Thursday, December 27, 2007

One More List

This is my premature year end post, because the next post will be the first in a five part story. Atleast, I hope it will be, because one of my best friends (who also happens to be endowed with enough serendipity to be born on the same day as I was) has requested a story as a birthday gift. And I'm short on cash, so. Anyway, let's deal with the year end first.

So I'm sitting in my office in the heart of Bombay, surrounded by the pleasantly dull buzz of conversation between people who are at the fag end of the workday. The only thought that comes to mind is "How on earth?"

So did I really leave everyone I love and everything reassuringly familiar to move to Bombay? Have I actually been here for over five months? *Blink, blink*

No, I'm not being a drama queen. Okay, maybe I am, just a little bit. Indulge me then. Let me make a list of my 2007 moments (Good, Bad and Ugly).

1. The start of the year in Islamabad, with a stolen bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream and some of my favourite people in the world - Good.

2. My birthday, where I actually got flowers (thanks, RK) and slashed three cakes to ribbons - Good (for the flowers) and Ugly (seeing what the cakes were reduced to after my slashing).

3. Fourth semester in JNU which I spent sleeping, eating and going back to sleep - Ugly (my face swelled up with all the extra naps).

4. The bus ride from Bhopal to Pachmarhi in an overcrowded bus, riding through hellfire and amidst increasingly frayed nerves - Hilariously Ugly.

5. Leaving Delhi without really registering that I was leaving - Bad. Would've been worse had I understood the enormity of the move.

6. My first two and a half months in this city, when Monday mornings used to make me happy because I could come back to work - Bad.

7. The leviathan-cum-tyrant of a landlady at my first place and the watery onion curry she fed me for forty bucks - possibly the lowest point of my year.

8. Moving to the Sindhi landlady's place and finding out that her favourite pastime is to loudly repeat any random set of words from songs airing on TV - Hilariously Good. Here's a sampler. You're watching television, when suddenly the 75 year old woman next to you screams 'RAAT GUZAAR!' Go figure.

9. Having a windbag for a roomie - Stinker. Very, very Bad.

10. Meeting Someone after spending a really long lifetime believing that these things only happen to Other People - Surprisingly Good.

11. Feeling belonged - Exhilarating (the labels were not really adequate).

12. Crying my eyes out watching Taare Zameen Par, simply out of surprise at watching people just be, and so beautifully at that - Really Good.

Hmm. Year end messages.

Friends in general - Khush raho, bacchhon. Aur agle saal, sab mujhse milne aao aur mujhe khana khilaao.

Sisters - Khush raho, bacchon. Aur agle saal mujhe zyada pareshaan mat karo.

Bloggers that I read - Khush raho, bacchon. Aur do maheeno mein ek post likhna ek acche blogger ko shobha nahi deta.

Boy - Dukhi ho jayo, bacche. Your life is officially ruined.

Happy New Year, folks. Love, life and general merriment to everyone.

Friday, December 14, 2007

This and That

It's Friday evening and I'm all done with work (I think). I still have an hour to kill before leaving. It's strange that The Boy has to pick this hour of the day to make an impromptu visit to his workplace. But so is life, I suppose.

What on earth am I rambling about? This post is so pointless that I don't even have a title for it yet. Must one post utter trash just because one can? Yes, one must. Let me do some philosophizing on the spot.

Random truism # 1 - stay away from people who are fundamentally insecure, because they will never let you be happy, or even let you be, for that matter.

Random truism # 2 - self destruction is just that and nothing more. It is not begging out to be changed or reformed or loved, it is just standing there. Don't get your hands burned.

Random truism # 3 - adjectives such as 'grown-up' and 'childlike' and 'naive' and 'weird' are labels that people ascribe to others to make their own selves comfortable with things or people they don't understand or to talk down to them. That does not mean that you need to take the labels seriously. Life isn't an inventory.

Random truism # 4 - Chad Kroeger may have dyed his hair blond and may now look more like a Backstreet Boy than the frontman of Nickelback, but he still has the voice of an angel.

Random truism # 5 - silence in the face of unnecessary belligerence is not wise. It doesn't matter if you have all the right responses in your head. If they stay in your head they won't make an iota of difference to anyone in the world, not even to yourself.

Random truism # 6 - say 'NO' when it's required. Doesn't sound half bad, really.

Hmm. I'm all out of truisms. But I have a very merry looking weekend to look forward to, and the lows of the week have only reinforced my gratitude for the people I have in my life and the wonderful things they do for my soul. And my boss got me a huge jar of homemade pickle today. Equilibrium has been established, and it's tilting towards happiness.

P.S.: - Reason # 134 why I'm fervently fond of Gulzar.

Humne dekhi hai un aankhon ki mehekti khushboo,
Haath se chhooke isse rishton ka ilzaam na do.
Sirf ehsaas hai yeh, rooh se mehsoos karo,
Pyaar ko pyaar hi rehne do, koi naam na do.

Luminous, incandescent, gentleness. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

One Fourth Of A Vacation

It's always nice to revisit someplace that you've loved, people who you love, a season that makes you more mellow than any amount of wine could accomplish. Slipping back into the folds of the cocoon of familiarity, you'd almost believe that you'd never left, that the next morning you'd wake up to discover that you'd slept through your lecture on China yet again. So I went back to Delhi, and back to the life of a lazy, indulgent non-worker for just a little while.

What can I say, really? Let the others do the talking for a change.

Kitkat (on seeing me for the first time, at her brother's cocktail party): - "Very nice, very nice, LOVE the shoes".

RR (when she pointed her finger at me for no reason and I burst into gales of laughter): - "Why are you laughing? Only you would find something amusing in this".

Skaty: - "Am I a bad person?"

PS: - "You came? When? Make me tea."

P (ex-roomie): - "Can I smoke in the room?"
Me: - "It is your room now, y'know".
P: - "Noooooooo! It's YOUR ROOM!"
She then proceeded to stick her head out of the door and smoke.

Sister: - "Why in the whole world did you have to find a Bengali boy? Does he wear sweater vests? (Gasp) I disown you".

The train attendant on the way to Delhi was a spitting image of Murli Manohar Joshi, complete with vermillion on the forehead, while the venerable Gujarati matriarch on the way back was the spitting image of A.K. Hangal. Reminds me, does any of you ever remember seeing a young A.K. Hangal? There was an earthquake at 4.30 am in the morning when I was sleeping in my old hostel and I woke up to the familiar sounds of women screaming, giggling and running. I debated getting out of the blanket for five minutes and then went back to sleep. I lost my charger and a brand new dress that was worth a thousand bucks, bought a pair of killer shoes that practically annihilated my feet for over two days, had my phone die on me for three days and happily poached all my friends' phones, didn't meet half the people I wanted to, didn't even have the time to look at the mecca of blueberry cheesecake, the Big Chill. But I also tramped all over Lajpat Nagar shopping all on my own, ate atleast three truckloads of food and painted my toenails a nice shade of mauve. On the way back, I was adopted by a family of fourteen elderly Gujarati people who let me sleep blissfully and took care to see that my food was kept aside for whenever I deigned to eat.

So I'm back, and it's not really too bad. Hopefully there will be ten days every year when I can go back to winter and peace. Next time there will be cheesecake, there won't be earthquakes, and there will hopefully be more time. Oh, and bathroom pipes won't spontaneously burst anymore. Fingers crossed.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Long, long overdue

I've been thinking about writing this post for nearly six months now, but laziness always got in my way. So, I've read about a zillion posts on Orkut, on how it is such a royal waste of time, on how the shadiest of characters inhabit its murky depths, on how franship requests are the new weapon of the cyber Romeo etc. Let me say that I agree. Orkut Is a waste of time, because essentially social networking isn't really meant to be Deep and Meaningful. And well, the Romeos have to do something to keep up with the times. But the reason that I don't hate Orkut or even dislike it too many times is because it has brought such joy into my life. Here are some samples.

1. u r awesome ma'am. i am mesmerized and gone crazy after watching yur foto today, kindly accept me as yur frend, or i'll die. in fact even if u dont consider me as a friend,...plzz keep me as yur servant, better as yur slave, or even dog. i'll be happy in life.

I'll never have to look too far for pets. Oh, joy.

2. Hi, howz life? I was just going through your profile n thought I should try to contact you. Well I am trying to make some friendz through Orkut n I guess you would be an ideal match for that. Would you be interested to join my circle of friendz? If you wish to join in get back to me.

Circle of Friendz? I am absolutely delighted at the prospect of being Friendz with Friendz.

3. I am an artist.......... want to be ur friend

Simple and touching, except that jobless heh? ok actually had the time to check out this guy's profile and all his other friends had bare posteriors as their display pictures.

4. hi, jst gone thru your profile and found intresting ... saw your pics too ... hey u knw what u have gotta CUTE FACE .. wanna be frens??? if yes then you can add me into your buddy list my id is xxx4you@yahoo.com you can catch me online most of the time on msnger ... hope to see u there ... if u wanna knw more abt me watch out http://www.xxx.com , keep smiling .. take care girl.

I've gotta cute face. I'll do it as soon as I figure out what that is.

5. hi how r u plz tell about u

About me, I can tell that I don't like telling about me too much.

6. Salam wale khum...
hw r u doing ?I just had a glimpse on yr profile and its really alluring...I know its absulately outlandish to get a unsolicated mail from a stranger(specially from a male), which I am so sure u found it so sleazy and fudge. I am so sorry miss !!! As most of the guys do the same thing for wooing females even I am not doing something really special but I couldn't find any other way to approach you.Condife me!! nothing fishy...it just that I want to know you as a person and a true human being.Rest all upto to you to decide
whether I am the right person to reply or not..Candidly,I will be rejoice and delighted if u reply and cummunicate with me further..where r u from and what r u doing ? Just a little more introduction..
I am craveing to see yr response miss...
Take care of yrself and allah hafiz !!
Flaunt this sparking and glossy smile on yr face forever......
Cheers !!

Sleazy and fudge? Still blinking.

Apart from these poesies, Orkut has also ingrained in me a deep sense of community, or communities, like these ones.

