Sunday, May 31, 2009

ya we get along, but...i feel there's a distance between us

I will never be a good cook.

I think it’s an inborn talent.

I try and i try.

I go by the recipe. I improvise.

It still doesn’t make a difference

The food tastes, at the most, all right.

A is gifted

Mostly his food turns out great

But this morning

The poha was sublime.

Thing is i love the kitchen

I love spices and racks and bottles

I love pressure cookers

And blackened kadais

And saucepans

I think of them as people

The kadai is the old mausi

The pressure cooker is the nepali boy cook

The saucepan is a youngster

The masala ka dabba is the rolling pin’s mother in law

The oil cans are tall friends

The spice bottles are naughty children

They are one big joint family

And i’m hoping one day

They’ll welcome me in to the fold.

Friday, May 29, 2009

somedays i don't make much sense

I like what I’m wearing to work today.

The top makes me look real good. It adds to parts that need adding (yippee), and skims parts that don't.

Tra la la. It’s nice to come to work dressed killer for a change. Not that there’s anyone worth dressing killer for in office. But still.

That’s the thing. I don’t get those who say but why should we dress for men. What bullshit I say. Of course they also say that you should dress for your own self. Huh? Hogshit!

If I was dressing for myself, it would be a disaster. I wouldn’t bother. Really, why match, why accessorize, why put on make up, why wax…why bother. There’s only you who’s gonna see it. It’s a pretty stupid argument.

And as far as dressing for men is concerned, if it’s of any help I also dress for women. I mean women notice faster. They are more difficult to get compliments out of. And if they do, you know it’s because they really mean it, not because they are hoping to stick their tongue in your ear. Not that all men who compliment you are…but well, men don’t just notice the finer things do they?

They’ll just say, “Wow, you’re looking good.” Whereas a woman would say, “ Wow, that shade of lipstick is fantastic. Where did you get it?” whereby, you can lie and then feel smug that you’ll have something she isn’t going to get... not now at least.

I’m not a nice person.

Anyway, then there’s this thing I noticed today. That I stare more at women than at men. No, really. It’s because I’m trying to see Oh nice shoes, What jeans are those, Oh why is she carrying that sucky bag with that nice dress, Hmm…wonder where she cuts her hair.

Even if the world’s most hot looking guy came and hit me on the head, I probably wouldn’t notice. Because I’ll be looking at the girl with him and thinking, “Are those from Promod…is the sale still on?”

Whew. At least I don’t do that with my girlfriends. Because if I did, I wouldn’t have noticed Farhan Akhtar when S &I were going for our yoga class yesterday.

He was in his car. And the weird thing is he was laughing, head tilted at an angle and looking like a poster of himself at 6.45 in the morning. And there was no one else in the car. I’m thinking, boy, he’s strange. How can he look so perfect, smile and hair intact, head at an angle, full on pose look at this unearthly hour in the morning?

What if he’s always looks like that? Brushes his teeth, grin in place, head at an angle. Poops, grin in place, head at an angle. Drives, grin in place, head at an angle. What if he is Ken?

Bring on the impossible high heels. I’m gonna be Barbie!
By the way I wrote this post with my grin intact, and my head at an angle.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

let it all hang out

Okay, I’m somewhat real estate obsessed at the moment.

I think I’ve turned Mumbaikar. I’m plotting things like how to bring the flowerbeds into the house, how to steal the neighbours vent area, can I encroach into the common lobby, should I make my window grills large enough to house a study room.

Nothing new. Considering in Mumbai sab chalta hai when it comes to making the most of every inch of space.

Check out what I saw from Z’s window. it looks like just another building, with a bunch of windows facing you. But wait...


... what on earth is that?

...it is... fooking shit... a flush tank!

my. what will they do next? say attached toilet and put the pot out.
dangle and download eh!

Monday, May 25, 2009

kabootar ja ja ja, kabootar ja ja ja

Pah! I’ve turned into a freak. A mush ball who’ll start cooing like a demented pigeon any minute now.

And it all started when we were talking about our bed last night. It’s a huge king size bed, that could easily fit three. Nah, we’re not talking what you’re thinking.

Anyway so A tells me, “shit, maybe we shouldn’t have bought this huge bad-ass bed.” Reference to context: our tiny to be house, no thanks to the pathetic folks at ING Vysya (see, never lose an opportunity to bad-mouth them.)

