Sunday, 30 December 2007

RING OUT THE OLD!

So another year draws to an end.

Smile recalling the good times.
Wince over the bad.
Will do better in the New Year, I say.

Resolutions, anyone?

Friday, 23 November 2007

KISS THE COOK!

So I'm now learning a new skill: How to Enter the Kitchen and Whip Up a Meal 101.

It's not such a bad thing, you get this creative satisfaction out of having started off with some random ingredients that finally turn into something that looks (and is!) both attractive and edible. (No, I don't appreciate wisecracks about how it's good that a hospital is in close proximity, thank you very much.)

My personal favourite is anything that doesn't take up the best part of an afternoon, and that still looks like it has been created after a lot of effort! *grin*

On the menu tonight:
Thai Pad Noodles
Waldorf Salad
Chocolate Brownies
(Coffee for afters, do stop by!)


Thursday, 15 November 2007

NOVEMBER

Thirty days hath September,

April, June, and November

February has twenty-eight alone,

All the rest have thirty-one.

Except in leap year, that's the time

When February days have twenty-nine.

Mum taught me the rhyme way back when I was in the single-digit age group, and it has stayed... Now's also the time we're inching close to the New Year; how time does fly! (Need to figure out where that one originated!)

Saturday, 20 October 2007

REALITY BITES

As with other programming on Indian television these days, I'm soon going to start cribbing about reality television too. There's only so much you can take of singing competitions, dance shows and sundry other what-have-yous. At one point, like with caves (what?!), if you've seen one, you've seen them all.
And then coming to how fair they are. I have some serious doubts there. As is often debated, I really believe a strong cell phone network in the participants' respective hometowns combined with great SMS power can safely see them through. After all, what does actual talent have to do with it? Jazz up a motley group of participants, throw in a free makeover or two, fling on the glad rags, and there you go - you have a star in the making. Never mind that the said individual cannot sing his or her way out of the oft-used paper bag.
Have SMS, will win!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

INSPIRATION

Takes many forms, this one. Has many sources, too. That which helps you think better, and maybe even do better is the one to give a thumbs-up to, right?

Look around, you mayn't even have to look far: It can be something, however small, right in your home even. Or a person. A grandparent, a parent, a sibling. For those flaunting wedding rings, maybe a spouse.

Things mostly look good.



Friday, 5 October 2007

TERRIBLEPHONESERVICE.COM

So much for communication. A mobile phone company can be loads of trouble, I've learnt.
Dial the supposed helpline... Listen to a tinny voice, ear-splitting hold music... and dial:
1 for billing details.
2 for special offers.
3 for latest updates.
4 for caller tunes.
What about a number that connects you to a real, live human?

Sunday, 23 September 2007

FASTING & FEASTING

So we Indian women fast for the health and happiness of our husbands. It mostly involves fairly elaborate rituals, right from no water (gasp!) to waiting for the moon to rise before the fast can be 'broken', which, simply put, means the woman can join the land of the living (and eating) once again.

It also includes dolling up in all finery, wherein looking like your local jewellery store won't be amiss, and waiting about, relating stories associated with the ongoing rituals (and I suspect, gossiping like there's no tomorrow).

My fundamental question here - the lady starves herself all day, risks severe dehydration, waits about for the moon to rise (whatever!)... and for what??? So that the man, her husband, lives like a gazillion years while she's long dead (would this have quickened it?)...

Where's the equality of the sexes?

Sunday, 16 September 2007

MIGRAINE

Got one so bad that I can't think strait, oops, strate, I mean straight....wdededepojtughtgrlrlfrbchrfirefoirodd;lewl,w;jgdewueww,,,...........

Saturday, 1 September 2007

REMIX FACTORY

Ingredients:
3 - 4 cult movies
2 - 3 OSTs (or Original Sound Tracks)
1 item number
100 pounds of thick skin

Method:
Take the cult movies. Dissect them frame by frame. Make copious notes and file away relevant information for future use. For best results, use multiple films - that way you get more 'inspiration' - across genres for a better blend.

Throw in your wannabe starlets, add a dash of skin (or maybe more, as per taste) and toss in the item number (the raunchier, the better).

Stir continuously, until no sole ingredient is distinguishable (take special care with the movies).

Add the music with lyrics modified as required.

Serving Suggestion:
Garnish with a sprinkling of originality (example: The way the film credits roll).
Serve hot (it's soon gonna be tepid anyway).

Chef's Note:
Never let go of the thick skin, it's an ingredient vital to all such future endeavours.

COME SEPTEMBER

And we're on the verge of saying goodbye to the monsoons for this season, and gearing up for several Indian festivals to hit the calendar over the next few months (no, I'm not merely referring to New Year's here), over the 16 weeks until we herald in the new...
Intricate henna patterns adorning the hands and feet, loads of wholesome yummies - both sweet and savoury - made at home and offered to guests, rangoli designs by the home entrance, tiny little oil lamps flickering like stars in an inky black sky...
Ahh, bring on the festivities!

Friday, 24 August 2007

TIES AND BONDS

Bring on the sentimental music - it's the festive season. Time to invite people over, visit some others in your turn and generally exchange food, wine and family goss. Recall family you'd forgotten even existed (and vice versa) and catch up on lost time. (Or when you meet, remember in a flash just why it was time intentionally lost, hehehhe!)

Not sure I subscribe to some of these so-called festivals and stuff myself, but hey, to each his own! Go on then, and look forward to renewing those ties and bonds.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

FREEDOM



Of speech

Of thought

Of expression

Being able to walk the streets, held held high and sans fear.
Assured of safety, confident of no harm coming one's way. Being able to speak the truth, speak out against the wrong... and the certainity of backing. Being able to believe in oneself and trust without feeling compromised.

Celebrating independence.