1. Friendship is something very important in everyones lives......but can a friendship with opposite sex lead to a loveship????

sometimes this happens...........when ur friend become very trusty u will fall in love with him/her.........this happens in everyones life.........

Has It happened to You? And You? What about You?

2. SEX IS MOST SACRED THING OF THE WORLD becoz it can bring new life , it is gud expression of love BUT sex is very bad , if doing for just enjoying - without love and when know that marrige will absolutly not possible,, so join the community and save the world from become hell.

I've just been saved from eternal damnation. Please pitch in to save the world.

Now I must get back to earning my living, but the next time you're tempted to badmouth Orkut, I implore you to take a moment, and remember the endless joys, the simple pleasures of social networking, franship and community.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bump!

Getting hit on the head (metaphor, people) is a definitive experience in everyone's life. That is one of the Great Truths of life. In fact, some people would have you believe that it is The Great Truth of life, the one which makes the others pale in comparison. These people are either spiritual gurus or writers of bad fiction. All of us wait expectantly to get hit on the head, even as we go about our daily lives. We hand out advice about it to everyone around us, regardless of whether our own experience has qualified us to have any insights on it. It is everyone's universal PhD degree, because everyone knows.

So I got hit on the head. It plonked my cerebrum on Diwali night, and I can still see stars. Now I must talk about it, obviously, and you may indulge me by listening.

My learning so far.

1. It really is the best feeling in the world. They cannot say that too many times.

2. I've always been a giggler. Every silly little thing makes me laugh. Now this attribute has been magnified. I grin all the time, at strangers who stare back at me, wondering.

3. It makes you stop caring about the fact that if you grin at strangers, they will consider you insane. How on earth does it matter anyway?

4. It is the most effective security blanket in the world, and because of that it makes you a much calmer person.

5. Paradoxically, it is also terribly exciting.

6. It makes you look at yourself differently, more kindly. I mean, if you're nice enough for someone to actually hit you on the head, you must be quite a special person.

7. It makes you want to hug everyone, even your nitpicking landlady at times.

Now I must stop smiling and get down to more mundane things, like wondering what to have for lunch. Or maybe I can keep smiling.

P.S.: - I've been hit on the head in the literal sense twice so far. Once when I was a couple of months old and my sister dropped me on my head (gasp!) and another time when a tree branch fell squarely on my head outside the Fabindia outlet at Khar. I see the light of understanding dawning into your eyes. That's right, I'm not strange for no reason.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Yawn

It's Monday afternoon and I want to write something nice. I want to not write about how very sleepy I am and how all I want to do right now is to find some cozy corner in the office where I can nap unperturbed. Seriously, I just cannot keep my eyes open. Anyway, I will postpone the nap for another ten minutes to write about my weekend.

Saturday night was when the roomies and I bonded over some intoxication. The landlady was away, so the girls came out to play. We all got extremely inebriated, and dealt with it in very different ways. R went and cooked us all a lovely dinner (talk about productive highs), S went and had herself a gastric attack and I called up certain unfortunate folks and shouted my head off. I do that a lot. I wonder why. Then the fun got even more acute, because the landlady came back early. I somehow managed to stop giggling (it's really difficult) and pretended to be interested in the reality show that she was watching. It was not too suspicious, except for the fact that everything everyone said sent me into fits of (suppressed) laughter. I don't think anyone noticed; it was very quiet laughter.

Obviously my sleep on Saturday night was of the passing out variety, so it was impossible for me to even attempt to get to dance class yesterday. RK called me a zillion times in the morning but I was pretty much catatonic. I woke up, though, when he sent me a message telling me that my famous luck had reasserted itself and my dance class had gotten cancelled. It has been RK's eternal grouse with me, ever since our university days, that whenever I have decided to miss a class on account of sleep or laziness or sleep induced laziness, that class has invariably gotten cancelled. He had thought that with time, either I would get more responsible or it would get more difficult for me to get away with my escapism. Ha, RK, I still rule.

I was sufficiently recovered by the evening to haul myself to Juhu beach for yet another round of Profound Conversation with A. I had decided not to let last weekend repeat itself, and to this end I sent him a couple of snarky reminders to be on time. But when you're destined to wait, wait you will. Therefore I overestimated distances and train speeds and ended up reaching fifteen minutes early. I didn't fancy waiting alone for too long, so I called A and told him that I'd reached, in the hope that he would also get there earlier than scheduled. He, however, had this absolute gem of a response when I told him I was early. With some amount of flourish, he dismissed me, saying, "I am not used to such situations".

This is when I went back to Ye Olde Faithful, my ever loyal standby in times of Great Need, Kitkat, who gracefully rose to the occasion and entertained me for the next half hour. I'm so glad I'm taking the week long trip to Delhi at the end of this month. If there were no other reason for her brother to get married except to provide me with an excuse to go to Delhi, I'd make sure he got married.

I'm getting accustomed to Profound Conversation, I realize. I'm even getting used to having absolutely nothing to say sometimes, because it doesn't really matter. Isn't that wonderful? It is, because I say so. Ah, upbeat and happy again. I could get used to this.

I feel like I'm floating in a vat of the most fragrant, well-brewed tea. And I do enjoy my tea.

Oh, I stopped yawning. And now I should stop rambling too. Back to work (?!).

Monday, October 29, 2007

Saturday Night

This is another post on request, the request coming from The Other One who was a part of my Saturday night. We'll call him A, because here we're all powerful and we can call people whatever we want. Another reason is because some people have done a better job of staying anonymous than I have, and I'm too nice to blow their cover (but believe me, it's a tempting idea).

A lot of people will tell you that I'm always, always late for everything. Chronic sufferers like RK have now become resigned to this inevitability, and always mentally add a half hour to the appointed time of meeting. But now I realize that I am but a mere apprentice in the art and science of never getting anywhere on time, and A is Grandmaster. For once in my life, I made it to Dadar station on time, only to have to wait for some thirty odd minutes, during which time three men of varying description puckered up and made kissy faces at me. Blech. And when i got really mad and called to find out where the truant was, he nonchalantly informed me that he was waiting for a train, would take another twenty minutes atleast, and (splutter, splutter) would save the apologies for later. I was still blinking stupidly for five minutes after the call ended.

Now what do you do when you have a very angry heh? ok waiting for you at a railway station of all places? You send foolish messages about how you're going to make it up to her and get worried when she doesn't reply. You're so worried that when you do actually meet her, you slip in a few innocuous compliments about how men making gross kissy faces at her implies that she's looking nice etc. This actually ends up amusing the aforementioned heh? ok, who can't stay angry very long for trivial things anyway, and also knows the pitfalls of being a chronic latecomer herself. So after fifteen odd minutes of general rudeness and sarcasm, things are peachy keen once again.

After this little aside, there was a very fruitful exploration of a little eatery near Churchgate station, where A was the cynosure of a strange gentleman's eyes. It's nice to see men getting fidgety when other men pay them too much attention. Some sort of sweet revenge.

We then went to Marine Drive for some Profound Conversation. We also had to dodge some very amorous couples who thought that the parapet by the sea was the best place for clandestine intimacies. Seriously, this city has no space, and people need to understand the phrase "Get a room". But apart from them, there was a sad lonely man with vodka in a Sprite bottle who thoroughly fascinated A the entire evening. The glamour of sorrow is rather attractive, I must say. There was also as much conversation as one can possibly squeeze into four hours, sometimes glib, sometimes serious. It's wonderful to talk by the seaside, really. It feels like the waves themselves are inching closer for a listen. We also had some adventures with a matchbox, but you don't need to know any more about those. Then we went to Leopold and ordered a heavenly dinner which we did not eat. It's strange how full you can feel without eating at times.

I can now boast that I have once caught the last train back home. A believes that slow trains are the dregs of the world of transportation. I think they're nice. They let you be, sink into the night, watch the other people who inhabit your life for all of twenty minutes before you disembark. I also get lulled into a sweet, half dreamy state because of the motion. Okay, enough poesy about local trains. By then it was already Sunday, so logic dictates that the post must end.

Note to A: - I hope that was accurate enough. If not, too bad, write your own post about it. If it was, great, write your own post about it.

Note to others: - Wake up. It's over, you can celebrate now.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Happy Budday To Blog!

Thanks to the ones who sent their good wishes to Icecream, she is rather pink with glee. She is one year old today, and gurgling with the pride of achievement at having survived me for that long.

People ask me why I'm so attached to my blog. When they do, first I roll my eyes dramatically. Then I go on to tell them that my blog has given me so much back in return for the few words I manage to put in - my job (I'd like to credit it to my effusive charm, but it was really the blog), friends who have diligently suffered me or have fallen by the wayside after valiantly trying, and even some sort of readership that actually checks this page out quite frequently. But more than all this, it has given me the belief that if I were to write a book some day, it would sell two copies, guaranteed.

And so, it is most fitting that today I post a list (I love making lists) of moments in the past year that were blog-worthy, but didn't make it because I didn't have access to the internet, I was lazy or I forgot.

1. There was a moment when I realized that if I were to print a T-shirt with the blog URL in front and my hopelessly non-anonymous pseudonym at the back, it would make perfect sense.

2. Skaty and I had our own quiet version of a blazing row. I've never really had a fight with a friend before, especially not someone who I'm that close to. It lasted almost two and a half months, and the blog was in some ways a part of it, because she felt I was doing more writing than talking. I felt that she cared too much and she felt that I didn't care enough. It was long and awkward, and I'm so utterly glad that it's over. I hate confrontation, even if it is supposed to make you stronger.

3. I wanted to write a long post about how I am so heartily sick of getting unsolicited advice. Honestly, given the volume of sermons that I receive, you'd think that I was some sort of walking talking mini-disaster. Don't smirk, I'm really not.

4. Then I wanted to write about how I think that giving advice to me is some people's way of feeling better about themselves, but then I figured that if somebody's self worth gets augmented by my listening and assent, then I might as well listen. Call it my version of social service.

5. I wanted to blog about the first time I met the Brick In The Wall, and the self proclaimed rebel rocker spent about an hour staring at the wall between me and Kitkat, who was sitting next to me.

6. I've been so disappointed in so many people in the last year, and I think the feeling was mutual. But none of them ever said anything to the effect, and I was just too clumsy to write about it with any sort of grace or dignity. I also figured that when people say "I will always be there for you", they also mutter "at my convenience" under their breath.

