A life outside the ordinary

My childhood was spent outside civilian life. Often located tens of kilometers away from a large city or town, factories that build and equip our armed forces and the private housing they provide their employees form mini-cities and develop a culture in themselves. This extraordinary setting was my home until I completed my college and moved West for higher education.

I remember large mansions, thanks to the British origins of our homes. I have memories of running from room to room, identical and adjacent to one another with boarded up fireplaces and sloping tiled roofs. Space was never a constraint and I had never heard of eliminating anything just due to lack of space. We had two kitchens, an outhouse, a long corridor that spanned the entire length of the house with grilled windows (grills were later added to keep the monkeys from entering the house with ease). Our garden was full of trees and a large collection of potted plants curated lovingly by my mom. I remember even a flagpole with a tiny circular dias around it in the center of our garden and endless carefree evenings spent twirling around it. I remember the marigolds that came alive in the early spring and the bougainvilleas that adorned our fence turn to lush pink during the late summer. I saw shepherds gather their goats and sheep walk past our home with our dog Blackie snarling at them. I recall their efforts to pluck fresh tamarind that grew in plenty from the giant Imli trees or stone the mangoes to get some fresh fruit. Roads around our home were private, with complete freedom to walk, run, bike with abandon and summon friends for evening play. I recall buying milk on my own since I was six from the nearby milk booth on my tiny red bicycle. I remember gaping at the depth of the just-drained swimming pool at our local club and accompanying my mother and our help to the weekly vegetable market twice a week, my teddy bear in tow.

Jabalpur is special to me in more ways than one. Though my recollections are tiny compared to my family members who have lived there considerably longer when they were much older than I was, I always remember the place with rose-tinted glasses. Trips to the local ice cream parlor and watching the buffaloes in the diary, counting the pigs and buffaloes wallowing in the naali on the way to the school, the rare city trips that would involve a trip to the bookshop and a bakery to eat hot puffs or watching the fountains in the community garden come alive after being broken (and fabricating stories about how it might be haunted), are all my fondest memories from a place that is often overshadowed by its more important and historically influential neighbors such as Bhopal, Indore and Gwalior. But Jabalpur firmly retains a special love, not just by me but by all who were blessed to spend many years of their life there.

Chennai was no different. We call our private estate as being in Chennai, since the closest city was Chennai. But we lived far from the hustle-bustle of the main city. Whisky and I have spent countless humid evenings rustling the touch-me-nots, biking through the local rowdy group of dogs to irritate them, avoiding thorny bushes and running like headless chicken on the local roads. We have seen cobras do their mating dance, run away from scorpions, escorted so many leeches and snails to safety, waded through ankle deep water during heavy (and rare) monsoons, heard month-long frog and cricket concerts, watched baby-toads swimming in the drains and watched meteor showers from the luxury of our house (thanks to the very dark sky). We had the best of both worlds where we lived in peace and in-sync with nature but had the luxury to venture into one of the largest metropolitan cities of India to eat at a restaurant or very rarely, watch a movie. I loved my home in Chennai that boasted of two floors with large balconies sheltered by tall trees. All I needed for entertainment was my dog Whisky and a big staircase at home on a holiday. Chasing street dogs, watching the birds eat his food and his fear of cats entertained me no end. Birthday parties were simple treasure hunts, memory games and homemade cakes and goodies. Traffic and pollution were never an issue and the facilities to play any sport were just a five minute walk away.

I spent lesser and lesser time at home and more at hostels after Chennai but our place in Dehradun was memorable for its long driveway, portico, abundance of litchi trees and giant voluminous rooms (heating and cooling bills would have been gigantic!). Plants love the chilly Uttarakhand winters, the pleasant spring and fall, producing plenty of vegetables in our tiny patch resulting in delicious pakoras from freshly picked greens and infinite steamed dumplings. Watching the lights of Mussoorie from our home or watching the tiny but fierce Dulhani flow was enchanting, just as having a huge mountain right in front of our home.

As I integrate into the civil society as an adult, with no such luxuries to boast of in my career choice, I reminisce with wonder. I realize today that the things I took for granted were indeed the rarest to find in today’s cities or  in a bustling metropolis. I plan vacations that take me to pristine mountains or lakes, that show me a million stars with fresh air and long to have gardens with tons of flowers and vegetables, but also with the choice of venturing into the heart of the city in under an hour. As spring awakens the slumbering vegetation around me, I cannot help but recollect my childhood homes with utmost fondness.

