Archive for December, 2004

31-Dec-2004

December 31, 2004

I started this on New Year’s Eve in Baroda. I’m fnishing it on Jan 3 from Goa. Sorry for the disconnect.

*Reporting from India*

First things first. My eye appointment went fine. My right eye is almost 20/20, and my left eye is almost 20/15. Text at that level is blurry, but I can make it out. The doctor said that level wasn’t anything to worry about. Also, my glaucoma test came back fine. I should get checked up every year, but nothing to worry about yet.

The girl and her family came by at around 1p. I gotta tell ya, I was antsy to get the show on the road. What I was hoping was, she and I could go somewhere for lunch and get to talk. We spent about half an hour, engaging in simple chitchat, with my chomping on the bit to take this girl somewhere so we could talk. Finally, dad said we could go. And for those of you wondering, she looked ok. Not too bad, but not supermodel quality either. Anyway, I took her to the local Pizza Hut. Now, given that this was my first time, I had no real idea on how to behave. So I decided to just be myself. Unfortunately, I think I succeeded a little too well. If there’s one thing I’ve realised, it’s that I’m an acquired taste, and if I give someone too much Chirag too fast, it can result in severe shellshock. I think that’s what happened here. So yes, I think I was trying too hard to be funny and entertaining, if only to make her feel at ease. Let’s just say that, she’s a nice girl, but she’s not for me. After we were done for lunch, I called dad to ask where they were, so we could join them. Very smooth, no? We met up with the parents, and I proceeded to ;get a plate of papdi chaat. Then we went home, and shortly thereafter, they left.

The aftermath… tomorrow.

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30-Dec-2004

December 30, 2004

This was supposed to have been blogged earlier in the day. Computer problems didn’t let me post it then. I’ll post the followup later.

*Reporting from India*

Got back to Baroda on Monday afternoon. Had an interesting experience in the car (we drove back). The truck driver ahead of us didn’t seem to notice the “Road Closed – Take Diversion” sign till the last minute, after which he swerved in front of us. Fine. Then he stopped the truck and marched towards the driver’s door, screaming like it was our fault. Fortunately the doors were locked. After about 1 pulse-pounding minute (I was looking around, and saw several unsavoury characters looking down from the bed of the truck), our driver started the car, pulled onto the road and sped off. As soon as he realised we were leaving, the guy seemed to want to do some damage to the car, so he banged on the window, then tried to twist off the sideview mirror. He got as far as twisting it a bit. They ran into the truck and tried to chase us, but we opened a big enough lead. Just goes to show, you can improve Indian roads as much as you like, we’ll still have to deal with Indian people driving.

I met up with Vikas, Bijal, Adil, Vivek and Vivek’s wife (he’s my age, and married. Damn!) and hung out for a while. It was good times. If only the rest of the gang had been there. We had a lot of laughs (mostly at me for stupid things I’d done in the past, as well as things I did during the evening ), and it was a lot of fun. I got back home, and found out that dad was working on my biodata. In the meantime, I’d received the girl’s biodata as well. For those of you who don’t know what a biodata is, it’s basically a resume made on behalf of people who want to get married. It contains personal information, family background, lists of “hobbies”, astrological information about my birth, etc. Anyway, we hadn’t received a photo of the girl yet, but her biodata contained her email address, and the domain name was their family name. So I tried typing the domain name into Internet Explorer, and it turns out the site belongs to her brother in the States, and there was a family photo. It wasn’t a very good picture, however. On his part, my dad decided to send a photo where I looked … a little less studly than usual. *shakes his head*

Yesterday, however, they sent two actual photos, and I must say they’re much better pictures. The long and short of it is that their family is coming up here later today, and I’ll be spending some time with her. I was debating whether or not to prepare a list of questions, but I think I’ll just let things go naturally. It should be an interesting experience.

Also, I have a follow up appointment with the doctor who performed the LASIK procedure on my eyes back in 2002. Just to see how things are going. Shouldn’t be any problems there. Tonight, after dinner at my favourite restaurant (Havmor rocks!!), I’ll be meeting up with the gang at Vivek’s new place, where we’ll be downing some considerable amounts of alcohol over the course of the night. Should be fun.

