Jun 29, 2015

Less clichés, please!

Many of you must have read the news story about the mother of an openly gay man in Mumbai placing a matrimonial add for a suitable groom for her son.

I happen to personally know the son, Harish Iyer, who also happens to be a fellow blogger at The Pregnant Thought. He is very well known as a gay rights advocate. But he is probably even better known as a victim of childhood sexual abuse by his uncle. Although he sometimes comes across as an outspoken individual with a borderline narcissistic personality, his work in the LGBT rights scene is admirable.


Although I haven’t interacted in person with the mother Mrs. Padma Iyer, I have seen on several occasions such as Gay Bombay Parent’s Meets, Pride marches, and of course on television. Again, she deserves to be applauded for her undevoted support to her son’s activism.

So when I heard about the story first, I honestly thought it was a publicity stunt. Why? Because I had just learned that a Brahmin woman put a newspaper advertisement to find a Brahmin groom for her son.

To put things in perspective, gay marriage is not legal in India. In fact, being gay and having a same-sex physical relationship is considered illegal alongside other forms of non-vaginal intercourse. So, honestly, it sounded like a thunderous slap on the faces of the Hindutva brigade.

So I was happy. Why not, I thought? After all, such a story will push LGBT rights issue further into the mainstream and enable dinner conversations about sexual orientation in conservative families.

Of course, I had to grapple with the dichotomy because of the forced conformism aspect—this was an ad for forging a modern/liberal relationship but playing by the rules of the traditional/conservative arranged marriage. Is this not conceding to the perceived fallacies of modern liberated relationships and accepting to the so-called advantages of arranged marriages, which seems to only survive because of the societal/peer pressure?

But then again, this was a joke, wasn’t it? So everything is cool.

Apparently not, thanks to this article.

I did not react well to this.

I did cringe at all the Tam-Bram stereotype references. Harish Iyer finds a suitable boy, and it all just ads up http://t.co/NlNtZihLiF

Let me make my stance clear. I am okay with marriage/civil parternships between any two adult individuals as long as the ceremony consolidates an already established friendship/relationship. I have recently come across a research paper stating that marriages are successful after two to four years of friendship. That seems just about right.

I also think that screening of potential partners by the mutual knowledge likes/dislikes, shared interests/hobbies, and pure physical attributes as inclusion criteria is also fine. But when you add religion/race/caste as exclusion criteria because your family is not okay, it is retrogressive.

This article, however, gives us the impression that not only were Harish and his mom serious about the ad, the entire affair is going to be a copy-paste of the straight Tam-Bram arranged marriage situation. I sincerely hope that this is just the journalist’s hyperbole of the associated clichés.

In the background, however, I hope that this works out of Harish and his groom/partner.

(Photo: from The Hindu)

Jun 24, 2015

Song of the Swan (Play) - a review

I have been living in Mumbai for more than 10 years now, and yet I have not managed to watch many plays. Pretty shameful, indeed.

My friend and colleague had this interesting new-year resolution aspect about watching one play every month. I guess I must have been triggered by it. Plus, one of J’s friends is part of the cast of many plays.

A combination of these two factors has started to have it’s effect, and I have been to three plays that she is acting in in the last two months­­—The Vagina Monologues, Boiled Beans on Toast, and Song of the Swan.

The play is a recollection of stories revolving around the tragic beheading of a Norwegian theater artist, Hans Christian, in Kashmir a few years back. Hans, while chasing his dream of being a successful playwright, visited India because he was attracted by its spirituality. He visited Kerala and took Kathakali lessons from a local master. Then he went to Mumbai, where he accidentally met the Song of the Swan’s director Asad Hussain at Prithvi after a play that Hussain was in the cast of, before heading to Delhi on his way to Kashmir. In Kashmir, he was held captive by Mujahideen for several days before ultimately behind beheaded after failed negotitations.