One might argue that moving frequently has led to no permanent sense of belonging or an established group of friends. The inconvenience of relocating and moving a home can easily overshadow the obvious upside of gathering experiences and creating memories that would otherwise take multiple lifetimes to assimilate. As The Wonder Years rightly pointed out, “Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day, you’re in diapers; next day, you’re gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul”.

In a land far far away

Most people I introduce my birthplace to pass it off as Jaipur, the more famous city that sounds like it but is nowhere near, aesthetically, geographically or culturally. I was born in Jabalpur, a nondescript little town in Madhya Pradesh located almost perfectly in the center of our country and on the tropic of cancer. I’m always proud of that, having a geographic talisman, that represents nothing but the one place where the sun is overhead on the 21st of June. There, I gave a little old-fashioned geographic gyaan. It is a little place swamped with government factories, army cantonments and its ticket to fame is the famous waterfall dhuandhaar or the marble rocks where Narmada gushes over pristine white marble . But dont panic!This post is not written on behalf of M.P tourism (which has a kickass jingle of its own anyway).
I was born in a little village just outside Jabalpur called Madan Mahal. Actually it is one stop prior to Jabalpur station if you go by train. Apparently the best hospital then was in that place far away from where our house was. Of course, today neither the hospital nor the doctor exists. (The doctor had some licensing issues and her degree was revoked! God! I hate to imagine if she was a quack!). So that tragedy apart, we lived in Khamaria, a small village on the outskirts of the little town. Our estate was luxurious, huge villas constructed by the British complete with elaborate portico’s, long driveways big garages and outhouses,red-tile roofs and giant corridors with wooden floors and fireplaces, enormous gardens, parks and tons of trees. It was a cosmopolitan closed little society, where everyone knew everyone else, where one could ride bikes without the fear of any traffic, where huge empty spaces with little grass were in abundance for kite-flying and little shepherds with their flock of sheep used to invade the estates during the hot summer afternoons. Tales of panthers and cheetahs spotted near tiny little creeks just outside the estate used to prevent us from venturing towards the factory which was mostly in a jungle. We had a little triangular park with lush grass and rabbits and deer and even a toy-train, a musical fountain and a dinosaur with glowing eyes. The little Westland bazaar used to come alive every tuesday and I used to accompany my mom and our domestic help as they filled their bags with fresh organic vegetables and fruits. Something that we pay insane amounts for here. Beautiful gulmohar and eucalyptus trees lined the roads which turned flaming orange in the fall. It was a beautiful place to grow up in then and it was my home.
My mornings were all about going to Moni dairy and picking the cow I wanted milked and getting free ice-cream samples of the newest flavors ;bathing in cold water in summers and scooting off to school on Vishuprasad’s bike and watching the buffaloes wallow in the mud as his cycle rolled down the steep hill into Chandan colony and to my school St.Gabriels. My afternoons were playing hopscotch with my baby-sitter and eating her delicious daal-chawal or waking up Blackie from his afternoon siesta. There were no 1000 channels or flat-screen tv’s. I dont even remember paying any attention to the television unless it was Sunday morning 10 am when we watched Ramayan or Sri Krishna in rapt attention. My idea of fun was running around the garden, sitting on guava trees or mango trees and avoiding the monkeys. I used to accompany my dad to Digambar stores, a tiny little grocery shop and then watching in awe as the mithaiwala in sonali sweets made samosas by the dozen in an instant. Eating hot jalebis and cutlets, reading all signboards in shudh Hindi. I knew not a word in tamil. Club dinners and diwali melas where I used to eat Chhole Bhature and ride on giant wheels and hang out with my sister’s friends. Teej season was one of hearty shrikhand-puris and sooji halwas in every aunty’s house. I used to pluck fresh vegetables from mom’s vegetable patch or play with newborn chicks and goats. Wild hibiscus and genda(marigold) lined our gardens. Spent days watch the langurs take over entire gardens and destroy them and named two-red faced ones Morgan and Torgan. Evenings were for pittu or just some crazy bike-riding. Not Diablo 3’s or Wii’s. The trip to the one bookshop in Sadar Bazaar was filled with extreme delight and hour-long rickshaw rides to chungi or the rickety tempos that took you to “the city” were highly anticipated. It was so magical and innocent. It was not a city, there were no supermarkets, no cell phones, no computers, just us in a small little town with so many friends. Summer vacations to Madras were like going to another country in a train that took 42 hours. Still, nothing felt like going home to Jabalpur.
I realize how different my life is today. Of course, you need to keep up with the times and move with the flow of technology. Everything there has changed as well ( as I realized much to my chagrin in 2005). But my memories remain fresh and clear, almost like a fairy-tale.Except that it was real and in a land far-far away.

