Sunday, November 18, 2007

Old enough to vote, elope, yet not old enough to drink

"One peach margarita."
"Hum to under-25 elcohole dete hi nahin hain madam", says the waiter in his ill fitting sombrero.
This was that moment-of-truth thing, the event that I always expected would happen but hadn't yet, and there it was.(Where I don't look old enough to buy a drink - that event)
My friend, being a non-drinking, under-25 spectator(and a smart ass) quips and joins in, "Yes very good, I'm very happy you check all these things."
So I whipped out my PAN card for age proof(Yea, I should not keep it in my wallet at all points of time) and the sombrero guy disappeared with it into one corner with 4 other jobless waiters.
Thank god there's a decent picture of me on it,I thought, unlike my driving license where I look like I have been kidnapped by the Shompen tribe of the Andamans and fed on coconuts.
"I don't look that young do I?" I asked my friend, hoping that the question only begged a flattering answer, hoping to salvage some pride.
"I think it's got to do more with the height", he says.
"O cmon, I'm not that short."
"You're strikingly short."
Not strikingly beautiful, or strikingly stunning. Strikingly short.
Come to think of it, I don't like that word 'strikingly'.
Sombrero guy returns sheepishly. "Anything else ma'm?"
A free drink, I want to say. Some more 'elcohole' to drown my strikingly short frame.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

mornings at the babu household

Mother is busy working in the kitchen, rolling out parantha after parantha for breakfast, managing chai on one hand and lunch on the other. Father is doing his elaborate morning pooja with flowers accompanied by mantras in Sanskrit.(I've asked him if they make sense to him and he shakes his sadly and says ,'We never asked such questions of our parents. I think it's the problem with your generation itself.') My sister and I are fighting a territory battle over whose time slot it is to use the hair dryer over the sound of Paradise City playing in the background.(We both suffer from the condition of large hair. We need zen with our hair.)
Over the din from the kitchen and our noises, Father stops his 'Om shive namaha' and turns, 'Who were you talking to at 1 a.m. in the night yesterday?'
'Friend.' I say.
'Who're these friends of yours who don't sleep by 1? Don't they have families?'
'They're not married.' I'm still not sure what dangerous turn this conversation could take. (As a rule, I avoid the word 'marriage' in front of them.)
'You don't have a boyfriend, do you?'
'No Dad. I'll let you know, if that happens.'
'Just make sure he earns well.' Mom pipes in. She has stopped her parantha rolling too. 'She has so many friends, and yet not a boyfriend. How difficult can it be', she is mumbling while resuming her parantha rolling.
'She was talking to a friend,' Dad yells out to Mom. 'Om haraye namaha. Om suryaya namha. Om khagaya namaha.'...

Monday, September 24, 2007

how to avoid mass hysteria

Ok I'm not a cricket buff. Worse still, I couldn't be interested in the historic Indo-Pak final of the 'world cup' (It's not a real world cup for chrissake!). And if you're still not disgusted, I was writing this during some of the most engrossing moments of the match. (I can hear the drum beats and my sister yelling at the top of her voice every 13 seconds). So if you belong to my dwindling tribe of disbelievers, here are some tips on how to avoid getting hurt on such a hysterical day.

  • Avoid places where people have gathered. This means roads(though people would be huddled around TVs), offices (nobody will turn up anyway though), your living room(lest your cricket crazy family think you're unlucky because a wicket is toppled everytime to come to the fridge)

  • Avoid talking about it. Consider diverting the topic to global warming, or the problems of migratory birds at the delhi zoo.

  • Do not, I repeat, do not get into an argument with a cricket crazy fanatic(that practically means everyone you know. Trust no one.)You might not get to escape unhurt. A fanatic will usually know most of the cricketing statistics of most batsmen, would have watched the previous matches with popcorn and soda and would twitch at the mere mention of your indifference.

  • Get ear plugs. I'm sure my tribe feels like the dogs on Diwali. Just that you wouldn't hide under the bed.