The entire play was a continuous narrative, with the five-member cast performing the various roles within the various scenes. The transitions between the scenes were abrupt and were startling at times. I often found myself getting lost in the narrative monologues of one character, only to be shaken back to reality by the the almost intrusive entry of the next. Plus, during the more schizoid scenes, there would be two or more characters talking over each other, representing to the chaotic environment inside the minds of the various characters.

Song of the Swan has deep-rooted political and philosophical narratives. The political aspect comes from the obvious terrorism-related story. But the various scenes set in Kashmir near the Dal lake bring the viewer to painful awareness of the struggles of the natives, how they are being played out like Pawns in the game between India and Pakistan, and how they consider themselves as neither nation. The play seems to attribute some empathy to the negotiator representing the Mujahideen, and the narrative of the phone conversations between the two negotiators was an aspect that I have never come across. The most important part, however, is how the state of affairs plays with the sanity of the different players in the Kashmir theater.

The philosophical aspect comes from the fact that Hans, who is described as an absolute gem of a person with many enviable attributes (singing/acting), has had a miserable life, with multiple rejections in different fronts. He was coming from a failed marriage and had been rejected admission in some theater schools. He is lured by the spirituality aspect of India and has this dream of writing a play and getting it on the best theater in Oslo. His mother’s character often wonders if he should have been a more “normal” boy without such big aspirations. I thought that was symbolic of several artist friends that I know (including myself) who seem to struggle because of their seemingly overambitious dreams.

I loved the play. But as my friend rightly says, I’m very pleasable. So although I compeltely recommend it, I also hope that you like it as much as I did.

Jun 19, 2015

Speed-experiencing

I have an idea.

How about inventing a way to enjoy things in life where you spend less time but have the same quality of cognitive experience?

Something like how speed-reading is for reading?

Imagine this:
  • Full-length songs needing only 30 s.
  • South Park episodes needing only 2 min.
  • Game of Thrones episodes needing only 6 min.
  • Full-length movies needing only 15 min.
  • T-20 games requiring only 20 min.
  • Full-length books needing only 1 hour.
  • Working days being only 1.5 hours.
If I could pay for it, I would. Wouldn't you?

Jun 18, 2015

"I’ve outlived my dick" - A Poem - by Willie Nelson

Our genitalia play a vital role in our pride and lives. You may have heard anecdotes from men in the lines of "I go where my cock/dick takes me." I have been in relationships with older men all my life and there are times when their appendages let them down. 
 
My hilarious friend Dom from New York shared with me this poem about older men this morning.
 
"I’ve outlived my dick."   
A Poem - by Willie Nelson
     

My nookie ​days are ove​r
​My pilot light is out.
What used to be my pride and joy,
Is now my water ​spout.

Time was when, on its own accord,
From my trousers it would spring.
But now I've got a full time job,
To find the friggin' thing.

It used to be embarrassing,
The way it would ​behave.
For every single morning,
It would stand and watch me ​​shave.

Now as old age approaches,
It sure gives me the blues.
To see it hang its little head,
And watch me tie my shoes!!

Jun 12, 2015

Why inter-generational relationships work

In a couple of recent dinner conversations, I had opportunity to explain how inter-generational relationships work. In my monologue, which in such cases is like a disclaimer to break down the myths behind such relationships, I touched upon the philosophy/anecdote that my friend Matt told me once. By the way, I met Matt, like I have met a bunch of my friends, on SilverDaddies.com, a site for gay inter-generational dating.

Some background. Matt is a 60-something man interested in younger men. He's well-to-do and has recently retired from a high-profile job in the oil industry. He married his boyfriend Bil, a younger man from the Middle East, earlier this year, and is still on a relatively long honeymoon. The couple seem very happy and enjoying their time.

Matt is the typical older gay man. He likes younger men, both for sex and romance. Bil is probably not the typical younger gay man, but he is the typical younger gay man seeking older men.

