Why should I be forced to give extra moolah to the guy who threw racist sparks all over our table? All he did was to write down what we wanted to eat, go to the kitchen and bring it back to us! If at all anything, I should be tipping the cook for cooking such a fabulous meal and not the arrogant screwed up waiter right? Wrong!!!
But this voice unfortunately is a minority - I cannot beat em so I am forced to join em with a grudge..:(

Will there ever come a day when I can actually act on my thoughts and not tip for awful service? Will I be frowned upon? Will I get the loogie pasta primavera?
How else can we tell the waiter what an atrocious job he/she is doing? ( I tried giving feedback once, it doesnt work guys.. they dont seem to take it well or worse.. they just nod their head as though they are attending a lecture and saunter away to cater to the next table of guests!!

So as for our evening out with our friends, while we had a blast meeting up with people and truly cherishing good times, a even better thing happened like god send.
We advised the waiter to include the tip in the bill - and somehow something - some miracle waiting to make my wish and desire come true happened... the waiter (obviously) dint follow our orders and handed over the bill without including any tip!
Us folks - in the rush of leaving as it had become late assumed that the bill included the tip, signed it just like that and walked out!
Enough said!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Behind the name

Scene: POS (point of sale) at Macy's. Hubby and I waiting to pay the bill for that much desired dress I have been eying for ages. Finally mine. whoop!!
We wait our turn to get to the cashier. Within minutes we are in front of her.
Cashier scans the item. Its time to pay. " Take the credit card out hun" I say.
Not that I couldn't pay, but I was
a) lazy
b) wanting to bask in the bliss of hubby buying yet another coveted item for me";)

So hubby takes out wallet, and hands over the card to the cashier. Its a credit card.
Cashier: "Can I see your ID sir"?
Hubby: "Sure, here you go" and hands over Id to cashier.

And there it begins - a literal journey of sorts.. Cashier looks at card, then looks at id, again and again and again.
She then blinks, looks up at us with this exasperated look and says..."umm your first name and last name are pretty much the same!!:O
"Just do your job lady" we think aloud...in our heads.
(PS: hubby has a first name that is about 10+ characters long and last name which is 12+!!, mine isnt any better...anyways...) So I guess she was expecting names like "apple", victory, rose, Jim, "john" whatever weird short names that people have nowadays!!
She asks us how to pronounce the name? Really?? Lady ? Are you really trying to bond?
and there begins another battle.. We try to say it , she tries, we try to correct her, but in vain.. She finally gives up and says..."ok thanks" and returns the card. The name is too long and too complicated to even try pronouncing.

haha and thats just another day.

Being first borns, ( Sound like a vampire!) I think my husband and I werent spared the travesty of owning such longwinding complex names. And people around the place that I live are so used to hearing and saying things in tunes. They are very comfortable and quickly catch on if there is a tune to them. Sadly we dont qualify.. forget the tune, try spelling it. its that hard.

To make things easier for them and for us and to avoid those typical mundane" oh your name is so long and it sthe same as your last name" drama, we are actually forced to shorted them..

So Indian names like "Palanivel" ( terrible example I know!!) becomes "pal" and "Santhanamoorthy" becomes Santa!

Lesson learnt: Short, sweet names that have a tune to them are easier to work with. But where can one find options? Variety? I guess instead of trying to shorted long names, might as well name kids "Santa", and "Pal".. Makes life easier for a hella lot of peeps!!

- G

What (not) to wear.

I am very excited! I am going to embark upon a uber controversial topic. If people view my blog and have the patience to read through my articles, and have that teensy extended bit of patience to leave a comment, then I am very excited to see what they have to say.

So lets get started.. My blog title reads what (not) to wear.. and the protagonist of our discussion is the "mangal sutra" or "thaali" as they call it in some cultures.
The wikipedia blurb reads....
"A Mangalsutra (mangala sutra, mangalasutra or thali) is a symbol of Hindu and Syrian Christian marriage union in India. It is a sacred thread of love and goodwill worn by women as a symbol of their marriage. Every Indian woman considers the mangalsutra the most revered token of love and respect offered to her during the marriage ceremony" According to Hindu cultural ethos, mangalsutra symbolizes the inseparable bond between a husband and a wife.During the wedding ceremony, the bridegroom ties the mangalsutra to the neck of the bride uttering- “May you live long by wearing this sacred Mangalsutra, the reason of my life”. Married women are entitled to wear Mangalsutra throughout their life as it is believed that the practice enhances the well being of her husband and family. It is also considered that the mangalsutra protects the marriage from any evil. A Hindu marriage is incomplete without the mangalsutra. Three knots symbolize three different aspects of a married woman- the first knot represents her obedience to the husband, the second to parents and the third represents her respect for God".