De-grudging myself

At the outset, Happy Diwali to everyone. Hope you are enjoying your Diwali in whatever way possible with a little thought for the environment as well. I know I’ve been MIA for quite a bit from this space but believe me, I get these exceedingly great blog post ideas a few minutes before shut-eye and the next morning I dont remember any of it! But this post is more of a personal experiment (read: change) that I’m trying to perform. I call it the de-grudging, much like de-cluttering. Except here, it is all in my head.

When I was a little kid, my dad gifted me two special books. One was this thin red book that had a tribal or some international art form (I dont remember now exactly) and read “Folk Tales from around the World”. It was a special book for me for not only its stories and exotic settings ( Poland, Peru, Thailand etc.) but it had a different font. The paper was also a little creamish and felt so different. I always like the feel of a book. I like to hold the pages between my fingers and feel the page and admire the font settings and appreciate how beautiful some words look in print (wrapped is one such word – dont ask me why) and enjoy the prettiness of it all. Ok ok , I will stop ranting but you get the idea. So this book had this story about a little girl from Poland who had a lot of grudges against people. She was always miffed and angry and sported a scorn at all times on her face.No one liked her, she had no friends, she was never happy. Then one day an angel ( Now Im not sure if it was an angel or God but some holy spirit) decided to teach her a lesson. Every time she sprouted a grudge against someone, a brick appeared in her room. So as she kept getting angry with people, more and more bricks appeared. Slowly, they began to fill her room, her house and it became impossible to live. Her parents were desperate and did not know what was happening. Everyone was very unhappy, including the little miserable girl. One day she got an idea to drop grudges against people. And she did. As she forgave them, the bricks started disappearing and lo behold! not a single brick remained. The girl forgot about holding grudges and became a very happy little girl. They all lived happily every after.

So you might ask, what has this got to do with me. I realized about the “bricks” in my head. Of course as a child I thought they were real bricks which appeared, but the real meaning sunk in much later. I realize I was the one at a loss when I kept sprouting reasons to dislike people. And it was infectious. Then I thought of this story and realized well, it is only me who will be left miserable at the end of it all and started dropping grudges. As I went about clearing that pile of bricks I realized I was so happy and relaxed. I no longer had a reason not to talk to someone or remember misdeeds and heat up my brain. I could use that memory space for more beautiful and happy ones. Really, sounds like a lot of tosh on paper? No, trust me. It feels wonderful and I feel cleaner and lighter than I’ve ever been.

If Diwali is a time to clean, I think the timing is perfect. I have cleaned my most important asset, my head and am happier than ever. Im not qualified enough to ask anyone else to do so, but it is a wonderful feeling. I would really like to get my hands on that book again. It was lost in so many transfers. I will hunt it down though. ( It had this story about what mosquitoes really say when they humm near your ears- they are actually asking if you have their queen’s earrings!!)

On another note, the second book I was referring to was called “Popular Tales from Rajasthan”. It had a blue cover with a side-view face of a Rajasthani woman I’ve replicated like a zillion times. It had great stories, some ghostly, about Rajasthani princes and brides and forests etc. It was also where I first read the word “magnanimous” and impressed my first-grade English teacher with reasonably accurate usage. Sigh, fond memories.

