Friday, December 21, 2007

The Oscar Speech

J said the other day that she has her thesis proposal presentation in a few days and I was reminded of the thesis ... Dissertation or a mini-thesis I did as a part of the course requirement for my MBA. The topic I had chosen was something to do with persuasive power of kids, I don't remember too well. What I do remember is putting in as much effort in writing the right acknowledgements - getting the emotion right - not too much, not too little; showing some yet not baring my soul. Not missing anyone. It was about the time the two years were coming to an end and so was a phase of life, it was somehow important to say my thanks. I remember being very happy with the way it had come out and in a strange way being happy about the fact that it will always be there in the library as a proof of what I had to say (frankly, I didn't feel the same about the thesis). So here it is, for all you guys.


It is impossible to fathom and difficult to put in words all that has gone behind this work. I may have been the researcher but behind this work lies the inspiration, ideation and sheer support from many a people. Putting it on paper may help me express the overwhelming gratitude towards all those who have been a part of this work.

My guide Mr. Anand Halve, for always opening that little window which told me that there is much more light you can shine on the surface (or surfaces) or many more windows to look for. For making me go for that little extra and for his constant support and guidance. KEIC for the wealth of priceless knowledge. Milan for making it seem easier than it was. KGK for doing more than I could ever have asked for. Deval for her smiles and help. S and S, for their unwavering faith in me and the constant reminders. To Praks, Nishku, Ashi, Bhati, Rama, Abhiney and Saurabh for being there.

To all my tweeny respondents for trusting me so easily and making me feel justified in making them the subject of my study.

To my parents, for teaching me that if you are going after something that your heart agrees with, you at least won't have to worry about the motivation. For always letting me be what I am. To Didi. To Amit.

To PGPC Batch 2001-2003, for making this place a paradise.

Thanks a lot.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Chandni Raatein

It shouldn’t be allowed that when I have been going for days working like a zombie from 5 in the morning to 1 in the night and walking and living and working with a backache and dreaming of work and doing nothing but work and still in office at 9 PM and someone plays a song and I suddenly miss you so much and I find myself with you on a breezy terrace at Hudson Lines with the night sky stretched above us and we play this song over and over and over again. J, it shouldn’t be allowed.

Why would you?

Its the biggest mystery of all. Why would you get upset with a friend who is among those few who know you as well as anyone does. Why would you stay angry and upset for years. Why would you continue feeling that bit of hurt for years. And then ...

And then, out of the blue, in a moment something completely insignificant happens and it gives you an unexpected joy; and in that moment you know that no one else will understand why this little, stupid, insignificant things has got you so emotional and excited. Except of course this friend, who was a part of that life and knew you in that piece of life. In that moment you miss that friend so much that all you want is to be able to share that joy with that person who would get it. Not that its such a big deal ... but you give up your stupid, unforgiving pride and call another friend to get this friend's number and call. Call to have the most fun random conversation and feel all those years of hurt and anger fall from you. You may never go back to being the way you were and the faint signs of the anger and hurt may not entirely go away but you feel lighter. You are happy that you made that call.

Why would you suddenly forgive and be forgiven? Isn't it the biggest mystery of all?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Budday Girl!

Hey hey!!I have always been shamelessly enthu about it and ensure that I have told/reminded everyone in time, so that they have the opportunity to prepare for the mega event. Why should it change now?

Peoplez, the great day arrives when (drum roll) 28 years ago the world was graced with my esteemed presence. The coming Sunday, 4th of Nov is my happy budddayyyyy!!!

I have already started getting the gifts - have been getting one a day since Tuesday :) my mom-dad gave it in advance when I met them some days back. Plus, I open my b'day girl eyes in the city of Kahira :D

In order to maintain/elevate your likability ratings please call/mail/message/comment your good wishes to me. Gifts only in the form of gifts.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'm Alive

This is to tell you all, my friends, out there that I'm well and alive. Or should that be alive and well ?Anyway! I have been busy with work and lots of other things. But I intend to write the following posts by Friday, they have been pending in my head for long and after Friday I will have other stuff to write about :) (Friday ... S and I leave for a 9 day trip of Egypt!!!!!!! :)!!!! ... I think you get the picture )
  • A review of this place called Dara's Dhaba
  • An account of S and my trip to Matheran and our stay at the Veranda In the Forest
  • A chronicle of reasons I like Delhi, or why Delhi has that pull for me (want to write this before I dive into Dalrymple's City of Djinns, a book I have been wanting to read for the longest time and have finally acquired)
  • A hilarious tale about my mom coloring my dad's hair black
  • A certain dream I had which made me think I was in a dream :)
  • About a friend who recently left his current way of life and is now running two schools in Rishikesh
  • Addition: The takeover of my car by the driver and turning it into a temple through religious blackmail!!