Anyway back to cooing. So I tell A, “But this bed is fabulous. We’re no longer fighting over who takes up most of the bed and viciously digging our elbows in to each other, to make some space.”

Two minute pause. We’re both thinking of our previous bed. And our undignified attempts at grabbing more space, which included kicking, elbow shoving, and stabbing at the ribs.

Then A grins and says, “ Ya, that’s true. This bed is huuuge. Sometimes I have to find you at night.”

Oooooooooh. I turn to mush. He actually, in his sleep, reaches out for me…and he actually said that.

I played it cool. But inside I’m just about ready to hug a soft toy and start singing, “ main teri hoon janam, tu mera piya…”

*photo chepoed off http://www.crestock.com

Sunday, May 24, 2009

things you learn along the way

Last week we had a house guest.

And she asked me, “ okay, so is there anything I should know about Bombay before I go out. Like what places to avoid, what streets not to walk on in broad daylight.”  That sort of thing. Just what a white girl living in Delhi, and getting her ass grabbed at least twice a day would ask.

So I though and thought. And then gave her my standard advice.

“ No, it’s actually pretty cool. Though there is one thing you should always remember in Mumbai. Pee before you leave home. Or if you’re in a restaurant, mall, coffee shop, make use of the facilities.”

She just smiled at me vaguely. Probably thought weirdo with a weak bladder.

But it’s true. If you move to Mumbai that’s the first thing you learn. I of course learnt it the hard way. The first time I was leaving work, and I felt just a little pee-ey. But then I thought home is just twenty minutes away, and if I go back to the loo, I’ll probably get caught for some work, so forget it...

Ha ha. I’ll never forget that evening. We got caught in a huge traffic jam, one truck had broken down, half a dozen traffic lights had stopped working, and it felt like everyone had left work at that very moment. Nothing moved, except my bladder which was painfully expanding by the minute.

I crossed my legs, leaned forward, gritted my teeth, tried to distract myself with thoughts of Anthony Bourdain. But no, nothing helped. The traffic would not move, there was not a single restaurant or coffee shop on that damn stretch, and soon I had tears in my eyes. A tried holding my hand, and singing a song, but nothing was helping. Only the thought of the grumpy Bihari cabbie going ballistic kept me from peeing in the cab.

Anyway, I finally made it to a Sulabh Sauchalaya that evening. And I swore to myself that it would never happen again.

But of course it did. A couple of times. The worst being when I was driving, and it was raining. Again on that same darned stretch of road. This time it got so bad, what with the persistent sound of rain on my roof and rivers running down my windscreen, that I removed my tiffin box from the plastic packet I usually carry it in. The idea was to slip the plastic packet into my jeans and pee in to it. But again, a packed double decker bus next to me, and tight jeans foiled that plan. I finally made it to the same Sulabh Sauchalaya, all teary eyed again.

Which reminds me, when I lived in Delhi, we used to pass this huge house in Vasant Vihar. And someone once told me it belongs to the guy who started the Sulabh Sauchalayas.  We always looked at it enviously.

But not anymore. Now when I go to Delhi, I’ll look at it with fondness. After all, it’s been built on my pee.


* as a sort of leave behind, here's something i found on http://natknits.wordpress.com. clearly, some people need a lot of help: dude...this is not the ocean...no, no...we can not find pomfret here...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

motapa badane ke instant tarike

“Ji haan. I’m very satisfied with Miracle Tummy Popper. ING Vysya walon ne sach moch mere stomach  ko two pack se ganesh pack kar diya hai” -  satisfied customer Agentgreenglass.

                                                                  BEFORE

                                                                   AFTER

It is true. Nothing like a little stress to increase your stomach and make it looking popping and beautiful. Absolutely painless. One time stress. First they will suddenly stop your loan, then your body will go into instant shock, and metabolism will go on strike. And before you know it your stomach will be popping out, just like Agentgreenglass. Who is very happy now, because her wonderful bloated tummy makes her look like Punjab Sweet House ki malkin.

For further enquiries about Miracle Tummy Popper please call ING Vysya home loans. Now.

*The following actions should not be repeated at home. These images were captured under the expert guidance of specialised stunt teams.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

ING Vyasa decides to wipe me out

Here’s my story

All those who read my blog, know how excited I’ve been about the new house.