Happy Diwali again folks! And happy degrudging! 🙂

Log – mid september 2011

My last post(s) were quasi-personal i.e personal opinion though not personal blogging. Now its time to make a quick recap of the last 9 months ( remember readers – more for me than you :D)
– Welcomed new years fast asleep with lights on and totally forgot to wish everyone at home the next day – check
– Returned to college with familiar dread – check
– Devastating loss of my hamster and fish – Sob! check
– 6 inch thick ice sheets and college closed – check
– Dismayed to attend a lecture on skype – check
– Ice skating to get groceries – check
– Shocking amounts of work proving second year research has begun – check
– Got no reservation on Valentine’s day and finally ate Chalupas from taco bell in the car -(super awesome) check
– Ate boiled vegetables for 40$ and awesome cakes that was finally worth it for 15$ – check
– Losing a quarter under the seat at the toll booth at 2 am and laughing our asses off to utter dismay of Cashier – check
– Ate home-made Sambhar and almost missed India-Pakistan clash because of food coma – check
– Dizzying amounts of work one day before proposal submission proving starting early does nothing – check
– Crazy proposal day that almost became a disaster – check
– Getting a special gift at the apple store – check
– Debugged a code for 60 hours straight realizing the error was just the data type on ONE line ( Integer instead of real)- check
– Fought with student regarding homework submission – check
– Bought my first pant-suit – check
– Georgia Aquarium for Pranav with him falling asleep at the entrance and waking up just as we finished it – check
– My first tornado warning / watch – check
– My first Zumba class which eventually became an addiction – check
– Got sun-burnt at a beach along with a crab bite – check
– Wave Boarding in the Atlantic – check
– Yanni’s concert – check
– Salt water taffys at Cape May – Check
– More proof that everything in PhD comics is so true – Check
– Unplanned trip to Lake Lanier where we ended up encroaching someone’s camp ground and ate lunch hiding from camp rangers- check!!
– Had the best trek till date on the Applachian trail that ended in consuming insane amounts of guacamole – check
– Best Blues Lounge with shittiest drinks – check
– Started listening to the blues – check
– Welcoming Manikantan (double crown-tail betta) to our lives- Check
– Killed a bonsai – Check
– Grew coriander that only lasted 6 hours – check
– White water rafting – check
– Screwed a kindle – check
– Missed most movies because I slept at 7:30 pm on a Friday night – check
– Went to a dance club dressed like an eskimo – check
– Wore tracks and sneakers to a posh bar – check
– Learnt French – check
– Had the first gourmet dinner date at a top-notch restaurant – check
– Restarted swimming -check
– Ran my first 5K in 38 degrees C and almost died – check
– Watched Federer lose every grand slam – ARRRRGGGHHHH
– Learnt poker – check
– Cooking – umm, ok dont check that.
– Waxed off eyebrows – check
– Hit myself in the head for missing US Open again (not going to Flushing meadows) – check
– Lost weight – HAHAHAHAHA, no way!
– Left facebook and survived- Big yes!
– Fought like mad with everyone near and dear – Ob
Not bad eh? Now come the shopping and birthday times to round off the year. Lalalaa…

Believe in Magic, you muggle!

This quote borrowed from Big Bang Theory aptly summarizes my relationship with Rowling and Harry Potter (the books not movies). I remember standing in Connexions in the summer of 1998 and wondering what book to buy. All Enid Blytons had worn off, Lord of the Rings looked too boring and frighteningly thick. I was drawn to this book with a blue car and two boys drawn on it that read “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”. I read the synopsis at the back. ” At the magical school of Hogwarts…” I kept it down without a second thought. Magic, gah must be some boring thing meant for younger folks ( at 11 you tend to consider yourself very old and mature). I did read it eventually, all in the wrong order starting with Goblet of Fire, Prisoner of Azkanban, Socerer’s stone and Chamber of secrets (I did read the rest in correct order on the day of their release) and that was the time I realized the power of words. How they could create a whole new world, characters I thought were almost real, conjure up flying dragons, cars, wands, Diagon alleys, goblins just with words.That was truly magical for me, apart from the world it described of course.

This became my obsession for most of my early teens. I used to read forums after forums anticipating endings, reasoning out events with utmost sincerity, subject my dad to long details about the book everyday (so much so his email id now has a horcrux in it!) and read and re-read the books. Even today, a copy of the Dealthy hallows sits on my dining table and I have to set alarms on my phone to remind me to stop reading and do other things. (Sigh, I miss the days when I could lie on my bed all day and just read, my mom continually asking why I lacked this dedication in acads!) I have never read a more perfectly balanced story of love,hate, intricate details and most of all magic that appears so real. There is a good and bad but the shades of grey in everyone’s persona doesnt really take you too far from reality. It was honestly those times that were the most magical. Those hours you spend imagining how it would be if a platform 9 3/4 came up in Chennai central, or staring at spiders and wondering if you’d be scared if they were 1000x their current size. I have done all that. I was the lucky generation that grew with the books. Harry, Hermione and Ron were always my contemporaries and growing up with them has been the most enchanting feeling. The teenage angst, the deeper understanding of Dumbledore’s words that strike so much later, the desire to know everything was all in perfect sync with the books as they were released. I think we must consider ourselves exceedingly lucky that we could wait with bated breath at landmark at midnight grabbing on to the fresh new copies of the book and bringing torchlights along to read in the car on the way back. For me, the books were everything and they will always unleash the magic no matter how ancient I become.

