Rough Book

random musings of just another computer nerd

Category: Love and Marriage

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Well, this year is already starting off pretty well because of:

Aparna

Aparna

I wonder what this decade (alright, I know it technically starts in 2011, but still) is going to be like. I hope there’s better music for one. At any rate, a whole set of new experiences and new memories; the last one wasn’t short on that! Here’s to another great decade!

Note: This post shows up on December 31st because it isn’t New Year’s yet in Arizona (and this blog runs on MST)! I’m in India right now and it’s January 1st, 2010 here.

She Said Yes

Yes

She said, “Yes”. Although I guess it was never in doubt that she would say anything else (being a semi-arranged marriage and all), it still feels nice :). The official engagement ceremony was today. It was a traditional Nair engagement ceremony (known as a nischayam – literally translated, “decision”) where both families express their consent to the alliance and inform everyone in attendance of the same. I don’t have pictures of the ceremony on me; I’m waiting on the CD of photos from the photographers. This picture is from when I first gave her the ring.

Ten years

So ten years ago, I started college. Yeah. Ten years. I remember the ten years before that, and they seem very long compared to these last ten years that have gone by. As people always seem to say… it just seems like yesterday, and I can vividly remember each of these last ten years. It has been an amazing decade for me. Friendships that have been through a lot, that have gone through trying times, and that have come out stronger. Experiences that have shaped me and changed me, from a wide-eyed college-kid into an adult.

Five years ago, I made a similarly introspective post and I wondered where I would be five years from then. Well, so here I am. 27 years old… almost 28… I’m a veteran of a war and I’m finishing up my military service, I’m a citizen, I’m gainfully employed at a job that I absolutely love, I still own a house and a car, and finally, last but not the least, I have found that special someone I’ve been looking for my entire life (and let me tell you, she’s AMAZING). There were many times during the last ten years that were hard for me… but I somehow got through it all, and actually ended up on top when all was said and done.

Looking back at my early days in this country I laugh at myself when I think of how naïve I used to be. But I guess that’s a part of life and it’s probably something that everyone goes through. All in all, I think I’ve done pretty well for myself. So, here’s to another wonderful ten years.

The Problem with Shaadi.com

Arranged marriages are common among Indians. I’m not going to go into the merits and demerits of it; that’s not what this post is about. What I want to address is the problem with sites like shaadi.com that supposedly make it easier for Indian people to arrange these marriages. Now don’t get me wrong. There are many people who have met their soul-mates through shaadi.com (and similar sites). My sister met her husband through that. But the problem with these sites is that they are not geared towards the individual. Before I elaborate, we need to talk about what arranged marriages are, and why they are arranged.
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BS

Bullshit

The Worst Journey Ever. The Best Vacation Ever.

I finally got some time to sit down and write about my leave. I have been rather busy. Our days are long, and after I get back from work, I don’t have very much time and I’m too tired to sit down and write a journal entry! Well, anyway… here it is. Be warned… it’s pretty long!

Ok, so this last month (May), I went on leave. My leave date was the 8th of May. Little did I know that this day would be the beginning of what I would like to call…

The Worst Travelling Experience Ever

We meet our hero at BIAP where he is waiting with his fellow soldiers to get a flight to Kuwait. It is around 8 in the morning, and the day hasn’t gotten hot just yet. Everywhere there are Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Seamen and Civilians sitting and waiting. Some are playing cards or talking amongst themselves. Others are listening to music, or watching movies on their laptops, or reading books. Still others are sprawled out on benches or on the dusty concrete floor, sleeping, using their luggage as pillows. At about 9 in the morning, a formation is called. As our hero hurries and falls in, he looks around and notices Captains, Majors, and Sergeant Majors also in formation. It strikes him as a little funny since he usually sees them in front of a formation, and not in one. Leave – the great equalizer. Somebody comes up to the front of the formation and informs everyone that there are two flights leaving Baghdad. The first one leaves at 12 noon, while the second one leaves at 10 pm. However, there are personnel who have been waiting at BIAP since yesterday, and therefore, they will be given preference for the 12 noon flight. Our hero hopes and prays that there is enough room on the flight for him. However, he has been in the Military long enough to know that expecations are rarely met, and Murphy’s Law holds sway most of the time. Sure enough, there isn’t enough room on the flight and he has to wait for the 10 pm flight. He settles in for a Long and Boring day.
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You Can Start Looking Now

I know I haven’t posted in a while. That’s mainly because I’ve been busy and lazy – an interesting combination. I was having my military training over the past two weeks, so I really didn’t have time to update my journal. In addition, my DSL service is being really flaky. I’m dropping connection and then my modem refuses to retrain. I’m talking to Qwest right now. I’m pretty sure it’s their fault. Hopefully they’ll fix it.

