brown sugar: want some sweetness?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Stories from the Store

As I've mentioned before, my parents own convenient stores. What I've failed to mention is that they happen to own them in some the whitest suburban towns in the Bay Area. Interestingly enough, my parents' (and the employees') presence has caused somewhat of an intrigue with "Indian culture".
Exotification #1:
Customer: I just saw this wonderful movie about your people.
Mom: Really, which one? "The Kamasutra"?
Customer: No. It was called "The Nama-sake" (the "sake" pronounced as our favorite Japanese drink)
Mom: You mean "The Namesake"?
Customer turns bright red.

Exoticfication #2
Mom: Where did you get all of this food? Chawal, daal, sabzee?
Tony (our manager): From that crazy gori that wears a sari all the time.

Mom: Why did she bring you food?

Tony: She thinks that all Indians are vegetarians. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I only like meat dishes.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

New Beginnings

New Year, New Job, New Adventures!

And (maybe) New Posts!

Happy Belated New Years Everyone!



Tuesday, December 4, 2007

"You Can Be My Hero, Baby!"

Yes, I am officially the biggest dork ever. But I couldn't resist this Krishan Behl pic. Anything to make Brownie smile :-).

Happy Tuesday!

Christian Bale Maybe Going Overboard With the Heroes

Bale Also to Save Humanity Without Cape: Now it’s official: Following last week’s rumor, Variety reports that Christian Bale is in fact in final negotiations to play hero John Connor in Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins. Can’t the star of the super-sweetly-monikered The Dark Knight get them to do something about that title? [Variety

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Monday, November 26, 2007

My Life Is A Bollywood Movie

*My old college roommate is dating the brother of a guy I’m somewhat interested in (no, not good since I’m not sure where the relationship with me and him is going-talk about awkward).
*The past few weeks I’ve been realizing that I’m way too interconnected with what seems to be everyone in the Bay Area (see above and then some).
*ID crisis of who I should be
*I hate what I’m doing but I can't seem to get a break for a new opportunity
*I’ve started becoming a good Desi wife by cooking elaborate Punjabi meals
*I’m still mourning the one that I lost
*My fashion sense is becoming even more ridiculous
*I spend more time day dreaming than working
*No matter how hard I rebel or get in trouble, people still like me
*I can’t seem to get the latest Shah Rukh Khan movie soundtrack out of my head.

This pretty much sums up my month of November. I'm just waiting for the climax and the eventual happy ending :-).


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tell KABC Radio Host Al Rantel to Apologize for Calling the Turban a Diaper


Al Rantel of KABC Compares Turban to Diaper

Radio Commentator, Al Rantel, host of a daily program on Los Angeles radio station KABC 790AM, was discussing airport security on September 10, 2007, when he said:
If my 80-year-old mother has to take off her shoes during a security screening "then why shouldn’t a Sikh be required to take off the hat that looks like a diaper they wear on their heads?”

SALDEF urges you to show your support in asking Mr. Rantel to issue an on-air public apology to the Sikh American community. Add your name to the petition, demanding Mr. Rantel apologize for his comments comparing a religious article to shoes and diaper.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Oh Where In The World Is Sugar????

Hello readers,

Yes, it is I, brown sugar, still alive and well. Sorry I haven't updated my blog in over 6 weeks (yikes!). I didn't realize it until Ganesh commented on my previous post. Part of it is interviewing for new jobs (gonna hear if I got my dream job or not Monday morning-send some good luck vibes to me), another part is trying to meet new people in the wake of people moving on with their lives away from CA.

Also, to be honest, I have been toying with the idea of shutting down the blog. The "Happy One Year" essays were a way to begin the healing process that I had been avoiding, and now that it is complete (the essays, the healing is starting to begin), I'm not too sure where to go with the blog. As you may remember, I was supposed to meet up with BP in NYC. It happened on a windy afternoon by the Staten Island Ferry during his cigarette break, and basically, it just made me sad to see a medicated BP who wasn't as vibrant as the man I once cared for all those years ago. I guess me playing with this idea of shutting the blog is a way to close that chapter in my life. But then again, I adore the community we have here and have had the honor of meeting some of you IRL and calling you genuine friends. Without this blog, I don't think I would have met them.

Sure, I still have some random encounters with folks (like the guy who proposed to me 20 minutes after meeting me and another proposal from a guy who thought I was Yemenese-don't ask me why these proposals are coming, I'm just a quirky brown girl with a weird fashion sense and a strange obession with Bollywood. But, hey, at least my mom is thrilled), but I don't know if I have any other stories to share. Guess my life is pretty boring apart from that.

No, this is not a declaration of a blog shut-down, but I just wanted to share where I am at. Who knows, I may start posting more next week (especially if I get the new job). Just wanted to say that I am here and still working on things and who knows, I may be back in full force before you know it (or not). Until then, I look forward to reading (and commenting) on your wonderful blogs and appreciating the community we have.