7. Bombay is a cruel city, has always been. We are so fated. I have lost so many people to this city, and I really don't know what sort of foolish courage propelled me to actually move here. Everyday there are atleast three moments when all I want to do is to go back.

8. Loneliness is a mean thing, but the meanest kind of loneliness is the variety that is self imposed. It makes you want to write long laments to your stupidity.

9. A-hem. I write poetry in secret, lots of it. I've been writing for a very long time, and almost no one knows. It's really awful, depressing stuff. I'm almost positive that I'll never post it, but if there ever comes a day when I'm really, really angry, there will be some fatuous poem waiting right here to ruin your day.

10. I don't like it when people indulge in baby talk to get their work done. As a general rule, I think baby talk should be left to babies. I wanted to write about how hearing baby talk makes me really violent in my head, but then I realized that it made me sound like some sort of lunatic, the sort that I'm not. I'm the other sort of mad.

11. I'd gone to watch the flavour of the season, Chak De India, with a couple of friends. I liked most of the movie, but my absolute favourite was the moment when all the hockey women ganged up to beat the daylights out of a gang of lechers. Every single woman in the hall was shouting, cheering and clapping. It was a wonderful way to release the regret of not being able to do that ourselves, sweet revenge for every whistle, every predatory eye, every accidental-on-purpose shove, every traumatic bus ride. It was a moment to let go of the weariness of being a woman in a man's world, and it was blissful.

12. I get really irritated when people try to read my posts while I'm typing them. It's as bad as peeking into a book while I'm reading it, or tapping your feet while I read the newspaper, dropping oblique hints that I should hurry up with it. It's just plain bad manners, and I hope you know it. Yes, you, the one who peeked at my screen five minutes ago.

Okay, that's about it. I'm going to buy myself some cake in the evening as I'm too poor for lavish celebrations right now. And there will be no poetry here as long as you keep me happy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I Really Should Be Working...

...but what the heck. I'm gonna post instead, truant that I am.

I'm exhausted right now. Sometimes living is such an effort. Getting up in the morning when all you want to do is to keep rotting in bed, getting to work amidst a maze of people and vehicles trying their best to kill you, maim you, or even more unforgivably, delay you. Then you get to work and you have that face on, the one that says talk-to-me-and-I'll-bite-your-head-off. Most offensively, some people think that you're making your funny face.

Someone asks,"How are you?" and you want to say,"Die. Now."

People are generally being innocuous, going about their business, it's Monday after all. It makes you want to take a giant sword, get up on your chair, shout out an ancient Viking war cry and then proceed to kill everyone. Slowly.

What the heck is wrong with me?

P.S. In two days' time, icecream is gonna celebrate her first birthday. Please send your wishes (good, bad, evil) to my poor, beleaguered blog. Heaven knows she could do better than me.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Of Dances That Sound Like Sauces

Every-tiny-bit-of-me-hurts.

Dramatic statement, isn't it? Well, it's true. Turns out that twenty three is actually not the full bloom of youth, as I'd imagined it to be, but the beginning of dotage. How else does one explain the fact that my attempt to learn how to dance turns me into eighty year old Ms. Creaky-Bones every weekend?

What I realized yesterday is that walking is actually a very complicated exercise which involves a complicated co-ordination between very many bodily systems. It's funny how one doesn't appreciate the wonder of bipedal movement till one is reduced to wincing with pain at every step.

Also, I am rather confused as to whether I can dance at all. It's strange. I feel like I have two left feet when I'm dancing, but when I watch the others, I tell myself that I can't be that bad. So is a good dancer defined as a good dancer, or one who is not as bad as the other bad dancers?

At the end of all the pontification and the grunts of pain, I'm forced to conclude that there are two kinds of people in this world, or atleast in the dance classes of the world: those whose grace and fluidity makes them look like they were born to salsa, and those who must resign themselves to dipping their french fries in salsa sauce and watching.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The One About The Job

So I have a job at long last. I've had it for the last three months. It would be fair to say that it really is nothing like I expected it would be. I love that line. It is so loaded. It could be the statement of an ecstatic copywriter who has been lucky enough to find her niche in the World of Work in the first attempt, or it could be the gripe of a disillusioned copywriter who finds that the World of Work has placed her in its very dregs.

Don't worry, I'm somewhere in between. I'm not likely to die of too much happiness or become an embittered, cantankerous old lady who lives with a parrot with a charming disposition anytime soon.

I work at an event management company where I'm supposed to supply out-of-the-box event ideas for mostly corporate clients and write the copy that these events entail (on brochures, leaflets, invitations etc.). Theoretically, I'm supposed to be writing a brochure on LPG right now. But I'm blogging instead. One needs to give oneself some indulgence if one is to write well. I mean, it's gas.

Anyhow, I've learned some valuable lessons in the last three months. One is that mindblocks are very pesky things, and they have lousy timing. Secondly, levels of ignorance are bound to be higher once you step out of your hallowed university campus, so that shouldn't surprise you. Third, if you have some level of talent as a masseuse and you give better than average back rubs, then you shouldn't make it too obvious. Every organization has its share of hairy men waiting for a back rub, and your creativity will be sorely tested when you have too talk your way out of these touchy situations. Ooh, I punned! Fourth, most people will not understand your need to talk aloud to yourself, and they will react by smiling indulgently and giving you their best "She's SUCH A Child" look. Next, people say some shockingly inappropriate and offensive things sometimes. Things like "I like to break these 'strong' women". When you simmer down, you'll realize that the bloke has a daughter, who shall grow up someday. And then you smile slowly, sure in the knowledge that life will teach him. Finally, you will sorely miss the time when your friends were the people that you spent most of your days with. Understanding, empathy, love and friendship are very, very precious things. And if you're lucky enough to actually find a friend in your workplace, go break a coconut in a temple or something. Most people bring only one part of themselves to their workplace, and that is not really enough sustenance for a friendship. It's good enough for a few laughs and general niceness, but not really friendship.

Oh, and about a gazillion people will ask, in tones of utmost concern."Why don't you do an MBA?". After the fifteenth time, you'll smarten up, stop explaining, plaster your best wise-grandma smile and say,"Because I don't want to have to manage".

I like parts of my job. I like that I can wear jeans and kurtas to work because I'm 'Creative'. I like that I can listen to music while I work. I like that there's a room where I can read the newspaper everyday. I like the fact that tea and hot chocolate are free, and the pantry boy is pally with me. What I don't like is the amount of copying and pasting I have to do (about gas today. Shee.). I don't like the profusion of gender offensive cursing, and the lack of awareness about the offensiveness of it. I don't like the recycling of old ideas. I don't like that I don't have enough new ideas to make the recycling unnecessary. But I'm very, very lucky that I actually get to do what I'm good at, and have my work taken seriously. Sometimes.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Weird Chronicles Part Three

Without much further ado, let's get down to business.

1. If I see a beautiful tree that I don't know the name of, my head automatically labels it 'Acacia'. I doubt if I've ever seen a real acacia tree.

2. I cannot move my hips independently of my shoulders. I discovered this in dance class yesterday, where I massacred the salsa.

3. I always get epiphanies about clothes when I'm broke. What I mean by that is that the only time when I find clothes that I MUST have is when I can buy them only if I forgo transport for the rest of the month.

4. On the days that I take cabs to work, I keep laughing at random shop names and slogans. Names like "Waaa! Baby" and slogans like "If you find rates cheaper than ours, please don't call us". To the first, "Oh good god, really?" and to the second, "Well D-UH".

5. I wear two rings on my hands. Both are ugly as hell. I can't take either off because they were given to me by my super-superstitious mum, so I wear them because she had faith in their protective powers. So I wear both of them turned inwards, so that only my palms know how ugly they are.

6. When I was younger, one of my enduring ambitions was to take a helicopter equipped with a huge bucket of water and wash the dust off all the trees on the Shillong-Guwahati highway.

7. I cannot write a post without posting it immediately. No mulling over it, no editing, no writing rough drafts etc. If I know that I cannot post it rightaway, I won't write it at all. I guess that the lack of quality control shows.

8. Some part of me dies when I see people use apostrophes to denote plurals. See? It's apostrophes, not apostrophe's.

Okay, enough for now. Monday mornings need a little pick-me-up. And then one gets back to seriously pretending that one is busy. One's dramatic abilities are a constant revelation even to herself.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Thought

I want to be a little cryptic today. It's Monday morning, I've just spent an hour travelling in the hot sun and I'm not feeling too willing to be understood. Therefore, cryptic.

Sometimes people become cynical, bitter and full of regrets. They say things like "I wish I'd never laid eyes on you". I'm also feeling more bitter today than usual. But I will never regret the fact that I knew you. Maybe there are moments when I am your deepest regret, but then that is your cross to bear.

I don't know why I scared you so much. I know that you find some sort of romantic glamour associated with being misunderstood. Maybe the fact that most of what I said to you seemed to reflect your most secret thoughts is the reason that these days you won't let me say anything. Being understood easily may have dscomfited you, but I am not going to apologize for not being stupid enough to make you comfortable and secure.

It made me a little uneasy too, when you knew from the tone of my voice that I was pretending to be alright, but I never really considered running away from you. So you fled, and now you stand atop your faraway mountain and smile down at me, confident in the knowledge that now you won't see yourself in me anymore. You always were stupid.

I miss your spirit, your being, which melded so easily with mine. I miss your songs, your very strange laughter. I miss so much, and mostly I miss you when you're around. I wince when I see you doing your pantomime of wellness for my benefit; I'm embarrassed for your lack of acting skills.

My only regret is that I've become so petty that I don't really want you to recover. You've scratched my soul to a fair extent; I hope yours is damaged too. And I hope it hurts.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yeh Hai Kirkit, Meri Jaan

I'm watching the match right now. They'd better win this one or else....life goes on. But this is fun. I haven't watched a full cricket match in ages. An India-Pakistan match, to boot. I've been mad about cricket for so long. I've patiently watched India lose over five long days, over a hundred overs and so on. I've raved and ranted and vowed never to watch another match, and then religiously watched the next encounter.

