Wednesday, April 29, 2009

part theory of relativity, part john lennon

The best kind of relative to have would be a gay uncle.

This is how I imagine it would be. He would be plump, with plump manicured hands and feet, great taste in food, music, movies and wine.

He would also have a nice apartment in Juhu, somewhere near Prithvi actually. Maybe even in the Janki Kutir lane. I’d live with him and we’d discuss men and movies while rustling up a chopped salad and blueberry cheesecake for dinner.

Of course we’d both be going to catch the last 9.30 play at Prithvi. Me with my set of friends, he with his. And yes, all his friends would be terribly bright, and witty and arty and bitchy!

There would also be days when we would just sit for hours in compatible silence, reading our respective books. His apartment would always be neat, and everything in it would be dark wood and chattai.

And of course he would be just the person you’d want to take shopping, discuss your boyfriend problems with, plan a dinner party with, or even take your boss troubles to.

In fact staying with gay uncle Gagan would be the most suitable arrangement till I fell in love and moved out or got married.

We’d miss each other terribly. Considering that I would have moved to Milan.

To paraphrase John Lennon:

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday

Every girl 

will have a gay uncle Gagan.

Monday, April 27, 2009

teach your children well....

teach your children well, 

don't ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry

 ~ Crosby Stills Nash Young

Friday night I went to see a play at Prithvi. The acting was sort of okay. But Iexpected that. Somehow English theatre in India seems reluctant to adapt. The accents are put on, the names are firang and it all looks hammy.

Why not just adapt it to the way we are? Talk normally, use hinglish, change the names, adapt the dialogue a bit... just make it more about us, rather than some text book american/british play.

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to write about. You see, the subject of the play interested me. It was about child abuse. A child abused at 12, confronts her abuser much later in life.

And it got me thinking, and talking to Z, who also went for the play with me. Why do most child abusers get away with it? Of course, one reason is that the victim often feels guilty. You’re confused, did I bring it on, what will everyone say... there is so much shame associated with it, that kids often pick that up and suppress it.

The other reason is when you’re about 12; you don’t even know what’s happening. You often feel like the person is showing you so much love, like you’re special and by the time your subconscious starts picking up the shame, you’re trapped by guilt.

What were my reasons?

 When I was in class eight, I was terrible at math. Actually I still am. And this person, very sweet, family man with two sons, who worked under my dad, and lived five houses away from us decided to volunteer to teach me.

And this is what I remember. I remember going to his house, saying hello to his wife and then sitting down on their dining table to study. Uncle came and sat down, and opened my books. He asked aunty to make tea.

She went into the kitchen. He started to explain some math to me. And then put his hand on my thigh. I still remember I was wearing a brick coloured dress, only because I never wore it again. And I remember his hand on my thigh. I knew it was wrong. I knew this was not supposed to happen. And I just kept hoping he’d take his hand away.

His hand didn’t move, it just stayed there. His fingers spread across. I couldn’t hear anything he was saying; neither could I understand what to do. Then we heard his wife coming in to the room, and his hand moved. He laughed, took the tea ... and I moved my body so he could not reach my legs.

The rest I don’t remember. But I never went back. My mom tried everything, begged, threatened, cajoled me... but I never budged.

I wonder why I didn’t tell her. Probably the same reasons. Guilt, fear, shame. Everything I shouldn’t have felt, but did feel at 13.

Years later, we’re sitting around and chatting, and my mom suddenly asks me why I never wanted to go back there. She asks me if there was something he did or said, and I just said no. Still guilty, still ashamed.

Then couple of years back, I’m out with my folks in Delhi. And they decide to go to his house. He’s lost a son. I can’t say no. I want to go. To see this person. To see if he’ll react to me. If he’ll fall at my feet and beg forgiveness. If he’ll be able to look me in the eye.

He does neither of that. He’s just a broken, old man. And I sit quietly, say nothing. Still guilty, still ashamed.

Now I think it’s too late. Telling my parents will only make them upset. And they’ll blame themselves for being careless, for being irresponsible. But I don’t blame them and now more importantly, I don’t blame myself.

It’s gone. The only scar I probably still carry it that I’m still pathetic at math!

But if you have a daughter, pay more attention. Teach her about good touch and bad touch. And more importantly, about the fact that she’ll never be the one who needs to feel guilty or ashamed. She just needs to tell you, and you’ll set it right.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

i'm sure you know it, but still...