Sunday, 12 August 2007

RESCUE MISSION

It saddens the heart to know that as I'm typing this piece, there is a girl child somewhere out there, either being brutally mutilated or raped. Female foeticide/ infanticide is just as big a cause for concern, if not bigger.
In a nation like India, having a girl child is more of a curse than a blessing, or so a fair section of society still continues to believe. From the time a baby is conceived, the parents want to know the gender of the as yet unborn baby. No, not from the point of view of decorating the nursery just so, or buying the layette, but in the event that if it's 'unfortunately' a girl, suitable measures can be employed to 'take care of the situation'.
In certain sections of society, a girl child only means another mouth to feed, since she is apparently fit to look after only the home and hearth. While the menfolk go out and earn (read: squander most of their earnings in their dedication to the booze bottle, but that's another story), it's the female who has to take care of the house and family. In such a situation, sometimes created out of hopelessness and frustration, brutal atrocities are committed against the girl child, more often than not by a member of the family itself, a father, brother or husband even. This, sometimes, with the helpless mother watching on.
There are cities and small towns wherein during an ultrasound scan, the presence of a female foetus means that 'a Goddess is about to visit the family', which is a not so subtle cue for the parents-to-be to start thinking about an abortion. Or, 'congratulations, get the hospital staff 'pedas' (a type of sweetmeat), since burfee, another variety of sweet, denotes a male foetus. Depending on the sweet one draws, the fate of the unborn child is sealed right there and then. Multiple instances of aborted foetuses found in garbage bins, abandoned day-old baby girls, umbilical cord intact, are found in heaps of garbage, often not garbed even in rags, or floating along a river - these stories are as commonplace as they are horrifying.
On one hand, there are programmes talking about small families being happy families, while on the other, such gruesome horrors are conveniently shoved under the carpet, or in this case, the garbage heap.
Wonder if anyone's actually listening.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

BOOKWORMS UNITE!

Nothing can substitute the feel of a new book, crisp to the touch, the heavenly smell of paper fresh off the press... Pages that take you into another world, drifting off in bliss...
Have always had an ongoing romance with books from the time I can remember, and the love continues even today. However busy a day may be, it's never complete without having read at least a few pages before nodding off to sleep. Have Mum and Dad to think for this, for it's they who have always encouraged the reading habit. My childhood memories have always involved books: the Ladybird series before I could even read, lovingly read out by Mum and Dad, followed by an excellence award in grade I at school that rewarded me with a gift voucher for a princely twenty rupees at a popular childrens' book store that saw me buy my first Enid Blyton, a beautiful hard bound edition of 'The Enchanted Wood'.
Haven't looked back since.

MESSY WEEKEND

Clothes strewn around, both ironed and otherwise. (What's the point of getting them ironed?!)
Dust on the glass topped coffee tables, sticky with rain.
A miniature shoe store mushrooming in virtually every room of the house.
Plants wilting, need to be watered. (These sure won't grow: there's no nourishment, let alone talking to them!)
Dishes slowly and steadily piling up in the sink.

As the weekend creeps to a close, I don't see much hope... *sigh*.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

MOVIE MANIA

I love the movies. For someone who didn't get beyond kiddie films until about 15, think I'm doing a pretty good job.

Love the classics: Gone with the Wind, The Shop around the Corner, Come Live with Me, The Rear Window, Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, Casablanca, An Affair to Remember...

I'm now looking out for a DVD Club to enjoy Saturday nights. Bring in the popcorn!

NOSTALGIA

For My Parents - They're simply the best.

Got hold of some old children's' songs, those that Mum and Dad would sing to me when I was in the single-digit age group, or have me listen to on tape (Yes, there was a world before DVDs and whatever else!).

I can only pray that someday I do as good a job as they did.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

CHEERS!

Met one of my oldest friends today. We go a long way back: kindergarten and playing in the sandpit at the neighbourhood park, followed by graduating high school together.

No party night here, but a fun filled, relaxed evening at home, watching television and chatting late into the night (read: 5 in the a.m. the next morning)! Caught up on life, love and sundry other happenings, mundane day-to-day ones even. Rolled our eyes in our heads remembering old school crushes, doing a where-are-they-now reconnoiter, discussing work, common interests... Picked up right where we'd left off, a phone conversation a couple of months ago.

We always plan to meet up, and somehow wind up blaming our schedules for not doing so, but this one evening put a few things into perspective - friends are for life, and you need to take the time out of your otherwise busy schedule to work on and maintain that friendship.

Here's to old friends and to making new ones!

Saturday, 28 July 2007

WEDDING BELLS!

Thrilled.
Excited.
Ecstatic.
Full of plans.
Can't stop smilin'.


That's what I am right now. There's (a) wedding bell(e) in the family!

Saturday, 7 July 2007

IT'S A SALE!

The word 'Sale' manages to put a spark back in my eyes anytime, however depressed I may be. Contrary to the partner's belief, I am of the firm opinion that shopping is a recreational activity. This is how it contributes:
a. Makes me (very) happy.
b. That means I'm relaxed and de-stressed. Translated that means a happy, healthy body.
c. It's fun. More so when you lug home a satisfying bagful (or more).

As for the economy:
a. Contributing to the nation's income levels.
b. Encouraging growth in a budding sector. (Read somewhere that organized retail in India accounts for a mere 5% of the industry.)
c. Creates employment.

The above puts salve on my conscience. Not that by the above good deeds I need to worry about it anyway.

On the more serious side (whaaaat, wasn't all the above in all seriousness?) - ever wondered why sales work? Is it because to save 50 bucks on say, a pair of oven mitts and potholders, you wind up buying a couple, when maybe you have scant need for even the one? Rough back-of-the-envelope calculation would reveal an estimated spend of 300 bucks to save 100... on something that wasn't really required to begin with. So you save 100, but what about the 200 you needn't've parted with in the first place?

