Friday, February 27, 2009


Quiznos is this sandwich place .... no it's a sub place. If I'm right they're called subs because the bread's shaped like submarines. No one calls 'em sandwiches anymore. In fact no one makes them out of those pretty square pieces of bread anymore. It's always subs.

Anyway... so quiznos is this sub place that is located very strategically in my life. It's on the way from my lab to the bus stop. It's also right across the indian grocery store that one has to frequent several times a month to buy all kinds of frozen rotis and parathas and shredded coconut and masalas and atta noodles. At my place, we're always stocking up everything as though a storm were brewing. And still, if a storm comes, we wouldn't last an hour. I'm pretty sure of that.

In any case, after a tired day, when you're on your way home, it's nice to stop by quiznos to buy a quick sammy (it's a 2 dollar mini something. It's not a sub. It's a clumsy sandwich that I haven't gotten around to eating gracefully yet). When one is hungry, it is exactly the right size for you to quickly gulp it before walking across the road to the indian store (this manoevre probably explains the complete lack of sub-eating-grace), where trust me, carrying dozens of frozen rotis and all sorts of things that you think you're going to need, or reminds you of home, or reminds you that you never used to like it much back in india, but things have changed a lot since coming to a country that sells subs instead of paneer cheese sandwiches... basically, the load gets pretty heavy and you've to ingest some carbs before embarking on such an endeavour.

That's how quiznos is making a lot of money off me. Whenever I forget to get lunch or get up too late or cannot be bothered or am not in the mood to have roti and something from 4 days ago yet another time, it's quiznos to the rescue again.

Why quiznos needed to give away a gazillion free subs, I don't know. But they did. And my friend called me and sent me a coupon and told me to print it and claim what is rightfully mine ( all free things are rightfully mine. All things that cost are also rightfully mine, and they're all going to hell some day to avenge for their sins!!!). And of course, any self-respecting and starved grad student is in the mood for all things free and bountiful. I print my coupon and head to quiznos proudly knowing that I am very much going to like this freebie. Hold on... I printed my coupon.... but I did not take it with me. And I've worked up this appetitie and am standing in the line with a million others nursing their hunger and waiting for their small sub when I realize that I dont' have the coupon. I figured... eh... what the heck... I might as well buy the small sub anyway and come claim the freebie tomorrow. And there's lovely toasted bread smell wafting in the air. And melted cheese aroma. And the greenery of fresh lettuce. And the gorgeous looking black olives and mushrooms. And I stand in that hazy place for 15 minutes before I get to place my order.

And this is where I prove to the world that Quiznos is not only a great sub place but is also good at marketing its subs. Because I ordered a 9 dollar large veggie sub. A large veggie sub is humongous. It's large enough for US to come at you, insist that you are a country by yourself, then prove to the UN (which is synonymous for US) that you're building a nuclear arsenal, and then come at you and insist that you sign the non proliferation treaty. That really is how large, the large sub is. And that's how big my appetitite had gotten in 15 minutes of wait time.

And if tomorrow they publish a report in the pittsburgh-post0gazette about the healthy local economy and the encouraging increase in the consumer spending and the small ray of hope that the worst is behind us, we'll all know exactly what's behind this strange trend won't we ?

Go Gastric Juices!!!

PS :
What happened to the missing coupon ? I don't know. I can't seem to find it.

I wanted to glitter up my post with my newly acquired knowledge of nucleii in the human brain. There's this one nucleus to which input from both the gut and the tongue go to. Which is important... coz salivation and intestinal juice activity is intricately connected. But this newly acquired knowledge has long since abandoned me and I don't know the name of that nucleus. And there can be nothing geekier on a "thank god it's friday" than to peruse through the brain atlas to spot this nucleus. Which I cannot be bothered to do.

Monday, February 23, 2009

To cut a long story short.....

Once upon a time, in a land not too far away, so close that we are all sitting on it right now, there was a strange girl called Nature and her bff, a scatterbrain called Evolution. They never quite knew what to do with their lives and lived rather smugly in the knowledge that they had all the time in the world to figure it out. One day they woke up and decided to take a walk. And while they were taking this walk they stumbled into a little imp called meiosis. Meiosis, it turned out had a very strange hobby. He liked to tear things apart into tiny pieces and then put them back together again. But he had a very bad memory. He never knew which went into what. But he was so crazy about his hobby and he loved all the new shapes and colours and forms that came about and it seemed like he would never run out of ideas. There was always something new that he was creating. Evolution and nature loved meiosis. He was such a jolly chap- this meiosis. He never regretted anything he made. But what does it do meio ?, nature would ask. Meio almost never had an answer. I don't know, he'd say cheerfully. But look, it was never there before, isn't that wonderful ? It's new. It's unique. And nature looked around. And with her, so did evolution. And they found that they were living in a land of forever new and forever rad and forever cool. So meiosis and nature and evolution went about haplessly and happily without a care in the world.
Pretty soon they were making things that were swimming, and walking and creeping and crawling and flying. And there were new colours everywhere.