Can think of only these at the moment. The list is for me as well and now that I look at the list ... looks like a bit much and I may be forced to revise the timelines!!


All this made me think of this wonderful quote from a TV series which is full of wonderful quotes. Here goes, Allie in Taken:

"People talk a lot as if the most important thing in life is to always see things for what they really are. But everything we do, every plan we make, is kind of a lie. We're closing our eyes and pretending that the day won't ever come when we won't need to make any more plans. Hope is the biggest lie there is, and it is the best. We have to keep going as if it all mattered, or else we wouldn't keep going at all."

Monday, October 8, 2007

Not bad at all

The current presidential elections in Pakistan reminded me of something. A few days ago while browsing through TV channels I stopped to find Mr. Prabhu Chawla interviewing Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. For the ignorant ones, Prabhu Chawla hosts a talk show with celebrities from politics, bollywood, sports, business ... everywhere. There's even a spoof of his show on MTV/V called 'Prabhu Bawla'. Now, I have an intense dislike for Mr. Chawla, I am still in the process of discovering all reasons for this but mainly, I think he's an arrogant prick, which may be he needs to be and is part of his persona etc., but I don' have to like it, do I?
So, he's interviewing Benazir and the discussion is about whether Gen. Musharraf will get to be the president and with or without uniform etc. and then ...

Benazir: Things are different for you (implying in India), you go and make a nuclear scientist your President.

PC : Ya, but then our scientists do not go and sell our nuclear technology to other countries. (accompanied with this smirking laugh)

Imagine! I say, not bad at all Mr. Chawla. You just might have redeemed yourself in my eyes!

Saturday, October 6, 2007


When I shut down my office laptop yesterday, it stuck me that I was shutting it down after about 8-10 days! Had so much work that I just kept hibernating it every time I was taking a break to move from home to car or car to office or office to car or car to home. Also, to take real breaks to sleep, go out etc. Poor lapty!

Think will shut down my brain and eyes for a while as well ... but then its the weekend and I am feeling excited for no reason and that'll make it difficult to shut down. Gonna try!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

This and That

S and I went to watch this movie - Loins of Punjab, over the weekend.

The movie: mindless entertainment, one time watch, has some funny moments. Amateurish at best. Its a good thing the movie is just 90 mins.

But I mention the movie outing here not for the movie but to tell you all about this family/group in the movie hall. The family has two mommies, two daddies and two little girls. Now what's special about this family is that the girls are around 2-3 years old (from what I can tell) and one of them is wearing those squeaky shoes kids wear.Movie, children wandering about in squeaky shoes - get the connection? What the hell!!!!What is wrong with people? By all means get your children to a movie and I am even OK with them walking about on the steps in the dark but SQUEAKY SHOES?Too much for me to handle.

So we watched the movie with the squeak squeak and in between calls by one of the mom's loud 'G!G?G?!GGG'. One of the girls is called Jia and the mom is trying to get her attention by calling her 'G', the little girl oblivious of her cool nickname is not paying the mom any attention. I am no expert on parenting but there are things you just know are stupid.
I only told S to kill me if I ever take our kids to a movie wearing squeaky shoes.

P.S: Oh, did I mention that both the mom's were wearing cocktail dresses to watch Loins of Punjab? I don't mean to be mean, but ... Lol!
I have been having nightmares that my deep, dark fears are going to come true today and our cricket team is going to get beaten badly, shattering the beautiful cloud I have been keeping myself afloat on.
I recently realised that I have had all women bosses in my four and a half year career. Six of them, so far. Women bosses just exist on two ends of the spectrum, they are either superb or they are nightmarish. There's no in-between. I have had an equal share of both. Not bad at all!
I am re-reading one of my favorite poetry books - Gulzar's Pukhraj. Although I can recite most of the book, with page numbers, I am discovering that his poetry says different things to me every time I read it. And that I LOVE the Urdu vocab more than I think I did.
Of various quotes from Shantaram that I like, this one is almost the favorite: "We trust people either because we see a lot of ourselves in them or because we see what we want to be like in them."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Can't Stop This Thing We Started!!