But Matt was not always into younger men. When he was younger, he had multiple relationships with men, and some of them with older men. He discovered that by being in relationships with older men, he gained access and exposure to social circles that he did not have access to otherwise. He enjoyed this and was able to leapfrog his peers in terms of pure social/emotional/intellectual growth.

When he grew older, his tastes in men became more conventional--younger men. He thought that it worked out well for the younger men, in the same way as he was when he was young. And it works both ways.

So I narrated this to my friends. My Japanese straight friends were fascinated by this, but J thought that this was just an excuse.

I agree with Matt's philosophy. I also believe that being in a generally trans-generational social circle has enabled me to get experiences that my peers have not been able to. What kind of experiences? Everything--culinary, artistic, cultural, intellectual. And I feel sorry for them.

Jun 11, 2015

Three books


I started three books last night. Entirely unlike me, I will admit. Not because I don't like reading, but because I don't have the kind of time I would have like to have had to devote to it. I have a gruelling full-time job, I'm a part-time musician, I live by myself for all practical purposes, I'm in a demanding relationship, and I live in Mumbai, which means I spend about 3 to 4 hours in commute every day. But that's not what this post is about. It is about the three books that I have started yesterday.

What were they? Stumbling on Happiness by Dan Gilbert, Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson, and The Giver by Lois Lowry. How these books arrived in my consciousness is interesting.

My friend/colleague/book-clubber forwarded a TED talk by Dan Gilbert to me and J. I usually do not warm up to such video shares. First, because I rarely find myself in a situation, when I initially check the thread/conversation, where I can comfortably watch and comprehend what I'm seeing. Poor connectivity, environmental distractions, etc., you see. Second--come on, admit it. Who wants to hear another talk about the elusive "happiness"?

Anyway, I watched this talk--I was at my apartment late in the night when I checked and I immediately watched the video. Mr. Gilbert was not only persuasive in terms of his argument about how happiness is relative and difficult to attain, he was funny and had interesting references. Hence, I decided to download a sample on my Kindle. I was hooked and I bought the book immediately. I am now past the second chapter and it remains interesting.

Clive Thompson's book about technology changing our minds and the way we communicate was inspired by, ahem, another talk. This time, I was at the talk that Mr. Thompson gave at the plenary address at the Council of Science Editor's Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. The talk about the Future of Thought, and I, along with some other conference attendees thought this speech was the best at the conference.

Even in the talk, Clive was able to successfully demystify the notion that the changes in the way we communicate--the reliance of texting, social media, spending time online--which are generally considered bad for you, are not bad at all. We are thinking differently and that's fine. We are getting more information, which is benefiting us. He stresses on the "ambient information" from "weak ties" as the most useful information that you will get for your day-to-day life.

In other words, you will probably be more benefited from random status updates of your casual social acquaintances more than the in-depth discussions that you have with your spouse. Pretty cool, eh? If you want to find out more, please get the book. It's a smooth and fast-paced read.

Plus, Twitter now makes reading books on topics like these by being cool like this:



The third book, the Lois Lowry classic, is the book of the month this month in the book club. I came to know about it around the time the movie was released. The concept is fascinating, and is one of the more plausible dystopias that you can expect to be reality soon. Plus, the writing is crisp and fast paced. I'm so glad we chose this book for the young-adult fiction category.

(PS: I realized that fiction tends to make me sleepy (because of I'm perpetually tired and sleep deprived) whereas non-fiction does not. This is probably the fourth neuroscience-related book that I've picked up in the last year or so.)

Jun 10, 2015

My sister made everyone proud

My family is somewhat known for academics. Well, I know that holds true for most the Tam-Bram families that you know. Yet, my sister and I have been very good academicians throughout our academic careers. But yet, this news caught be my surprise initially, and pride and happiness immediately after.

Yesterday, my sister texted me stating that she had cleared the IIT-Madras MS entrance.