But they'd better win this one, or else...

Update: - They WON :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ten Sureshot Ways To.....

....Irritate the HECK out of me.

1. Call me a 'nice kid'. If you are not Big Papa/ Mama, then don't act like it.

2. Condescend, or talk down to me. I may not be the wisest person in the world, but if you think you are, you're clearly not wiser than I am.

3. Make me watch inane soaps on TV when That 70s Show is airing on the other channel and I'm dying to watch Steven Hyde. If the soap is the kind that believes in drilling things into your brain by showing every scene thrice, so much the better.

4. When asinine jokes are being cracked on TV, you not only laugh loudly, but then proceed to explain the jokes to me. Yeah, I got the joke. And no, it's not funnier when you say it. I will not laugh.

5. Sit on my bed and pass wind audibly, and then look at me brazenly as if daring me to respond.

6. Use the kitchen before me and make a holy mess. Oil on the walls, utensils dirtied, potato peels everywhere.

7. Use the bathroom when its my turn to bathe and I'm in a hurry. Sing crappy songs loudly to add to the effect.

8. When I'm watching something on the laptop or reading, keep peering in pointedly. Ask useless questions as well.

9. If you're one of the people that I like, neglect to call me for more than ten days. I'm reasonable; I give people ten days before blacklisting them. Or better still, hang up on me a couple of times.

10. When you find out that you've been blacklisted, wail plaintively,"But I was waiting for You to call me". Yeah, bub, enjoy the wait.

Are you wondering why I'm ranting? Because apart from work people, nobody, and I mean NOBODY has called me in the last three days. All of us know, deep in our shrivelled little hearts, that we are dispensable. We know that if some celestial eraser were to rub us right out of the picture, life would prance along merrily. Our biggest insecurities arise from this knowledge, and our quest for love, companionship and understanding is aimed at being indispensable for atleast one other person in this world. On my part, I would like to be thought of on a Sunday. Sometimes.

So as I have been so forcefully reminded of my dispensability, I'm miffed at You. And You too. And do not call me now, thinking,"Oh, poor thing". The eleventh thing that irritates me the most is pity. Stuff it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Experiment

I've noticed that I adhere to very set structures while writing. So there has to be a beginning, a middle and an end. There have to be paragraphs, there has to be accurate punctuation. The tenses have to be consistent, the spelling has to be correct. When I'm cooking, the vegetables have to be cut into an even size, the spices have to be just so, the salt has to be that many grains and not one more. Obsessive Compulsive? Let's not answer that. This post shall try to do without structure. Or is the absence of structure some sort of structure in itself? Aaaargh...

I hate Murphy. He decreed that the day you decide that the rains are over and you can wear your favourite kurta that you had washed and ironed with your own two hands, the monsoon gods will be in a playful mood. Not only that, when you manage to do the whole train changing routine and land up at your station, the Railways will choose that very day to seal off and repair one of the exits. So the whole of humanity will have to go out the other way, a presumptuous and foul smelling woman will scratch the living daylights out of your kurta and your pretty Pakistani kolhapuris will have to tread on garbage (and I mean garbage) to get to the office. People smell so very bad, and there just has to be an open garbage dump to add to the sea of olfactory nuisances.

They will tell you that with time, it'll get better. They'll tell you that as the years go by, the hurt will lessen till it barely exists anymore. They say a lot of things about time being the greatest healer. Nine times out of ten, they'll be right. But what they won't tell you is that there's always a tenth time. They can't possibly tell you that there will be moments when the pain will stage such a spectacular comeback that you'll feel like you've been punched in the stomach, that you'll struggle to keep your hurt from becoming audible to the other people that you share your room with. They may be right for most days of the year, but they aren't there with you when time takes away its protective cover. They won't see you almost calling some of them, looking for solace, a listen, or just a hug, because every time you will look at some of their numbers flashing on your phone and then decide not to call. It's better to leave the awkwardness out of relationships. Not better maybe, but definitely easier.

You will have a moment of epiphany when you will realize that the reason your problems have such long lives is that while most people wrestle their demons, you nurse yours.

Then you will decide to redeem the promise you made to yourself three years ago, and will join up for dancing lessons. After spending two hours realizing that snails can probably jive better than you can, you will undertake to come back for the salsa version of embarrassment the next weekend. As a reward, your calf muscles and your back will spend their time reminding you of your adventure at every waking moment.

There. Almost no structure, except for the paragraphs. Ah well, one can't change one's spots. Especially if one has just decided that spots are in.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sweet Oblivion

I want to write this one in third person.

So there was This Girl (TG) who had recently moved to a new city, and being a bit of an emotional fool, spent most of her time feeling homesick. The people at work decided that the time was ripe for everyone to take a little trip together. TG vacillated, as was her wont, but in an uncharacteristic moment of optimism, she decided to go along with the plan. Now the thing with TG is that whenever she has done things that were out of character in the past, she's ended up with a little bit of figurative egg on her face. But this time turned out a little bit differently.

The onward journey itself went off alright. She looked out of the bus window, and as usual the unending variety of the word 'green' kept her occupied for most of the five odd hours. On getting there a game of throwball took place, which served mostly to reinforce her strong conviction that if there was anything that was meant for her to catch, she would most definitely drop it. It was in the evening that things started to get interesting. TG was surrounded by intoxicating fluids all around, and in keeping with her left-liberal political leanings, got a little too friendly with the intoxicant from the land of Lenin. What happened after that is a little hazy in her memory, but the rest of the people were supremely entertained. Apparently she went and talked to everybody (and I mean everybody), kicked a lot of people, cackled, simulated dance movements and also fell down into the mud in the process.

The next morning they all made their way down to the lake. TG doesn't know how to swim, so she was content to wear a life jacket and float about in the shallows. But the rest of the company had other ideas. After successfully resisting all lures for about three hours, she was taken in by a devious ploy and ended up in the middle of a twelve foot deep lake. It was quite an experience, suspended in endless water, watching fat drops of rain splattering all around. The rain also meant that no pictures were taken, so now she has no proof that it actually happened. But there are moments in your life when every pore of you is glad to be alive, and this was one of those. Also, because of her inability to swim, The Boss had to lug her and swim back upstream for a good ten minutes or so. The next time they won't be quite so keen in her facing her fears. Muahahaha.

The night was a slightly sobered down version of the previous evening. There was no more falling down, but there was a lot of good music and company that kept her up till the wee hours. Atleast, that is what she thinks happened. Mostly she doesn't remember. This information was gleaned from secondary sources. Then it was back to reality the next day.

So now here's reality. Its raining, and there's not much to do, so she's telling long, pointless stories again. And I'm sick of third person. Makes me sound like a complete ditsy do-head.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Soul Massage

The last week was one continuous downward slide. My head was even more messed up than usual, and very innovatively dealt with the overload by shutting down without bothering to ask for my permission. It was a shutdown in the most complete sense of the word, and I've always hated feeling numb. If you're working in the Concepts department, you really cannot function with a comatose imagination.

Fortunately for me, I've always had wonderful luck as far as friends are concerned. Okay, not always, most of the time. Anyway, this was one of those times. RR made a very well-timed visit to this city, and I spent the better part of my weekend with her. We had coffee, watched a wonderful play, had the most divine steak and onions for dinner, and just laughed because we could, with each other. The only spanner in the works was this jackass of a boy (but obviously) who tagged along with us on Sunday.

I also had the rather bizarre experience of being stared at for half a minute by a rather wonderful actor who I remember from as long ago as my pre-school days, charming people on Doordarshan. I'd have been flattered by the attention, except that it was not a "Who is she?" look as much as a "What is she?" look. Sigh.

Since yesterday, the ideas have started flowing again, I don't have to struggle to get out of bed as much, and I'm even singin' in the rain.

I also want, right now, to tell all my friends how much I love all of them and how they always do wonders for my soul. Okay, not all of them. Just about a dozen women spread across this country, with about half that number at Delhi. I'm borrowing a line from a t-shirt of mine that I particularly like.

Live, Love, Rock.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mera Gown, Mera Dress

Yesterday was my country's sixtieth birthday. For me, it was a chance to catch up on some sleep. Don't get me wrong. I'm as concerned about where this country's headed as the next person is; maybe even a little bit more than most people. But I don't get very charged up about watching speeches on television and then being force-fed advertisements about how every major company on this planet is running purely in order to benefit India. And then my old disease makes a comeback. I'm talking about irreverence. Let me give you an instance.

Yesterday all the television channels were choc-a-bloc with programmes extolling our nation's greatness and I was laughing through it all. What kept flashing in my mind was this slapsick show that used to come on television a long time ago. It used to consist of parodies of famous Hindi films. It wasn't particularly sophisticated comedy, but then I've never been much of a sophisticate, and anyone who knows me will readily attest to my predilection for laughing (loudly) at just about everything, and sometimes nothing at all. Phew. Long sentence.

My favourite episode in this series was a parody of Mera Gaon, Mera Desh. As you may have guessed, the parody was titled "Mera Gown, Mera Dress". It had a Dharmendra prototype discovering an ancestral gown and then deciding to wear only that for the rest of his life. I crack up every time I remember that strapping gentleman in a ghastly velvety blue gown, exclaiming lustily,"Aaj se mera gown mera dress hai". I was laughing all of yesterday as well. I guess after sixty years, people should be able to be irreverent about serious things like freedom as well. It'll be a healthy counterforce to all the fake jingoism that masquerades in the guise of patriotism these days.

P.S.: - I really wish that a day would come when I would stop whining, but I don't think that it's ever gonna happen. My latest gripe is this nagging feeling that I'm living a half life. It just doesn't go away.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Close Encounters Of The heh? ok Kind

I started writing and then the internet explorer gave out on me. So if you notice the curt tone, kindly endure. I'm trying to tell you a story that's essentially happy.

People always manage to surprise me. The last week has reaffirmed my belief that at the point when your cynicism reaches its unwholesome peak, you will meet someone or the other who will make you shake your head and wonder how you let yourself get jaded so easily, time and time again.

