Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mid-Week Reads: Are You Sure You Want to Be a Manager?

Really short edition this time, because I'm down with the flu again, and been too busy with work to do much other reading.

If you think you want to be a manager, think again. 

You're not your daughter's handsome prince. What about the dynamic between mothers and sons? "The emotional cowardice of the husband/son is at the very heart of the fights between the women who love him most."

And did you know marriage is good for you? Does that mean I don't need to exercise? (Not that I do anyway, but now I can feel good about not doing it. Hey, I'm married.) 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Talk to Me

All you readers, you lurkers, you frequent commenters. I want you to answer me, here.

I wasn't going to blog about this. But by one of those weird coincidences, I read this post on Banno's blog that led me here. And that made me want very much to talk about it.

After the Weekender festival on Saturday, we came out a little hungry after all the jumping around to Pentagram. So we (the Guy, a friend and I) went to Pune's famous kathi-roll place. As we stood on the sidewalk eating, a little boy came along, helping a disabled man.

He was small, and looked hungry. He poked us and held his hand out. We ignored him, shooed him away. He whined to (I assume) his dad, and came back again. We kept eating.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Non-Bucket-List Bucket List

I've never had a real bucket list. I guess I'm just not organized enough. I never thought ahead much: the most I ever remember thinking ahead was to when I was 25 or so, by which time I would, of course, be married to the love of my life. (I am not sure if it's fabulous or depressing that that did come true.)

But as I approached 30, I began to feel I hadn't done enough. I was sure the teenage me would be disappointed in me. Sure, I'm in a wonderful relationship (where after six years we haven't just not driven each other crazy but have actually learned to, you know, not drive each other crazy) and I have a job I love (which I know is rare, from all the cribbing everyone seems to do about their jobs and bosses). But what about all the exciting, wonderful things I was going to do?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New York's Theater District

I was really glad to find myself right in NYC's theater district. I stayed at the W Hotel on Broadway, and I saw many theaters as I walked or took cabs to my destination.

Of course, I did step inside a theater and watch my very first Broadway show (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, starring Daniel Radcliff), but just spotting familiar stars or names on billboards got me excited. Here a Woody Allen, there a Kim Catrall, there a Hugh Jackman.

And one of the most interesting experiences of my visit was breakfast at Ellen's Stardust Diner. We walked in on Monday morning to a young woman singing in a diner with few patrons. She opened the door for us and led us to our table, without a break in her song.

As we sat, ordered and ate, there wasn't a break in the entertainment. All four servers took turns singing. The only break was when they explained that they were all aspiring Broadway performers, and asked for donations for dance and acting classes so that "The next time you come here, we won't be."

I've never had a breakfast nearly as entertaining! (The food was pretty good, too.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City

Mostly written last Friday in Newark airport, edited later

I didn't have high expectations from today. After the dreamlike quality of the last few days, I expected it to be anticlimactic. I tweeted in the morning about wishing I could go back to sleep and wake up at home.

I sit at the airport as I write this, and I have a 16-hour flight and a four-hour cab drive in front of me, and that's after at least two more hours before I board. (Turns out it was more than that: my flight was a couple of hours late leaving Newark.)

But today was anything was a disappointment. It was the perfect end to a perfect trip, and it was really more my kind of day than any of the others.

The Sculpture Garden at the MoMA

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mid-Week Reads: Long-Distance Relationships, Food Myths and Weight Gain

Really short edition this time, since as you know, I've been busy doing other things than reading!

Jezebel has some great tips on dealing with long-distance relationships.

Gaining weight can be a sign of happiness. I laughed when I saw Sally gained 45 pounds in a couple of years after meeting her now-husband, because that's my story too.

10 stubborn food myths that just won't die.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Highlights of My New York Trip in Bullet Points

  • I fulfilled a longtime dream: I saw works of Monet and Van Gogh and other artists I've long admired and whose work I've pored over in books. I went to the Metropolitan Museum with my boss and to the Museum of Modern Art with my current awesome boss and the Museum of Modern Art with an old boss I'm still friends with. 
  • I watched Danielle Radcliffe in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway. This was my boss's gift to me, and what better gift than a fantastic new experience? (And Radcliffe is amazing.)
  • I walked around Times Square (several times, actually, since our hotel was right on Times Square!) and sat at a cafe there (but I've said that already).