But movies were a let-down. I watched the first two movies when I was in the thick of this PhD-like study of Harry Potter where I could chant spells in my sleep. I hated the movies. It somehow put an end to my imagination. I had imagined a fancier Hogwarts express, a more fantastic Hogwarts castle, a different Ron, a different Hermione ( Harry was somehow always drawn on the covers so he matched Daniel Radcliffe). But the main part the books missed was the magic, the unsaid emotions so brilliantly portrayed with just words. The sparks or the flashes of the spells didnt so much matter as did the emotions through the characters. It looked goofy. It still does today. I am never a fan of any of the movies, I am sorry. So I find this whole bidding good-bye and emotional send off un-understandable. I felt movies were a way to cheat, a way for folks who had never picked up a book in their lives to enter this magical world. But once I saw the movies, I was assured that they will never know the real beauty of this entire series.
Magical the whole 7 book series is – of balanced people with both good, bad and bewildering characters, of simplistic narratives and language that seldom called for the dictionary, of interesting insights into folklore, a whole new game that felt so real you even had betting and world cups for it complete with glittering opening ceremonies! My praise for the entire franchise could go on and on ( I realize I have written a lot already!). So let me make just a small request for anyone who is mildly interested in experiencing the great joy that millions of people(not just kids) had over the world but has only watched the movies. Read the books. Only then you’ve stuck with Harry till the very end!

JLT

Finally, my semester began today. It is a surprising thing to say but I’ve been waiting for it this time. My schedule looks terrible, classes are even tougher and I’ve a huge looming proposal ahead of me but weirdly I couldn’t wait to get started. Last Monday, when my semester was officially set to begin, I wanted some more free time. Some time to chill and relax and bask in the calm before the storm. But due to the sudden snowmaggedon that Atlanta was subjected to (really, it was snow-dumping and not falling – more than 5 inches in just 3 hours) and the subsequent icecalypse that followed, it started a week late. Ive never seen so much ice, sheets and sheets of it, solid, permitting not a car on the road, not a soul could walk anywhere unless you knew ice skating. Entire football fields, car parks converted into ice rinks which refused to melt! So we got a week off, not without homeworks already posted and classes held on skype. (Yes, yes I’m not kidding, they really were). Some things happen only@tech!

So yea, I was back to justifying my cheer. I realize that if holidays are suddenly imposed on you, gone are the days you’d happily laze at home watching cars and people skid and slumber away to glory. I was restless to get back to my stuff, hating the delay despite having a stash of movies to watch, a hundred things I could have done. Funny person I am.

On a totally random note, with the end of the Margazhi masam, the wedding season has begun. It meant a succession of kalayanam sapadu and long drives amid choked roads to far-off mandapams. But this year, a lot of my friends (or acquaintances more technically) are getting married. Gosh! those are the girls who I played foot-cricket with, sat next to in class, distributed notebooks to and shared lunch with. Married?! That was for older people. Really matured folks who knew what to do in life, were ready to cook food on a daily basis, maintain a home and someday have kids and all that. It is so hard to believe they are married or are excited about it. So that should technically mean, I am in the “marriage-able” age too right? But I feel nothing of the sort. I expected a sort of enlightenment to surround me the day I am ready for such a commitment. Nothing so far. I cannot imagine having a home to run, a husband (EEEEEKS!!!), suddenly being in the married bracket of society who is off-limits for any kind of wild partying,dating or flirting. Beyond imagination. Definitely. My facebook page that had begun to resemble engagement albums, now has started looking like a slide-show of marriage-albums. I flip through the snaps looking exasperatedly at the bride, remembering how she looked the last time I had seen her, and the coy smiles, expensive sarees and the smug husband who now stood next to her and how they were now man and wife, seen by the society in a totally different light and all grown up and MARRIED. Enough of a shock for me to close the window and breathe deep. Shyte. One more bites the dust.