A month back we found this house, and decided to take the plunge. In came ING Vyasa. The sweet man from the bank took our details, chatted with us, and assured us that if all the papers were in place; our loan would be ready in no time.

Tra la la.

Next, the loan was approved. Then, the nice agent from ING Vyasa told us we’d have to pay a higher processing fee because only ING Vyasa got a lawyer to check every single paper related to the house. In fact the ING Vyasa man told us we were unnecessarily paying a lawyer to check the papers, considering they were so stringent with their own checks.

Next morning the call comes, all papers are clear.

Tra la la.

Next we scramble to pay the owner the money. A huge fat sum. Begged and borrowed from parents, relatives and friends. We sell our investments, wipe out our bank accounts.

The nice man from the bank is encouraging. He tells us as soon as we finish paying our part, and do the registration, the bank will hand over the cheque. That’s the rule.

We pay, the registration happens.

Tra la la.

Then we start to break the house, run after contractors, plumbers, and the nice man from the bank. Who says the cheque is on its way. He’s just trying to get us a lower rate of interest. Nice man, we’re so thrilled.

Tra la la.

Then he arrives at our house, makes us sign some papers. Says the cheque will be given in two days. It doesn’t happen. We call him yesterday; he says the cheque will be paid tomorrow. The owner is getting jumpy. So we call the nice man at ING Vyasa’s boss. Who says, “Don’t worry Sir, the cheque is ready. I signed it. You’ll have it tomorrow afternoon.”

Tra la la.

This afternoon. No call. A calls them. And they tell him there is a problem. They didn’t realize one document was stamped, not registered, and there is another document which they haven’t got.

What does that mean?

Sir, sorry…but we can not disburse the loan.

I’m sitting here, writing this. I’ve paid the owner, money I’ve saved, money I’ve earned, money I’ve borrowed. And the nice man from ING Vyasa is sitting in front of me saying they knew about this a couple of days back, but they were confident they could solve it. However they can’t, and so they can not give me the loan. And ya, they were lying to me since Thursday.

A is stressed, I can see it. He’s on the phone, fretting, upset, angry. I’m writing, because that’s therapy. I’d probably be crying otherwise. The nice man from ING Vyasa has made a sorry face.

But they have no responsibility. They knew about this. They did not inform us. We paid them a processing fee, so they could check the papers. They couldn’t do it right.

Now they walk away scot free. And we stand to lose everything we ever had.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

contest. with an undecided prize.

okay. identify this object.

hint 1: it exists in every part of the country.
hint 2: the ladies have an unfair unadvantage.

damn. i think i gave it away. still...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

do you believe in magic?


My memory of the first day of summer holidays.

Leave school at the speed of light. Cycle past the main guardroom, the big maidan, the cycle repair shop, the one and only theatre, the big board saying married quarters, down a thick tree lined avenue, gulmohors, imli, guava, mango, banyan…and finally our gate.

Painted white, with my fathers name and rank painted in a blue square. Go crunching down the gravel driveway, stones flying under my cycle wheels.

Run up the steps to our porch, dash through the big doors, with half lace curtains.

In to my room, throw my bag on to my study table. Dodge my mom’s questions on how did the exam go. Okay, fine, good, standard response.

Then grab the library cards from the table in the study room. Again dodge my mom’s furious “Change out of your uniform before you leave the house.”

Big shiny tears in my eyes, look at her from under my fringe and say, “ Please ma, the library will close at 12. Let me go…please, please.”

My mother, who’s not an easy to melt sort, would look disgusted and then say, “okay, but only today. Because it’s the first day of your summer holidays.”

Fly back on the cycle. Past all the other houses painted white, past tree lined roads, right through the children’s park, through the overgrown patch, where someone saw a king cobra last summer holiday, pick up speed over the kaccha rasta, bounce on my seat, through the gate that says Officers Mess. Jump off my cycle near the squash court, throw it down on the tarred road, and run in.

Cool corridors that smelt faintly of smoke, and stale, and beer and anda bhujia. Run down the threadbare red durrie like carpeting. Stop at the door with a brass sign - LIBRARY.

Turn the brass knobs, enter a silent room. Fans whirring, the smell of books and old newspapers and beer, always the beer. Head straight to a metal cupboard painted military green with a paper sign plastered on it - KID’s SECTION.