I'll try to put this in perspective. She is turning 41 this year. She graduated in Civil Engineering 19 years back. Since then she has taken some correspondence courses (e.g., MBA). For the last few years, she has been busy with her kid and her parents in law, who have not been in the pink of their healths.

Of course, I congratulated her and wished her the very best. She responded in a rather nonchalant manner that she may not be able to join because of her commitments to the family.

I feel sad about that, but I very well know that she can't do anything else. She, unlike me, has chosen to put family over everything else, thus, in my opinion, not taking care of herself as much as she should.

Jun 9, 2015

Everybody else is doing it, so why can't we?

I guess most people of my age have heard the title catch phrase because of the debut album of the '90s band The Cranberries. What people don't realize is that this phrase is a catch phrase of India as a nation. Why else would everyone do things that are outright stupid and unproductive? For example:
  • Why would people ride motor bikes on sidewalks, scaring the shit out of pedestrians, and feel no guilt?
  • Why would people walk at a slower pass flinging their arms around without being aware of how they are being jerks by obstructing and impeding pedestrian traffic?
  • Why would people out-honk each other at red lights?
  • Why would people talk so loud in public transport setting so that everyone else is forced to listen to their dinner plans?
  • Why do people spit out of cars in traffic-congested roads?
  • Why do people push and shove each other despite realizing that it is not going to achieve what they think it would?
The only way to rationalize--yes, I'm ashamed to--is this: everyone thinks that it is okay to do all this because everybody else is doing it and; so they can and should as well. I believe such behavior starts in childhood. Why? Probably because of the lack of proper nurturing opportunities, the lack of infrastructure, poverty, the paucity of resources.

Is there a way out? Maybe in a couple of generations. When/if the present generation try to educate their offspring about what could be done differently?

Oh yes, for those who think that this happens everywhere around the world and not just in India, here's an analogy. Religious extremism happens everywhere in the world, but it is sort of more common in the Middle East. So...

Jun 8, 2015

Initiating conversations about depression

For some reason, I know and/or am close to a lot of people who have known psychological issues, especially depression. For example, Vinokur, my first ex-boyfriend has a plethora of neuroses, including Type II Bipolar Disorder. My second ex-boyfriend Joe has depression, but is still in the closet. My present boyfriend J has been diagnosed with depression and is supposed to be on therapy for it, but is not the most compliant patient.

My sister has symptoms similar to me, but is not willing to take treatment. My dad and mom too have a variety of symptoms. Several of my close friends have depression and they are friends with me because they can freely and openly have conversations with me. Conversations both about depression and otherwise. I tend to empathize with them and don't force them to do things that they are not comfortable with.

So why am I ranting about it? To spread awareness about it, actually, and to share my learning experiences. About my point...

Although being perpetually distracted is a known symptom of depression, it is something that people don't notice too often. Maybe they do, but they don't attribute it to depression. I think it goes hand in hand with the fact that you don't want to seek help to treat it and that you don't want things to change. Plus, of course, if you are like me, you are likely thinking you deserve to be punished for being such a bad person.

I noticed recently that most of the time that I have known J, when I initiate conversations about some chores/tasks that we need to collaborate on to finish, he seems distracted and preoccupied with something else. He behaves like a little school kid being forced to listen to a lecture that he/she is not interested in. I used to think of this a rude, unkind, inconsiderate behavior.

Two nights back, I was at my apartment, feeling nice and refreshed after a relaxing session of EMDR. I am usually hesitant to initiate conversations. But I felt great about myself and I decided to call J on Skype. The conversation started smoothly. J was happy that I called and was playful and clowning around as usual. However, I had to initiate some serious conversation about his health and the things that we need to get done for his birthday party this weekend.

As soon as I did, however, he seemed to zone out. He started picking up things from his desk and shelves and examining them and rearranging them. He was listening to my monologue all throughout. When his turn to respond came up, he did not have much to say. This slowly built up to a point when I waited for a full minute for a response. Of course, I didn't get any.

