Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Downton Abbey

Yes.  Old news for a lot of people, but not so for me.  See, I have been following TV series titles through osmosis.  I hear names like The Walking Dead or Grey's Anatomy or Orange is the New Black or Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad or something else.  The funny thing is this.  The names are different but the reaction they invoke are the same.  The viewers are all obsessed.  From an outsider point of view, I would say, it's a drug.  I feel it changes people and how they behave with themselves and with you.  I have been an outsider in most cases because I haven't been a TV type of person.  I'm getting there but we'll get to that.
I'm used to try to understand the fuss.  When someone asked about a show, I would respond with, "Oh, I haven't seen that one," and their response would almost always be, "Oh, it's soooo good.  You should watch it.  It's amazing!"  Yes, the word "so" is extended for a good 2 and a half seconds.  I know when it came to Breaking Bad my brother even offered to buy me Netflix so I could watch it.  I remember thinking, what was going on?  Why are people going crazy?  Is this some disease that infests the mind?
I didn't used to watch TV.  The last time I was vested in a show was in the late 1990s.  My shows:  Lois and Clark, the New Adventures of Superman and Caroline in the City.  My luck:  4 seasons and 2 seasons respectively and then the show was done.  Also, my life was very different then.  I was married to someone who didn't watch the usual series and for some reason I never did either.  I don't know if it was the marriage or me, but irrespective, after my divorce, I was left at home with a TV that I did not turn on and soon forgot how to operate.
I remember the evening I invited family to my home and I was the host, so obviously, busy making sure the food was ready and all that jazz.  Well, in between running around and figuring out what pot was on the stove and what was in the oven, I get called by my family.  They wanted to watch some tennis match.  I gave them a blank stare.  They explained to me that they wanted to watch ESPN.  Someone asked what channel ESPN was on and someone was asking how to get cable and I think someone asked me which remote was which.  I looked at the 3 remote controls resting on the coffee table and handed all the remotes over to one of my family members.  I said, "Here you go.  I have no idea which remote is which.  I think one is for TV and one for cable.  I think that red button turns on the TV.  I don't know much else."  I remember one of my cousins looking at me like he didn't understand the joke.  "But how do we get to ESPN?"  I felt my mind would explode.  How do I explain to them that I was busy cooking and that I did not have any idea.  "I do not know.  The last time I turned on the TV was several months ago and I was watching a DVD.  I do not watch TV at all."  The next question was "What do you mean, at all?"  I shook my head and said almost annoyed and abruptly, "I mean, I do not watch TV.  I have not watched TV for a few years.  I only watch DVDs and control what I watch on my time and my terms.  I know I have cable not satellite.  I don't know why I have it, but I do.  That's all I know.  You'll have to figure it all out between the remotes!"  With that, I left back to the kitchen.  Why was it so incredulous that someone doesn't watch television?
I think I have grown a bit since then.  I have learned to accept that everyone has their own thrills and obsessions.  Watching tennis might not have been mine at that time.  It might or might not have been a good idea.  That's irrespective.  I think we all have our hot buttons of items we love and make us whole whether it's a sport or a TV show or a celebrity or a hobby.  To each their own.
It took a few years after that for me to change and understand people's obsession; TV shows especially.  I remember my cousins were trying to get me hooked onto something but one of the shows I tried to watch with them was far too superficial for me.  The next show Parenthood was actual quite good.  I wanted to watch it from the beginning but that was around the time I met Brad, the man who would be my husband.
Right from the beginning, the one thing about our relationship that was so different from any other relationship I had been in or wanted to be in was the TV.  Big Bang Theory was the first show he introduced me to.  I loved it.  I was surprised.  When I told him that I had tried other shows but couldn't really get into them, he told me that I just hadn't been introduced to the right shows.  Perhaps!  I soon caught up with all the episodes and I'm current with that show.  I would have never in a million years have guessed that the person current on a show would be myself.
Over time, a few years, it's become a habit.  We watch one or a few episodes (depending on time) before bed.  It's our ritual now.  I told Brad that I wanted to catch up on the old but famous shows, if that's even possible.  Through the past few years, we have finished  Eureka, and watched most episodes of Sherlock Holmes (The Jeremy Brett version), and Cheers.  Without Netflix (I haven't jumped on that band wagon yet) we are currently restricted to Amazon Prime but there's quite a few that I want to watch on Prime before I embark onto Netflix.  After Cheers  (despite not watching season 10 and 11 due to not having it on Prime) we moved on to and finished Sex and the City.  
Over Thanksgiving break we had the task of picking our new Amazon Prime show.  I told my husband that I would like to try Downton Abbey.  I said that I had vaguely remembered friends on FB talking about it or looking forward to it or that people were obsessed with it.  Prime had the show so we started Thanksgiving weekend.
A couple of days ago, we watched the last episode of Season Two.  My heart just went crashing a million times and over.  I did not think I would make it.  The next morning was an early day at work but I couldn't get sleep after watching that last episode.  I felt like I could never be myself again and then it hit me.  All the times that people told me about a show and how I would watch them lose themselves.  Why did they prefer conversation with an acquaintance about a show instead of me?  Why was not understanding this show putting a wedge in our friendship?  Answer:  The show was their life.  It's a gene that splices into their DNA and they will never be the same again.  Downton Abbey has done that to me and now I finally comprehend.
I'm on Season 3, episode 2 and the issues that will plague this season are well set up.  I'm glad I'm doing this.  Really glad.
Don't want to prolong this post, but thank you for reading.  I sincerely apologize for all the times I rolled my eyes at you over a TV show.  Ha ha.  I get it now.  Better late than never, right?
Best to you all.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Resolutions of a space cadet