  • Do not be afraid of being hated. Being the lone wolf is good practice for more important things in life. You've got to stand up alone, even if it means getting pushed over, be thought of as anti-Indian(and what's that about), and generally the 'what's-wrong-with-her' looks. More importantly do not be afraid of watching only the part of the match where the hot cricketers(if there are any) take off their shirts.

  • Being cricket apathetic in India is like being the guy who hates puppies. Seriously, do you want to be that guy? If you still can't convince yourself otherwise, there's always the BE-YOURSELF advice. Just avoid people that day.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

the end of an era

My best friend is getting married. And I can't believe that I'm losing her. To a BOY. So this is how it'd usually be between us. And they're snippets from different times. So they won't completely make sense.

Me: I can't believe he's behaving like this again. Why's he so unpredictable?
Her: I can't believe my boss is such an ass.
Me: I need to run away from home. My folks are asking me to meet some guy from the U.S.
Her: Why does he not respect me?
Me: I can't manage more than 3.0 in this term. I think I'll always be average.
Her: You're the one who's turning him into a psycho.
Me: And how? Why do you judge me so much?
Her: Why do you say I judge you? I just finish sentences for others.
Me: I'm just getting this thing about driving.
Her: It's like a life philosophy. The way you are, is the way you drive.
Me: ( my head)

Her(at ISB): Why is this place all about grades?
Me(in real world): Noone's going to care about your grades, including you, after this year. I assure you.
Me(at ISB): Why is this place all about grades?
Her(in real world):Noone's going to care about your grades, including you, after this year. I assure you.

Me: I can't believe you're getting married.
Her: I know. Marry me(in yelping tones). I can't live in a boy's house.
Her: I hope our husbands get along. So please don't marry ABC, or DEF. I don't know why you like such weak men who won't stand up for you.
Me: I think I'll have to join a sisterhood.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

don't mess with retired old men

Yes. Especially if they like correspondence. And if they've worked in the banking industry for 25 years. And if you happen to be a bank.

My dad is famous for drawing moustaches on pictures(women, men), and writing notes to me signed "Yours affectionately, Suresh Babu", cracking jokes and laughing till he tears up, but lately he's also getting quite a reputation with the consumer courts, the telephone industry(read MTNL), the banks(South Indian Bank and Bank of India) for following up with the most comprehensive paperwork and persistence. And their paying big time for their shoddy service. Not monetarily, atleast not yet.

He loves corresponding. (I can't explain weirdness. It runs in my family.) The CEOs are often surprised to get a copy of the complaint with immaculate proof of mismanagement. If this was the US, he'd be winning us enough compensation by suing everyone to make me a millionaire.

So I don't know which industry he's taken upon himself to clean up. But whatever that is, they'd better be wary of a small old, really really cute gentleman with a lot of energy, and armed with a pen.

janmashtami in delhi

We (the women of the family) set out to visit all the little nooks and crannies around the locality where Janmashtami is celebrated in full fervor. There were children and dogs, cows and grannies, coy girls dressed up and walking in bunches, rickshaws and pedestrians, and noisy hawkers. At each little nook, there were children dressed up as krishna and radha, or shiva. Most of them were busy eating cheetos or other such snacks unheard of at the time of krishna's birth. As their parents continued to indulge their whims by supplying them coke and chips, they'd smile benevolently at the visitors. Other former brats were on their best behavior serving prasad. After we collected little paper packets of prasad, we were on our way to the temple. (And my sister noticed, Ganesha's idol was wearing a skirt similar to the ones the godesses wore). Somebody had misplaced their wallet. And as I left the temple, I noticed to my amusement that my slippers were missing too. It's reassuring when some things remain the same.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The good guys

I had been arguing with a friend about man-woman dynamics for some time, when my friend threw up his arms in exasperation and claimed that it was not possible for him to retain his sanity and keep up with the generalizations about men and women I was throwing left, right and center at him. Which is when I decided to get my own forum for it.

So here’s a crib you’ll here often. Women saying that they can’t find the right guy.
And if you’re a guy on the other side of this crib, you might well wonder, 'what’s wrong with me?' Well don’t fall for this crib. Because it’s not true.