Sounds divine even reading through it right? I respect hindu mythology to a very great extent. A lot of things that were done in the ancient past - come to think of it has some scientific explanation to it. When this combination exists, I am floored! really.

According to ancient history, wearing the mangal sutra is supposed to have a strong significance.. as you read in the blurb above. Fast forward >> in todays day and age..do people still hold regard for things like this? Have things like comfort, style, what others might think, looks taken precedence over the ancient beliefs and myths of some sort?
How many out there wear their thaali on a daily basis? Is it ok not to wear it? Is it really true that by not wearing it, we are falling easy prey to evil and disrespecting our culture?
There have been many talk shows (mostly in the southern part of the world and asian countries) that have been discussed this topic.

My take on this..Cat on the wall.. I really don't know. I no longer wear mine..(oops!!) and thats mainly because

- its too heavy
- its too bling ( I hate gold unless it has some emerald and ruby to it - yeah expensive taste)
- it makes this clinky sound and causes an allergy near my chest..(sux)
- It doesnt go with all types of clothes..
- It attracts many unwanted questions from strangers which you may be obliged to answer
- Its too bling and heavy - ohh I have mentioned that

So there! thats why I dont wear it... I dont know if I am doing anything wrong by not wearing it.
Ofcourse when I visit a temple, or go to any traditional gathering that is bound to have nosey gossipers, that blingy thing will be hanging around my neck...

I personally believe that the good will and nice thoughts for your husband's well being should exist in your heart and you should pray for it from deep within and sincerely want it. And most importantly - practice it! You can still wear your thaali, act all pious and then go off on a tangent! How many such stories have we heard.
I believe that the power of prayer and sincerity in action can make many wishes and desires come true.
I guess this is one of the biggest reasons that I consider it ok to not wear it and not feel gulity about it.
I know I may be attracting a lot of controversy and people judging me. I may not make everyone happy.. but at the end of the day, I am happy and at peace with my self and my belief. I dont want to do something because it has to be done ( unless I am literally forced to and if the life of a loved one depended on it).

- G


I was going through my blog from scratch.. From when I started to write very passionately to the time when I started losing the touch and skill (if you will) for it. Even to me, it was quite evident. I really enjoyed reading my initial posts and I can see that it kinda lost focus as time went by.
I can somehow justify this. There was a time in my life I was going through a huge emotional turmoil ( yeah too harsh a word, but I like to think of it that way). I really got to touch base with my inner "soul" and got to learn a lot about myself. Faced the hard facts of life, turned a new leaf and a whole deal more!
At that point, it was very easy for me to put words together and construct a sentence.
It was very easy for me to write beautifully what I was feeling and my perspective and take on certain things.

Fast forward >> to present day.. Over the past two years... I have been at peace with myself. I relish the feeling and love being in that state... I lost the self doubt, my self confidence reached a new high ( to a state of normalcy..lol) and I stopped questioning things.
At this point, I guess I was lost in that halo of peace and just "being" in a state.. I must have lost the skill to write somewhere along this time..

Another thing that I noticed is that my blog doesn't really have a theme to it. Its very random. If you see, most blogs have some sort of theme to them - reviews based, beauty based, art work, cooking, advice and so on. Mine seems to be a mix.. a blend... its like a spice rack. It has a little bit of everything..and then some...

For a very long time I wondered if I should just streamline it and make my blog about "something"..what that something was...I dint know...
But you know what.. I think I am ok about it being a potpourri.. it has a little bit of everything and I like it that way....:)
When someone visits my page, then can (hopefully) find variety and thats pretty much what I am aiming for.. I guess... For my blog page to be a spice rack... A little sweet, a little sour, a little spicy... a little of "everything"....

Friday, June 4, 2010

Time to change

"Change is never constant"....I say this after being the victim, the believer and the preacher of this phrase over the past years.
We all go through change at every stage of our lives. From an infant to a toddler to a teenager to an adult..change affects us and impacts us in various forms and magnitudes. The only difference is that when were small, we hardly felt the impact of this "monster" as much as we do when we are adults...