I'm told my oldest niece is just like me.  Apparently, she likes everything I like and follows in my footsteps.  Oh dear God!  I hope that's not true, because I'm a space cadet.  I can never get things done.  I start projects and leave them half way.  I waste a lot of time staring into dead space (if I have the time).  My schedule is overflowing that I don't know if I'm coming or going half the time.  So, do I hope my niece is like me?  I most certainly hope not.  I hope she has a good head on her shoulders.

I know she wants to write a book.  Well, my book is sitting there.  Somewhere.  Space cadet here just jumped from writing a book to knitting to writing a play to coloring to writing a blog, and let's not forget my HMS model that's sitting and waiting patiently for me to show up.  So, I have been thinking about myself and how to resolve my "spaciness".  I had a cousin tell me to make a to-do list and the thing is that I don't like getting confined by lists.  They are effective, but I just don't like them.  So, I hope my niece uses lists and can handle them.  There's gotta be some hope for her.  I look at myself and wonder how I got the way I did.  Well, I don't know.  Years of craziness, I suppose.

Did I digress?  What else is new?  Back to to-do lists - I was recently told that if I kept my lists super short, then I can accomplish more and still feel like I'm moving forward without being overwhelmed.  This might work.  The past week I've made micro lists.  Just one or two things on my list and I feel great to strike them off.  No more long lists that I stare at and feel like my world is spinning out of orbit, out of control.  I suppose, I sincerely want to make a change in my life; with this blog and with my writing.  I have had time to think about this over the weekend.  I want to blog more.  I want to work on my book.  I want to finish my play.  That's a lot of "want".  I thought that I would wait 'til New Year's to make a resolution.  But then I don't believe in New Year's resolutions.  If there's something that needs to be done, it needs to be done now.  So, I have a new resolution - to just go out and do it, little at a time.  Let's see how this space cadet fares with that.
My schedule has been crazy all the way up to this past weekend. I thought I would start my baby steps yet again  (I've tried before and failed) but sometimes, you just have to try over and over and over.  Right?  So, I did.  Baby step number one:  I have a Facebook page for this blog.  I'm so impressed at doing that.  For a lot of you, it may seem like nothing.  For me, it's a big step.  I had to do the research on how to get a FB blog page that says "Personal blog" because it's not intuitive.  I stuck with it and got it done.
Maybe now I can make monthly personal resolutions and check my progress.  Will I complete anything?  Anything at all?  I don't know.  But we'll see.  This space cadet is lost but I feel, I'm getting found.  Space cadets are constantly shifting and constantly on unknown missions.  A year ago, I was working on a totally different book.  Wrote everyday.  Then every other and then it dwindled to once in 2 weeks to now, can't recollect when I last wrote about it.  I can't recollect the word count when I stopped.  Stuff got in the way.  I need to turn off and empty my schedule so I can put things that matter.  So, slowly but surely, I'm starting to say "no".  I getting back to being in my terrible 2s.  Am I moving forwards or backwards?  We'll see.  Here's to a new resolution and to a new me!