Shopping stress. Contrary to my belief that retail therapy rocks and is totally de-stressing, it's also true that people across the globe spend more than their shopping money on therapy to rid them of shopping stress. I'm still shaking my head in disbelief. Guess this is a classic case of two sides of the same coin and all that jazz, but I'll still go with shopping as one of my favourite recreational activities. Sometimes think the others on my list come in a fairly distant second.

Hmm, maybe it's time to touch base with the best friend and hit the mall. It's the weekend anyways. Where's that credit card now?

Thursday, 5 July 2007

MEN!

Had men been intelligent, they'd've been women. I'm all for men bashing right now, such is my frame of mind.
Always wonder why men have to have things their way, why they're such mamma's boys, why they can't think for themselves, and why they can't understand that TLC is a good thing - and to love and respect somebody means to given them your support when it's required.
Why can't they see right from wrong, differentiate between facts and exaggerated tales that do nothing but make someone (read: the significant other's) life miserable?
Why any attempt to talk things out after a tiff is always met by a cold response, ears shut out to any reason, logic, sense or good old listening while the other person speaks?
Why when it comes to the crunch, the woman has to spend half her waking hours (the other half are spent at work) in the kitchen, making endless rounds of tea/ coffee and whipping up a meal and supervising the house help and cleaning up after the man and organizing the home and smiling prettily at the world when her back's killing her and she can't wait to put her feet up...
...Maybe someday I might see the pros. Some distant day...

Saturday, 30 June 2007

IT'S ALWAYS YOU!

SHE: "I'm talking to you."
HE (randomly flipping TV channels): "No, that's more like arguing."
SHE (patiently): "Trying to get my point across here."
HE (displaying a total lack of interest): "Yeah, it's always about you, and your viewpoint."
SHE: "Will you ever listen to me! Just this once?"
HE (looking up): "See? Now you dominate too!"
SHE (exasperated, frustrated): "Can I say something???"
HE (dripping sarcasm): "Don't you always?"

Whatever you say or do, it can never be right.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

So I met the significant other four years ago today. In another lifetime (read: up until a couple of years ago), I'd've even remembered the date. Today, I had to be reminded. (Of course, I did pretend that I had so remembered, how can you think I'd even forget? Hee hee.) How times change. Or waitaminute, is it people that do?

Flashback to college, when some batch mates would celebrate the anniversary of the first time they smiled (coyly) at their partners, the anniversary of their first date, the anniversary of when they first held hands, the anniversary of when they first kissed… and let's not get any more graphic here at the peril of sounding risqué!

Well, so ultimately is it about an occasion, a reason to remember an event (then so significant and now pale in comparison to others more so), or to simply celebrate being together? I'd like to believe the latter, and justify not having swiped my card at the nearest Hallmark store!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

TIME TRAVEL

Speaking of a time machine back there, there's another era I'd like to stroll through and see for myself - the time when you had Rhett Butler romance Scarlett O'Hara and raise the estrogen levels of all women around and make them wonder, what's she got that I haven't? (Maybe the 17-inch waist had something to do with it. Knew I shouldn't've polished off that last slice of pizza!)

And for me, the forever-in-the-making-
paleontologist, gimme dino(saur) time anytime!

DINO - C'MERE, BOY!

Dinosaurs have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. There was a time back in middle school when I contemplated becoming a paleontologist some day in the future (never mind that I could barely pronounce the word, let alone spell it). Okay, so that didn't happen, but the fascination (and maybe a teeny bit of awe) has still not gone away. This began with my reading 'The Lost World', by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - yes, the same brain behind the Sherlock Holmes series - and subsequently devouring any- and everything I could read up on the 'saurs.

Encyclopedias were my best friends. So the interest has now resurfaced, upon reading about the finding of a mammoth skeleton. No, not the wooly mammoth (ancestor to our elephants today), but the gigantic skeleton of a man, supposedly human and dating back to some number of years that you and I can't even fathom. Of course, we drag mythology / folklore (I always maintain that there is a fine line between these) into the picture here as well; guess it only adds that extra bit of zing to the tale.

Anyway, the point here is that we now have the remains of what was once a humongous man who walked the Earth, as it were. We're now gonna dissect every bit of him, analyze his DNA, examine his bones, his teeth and figure out who he was (I wonder if people had names back then?), what he did for a living (so hunting is an inborn survival instinct), how he lived (without FM radio, wonder how thrilling it really was), and finally, just how and why he died. I would personally be interested to know whether he had a pet dinosaur a la the Flintstones, or whether he preferred to while away his time making patterns in the sand.

Oh, this is when I'd like a time machine.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

MORNINGZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz...

Lazy. Bummed out. Couldn't care less. Boooorring. Yawn. Try the next millennium, maybe. Don't call us, we'll call you. These, and variations of these (some more wildly imaginative than the others, for example: I have a meeting in the afternoon at work today that I need to stay awake for) are just some of the excuses I come up with for not waking up early mornings. And by early, we accommodate even 7 a.m. As a thumb rule, anytime before that is the middle of the night.

There are times I'll go to bed with this firm resolution of waking up early the next morning, and play around with versions of my soap opera-perfect morning starring my illustrious (and industrious) self in my head. I'd've woken up early, done some stretching exercises and having laced on my favourite pair of trainers, smiled at the wonderful morning it is, and taken off for a jog. On getting home healthier, I'd carry that further by pouring myself a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and munching my way through an equally healthy bowl of muesli, hold the sugar, please. Of course, after all this I'm Super Girl, and the household chores are a mere flick of the wrist (how I wish, a wand!), followed by an upbeat work day (naturally).

Back to reality and here I am, running late, rushing to get done with early morning tasks (I've hit snooze for the nth time on my alarm) and making it to work on time.

Darn, forgot to put the cap back onto the toothpaste tube again.

GUILT TRIPPIN'

Got the PC finally. Yippie.
Spending less together time... Ulp.

Will there ever be the perfect balance?