Ok, almost 30 hours after Sreesanth took the catch and India WON the T20 World Cup, I am still excited. Can't concentrate on work!!
India won and the crackers started and I ran from one room to another unable to contain the excitement. Then alternated between the TV to see the presentation and celebration on screen, doing my crazy jig and the window to take in the scene below ... crackers, music, children dancing, everyone hanging from their windows :D Thought of writing a post and was too excited to sit still so just watched everything on TV concerning our dudes and called people and just shouted my excitement for the longest time. For our team ... Guys, you people rock! You are the coolest!I would name a country after each one of you, if I could! :)

Tuesday, was still unwell and it being the last day of Ganpati Visarjan, decided to work from home. Again - all channels showing re-runs of the fantastic moments, how could I not watch! Towards the evening, some distraction came in the form of drum beats and dancing as Ganpati from my society went for Visarjan. Then S was back home and we spent some more excited time discussing the win.

Wednesday, I woke up to find it pouring, raining really heavily. And the team comes home!I started for office and S gave me live updates for every single minute! As I reached the airport signal there was a jam and I was suddenly joyous!Yes, I will be stuck here till the team bus passes! That was not to be ... only got to see Mr. Pawar in the CRV next to me. Who wants to see him!! I don't know why I didn't just park there and wait. I kept thinking that I will reach office and go to Bandra or Mahim or Worli to be a part of the frenzy. I don't know why I didn't!!And then it was too late, the team had already almost reached Wankhede.

I have read all there is to read on the net, seen all the pictures there are to see and discussed with every willing person. I need to get back to work and stop grinning and ... Somebody ... I need to stop! :D

Monday, September 24, 2007

Manhattan Guy

Being unwell and feeling horrible has some benefits, you can be at home on a Monday evening - sniffing, coughing, stiff AND writing a post and watching the Final :)

Last week I was watching Sex and the City season 2, in one of the episodes Carrie sets up a date for Miranda and this is how the conversation goes:

Guy: I have not been out of Manhattan for 10 years now.
Miranda: Really? And you are proud of that? You never feel like going out?
Guy: No. What is there to see outside Manhattan? Anything you may ever need is right here. (and he goes on to wax lyrical ... I forgot what all he says)
Miranda: I need to go feed my cat (which is a code to slip out of a sad party/bad date)

I bet she would agree to feeding even the neighbor's cat to get out of something like that! :D

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Heart Gives In

Its just easier to love the city/ cities you grow up in. Its just so much easier to accept it and love it with all its shortcomings and faults, and continue loving it. Its different after you grow up (assuming you do) and move to a city, its very different ... you need reasons to like the city. How does it makes you feel? What does it give you? How does it impact your life? What kind of a feel does it have?
For me there are a lot of reasons to not like Bombay, also there are some to like it. But there is one reason which kind of made me give the city a little place in my heart. Its a city which is festive during festivals. Its a city which is out and out festive and vibrant and colorful and noisy and crowded and musical and excited during any festival. Its a festivity you see on every street and road and society and chawl.

It might be Ganpati, Janmashtmi, Diwali, Xmas ... you see lights everywhere, people covered in colors, dancing in the streets to that strange rythmic but hardly musical drumbeat which I've heard in no other part of India. At Diwali there are these big, huge colorful lanterns everywhere - the ones I've called kandeels since childhood, they are everywhere! And then they give was to Xmas and new year decorations.

Its almost like a festival comes and people come out of their tortoise-like hard, unbreakable shells of apathy to celebrate. And though it makes me lonelier at times, I do like that a lot :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

And Just like that ... she's back

Riverbend here has given me many a sleepless nights. After her post in April end where she mentioned that her family had decided to leave Baghdad, I said a quick prayer and hoped that she'll reach her destination safely. And then came the long silence, through May, June I would think about her and wonder if she is OK. Then came July and I was secretly all worried about what is happening and why she hasn't posted. By August I was like ... I don't even know this person, why should I worry about her and for all I know she may have gotten bored of this URL and got another one or something (In my heart I was just sure that something dreadful has happened to her) and then came September ... J called me one day/night at about 2 AM my time and I was awake, working hard and watching Sex and the City and a little sleepy and there's J telling me ... She's back!! She's posted on her blog!I just called to tell you!

And she is. She's safe and she's reached a safer haven, I don't know if ever she can or will be able to go back to her home but I hope she will find a home where she is now. May be the weight of what she's gotten out with and that of what she left behind will always be there. And may be she will find a little bit of life and life will find her. I do hope.