Anyway, I'd been part of a team that had organized a mall activity sponsored by a stuffed toys manufacturer. Part of the event was a stall dedicated to the display of the aforementioned plush animal companions, and I happened to be sitting behind the desk at this stall when the first encounter happened. She was three, he was eight. She had a look on her face that had been designed to charm the rest of the world, he merely looked amused at the thought that this might actually work. She came to me to look at the pink bear on the desk, and he followed. I asked her if she liked the bear. She blushed, smiled and said 'No.' He had a wry grin on his face, as though she had just lived up to his expectations. Then I began talking to him (lets call him A).

Me: - Do YOU like stuffed bears?
A: - No.
Me: - Then what kind of bears do you like?
A: - The kind that lives in forests, not shops. That's what they're actually supposed to be doing.
I started blinking at this point.
A: - These bears must be rich. They're all wearing snazzy clothes. And you must be very rich to own all of them.
Me: - Oh no, I'm quite poor. They've hired me to tell the world about them.
A brief conversation about the banking practices prevalent among bears followed. We were interrupted by his elder brother who refused to talk to me.
Me: - Your elder brother doesn't seem quite as friendly as you are.
A: - He's friendly enough to me. Hahahahaha.
Me: - So you're the one in the middle, just like me. I have a younger sister who's taller than I am, and an elder sister who's shorter than I am. We're quite a strange family.
A: - There's nothing strange about it. People are like that; it happens in all families. My eldest brother is only 13, and already he's as tall as my mum. Its not so strange.
Me (slightly flabbergasted): - So you're saying I shouldn't take it to heart?
A: - Absolutely not. They're your family after all. There are other things to love apart from height.
He left after that. I'm still trying to believe that this little boy was for real.

The next encounter was again at the same mall, where some 50 kids from a local NGO were visiting. Her name was Nisha, she was dark, bald and crying. All of two years of age. So I picked her up, and gave her a tour of the ground floor of the mall. She put her arms around my neck, trying to understand the bewidering brightness around her. When the volunteers took her from me, she screamed her lungs out. After a minute or two, she was sombre again. Two years of life had already taught her resignation.

The third meeting was with one of the workers in the cafe at work, who makes me hot chocolate every morning. He took me by surprise, asking me to tell him exactly how Harry Potter's life turned out, and what happened to Ron and Hermione in the end. That takes my tally of friends made over Harry Potter to three, the other two being Kitkat and SKT.

Also, a very scared and liquid brown eyed black stray mongrel followed me and a very scared someone around for fifteen minutes on the street today. The poor thing couldn't keep up in the end. Hope he doesn't sleep hungry.

P.S.: - On a Kailash Kher trip right now. I have placed him right next to RHCP on the list of 'must-watch' performers. Okay, its not a list, just two names right now. So sue me.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Week Later....

So its been a whole week, and hard as it is to believe, I've managed to survive. Its been quite a week. Never again will I underestimate the importance of the word co-ordination. No matter how hard you try, there's always something you'll forget. But you learn to move on. I haven't quite learned yet. Oh, and its the first time I'm blogging from work (Don't look so shocked, its 10.40 on a Saturday night. I'm not exactly lazing around on company time).

Most things are alright. I quite like what I do, and most people are nice to me. The puritannical Jain lady turned out to be worse than an ordinary tyrant. She has the added quality of being mercenary as well. So if you do something she doesn't like, not only will she make a face at you and lecture you, she will also charge you a hundred bucks for the privilege. I'm getting out of there as soon as I can manage.

But most importantly, I'm so, so homesick and heartsick all the time. I don't know what to do if I want to get a bite to eat, or who to call if I want to just laze around and talk about nothing and everything. The worst part about being homesick is that its worse when you have more than one place in your memory that you call home. And if your memory's sharp, then you are a doomed soul.

God, I miss Delhi. I miss my corner seat at the Barista outlet in Priya, I miss rambling around late at night on campus. I miss the liberty of dropping into various friends' houses when I feel like home-cooked food. There used to be a lot of love around me, and now I feel a huge void when there's no one around to check whether I've eaten properly or slept on time. It isn't like I always ate properly and slept on time in Delhi, but people asked all the same.

I'm going home now, rather, I'm going back to the madhouse. Will keep you updated.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Things To Do Tomorrow

1. Try not to take the wrong local train and get lost again.

2. Try to talk the puritannical sounding Jain lady into letting you be her paying guest inspite of unpredicatble office hours.

3. Get rid of preconceived notions about all Jain ladies being puritannical.

4. Figure out if seven more cartons of your stuff will fit into a room that you'll have to share with another girl.

5. Fervently pray to whichever god or whatever you believe in that your next roomie is atleast half as nice as your last one, that she's reasonably clean, and that she doesn't smoke.

6. Chuckle unkindly at the thought that puritannical Jain ladies wouldn't really take in girls who smoked, and wonder at the irony of the fact that someone else's narrow mind might actually help you for once.

7. Keep your fingers crossed for a nice bathroom.

8. Get to work on time. The trains will be less crowded on a Sunday, which means that you won't have to graciously walk away from the crowd like you did today.

9. When the AC makes your feet numb, have some tea.

10. Thank some divine authority for the divine weather.

11. If you manage to survive your second day in Bombay as (a) employed, and (b) hale and hearty (or your watered down version of it), give yourself exactly three pats on the back.

12. Don't pat yourself on the back while you're hanging around in a train. Tempting Fate is not for you and you know it.

13. Sleep early. Monday awaits.

Good luck, me hearty!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Newsies

I LOVE writing posts on request. It makes me feel thoroughly important. This particular post is for New Age Scheherazade, who very sweetly and dramatically stated that she NEEDS another post. I shall oblige most delightedly.

First, the important announcements. (Ahem).

I am OFFICIALLY employed. That's right, somebody decided to hire me AND pay me.

I'm moving to Bombay as a consequence of the previous announcement, and its happening soon, probably by this weekend. I anticipate being thoroughly cross and cranky, firstly because I HATE moving, and secondly because I have to find a place to stay in nanoseconds. So, those of you who can stay away from me for the next month or so, count your lucky stars. As for the rest of you, I apologize in advance. I'm NOT an unreasonable, mean banshee, no matter how much you may want to believe the contrary.

I still can't believe someone hired me. Let's see how long I stay hired.

When I'm cooking, my mind goes off on all kinds of trajectories. The other day I was dreaming about how, when I was a child, my dad used to make rotis every morning. To this day I haven't had rotis as wonderfully soft, or perfect in shape. I remember taking rotis for lunch to school, and my friends being routinely amazed at the fact that my dad was such a wonderful cook. I also remember one of them remarking that her dad couldn't even boil water. Strange, the things one remembers.

And one of my latest resolutions is that I need to replenish my self respect in a big way. I'm going to cultivate an ego the size of a football field. Why, you ask? Who says I have to tell you?

P.S.: - My little sister, the Pinkerton, has started her own little weblog, and has asked me to invite all my friends over. I'm going to go read now, the enthusiastic ones among you can check out her link. She writes poetry, I'm told. :)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Another Birthday Message

Today's the little sister's eighteenth birthday. She has specially requested a post on/for her as a present. As I'm currently too broke to buy her anything else, I shall oblige. But I'm not going to write her a eulogy or anything, she isn't Prithviraj Chauhan after all. I gave some amount of thought to what I should write, and I figured that the things we both remember sometimes are the ones I want her to have on her birthday. So, Pinkerton, here are some memories. Enjoy.

I remember the day they brought her home from the hospital, swaddled in blankets, looking cross even while she was sleeping. They wouldn't let me hold her, which I greatly resented at that point, but I suppose in retrospect that handing over a newborn to a five year old isn't very wise. She was both a delight and a holy terror as an infant. When she was benevolent, she was quite a hoot. Otherwise there were times when she would wail her head off and only my dad could ger her to quiet down by rocking her to sleep in superfast express train fashion. When she was lowered into the big tub for her bath she would cry like someone was trying to drown her, then settle down in the water and gurgle with amusement, and repeat the wailing when you tried to get her out. My fondest memory of her infancy is one afternoon when my dad was home with both of us. I was trying to pat her to sleep, but she was clearly not interested, and as things turned out, my dad ended up putting me to sleep. Oh well.

We were great ones for all kinds of made up games when we were growing up. The most vivid recollection I have is of playing Vikram to her Betaal. She would dangle from these concrete bars on our terrace, and I'd take her on my back and roam around while she emitted her version of ghoulish laughter. She also came up with her own dance form which involved clambering on top of the harmonium and promptly falling off. Then there was weird dancing to weirder Hindi film songs, also on the terrace without caring as to who was watching and laughing, and when I call it dancing I'm using the word very liberally. The first day she marched off to school, she was all smartly turned out with blue skirt and white shirt and red ribbons and shiny black shoes and the works, only to come back home a half hour later, because kindergarten started the next day. Another character quirk I discovered was that she was afraid of everything. She'd cry if it started raining at night, and in Shillong, where it rains pretty much throughout the year, that's a recipe for psychosis. But she seems to have avoided that fate.

We grew up in our own ways and our own worlds, which diverged more as time went by, but we still manage to share a lot of laughs, most of them for no reason at all. When our lives were rocked by tremors, we managed to just about hold on, and we're still trying to fashion out our own versions of elusive happiness. It isn't really as hard or as bleak as I'd imagined it would be, because of one simple reason: whatever happened, we never let go of the laughter.

Now, Pinkerton, you're eighteen today. Have a great day, a great year and a wonderful life ahead. And if sometimes that looks a little difficult, just look back to that little girl who danced on the terrace with me all those years ago. Tough little tyke she was, and she'll make you happy whenever you go back to her. Happy Birthday, you're a good kid. Just stop running up monstrous phone bills.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Notes From A Homebody

I love coming back home. There's no other feeling that quite compares with the experience of entering Shillong city after the cab ride from Guwahati. Every time I come here I feel like I've been away for centuries, and I never, ever want to go back. The colours are fuller, everything has a richer texture, be it food, or drink, sleep, or rain. It just feels like more.

My grandma has been feeding me non-stop since I got here. She keeps telling me that I've wasted away to nothing and now I look like a plank of wood. I feel like a tragic figure in some terribly maudlin book every time she says that, but it has its compensations. She's been outdoing herself in the kitchen in a bid to fatten me up, and that is saying something.