Anyway, so I had a few conversations with my parents over the past few weeks, and the subject was marriage. No, it wasn’t something like “Son, we need to find you a girl now.” It was more like “Hey, you can start looking now if you want”. I talked about this a little bit sometime ago, and I was thinking of talking to my parents about it as well. Truth be told, I guess I’m not averse to “settling down”. The fact of the matter is that I would really like some female companionship of a serious and lasting nature in my life right now. Merely dating wouldn’t do that for me. It used to bother me that I never really dated anyone during my college years. But in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t. I can totally see myself neglecting my academics. Also, the fact that I had no woman, meant that I wouldn’t be spending any time with her. Which meant that I had time to pursue my nerdy pursuits. Which in turn led to me picking up some really useful skills, and accomplishing some really neat things which finally led to an internship, and then, a job at Intel. So in the end, it’s not all that bad.

Actually my parents weren’t the first people to tell me that I could start looking. It was my aunt. I was in California over the 4th of July weekend, and my aunt said that my cousin and I should “start looking” now so that we “could get married when the time comes”. I thought it was a little funny, and actually I didn’t find her idea that far-fetched. I have been sort of “pseudo-looking” – I just haven’t found anyone. So I half-jokingly tell this to my parents and they said “Oh yeah, you should start looking!” So then I decided to see what my options were. Of course, they would ideally want me to marry a Hindu, Nair, Malayalee girl. But what about a girl from another culture? A Tamilian girl perhaps? I asked them. Their response was measured, and I guess, cautious. My father only told me that it may work out initially but that difficulties could arise once children came into the picture, or possibly, even before that, and that there are greater risks. So I’m not sure if they meant it was ok or not ok for me to look for girls from another culture. My parents have never really talked to me that much about marriage, and so I was really happy to see how open-minded they were about the issue. To those who might be thinking that this has the makings of an arranged marriage, it really doesn’t. First of all, they aren’t the ones looking for a girl – they’ve left it up to me. Although, I do know that if they come across a girl they think I might like, they may recommend I get in touch with her. I don’t see that as bad either, since it’s like my parents are hooking me up. The funny part was when my father told me to put myself up on Kerala Matrimonials. He said “Oh, it’s just like a dating service!” I thought that was funny. I don’t think I’m ready for that yet though…

I’m keeping an open mind and also keeping my options open. I guess if I try and concentrate too much on one particular goal, it may close out other possibilities. If I need to find a nice Nair girl, it’s harder for me, because there are very few Malayalees in Arizona. But I hear there are many in California and Texas. Oh well. I don’t think I’ll actively go around looking, but I’ll keep my eyes and ears open. At any rate, there’s no point in looking now, because I’m going to be in Iraq for a year. Now what are the odds of meeting a Hindu, Nair, Malayalee girl there? I’d laugh if I met one – in the Army nonetheless!

Revenge Of The Nerds

I ran into an article from the New York Daily News few days ago. I thought it was pretty interesting:

Nerds make better lovers

Ready for a real relationship? Ditch the
pretty boys and grab yourself a geek

By TRACEY LOMRANTZ

Sitcom siren Courteney Cox saw a prince charming in fashion freestylist David Arquette.
Golfers aren’t notorious studs, but Swedish stunner Elin Nordegren thinks hubby Tiger Woods has got game.
Super-chic Rachel Bilson fell for her slightly geeky co-star Adam Brody, on-screen and off.
Christina Aguilera recently traded in piercings for petticoats, apparently making the usual Marilyn Monroe morph. But there’s more than meets the eye: Sure, she’s blond, buxom and sweet-voiced now, but she’s also emulating the classic bombshell in matters of the heart.

You see, Aguilera’s fiance, like Monroe’s husband, playwright Arthur Miller, is kind of a geek.

Full Story

I looked at this article in two ways. My usual cynical way, and then in a sort of optimistic way. I was cynical because people rarely do what’s good for them. This is why girls keep talking about how they want to date a nice, sensitive, caring and good guy, but then they say “Oh instead, let me just date this asshole over here!”. Then they will come and cry on the shoulder of the nice guy about how terrible guys are and about how they can’t find any nice guys. This nice guy of course has a romantic interest in the girl. But the girl is not the only one to blame – you gotta blame the nice guy for being a glutton for punishment and sticking around with a girl like that.