The truth is there are plenty of ‘right guys’. Just that they are not as exciting as the wrong ones. They like you. They have squeaky clean backgrounds, they are thoughtful and simple. And boring.

The wrong guys on the other hand are anything but that. They make you chase them. They make you think. They make you wait by the phone. They keep you guessing. They play hard to get. They make you come up with excuses and explanations for them, as far fetched as they can get. (This last one needs a separate blog post by itself).

They’re not ready to offer anything concrete and yet you’re willing to wait hoping you’d be the angel to transform them, make them see light.

So ladies smell the coffee (read the wrong guy) and give the steady, somewhat insipid, but definitely dependable good guy a fat chance.

p.s. I never heed my own good advice.

Monday, August 27, 2007

what women want...

If you're a guy

  • You HAVE to talk to them.

  • If you cannot do that then you'd HAVE to be willing to listen to them talk.

  • Don't be too good looking. (Isn't this good news?)

  • The darker the better (ok this could be on my list)

  • If you're a little different, and proud of it. A guy with a moustache for example.

  • Wear well fitting clothes. Dress reasonably well.

  • Have a life. This does not mean that you party till you have to be taken home.

  • Have a secret identity. (Try this: Law clerk by day, crime fighter by night. Even better if you are a crime fighter in costume.)

  • The C word - Commitment. Yes blokes, sad but true.

  • Be nice to the underdogs.

  • Open doors. (For everyone)

  • Be nice to their friends...parents...relatives...dogs...parrots.

  • Keep your promises. If you say you will call, do that. Nobody likes to be kept waiting.

  • And finally, hate to say this, but playing hard to get works like hell.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

love in all seasons

I just loved listening to this song today. No reason.

April come she will

When streams are ripe and swelled with rain;

May, she will stay,

Resting in my arms again.

June, she'll change her tune,

In restless walks she'll prowl the night;

July, she will fly

And give no warning to her flight.

August, die she must,

The autumn winds blow chilly and cold;

September I'll remember

A love once new has now grown old

Sunday, August 19, 2007

for the love of chaat

He served gol gappas with a fury that I couldn't keep up with. I am miserably slow. My friend however gobbled each without so much as battling an eyelid. As he looked at me with well deserved pity, my tiny plate filled up with 3 oblong pregnant gol gappas swimming in a sea of jeera water. I wrestled, my small mouth struggled to fit in the elliptical item. I thought there is no grace, no dignity in eating gol gappas. There was no way I could redeem myself in a lady-like manner, my sagittarian ungraceful self with two-left dancing feet would forever be revealed.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

why critics love bad movies

  • Because they need to pick a movie apart using some superlative adjectives
  • Since American Idol, various negative adjectives 'abysmal', 'horrendous', 'ghastly' have all got a new lease of life
  • Makes them feel good that they've superbly deconstructed a simplistically bad movie, it's easier than deconstructing what went right
  • Human nature- it's easier to criticise. That is why they became critics in the first place.
  • Everyone likes reading a good review of a bad movie. It's more entertaining.
  • Hate as an emotion, comes more naturally to us than any other. It also brings with it a lot more energy. It is healthier when directed to pen and paper.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

a family history of funny names

So my first name is Bangalore. (My only response to sniggers is that it's atleast a hi-tech city). My last name is Babu. That qualifies for an entry into the Terrible Name Oscars.
But inane names run in my family.

My paternal grandfather was a freedom-fighter and he was quite taken by the freedom fighters of his time. He named his eldest son(my father's eldest brother) Gopalakrishna Gokhale. And we're from Andhra. There's no connection with the Maharashtrian caste. So there are Gokhales from Maharashtra and there's an incongruous line of Gokhales who speak Telugu and who live in Chennai.

My grandfather named his second son Janakinath who was apparently a freedom fighter from Bengal. Again, an incongruous last name, but the seeds were sowed much before my time.

My father was spared of an inane name, but he inherited the Bangalore prefix and passed it along with the misnomer(Babu is meant for boys only, not girls) to me.