The little sister is growing up, and trying her best to be complicated. I feel like telling her sometimes that its alright to be an adolescent while you're at the right age, instead of trying to get the whole world to take you seriously. There's enough time for that. And its always easier to get the world to laugh with you instead of sulking and hoping to be miraculously understood. But I suppose that life is a better teacher than anyone else can ever be.

I've realized that I'm essentially a domestic cow. No matter how far away I go, or what I do, I'll never really be at peace till I'm home again. Darn. I'd hoped that I'd turn out to be more interesting. Anyway, lunch awaits (masala stuffed fish...yummylicious), and I better get home before it starts to rain again and I get drenched. Toodle-oo!

Friday, June 15, 2007

I'm Writing, Yet Again

Third post in a week, and if you're thinking that I seriously need to get a life, you're probably right. Anyway, I have absolutely nothing to do, and it'll be two hours before The Sister gets back from work. Also, I realized that since we're leaving the guesthouse tomorrow, I won't have access to the righteous wi-fi network here anymore, so I may as well blog while its relatively easy.

And what do I want to say? Well, it rained here today, not half-hearted drizzle, but real rain. And its still nice and cloudy, hours after the rain stopped. Delhi does have its charms sometimes. I will miss it quite a bit, now that the Big Move to Bombay is more or less imminent. Its been quite an experience; these last five years in Delhi. College, University, Bachelor's, Master's, friends who became family, heat, food, drink, late nights, monuments, rain, little things, big things, walking, walking and walking, and so much talking. Phew.

The person in the room next to mine plays music really loud. Most of the time that isn't a very happy situation, but thankfully my anonymous neighbour has decent taste in music (no Himesh as yet). Speaking of Himesh, I cannot believe that anybody spent over a hundred crore rupees on making a film with a nasal, out of tune guy in a cap romancing a very toothy girl who may not even be legal age yet. Getting back, I was in the shower today (and one of you is about to ask for a video clip. Pray, don't, that joke has been dead and buried for some time now), when I heard this song. I haven't listened to it in ages, and yet it resonates in the lives of a lot of people I know right now. And I was also reminded of how much I love this song.

I've still got sand
In my shoes,
And I can't
Shake the thought of you.
I should get on,
Forget you,
But why would
I want to?
I know we've said
Goodbye,
Anything else would've
Been confused, but
I wanna see you
Again.
- Dido, "Sand In My Shoes".

This song is for all those of you who realize that sometimes, being stupid is the wiser choice to make. And those of you who've made that choice, and had enough integrity to admit it, you have my complete admiration.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pak Conversations - X

This is the last one, and it took the longest. I'm so incredibly lazy that at times it manages to surprise me still. Anyway, here is what I remember.

The last couple of days in Pakland were spent shopping in Rawalpindi and going to see the old temples at Chakwal and Malhot. The latter was again, a half somnolent experience, as in, we slept all the way from Islamabad to Chakwal and all the way back. Its such an experience, I must say, sleeping peacefully as the car takes you through beautiful countryside and you wake up intermittently, look out of the window, smile and go back to sleep, as the driver plays his favourite soppy Bollywood numbers.

So, we got as far as Chakwal before our local police escorts showed up, which actually turned out to be a good thing, because they were the only ones to know the way to Malhot. Chakwal in itself was quite desolate, the temples in ruins from neglect.Apparently there used to be annual pilgrimages by Hindus from India in the past, but this was discontinued after the demolition of the Babri Masjid. I've been told that attempts are being made to revive the practice. Its funny how all-pervasive hate campaigns can be. As I was saying, it was quite hard for me to imagine this as a religious and intellectual hub, with a famous university where the legendary Alberuni is said to have stayed for a while. There was also a pool known as Shiva's Teardrop, which was murky with algae and dirt, but was a deep, clear blue at the source. We ourselves became something of a curiosity, and a small crowd of villagers gathered to watch us. I think they were hoping for a bit of drama, but the only dramatic thing which happened was that nature started issuing its summons to me yet again, to my utter despair.

We left Chakwal with two police jeeps in front, and stopped at a petrol pump on the way, so I could continue my humiliating tryst with the public restrooms in Pakistan, and the spooks could write about it in their report. A made great use of the opportunity, however, and took pictures of a very ornately painted Pakistani truck, with the regulation Elvis puff, which literally looked like the essence of colour had exploded on it. We then finally got on the road to Malhot, which may rightfully claim its place among the scary bloodcurdling rides that weirdos pay to ride at amusement parks. I screamed a little bit, mostly in my head.

Once we got to Malhot, we had to trek over an area covered with smooth, white stones for about ten minutes. It isn't very easy to walk, swaddled in thermals and wearing salwar kameezes, let alone trek, but I'm proud to say that we managed. And once we reached, we realized that it was completely worth the effort, and more. More than the temples, it was the astounding view that took my breath away. One could see the entire span of the Jhelum plains, with the Islamabad highway on the horizon. It was very high, and very cold. We walked all around the cliff, which petrified R completely. She doesn't seem to like heights very much, or the idea of other people liking heights. We sat there for a while, drinking in the solitude, the peace and the incredible dry beauty of the place. One of the spooks had gotten his kids with him, and they seemed to be having a good time too. Then it was time to get back, and we promptly nodded off again.

The last trip we made was to Rawalpindi, to do a final bit of shopping. The shopping itself was quite nice, we made some good buys. The only jarring thing was a conversation R and I had with a shopkeeper who turned out to be the Pakistani version of the sticky, fawning lech. This is how it went: -

Sticky, Fawning Lech (SFL): - Madam, what is your name?
Me: - So-and-so.
SFL: - oh, how beautiful, just like you....
Me: - Eh? Hehehe...erm..ehehehe.
SFL: - Here's my card, and my number. Please call when you get back.
Me and R: - Of course...*simper*
SFL (with an inspired gleam in his eyes): - Or maybe I can have your numbers, so I can call you, and if you want anything from here, I'll send it, of course.....
Me and R: - We don't have phones, you see, we live in a hostel.
SFL (crestfallen): - Oh....But please, do call me.
Me: - Of course, as soon as we get back.
My thought bubble: - Yeah right, moron. Like there aren't enough creeps in India.

Anyway, we made our hasty exits, and I bought just one little piece of cloth from him. Then there were tons of shoes and dry fruit to be bought, a final taxi ride back to Islamabad with way too many people in for comfort, and some more emporium shopping in Islamabad itself. We're incurable, I tell you.

The next morning we left early, after I snapped rudely at poor T who tried to wake me up using the disastrous tactic of shaking me by my shoulder. I hate that. It was a long trip, from Islamabad to Pindi, and then to Lahore, and back to Wagah. We slept through it all, and at Wagah, R tried to pay the coolie the money intended for the taxi driver, while we wondered. The coolie stared at R, R stared back, we stared at R and the taxi driver stared at all of us in turn. Then the customs officials when through our mounds of shopping, and R's tactic of putting her fake antiques in her sleeping bag did manage to half convince one of them that we were more than met the eye. At the border, the same guard welcomed us back, asked if we'd eaten well. T, who's the shortest one among us, then dropped her passport at the feet of the 7 foot plus, and very amused, guard.

The feeling that I got on crossing the border was indescribable. No more dupatta bondage, I could burn it if I wanted. We watched the border closing ceremony, whooped and cheered loudly, even though we aren't fervent nationalists. Its the ambience, sucks you right in. We gave our friend from the dhaba the bangles he'd requested for his sister, and took a cab to Amritsar, where we had to wait for hours in a dirty, smelly waiting room for our train. Welcome home. In the train, at midnight, R and T gave me a bar of chocolate to cut instead of cake, to ring in my twenty-third birthday. I love you guys.

So, it was one heck of a trip. I left a big chunk of my heart in Pakistan, and it'll always hold a special place in my life as the first stamp on my passport. I hope to go back someday, and see the western part of the country. And now I can stop feeling stupid about not having completed the series.

P.S.: - My grandmother has asked me to make a list of the things I want her to cook for me when I go home next week. I love grandmas, and I'll be getting fat soon. Yay!

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Rare Pleasure

I have read and loved books for as long as I can consciously recall. It has been an obsession with me, the written word. When I was a wee babe (almost), I even used to read the newspaper-made paper bags that the shopping used to come in. My mother was always slightly worried about that. So, its been a while since then, and I have moved on from shopping bags to books and blogs. A lot of blogs have surprised me, for a lot of reasons. Some are so astonishingly powerful and well written that they make me stare at the screen for about ten minutes after I've finished reading. Others are like this one; incredibly self-indulgent, but I figure there's no better place to indulge one's own poor self than on one's blog. Some are hilarious by intent, others by accident. I prefer the latter variety, the first kind always manages to intimidate me. One particular blog sorely reminds me of myself when I was seventeen, so I check it regularly to feel better about myself. There was even this one guy who put up sixty posts in a day, I kid you not, to get into the record books. 'Twas a sad day when I came across that particular one. Also, there's nothing quite like the high you get on seeing your words, your thoughts out there, open to the whole world, on your own terms.

About books, the affair grows stronger with age, although my 'type' has changed. At one particular job interview, I was asked about the kind of books I read, so I rattled off my usual list: Wodehouse, Pratchett, Tagore, Marquez, Tolstoy and so on. The gentleman then asked if wry humour was my preferred kind, to which I retorted that seeing someone slip on a banana peel was enough to make me laugh. He looked slightly disappointed at my lack of taste and finesse.

Lately, though, one particular author has been growing on me. No one writes about ennui quite like Rohinton Mistry. I have rarely seen a pen that evokes so easily the dust and dirt of everday life. The empathy is real, as is the pain at the inexorability of decay. I have been unable to finish reading A Fine Balance for two months now, because I'm too afraid to go on. I'm giving it another shot, though. It amazes me, the way he just weaves such seamless narratives about ordinary people and ordinary situations that somehow manage to transcend the ordinary and become something almost poetic in his narrative. I know its quite a weird thing to say, but I've always wanted to be able to write in a way that can make people cry, although I inadvertently and inevitably produce the opposite effect on those who read what occupies this space. He manages, though, and quite well. I remember the very surprised tears I shed reading about the reality of caste violence in India, thinking about the immediacy of it and the absolute tragedy of it in ways that I'd never imagined before. We mostly know what to believe in. Caste is unnecessary, religious hatred is evil; truisms that we keep holding on to in a bid to make sense of the chaos around us. But very few of us actually manage to understand exactly why it is necessary to believe in such things, and why the survival of the civil society that we take for granted depends on it. Also, the depth of compassion that I feel in this gentleman's writing never ceases to move me. I haven't yet come across a character that was rudely or singularly etched; every person had texture, history, some sort of humanity.