This whole nice guy thing is a favourite topic for me to rant on, and is pet peeve. It defies all logical explanation – doesn’t make any sense. I mean, it’s like going to a car dealership that sells really great cars at really great prices. They are economical, have great mileage, have the latest features and gadgets, and rate extremely high on safety features. You talk to the sales consultant about how all you are looking for is a great car. Then you turn around and go to the neighbouring dealership to buy a flashy-looking car with terrible mileage, low safety ratings, and that will break down much, MUCH earlier than the one sold by the first dealership. Then everytime you take your flashy car to the mechanic to get it repaired, you stop over at the first dealership and complain to the salesperson about how terrible your current car is, and how you can’t ever find a nice reliable car. I mean come on – that certainly deserves an almighty WTF?! My only explanation is that some women are simply illogical and manipulative. They like having the nice guys around them because they get the attention, but they want the “bad boys” because of some misplaced sense of adventure and the equally misplaced belief that they can somehow “change them” and you know that’s just SOOO freaking romantic because then the guy changed his personality just for them!! Aww so sweet right? Yeah right. Let me tell you sweetheart – once a jerk, always a jerk. The good news is that some of these girls realize that their position is rather tenuous and immature – I guess it’s a part of growing up. I can’t say nice guys are all that blameless either. Some of them do need to develop a spine. Being nice all your life will get you nowhere, and people will take advantage of you. You probably have some sort of altruistic ideal and probably think that playing the martyr makes you a better person. Er. No. The world is a terrible, terrible place and sometimes you have to be tough. So get a spine and be a man. And like the illogical girls, the spineless nice guys also eventually develop a spine, and maybe it’s part of their growing-up process. So all will eventually be well in the world. Maybe.

Ok enough about the cynical and bitter view. My optimistic view was that maybe things are coming around. The fact of the matter is that very few people, much less women, actually know how geeks and nerds (most geeks/nerds are nice guys) think. Despite the cultural stereotype of the socially inept (and thus ostracized) nerd, a lot of nerds can hold their own in a social situation. It’s just that they do things differently. It takes a woman with patience to find that out. Nerds may not be as aggressive as that macho jock who will sweet-talk you, and then in the end be a total jerk to you. But they are able to provide – emotionally, physically, and financially (for the shoes! *duck*). Women may finally be realizing this. All it takes is just a little bit of patience and you can really see nerds for what they are – caring, sensitive, and loving individuals, albeit a little shy and reticent. In addition, nerds and geeks may have a mild form of Asperger’s Syndrome which would explain some of their idiosyncratic behaviour.

Anyway, I was talking about how nerds think differently – most of them approach things as if they were problems to be solved. This includes a relationship. This could be an issue, because it’s probably better to just “go with the flow” than to try and analyze everything. This attribute of “solving problems” extends to even emotional problems. Sometimes a partner will just want to talk about an emotional problem, without actually seeking any resolution. In this scenario the nerd will actively try to discern the cause of said problem and will then try to solve it – much to the frustration of the partner, who merely needs a sympathetic ear. What is also unfathomable to some people is the zeal with which nerds approach problems. If a nerd has a seemingly unsolvable problem, he/she will keep at it until he/she solves it, quite often ignoring everything else around them. This is also a source for frustration.

Bottom line – nerds are rich individuals. Just take the time to get to know them and understand them.

Thoughts

So this whole “going to war” thing is a huge deal. Obviously. There are many reasons why I don’t want to go, and then there are reasons that I must. But anyway, that is not the point. Sometimes I think that getting away from here for about a year would be good. An escape? I don’t know. It feels like it sometimes. But I prefer the euphemistic term “welcome reprieve”. I like to think that things may change when I get back…

I find myself seriously questioning certain facets of my life. First, am I happy? I guess I am… but it would be more accurate to say that I am mostly content. My job is a pleasure – I do what I enjoy doing most – writing code. But at other times I feel seriously apathetic about my life. I mean, I go to work from 8 to 5. I pick up my dog, Honey, from Sadhana’s home (I am really thankful to her family for taking care of her), I spend maybe half an hour there with her parents and grandma, and of course, Juju and Nimbus. After that, I come back home. I check my mail (real mail), pay bills, have dinner, write some of my own code, and then I head to bed. That’s it. That’s my day… how boring.

I sometimes want to go back to being in College. Each day was different. But then again, when I was in college, I wanted the stability of a normal job. I guess the grass is greener on the other side. My friends are still here, but of course, they have their own lives and the things that they need to do. My family is here and I do talk to them on occasion (although I should call my mom and dad much more frequently). They’re always there for me and I have never felt neglected by them.