I decided that it was time to let him know what I thought. And I did. He didn't receive it well. The conversation was awkward and he hung up unceremoniously. This was not uncharacteristic of J and the conversations that we have.

I closed Skype and started working on one of the tracks I was working on, and got lost in it. In about half hour's time, I got a call from J on Skype. This time he acknowledged that he realizes that he has been distracted and he wants to snap out of it. As usual, I suggested that he get an appointment with his shrink about it.

As a concluding note, I feel that I did something good. At the very least, I think I was successful in reinitiating the process of recuperation.

Jun 7, 2015

Disovering GarageBand Drummer

A few weeks back, after getting terribly frustrated with the severe lack of cooperation from my band mate friends, I decided to explore software options for writing drum tracks for songs. I started asking these friends and they suggested several options that seemed relatively complicated. I needed to buy software and/or a MIDI keyboard to write drum tracks, they said.

However, I decided to do some research by myself. Interestingly enough, I discovered that GarageBand, a software that I have been almost exclusively for recording my demo tracks after purchasing my MackBook Air, had a feature called Drummer. According to the reviews online, this seemed very intuitive and good.

Before leaving for my conference, I had downloaded the extra software required for me to have full access to this feature. However, I hadn’t got enough time to sit with Drummer until tonight. Not only that, I stumbled on a video in which one pro-musician made a decent-sounding demo track, from scratch, on GarageBand, using just an acoustic guitar and a Mac machine’s microphone!

I couldn’t believe it. So I decided to try it out myself. And voila, yes, you can do it. Within about an hour, I was able to record this track using just my Macbook’s mic and an acoustic guitar.



I feel like I’m such a loser for not having known this before. Now, I feel empowered to track demo tracks for all the tracks that I have written so far. Woo hoo!

Jun 6, 2015

Life shouldn't be a series of things that need fixing

I can't believe my own life, which seems like a series of unfortunate events I'm being dragged through. Despite me planning and coordinating than most people I know, I am annoyed with the chaotic sequence of events.

After I returned after my vacation, I spent about a week staying over at the boyfriend's place. The first day after I returned, I spent almost half the day trying to put things away and sort things out at his apartment. I was overwhelmed by the things that seemed to be staring at me to get done, and I voiced my concerns to the boyfriend.

At work, things are generally smooth, but I am generally disappointed by people not pulling their weight in activities where I eventually need to do extra just to cover up for them.

When I came back to my apartment a few days back, I found that my TV tuner card was not working and my AC was not cooling well enough. I immediately started fixing things.

Two nights back, I went to the electronics store where I was told that they don't have a cheap replacement adapter for my card, and they asked me to come later. After a series of calls, I got my AC guy to visit and service my AC late the same night. After apparently servicing it, he said that it would work well for 6 to 8 months.

Yesterday night, I came back at 2 am after a rehearsal and found that the AC was not working. I spent the night in my very warm and uncomfortable apartment. Today morning, I called my AC guy who said that he would need to take a look at the unit when there is still daylight.

After talking to my mangers at work and adjusting my work, I came home early to let the AC guy in. The usual guy sent two junior guys, who told me that there was something wrong with the unit and they needed to take it to their service center and fix it. They said it will at least take 24 hours. So no AC for tonight.

After they went with the unit, I called the electronics store to confirm that the replacement adapters had arrived. I started to the store -- of course, I couldn't find a rickshaw, thanks to chaotic mess Andheri West is. At the shop, I tried the adapters that they had ordered. None worked.

Of course, they didn't seem interested in helping me out in any other way. I decided that it was pointless to try and find an adapter. So I decided on buying a new TV tuner card! When I did, their card machine wouldn't work and it took them about 15 minutes to fix it.