And I have lived with the trauma of a bad name ever since. My preschool teacher called me Sandhya Baby. Since then I have heard various contortions of all my names sometimes separately and at other times all together.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

the great list of "those whose asses i'd like to kick"

There is no chronological order to this, atleast yet, in my head.
  • The Bengali b#$%^ from Quality who insisted that I only talk in abbreviations, and who wouldn't look me in my direction when I talked, as if no sound came from me.
  • Another Bengali guy from Quality(what's with Bengalis in Quality, so nobody hires them for any real work now eh? No offence. :-) )
  • Some people (loud Delhiites) in traffic.
  • The leery Pantry boy in my previous organisation, actually leery pantry boys everywhere
  • The cocky Punjabi kid who tried to drive my car, after tricking my gullible driver
  • My gullible driver (?)
  • Tom Cruise for the couch incident (Seriously, those scientology folk would have excommunicated him if he wasn't a celebrity), though he did not harm me in any way personally. Unless undergoing mental trauma on being exposed to extreme stupidity counts.

I'll update this soon. The list is too small for a future ass-kicker to be taken seriously.

the veiled boast and where you go saturday night

Ever heard of the species of brags called the veiled boasts. This kind usually begins, "I don't mean to boast but.." followed by actual boast. Or it is let, in a subconscious manner, into the conversation and is akin to name dropping. Subtle stories of success, or good times mentioned in the most offhand manner. Another category of the veiled boast, is the seemingly self deprecating statement that is in reality a boast. This one goes like, "I hate going from party to party, but I have to" or "I'm freaked out, but my boss really likes my work..." (Who wants that right).

While on the topic of boasts, the saturday day night sojourn is also the object of the veiled boast category. Where you go and what you do on a saturday night is increasingly under greater scrutiny. All the couch potatoes are cursing the growing consumerism of the urban Indian. Whatever happened to the concept of relaxing without an agenda.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Ordinary People

I met this 65 year old gentleman, who was working post-retirement for the love of the job. He joined as a manager, and is taking orders from "boys" who worked for him in his previous organisation of 40 years. I asked him if he did not think that was an issue. He resembles a venerable old owl, minus the scary eyes. In fact his eyes twinkle with the life of man half his age, his ears flap open, his bald head is circumferenced with whitish hair. And he said, it doesn't matter if you really love what you are doing. Are you a Bengali? I asked him. Yes, yes. He nodded. How did you know? People can't usually guess that, he added. I told him he had a slight accent and I could tell by the way he stretched certain words. Sharp, he said. Are you a Bengali too? No, I said. You have to really love your job, he concluded, to be unaffected by these things.

I hadn't met anybody like him. Life is interesting.

Snippets from my training session with people from a totally alien culture (that apparently annihilates grammar)

  • Don’t discuss the these things
  • We can tell you off the line
  • We want to extend our footprint on the PAN India
  • Why we are doing this, in the real life, we will not be doing this maalik
  • You are fresh, you don’t know what CR, BPMS, BCPDR, FMEA means. Everyone else knows.(So basically sod off, you’re not part of us unless you can speak this incoherent language)
  • I din got you
  • Boss, I can talk and sell. Now you tell me ki HoW I can use this e-CRM for my pro'ject

Sunday, August 5, 2007

the secret

Sounds like an English remake of a Japanese movie, right? Or is there one by the same name. Anyway, before I get off tangent (which is remarkably easy for me, I've found), I decided to capture my present state of happiness (or the closest state to self-sufficiency that I'm experiencing).
I realise I'm reasonably happy right now because
1) I started my day with a cup of filter coffee
2) I saved tens of cows, by not driving into them in the morning. Them cows need a farm, not the roads in Delhi.
3) My driving instructor is a good human being. Speaking of which, I am attracting a lot of good human beings in my immediate environment. My driver(different from my driving instructor) happens to be another one of those good human beings.
4)My parents are not pushing me to marry the next Telugu hunk with bushy moustache and a Green Card( what wouldn't a girl give to marry one of those Telugu dudes right..if only they advertised for "Maids masquerading as wives wanted for day time for raising my kids in the US" in matrimonial sites).
5) I'm learning how to play the guitar. My guitar took the shape of one of my old boyfriends and threatened to leave if I did not give it any attention. Ok ok, I made up the last part.(What's life without a little fabrication).
6) I dreamt I was running really fast. That might might be a good thing.
7) I have a lot of friends now. So flashback to the 8th grade, where kids wouldn't sit next to me.
(Ok, I might have been a little uncool, but that's still human rights violation.)
8) People seem to like me. I know that's a tenuous thing to base my good mood on, but what the heck.
So you get my drift. You should do the same exercise. It's entertaining to say the least. And when you're bummed out, you can replicate the good mood drivers. So the next time I'm bummed, I know what to do. Drive into a herd of cows.