I guess things changed a lot when I graduated. When I was in school, there was always someone I could interact with on a regular basis. Now that’s not there. It’s much harder for me to interact with any of my friends because I don’t see them that much. I guess what I am saying is that I feel pretty lonely at times. In response to that most of my friends might be saying “get a girlfriend” and some might even say “go get married now”. As far as the second one goes, please, I am only 23. The first one? Well. I am picky. Not that there is a serious lack of women to go around, but the fact is that I am picky about who I want to be with. No, I’m not on the look out for “that special someone” and I don’t believe that there is any one person with whom I am compatible. I’m sure there’s a whole range. But of course, that set, when intersected with the ones that my parents would find compatible, leaves a much smaller set. But still, it’s one that can be worked with.

So now you might be saying “so what? just date someone for fun!”. Can’t do that. I consider it a waste of time. “WTF?!”, you say. Well.., let’s say I date a girl… I go out with her… and then what? Eventually there comes a point when I have to break it off because I can’t make the committment. I am going into the relationship without the intent of ever making one, so logically, what is the point? I guess it would be different if it was mutually agreed upon that there wouldn’t be a committment, but that is rarely the case. So in that sense, am I looking for someone with whom I can have a long-term committment? Yes. With can being the operative word. That word has a lot of import. I have to think about what my parents want as well. They would want me to marry a nice, Malayalee, Hindu, Nair girl. I am not averse to that at all. In fact, that’s what I would like ideally, because then my parents and I are in total agreement. Some of my friends say that I am closing out a lot of options if I think of it that way. Yes, that’s true. I am aware that as an individual there are definitely women who I am compatible with, but aren’t any of the things that my parents want (for me). Therein lies the problem.

An Indian Marriage isn’t just the union of two individuals. It is the union and alliance of two families. In that sense, I can understand the cultural isolation that my wife could feel in the presence of my family, and vice-versa. And also the awkwardness and lack of any common ground when both families meet. But then again, there are cross-cultural marriages that do work, and work well. So I guess I am saying is that I don’t want to go through the trouble of it all. Which in a sense might be chickening out. I myself am not sure what it is. There are certain things I want, and I think I might have them better if I were to be with a woman who is aligned as closely to me as possible. For example, I consider my culture very important. My customs and traditions are very important to me. This is something I would like to pass on to my children. And this isn’t because of some misplaced sense of pride or superiority. No. I consider culture and tradition to be something that has evolved over a period of so many generations and so many hundreds of years. Something built upon the traditions and observances of the generations that have passed. I feel I should try and preserve as much of that as possible. Otherwise, something precious will be lost. I might be able to make it work with a girl from a different culture – something that is still close to mine – a girl from Tamil Nadu for example. Tamilians and Malayalees have reasonably similar languages and customs. But even still, between these two similar cultures, there are a vast number of differences… and with differences, arises the possibility of conflict (but isn’t there conflict in any marriage?). What if she is as concerned about her culture as I am of mine? What would the children learn? Would they be confused? Would it be cause for conflict between she and I? Almost always, one side has to give way. The children end up knowing one side better than the other. Is that a problem? I don’t know. When I was younger, and therefore more idealistic and naïve, I thought I could easily make it all work, and it didn’t matter who I married. Somewhere along the way I realized that real life isn’t so simple.

I guess my dilemma right now is that I don’t know if I’m limiting my options too much. I can’t say. Most of my friends have someone special. Sometimes I find it hard being around them sometimes because I feel that I’ve missed out on that aspect of life. It would certainly alleviate a lot of the loneliness that I feel… But then again, I’m only 23… a lot can happen in the next few years.

So… am I being too picky? God knows… but that’s also why I think it may be nice to get away from all of this for a while… get everything in order.

I can’t believe I wrote all this crap on a public website for the world to see. Someday I am going to read this and laugh… or regret writing it… or possibly both. Is there such a thing as a regretful laugh?

First set of albums uploaded

After Sadhu’s incessant nagging, which proved to be a great disturbance to the course of my normal life, I have uploaded most of the pictures I took over summer. Ok, it’s not as bad as it sounds! Just kidding Sadhu ;). I did procrastinate a little bit in putting these pictures up, but I was also really busy.

Sadhu, am I anything more to you than just your personal photographer/ASU historian person? Seriously – I need to get something in return from you for this. Don’t ever say I never did anything for you! 😉

The Albums that I have uploaded are “Gouri’s Wedding”, “Trivandrum ’04”, “My 23rd Birthday”, and “Garba 2004”. I still have a lot more pictures to upload. I will try and do it tomorrow or next week. Enjoy!

Oh yeah, the pictures from Gouri’s Wedding are exclusive. Gouri requested me to not make it publically viewable. If you really want to see it, email me and I’ll forward your request to Gouri – she has the last word on it.

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