When I was waiting for the card machine to start working, I was told by my friends in the book club that they won't be able to make it because of commitments at work. Mind you, we had planned it five weeks in advance, and they canceled it about 1 hour before the meeting was about to happen. I can't believe this.

I came back home with the TV tuner card and found out that my LED rope was not working. I took it down to the shop from where I had bought it -- those guys, so unprofessional, tried to fix it and damaged a component right in front of my eyes. Then, they said that it had been damaged and needed replacement. Of course, I bought the replacement, but when I told them that they had damaged it, they just shook their head in typical Indian style.

By the time I eventually got home, I was very frustrated. I found solace in a Skype chat with Billy with some Budweiser Magnum to cool me down. After I finished the chat, I decided to go to bed and texted the boyfriend.

He restarted what seems to be an endless series of text messaging-based attention-seeking behavior that seems to happen each time I spend time at my own apartment. He asked me questions like "Why are you avoiding me?" Of course, I was not avoiding him -- I am just trying to fix things. If only he would understand that it would help if our communication wasn't a thing that needed fixing.

Jun 4, 2015

About books and yourself

I’m part of a book club at work. Well, not strictly at work. It started an extension to something that we had at work to promote reading at work. Now, the work thing is not very active whereas our little book club is active.

Our book clubs work just like others - we select books to read each month, we read them, and then we discuss them when we meet. However, probably unlike other clubs, our monthly books are selected on the basis of genres, which can vary from literary fiction to erotica.

It’s a mixed bag, you see. This can be fun for people who are open and willing to explore outside their comfort zone – not so much for people who are stuck to their niches. For example, I have completely enjoyed whatever that I have read so far as part of the club. Some others have been non-compliant and have either dropped off or are not interested enough.

This month, we are reading a book called “The Truth AboutForever” by Sarah Dessen. It’s a chick-lit book and it fits the bill. The writing, relatively, is not the best and the story/characters seem adolescent. We are about to meet tomorrow for discussing the book.

I have never read something like this before. And yet, I’m actually enjoying reading it. None of the others are, however. I attribute this to my ability to latch on to characters and identify myself in them. I guess this trait directly correlates with my ability to get along with people and see the good in them.


Interesting how the books that you read can tell you so much about yourself.

Jun 3, 2015

Home, Worrisome Home

The phrase "home, sweet home"* does not make a lot of sense, at least in my own life.  All these seemingly glorified images of coming home, kicking back your shoes, and enjoying the treasures of life, do not seem to resonate with my life living in Mumbai. Although I am partnered, I don't live in with my partner. In fact, I need to divide by "home time" between three locations. All of these locations have issues that need fixing. 
First of all, I need to make it to the place I am staying over on any particular night through the chaotic mess referred to as public transportation. This is probably the most stressful part of my day. People on the roads seem to be so low in self-esteem that they seem to channel their anger/rage through horns and bizarre driving. Of course, the remarkably unintuitive traffic rules/regulations don't help.

Once I reach my destination, there are dozens of things that need to be done, including chores and errands, and my time is usually spent in fixing things. Apart from these are the things that you need to tackle in other supposedly pleasurable aspects of your life--news to catch up with, e-mails to respond, people to communicate with, socializations to be planned, shows to watch/listen, photos to work on, songs to work on, things to rehearse, and books to finish.

By the time you are done with a couple of these things, you are so exhausted and want to go to bed. In bed, you drift away worrying about how to tackle the pending issues and about not getting enough sleep that night. When you wake up, you feel tired and you have to start to work.

The trend of finding home as a stressful aspect of life is not something that I have picked up after moving to Mumbai. For most of my life with my family, I dreaded going home and confront my parents and/or relatives. I used to like going over to my friends' places because I found them more open, inviting, and stress-free.

So tell me again--where's the "sweet" part of our own homes?

(PS: If you are wondering about the punctuation of the phrase, please check this link.)