Monday, July 23, 2007

thought for the day

My sister told me how one of her friends had watched "Aapka Suroor" to annoy another friend of hers who apparently can't stand the thought of Himesh Reshammiya in a 2 hour long movie. Maybe a lot of people just watched it to spite others, and that's how it became a hit.
If you think that's irrational, think of how in the first place, there could be a market for Himesh Reshammiya.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

the mystery of john cusack's appeal

Yes, it's annoying that I can't place it entirely. It's NOT because he looks cute. It's a little because of his intelligence. A lot because despite being a guy he talks a lot.( Thank God for that little study that claims that men talk as much if not more than women.) A little bit because he likes midnight phone conversations. Any man who's willing to stay glued to his phone for more than 2 hours matching repartee for repartee can't be all that bad.
And he looks like the guy who'd be very interested in making something work. Most of his roles are about the guy in checked shirts who's quite cool in an 'alternative' sense who almost got the girl. He's the Jeaneane Garofalo of romance. And therefore more attainable. Yet worth pursuing when you've figured out that the sexy scowling professional salsa dancer is interested more in crack than human beings.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

these are a few of my favorite things

1. writing on crisp paper with a fountain pen

2. the smell of freshly brewed coffee

3. rain drenched trees

4. jazz

5. smiling at frowning toddlers

6. singing and getting all the notes right

7. finding out what makes people "tick"

8. people who carry their own sunshine

9. making art out of nothing

10. finding dried flower petals in old books gifts that are not expensive

12. walking till i don't feel my legs anymore

13. tea

14. finding scraps of paper chronicling journeys in the past

Monday, June 11, 2007

to strive, to seek and to yield sometime?

A disillusioned king, a wanderer, a hero who's purpose is served, a seeker who doesn't know how to die.

And Tennyson from 1833 coping with the end of a friendship.

I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart

I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!

Friday, June 8, 2007

the various aspects of "chilling"

For long, this ubiquitous word has troubled me, so I asked people to explain what they meant by it. Here are some responses.
1. Bumming around
2. Watching TV with some air conditioning
3. Listening to music with some air conditioning
4. Getting a hair cut (I know!)
5. Eating (light food)
6. Partying
7. Not working (chilling at work)
8. Having a beer
9. Having a drink that has lots of ice in a restaurant where the air conditioning is turned high
10. Hanging out with friends
11. Killing time

Please add to this list whenever possible. It does help expand my world view, I assure you.

Monday, May 28, 2007

men, women and the sense of direction

Ok, I'm petrified of writing long posts. So apologies for the previous one.
But now I thought I must speak and give credit where it is due. Men seem to be blessed with that really helpful keen sense of direction, that some women (me and my friend) lack entirely. So there we were, trying to find the parking lot first(and then the car), and you know those sprawling parking lots, that stretch on both sides of a movie theater, I mean that's kind of confusing, don't you think? Finding the right parking lot was a challenge too, brought back memories of the other time a couple of years ago, where we'd lost our way in the parking lot (we were a little tipsy then). So it seemed karmic, that we must lose our way again in a parking lot.
And there comes the strapping young man to our rescue, just a phone call away. Of course what doesn't hurt is that he's an IITian and a techno-financial brain. He just turned left, right and a bit more and we followed him like two blind mice and viola! there's the car. As he muttered under his breath never to let his future wife drive, we reassured him that his future wife/girlfriend would never call and say "Honey, I don't know where I am. I'm kinda lost. Can you come and fetch me?" Of course he kept shaking his head. He wouldn't be convinced, I can't see why.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