Monday, November 07, 2011

Sunday Afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum

Picking up where I left off...

I didn't stay in the room long. I grabbed my coat this time, and my watch, and walked out again. This time, in the opposite direction.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

My First Meal in New York City

I can't believe how beautiful New York is. I'd expected a noisy,  polluted city, and really cold right now. But the cold's mild and more than bearable: it's lovely. Noise and pollution: nothing compared to the other cities I've seen.

The cab got me to the hotel in less time than I'd expected. When the cab stopped and the guy at the hotel tried to open my door, I had to look up and wonder what happened. It was a lovely ride, and the cabbie answered my inquisitive questions politely but wasn't gregarious. I looked eagerly at the lovely old-looking buildings, at narrow streets, at the sun shining brightly between skyscrapers. I saw flowers on a street and marveled at the bright flowers I had never seen before.

After dumping my bags in my room and taking a much-needed shower, I venture out into the streets. I don't bring my coat: it hadn't seemed cold enough. But the cold seeps up my arms, even though it only seems to caress my face.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Dreams Come True

Or they will, for me, starting Sunday.

When I first met my delightful boss in person after months of talking and chatting and emailing (especially emailing), one of the questions she asked me was, "If you could go to one place in all the world, where would you go?"

"There are so many," I told her. And I told her all the cliched things that everyone says, because I've never done any of them. I want to go to Paris and visit the Louvre and eat at a roadside cafe. I want to go to Rome and Venice and  take in all the art and architecture and atmosphere.

But if I could only go to one place, what would it be? "New York," I said.

Years ago, my answer would probably have been England. Having read so many books set in the country, I'd  like to go see it for myself. When I read one of Alexander McCall Smith's Isabel Dalhousie novels (and how I love them!) I want to visit Edinburgh.

But I have read so much of the cosmopolitan nature of New York. See, I can't even seem to write about it without resorting to cliches. I have seen the Manhattan skyline so often in TV shows. To spend a few days in New York and explore the city was one of my dreams. To go and see the Met, to see some of those breathtaking paintings, in the flesh (so to speak).

I leave today. To spend a few days in the company of my amazing boss, whom I haven't met since that first meeting. To attend a conference that I'm very excited about, and to also take in the flavors of that great city. I plan to go to the Met, at least, to see some of the art I've pored over in the Great Museums books in my parents' home.

I still can't believe it. 

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Mid-Week Reads: Bad Bosses, Bad Employees, and Handbags

What behavior characterizes a bad boss and how do you work around it?

Having bad employees around can be very bad for morale. Also, "Leaders who believe that destructive superstars are "too important" to fire often underestimate the damage they can do."

I loved Laurie Penny's observations on fashion here and here. Especially:
Men's clothes have pockets to carry stuff around in, and that's much more freeing. You're not able to run with a handbag in the same way as you are with a rucksack, which is what I normally have. I remember talking to my sister when I was little and we decided there must be a conspiracy between people who make handbags and people who make clothes for women, whereby the clothes-makers agreed not to put pockets on anything so you'd have to buy a handbag.
But for most people the things that are advertised and drooled over in women's magazines – it's simply an impossible dream to own one. I find it fascinating that some people have to have this thing, even if it costs a month's salary, because that's what they cost for a lot of people, and that's what they spend on it. There is this massive misconception that consumer choice is the same as empowerment. The idea that the goal of a working woman's life and earning money is to be able to earn enough to afford this lovely bag... One of the most fascinating things about consumerism at the moment is you're meant to buy all this stuff that expresses who you are as an individual but individualism, more and more, is homogenous.
This makes me so sad, because it rings so true: an NRI returns to India and realizes it's not home. 

This piece on reading books by Jai Arjun Singh made me want to stand up and applaud.