Is it good to be flexible and adjust to change gracefully when she shows up on our doorsteps? Should we all live us to those small white lies we tell on our resume.. that we are very flexible to change? Is it time? Or should we just hold our ground on our thoughts, no matter what others think of us and stand firm with our believes and opinions?

It really depends...on what and when to let go.. There are times when you really need to floor it and say...we are doing this my way..come what may...one usually says this when one is absolutely sure about what he is doing and the pros and cons of the event.
There are other times,,when we aren't really sure...and during these times, ego plays havoc and you are stuck...and your ego kind of forces you to behave in a particular way and say no/yes...even when the situation demands otherwise.

The sensible thing to do will be to just go with the flow...sometimes this may require you to be a hypocrite and some other times, it may make you the hero... The bottom line is that you cannot always win over change..... More often than not....it will win over you...or win you over....and more often than not..make you a better person...
So bite the bullet, be a hypocrite ...and face the change...be like an iceberg, if you must...gracefully moving along on the surface..with all the other emotions that lead to that move happening under waters..

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wonder Years

It is funny how I am totally receptive and sensitive to how people change over time (Well I am quite sensitive by nature) so much so that these observations changes affect me. They actually upset me.
I have grown up a lot over the last 2 years. My thoughts now days are more on these lines…
Why have so many reservations and hiccups? Just mix with people, have fun and move on.
I have always wanted to embrace this philosophy and I must admit that it has taken me all of quarter century to get here.
Thinking back, had I embraced this though 10 years ago, a lot of things would have been different. I wouldn’t have lost out on a lot of my friends, in a nut shell; life would have been really different.
I do regret it… I admit it, I do miss them, that phase of my life…
Being a small part of people’s life, finding out what is going on in theirs and sharing what is going on in mine… I love that. But I guess due to my own reservations and qualities, I have missed out on this to a very great extent. (Yes I am uber critical and my best and worst critic too..: P
We all have regrets right? In life? Well these are mine… I really wish I could go back in time and change these things so that I would still be in touch with all those people whom I really wanted to be in touch with.
Is it too late? Can I still be that way? Can relationships which have come a long way after being broken still be mended? I don’t think so… But moving on and further in life, I think I will deal with such situations a whole lot differently and mucho betterJ
Wishing me luck.. ;)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Make up addiction...what??how?? which one?? and more...

My makeup stash is increasing by the day...I keep browsing websites to see where the best deals are and what to buy where! So you can say I am pretty well informed. V says ... dont keep looking at make up da..you will go mad one day!! hahaha!! That day is far far away...

Any hoooo, my take on make up is that if you invest in the right products and use them the right way, they can really make that aha! difference!. Some may say..natural beauty is the best blah blah..but we dont go without shaving our arm pits or waxing our legs do we? So the same way, these have become an essential addition to my daily routine. After a hella trials and trials and more trials, I have sort of mastered the art of minimalistic make up to make that difference.

I just wanted to ramble about it and share my thoughts.. see if you can pick up a pointer or two!!

So a basic makeup kit should essentially consist of the following:

- A concealer ( try drugstore brands like maybelline, neutrogena, my favs are amazing cosmetics, and MAC - they do wonders!). All you honestly need is a concealer to hide all those blemishes and small scars.. Top this off with powder and voila!! you are done!! All you have to ensure is to choose the right shade. Rule of the thumb is to go for a warm tone concealer in the same shade as your skin to cover blemishes and scars and go for a pink tone one in a shade or two lighter for your under eye...remember peeps covering your under eye bags is uber important, especially if you are working or heading out.. you dont want to end up looking like a raccoon now do you?

- A powder foundation or a liquid foundation. I would steer clear of liquid if you have oily skin as they tend to oxidize on your skin making you look dull and dark. Best is a powder based foundation. ( Try revlon, maybelline for drugstore brands and MAC, Benefit for more expensive ones)

- A kaajal pencil for your waterline. ( best out there is the Urban Decay 24/7 pencil. MAC's feline kohl is good too)

- A liquid eyeliner in black or dark brown. South asian skin tones love these shades. ( Lancome is the best pricey one out there, there are cheaper ones like maybelline, revlon, prestige etc)

- A muted eyeshadow in a peach, taupe, copper tone for that extra pop!

- A nice brownish pink blush.

The entire routine takes me about 5 minutes a day and it really gives me a feel good factor :)

Just make sure you use a nice make up remover to take off all your make up before going to bed.

So all I am trying to say is if you use makeup appropriately and the right way, they can actually go to enhancing your looks and making you look naturally gorgeous!!:-)