the curious incident of the dog in the night-time and some first-rate sleuthing

I've great confidence that my knowledge of the English country crimes is getting increasingly better. To begin with, I have been a fan of Sherlock Holmes for ages, devouring each and every short story, novella, episode etc written by him. So I always turned up my nose at Agatha Christie, she always seemed too "popular" and I'd read some good advice when younger to "stay away from bestsellers". Lately, I decided to shun the snobbery I had adopted(although I've yet to read The Da Vinci Code, that's the sort of bestseller that my code strictly prohibits me from reading) and took to reading the adventures of Hercule Poirot in the English countryside again( and pleasantly find myself quite addicted to it. Sherlock Holmes rules still though).

However, there is a point to this story, and I will shortly connect the dots, dare I say in the fashion of my super sleuths, the incomparable Sherlock Holmes and his literary successor (with not a bad personality I must say), Hercule Poirot.

There is another interesting book that I read recently called the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, (a Booker winner, if you want reputation). So the brainwave happened( when I was reading in a semi-daze after travelling by an auto in the Delhi heat) when in the adventure of Murder in the Mews, Inspector Japp mentions how Sherlock Holmes drew attention to certain things and the curious aspect would be that something would be amiss by virtue of its absence. Confusing?

Let me explain. In the short story called "Silver Blaze", Sherlock Holmes refers to the "curious incident of the dog in the night-time" as a way of drawing attention. And in reality, there is no curious incident. In fact,what is amiss is that the dog did nothing. And hence the curious incident that it did not bark in the night time. This is referred to by Inspector Japp humorously as Poirot's irritating habit of drawing attention cryptically to certain things like "the missing attache" when it was not missing or "the smoke in the sitting room", when there has been no smoke.

And now to connect the dots, the book Curious about a young autistic boy who is a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, only there is actually an incident of the dog in the night time. So my deduction(ahem..) is that the author of the book Curious Incident..had to be a fan of both Sherlock Holmes(which is a commonplace deduction since the book is filled with references and interesting trivia about the latter) and Agatha Christie, since it was in the particular adventure of Murder in the Mews, the anecdote of "curious incident of the dog in the night-time" from the Sherlock Holmes adventure is mentioned by Inspector Japp.

Sometimes I think writers have a very fertile imagination, as they start from an idea and build a whole castle around it.
Or else, all that I have said is merely pointless because, I'm just being pompous here.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

the story of 'the paradox'

I really liked this scroll that had a message by the Dalai Lama titled 'The Paradox of Our Age'. So the expat Tibetan woman seller was a little confused. What is the meaning of paradox, she asked. My friend and I looked at each other. 'Irony,'I chipped in quite unhelpfully. How do you explain paradox in Hindi. As we struggled with all our Hindi vocabulary to get at the meaning of this really difficult word( I mean check Wikipedia, you would think quantum physics is that makes the word paradox seem like quantum physics. After a lot of hemming and circumlocutory explanations, she finally nodded in understanding.

music by igor

I was wandering in a trance when i heard strains of jazz sax from one of the open streets in Goa. It was a friendly face with a hundred wrinkles and a smile that beckoned. As I gingerly stepped in, he asked, "What would you like to sing?" Just like that. So as I sang Killing me Softly, all the lyrics seemed to make as much sense as meeting an old soul would. But I hadn't met him before. I can still see his hat, tilted to one side, his fingers moving along the keyboard and his old friend on the sax. Some more jamming later, it was time to move along. I felt like I was saying goodbye to a really old friend that I'd met after ages. "If you come back, look for a sign that says 'Music by Igor'".