The relief flowing over me after J's call is what made me realise how much I was worrying about her ... checking her blog at least once a day with the hope that she may have written or dreading to check it thinking she may not have. If in this wide world it is possible for a stranger heart to get connected to, grieve with and worry for another faceless stranger, almost anything is possible.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Status Report

They are still there.

Were there when I reached home yesterday night. Were there in the morning.

Crazy as hell!

Look at them! Sitting there, mocking me, driving me crazy!!

Peepalz, plz to speak up as to :

  • what could this be ... ??!! (Have the aliens invaded my home?!)
  • what is to be done with these stupid, golden, pointy shoes.

A suitable reward will be given to the best answer. Judge's word will be final. The winner will be allowed to make your thank you speech.

P.S. Whoever claims the shoes will have to come over and do the Cinderella test.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mysterious mystery

Hullo! I have surfaced from the endless sea of work I have been drowning in to report strange occurrences in my home!

Yesterday after an extra long day at work, the tired me went to S's office to pick him on my way home. We reach and as we walk up we are talking and S has cracked a PJ and I am laughing hysterically and as we reach our landing the neighbor's dog is barking (or was it the other neighbor's parrot? Lets make it dog - what's a mystery without a barking dog!) and then we reach our door. We reach our door and my laughter is frozen in my throat, words dying on my lips ... I am shocked, stumped, surprised. I am met with the sight of a pair of shoes. No ordinary shoes these, a pair of women's shoes - high heel, pointy, golden; are sitting on my doormat. They are sitting there in a manner that someone has taken them off while walking into my home and they lie where they were taken off. So, they are facing the locked door to my home. (As I write this I am cursing myself for not taking pictures. As soon as I reach home, if the scene has not been disturbed I shall take pictures and upload!)
Now lets see,
  • They are not mine
  • They are definitely not my bai's
  • Secretary theory is trashed considering S is with me (!! :D)
  • We know no neighbors so can't be neighborly shoes, and I doubt I am meeting my neighbor's behind my back

I skirt around them and inspect them, bewildered, I look around to see if there's any claimant ... no one! I am very excited with this sudden mystery in life! I also want to ring neighbors' doorbells at 11:40 in the night to solve the mystery. It is a mystery after all, it deserves the due any respectable mystery deserves!! S is mighty amused but is not sharing my sleuthing enthusiasm and finally manages to drag me inside before any bells are rung and doors are banged.

What possible explanation could be there? Someone has decided to gift me pointy shoes? They look too big for me (no I did NOT try them on). Someone has forgotten them? But why at my doorstep? And did she then go wherever she went barefoot? What if it was a he wearing she shoes? And decided to abandon them fearing to be found wearing them? Lolll... evil laugh. I even consider the theory of people doing jaadu-tona on us, jaadu tona of the golden pointy shoes!! Ever heard of it? As these mind boggling questions swirl in my head, there's another sensation ... in my tummy, reminding me that I am hungry. As soon as I think of food, I forget all else and concentrate on dinner and then proceed to watch the 20-20 match in which the underdog beats the world champion and then I go on to sleep and rest my tired bones. The pointy shoes are somehow forgotten in all this.

Its morning and I'm ready to run to office and I fling open the door and there they are still! The forgotten, mysterious, dull golden (its not the shiny gold, its the dull one, I notice) shoes. I am excited again and S is too sleepy to participate and I am late for work ... so I leave them there. But those wily shoes, they continue to haunt me!

Now, I have reviewed the list and have decided on Mr. Poirot. It was a close fight between him, Mme Ramotswe and Karamchand, but Mr. Poirot prevailed. I have been in love with that tiny little moustache curling under his nose since I was a kid and watched him on TV. That decided it. He has been commissioned to do the job. While Miss Marple is out shopping for shoes, Miss Lily has agreed to fill in her shoes and be his assistant/side kick detective for this case, Mr. Poirot however, will not have the privilege of calling Miss Lily silly.

Findings of the investigation will be shared tomorrow.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Life on the road

Like everyday, I get ready and rush to the car and start the long, torturous journey to office.Like everyday, I get stuck in traffic and live part of my life everyday on the road. Eat my breakfast, make the phone calls, read, sleep, check mail, blog, listen to music, work, get happy, get sad, get senti.

Today on my way, as I was working/writing emails I suddenly got that sensation you get when you know someone is watching you. I look out the window and there's this cab full of young girls, eight of them in one!No less. All of them were noisily talking, laughing, jostling for space when I last noticed them. I also remember thinking that they had that simple, innocent joy children have, before they get over exposed to the madness around them. Now that they have noticed me, all eight pairs of eyes are on me and there's wonder, curiosity, admiration etc. No no, not at all for me ... but for the laptop!Ok, partly for me BECAUSE I am the one with the laptop.