Last night i saw you get married.

And i wanted to hug you and tell you how happy I am.

But i stopped myself because I suspect I would have cried

And you would have been embarrassed

And we are not like that.

But I just want you to know that’s what I wanted to do.

It just felt so right

To see you so happy

So I’ll hug you over cyberspace

Because you’ll know how I feel.

And I’ll just cry over this post

Because what’s a wedding without a tear or two!

I love you S.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

from b to d

I would officially like to thank the people at la senza.

They have given me a cleavage.

At 600 bucks a pop, their deep cleavage enhancing bras deliver the goods. And how.

I can actually see a deep place between my boobs. I don’t know how those bras work. Whether they push, pull, heave or even magically create an optical illusion, but let’s give just them a big hand.

La, la, la senza.

nothing a rain shower can't solve

what can i say?

that i feel guilty when i take a shower? specially one that lasts longer than it strictly should?

why? because i hate how irresponsible it is. i know bathing with a bucket is better, because you save so much water. i also know that mumbai is going to face a water shortage this summer. and that my folks have already started having water problems in delhi.

but then, when i stand under the shower. and the water hits me. and it slowly starts to drench me. and then it starts to roll down my shoulders. and i can feel it stinging, slapping, drenching. my brown skin, with millions of bubbles rolling over it. 

and slowly my head empties. there's nothing but me, and my physical self, and the water. and like the olay line, i love the skin i'm in. 

which is what makes the shower so hard to give up. i feel guilty. but its hard to give up five minutes of being deliriously happy to be me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

men, mister, master and other musings

I just spent the whole day reading a book borrowed from an eleven year old girl.

So there I was sprawled on the futon, my legs on the backrest, as I gobbled up a vampire love story, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

The book is a pretty racy read, though in parts the lovelorn bits were too much. Even though I know those are the parts making young girls swoon.

But the point of this blog is to wonder what makes us, as girls and women, go weak in the knees. I remember reading Nancy Drew at eleven. And she had a boyfriend. But there was no weak in the knees about him. He was just a wholesome American boy who did everything Nancy said.

Then I remember Pride and Prejudice. And Mr. Darcy. The first character in fiction that I fell in love with. I adored his aloofness. His air of mystery. The misunderstood man. The man who could be so sarcastic and yet you would want to fling yourself at him.

Then came Karan Kapoor. The Bombay Dyeing Man. And suddenly every young teenage girl was softly singing dream lover while looking into the horizon. Dream Lover had no time for nonsense. He would sweep you of your feet, without your permission.

Then I read this book...and my mind is ticking. It’s the same thing. A vampire who been there, done that. Lived in millions of cities, through thousands of centuries. And now falls in love as a teenager, and spends the entire novel saving his mortal woman.

 Say what you may, women don’t change. At the heart of it all they want a masterful man.

Sure, I don’t mean he should bully me around, or dictate who I meet or what I do. Yesh

But...haven’t you ever been swept away into a kiss that you didn’t realise was coming. Or had your hand grabbed and taken to places without you having a clue. Or just the way a guy has asked you something or said something, or taken charge. No hesitation, no can I, is it okay... just full on confidence. And you are like are my daddy!

That’s really it. Warped as it may sound. Sometimes a guy just has to be masterful enough for you to feel like a silly girl who’s got this daddy guy who’s going to manage it all.

And you start unconsciously reacting to that strange complex feeling right from when you’re eleven to probably when you’re sixty.

So men, there’s a lesson here. And a disclaimer. The woman has to feel that about you. And you got to gauge when she does. Do not try it if you ain’t hundred per cent sure. Many masterful men have got kicked in the balls!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

my aunty has come

period underwear. heard of it? 

BBC bashing

There’s a BBC list of books doing the rounds. The condescending bastards have said that most people would have only read 6 of the 100 books that made the list.

Which of course is the reason why people have been furiously circulating the list, and declaring that they’ve read most of them. 70 percent toh first division and all that.

I went through the list and here are my questions to those know it all folks at BBC.


Question 1. Ulysses by James Joyce? Are you kidding me? You mean someone has actually read this book? Like completed it, cover to cover? Not skipped pages, not gone straight from page 5 to page 780? Not fallen down, with glazed eye and numb brain syndrome.