Find famous Five Off to Sea. The librarian takes the card out of the book, stamps it, and takes a maroon cloth-covered library card from me. I scrawl my shaky signature that’s still to form on a register, and tip toe out.

My father, the night before, who loves all plans to do with libraries and books, tells me,
“If you go to the library, go get yourself a cold drink.”

So I tiptoe into the bar. Red carpet, black sofas, the drawing of a woman in a bathtub. Again, the smell of peanuts and beer. And the sign - Children are not allowed in the bar unaccompanied. But this is an afternoon, and all the uncles are still at work, and the aunties are at home. So I stand on the metal railing that skirts the bar, and I look up at the barman and I say “Bhaiya…ek goldspot…nahi ek ice cream soda…”

Bhaiya grins. He knows it’s a big sacrifice I’m making. All us kids beg him for Gold Spot crowns, for the Jungle Book stickers. He’s already an authority on who has which character and who we can swap with.

He hands me my Bijoli Grill Ice Cream soda. And two Gold Spot crowns as a bonus.

I stick the drink and the book into a bag. Strap it to my cycle carrier. And I’m off. I don’t feel the blazing summer heat of Bengal. I fly down the road, smelling mango trees and dry leaves.

I arrive home, slip in through the door and quickly open the bottle. All this before my mother can even figure I’m home. Before she can get me to wash up, or change, or eat lunch.

Then I lie on my bed on my stomach, open my book, and lose myself to the Famous Five, and the clear sparkly taste of Ice Cream soda.

Sigh. Sometimes it’s no fun growing up. I want my summer holidays back.

Do you believe in magic in a young girl's heart

How the music can free her, whenever it starts

And it's magic, if the music is groovy

It makes you feel happy like an old-time movie

I'll tell you about the magic, and it'll free your soul
~ The Lovin Spoonful

Picture credit: www.allposters.com

Monday, May 4, 2009

obsessive compulsive me

The house thing is so stressful. and sooo wildly exciting.

 i don't want to seem to think of anything else. and i have shitloads of work. so i keep trying to suppress the house thing, but it's like night before the picnic syndrome. i could never sleep the night before one when i was a kid.

 i still get that if i have to leave for goa in the morning. or when i went on the road trip. i was awake all night, and then when the alarm rang at 6, I was like dang, I just slept thirty minutes back.

 And i’m rambling now. And talking really fast in my head because i’m so keyed up. So instead i shall try and divert my OCD behaviour back to Japan.

 Enjoy some Japanese proverbs.

 1.

If you believe everything you read, better not read.

Hey, guess how we’re gonna get rid of Swine Flu?

 2.

In a quarrel, the higher voiced person will win.

Beautiful. Now you know why men never win an argument. Also, remember this if you’re marrying a Soprano, and thank me later.

 3.

Never rely on the glory of the morning or the smiles of your mother in law. 

Ya, that’s the one Ekta Kapoor made her fortune on. 

 4.

The reverse side also has a reverse side.

Ummm...dude we’ll be playing pros and cons all month long then.

 Proverbs courtsey www.quotationspage.com

also sorry, my formatting of text is all over the place. inspite of trying to fix it for the last hour. damn. damn. damn.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

a post in six parts

It’s been a fantastic weekend. Four days of lounging.

All sorts of random things happened. And I discovered some fantastic trivia on Japan. So I shall intersperse all my randomness with some Japan trivia.

First, I felt bad for the Knight Riders. No, not because I’m rooting for them. I am rooting for Chennai Super Kings. Only because I think Captain Courageous Dhoni is cool. But back to KK, must be awful to lose all the time. I should know, considering I’ve never won at any sport, ever. And what’s worse is that they lost to Kings XI. No, I do not like Yuvraj the sloth bear and neither do I like Preity, the Sniffer.

In Japan, they have something called the used panty vending machine. For those of you, who are already booking the first ticket to Kyoto, stop, because the government declared them illegal in 1993. Spoilsports!

But apparently they came neatly packed, with a little picture of the smiling wearer, as a sort of seal of authenticity.  Gives me an idea, maybe when the Pink Chaddi Campaigners are going through a lull, they could start a new campaign.  Make a Jap buddy, send him your used Chaddi. 