28-Dec-2004

December 28, 2004

*Reporting from India*

Well, that lunch turned out to be anticlimactic. I thought that it was just going to be our family and theirs. It seems they had also invited my maasi (mom’s sister) and family. This maasi is the mother of Virat, the cousin in Accenture who I partied with in the O.C. On the flip side, chubby hottie was there. I still wasn’t interested in her, but she still looked attractive. We went to this Chinese restaurant in a 5-Star hotel. The kind of place where the prices are 10 times as high, and the quality is half as good. Eh… ;On the way there, my dad and I ;had an interesting discussion about the pluses and minuses of getting married soon, and getting an MBA. Slowly, I can feel my resolve slipping. My dad has a way of doing that. He’s a very good salesman. ;Later that night, we went to the groom’s house for dinner and relaxed before the big day.

Saturday morning, I got in another good run, then we went to get my newly stitched suit. On the way back, we picked up a tie and belt as well. I spent (rather, dad spent ) quite a pretty penny on this wedding for me so far. Hehehe… We went to the groom’s place and danced on the street for a while, and I decided that if and when I get married, I’m doing it in Goa. On the beach. Everyone in shorts, flipflops, and with pina coladas in hand. I told everyone this, but no one took me seriously. Hmmm… anyway, we eventually made our way to the wedding hall.

Now, I’ve been to a Christian wedding, and it was nice. Everyone is sitting down while the ceremony takes place, and they’re all paying attention. Not Indian weddings. Barely 15 minutes after getting there, people start attacking the buffet line in the back. It gets to the point where one can’t even tell there’s a wedding going on unless you actually look and see the priest reciting his incantations. Quite disrespectful, in my opinion. Anyway, the food sucked. About the one highlight was an incident where my mom indicated another good-looking, eligible young lady (and whose mom was another person gushing about my MCing skills ). I didn’t get a good look at her, but I was told that she’d be back that evening for the reception. She didn’t end up coming, but it’s jus as well, because it seemed she was distantly related, and my mom wasn’t aware of it.

The reception was more interesting, however. I was pulled aside and “interviewed” by the same uncle who’d taken us out for lunch the day before. It seemed that he knew of two eligible young ladies (his brother’s daughter, who had been mentioned earlier, and someone related to his wife.) This was basically a fact-finding mission, and my dad joined us for some of it. He wanted to know about my goals, ambitions, where I saw myself in 10 years, that kind of thing. He was upfront about it though, and made it clear what was going on. On my part, I was totally honest with him as well. I told him I wasn’t eager to get married in a hurry, but I was flexible (I told you I had felt my resolve slipping. Thanks dad. ). My favourite part was when he asked me at the end, “One last question. Any attachments?” Hehehe… Other than that, nothing else notable that night. No other hotties on display, to my disappointment. The most attractive girls there were all family. *sighs*

Sunday, we went on a day-long trip to meet dad’s side of the family. His one remaining brother and 5 remaining sisters. Good people, all of them. They might not be the richest folk in the world (dad came from very humble beginnings), but they are all genuine people. I spent the night with the boys, and we all hung out at this coffee place near Juhu beach. Sometime during the day, dad told me that he’d heard from an aunty (wife of person who’d interviewed me at the reception) regarding the other girl that I’d mentioned. They live in Rajkot, which is in the same state as Baroda, where I will be this week. At this point, I gave up. I asked for a photograph, and dad sent a message back setting the process in motion. Oy vey…

*To be continued*

24-Dec-2004

December 24, 2004

*Reporting from India*

Well, I’m here in Mumbai. The flight across the pond was rather long. 14 hours from San Fran to Hong Kong. I gotta tell ya, the Hong Kong airport isn’t the friendliest for non-Chinese people. The people were nice, but it just feels odd. It’s a nice airport, but I don’t know how it won World’s Best Airport. I’ve seen better. The worst part was the length of the layover. I landed around 7:30am local time, and we departed 2:45pm. My cousin’s flight into Hong Kong (we were flying in to Mumbai together) came in pretty late, so I basically walked around the lobby for 4 hours, walking through all the W.H.Smith bookshops, and deciding what to get for dad as his birthday present (30 year old bottle of Glenfiddich. ;Good stuff. On the flight in to Mumbai, I was sitting next to an interesting guy who grew up in Mumbai, but was now settled in Hong Kong. Quite fun.

As soon as we landed, we were whisked away to J-49, the nightclub we’d booked for the cocktail party. The club was aight, nothing great. I couldn’t have as much alcohol as I wanted or needed to have a good time, and there weren’t enough single good-looking girls. *shrugs* I begged off a little early, and we went home.