Well, if there is such a person, I’d like to suggest optional jobs for them. A) Proof checker of medieval Indian history textbooks from class 5th to class 10th.  B) Curator of national gallery of government gazettes published circa 1875. C) Pratibha Patil’s best friend.

Question 2: Inferno by Dante? The burning question is where would you read this book? If you read it on the pot, it could lead to you falling asleep and the bathroom door having to be broken open, leading to a hellish experience where you are caught with your pants down by the carpenter and your pervert neighbour.  If you read it on holiday, well, all I say is you probably holiday in Meerut Station. Hell, this is the only prescribed cure for insomnia. Why would someone put it on a list and have thousands of unsuspecting people who look up to the BBC falling asleep like dead flies.

Question 3: The bible. The bible? The bible?? Why? Since when did the BBC join the convert the heathens programme?  Good Lord.

However I am willing to forgive those arrogant folks at BBC only because they have added my all time favourite book to the list. It’s called A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

By the way, the purpose of these lists is to make the person reading it feel smug if they’ve covered most books in the list. So if you haven’t read A Confederacy of Dunces, in my smuggest possible tone, let me suggest that you do.  

Till then let me raid a bookshop for Wuthering Heights. I had it as part of my syllabus in class twelfth. And the only good thing about it was the yummy looking man on the cover.  

The Bronte babes are pretty over hyped if you ask me. Old fashioned dithering ladies. Anyway let me give it a shot again. If you find a car, with the driver asleep at the wheel, you’ll know where to find me then.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

brokers in arms

We’ve been house hunting for months. No, make that years.

 And I’ve become a pro at broker language.

1. The sunke gali lagega terms like “Building ka OC hai kya?” 

2. The future ki baaten. Eg. “FSI kitna hai? Redevelopment ka kya chance hai." 

3.   The society ka baap terms like, “ Building cosmo hai?" 

4. And finally you know you have done the top se bottom storey of the Mumbai real estate scene when you disdainfully look at the flat and say, “ Par yeh toh converted one BHK hai.”

 That’s when you’ll earn the brokers respect. Because he’ll know yeh party ko sab malum hai.

But he’ll still try. To show you a barely squeezable 2 BHK, and then wave his arms around and say, “ Sink bahar le ke, kitchen ko adha kat ke bedroom bana sakte hain madam. Wonderful 3 BHK ho jayega.”

But by now you’re a hardened surveyor of the scene. You’ll not even flinch as you walk to the window.

At which point he’ll fling out his arms and point to the million slums in front and say, “ Bas. Order out hai. Sab jhopad pati do deen mahine mein clear ho jayenga. By god, what a view madam”

Now you’ll pretend to stifle a yawn and ask in a bored voice, “ Area kitna hai?”

He’ll say, “ Bas kya? Full nine hundred hai. Magar lagta mast 1000 ke upar hai. All side open hai na...spacious feeling.”

The thing to do through all this is to keep the poker face and say, “ Aur kuch hai kya?”

But he’s smarter. Even if he’s disappointed he will not twitch an eyebrow. He’ll just say, “ Dekhne ko toh bahut hain madam... par yeh hit hai.

A converted 1 BHK that he’s asking you to break further, so you can get a 3 BHK.

The only hit is what you want to land on his smirky face. But this is Mumbai. And if there’s one man you’ll see more often than your spouse and probably feature as No 1 on your speed dial, it’s your broker.

You are the balcony to his clothesline. The loft to his storage tank. The false ceiling to his disco lights. The faster you get used to it, the sooner you’ll find a house.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

no, no I am not your aunty!

My morning newspaper is always so full of good news.


Apart from the fact that they’re trying to blow up more hotels, and more people are randomly shooting themselves and their families, there is another little nugget tucked away in the ninth page.


Apparently those marvellous men they call scientists have come to the conclusion that if you slog your ass off and diet, and lose 5 kgs in the bargain, you are actually adding 4 years to your appearance.


Thanks a lot. So now what? Should I just die young and fat. Or should I be slim and haggard.


Aaargh. Is there no justice in the world? Can’t they just focus their energies on making spoons fly. Or growing sheep in bottles.


Anyway, while I marvel at how complicated a woman’s life has become, I also read that the EC has barred Sanjay Dutt from contesting the elections.


Yeah! Pass me the double fried eggs with the toasts I say. At least someone has sense in this country.