-b :-)

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Happy One Year-Section 3

Well, I finally got the nerve to publish the last part. It's been hard since a lot of things I'm going through right now, mainly with my career,is related to this post. There is a lot more, but honestly, I'm glad to be sharing this portion with you. Thanks!

Happy One Year-Section 1

Happy One Year-Section 2

The time between BP’s departure from my life and my graduation six weeks later was a blur. I passed my comprehensive exam, completed my clinical internship, and had three job offers in my hand by the end of April. Yet I don’t remember anything from that period, as if I was stuck in a haze while I went about doing what I needed to do. What I do remember is calling BP, holding my breath as I highlighted his name in my cell phone, pressed the dial key, and held it up to my ear to only let out a sigh when I heard his voice mail.

I did not to attend my graduation. I no longer felt connected to the degree I earned, only thinking about what my next move should be. I remember wandering around NYC, taking the subway to random stops, thinking of whether I should make this place my home. The city was beautiful, caught up in that cusp between spring and summer where the city air was warm and smelled the way it would before the humidity set in for the summer. I still remember sipping a cup of ice tea at Battery Park, staring at a hazy image of a distant Statue of Liberty thinking.

I needed a change.

I decided to move back to California.

I left NYC on a Tuesday morning and RJ drove me to the airport. Driving into Queens on our way to JFK, I looked at the Manhattan skyline getting smaller on the passenger side mirror and said a silent goodbye to the city that gave me so much.


Within a matter of weeks I got a new job, a new apartment, and a new life in San Francisco. I decided not to pursue becoming a therapist since I felt that in spite of my training, I couldn’t help someone so close to me, how could I help my clients? Back in CA, I got reacquainted with old friends, made new friends, and even began dating again. I also tried to embrace my new home in very much the same way I embraced NYC, by getting lost on their public transportation and discovering new pockets of the city. Yet that same sense of adventure wasn’t there for me as it was in NYC. On one excursion to Dolores Park, I felt my phone vibrate in my jean pocket. It was BP and I hadn’t heard from him in five months.

“Hey babe, I’m walking along York Avenue right now. You wanna go to Barking Dog for some pancakes and talk?”

“Um, I don’t live in New York anymore. I’m in San Francisco now.”

“What? When did you move? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I moved after graduation. Anyways, I thought you wouldn’t care if I stayed or left.”

“I wish you were here, so much has happened.”

I sat down on the grass facing the San Francisco skyline, forgetting about the wind on the hill, as BP relayed to me his tumultuous time since I last saw him.

Even before my departure from NYC, BP began to descend into a sea of confusion. AK moved out of the apartment to live with friends and with him, the weed was gone, too. BP threw himself back into his work, spending long hours in the office working on his particular projects. But when work got out, he became restless. Nights he would wander, go to strip clubs, visit call girls, and began to drink excessively. He was spending exorbitant amounts of money on his exploits, along with making trips to Atlantic City, gambling his money, snorting coke in the bathroom to keep up. He would then spiral down, spending hours in bed, depressed and zoning out in front of the television for days on end. His mood and behavior became erratic. Eventually he began to miss work, with his projects declining, his project manager called him in for an evaluation.

“’Either you get help or you get out,’ she told me. I was asked to go in for a psychiatric evaluation. Sugar, I got diagnosed with bipolar.”

I remember my heart sank as I sat on the hill while my brain was abuzz, going through what I know about bipolar, the manic behaviors, and the signs to make a diagnosis. It was so apparent, why had I not noticed it before? As BP shared his therapy and medication schedule with now daily meetings at AA to work with his addictions to coke, weed, and alcohol (did not want to go through the less strict Narcotics Anonymous), I was overwhelmed with guilt. How come I didn’t notice it before?

I left the hill at Dolores with my soul lost among the fog. I was wrought with guilt that in spite of my limited training, I should have seen the signs, connected the behaviors. I wished that I were more forceful in helping him, persistent in my interventions. Perhaps I was so caught up with my own recovery, that I ignored his. All these questions filled my brain.


For the next couple of days I carried the conversation I had on the hill with me. I went over little moments from our relationship, both bad and good, trying to make a connection. I was grateful for the help that he provided me through my own personal struggles, but maybe I could have given him more. But then again, I did, so it wasn’t on me that I tried. The regret and the anger both were swarming through my mind.

All these thoughts swirled in my brain before finally I had to call BP. I needed to ask him questions, to clarify my role in the relationship, and more importantly, to see where I went wrong.

“BP, I am so sorry. I can’t believe that I didn’t see it…the signs,” I cried to him on the phone.

“No, Sugar, please don’t think that it’s your fault, it’s mine for not listening to you. I know you tried to help, to get close, but please don’t blame yourself. I’m so sorry for the way I treated you. I’m on my way to being fine, you’ll see. You’re inspired me with your recovery and you’ve moved on. I’m glad. It’s kinda funny, in a way, your caring and your love saved my life.”

“No, BP, you saved mine.”