Like I said, 'twas a rare pleasure.

P.S.: - Lights will guide you home,
And ignite your bones,
And I will try
To fix you.
- Coldplay

Don't ask why, I don't know either.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mumbai Minutes

I realize that this blog has been so full of travel accounts lately that it may give people the impression that I lead a very full and exciting life, zipping around all over the country. Sorry to dispel that happy impression, but I don't. Its just that life is suddenly compensating all at once for the utter boredom of the last couple of decades, and suddenly there has been a surfeit of trips and vacations. I'd like to think that I've earned it. If you don't agree, you're not honour-bound to let me know.

So, Bombay. Whoa. I really don't know why I came back to Delhi. The flavour seems to have gone out of my life here. Don't worry, that's just another way of saying that I had a really, really great time there. Let me tell you about a few of the highlights and the lowlights. You can figure out which is which.

Bombay at night, from the window of your plane, is beyond exquisite. Its like the setting for the mythical Perfect Wedding; festive but not garish, geometrically right somehow, waves lapping all around. The smell of the city makes me nostalgic for dry fish chutney, which is strange because the very same smell makes most new arrivals gag. Actually, any East Bong with a partiality towards dry fish would feel right at home here. The Brother's apartment in Dadar, with a view of the sea, was just right. It was sunny, and pleasant, white and yellow and orange, happy colours for happiness, and a strange sense of contentment. Even so, the rents are crazy.

Meeting people (bloggers actually) was never quite so much fun. There was coffee, and movies at Regal (very nice, I thought), sumptuous meals, a wee tipple for the tippler in me, bike rides along Marine Drive in the evening (WOW!) and in the rain, when the first pre-monsoon showers hit Bombay, my first guitar lesson, the only one so far, the Gateway of India....etc.

Then there was the food. I shall now provide a list of the very nice establishments and their equally great fare. That city is right after a foodie's heart. So, there was Chinatown, Jai Jawan stall (best prawns ever), Santoor (very nice methi and peas dish), Cafe Mocambo (sigh, the pasta, and sigh, the double chocolate torte), Spaghetti Kitchen (where I discovered that I like squid), Cafe Leopold (good food, but its so hot in there), Goa Portuguesa/ Culture Curry (upon my word, Rajnikanth coasters, yummy prawns, very nice cranberry juice, muahahaha, and even a quaint Goan singer with palm trees painted on his guitar, and a smiling moustachioed police officer's face on the bill. One of their customer feedback forms now says that his/her favourite dish/drink is Scarlett Johansson. Oops.), Tamnak Thai (nice establishment, but I'm not really Thai at heart, as I discovered), Theobroma (such cheesecake, but they'd run out of icecream when I got there. Another one of those subtle irony things), and Hard Rock Cafe (which has atmosphere, some nice memorabilia, and a very nice Long Beach Iced Tea, after imbibing which I was merrily explaining to Kitkat the difference between a hic and a hic-ee), and Amici's (of the melt in your mouth gelatos, the fellow with the World Scrabble Championship t-shirt and the bickering couple), and your regulation Baristas and Smokin Joes and Cafe Coffee Days etc. I feel so replete.

There were also job interviews, where I was mostly trying to make sense out of myself, and discovered that sense is rather elusive. Let's just say that giving interviews will ruin atleast two out of your fourteen vacation days. Three, if you're the kind whose nerves think that jumping around in gay abandon is what they should do on vacation.

There were also the tiny tots, Kitkat's cousins, who are the most adorable little things. The elder one loves to dance, and the younger one loves to ask "Kyun?". One is six years old, the other is two. The little one promptly adopted me fifteen minutes after we met, jumped on me once every twenty minutes, gave me a lot of imaginary money, and when I was leaving, clambered onto my lap to ask, "Aap laapash (waapas) aaoge?". I replied that I didn't know, to which she promptly retorted, "Kyun?"

One night when I was leaving for dinner, I passed one of the men living downstairs in one of those teeny roomlets. He was sitting on a broken down scooter, singing away to the night. He was rather...bald. And when I passed him by, he turned to me and yodelled soulfully. I didn't make the appropriate response then, so I shall do so now. Teehee.

This trip was also the culmination of years of planning to holiday with Kitkat, PS and SKT, and we all sorely missed RR, especially when we were dropping or spilling anything. We discovered that PS makes a mean pasta and cannot be subtle, SKT gets homesick very very soon, and Kitkat is a rather nice control freak. We also discovered that we can cook some, but the main trick with pasta is to boil it. Thoroughly. Sigh.

Finally, Bombay is a shopper's paradise. Carry lots of money when you go there. The sea is dirty but soak your feet anyway, till they start itching. Its worth the risk to feel the waves dragging the sand out from under your feet, and squealing in surprise, every single time.

Now, the vote of thanks. Thanks you R Bhaiyya, for the hospitality and the riot of restaurants, thank you Brick for all the fun, and for having a bike and for being a sentimental fool who came all the way to the airport to say goodbye for half a minute, thank you Raghu, because you're 'berry likeable' too, as long as you don't text me at four a.m., thank you n.g., provider of interviews and whiskey samples and tiramisu flavoured gelatos, thank you, nice HR lady, for being good to me when I was quaking in my boots (figuratively), thank you, bald guy, for the amusement, thank you, parlour lady, for the wonderful haircut, and whoever I forgot and therefore omitted, I'm like that, but thanks anyway. Now back to life.

P.S.:- I omitted some lowlights, which I shall now include. I didn't have any mangoes, coz I didn't have the money or the time. I didn't ride the ferris wheel at the beach either. I shall also have to leave Cafe Churchill for the future. Also, I now figure, that if any place has given you sadness, or bad memories, or general heartache, its a great idea to reclaim that place and colour it in the shades of pleasantness again. It worked for me, it did. I can claim to like Bombay again.

Monday, May 21, 2007

It Hurts, And How..

I've been thinking, about nothing in particular, and everything in general. The outlook is rather grim, for some reason. I'm not very clear as to what that reason is. I suspect it is more because of self indulgence than any concrete malady. So, now, I obviously have to overanalyze it. Goodness, this blog must be the most mixed up collection of pap in the world. Or maybe not. Lets not be presumptuous so early in the morning. I almost never blog in the morning. That's because I'm almost never up. But that doesn't mean that I can't, does it?

Sorrow, pain, misery. It has some sort of strange glamour attached to it. The songs that touch us the most are the ones that speak of loss, and unrequited emotions, and what could have been. I've heard people talk of migraines as if just the act of suffering a migraine is one of martyrdom that somehow makes them deeper, more intense people. Or just look at that very astute index of human emotions, the Orkut profile. So, what did you learn from your past relationship? More often than not, never to trust anyone (girls, in particular, seem to be the most heinous offenders of the heart). Its a not too obtuse way of hinting at a broken heart, a tragedy that lends some texture to life. I call it the Meena Kumari Syndrome(MKS). That esteemable lady made a career out of speaking in a low, sad voice and drinking along. I've always laughed (secretly) at people lost in sorrows of their own making. Laughing on their faces gives them an opportunity to feel misunderstood, and the pain just keeps increasing. MKS induces a belief that only morons are happy, that being sad is an intellectual statement. Why, though? Why must one be deep and intense? If you're inherently superficial (oxymoron alert), why can't you be like that? Why wear misery like a badge of honour?

Recently, it looked like a variant of MKS had come to bite me. This particular variety of the disease makes one angsty and blue for no paricular reason, and manifests in a huge jump in the number of thoughts whirling around in the brain, till the head wants to explode and the heart wants to take a nap. The only reason that seemed to justify this bout of the blues was that my plan wasn't working out. Which plan, you ask? The Plan. The outline of what life is supposed to be like, the one that I'd worked out at sixteen, which was going horribly awry. All evening I tortured myself (and others) being listless and listening to bad music, loitering around the hostel talking to myself. Today I decided that I'd had enough. I wrote down The Plan on a sheet of paper, and threw it out in the trash. Symbolism, very profound. I don't care, The Plan can take a hike in the garbage truck. If I'm gonna be inflicted with MKS, I'm gonna own up to it and not hide behind silly reasons like The Plan. And the next time you ask if anything's wrong, and I say nothing's wrong, and continue to mope anyway, you'll know that I'm telling the truth. It is precisely 'nothing' that makes me sad most often. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to sleep. Some things are sacred.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tag'd

This post is being inflicted on you because I got tagged by Corn-Knee. Just to make it clear that whatever happens henceforth is not my fault.

So, apparently this arcane ritual has two steps. First, I'm supposed to pass the disease on to five others. Muahahahaha. I choose Kitkat, Another Brick In The Wall, Red, New Age Scheherazade and Raghu. Muahahahaha.

Secondly, I have to type out the last paragraph on page 123 of the book that I'm reading, which is not, as some people have insinuated, the latest lurid Mills and Boon. Here goes...

"There was a side door to the house, and she opened this and peered out into the yard. The paw-paw trees had incipient fruit upon them, which would be ready in a month or so. There were one or two other plants, shrubs that had wilted in the heat but which had the dogged determination of indigenous Botswana vegetation. These would survive even if never watered; they would cling on in the dry ground, making the most of what little moisture they could draw from the soil, tenacious because they lived here in this dry country, and had always lived here. Mma Ramotswe had once described the traditional plants of Botswana as loyal and yes, that was right, thought Mma Makutsi, that is what they are - our old friends, our fellow survivors in this brown land that I love and love so much. Not that she thought about that love very often, but it was there, as it was there in the hearts of all Batswana. And that was surely what most people wanted, at the end of the day; to live on the land that they love, and nowhere else; to be where their people had been before them, as long as anybody could remember."
- Alexander McCall Smith, The Full Cupboard of Life.

