Monday, 29 December 2008

Another Year; Another Conference

I have conferences coming out of my ears now. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, another one the past week. Thankfully I managed to slime out after the first half day. I was happy I was there for the introductory exercise though, since it was at a University (and not some random hotel or an institute of higher learning - read- engineering geeks galore), they had the music department folk sing the invocation song, which rocked. They also had Vande Mataram and the National Anthem. In the first, the expectation was that the computer would play the song and we would hang out. But of course I could not stop myself and sang it loudly and others in the auditorium did as well (though many of the gentlemen did not know the lyrics, of course).

It was too cold for me. I have a scratchy throat as a consequence. I had to forego my initial urge to wear a sari - I would have frozen in it - and wear western, along with my fat Boston coat and shoes and socks. I still froze in the room after the first two very boring lectures by various people. Thankfully I was happy to hear someone say 'Its time to make some changes and stop treating this as an old boys network' I am sure he meant it in the sense of concentrating on impact and quality and so on, but I took it as a thing to do with the overwhelming gender bias in these places. Yeah, I was pretty much the only female (of my age), thankfully the younger, student generation had a reasonable number of girls.

One middle aged lady came up to me at lunch and started talking as if I (and pretty much everyone else in the world) should know her. I did not. But was trying hard to be polite. Then I finally connected the dots and figured out that she is the wife of this big shot type guy who spoke long and incoherently hard. I said, Oh you are Mrs. So and So. What a pleasure to meet you. And under my breath, "I should have seen the resemblance" It is true what they say. You marry someone and keep at it for a bit and you start to look like each other. Scary thought. Discussed it with the husband later that night, and though we laughed at my under the breath comment, both of us were worried about that possibility. In our case though, we will always have our one-foot-height difference so you can tell us apart. Plus he wears a lot more jewelery than I ever do. I have hope. And no, my friends and family reading this please do NOT comment on this matter now, it is too scary an idea.

We returned home very tired last night. Thankfully I recovered my energy by indulging in my lost pastime of cooking. I started with my usual recipe of a ton of veggies and ended in something I would like to call Veggie Blitz, which we polished off in the night. The monster insisted on steamed baby corn (yeah! finally she eats baby corn! my most-unimaginative, un-adventurous girl) and baby potatoes. I stuffed some of my Veggie Blitz with rice in as she read a book. And we had a special Matka Curd which was nice though a bit sour for me.

The Punjab experience in all was pretty nice. I liked the robust looking men, although a bit on the fair side for me (like its all up to me!!). The nip in the air was mostly nice, despite throat issues. We walked around and very FOB-ly commented that the 17th Sector Market looked like the Boston Common thingie. Minus the fire throwers and kids on skate boards, of course. A begging child I strongly felt the urge to take home and bathe (thankfully resisted such temptations). Punished the monster for bad behaviour by denying her some books she insisted she 'needs.' Annoyed a salesboy by buying men's running shorts for myself (why ever not? the women's things are all too pansy and pink for me).

And we are leaving in about an hour to Sunnier climes, hopefully I will run and not live to complain about the foot after that.

Happy New Year 2009 meanwhile to my gentle readers.

7 comments:

dipali said...

Conferencing Kenny!
We may ask you for veggie blitz recipes yet!

Serious Lounger said...

i will resist comments for now :D :P..

Sociologist on the Loose said...

hey MusingsfromMumbai,

Glad to see another post about conferences and being hte only woman/Indian in the room. I always feel invisible and at the same time too visible at these things.
I have this really crazy urge sometimes to just sit some particularly blind person down, and educate them. Like force them to sit down, and then whip out a powerpoint (a screen appears magically behind me), and I go over about a couple of decades worth of data and research about how gender/race bias works. And then I say something that sounds like astalavista baby but more cutting.

anyway, my point is - great post. Am glad I found your blog through a link on a friend of a friend's blog.

choxbox said...

happy new year to you too lady, and to the wee one and the tall one.

kbpm said...

dipali-
sure! throw in lot of veggies in a non-stick vessel and add sambar powder and salt (more or less).

SL-
good boy. i found some old photos of yours so its best you reserve your comments in any case.

SOTL-
thanks!
i dont want to talk to these people any more. we should attend some conf. together and you can talk and i can hang in the back and look dangerous. i am up for that.
can you like please open out your profile, am staying up nights wondering who you are.

chox-
thanks and wish the same to your folks. i am still feeling bad to miss you all when you were here (especially the girls...)

dipali said...

An award awaits you at my place.
Will certainly try the veggies!

dipali said...

An award awaits you, Kenny=please come by and collect it.