HOGGER'S PARK

Don't get PC time these days. *grumble grumble*

Wonder how long it'll be before we all see double: two TV sets, two cars, two laptops (or the like)... and I mean ALL, sans an exception.

Viva les DINKs!

WHAT GOES HERE?


SMELLS LIKE RAIN!

It'd rained here early a few mornings ago, around 2 am, and there was a lovely chill in the air... Woke up, settled in at the window watching the rain awhile, and took in some deep breaths of lovely damp earth... Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm... :)

Reminds me of my college days. We, my friends and I, spent five years on this campus that resembled a hill station during the monsoon: lush green grass, vibrant trees, and puddles of rainwater along damp pathways? Many afternoons were spent in the cafeteria, snacking on hot fritters and gazing away dreamily into the distance. (Okay, having the latest crush around helped tremendously sometimes.) Clouds heavy with rain would drift lazily across the sky, making for a picturesque mural, a feast for the eyes.

Messy floors. Puddles of slush showing up in dirty brown streaks across the (until now) pristine marble floor. Clothes reeking of damp. Smells like something that even the cat would refuse to drag in. Plants that suddenly sprout more snails and earthworms than flowers. And so we herald the monsoon...

18 TILL I DIE!

Middle age is when your broad mind and narrow waist begin to change places.
– E. Joseph Crossman.


Got this on SMS today. What a not-fun place to be!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

BAD *EVERYTHING* DAY

This is one of those days when nothing, and I mean nothing, can go right. Started with scalding my finger with hot water under the vending machine (don’t even ask!), to feeling frumpy ‘cos of a bad hair day (can you see my eyes roll inside my head?) and pulling a muscle in my back, which now reminds me to behave (no, there’s no need for an imagination overdrive here, lol).

*Grumble*

Monday, 7 May 2007

ROMANCING THE ROSES

Go on, take a deep breath and feel the clean air pervade your smog-filled lungs. I somehow seem to remember an MTV advert from back in (was it?) 1994 that stated 'One day breathing in Bombay is like smoking ten cigarettes'. I'm sure that the number of ciggies in question has now risen exponentially, but that's digressing.

What we're discussing here is a tiny nondescript little hill station called Badhok. Before that quizzical expression on your face results in a permanent frown, let's put some geographical facts into perspective. Badhok is a place up in the Shivalik Ranges in the North of India. That's
somewhere in the foothills of the Himalayas.

So there we were, driving along a red-bottomed monkey-inhabited road winding up the mountainside, when we pulled into this quaint resort called The Pinewood. (Yes, unlike apartment buildings in Mumbai called Beach View when you can't even see a stall vending bottled water in sight, this one does have pine trees surrounding it.) Now the view from this resort was heavenly rows of bright red poppies swaying in the breeze, huge rose blooms in eye-catching reds and oranges, dainty little purple and yellow flowers nodding their heads in time to a tune of their own. Bliss.

Badhok itself has nothing much to write home about, except for some scrumptious local Himachali cuisine, and gorgeous weather even in the summer. A good place to run away from it all for a weekend. As we did.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN'...

Was in New Delhi this morning. Was driving along the clean, wide green streets, enjoying the breeze... when all of a sudden these tiny crystal droplets of water smeared the windshield of the car. In a matter of a few minutes - or was it less? - the droplets turned into a steady downpour.

Cruising past India Gate, took in deep breaths of air, cleansed the lungs with the scent of rich rain-drenched earth and smiled. Together with the world. A leisurely amble through Dilli Haat, side-stepping the puddles of water and brushing some random stray drops off the chin and forehead... The sights and smells stay longer than I'd imagined.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

How I hate returning from one! Then on the other hand, I'm homesick after about five... say six days, and can't wait to be home! I keep wondering how things back at home are, how our fish are (okay, so this time we walked in to find one dead goldfish, may it rest in peace) and what we've missed out on...

Guess that's why it's called 'Home Sweet Home' and nothing can take its place. Though maybe a couple of nights in an old restored fort (now a heritage hotel) would be fun. And romantic. More on that later... Suffice it to say that I'm thoroughly enchanted!

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

NOTHING FISHY 'BOUT IT!

Came in from work last evening, carefully turning the key in the lock as I juggled several bags of shopping. Tossing the lot onto the bureau, I was groping along the wall for the light switch, when I flicked a casual glance towards the fish tank.

A serene warm glow emanated from the light that was switched on inside, bathing the fish in an ethereal halo. There they were, gliding along gracefully, a casual swish and flick of a fin at intermittent intervals. No jostling for space, for a slice of the pie or running a seemingly never ending rat race.

Serendipity.

BEING ALIVE

Some days were just so perfect. They'd lie together contentedly under the shade of the ancient apple tree growing in the garden, lazily sunning themselves like crabs on the beach. Chewing on a blade of grass, he'd suddenly turn to her, demanding to know whether she loved him. Yes, she'd assure him, a smile in her voice. How much?, he'd persist. This much, she'd respond, stretching her arms wide. They'd collapse together onto the grass, giggling like schoolchildren.

On others, they'd sit together enveloped in a comfortable silence born of years of bonding. She'd take up her crotchet, while he'd read the dailies, skimming the finely typed pages. Sometimes he'd read aloud an interesting snippet or two.

Reminiscing - it could be therapeutic. Or traumatic even, depending which side of the scales you were tipping.

The mug slipped from her now cold hands, hot coffee splashing onto the ivory walls, leaving a mud coloured trail behind. She didn't feel the searing heat when a few drops scalded the delicate skin at her wrist. Why did he have to die? Of all the people milling around campus that bleak winter morning, why was it him, caught in the shootout at the school? He, who'd normally never venture out on one of the season's coldest days unless it was absolutely vital. What made him take that step, one move in the wrong direction?

She'd never know. Just as she'd never feel warm again.

SO WHEN'S THE GOOD NEWS?