Jun 2, 2015

The perception of selfishness

I often joke about being selfish. Although I don't consider myself excessively so, I think I am selfish to the extent that humans should be from the evolutionary point of view. I blame most of it on my body, which probably doesn't yet realize that I am part of a sentient species that has socially leapfrogged. The body forces us to eat when it's hungry, forces us to sleep when it's tired, and forces us to feel edgy when it feels threatened.

From a moral perspective, however, the way we behave toward others is more worrying. What's even more alarming is the way the friends that we care for a lot behave toward us. Most of them, regardless of how much ever they seem to and profess to love us, seem to be only behind furthering their own agenda.

A typical example is correspondence. We initiate communication with them expecting them to respond in kind. We take the time out to list down all the necessary points that you deemed as important to communicate. We hit send and wait. They may not even respond in what could be considered a socially acceptable time frame, considering the urgency indicated in our communication.

Assuming they do respond, we end up feeling that they have done it in a hurry. The manner of writing seems careless and they may not have addressed all the points we raised. More importantly, they may not even have given the accurate emotional weighting to our points.

Who is to blame? No one. At any point in time, they have pressing demands that occupy their attention and priorities. Would these demands result in them surviving the lion that they just encountered in the savannah? Probably not. But their bodies and minds still make them do the things that might make them more evolutionarily fit.

They may be busy interacting with an online acquaintance that, on the basis of the sensory inputs that their brains receive, may help in them being able to further their genetic pool. They may also be busy responding to social media comments on something that they posted. Of course, not only that they don't want to be an outcast in their social media band, they also want to be leaders of their respective bands.

Our ego is what your body/brain makes us believe is the most prioritizable thing. As part of it, we become selfish, at least from the social and moral perspective, because human brains and minds have woven a story so far advanced from the biochemical mileu that their bodies are immersed in. The best that we can do is to accept this phreno--physiologic gap and move on with life.

Yes, we should forgive friends who seem selfish. We are probably doing even worse, relatively. That's right, folks, because right now, I'm finishing this post on my blog because I think this is the best that I can do to climb a rung up in my social ladder.

Jun 1, 2015

My disenchantment with India

I wrote in my last blog post that my recent trip to the United States of America has changed my perspective about life. I have become a disenchanted Indian.

What I mean by the that is that the way things are done in India, especially in Mumbai, don't particularly make sense. Unfortunately, these things universally involve people: people being uncooperative, people yelling at each other, people letting their kids to annoy other people, people not respective personal space, people talking louder than what's necessary.

Sure, when you aren't exposed to this year round, these will seem charming--they become a part of the India experience. That's what movies like Slumdog Millionaire and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel do to you. Like allergens, anything unacceptable can be tolerated at low doses of exposure.

My close friend Rich, who loves this limited-exposure to India pointed this out. He thinks that Indian New channels, with 5 tickers, 10 people shouting at each other seemingly always, and the assault of colors on our retinae, are able to sufficiently encapsulate this phenomenon. I agree with him.

So the trip hasn't changed my opinion about the reasons underlying this public immorality. I still think people behave they way they behave because they were forced because of other people behaving a certain way. A closed loop, you see. So, technically, you can't blame them. They do what they have learned in their life and they probably haven't exposed to anything different.

What has changed, however, is that, before the trip, I thought that I had to adjust to it and remain relatively unperturbed. You couldn't do much, you see. You need to expose yourself to it if you want to experience life and not live as a hermit.

Now I think it is different. I feel that I'm being unkind and inconsiderate to myself by consciously exposing myself to this and bring the quality of my life down. Yes, I know that I will probably have less of a social life if I follow the strategy. But what I will have left will be more worth the trouble.

But what am I doing to change it? I will communicate my resentment more regularly. Here, I just wrote about it. Yesterday, on my way bag from a weekend at J's home across the bay, I had a conversation where I made sure the people who misbehaved understood that I was talking about them. Maybe Indians still have a certain threshold for shame that I'm able to overcome.