And then were born people who were odd mixtures of their parents and found it hard to find any sense of self because sometimes these parental mixtures don't exactly complement each other. One such example is me. And of course "I" am the point of this long story. So I find in myself, half of my mom and half of my dad and am often confused with what I'm supposed to do with my mind, body and spirit. The mind pretty much does what it wants, the body has never really listened to me, but oh my spirit!
Oh my cunning, conniving spirit that won't ever let go of me!

My dad- he's the practical sensible guy. He thinks and believes and for the most part practices sitting down, thinking things through and choosing the best alternatives.It's smart, it works and he claims to be at peace with himself. My mom- she's the emotional gal. She feels. Period. All her actions are extensions of what she feels. And there's no predicting what she feels. That works too and according to her, she too is quite at peace at herself.

And there is me. I see two contradicting ways of living lives. And I see that they both work. And with all my scientific knowledge, I know too, that I am not the exact replica of them. I must figure out my own way of finding peace. Except... perhaps my genetic composition is tearing me poles apart. Alright. Chuck nature for a bit.

Let's look at this other gal called "nurture". Who this nurture is, no one really knows. She seems to crop up every now and then. If ever there is a mess lying around and one cannot blame it on the infamous trio - "nature, meiosis and evolution", we blame it on this poor girl called "nurture". And sometimes, she will say- look, blame nature. I'm sort of a distant cousin. I may be responsible for this, but let me also tell you this. If nature didn't do her bit, then I wouldn't be able to do my bit. You know the story of the last straw on the camel's back. This poor guy kept piling on straw after straw on the camel. And at one point the camel couldn't bear the burden anymore. And he was almost about to fall. Then came the final straw. And this did it. The camel fell and could never get up again. Who does one blame ? The final straw or all the straws that came before that. I am nurture. I am the final straw. You seriously cannot blame me", she yelled. And to this date the argument continues, who created the mess- is it nature or is it nurture. Of course, the irony is, we can never really stop either of them. But perhaps knowing who did what will make us feel somewhat better. But for now... on to nurture.

And in their special styles my parents take their turns doing their parental duties. They advise me, guide me, and thankfully let me make all the mistakes I want in the world before I have to consult them on how to sort it out. And of course, my mom will tell me to choose one of them and never sulk about it and never regret it. That's it. If you're going to regret it, don't do it. My dad will tell me to do the thing that makes the most sense. But whatever you do,be comfortable with it he says.In life there are only two kinds of decisions- ones that you're comfortable with, and ones that you're not comfortable with. But then he will lay out neatly, all the pros and cons and let me know all the factors I should be thinking about. And my mom will let me know all the things I might end up feeling.

And I have ended up becoming a strange, strange person. I am a mix of the rarest emotions and the most practical of thoughts. I try making sense of everything I feel, and try feeling everything I think. And that concoction makes for this entity they chose to christen Janani. Read that sentence again and mull over it. It is a strange strange sentence. It's like asking someone to count the texture or touch a colour. It is synaesthesia. Those three friends nature, evolution and meiosis, and that fourth idiot called nurture have made me who I am. For that matter, all of this world.

On the flipside, I have come to realize that life simply happens to me. And so far, its been mostly good things- if you discount my clumsiness and my klutziness. And in this world view, I can never blame myself for anything going wrong, and that's a huge load off my shoulders. My great aunt would always bless everyone "may you have peace of mind". She wouldn;t say "may you become a doctor" or "may you have 16 wonderful kids" or "may you get married to someone with a steady income and with a certain pension". She'd say "may you have peace of mind". By realizing that there is a very very small bit of my life that I can control. Much of it has been decided by my past, and much of it is being decided by an indecipherable present. Together, they're willing me into an unpredictable future. And that makes for an adventure. Boring adventure perhaps. But adventure nonetheless.

If wishes are ever heard, and upon being heard, if they are ever granted, my only wish is for a peaceful adventure.

I know i know. Let's not go into how i've strayed far, far, far away from the definitions of nature, nurture, evolution and meiosis. If it makes it believable to think that I was under the influence of LSD whilst writing this, I will not be offended.