Warily, I look around.

I've kinda started to avoid family gatherings these days. Or those parties / events wherein close friends of the family tend to gather around like buffalo at the watering hole.

I turn to find a bejewelled, silk-draped auntie nudging my elbow and grinning, glass of Pepsi in hand. So, good news kab hai, haan? (So, when's the good news then?) There I am, mentally rolling my eyes inside my head, and thinking, good news for whom? Me, or the auntie in the violent violet coloured sari? I mean, having a baby is fine, but that's just it - that's merely the beginning! I'm so tempted to ask auntie - so I'll have the baby, yeah, but who's gonna babysit? You? Who's gonna change the diapers at the ungodly hour of 2 a.m.? You? Who's gonna wipe Baby's snotty little nose and run around with the washcloth? Are you? Naah, I'm sure that's all part of my lot. Oh, happiness!

I'd suggest let the good news be. Until the time's right.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

WINTER

Winter.
The cold, drab season
Of the heart
the mind and
the body.

Colours.
Nowhere to be seen
except for
Black
White and
Gray.

The Wind.
Chills to the bone and
the warmth seeps out
little
by little
by little

You can never get warm again.

WHAT A BUMMER!

Life can be such a bummer sometimes. While one moment you're upbeat and happy, the next you could very well be so down in the dumps and feel horribly low - any lower and you'd beat a daschund's tummy that invariably hangs down to the ground. The easiest thing to do is to blame it on the weather, another individual (ooh, how convenient, and so much more fun!) or on some raging hormones that make you feel like you're being zapped inside the blender jar.

So, what gets you down?

Friday, 30 March 2007

THE NEXT TIME AROUND

This one's all about the reincarnation theory. Or maybe my lack of faith in it. Sometimes, I wonder if there's anything to even mull about here. Truth to tell, I'm sceptical almost all of the time, because I don't see how it matters! Lemme explain...

They say that you need to be 'good' in this birth, the current cycle of life and death you're going through. When you ask why, the most common (and miffed) response is that 'so you reap the benefits in your next life'. Huh? Come again?

To counter that, I'd put forth my view: First, let's assume this whole reincarnation theory to be true. I'm not gonna be around then (the way I am now), to know or understand that when 'X' happens to me today (this is the next birth talking), it's all due to my deeds / actions / thoughts that were part of my life in the previous birth! How, then, does it matter how I am today?

Agreed, it counts if you believe that you're gonna reap the rewards / make things miserable for yourself, right here, right now - or okay, maybe ten years hence, but in this very life cycle! How can my karma today dictate my so-called next life?

Monday, 19 March 2007

NEW YEAR

Okay, so it's New Year's again... What?! I mean, it sure isn't the first of January! But anyways - this is something I'm not sure I'm ever gonna get. How can a New Year come back in, right bang smack in the month of March / April, just when you've finally settled in with January?

Time I learnt to read more than the English calendar.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

TRAIN TRAVAILS

Convenient, on time (well, almost always), brilliantly networked... And you still can't sell me the local trains. For each of the pros above, you have the cons: your nose shoved into your neighbour's face (if nowhere else that's more gross), or you're jostling for space - and that's only to keep one foot on the ground, since the other one is being stomped by somebody else already.

To add to the chaos, the train pulls into the station (not that you can figure out which one it is, since your vantage point is not one to sing about) and what appears to be half the continent rushes in. And the other half rushes out, almost taking your bag, scarf and sanity along with it. Ouch.

Vendors. Ah, now things get interesting. From hair accessories to stationery, you'll find all you've ever wanted to purchase, but couldn't care less to take the time out to pick up! Bargain, of course (it's in the blood), but whatever the price, you can rest assured it's a steal. Introduce a PYT (Pretty Young Thing for the uninitiated) with her dainty little nose in the air. Now, she can't buy something - what if the uppity neighbourhood platinum blonde whom she's trying so hard to be sees her, even on the off chance? - outright. Hence, you'll notice a furtive glance being cast in both directions, before she reaches out a freshly manicured hand to examine a hair clip.

Beggars (who earn more than most of us do annually) romp in, blissfully unmindful of the stony looks and turned up noses, and sing (read: screech) at the top of their lungs. Whew, what power. They earn their buck from those people who want them out of the compartment, right that very minute. What better way than to part with a shiny new coin?

As your stop arrives, you'll be pulled along with the mass of humanity, and have no need to make the effort to get off. But oh, do make sure your sandal hasn't been left behind.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

SOME PICTURES TO SHARE...



The great outdoors... A mindboggling display of colour.
Posted by Picasa

THAT CRICKET LOOK

For the enthusiast, this might be akin to a horror movie - how can someone dislike (note: 'hate' being too strong a word) those cricket matches on television? For someone not so enthusiastic about cricket (me! me!) - I can see heads nod in full agreement (read: sympathy) already.

If you stop and take a moment out to think, you'd wonder what's with men (who can, sometimes, be sensible) - they go all starry-eyed and drown mesmerized in the television screen... It's with almost the same passion as being in the throes of first love, if not more. It's the kind of look not even given to the women in their lives. Reserved specially for the game, it shrieks 'love at every sight'. Always. The love story just doesn't end.

The word seasonality doesn't apply here. On second thoughts, it does: if you're talking about the increasing hysteria around what is popularly termed as 'Cricket Season'. (If you ask me, there isn't a time of the year that doesn't fall under that category - reruns of some godforsaken matches that took place even before you were born count.)

Right now, though, the title belongs to the World Cup. From a schedule lovingly put up in the house, and plans being made to watch the game with the boys, from where I see it, it's gonna be sheer unadultrated torture until the madness dies down.

But... does it ever?

FIRST DAY, FIRST SHOW

There's this tiny kick associated with watching a movie the first day, first show. Not that you go back and do much about it: no reviews dashed off on to a Web site or an SMS sent to your favourite newspaper, it's just that oh-I've-seen-it-what-about-you thing.