Next morning (Thursday), dad and I went jogging. Rather, he walked, I jogged. It felt good. I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep it up everyday, but I’ll try. It’ll probably get easier when we’re in Baroda, after the wedding. Then, we all went to the North India Association for lunch, following which Saurabh (the groom), Hemal (his brother, and the cousin from Orange County who’s crashing with me in Sunnyvale) and myself went on an odyssey to get our new ;clothes. Good Lord, the traffic was nuts. Plus, the car was small and crappy, and Yours Truly was stuck in the back seat. First, we ordered our new suits. The cloth itself cost me $200, plus an additional $70 for stitching costs. Then we went to look at traditional outfits. I ended up ordering a new outfit myself, which I’ll be picking up later today (Friday). Then we battled through the traffic to return in time for the sangeet .

The sangeet is the musical portion of the wedding, basically. We hire a group of singers/musicians who perform, and generally have a fun time. It’s also a good opportunity to see a good sample of the hotties who’ll be at the wedding, since everyone dresses up in their traditional finest. I saw maybe 2 girls who were relatively attractive. Both of them were connected to me by the following lines: My mother has 3 brothers. The middle one’s son was getting married. The first girl was that mama ‘s (maternal uncle) sister-in-law’s daughter. Unfortunately, she was already engaged. The other one was the youngest mama’s brother-in-law’s daughter. She wasn’t beautiful per se, and she was a bit overweight, but there was just something attractive about her. If she lost 10 lbs, she’d be pretty hot. But I wasn’t interested enough to actually try anything, and it’s very risky to try picking up chicks with that much family in one room. Funny thing… some time ago, I’d mentioned that my mom had sent me a photo of a girl who was “eligible”. She’s actually the daughter of my youngest mama’s other brother-in-law (i.e. first cousin of girl #2). I saw them all come in during the musical performance, figured out who she was, and did a quick appraisal. She looked OK, but wasn’t that hot. Then I turned to look at my dad. He was motioning to me to come sit next to him, and I had an idea of what he wanted to talk about. Some other old fart took the seat, so I leaned next to dad and whispered in his ear, “I saw her, and I’m not impressed.” Turns out, I was right. Ah well…

The rest of the night went well. Roshni (my sister) and I ended up MCing part of the night. My performance included me mis-pronouncing a Gujarati word, so I referred to my cousin as “King of the Jungle” instead of groom. It’s surprising the difference one letter can make in a word. ;I had already mentioned my bad Gujju skills, so they just thought it was part of the gag. Until I said it again. *sigh* Still, mom got lots of compliments about her son who showed such confidence and was such a good speaker.

Funny story #2: We’ve been invited to lunch today by my youngest mama’s brother-in-law (father of chubby hottie), who is probably interested in talking to me on behalf of his niece, the girl who’s photo I originally saw. I told you this trip was going to be interesting. I was joking about it with dad last night, and I told him I’d be charming (which I can be if I have to), but only because I think this will be lots of fun. Full update later.

21-Dec-2004

December 21, 2004

I’m leaving for India soon. My cousin’s on his way to pick me up and drop me off at Frisco airport. The flight leaves at midnight on Monday night/Tuesday morning. I’ll arrive in India on Wednesday night local time, and from the airport we’re going directly to a club to party. Yup, my family definitely does move fast.

As much as I’ve been joking that this vacation will consist of me running away from matchmaking relatives, I don’t think it’s going to be all that bad. I’ll put up with a few humorous comments, a few more subtle hints and requests, and that will be that. Mostly, I’m looking forward to seeing (1) my family, (2) my friends, and (3) Goa. Everything else is just scenery.

I’ll try to update my blog while I’m there. Hopefully, I’ll have some good stories. See y’all from the other side of the world…

10-Dec-2004

December 10, 2004

My cubemate John returned from Tuscon yesterday, where he’d run in the Tuscon Marathon. John’s a pretty cool guy (even at 58), and he keeps trying to convince me that I should train for a marathon myself, since I’m young and the body is such an amazingly adaptable machine, and so on and so forth. In fact, I actually considered it. I did some research, and most beginner’s marathon training programs were 4 months long, and assumed that I ran 12-15 miles per week for several weeks before that. 12-15 miles per week equals 2-3 miles per day, 5 days a week, which is very do-able. Now the task was to find a marathon that was a suitable distance away, time-wise. Since this was in the middle of August, I was looking for something in the first quarter of ’05.