I give them a smile and a small wave. Now they are suddenly shy at being noticed and whisper in each other's ears, point at me, hide behind each other and laugh some more. Meanwhile the traffic eases and the cab pulls ahead ... I get a full blast of smiles and waves and 'BYEEE's!

Don't think I'm going to crib about the commute today :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Udta Hi Firun In Hawaon Me Kahin

He He ... the post is neither about the song, nor about the movie, I'm sure there are enough and more bytes lavished on the two. This post is about ... air travel and the funny experiences thereof! Should be fun.

J and I were talking and started discussing the funny and interesting air travel experiences we've had ... she has had many more fun ones! No fair!! Considering that in the job profile I had for the last 3 years, I took no less than 300-350 flights over that period ... what do I have to show for it?

# Stories of me getting stuck with all uncles who want to offer me their raitas and salads when I refuse the stewardess for dinner/lunch?
# Worse still the aunties, who want to know which college I'm in and then they proceed to poke and prod and are finally informed about the going-ons in my life, like ... working?Haaan?!So young. Or, married? Haaan??!!Very good!(plz to note the very good)So young. Lolll.
# Celebrity spottings, most of which excite only the relative's kids who like asking you questions like ... have you seen so and so?I recite the list, the politicians evoke no interest mostly, the rest get - and what was he/she doing/wearing? Wowwwww ... (Grrrrr) Most of them evoked no excitement for me, except of course the time when I saw Javed Jafri, who I think is a dude and I love even more due to his Takeshi's Castle commentary achievements. Now, that impresses me much!:)
(One tiny detour to share one observation, on recent relative visits while the girls tend to stick to the celebrity spotting questions, and the boys have upgraded to car spotting questions! Me being the car enthusiast, is mighty pleased with the boyees progress and la-haul-vila-kuwat much disappointed in the girleez!!)

Ok, moving on to the real interesting ones (most of them are from J's recent trip home)...
  • This one time J and mom are travelling from Jaipur to somewhere and on their flight is this old, Rajasthani gentleman who is on his first ever flight. He is just soooo excited! So this person, he's wearing the traditional white kurta pajama and a large colorful turban and his kurta is sprinkled with some pink color. Mum explains saying ... he must be the first one from his village to undertake air travel so there must have been some kind of pooja/celebration! :) And he is looking damn cute sitting there all excited in his bright turban! Food is served and he carefully observes the people around him and goes on to do exactly as they are doing. Some irritating air hostesses are scowling at him because he doesn't know what to do ... get a life women ... as if you were born on an aircraft, wearing your high heels! Ok, so the flight lands and at arrivals, our enthu turbaned old man is very surprised and happy to see the conveyor belt and is not sure what it does ... so he decides to do a lil experiment. He has this potli with him, he looks at the moving belt for a while, then places his potli on it and proceeds to watch what happens. When the potli completes the round and comes back to him ... he breaks into a smile and claps with joy!! :) And its reallly awww cute to see his excitement because you don't see that kind of innocent excitement too often these days ... lesser still in grown ups as most people, including kids, feel they should act cool! But what joy ... being able to experience something for the first time and being able to express it too! :)
  • Another funny one ... J is on some flight from somewhere to somewhere and this person starts to yell,"Madam!Madam!Help me!!Help me!!!!" So J is convinced that he's either having a heart attack or has found a bomb on the flight and that she's going to get delayed in reaching wherever it is that she's going. There is sudden interest from all around and the air hostess runs to him to see whats it about and the yelling man says, still yelling,"Madam!He's not moving from my seat!Do something!" Lollll ... the madam helps the yelling man and the yelling subsides, its all good. I can just picture J, sitting there shaking with laughter.

Ok, there are more but now my time has been claimed by that little pestering thing called work. I'll continue on in part 2 ...

P.S. Madam!Madam!Sir,sir!! Can you please help with this spaces not showing problem?!