I’m not saying it is wrong to get married. Of course, it is a fundamental requirement of any society.It scares me that I am already in the age group of people tying the knot. Have we all grown up so soon? Physically and age-wise, probably. But mentally and emotionally – dont count me in!

Well coming back to me,this year is so exciting sports wise – Australian Open (please please please Federer – continue your streak at the Aussie Open, I cannot take another Nadal win !) followed by the World Cup in Indian subcontinent. It is the last chance for God personified aka Sachin Tendulkar to win it for us. That would be the ultimate glory in his already feathered cap and India can really build a temple for him (that they can already for all his greatness) . I feel Ayodhya issue can be solved peacefully if they actually do build one for him.Nothing brings Indians closer than cricket and I think nobody has a complaint against Sachin. I am excited about this world cup. With the Aussies on the downward slope, we have a good chance.

I know this post is random but I have some really interesting things I want to write about. I will, shortly. This semester, I’m determined not to waste this space.

Right now, I cannot get ‘Dil toh baccha hai ji’ out of my mind or playlist. Fabulous.

Ignorance Exposed

Note: No exaggeration here.

With graduation comes the inevitable question, “What next?”. What I have experienced is that, unless your answer is “A job” or “Job then MBA” or just “MBA”, those eyebrows do narrow into a frown, or vanish into the hair often accompanied by widened eyes and the mouth blurts out various hilarious things which I have tried to put together here. Many of those things are just blaring examples of ignorance or as I like to see it; a success story in the continuous attempt by the media to brainwash the people. Oh Boy! They have done a splendid job.

The sadder or funnier part is these very people are the educated class, the newspaper-reading, tech-savy individuals or so I thought. So without any further ado, let me get started with whatever I have been told so far.

Aunty1: (On hearing I’m going to USA, she didnt wait to hear what for) Arre ! How are your parents sending a jawan ladki all by herself to the USA ? Wahan jaake pata nahi kya karogi ( WHAT THE…! )

Aunty2 : (On hearing its for higher studies) You can give CAT again you know, ek baar mein haar nahi maan-te. Dont run away to USA just because you didnt crack CAT the first time. ( Eh? When did CAT come into my scheme of things..people just assume CAT is just another exam as compulsory as the XII boards I guess).

Uncle1 to my dad: Why are you spending so much money on sending her to USA?If you want her to go to the states get her married to a US-settled boy, yahin kaam karne do.

Aunty3: Why didnt you join your job in Wipro? Its so much better than what you are opting for! (Hahahaa…I’ll tell that to the PSD, they’ll be thrilled)

Aunty4: Bina interview ya exam ke selection kaise hua? (Without interview or exam how did u get through) Management seats or what ? ( LOL)

Aunty5: (Now she was a sweetheart till I told her I’m going for an MS-PhD): OMG! PhD! Doctor?! Arey if you study so much which boy will marry you? ( There goes all the sweetness)

Uncle2: I never expected this from you, why are you wanting to be a professor ? ( I clarified that I never uttered the word professor) he continues ” A PhD means a professor only na? What other jobs do these people get?” ( Umm…)

Uncle3 to my dad : Now she will wear soda-glasses and be like those irritating scientists,hahahaha… (Hahah, very nice imagination)

Relative1: You didnt get any job ? Dont worry I have contacts and will help you out, just sit and prepare for ur CAT this year till then. (:X)

Relative2: Why do you want to study so much? You are a girl man, enjoy your life.

There were so many more but these responses stayed in my head. CAT forms the other other respectable career-choice followed by working. None of this is exaggerated and it is in fact downplayed since I didn’t convey the gasps or the mortified facial expressions. Of course there are those few people who are in fact happy with my decision and accept it wholeheartedly and genuinely ask me to enjoy or even help me by telling the hot research fields, but this is a snapshot of the general perception of the people.The word “marriage” is a hell lot prominent now and the USA factor giving it a special boost. Ignorance raises its ugly head in the most flummoxing manner.

Many a time, the way your IQ-estimate in their head plummets, leading them to hastily change topics to bollywood or weather is funny. Sad, but true.