On a hunch, I checked to see when the Austin marathon was. Imagine my amusement when I saw that it is scheduled for Feb 13th. This was just too good to be true! Of course, as usually happens in my life, it was too good to be true.

I started out the first couple of weeks pretty well. I increased my daily running, and it even got to the point where I would be willing to skip my weight-training so I could run. Believe me when I say I was more shocked than anyone when I realised this. Now, if I actually went through with this, I’d have to start my actual training in early October. ;However, I was trying to be realistic about this. I told myself that I would only go through with this on two conditions:
1) After running for 5-6 weeks, I’d see how I felt. By early-October, if I thought I could handle ramping up the distance, then I would go forward.
2) I needed the extra personal motivation to go to Austin. If things moved forward with her, that would give me even more of an incentive to make this work. Besides, Valentine’s Day was the day after the marathon, so in an ideal situation, I would have had a very nice recovery period.

Like I said, the first two weeks were going pretty well. Along with the running, I was keeping active in other ways as well, like playing on my softball team. That turned out to be a big mistake. During one of the games (our first loss), ;I hurt my heel while trying to make 2nd base, leaving me incapable of putting any weight on my heel. At all. And if you can’t put any weight on your heel, you can’t run. Not for more than 100 yards, anyway. This meant my training was curtailed. Not good.

Normally, I would have tried to work around it, assuming I had that extra emotional motivation. However, by the end of September, I wasn’t getting much of the vibe from her side. Things weren’t going badly, per se, but they weren’t going tremendously well either. I’d pretty much given up the idea of the marathon anyway. Turns out, it was just as well. In mid November, I pretty much screwed the pooch with her by coming on too strong. *shrugs* Maybe someday, I’ll eventually learn how ;to not care enough to get them to care. ;Perhaps by the time I’m 30, I’ll figure it out.

6-Dec-2004

December 6, 2004

It seems I’ll have to compress the rest of my stories, in order to finish this quickly. My last day in Orange County, the 4 of us went for a drive through Beverly Hills. We saw Rodeo Drive, which is where Julia Roberts’ character goes shopping in Pretty Woman. We also drove through 90210. Saw $400,000 houses that were probably bought for $4,000,000. Then we drove into West Hollywood, the gay part of town. This was driven home when we stopped for lunch at a small Italian trattoria. The waiter looks at H, who was wearing shorts, and goes “Oooohhh, don’t you feel cold?” Let’s just say, it was hard for us not to laugh. He was a nice guy though, and gave us good service (even brought some sparkling water when I spilled some sauce on my t-shirt). That night, I flew back into the Bay Area, with lots of fun memories.

For Thanksgiving, I went to Houston. A relaxing time. The most exciting thing that happened was changing the tire on my sister’s car. That came about because she and I were poking and hitting each other while she was driving (not a smart idea). It had rained earlier in the day, and the roads were slippery. Before we realised it, the car had straddled the divider. Fortunately, there weren’t any poles in the divider, nor were there any cars nearby. She pulled it back on to the road, and over to the side. We felt that the tires were damaged. Got out, and saw the front driver tire was shot to hell. Cool as a cucumber (in fact, she was calm throughout the entire episode), she walked back down the road and picked up the hubcap that had been ripped off the tire, and drove the car to the gas station 50 yards away (another lucky break). The other 3 tires looked OK, and we put the spare on eventually (had to figure it out a bit first). Then we drove back home. The next day, we saw that one of the rear tires had lost air as well (probably because that rim was bent), so my cousin (not related to the OC guys) and I went to the Super Walmart to get it fixed. That day was somewhat of a comedy of errors, I gotta tell ya. Anyway, all’s well that ends well, I guess. Nishma had told me that changing a tire wasn’t a big deal (she said she’d done it several times herself), and I told her that she was probably right, but I wouldn’t know for sure until I’d had to do it myself. Now I’ve done it, and I concur. It’s not that hard. But I still hope it doesn’t happen to me because it is annoying (and potentially expensive).

In other news, I started Bartending School this week. More details on that later, as well as on my new addiction .