I love how he writes, he makes me smile. And all you people playing the tagging game, have you given a thought to copyright violations?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Just A List, And Some Other Things

Things I Liked About The Pachmarhi Trip: -

1. Seven official Masters out on their last hurrah, before life beckoned.
2. The weather in Delhi at the beginning of the trip. Thunder, lightning, rain. Unexpected, and therefore, so very nice.
3. The part on the train journey where everyone except RK was up, early in the morning or in the dead of night, whichever way you want to see it.
4. B screaming 'chai!! chai!!' at a rather surprised pair of guards at Jhansi railway station at 4.30 in the morning.
5. Poor RR trying to get us a cup of tea in the morning, having to jump back onto the moving train, and consequently getting hot tea all over his hand. (Us equals B and I. We're addicted to the stuff, as the others will attest). Thanks man, but the tea was sooooooo bad. It smelled like a cow.
6. VJF insisting on telling the thoroughly disinterested RK that the city of Bhopal was named after its founder, a guy named Bhop.
7. The start of the bus ride to Pachmarhi, when the bus was almost full, and I honestly believed that we'd be there soon.
8. The little boy at the fruit juice stand at Hoshangabad, who very proudly rattled off a list of fruits that he could juice up, and then was too shy to look at me after I'd given him a bar of chocolate.
9. The first dinner at Pachmarhi. I was so hungry that everything tasted like manna from heaven.
10. The fact that the place had no cellular network, very few people and practically no noise.
11. That there was a pair of swings outside the cottages where we were staying. I haven't done that in so long.
12. I slept early and woke up early (ahem, relatively) and had tea sitting on the veranda, and looked at the trees.
13. The cold water was cold, and sweet, like it always is in the hills, and back home.
14. The frolicking around at the two waterfalls the next day. Sitting at the base of Bee Falls, with the water rushing down my back. This is what the leading ladies of Hindi cinema get paid to do. I'm so jealous.
15. The view from the viewpoint with the name that I don't remember, with a glassful of the best tea I've ever had.
16. Standing up in the Gypsy on the ride back to the cottage, and taking awkward pictures.
17. The after dinner walk where I picked up a disreputable looking and thoroughly chewed up pencil stub, and pocketed it as a souvenir. RK thought it was rather gross.
18. The visit to the two hundred and fifty year old British church the next day, and peering in to see the stained glass windows.
19. The short, death defying bus ride back to Bhopal, which restored some of my faith in this nation's public transport system.
20. Reading all of Hosseini's 'The Kite Runner' and almost all of Dalrymple's 'City of Djinns' on the train back. Heya Kitkat, is that why you refer to denim pants as D-Jeans?

Things I Didn't Like Quite As Much On The Pachmarhi Trip: -

1. Bhopal Express should be renamed 'Lose Weight Now? Ask Me How' Express. There was no food. No hawkers even.
2. The train was three hours late, we missed the state transport bus, and had to resort to the Shady Travels bus, which had to go bust at H'bad, to add the last missing element to the bus ride from hell.
3. The conductor evidently thought that his bus was actually Noah's Ark, and he had to save Everybody.
4. I had an aisle seat, and therefore, posteriors belonging to a whole swathe of people, and of every possible description, were thrust in front of my face.
5. B also managed to garner a smiling, leery admirer, who had teeth of every conceivable size, shape and colour.
6. The bus journey which was supposed to take five hours took seven instead, and made me re-evaluate my notions of what the phrase 'blazing heat' was supposed to mean.
7. Everybody had the most frightful fit of the sulks as a consequence. At one point I thought that VJF would kill the next person who said a 'Hi' to him.
8. The food at Pachmarhi was....very interesting. The chicken biryani at the Khalsa Restaurant should be called raw chicken and uncooked rice with fossilized onion rings on top.
9. The smart alec tour guide (there is ALWAYS one of those) had the temerity to tell me that I should shut up and climb the rest of the hill in silence for the trek to be 'complete'. ME. And I wasn't even being particularly loquacious. Should've pushed him back into the waterfall, but I figured that I didn't want to pollute something so beautiful.
10. The Rasoi Dhaba took an hour to serve us lunch, messed up our bill, and the tastiest thing I had was the soot from the mud stove that flew in and got mixed up with my food.
11. The three hundred very steep steps that led to the Bee Falls, that made me realize the exact position of every muscle in my thighs, and made my heart want to leap out of my body with sheer exhaustion.
12. The motley bunch of men at the waterfall who thought swimming trunks were unnecessary frills, and bathed in their underwear. Boys, swimming trunks are NOT a luxury, you made me want to gouge my eyes out AND ruined all the pictures. And do not presume to use my shoulder as a support for you to climb back down, you're all disgusting. And the woman who shampooed her hair in the waterfall should've been arrested. And the bunch of cheeky kids who thought that getting me drenched was a great idea, you will grow up to be exactly the kind of people who will travel ticketless in buses.
13. The waiter dropping dal on my head at dinner, and cleaning it up with the rag he used to clean all the other tables. He did tell all the other insensitive louts at my table to quit laughing, though. I forgive him.
14. I really did not want to see a dead puppy on the road.
15. The fact that the train back got diverted because of the accident, and took twelve hours extra through blisteringly hot Rajasthan. We had to drink boiling water all day, there was no food anywhere, and I have never felt so dirty in my life. I think it was meant to make us appreciate the relatively pleasant heat that tortures Delhi.

Yes, that's about it. Among other things, there are a lot of goodbyes to be said, which is bumming me out a little bit. I'm feeling a curious sense of deflation, now that I'm officially unemployed, and can no longer use my student status to not leave tips at restaurants. I'm also quite scared about what is to come, but that is no real novelty.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Weird Chronicles - II

This post is the result of my recent conversation with Pinkerton, my little sibling. We spent about an hour reminiscing about our childhood, and some of the more foolish things we did. It made me realise that certain traits do run in families, and weirdness is one of them.

Once the parents, Pinkerton and I were travelling by train from Guwahati to Kolkata. P and I were on the two top berths, conversing loudly. It went as follows: -

Me: - I have been on this berth for fifty years. I got on, forgot to get off, and now I live here.
P: - hehe.
Me: - I have rats in my hair. They go foraging for food at night, and come back and sleep here during the day.
P:- hehahahaha.
Me: - I haven't bathed in fifty years. I stink so much that my dog left me. One day he just got off the train and never came back.
P: - heheheheheee....bow wow!
Me: - arf arf!!
Parents: - Sigh. Let's eat.
Other co-passengers: - Wha..?

This other time, my mum, my two sisters and I were travelling from New Delhi to Jamshedpur on a train called Purushottam Express, and we had very adventurously decided to travel by sleeper class. The trip hadn't started very well. We'd almost missed the train, and once we were on it, we were wishing that we had, in fact, missed it. Briefly, it was dirty, crowded, slow...complete tinpot. The next day, on the train, the sisters and I came up with an alternative, a train that we would develop, called the Horror Express. Here's why.

This train would be patrolled by robots armed with machine guns. The slightest violation of norms and rat-a-tat! The mess that resulted would also be promptly cleaned up. If anyone went to the toilet and didn't clean up after themselves, a mechanized boot would appear out of the wall, and would proceed to kick him/her out of the train. If anyone were to spit on any part of the train, it would self destruct in thirty seconds. Ka-boom! And the USP of the train would be that every ticket came with a guaranteed nervous breakdown, free of charge.

Trains bring out the best in my family. That also seems to liven up the journeys of those travelling with us, whether they like it or not. But that's alright. Like ol' Pelham Grenville would say, into each life, some rain must fall.

P.S.: - This one's for my grandpa, who, I am convinced, was the best one in the world. I'll miss you, Dadubhai.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Things I Want To Say

I hate exams. I wish they'd never been imagined. I hate fertile imaginations which dream up things like making people give exams, instead of letting them blog in peace. I'm sick of professors who behave like their papers are the only greenery that populates the vast, arid desert that is my life. I'm also sick of professors who don't behave like that, because they make you slog anyway. In short, I'm not very fond of the teaching community right now.

I want to get far away from all this. I want to go have a look at Ireland, to see if I can find me a leprechaun (no, I'm not angling for his gold. Have a little sense of adventure, and tone down the cynicism a little bit). I want to see if the green hurts my eyes, so used to having dust blown into them at regular intervals.

I like tea. I also like Maaza. But I have to stop drinking one right after gulping down the other. It sends my tummy into the most ridiculous spasms, like my stomach is laughing mockingly at my shocking gastronomic sense.

I hate it when I'm not allowed to talk. I also hate it when I can talk and I have absolutely nothing to say. I just want to make meaningful conversation with my mirror for an hour everyday, where my reflection and I can constructively debate the nature of existence and the meaning of being.

I dislike the fact that Maya and Grumpus (the dogs) are so horribly obvious about the fact that they're in love. Inspite of that, Maya has to be a coquette and make eyes at the two other poor dogs who keep glancing at her with such expectation in their eyes. Those two are all over each other...blech.

I am sick of the mess that my room is in. I haven't cleaned in three days and its driving me insane. I'm also really scared of this Monica-ness that seems to be getting rather too persistent these days.

I absolutely detest the fact that I'm blogging at a cybercafe. How the mighty have fallen! I also am sick of the persistent "I must be a nice girl" complex that has ruled me for all my life. I will be the meanest one in town now. Enough. If I'm bored of me, I cannot even imagine what the rest of my acquaintances must go through everyday.

Also, I hate the fact that I've written a post about absolutely nothing. It seems to me to be a reflection of the times to come which will hold....you guessed it...absolutely nothing.

Oh, and I'm sick to death of Orkut, but some weird nag in my head, who sounds quite like Janice (too many FRIENDS allusions, you say? Its my space mister. If you don't like it, beat it) keeps telling me not to delete my profile.

And I'm sick of being called Sangy/ Sangee/ Sangeeeeeeeee. Its too nice. I'm gonna be called Roberta Flack from now on. No Bobby or Bob. Roberta Flack. Full name always. Let's see how you dress that up.