P.P.S: I solved the spaces problem but don't want to remove the P.S. :D

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pasta Wasta

Being someone who is such a food lover ... I can't not gloat over this awesome pasta I made for myself a few weeks ago.
Ladies and Gentlemen, hold your collective breath, what you see above is my world famous (Hello ... my world at least!) Vodka-cream-tomato-basil pasta!I'm a pasta lover and let me tell you ... that was SOME good pasta. Also not visible in the picture is a tall thin frosted chute with some bubbly in it. Should have got it in the picture in hindsight ... not to worry,I'm sure there will be a next time. Em, the bubbly being Appy Fizz ... but how does that matter! If it doesn't look right how will it ever taste right!!
Obviously I saw the recipe somewhere and tried it, I will give, if you ask nicely :)
I may also cook it for you ... if you ... ASK NICELY (read: know enough adjectives to please me) :) :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Of Food and Crtiques

Aaaah ... what a way to start the weekend. What a way to end the week!
Sn - this really great woman at work, who is now my really good friend and I, we raced out of office to catch a show of RataTouille. We reached town and as we walked to Sterling to buy the tickets, this young boy of about 8-9 or may be 10-12, I could never tell the age for kids, ya ... so this kid started walking with us and asked for some food. So Sn fished out a bread slice wrapped in foil from her bag and gave it to the boy. The boy, he took a bite, unfolded the folded slice and showed it to us to say there's nothing in/with it. So while Sn is on phone she says she has some salad in her bag and digs out a mayo salad for the boy. Since she's on phone I try to give the boy the salad and since its difficult to fold salad in a slice he's already nibbled at, I ask him to lay out the slice on the salad box's lid. He does as asked and I spread a generous helping of Sn's tasty looking salad on the slice. And now, its all loaded so I'm wondering how will he pick it up, so with Sn still on phone I tell the boy - why don't you eat it off the lid and we'll wait. So there ... he takes a bite ... and just as I'm about to feel the warm glow ... 'just about' I said. The boy goes ... its not nice. Sn and I ask ... what? and he says, "ITS NOT NICE" and even puckers his face to demonstrate the same!! So now he's standing there with Sn's slice and Sn's salad and Sn's box's lid ... not wanting it!How cool is that?! We are dazed for a second and then proceed to get the crazy laugh as he throws it all away to return the lid. He returns it and goes back to asking for Dal-rice; even waves with some style as we walk past after buying the tickets. We? We are still laughing, I more than Sn since I didn't make that salad! I'm just dying because I can't laugh anymore. We are giving him food doesn't mean he has to like our food!
Chef Gusteau would say,"Anyone can cook." I would say, anyone can critique even!! :)
P.S: There's more ... but my eyes are a little tired as I type in the darnkess and shakiness of my car. So more later ...
P.P.S: She's Sn and not S, because S is S.
P.P.P.S: For some weird reason blogger is not showing any of the spaces between the lines!!Why whyyyyy?!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Boond Boond Tapak Rahi Hai Kaynaat Saari ...

Poetic as it may sound in Hindi, it would translate roughly as 'the cosmos is dripping away in tiny droplets'. But today its no tiny droplets, its more like a sheet of water pouring down. And as always, rain does one of the two things to me - it either makes me all excited and happy OR it makes me melancholy and thoughtful. Today is a strange mix of the two. So here's the jumble of thoughts in my head ...

  • I started by thinking about the time when I really used to love rains. This one time we were at college and it started raining heavily, B and I were so excited, we just wanted to get soaked.We decided to go to B's place instead of mine, the decision was easy as her place was about 7 Kms. while mine a mere 1-1.5 km. So we stepped out and looked for a rickshaw ... aah, not an auto rickshaw, THE rickshaw which is pulled by the rickshaw guy. So we climbed and started for her place, the rickshaw guy tried to put up those tiny umbrella-like shades they have and we were like ... NO!! We don't want it. And there we went ... a good half an hour (or more?) of a rickshaw ride - singing and talking and laughing in the rain. Some vehicles passing us by looked at us as if we had grown goblin heads or something, and some ... they looked at us and just smiled or even laughed and waved at us. I'm sure they were all wondering why they couldn't do that :) But it was on hell of a ride ... at the end of it i had this feeling, its one i don't get too often, the feeling that I have been soaked to the soul. I like that feeling, its something else :)
  • And talking about rain, i have to talk about this one time when I was visiting S and he had some work at Marine Drive and i tagged along ... later we were walking by and we could see that it was raining at Malabar hills and then it started moving towards us, so we were like ... there it comes! And it slowly moved over the ocean and in some time it was drenching us! I remember feeling exhilarated :)
  • My favorite rain song (song featuring something about rain) is 'choti si kahani se, baarishon ke paani se'. And have you ever noticed that music affects you much more when its raining?
  • Sigh ... I still love them when I am out of this city. The things I love about it? The smell after the first rain (there's a word for it 'saundhi', i like the word as it has the right amount of earthiness to describe this smell), the fresh green leaves,overcast skies, sitting in a window watching it pitterpat, water running down the windows of my home or the car, the way lights look through that water running on the window, the usual coffee and pakodas which are just the thing with a good book for such a day and yes ... the long drives at night on washed roads lined with trees which shine with the yellow street lights. I love the way it gets me excited and i love the way it gets me all thoughtful. But the drive on rain-slick roads with the music of my choice ... that's my fav. I'm a romantic! Never claimed otherwise:)
  • I used to be outraged when S would say over our infinite long-distance calls ... it sucks, its been raining; and i would go ... What!! You don't like rains?!! And then I moved here and realised that rains ALSO mean mucky roads, muckier sidewalks (where they exist), endless jams, local train compartments with closed doors AND an impossible number of sweaty people inside, flooding, walking through mucky water. Muck just features too often and too much.
  • It makes me feel guilty. Sitting all snug and seeing people ... children, old people, just people ... standing with the depressed look on their faces, trying to stay out of the rain. I just feel like i don't know what have i done to deserve better. I don't see it.