Friday, May 18, 2007

me, ocd and the art of peeing in public toilets across india

It takes a lot of heart to venture into one of those shady places especially if you're suffering from you have to learn a few things about this whole exercise
1. try holding you know..if you can
2. don't try 1. if you don't have practice
3. carry lots of tissues and paper soap
4. learn how to squat by doing yoga or bharatanatyam or just learn it by not being such a dope
5. acquire peripheral vision..know where things are and yet ignore details..this will save you a lot of trauma
6. learn how to meditate..this is to generally acquire patience to endure this whole exercise
7. learn to be imaginative..this will come in handy when you have to pretend you're in a flower garden that smells like lavender
8. learn how to smile through your frowns..else insist that's how you smile..with a frown..this will be useful at the end of the exercise
9. practise acquiring selective amnesia... this will help you forget the whole thing

wedding season

so suddenly everyone i know is either getting married or in the process..and i found myself attending two of them weilding saris..btw i'm getting better at maneovering them. Two diametrically opposite weddings in every sense; one a catholic wedding replete with dancing and frolic and the other a traditional andhra wedding with bling and jasmine and silk sarees and a thousand rituals.
The hectic travelling trip was marked by lots of hills, some dogs(no friendly mountain dogs yet..sigh), good weather, bad weather, my first airplane trip(yea i know i'm 25), a bout of loozies, a lot of activity, a lot of hiking, a lot of photography(courtesy sonali), weddings (of course), dancing in a sari (quite a task), water bodies(kamlesh where art thou!), greenery, rain, mist and strawberries, mulberries and dirt, darkness, peace, changing relationships, travel friends, chilling( i know a whole list of things now that comprise chilling), rains in the hills, the sounds of a bullet in the narrow lanes, gates which lead to nowhere and guard kilometres of weed, winding paths, monkeys(including sonali and rehan!), sun tan, travelling by trains, comparisons of the bombay local and the delhi metro, cycles, hookkas and tikkas, horse-poop, dinner by the moonlight and lots of nameless people who shared the journey with us.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

the single most important resource for the single woman

It's not pepper spray. It's not self defence lessons. It's not contraceptives. It's a small book called "He's just not that into you." I know it came out like a long time ago. But I recently rediscovered this little gem that promises to set single women free(from the typical inscrutable male, 28, single). So there's no more misunderstanding signals or wondering if he's really so busy putting paper clips to paper that he can't dial a number or whether 'i'll call you' means you should call. If you're a guy reading this and wondering whether even smart, successful, independent women who run businesses and give birth to septuplets could be so obsessive, well yea...Therefore if you know any of your women friends who're agonising no end over some weak signals from a particular mars-inhabitant, gift them this book. It will set them free.

p.s. I do read other good books.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

the wrong side of 25

yep..i've heard it's downhill from here...i've even received a solicitation to join a 'single women over 25' club who among other things hire male strippers (yea..its that kinda club). So there's 18-25 and there's 25- to eternity, it doesn't matter.
On the brighter side, i'll probably pass for someone younger. Ok the inflation should be a more pressing worry, but you know what..the man-of-the-moment-reddy is taking care of that. So if i don't worry for me, who will.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

me and the irrational fear of dogs

They may look really harmless and cute...i know that pups aren't the scariest things but there's something really unpredictable about dogs( they're like men you could say). One never knows when they'll decide to follow you, or sneak up on you, or jump up on you. Personally I've not been bitten by one, but well don't let the cuteness fool you. And beware of dogs in packs, the most docile of dogs(yea even the li'l ones with squeaky barks) turn fiesty in a pack. It's usually difficult to identify the leader in the pack, but the one that barks the loudest will most probably not be it (The one that barks loudest will probably be the littlest one, that's his chance of glory you see).
I'm sure my ramblings on this subject have contributed enough diversion to your day. More on mountain dogs vs city dogs soon.

Monday, April 16, 2007

what isb does to you...

makes you realise that 24 hours is a long time so when you get back to normality you create work to fill time
makes you want to talk to strangers and smile at them more often
makes you want to read the newspaper to figure out if news makes more sense
makes you...spoilt...rotten
makes you want to work on a holiday
gives you energy you did not know you were capable of
makes you want to make something...even out of confusion and uncertainty

Saturday, April 14, 2007

the truth about stereotypes

So if I'm a Delhi girl, I must be snooty, pricey, wear brands, take exceptional care of my hair and feet, look as if I just walked out of a movie set, and be generally air headed. If I were to know the name of our foreign minister, that'd be jaw-dropping. A Bangalore person(girl mostly; men who conjure stereotypes really don't care about men) has to love rock (this one infuriates me, don't know why), be fiercely independent, extremely opinionated, not care much about her appearance, yet look like a study in casuals, a little aggressive etc etc. A Bombay girl must be ultra chilled out, posh without seeming so, a little pretentious, and a general know-how about the world around her (desirable), with a proclivity for white trousers(? or is that Delhi?). So you get my drift...All generalisations are about one or two people we know. I could name all of these women(and a man) above. As with all stereotypes, they help me simplify a lot of people by labelling them, yet at the same time, I resent any such simplistic attempts to categorise me.