Sounds especially good when you're discussing the weekend's latest release over lunch at work, or at a coffee bar evening with friends. Still more fun - dissing the star cast (more so when the hero / heroine looks good enough to eat, depending on which way you swing) and conjuring up the smallest flaws... Dunno about alcohol, but this can create a buzz more satisfying than chocolate.

Go figure!



Thursday, 8 March 2007

MARRIAGE GAMES

Wanted bride: Smart, homely, good looking, fair, minimum graduate, willing to live in joint family, should be willing to adjust.

Reads like a grocery list. All for the cattle fair, oops, marriage market.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

WHAT'S IN A NOSE?

Apparently it's the epitome of perfection. Of perfect noses, that is. But does it really matter what Cleopatra's nose looked like? Whether she really had poker straight, jet black hair falling in this smooth curtain down her back?

Or do we go with the new findings that show up Cleo's supposedly true colours, or rather, her looks: the hooked nose, less-than-perfect features...?

Painted onto papyrus, gleaming gold and vegetable dye, the figment (is it?) of somebody's imagination comes vividly to life. Best untouched, undiscovered, let romance rule!

Here's to you, Cleo!

GOOD-BYES

She sat by the window, watching the sun go down, inch by beautiful inch. A pallette of warm colours streaked the sky: golden yellow, crimson, fiery orange... No two seconds were the same. A lone tear glistening down her cheek, she didn't take any of this in. Listlessly dropping the knitting in her lap, she rocked herself back and forth in her favourite rocking chair. The one he'd gifted her, chosen so painstakingly, knowing she's always wanted one.

He always knew what she'd be thinking, and by now had learnt to anticipate her every move. The both of them were a support system for each other, and reading the other's mind wasn't much of a task.

No wonder then, she defended herself, she'd been so reluctant to see him go. Wondering when he'd return. After all, traversing halfway across the globe put in an immeasurable distance between them, for the first time in their lives. He was her soul, her reason for living.

It's only for a while, he'd consoled her. A posting from work, and before she'd even know it, he'd be back with her, he promised. Right by her side, watching her knit, the needles clicking away tirelessly as she created a cable knit sweater for him.

He'd insisted she didn't come down to the airport, seeing him off at home itself was an ordeal for her. One more last hug, the nth good-bye, and he was gone. Out of her life for what seemed to be an infinite period.

Ansh, her son. All she could do was wait.

COMMERCIAL BREAKS (AND TELEVISION SHOWS)

I've decided that these are the best parts of any television show. (Err...okay, so there may be a couple of exceptions to that. Three, at max.)

You derive more entertainment (and information) from a commercial, rather than those inane soaps, where the mother-in-law (MIL, to the uninitiated) is scheming against her DIL (no prizes for guessing that one now!), while her MIL is out plotting against her. To add to this mêlée is the neighbourhood baddie who has the hots for her daughter and is going all out to ensure that his attempt at kidnapping her is successful, while the nerd from across the road injures himself while attempting to foil that very same bid... *whew* Pause for breath. Figure if you turn on the TV set some six-odd months later, it'd all look the same. At the most, you can expect a generation leap of some twenty years. Of course, the storyboard doesn't change.

To put things into perspective: You have one auntie from a daily soap, fake eyelashes et al. Also a potted plant. IQ level's significantly higher in the case of the latter.

As for the commercials, they teach you to bargain at your local greengrocer's, invest for your future, dream of a new car (and hope that you have a rich uncle in the Bahamas), zap up some astonishingly succulent looking, ready to cook in a jiffy meal for the famished family... all in a span of a total of 120 seconds, all told.

Bring 'em on! At least they don't insult my intelligence.


HIC!

Will get right back soon!

COLOURS OF LIFE

Well, so what if they get under your nails? Leave your skin with a (healthier?!) than usual warm fuschia glow? So what if your scalp's screaming vermillion? It's once in a calendar year, anyway!

On the beach, a riot of people. Not literally; it's myriad individuals ingesting sea water (tainted with scores of other unmentionables) and tossing fistfuls of colour at each other... Intrepid small-time photographers, "Madam, ek photo ka tees rupiah. Sauh ke chaar." (Ma'am, one photograph for thirty rupees. Four for a hundred.) woo you, to score one over the other guy jostling for space. And your okay.

Obscure news channels from across the globe (yes, really!) plying their camera and related equipment, snatching sound bytes from an ever-willing audience, to later treat their viewers to "Holi, the Indian Festival of Colours", drawled for the benefit of the camera, lurk around.

Intrepid street, oops, beach vendors hawking their ware: samosas (triangles of pastry filled with spicy potato and fried golden brown), ice-gola (a ball of ice dipped in sorbet, to be slurped up noisily), idlis (steamed lentil cakes)... all this, of course, garnished with grains of sand. The variety is seemingly endless, and it's up to your insides to get tough and survive.

Cops and the life guards work in tandem, ensure there's no unruly incident and the resultant chaos, and warn people away from the water once the tide starts to rise.

Families (kids of the single-digit age group in tow), couples (oblivious to most other things around them), carloads of friends out to have a good time - you'll find all sorts have a rollicking day out on the beach.

In other parts, you'll find people guzzling bhaang. But that's another story. Another post.

Monday, 26 February 2007

GREENS

I've always wondered WHY green vegetables taste so...well, boring. (There's no other way to put it politely.) Look at the rest of the bunch (pun unintended) - potatoes, onion, tomato, bell peppers (now these even manage to look good as a bonus)... Nowhere on their résumé do they inscribe: Pick me up, I'm boring to the taste. Unlike all greens. Now, they sure do a brilliant job of it.

Okay, okay, so they play up on their 'healthy' angle, promising you some zillion benefits they claim potatoes never will provide, wax eloquent about pumping up your iron levels and the like... Somehow, they can never convince me.

I'd rather a pair of bright red and yellow bell peppers did the salsa on my kitchen counter.

Saturday, 24 February 2007

OF CAKE AND CANDLES - II

Where's the party tonight? Hmm, good question - for me, that is! Actually, maybe the previous post needs to be amended a notch: the family goes all out to make you feel special, too!

Here I am, trying every devious little scheme in the book to figure out what's on the agenda, hee hee. Not much success. Grumble. Hmm, looks like everyone's been coached well. Whatever information I do glean points towards a dinner out or something of the kind.

Nothing, though, prepares me for this - a surprise birthday bash, right here in my own living room! Loads of friends, family and fun make for quite a heady combination! More cake (whatever are calories?) and still more conversations...

For my family: A thank you would just about start to cover it... Just about.

OF CAKE AND CANDLES - I

Friends have a way with things. At work, they can make special days even more so. Cake (chocolate, of course: it's a religion), a birthday card (inscribed by all, which is the point to be noted here) and loads of warm hugs and still warmer birthday wishes.

The highlight being a whiteboard, specially adorned for the occasion. Is it festive, or what! And hey, don't miss the arrow. If you were clueless as to where my desk at work is, well, now you know!! Clichéd but true: a picture does say a thousand words, doesn't it!

To my friends: a big thank you.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

JAZZ IT UP, BABY!

"Dhadak dhadak
Dhadak Dhadak
Seeti bajaye re..."


This is the first of many songs in a loop, and then some. I've always wondered where on Earth do Mumbai's rickshaw-wallahs (drivers, to the uninitiated) get their music from. As I hop in to a rick en route from work, I'm uhh... treated to some such delightful numbers. The prerequisite for this is the word loud, and I do mean LOUD. I have a firm belief that they're remixed to the Rickshaw Beat purely for them. Blaring from torn speakers, delightfully distorted sound...you know, the works. Basically, the cute guy in the rick three lanes away should hear the din. And you'll cringe when you notice just how cute he is, and that he notices you in a 'singing' rickshaw. That's one. Second, the 'ambience' in most such ricks...

There are embellishments to set the ambience:
a. Pom-poms and sundry other danglers gaudy enough to put a belle at a local fair to shame.
b. Holographic stickers, the more gross, the better: pouty red lips, hearts with arrows stuck through them, knives through hearts replete with drops of blood dripping off the edge and the like.
c. Social service messages roughly translated from the local language would read thus: A girl educated signifies progress, A small family is a happy family, yadda yadda.
d. Now this is a classic: Names. These can include anybody and everybody that the rick guy dreams of / includes in his list of family and friends. (Pappu, Monty, Sonu, Chinky being favourites, whoever they may be. Sometimes I think they're arbit generic names, like Xerox for a photocopy.)
e. Posters of Bollywood stars, mostly female with loud makeup (specially enhanced for the said poster).
f. And traditionally, last but not the least, lights! Now these have to be in flourescent colours, running the gamut from pink and green to a sickly (and sickening) yellow. If some of them can be programmed to march, blink, flicker... Wow. Err, whatever.
g. The horn. Tinny, bullfrog, bass... It doesn't matter, as long as it's effective to make meandering cattle (both human and four-legged), other unsuspecting vehicles and various other life forms jump out of their skin and incidently, out of the way of Mr. Dashing's three-wheeler autorickshaw.

The rick flying over potholes, the speakers screech:
"Meri haathon mein nau nau choodiyaan hain..."

HMMM...

Always wondered:
1. Why it takes longer to cook than it does to eat the stuff you've made.
2. Why if a guy swears, it's okay. If a girl does, she's using language more colourful than a sailor's.
3. Why lying is accepted if you're being politically correct.
4. When the fish in my fish bowl sleep.
5. Why most of us are so afraid to change. And maybe of change as well.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

Borrowed title. But so very apt. As I type, we're slowly inching towards a brand new day here by IST. February 14, 2007 is (almost: 30 minutes to go) officially over. Finis.

A quick poll would probably reveal stats that look somewhat like this:
a. Moths flying outta empty wallets. (When'll payday roll around?? Despair.)
b. Rejected flowers (and wannabe lovers) scattered around.
c. Cash rich card companies / gift shops and their kith and kin.
d. Stray angry protestors lugging along remnants of burnt effigies / cards / V-Day symbols, feebly singing their angry songs.
e. Lovesick puppy dog looks (tails wagging et al) on some teenybopper faces. And don't miss the teddy bear tucked away under one arm...

I rest my case.

Monday, 12 February 2007

LILIES

She got to know him in her teens. Until then, he was the tyrant of her summer holidays. Use the fork. Don't pick at your food. Sit straight: you'll get a hunch. She used to dread visiting him, not knowing when the next reprimand would fly at her. She was little, single-digit age group, and understood softer words (and toys!) better.

Reprimand? Or was it affection? Just that he couldn't express himself, tell her in so many words how much he loved her?

One evening, she was to drive down to meet him, a good four hours away from her home. She was late, the result of an event at her management school. She was flooded with endless calls en route, where he'd enquire, gruff-voiced: Where are you? It's late. Don't you have any concern at all for me? She reached his home to find him waiting up for her, at the ungodly hour of 1:00 a.m., with her favourite coffee blend bubbling away in the percolator. Her hug was brushed away with an abrupt, Thank God you're here: I can get some sleep at last. She couldn't know that he was watching for her from his bedroom window, waiting for her car to drive in, struggling to stay awake.

Sigh. Some things don't change. Don't they? She got to know him that weekend the way she never had before. That under his gruff manner lay his affection and concern for her. Every little gesture spoke a million words. He made her feel special.

They spent a lazy Saturday browsing through old family albums, he acquainting her with aunts and uncles she'd never known existed. Regaling her with countless stories. Having her roll around in mirth at the funniest anecdotes brought guffaws to his lips, too. She made him feel young again.