1-Dec-2004

December 1, 2004

Sorry it took so long to continue. My cousins in Houston had problems with Internet service. I’ll write about Houston later. Now then, where was I…

We got in, had a drink at the bar downstairs. This was a multi-level club. The bottom level was a mini-concert of sorts, with a stage and someone singing. Boring, so we went upstairs, where there was a club floor and good, hard techno music. I got another couple of drinks in me, and was good to go. I had now reached a point where I was definitely non-self-conscious. I wasn’t in any danger of falling down or anything, I wasn’t that drunk. But I no longer had any reservations about dancing near an attractive girl and actually trying to dance with her (without seeming too sketchy, of course). In fact, at one point, I was dancing next to these two girls, and one of them turned towards me and we started dancing. And for about 30 seconds, there might actually have been some grinding. I was so excited, I actually tossed the remainder of my lollipop, which I had gotten from the bathroom (this was one of those clubs that had a guy in the bathroom whose sole job was to direct you to the next available urinal and hand you a paper towel when you’d washed up, and the sinks were covered with all sorts of lollipops and candies). Of course, shortly thereafter the girl went back to dancing with her friend, and they kinda wandered away. I’ll assume it wasn’t because of me.

One thing about this club… there were a fair amount of girls, but there were a LOT of guys. And some of them definitely looked like they were looking for other guys. In fact, I think at one point a guy actually tried to hit on me. I was spending a good amount of time walking through the crowd trying to find girls to dance with. I heard someone talking to me, in a friendly conversational tone. I turn and see this young dude smiling at me, and he’s talking some more. I don’t remember what he was saying, I just remember that I didn’t want to deal with it. Now, I’m not homophobic in the least. I’m all for gay marriage and such. But when I’m drunk in a club and looking for girls to dance with, the last thing I want to do is indulge in polite conversation with some guy I don’t know, gay or not. I mumbled something, faced forward, and kept walking.

Later, I went back to the bar for water. I was pretty dehydrated at this point, and was trying to compensate. Now, in California bars, they don’t give you water in a cup for free, you have to buy bottles. I hate that (and will try not to do it if I ever start tending bar, but more on that later). I asked the ;female bartender for water, and she gave me water in a glass, and I ;was definitely happy. ;She was pretty cute, so I started talking to her. I don’t think I actually heard her say a word, she was mostly just nodding or ;shaking her head. ;
Me: “So, how often do you get asked out?”
She shakes her head to indicate no.
Me: You’re lying, I’m sure you get asked out a lot (I think I said this. I’m fuzzy)
I think I even told her that the only reason I wasn’t asking her out was because I wasn’t from the area. Real charming, no? ;But wait, it gets better. I ask her for a pen, and start writing on one of the bar napkins. I don’t remember the text exactly, but the gist of it was:
I don’t believe you don’t get asked out, because you’re the prettiest girl here. And I’m drunk, so you know I’m being honest.
She read it, smiled at me and said Thank You. I walked away, feeling pretty good. Was talking to my cousin V in the hallway outside, and I ask him
Think I should give her my phone number? Why not, right?
Sure, go for it.

So I go back to the bar, ask for the pen again, and start writing another note on a napkin:
Name: Chirag
Location: San Jose
Cell:
(I was concentrating here, to make sure I didn’t screw up) 713-xxx-xxxx (Sorry, I’m too smart to put my real number here. )
I don’t know if this will work, but I figure I might as well try. Just so you know, I’m not usually this sketchy.
She reads this note too, smiles and thanks me again. I motion her closer and tell her:
Next time I come down here, I’m asking you out.
She nods ok, and I swagger on out. That’s right, I swaggered.
(V told me later that both times she read my notes, she blushed.)
I was feeling pretty good. The way I figured it, worst case, she was flattered and had a cute story for her friends the next day. Best case, I’d get a call. Win-win.

When I told my friend Tina about this later, she said that she was impressed at how smooth I was. I later told the story to my sister, who is one of my fiercest critics (in a good way, usually). When I mentioned the “I’m drunk, so I’m being honest”, I saw her raise her eyebrows in the “DAMN” kinda way. I asked her,
Was it smooth?
Yeah, it was smooth.

Hehehe… of course, this sets a bad precedent. I am now convinced that the only way I can be totally calm and cool and smooth with a girl is if I’ve had a Long Island or two under my belt (or in my stomach). Who knows, if I’d been drunk the first few times I’d met Tanvi, college might have been a wholly different experience for me.

To be continued (basically the rest of the night, and the following day when I see HOLLYWOOD!!, as well as 90210)