I feel like that and still ... it starts to rain and there, I'm back to the excited/thoughtful/both place! It just highlights and amplifies every mood and emotion; I think that's its magic, no denying that :)

P.S. This is a really long post! [I've reduced the font size to make it look smaller than it is :)]

Monday, July 23, 2007

Madras Musings

If they put you on a flight without telling you where it was headed for and you stepped out into the city, you could tell it was Chennai/ Madras simply because ...
  • Its the outdoor advertising capital of the country. It has the most number of hoardings I've seen in any city and its the first thing you would notice. These also could be further categorised basis their size and usage: 1. Mega hoardings, these are the size of 2-3 normal sized hoardings combined and are reserved for the movie posters. 2. The normal hoardings - primarily used by those wanting to advertise any kind of Sarees or Jewelry. 3. Mini-hoardings, these are exclusively used for political advertising, these mini ones are omnipresent, you can't sweep your eyes about and not spot them every single time.
  • There are no plain, unadorned walls in Chennai! Every single inch of every wall in every part of the city is covered with large, hand painted figures of their gods - the real gods and then ... Amma, Karunanidhi, other politicians and aah ... Rajni. What catches your eye is not just that these paintings are there everywhere and that they are HUGE but also, how well painted these are - each expression, muscvle and wrinkle in the face visible. Too much!
  • How can you talk about Chennai and not mention the auto rickshaw guys. After they have tried to fleece you and after much haggling have settled on a still unreasonably high fare, they will go all sweet on you (or may be its just me!) ... on reaching the city, in my ride from the airport to the hotel I knew all about the Chennai weather, the unexpected rains, bad influence of west on Chennai's youth, benefits of learning Tamil and even some Tam words! In exchange I had also given out a status on Mumbai rains, traffic, my marital status, duration of my stay and my familiarity with the city. All this happened with the help of a strange mix of Hindi, English, frantic gestures and a lil Tamil :)

I'm a lil bored of the theme so I will just go on to something else ... I love South Indian food and in my quest for nice Southy food I went to a local joint suggested by someone at office, called Sangeeta, which is near Landmark. I happily ordered my food, got it from the counter and even managed to find a place to sit! As I started eating I looked around and I suddenly realised that anyone could have said without an effort that I was not a local, and all because ...

  • I was the only girl/woman around not wearing a saree/salwar kameez AND/OR Bindi AND/OR flowers in my hair
  • I was the only one eating a dosa at lunch time, while everyone else seemed to be having some or the other kind of meal with rice
  • I was the only one drinking out of a bottled drink - and who could say that an Innocent Sprite could be incriminating evidence!
  • I was the only girl/woman sharing a table with 3 men I didn't know (there weren't any women sharing tables with men, unless of course they came in together)

BTW, these guys I shared the table with were really nice. As one of them sat down with his food, I shamelessly peeked into his plate and saw this really interesting looking dish, so I thought I can ask him what its called and order that for myself. The greedy me asked him what that yummy looking thing was and there ... he insisted and insisted and went on insisting (with some help from the other two) till I took the bowl of yummy tamarind-sambhar rice from him. He even gave me two of his tiny, white papads saying they go well with that rice!! :)

Its surprising, isn't it, how by just being who you are, you can end up sticking out like a sore thumb among people. And then, with only a steaming bowl of tamarind-sambhar-rice, you are a little more closer to them :)

Monday, July 9, 2007

One way or another, Mr. Borg.