Hope you all are well and catch you all soon.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

The end of an era

Today is Thanksgiving Day 2016 and I'm sitting at home in my PJs, on my computer, in between household tasks of cleaning and laundry.  Sudden flashes of memory distract me.  A distant crackle of laughter.  Family saying hello.  Literal flashes from the camera as I stand with my cousins to capture the memories.  The kitchen filled with warmth and love and food.  My aunt and our helper Zumra buzzing about trying to get everything ready and set to serve.  More guest.  More hellos.  A home filled with love, happiness, family and warmth.  It didn't matter if one stood in the kitchen with all the noise and clanking of dishes or if one stood to the side.  The air was filled with a feeling.  The feeling of togetherness, love and family.  Of course, I could be standing there and watching this and there would be yet another interruption.  When are we playing games?  Of course, it wouldn't be my family if that question didn't come up.  There would be whines of, "not now" and there would be, "Let's get started.  Everyone come on.  Sit down.", "what are we playing?", "not that again!" and of course there would be, "where's the tea?"  Yes, it would be a hodgepodge.  My favorite is "Hold my space, I'm coming." and of course 30 minutes later we are still waiting.  Alas, a beep distracts me.  I had travelled into a memory from Thanksgivings before.  I'm not there now.  I'm still in my PJs at home.  The beep means the laundry is done.
It feels strange.  Very strange.  This will be my first Thanksgiving alone.  We all have gone our separate ways.  My aunt moved to San Diego.  A friend here had her dog spayed so we couldn't really do a party there.  I've been too busy.  I've craved time on my own.  My parents figured it would be good to take some time off by themselves.  I think 2 of my cousins are getting together and my other cousin will spend Thanksgiving with her married family.  My niece went back home to Oklahoma.  What can I say?  She might have been the only person who could have convinced me to have Thanksgiving at my home but with her not being in town, that leaves me here, alone to my thoughts.
I think about the past and change.  I know I've written about it.  This is a big one.
I don't remember the first year we formally did Thanksgiving.  I know it was a long time ago.  I know I was invited and no one else.  Then the next year the whole family was invited.  There was only one turkey.  It was not enough.  The years after it has been 2 turkeys to feed the whole family of about 30 of us.  We went through a phase of people not wanting turkey.  Somewhere, someone felt we were more "Indian" and we should do "Indian food".  I remember thinking, "screw them!"  I was angry then.  I couldn't understand how ungrateful some of us were.  The effort it took to put on a full Thanksgiving meal was met with "why Turkey?" "Why don't you do biryani?" and if my memory serves me right, one Thanksgiving someone brought an "Indian dish" or maybe I can't remember.  We went through that phase.  There's always the process of growth.
Now, like a flower that grows from a bud to full bloom and its petals wither away, our family Thanksgiving tradition has withered away.  That is life.
This kind of change is not new to me although I feel this one the most acutely.  I remember growing up in India and going to my grandparent's home.  They lived in a mansion (I didn't know it then) and had groves of mango trees.  I remember my cousins and I would walk around the mansion and talk like only little girls could about things we thought were life changing.  I smile and reminisce about those days.  Here I am almost 35 years later.  My grandparents had passed away in my teens and the mansion was torn down and an apartment complex was built in its place with the remaining children getting their share of an apartment.  I still have trouble fathoming that.  Why couldn't they declare the building as a historic site and renovate for tours?  I guess, that's the American in me.  Or maybe I want to preserve a slice of an era.  Regardless, that building went down and it was the end of an era for me.
Now, today, it's the end of another.  What will life hold in the future?  How many more eras will end and how many more will begin?  I don't know.  I, for one, will be grateful for being here and being able to see all this change.  And of course, I'm grateful for the memories.
Best wishes all, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving,