Saturday, 25 August 2012


This one's been a topic of debate at some point or the other for almost everyone who owns a TV/ goes to the movies: celebrities who grace the screen, big or small. The screen, that is. And the fact that while they seem to have the most amazing, glamourous lives, they actually don't.

When was the last time you had to worry about having worn the same outfit? I don't have anxiety attacks about wearing the same outfit to work, sometimes twice in the same week. And I sure as hell don't own a closetful of footwear, just to coordinate with a similar number of clothes. Or accessories, either. I don't always - okay, almost never - have glossily painted nails, and bad hair days were inspired from yours truly. Imagine the nightmare - a new outfit each time you make a public appearance, or mixed and matched so well with something else that it looks different and new. Else it's a field day for the shutterbugs and the publications they work with - and a disaster of epic proportions for the celeb in question. Worse still if somebody else - and at the same do... gasp! - has the same stuff on.

I don't even claim to understand make-up. While it's definitely not about being ill groomed *shudder*, I can't imagine having to dress my face up as well. The amount of make-up I own, if everyone did the same, all those brands would file for bankruptcy. And models would be out of work.

And then the bit about going out in public, and more so in broad daylight. How would you like to be surrounded by bodyguards all the time? Where the page that defined 'privacy' was torn out of your dictionary? That brings me to the sunglasses and/ or hats. While I guess they are necessary (?), I still maintain that they look ridiculous when worn say, in a hotel lobby at nine in the evening, or inside a movie theatre. Being mobbed all the time so that even going grocery shopping is impossible. No, scratch that. Maybe a coffee; who goes grocery shopping without a gun to their heads anyway?

Of course, the counter argument is that it's a price knowingly  - and very willingly - paid. You trade in normalcy for the bright lights, the adoring fans, the money and the fame. The paparazzi is a devil you willingly shoulder. It may in fact be difficult and infinitely more painful - not to mention embarrassing - to not be recognised or mobbed, or stalked by that obsessed fan. It's a secret kick in the head without smoking something weird.

So then, do celebs have a right to grumble when the paparazzi chase becomes too much? What exactly is too much, and having once decided to embrace it, can a celeb then expect privacy at all? Don't they agree to become the public's darlings? In which case, shouldn't both the cupcakes and the green vegetables be accepted in equal measure? Or should the public be all sensitive and back off at a point?


I'm unsure if there's even a right answer.

What's your take?


... like me, you're tucked in under your duvet, bed socks included, at ten-thirty on a Friday evening, with a good book for company.

I wouldn't change a thing.


Being born and brought up in India, one tends to take hired help for granted. The time a toddler learns to say his/ her first words, chances are it's not the traditional 'mama' or 'papa', but 'didi' (sister, typically elder) or 'auntie' instead. Because that's what the Nanny would be called. Growing up, you're convinced that your house help is dearer to you than a cousin. More familiar, too.

I don't remember ever having to lift a finger. Sure, Mum made sure that my sister and I did routine chores like making our own beds, dusting and setting the table for dinner and such. But that's because, according to her, those were things you needed to know and were consequently non-negotiable. As also doing the laundry and cooking, both of which my sister happily complied with - while I didn't.

Result: much to Mum's consternation, I couldn't boil water for the longest time. Not even for a cuppa tea. My idea of the ideal cup: a teabag popped into a mug, which was then zapped through the microwave. Still is, actually. Had a friend over a couple months ago, who swore that he'd never had tea as bad as the one I'd made and offered him. Think he was traumatised, really. Won't be surprised if he's stopped drinking tea altogether. Must ask him sometime. *makes mental note*

Ditto coffee. Where would I be without the coffee maker? Given the title of this blog, it's obvious that I have coffee flowing through my veins. But nothing makes me wanna edge up to the gas stove and make it the traditional(?) way.

Did you ever manage to burn Maggi noodles? I did. They stuck to the bottom of the pan so well, that a new pan could've been lifted off the actual one. You know, sorta like a pie crust. Then there were times there was so much water left, that the noodles aimlessly floated around in it. They're now called soupy noodles, and packaged and sold. Since I didn't patent it, I'm still waiting for my first million.

Of course, to have survived, no surprises to know that the mother is the World's Best Cook. Period. 

Coming to housework. Again, there's help at hand, so at the most the Dusting Fairy needs to be appeased, off and on. And the Wardrobe Monster, because there's no way that I'm responsible for the way my wardrobe looks, minutes after I've organised it.

As with most things, there's the good news - bad news setup here as well. There are times you're thankful for the hired help - it makes it so much easier to juggle both work and home. And children too, I'm given to understand. The bad part - in a lot of homes, the help isn't treated well (never mind fair), and sadly, that's because labour is ridiculously cheap. Terminating the services of someone is as easy as changing clothes, and there's never a whiff of a contract, formal or otherwise. The lame joke that does the rounds is, wives are more concerned about the well being of their house help rather than the husbands', because they're the ones who keep the house going. Meh.

That said, it's true that I've never washed my car.

Thursday, 23 August 2012


Being fashionably late is so uncool in my books. There's this couple though, friends of the significant other, that firmly believe otherwise. I wonder how they even managed to get married in the first place, given that they're never on time. Indian weddings happen as per the determined auspicious timing, but that's another story. And so they're always late, even as per Indian Standard Time (IST). How IST works is, say you're to meet someone at 8:00 p.m. You won't reach there before 9:30, and the other person would be surprised at best, if not harried. Because he expected you to reach not before 10:00.

We once decided to take in a movie with them. We reached in time - for the end credits.

Then there was dinner at their place. Like the good guests, the significant other and I reached at the communicated hour. Even had a chocolate cake in hand, being excessively polite and all. And when we rang the bell, we heard scampering and muttering on the inside. After three hundred light years, the door opened - to him still in his shabby home clothes, while she had dashed into the shower. I don't even want to know more. Eventually, I wandered off into their kitchen to fix dinner, because it was approaching my bedtime.

With them, we've cancelled and rescheduled plans previously made. Where we were to go out at seven in the evening after lunch with them, we've managed seven alright - the next evening. That's because we had lunch at four, since they didn't come in much before.

Honestly, even babies when born stick better to their due dates.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012



One of my favourite chocolates. Ever.


Before I get walloped for this, let me clarify that I'm not anti-Mother Earth, or being eco-friendly and things, it's just that sometimes I think it's getting to be a bit much.

Carbon footprint? C'mon. Didn't even know that I had any footprint apart from my giant size 8 one until recently. And I survived. Now, I feel guilty if I use the AC, the TV (maybe that's why sitcoms are only for a 22-minute duration?), the washing machine... The microwave makes me worry about some heinous rays that are gonna gobble me up (instead of my eating the food that I'd popped into it in the first place). That I'm adding to landfills with any and all non-biodegradable trash gives me nightmares. If I purchase an extra charger for my BlackBerry, I'm worried that I've defiled the environment. When I use plastic, innocent animals choke on the pieces when trashed and meet a gory end. Let's not forget that I drive to work, and that my automatic laps up precious fuel. And almost with each breath I take, I seem to be increasing my carbon footprint. It's now about the size of Bigfoot's shoe, should he be wearing one. Or two, even.

Take this new drive we have here. You're charged for every plastic bag you ask for at a store, in a bid to reduce the usage. Initially, you did see people bringing bags with them, but now, all you see is a well-manicured hand airily waving away the question of whether a bag is even wanted. What's another few rupees on the bill, anyway? Worse, you can't take these into the store with you anyway, they need to be checked at the baggage counter. So when I'm done shopping, because I thought ahead and brought my own (cloth) bag, I'm now sailing through the store, all five levels of it, with garments in hand (and a new sock or two on the floor). And then the wait at the counter to retrieve that bag. Note to self: don't try this when buying lingerie.

I'm encouraged by banks, card companies and cellular phone service providers to sign up for e-statements. Sure I will. They claim they save entire rainforests. What they don't mention are the rupees they save too. Sneaky. So as the consumer, do I get passed on a share of this surplus cash? A discount on my bill, maybe? You think!

If I'm to ride a bicycle to work, there need to be roads to support that. As it is, I'm always in danger of snogging the bumper of the car ahead of me, given the traffic we have. Don't even want to know the possible effects on a bicycle to my hand, knees or head. Public transport has no space at peak hours for even a worm to wiggle its belly through - let alone an adult human. The last I checked, both my carbon footprint and I occupy a fair amount of space, thank you.

So while I'm not saying that anything goes, there's just so much of carbon footprints, eco-friendliness and stuff that makes sense, really. Human beings have been in existence a long time, and so has the Earth. The last time the Earth tired of her populace, she purged them all. And so another race began. Won't she do much the same again, should the need arise?

Monday, 20 August 2012


Disclaimer: Boredom levels on this post may be high(er) than usual. That said, read on.

Do we really make our own choices? Or are we initially conditioned to do stuff/ believe in things, and then later as we grow, convince ourselves that they were really our choices to begin with in the first place?

Take religion, for one. When you're young, you're taught to follow a particular religion, to pray and to learn prayers and rituals that the religion prescribes. Of course, it is only natural that the religion of choice would be the one that your parent(s) follow(s), and not any other say, just because they liked it, or were fascinated by its tenets. Or for that matter, you were. And so we learn.

It's not just about religion. Take food choices, or lifestyle choices otherwise. A person normally settles down to routinely eating what's specific to his/ her community/ region. You start to believe that that's just what you want adopt by way of a routine, because that's what you grew up with. And believe that you chose to yourself.

Of course, as we grow, we do make changes - some may choose to not follow the religion, others may change dietary preferences. And so it goes. But that's later. Initially, it's more about teaching/ learning/ absorbing/ accepting, and only then do choices, and decisions following those choices arise. 


Work in progress.
Did I mention just how much I love cardboard crafts? While I'm nowhere near professional, there's nothing more fun than creating with cardboard. This of course being a dolls' house for a friend's child.

More furniture to be made. Right now, it's all in my head.


Right at the start of this post, I'm convinced that it's not my fault that I have crazy credit card bills.

I remember the first card that I'd ever gotten. At the start of my career, as a management trainee (absolutely at the bottom of the employee food chain, basically) I had a card company send me a shiny new piece of plastic basis the salary I had just started to earn. They didn't care that the grand sum total of my work experience was about a quarter of a financial year, or that what I had stated on my application was an amount that I hadn't even seen in one place, as a student. Still, they loved me. Loved me enough to give me a gold card. Ironically, the bank that I worked with then, was not so benevolent - they gave me a silver, and that too around six-odd months later.

It's so much easier to flash plastic, right, versus carrying around cash? One, you don't have to have a cow about bags getting picked (pretty routine on our public transport systems here, thank you), and second, more place for the kitchen sink. That's another thing - however hard I try, the bag always has an assortment of stuff that I don't always need - but I'm sure I will. And of course, given the deep love and affection that Murphy has for me, I will - just as soon as I remove it from my bag, in a bid to lighten the load. Meh.

And so the cards live on. Of course, the downside is you don't always keep tabs on where all it's been swiped, unless you save the chargeslips. The last time I did that, it worked well - until I cleaned my bag and tore up those slips into teeny little bits of non-paper.

Worse are the bloopers. Went to purchase clothes once. And thankfully got a call within minutes of signing a charge slip from the card company, asking whether I did indeed spend fifty thousand rupees (or about nine hundred dollars) on a single garment. After I was done hyperventilating, turns out that the shop assistant (or whatever is the politically correct parlance) had swiped my card for two zeroes more. I love when they 'void' sales. I wish they'd do it with legit purchases too, as a surprise for being a good customer. But I guess that's what gets me into a fix in the first place.

Then the other time I swiped my card at dinner. And left my card at the till, so that our server returned with the bill, and some cash. A tip to the customer it wasn't, as it turns out - but a cash refund. What had happened was, since I had left my card at the counter, they'd swiped it for the next customer as well. Not that I'd realised.

Another time that I was so sure I'd lost my card. Got it blocked too, since I couldn't recall where I'd put it, when attempting to bill at the next store. Wasn't lost - I'd left it behind two stores ago. 

And after all this, I persist. And whimper in actual, real pain when those stupid statements come in. Must do something about it, really must. Like leave the cards at home.

Friday, 17 August 2012


So there were these posts floating around on social networking sites on I-Day, which of course got reposted/ retweeted/ shared faster than you could say 'independence'. The brouhaha was super quick to spread, and how. In a matter of minutes, that's almost all I could see for a bit. What was this all about? About how, we as a nation, are more obsessed with the release of a new movie, over the celebration of independence day. Yes, a new movie did hit the screens the same day, and yes, it did open to packed houses. But aren't we quick to jump to conclusions?

C'mon, it's not as if the entire nation got up as one and threw themselves at multiplex doors. Kids did go to school, celebrate I-Day as they do every year. While offices and other commercial establishments were obviously shut for a part of the day, the day prior saw celebrations take place. Tricolours were everywhere. On I-Day, housing complexes hoisted the national flag; versions of the national anthem and songs with patriotic fervour rent the air. In fact, it's just a couple days a year - inde and republic - that most people even hum along to patriotic songs. So yes, celebrations were visible. None of these are forced on you; people do them out of choice.

The same social networking sites, by the end of the day and the next, were flooded with pictures of I-Day celebrations that people obviously did enjoy.

So what's the big deal if a faction of the populace went and saw a movie too?

Thursday, 16 August 2012


When news of the country's progress on a count or two hits the headlines - and not in a good way - you know that either people are thinking, protesting, or both. Dunno which is scarier, but I guess it depends on whether you're the powers that be, or a lay person. If the latter, your opinion doesn't count anyway.

That's the case with India proposing to send an expedition to Mars in the coming year. There are, of course, two ways to look at this, as is the case with those age-old glasses that are either half-full or otherwise. So while it sounds like the coolest idea possibly, unsure whether it really is. The reason is, here we are, with people gasping for basics like food/ water/ homes/ education/ jobs/ infrastructure/ generally a better standard of living - and not necessarily in that order - and then we go and spend millions that we don't have to go stick a flag on Mars. Exploring a little closer to home, say in the interiors of smaller towns and villages, would also turn up a fair amount of (possibly nasty) surprises - and at a fraction of the cost. Money that will be saved as a result can then be used towards providing those basics we just talked about a couple of sentences ago. Not that I'm one to say that scientific progress is a route best not taken. It is, but then it's also a matter of picking the right time, among other things. Also possibly the teeny inconsequential factor of working on what the immediate requirement is. Really, at this point, what will we do heading to Mars? Send those same starving people there for a free meal and board? Put up schools there, or build highways? Nope, however much I try, I'm unable to see how that's gonna reduce my ridiculously long commute to work. Or how the daily wage labourer - because labour is cheap here - is gonna up his earning from the current little over two dollars a day.

Was speaking with a friend just yesterday, whose house is currently under renovation. It's running behind schedule, because there's just so much that someone can work from ten a.m. until five p.m., all manual labour under the scorching sun. Even if you do add on more workers, isn't it inhuman to expect them to work endlessly? That was the friend's take on things, and well, it's not incorrect.

Then there's the other headlines, probably more bizarre than any other - that of providing a mobile phone to each citizen in the country. Free talk time included. So where will these people in remote villages charge their phones? From electricity they don't have, or get maybe for a couple hours a week at best?

Maybe we'd be better off on Mars after all.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


It's pretty amazing how technology has progressed. Sometimes, though, I have a firm belief that it's been planted there - part of a larger conspiracy theory - to drive me crazy. Has it happened to you - that feeling of accomplishment when aha! you've finally gotten the hang of something, and just when you're ready to gloat to the world and your pet goldfish, bam! you realise that that was so yesterday. C'mon. It has to have had.

With me, it's as natural as breathing.

Figured out how the digicam works, when we went and bought a new one. Which while supposedly similar, was also strikingly different.

And all those million beeping buttons on the microwave. One, do they really need to beep? Really? Why? And two, why are there so many? So while I've been using a microwave for years now, every time I chance upon one (say at a friend's, or at work) - it's back to where I'd started from. There's chances of someone making a round trip to the moon on their flying carpet before I figure out that one.

Ditto the washing machine. All those settings. After randomly hazarding a guess (or two. or several), I zap at a few dozen buttons, spin a few dials. Only to have at the end of a 42-minute cycle, either (a) my clothes as unwashed as they were when they first went in, (b) sopping wet, as I have clearly failed to successfully nudge the dryer settings, (c) hopelessly tangled, so that shirts with sleeves need out of necessity to be rendered sleeveless, if they are to be worn at all. Because that's the only way I'll be able to prise them away from their now conjoined twin, or (d) a combination of the above.

As for cell phones, let's not even go there.


There have been times in the recent (and not so recent) past when onion prices have literally made people cry here in India. To peel back a few layers, all you need to know is that artificial demand for onion was created, people stockpiled, and boom! onions vanished faster than you could wipe away your tears. Result? Our sudden love for onions, at whatever cost, literally. Until then, I'm sure people didn't hyperventilate or check themselves into hospitals because they hadn't seen an onion. But on the demise of the onion...

It's the same thing with humans. When a person is alive, you really don't hear any good stuff about him. You know, it's always been about how he's been a big so-and-so, how's he trampled more than a few careers in his path, how it's not only his carbon footprint that should have been eliminated much earlier... you get the drift. Suddenly, in death, he's now Mr Popular. The same chap has now sprouted a halo that could wrap itself around the Earth several times.

It's like the drunken uncle in the family. Nobody cared about him, nobody invited him to family dos, and noses wrinkled in disgust if he did turn up, owing to someone's serious lapse in judgement. But now that he's no more, the bottle is long forgotten, and his grieving widow is the favourite aunt, while he has been elevated almost to the heavens. Pun unintended. Of course, his snotty nosed boy, the Cousin No One Could Stand, is now the favourite, without whom all celebrations are incomplete. That one random memory with said uncle now comes to the fore, which up until then was best forgotten. Embellished, of course, such that it would put a brocade tapestry to shame. Everyone is suddenly so close to uncle, aunt and cousin, that everything else pales into insignificance.

Is it, as a friend mused, just human nature? We are raised to believe that we shouldn't speak ill of the dead. Or cry about onion prices.

Monday, 13 August 2012


I've been living in the same neighbourhood for the past 23 years now; so goes without saying that the neighbourhood mom-and-pop stores (those that still exist) are as familiar as my oldest pair of shoes. Or at least those that didn't succumb to the lure of higher rents from coffee/ doughnut/ frozen yoghurt chains, with the owners thereby going into self-exile and happily counting the money from the luxury of their plush new sofas, watching the same old shows on their brand new 50 inch 3D LED TVs.

Went to one such store with the significant other a couple of evenings ago, to make the exciting purchase of frozen peas and a couple of tetra packs of juice. The store owner, in true Indian tradition called Auntie, was at the counter, with her ready smile. What we do here is, whether someone is related to us or not (by blood or otherwise), or is merely a casual acquaintance, or is someone we just met on the bus, is happily bestowed the title of 'Auntie', or 'Uncle', or desi versions of the same, as the case may be. I guess I'd be tagged impolite (and worse), if I'm to call my Mum's friend 'Farida', and not 'Farida Auntie'. You guessed it - I'm not related to her; just that she and Mum are friends. Also, these tags are convenient - you're then not required to know said auntie/ uncle's name, be it first or last. The title is all-encompassing. Hmm. Convenient.

So Auntie smiled, we greeted each other, murmured about the dismal performance by the rain gods in Mumbai so far this year, and I started to tell her what all I needed to purchase. I was then asked, so do you still work with X Bank? Are you still with their branch at X area in South Bombay? (Or Mumbai, if you prefer.) Now that stunned me. Why, because this reference to my first ever job goes back to 2003, and really, I'm not sure how much of it I personally remember - so how on Earth did she?! I started to think that she knows more about my life than I myself do. Maybe the next time I wanna log in to my bank account online, I should ask her what my password is. I can never remember passwords, or the user IDs that go with them. I may remember one or the other, but never both in tandem. Or if I do, it's invariably the user ID for say, gmail, while the password is that for Facebook. Bah. But clearly, Auntie at the store has no such problems. When I picked my jaw off the floor, she told me she can recall phone numbers. Mobile phone numbers too, all ten horrifying digits of them. I'm embarrassed to say that if I didn't have my sister on speed dial, I'd never be able to talk to her - I don't know her number. In the days before mobile phones dropped into our laps - or glued themselves to our ears - I did remember land line numbers. But not anymore.

I'm happy these days if I remember by dinner what exactly I had at lunch, and don't really aspire to think beyond that, say, from two days ago. I'm relieved that I remember to pay my bills in time - at least, most of the time. The amount I'd've paid by way of late payment charges (plus tax, and tax on that tax) would take care of a family of four for a few months, I'm guesstimating. And so I set reminders on my phone. And my laptop. On which I hit 'dismiss'. And then I cough up the late payment charges. And so I walk in reverse.

Thank goodness my home isn't password protected, or requires a convoluted set of digits to gain access, else I'd be a regular fixture at the neighbour's.

Saturday, 11 August 2012


I was afraid of the grandfather for a laundry list of things. One of these horrors was sports, or rather, my lack of understanding or interest in almost all of them. For someone who is gravely challenged in the hand-and-eye coordination department, it really is difficult to show genuine interest and concern about sports at large, and adoration and concern for athletes in particular. Growing up, my bedroom walls were plastered with posters, magazine clippings, newspaper cut-outs of pop and movie stars. So much so that you had to hazard a guess at the colour of the walls, given that there was no place for even an ant to rest its world weary rear. But never did you find a sports star. Never on my radar, those.

The grandfather, however, was a sports fanatic. From when I knew him, strictly from the couch with the bowl of peanuts and beer, but the mother swears he had a mean handle on the tennis racquet, and could out swim Moby Dick. But that's another story, for another post. He was burdened with me each summer, whose idea of exercise was to flip over pages of the book that I happened to be reading. Or, in an Herculean effort, aiming the remote control at the then God of music devices - the three-CD changer, to switch from one pop song to the next.

By the time I'd pick my book off the floor - from where it would've landed, after I'd have dropped it in terror at the grandfather's shouts at a goal or a run or whatchamacallit - and look up shakily at the telly, trying to come to grips with what had happened, the grandfather would have turned to me, expecting a similar ecstatic response. At best, a weak whimper is all I could come up with. Frown. Not me, him.

Figured then, that maybe it was time to read some more - this time, a book on sports, so that I could (hopefully) decipher what all those mysterious terms meant - goals, runs, sets, innings, games, fouls... you get the drift. And so the tome was purchased. After a few initial (mustered up and fake enthusiastic) tries, the book had other uses - that of a mouse mat, and also to boost the height of the PC monitor alternatively.

Then one year the cricket World Cup happened. By the time I figured out which team wore which colour, the tournament (or whatever it's called) got over. I didn't even get down to knowing team members' names, let alone recognising their faces from the news. My only conclusion was that I liked the happy sunshine-y yellow that some team (I think it was the Aussie) wore.

As for tennis, between all the love and games that were oozing on to the courts, the last I knew, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf ruled. I'm now given to understand that not only do they not play anymore, but have gotten married and made babies who may just make their own tennis debut sometime soon. Of course, whether it'll be on grass courts or clay or any other substance, I'll never know.

When I see swimmers, all I marvel at is how on Earth water doesn't get into their eyes, ears, nose or any other orifice. How they don't gasp and choke for breath, the way I do if I injest water even in the shower. The significant other had the Olympics going on the telly last evening as I got home from work. Coffee mug in hand, I settled in to watch something new (to me at least) - synchronised swimming. Amid all that perfection, all I could think of, was water inside my nostrils.

Am I anti-sports? No. All I know is, I should stick to the sitcoms on the TV, and drive to work for exercise. Shifting from 'D' to 'N' to 'P' is exhausting enough, I reckon, given the traffic I wade through on Mumbai's roads. Which I will rant about separately.


Isn't it obvious?

Take the case of the gazillion torrentz that are swarming all over the Internet. You can pick up almost everything - books, music, movies - for free. And so the debate begins.

Buying an audio CD here in India costs me about INR 500 (or about USD 9), for 'English' (read any other language apart from a regional language) music, and maybe somewhere around half the amount for the desi stuff.

Let's rip apart the desi music first. Not like I'm not a fan - you'll find a fair amount of Hindi film music on my BlackBerry - but I'm not a fan of the pricing on the CDs, given the amount of songs on a soundtrack. Seven, maybe, of which three will be remixes of remixes, while the other two will be the sad and/ or romantic version. Which leaves us with two 'original' songs. Which, again, in all probability, have anyway been ripped off some 'English' (read any other language apart from regional again) number, or some earlier Bollywood song.

It doesn't even cost a kidney to manufacture a CD; I figure it's about 10 bucks or so. That's hardly going to register on an ECG. So here's the deal - why should I donate a large chunk of my salary towards increasing the stock prices on these companies? I don't understand the stock market anyway; and am an ocean away from playing it. And that's only in this lifetime.

Coming to books. May as well save a twig or two, or maybe an entire branch replete with wasps' nest, if I don't give in to temptation and buy 'real' books. Not that I like e-books, really, I must confess here. But my bank account does, even if the card company doesn't. See, it's again about upwards of 500 bucks to read a thriller/ mystery novel, just the once - unless you pretend not knowing whodunnit even after the 50th read, just to justify the purchase.

So let's break this down now: (a) I don't want to pledge my kidney to be able to buy 'real', 'original' stuff, and (b) piracy isn't restricted to the seas.

Isn't it being like Robin Hood, stealing from the thieves?

Friday, 10 August 2012


A couple of months ago, a guy on my work team quit, and I needed to quickly recruit a replacement. Not that that was a challenge in itself, but it did involve sifting through a number of CVs. Which again was not at all an unpleasant task, especially since I didn't have to wade through a bunch of meaningless profiles before I'd even scratch the surface, never mind about hitting gold. And so I plodded on.

Imagine you're putting together your résumé. Why in the world would you say that your hobbies and interests include surfing the Internet?! Okay, given that I'm writing on an online platform, and you're reading on one as well, dissing the Internet is not where I'm headed, of course. Again, surfing the Internet? Really? 

Or listening to music. What's so special about that? Not that extreme sports are all you're allowed to list on there, but again, listening to music? Really? 

Did you also say reading? The brightest answer I've ever gotten to that particular gem is: books. I kid you not, peeps. Books. Didn't assume you meant graffiti on restroom walls. Or the back of a soda can. So again, reading?

Then there was this one that casually mentioned 'watching TV'. 

I rest my case.

And oh - I did recruit the replacement, after all.


But these were way too cute to resist =)


Relationships can be so fragile, she thought. One wrong move, and your world can come crashing down around you.

They were friends, having hit it off the moment they met. Rather, spoke over the phone for the first time. While the conversation couldn't have been described as sparkling in the social sense, it was laced with wit and a year's worth of humour tossed in. What she liked about him, she realised, was that he seemed to be unpretentious, not waxing eloquent on things he hadn't a clue about. A few more calls, a few more conversations, and meeting him became imperative. And so they did.

A few multiplied tenfold, and they were soon seeing each other. After having kissed quite a few frogs, she mused, this one was a keeper. And so their story unfolded.

If only, she later thought. If only she hadn't met Russell at work. If only they hadn't been thrown together on a few projects. If only that offsite at Goa hadn't happened. If only... all for that one impetuous, drunken night.


If you ask me what I think of religion, well, I believe it's personal. As personal as when to have a baby, or even if at all. It's as personal as your taste in clothes, or food, or other lifestyle choices. And definitely not something someone can dictate, or that you should adhere to 'just because'. Instilling fear and invoking the wrath of the Gods because a ritual wasn't followed/ wasn't 'done right'  (who's to decide what's right and wrong, anyway?) - I'm really not sure that that's on the right side of cool. Ask me whether I'd conform to X/ follow X practice because 'it's prescribed', I'd respond with a polite but firm shake of my head. Give me a reason, a valid, logical one, and you may just see my head tilt in assent. May.

Here's the thing: sometimes, with the rigid definitions of religion we follow, we tend to draw (hate) lines. Make comparisons, or even worse, typecast a people/ community/ sect purely on the basis of the religion they follow. Just because a person you may know - whether directly or indirectly - is bad/ evil (gasp!), it's so easy to stereotype all the people who belong to the same community as one. Taint them with the same brush, only because of the one stray gone wrong. Doesn't this lead to lower tolerance levels, widespread antagonism and ultimately have far-reaching consequences that don't do anyone much good? And that's being polite, really.

Me, I'd rather I knew someone basis the person s/he is, and not where they go to pray.


Minara Masjid, Mumbai by night during Ramadan

Thursday, 9 August 2012


Or not.

To talk girl power, do we really need reservation? Be it at the workplace, for academics, or even something as mundane as a seat on the bus/ train - is it really necessary? On the one hand, we don't want to be seen as the weaker sex, but on the other, we're only too happy to have these uhh, privileges extended to us. I really, really dunno about that.

Take chivalry too - while sweet (and possibly reminiscent of a bygone era), should we really crib if not much of it comes our way these days? Are we really that (physically) weak that we are unable to open our own doors/ get out of cars/ have a handle on our own bags of grocery? I admit I've grumbled on numerous occasions to the significant other about this myself, about how chivalry is dead because he walked in ahead of me, pushing open the door, into our favourite restaurant. But that doesn't take away from the fact that really, did he need to hold open the door for me in the first place, or pull out my chair? After all, don't we claim to be equal in all respects?

I know I'm probably inviting the wrath of the Gods and scores of women too, with this post, but it's my blog, and my (unapologetic) view. I'm not sure I wanna be offered a seat unless I'm waddling onto a bus, carrying myself and that bun in the oven additionally. And yes, I pay my own bills - and I can open my own doors.


Isn't that what bottles and cans of diet sodas shout out loud? I dunno how far that's even possible, because if something is pre-packaged and/ or processed, it does inherently contain some added evil that is invisible to the naked eye. And to supposedly make it otherwise, it's mentioned on the side of said container, in a font size that even the world's smallest book or whatever would refuse to acknowledge. But really, so - zero calories? What about the sundry other suspicious chemical-y stuff that went in to do away with the sugar? What about the possible side effects that just don't make their way onto the can? And by side effects, I mean the whole spectrum of damage, from something as simple (?) as tooth decay, to cancer causing somethings. Really, is it even worth it?

Since when did water - still/ sparkling/ otherwise - go out of fashion?