Monthly Archives: June 2009

Gearing Up for my Trip to India

Yowza! I leave for India in two days! I am a mix of nervous and excited. Oddly, I am a bit nervous about the fourteen hour plane ride — that’s a long time! I have plenty-o-reading material (all the new books I am teaching next year) and some audiobooks. I love audiobooks. Right now I am listening to Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie, and I am really enjoying it. It makes me want to visit Kashmir, but I probably will not.

The cats are getting hungry and knocking shit off tables, so I better go feed them…

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It’s My Birthday!

I just had a lovely birthday. Sujal and I initially had plans to spend the day in Northampton, one of my favorite towns ever. Alas, plans did not pan out. Sujal has not been feeling well the past few days.

We decided to grab breakfast around here — drop by Harry’s Pizza because they have a great breakfast on the weekends, and we hadn’t been there in awhile. The website says they serve until 2PM on Sundays. We got a late start and arrived at about 1:20. Sadly, it turns out the changed their hours. After driving a round a bit, Sujal and I settled on bagels at Bruegger’s, which, frankly, hit the spot. Then we did a little B-day shopping. I got a cool Eagle Creek travel purse (I love Eagle Creek bags!!), and Sujal got a Travel duffel. We picked up a cake and went home to do some tidying up around the house.

At six, we met up with our friends Joe, Lara, Rita, and Mike at one of our favorite restaurants, Bricco. Delish! Then everyone came to our place for cake. It is so lovely to spend your birthday with friends and loved ones. I could not have asked for a better day!!

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Two Weeks Before I Head to India

Since school has been done, I have slowly begun preparations for my trip to India. For those of you who don’t know, my sister moved to Noida, which is just outside New Delhi, in December. She will be there for two years. I am going to visit for six weeks — Yes, you heard me — six weeks. I’m very excited and a little nervous — nervous mainly because Sujal will not be coming with me. He can’t get any time off of work. Initially, we thought he’d come for two weeks in the middle of my trip, but he can’t.

So far, I am planning to see the Golden Temple in Amritsar (figures in Bharati Mukherjee’s writing and is the setting of Bride and Prejudice), Kerala (setting of The God of Small Things), Agra (the Taj Mahal — can’t miss that), and Jaipur (my sis raved about her visit to Rajasthan).

After my own travels (some with sis and family), I am meeting up with my sister-in-law, and we are visiting family in Mumbai, Amedhabad, and Delhi. I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of family I have not yet met, and I’ll be seeing one auntie whom I met at our wedding.

And yesterday I got my ten year visa! Sujal and I hope to perhaps come back in March to see relatives, because he has not been back to India since he was in high school.

If anyone has any good advice — I’m open to it!

My Life in Ruins

I went to see My Life in Ruins tonight. It was a fun movie and definitely worth seeing. It is not an earth shattering flic, but it was fun. It stars Nia Vardalos, the actress and writer of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I find her very endearing — her self-effacing style, very human. Alexis Georgoulis is extremely handsome in this movie, playing a mysterious romantic. From IMDB, it looks like he is a greek star and did this as his first American project. Overall, I recommend it!

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Donny Darko

I finally saw Donnie Darko. What interesting narrative technique! I really liked the flic. I was a bit nervous about where it was heading as it was slowly approaching the end, but I love how it ended. I definitely recommend this flic. The visuals are compelling, and the characters elicit sympathy galore. Check it out.

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UP in 3D

We went to see UP in 3D last night. First let me respond to the movie.

I liked the movie. One thing that seemed remarkably differnt to me was the fact that it focused on an ederly character, thereby humanizing the elderly for kids. This past semester, I took students out to do community service, and I really like taking kids to nursing homes, because the residents love seeing kids, particularly teens. There seems to be a lot age discrimination in our society, and this is my mini way of bridging that gap. So I liked that it featured an old man. Partly because it was about an old man, it was also about a widower. The film was also greatly about loss. In retrospect, many kids flics are about loss, though usually a dog dies — this is not my own initial observation, but a much spouted observation about kids’ books and movies. Yet the loss in this movie seems differently poignant to me, perhaps because I am married. The loss of a spouse seems unbearable, and the movie portrays that. But then it portrays the loss of little fragments — photos, artifacts, chairs, and ultimately, a house. Yes, of course, it has an uplifting ending, but even the kid in the movie experiences significant loss. It made me sad, and that was a bit unexpected for a Pixar film. I’m not saying sad = bad. It’s just an observation.

Secondly, it was in 3D. Frankly, I don’t care about 3D so much. Sujal wanted to see the 3D version, so we did. Yes, it added a fun dimensions (though I sadly missed most of the Pixar short before the movie), yet there is significant waste with the 3D glasses. When we went to see Coraline, which I don’t really recommend unless you are a child, the Plainville theater had recycle bins for the glasses. At the Palace in Hartford, they had no such thing. We brought ours home, but the likelihood of them getting used again is slight at best.

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“Killing in the Name of…”

Sujal and I were just watching bits from Rachel Maddow’s show where she shows some O’Reilly clips and his incendiary sputum about Dr. Tiller and then his “clarification” that he said nothing that advocated violence.

I told Sujal, I wasn’t really writing about this murder, because I didn’t have a lot to say other than I’m disgusted, saddened, and disappointed. It makes me feel a little bit more hopeless. It is coersion at its worst.

I went on to say that I don’t know that I really feel O’Reilly is culpable. He is culpable only in the way that he is part of a society that purveys this kind of hatred. I really see culpability in a greater, more pervasive misogyny that exists in our culture. It manifests itself in all sorts of forums, and this is one. Anyone who knows me well knows that this is an issue that is deeply important to me, as are all women’s rights. So I write to say I don’t know what to say. It’s like reading a Jhumpa Lahiri story or some Faulkner pieces — I’m just left feeling like I just got kicked in the stomach.

The book Absolute Convictions by Eyal Press details the anti-choice movement and events in Buffalo, New York (my hometown) that culminated in the murder of Dr. Slepian, who happened to by my best friend’s gynecologist. Check it out, because it reads less biasedly than anything else I have read. It closely examines the chaos and high emotions surrounding the issue.

I wrote a little bit more about it here and here.