Second, I went to a Maharashtrian wedding.  I was wearing a sleeveless outfit. And waiting in queue for my food. Suddenly I see the catering guys going nudge nudge, grin grin. I realise my tattoos are tickling them pink. I take my dahi vada and go.

Later I come back for the gulab jamun, and can’t find a spoon. I ask the guy behind the counter for one. He turns and yells to his friends, “ Aye, Gajni madam ko chamach dena!”

Back to Japan.  They had a problem. Watermelons would just not fit into the refrigerator.  Their round shape came in the way of neatly squeezing them in. What would you and I have done? Chop the bloody thing up and store it. But no, not in japan.

They decided to grow square watermelons in glass cubes. And they pulled it off. Now they’re growing them in triangles because they’re easy to stock in the supermarket.

Dude, I feel like tapping the side of my head like Asterix. These Japanese are crazy!



My mom. Again. We’re going to shift house end of the month. And she calls me this weekend and says, “ Hope you are packing.” I’m like, no, I’m reading a book. She sniffs in disapproval and then tells me, “why do you need packers? Waste of money. Go to your nearest grocer and get cartons, and start packing your house.”  

When I protest and say, but...I’m not going to get leave to sit around and pack, she sniffs in triumph and says, “That’s why you should have been packing these four days, not wasting your time reading.”

Gaaah. That’s me gnashing my teeth. How does she do it?

Japan. Again.  An egg is not an egg. A cup that literally offers you coffee, tea or me.  Stress balls that err, don’t look like balls. And a lot more on a site that promises ... “ Toasty feelings” and claims to have “ perfect for gag gifts to embarrass your friends (with good sense of humour).”

http://www.jlist.com/ADULTTOYS/

I’m rolling on the floor. Good way to end the weekend.

PS: In case you are even more vela than me.

http://homerecipesnote.blogspot.com/2008/01/how-to-grow-square-watermelon.html

http://inventorspot.com/articles/japan_used_panty_vending_machines_5650

Friday, May 1, 2009

how the west was won


It was 6 in the morning.

And the battle lines were already drawn across the large Arya Samaj community hall.

The quick-quick, fast-fast were on the right. Their uniform consisted of sleek stretchable Nike with 80 % lycra mixed.

They were here because they wanted to conquer. They had exactly an hour to master every yoga pose Swamiji taught. Then they would roll up their ultra thin mats, deep breathe their way to their cars and head home for a quick museli breakfast before making their way to their air conditioned offices.

The gup shup gang was on the left. Their uniform was the printed salwaar kameez with chuni tied. Or else bush shirt and pant for gents.

The class was a way of trying to reduce motapa. And catch up with friends. Every day they asked five questions about weight loss and held up the class for ten minutes while trying to engage Swamiji in water retention ke problems. After class they would hang around, having chai, and discussing the quick-quick, fast-fast gang.

Both sides hated each other. Both sides tried to convince Swamiji to change his timings so that the other lot could not attend. But Swamiji remained adamant. He insisted you have to adapt to your environment. The rush-rush, fast-fast gang wanted the pace of the class picked up. The gup shup gang wanted none of that. Swamiji threw both groups out.

The war continued. Dirty looks, muttered oof-oh’s, and comments about how the class could not progress because some people were so slow.

Then one day, Swamiji decided enough was enough and gave them a lecture. About how the atmosphere of the class was getting polluted. How it should only be about yoga, and not petty emotions like hate and so on and so forth.

The quick-quick, fast-fast class left in their usual rush after the class. And the gup shup gang, as usual hung around. They were struck by Swamiji’s words. The atmosphere of the class was getting polluted.

Next morning, they were ready. And like a good army they waited patiently, only to strike when the time was right.

It came in the 46th minute of class, as Swamiji said, “ Aur ab saas chodiye, ghutnon ko kamar tak laiye, aur...(Now release your breath, bring your knees to your chest...and...)

And they all farted, long and loud in unison, timed to perfection with his last words...

“ Yeh pawanmuktasan...”

That was it. The sweet smell of victory hung in the air. Swamiji was delighted. Never before had his asanas had such a strong effect. 22 students had passed wind, imagine the success.

But of course, he wasn’t the only one successful. The rush-rush, fast-fast went back to the gym. And the gupshup gang claimed morning yoga as theirs once again.