As she knelt by his grave, his face seemed to smile up at her. Carefully, she placed the lilies on the stone. Cold, as he was in death. She'd never forget that one, heart-stopping moment. As she'd never forget him.

I miss you, Grampa.

ANOTHER MILESTONE

There you go, another year's flown by. That's one more candle on the cake.
"Any more, and the cake'll collapse with the weight of the candles. Tee-hee!"
"Now that you're over the hill, Gramma..." *snigger, snigger*
Funnnnny. Not. Okay, so I don't think so. I mean, it's me that's standing here, blowing out the candles! ("Careful, you'll singe your hair!")

What's the year been about, anyway?
A path-breaking career move? A personal high? New beginnings? Sure, interspersed with the lows. The time your relationship tottered, more precarious than a Miss So-and-So's high heels. The evening when you got in from work and mentally knocked your co-worker's face off the Earth. Wiped the floor clean with the annoying neighbour who objects because "your dog barks and I can't sleep". Whine.

Ah, familiar. That's how it is, year after year. Add another for good measure.
Milestone? So go on, already.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

LOVE IS IN THE AIR

Yes, boys and girls, it's that time of the year again, when you open up your hearts (and more importantly, wallets) to pour out your feelings to the love of your life, yadda yadda. Never mind the beloved - thanking you, rubbing their hands together in glee as they trot to the bank, are your good ol' card companies, soft toy manufacturers and suppliers of sundry other trinkets / baubles for the 'occasion'.

The colours of the season are:
a. Pink
b. Red
c. Nauseating variants of [a] and / or [b]

So what's on the agenda, anyway?
Step # 1: Go to nearest store.
Step # 2: Pick out card.
Step # 3: Pick out stuffed toy in any of the colours listed above. Toy with heart? Take 20 bonus points! Heart inscribed with those three little words (No, no, not 'Pay the bill'!)? You've got it made, buddy!
Step #4: Open wallet. *sigh* Part with dough. *bigger sigh* Realize it's more than you'd planned to spend. *still bigger sigh* Remember that you've not yet picked out the bouquet. *glub glub glub*

Next, flowers.
Normally, they're in an affordable price range. This close to V-Day, you're paying for every petal. Dearly. Worse, the object of your affection doesn't like them. (How could you forget that I'm allergic to pollen???) Start to count the thorns, too, buddy. That's all you're gonna get. Ouch.

Baubles, as mentioned in paragraph one.
Diamonds, set in white gold or platinum. Anything else, refer to the paragraph above. Add one more thorn.

Same time, next year: Same story. Different love?

Friday, 9 February 2007

COLOURS

Now, these can tell you a story.
Of Love, of Hate
Of Violence, of Peace
Of Happiness. Joy. Ecstacy
and Profound Sadness.

Colour me Red. Black. Blue. Green. Maybe White.
Reflect my moods, my thoughts.
Is life always black and white? Or gray?

Sometimes my mind screams out.
Nobody hears me. Nobody understands.
Colours, they do.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

BREAD RHAPSODY

In any shape and form, bread makes the world go around. (Okay, my world, at least.) Picture this: fresh baked bread, warm from the oven, soft to the touch, the aroma gently wafting right under your nose as you take in a deep breath... And fall in love.

So do we bread lovers discriminate? No way, José! The only requirement is that it should be pure, unadultrated bread (read: no butter / cheese / whatchamacallit), as light as air, and with that unmistakable aroma.

Heaven, here I come...

Saturday, 3 February 2007

OF WEDDING INVITES AND SUCH

A moment of inspiration -this one's for you, Viv!

Always wondered why wedding invites are so...well, for lack of a better word, uhhh...uninspired. I mean, are people actually expected to attend an event where:
a. They'll be bored outta their skulls.
b. The food is always bad. (Even if it's good, the ubiquitous ample silk-draped aunties have to label it bad. It's the norm. Of course, to the bride / groom and family, it's the best they've ever eaten yet. Gushingly so.)
c. Someone's checking you out / vice-versa. And that's the only form of entertainment. And not always fun: the groom's cousin looks like Dilbert on a bad hair day.

And to top it all, the invite doesn't clue you in on any of this. It's always bland, carries images invoking all the possible supreme beings, their extended families and pets, and says "Gifts in the form of blessings only". Now, one has to read that to understand it as: go ahead and give the gift you've gotten to my mum / aunt / so-and-so, right over there in the corner where the camera's never ever gonna capture your mugshot!!

Wake up and smell the coffee, world - it's time for a change!

WEEKENDS RULE!

So after a busy week at work, the only thing I have on my mind Friday evenings is - WEEKEND!!! It's a one track mind sort of thing, when all you can think about is what're you gonna do Saturday and Sunday?? Of course, when THE days are finally here, you wind up doing...nothing. Yes, precisely that. Nothing. I mean, here I am - updating this space, and thinking, what next? There just isn't a next!! Whoopie!

Happily sipping a tall glass of strawberry milkshake (yum!) - contrary to my fitness consultant's advice (it is revolutionised food and therefore has no real nutrients and just piles on the bad fat) - I lazily contemplate doing nothing for the rest of the day. And a lovely thought it is.

Weekends are made just for this...

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING

Hmm, although ambiguous (!), figure that's not a bad way to kick-start this whole blog thing... Finally, have gotten inspired to typing all this much... Guess the last time I must've done this was for a school project... Anyways...

So what's all this about, hmm? Well, guess I'm gonna be updating something of everything that randomly waltzes into my head. No, it's not an online diary *grin*, so never mind that train of thought...lol!

Welcome on board, and here's to loads of lazy afternoons (or whatever time of the day / night; take your pick) with coffee and cinnamon! Cheers!

P.S.: How about some chocolate cake to go with that cuppa? WTH - you only live once!