Friday, April 13, 2007

the new man in my life

He's a bad boy, with the most impish smile and deepest, darkest eyes. He gets an insane amount of energy, in his own words, from "hi-tech" sources. He's moody as hell, and possessive to the hilt; loves my hair and won't leave my side. If I spurn him, he'll have his revenge. Yet, something about him is so endearing that I can't be mad at him. I think it is the moment he decides to smile shyly. He doesn't know it yet, but he's the new man in my life. He's all of six years old, but again, aren't they all?

the difficult task of comprehending other people's poetry

Whenever somebody asks me to read a piece of poetry they wrote, I instantly panic inside. Even though it is exceedingly difficult to understand poetry, when the author is beseechingly by your side to see you figure it out, it is completely nightmarish. I feel like I'll be judged for every wrong assessment or the symbolism that I mostly fail to understand. Some people have a knack for it, I confess I don't. And it hurts me more to see the author flinch when I get it wrong, hoping against the vain hope that I will eventually see their point. So now I ask for more time, and accost seemingly literary people with a penchant for riddles/puzzles/conundrums to help me out.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

more tembblles!!

I'm actually beginning to enjoy it now. As long as the sultry weather doesn't bother me, my cousins are keeping me good company. You can't take a temple out of a south indian, even if you make her a buddhist. There's something very reassuring about the southern cities, maybe it's the jasmine.
I'm falling in love with Hyderabad too; the faint namaz sounds, the rain drenched streets at dusk, the trees and the narrow lanes, the south-indian houses with kolams and wrought iron gates, the endless rows of jasmine, the bustle of the evening bazaar, the mamis, the chai shops, the paan with coconut and cherries, the polluted roads, the beautiful sight at night of the whole city from the sloping roads at Banjara Hills, the rocks, the temples. I'm glad I'm here. Now.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

travelling to appease parents, gods and others who might have had a role to play in my successful graduation!

It is so damn hot!! And the bus to Shirdi is a little uncomfortable too, my legs keep hanging off the seats. Even for a small person, I can't fit in really well. Endless queues to see a very calm and collected saint. Contrast with my hyper parents who want to get the best darshan possible. They get older, but not less energetic. I have to bear my mum's constant nudging to inch closer to the person in front and look out for dad who's run away miles ahead like a little pumpkin. In between, I catch a glimpse of the really benign saint.
A blind girl is deftly handing out change for Rs 100. She feels all the notes before handing them out.
In the evening, the dusk falls and dims out the lights. I arrive in the morning to the sounds of mridangam and nadaswaram from the nearby temple. Somehow it feels home.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Graduation day

It started with me fixing my really large graduation gown which threatened to make me look entirely ridiculous. After a long wait by Mr. Montek-Planning-Commission-Valia, endless speeches sputtered with the GDP, growth rate and other significant figures and hardly any personal touches, I finally collected the fake certificate. Forgot to smile at the camera however. (Dad was most upset.)
The evening was curiouser. I lost the very thing that I had been running for department after department - the final exit form with no dues from everyone who mattered. Some more running around to fix the mess. It takes just one really big idiot to screw the process. In this case, it was me. Spoke to the really really sweet ISB staff who promised to make it easy for me. And they did too.
The founders lounge had a lot of visitors that night, including a very dazed and preoccupied me. Should've visited the nirvana rock too. Maybe barbecue by the construction lights again..
Said goodbyes in a numb way. The year has come to an end really. No more strolling around at 4 a.m., no more tea at 2 in the night, no more of that campus.