Mannn, that was some match, wasn't it?! As both Federer and Nadal played to meet our dear Mr. Bjorn Borg's records - Federer to be the next one to win his 5th Wimbledon singles title and Nadal to win French Open and Wimbledon singles back to back.

It became even more exciting as I realllly wanted Nadal to win and S was dying for Federer to win the 5th time. Both of us cheered and booed and got into small petty fights over it all, good fun :) Finally, Federer won and I'm a little disappointed, and even teased S by saying that Nadal made Federer cry!! :) Still, I'm all praise for the game both of them played, I have to agree with Federer when he gracefully said,"I was the lucky one today". It could have been any one of them.

I love the fact that Nadal was able to push it to the point where Federer had to fight it till the last shot and could not assume that the win was his for taking. The emotion when he finally won was that of relief and much more; I'm sure he values it more because he almost didn't get it! And I like Nadal not just because he has this wildness about him (at least to my eyes) and that he can come challenge a champion on his home ground (or surface) and push it this far. I may agree to their brilliance but I don't like people who are too perfect and invisible; I like people who can challenge that in another person. Hey, I have no personal animosity with Federer; but isn't a girl allowed to have her favorites!!

In the end, as I said, it was some game! And it felt monumental just sitting there at home, watching it on my TV and being a part of it.

Just as a separate point ... My interest in Mr. Borg is because he played and looked like a god! He's still god, I guess. Yesterday he sat there looking all distinguished, and so tense! It looked like his own two sons (I have no clue if he has any) were battling it out and he couldn't decide which one we wanted to see as winner! But 27 years to see your record matched, has to be a record of sorts.

At this point I have to mention S, as his years of enthusiastic storytelling about the history and details of various sports has gotten me into it. He's like a walking encyclopedia on this stuff. Sometimes the stories are just fascinating, sometimes just the look on his face as he tells them is :)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Season ... oops, reason for absence

Not that I have a big fan following but there are people who watch this space; plus I have been missing writing anything especially since there are a hazaar things that have been on my mind and I want to write about. There are even a few unfinished posts sitting in the drafts ... so this post is just about why I haven't been posting anything. Because I have been busy ...
  • Travelling

  • Following J around the country; she's in India till July end and I'm trying to spend as much time as possible with her.

  • Working my ass off

  • Feeling bone tired and sleepy every waking moment (which on bad days run into 18-20 hours)

  • Even with all the running around, spending time with S

  • And yes, past few months have been filled with people ... spending time with my family and close friends (this is not a regular feature as most of them don't stay around me). I have had more house guests than I can count (or remember) ...

  • Feeling like I'm bored, and wanting to quit my job simply because I'm not thrilled about it anymore and just chill at home (don't know if I can stomach this beyond 3 days, but I do want to find out)

  • Reading during my longggg morning commutes and napping/ catching up on the phone calls during the commute back

  • Communicating with all friends who are not around me

There, that is almost it. I feel like I have more to do than I right now have time and energy for! But does that mean I won't do all this? Low chance.

In places this sounds like a crib post. Its not, its just my explanation to myself about what exactly is it that I have been so busy with. And now I know! Anyway, isn't that what my blog is about? to be in on my physical reality and the parallel surreal.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Crane Sisters

This is one of the best conversations i've ever had. Its with J and it happened after we chatted about something that was on her mind.

J: Every time I have some trouble and I talk to you, I feel a weight has been lifted off me

Me: :) Which means I am your crane!! I will always be your crane and will lift the weight :)

Just so you know, its taken me many years to become this for you, where we are more equal as friends and it does not always matter who the elder one is. But you, you’ve always been my crane :)

J: That is not true , you have always been my crane too. Its just that being younger you never realized that. You have always inspired me to be a better person and you have supported me in no matter what I did. You are my crane!

Me: :) :) That makes me very happy! We are the crane sisters!! :D

J: how cool, the crane sisters!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Wisdom or Youth?

This poem is one of my all time favourites, I share this with you guys alongwith the questions it always brings for me.


When I have ceased to break my wings
Against the faultiness of things,
And learned that compromises wait
Behind each hardly opened gate,
When I have looked Life in the eyes,
Grown calm and very coldly wise,
Life will have given me the Truth,
And taken in exchange -- my youth.

- Sara Teasdale

What would you want, if you had the choice? and in that is hidden the question, what would you do?

If you knew this profound truth that the wisdom you get is at the cost of your spirit, your youth; what would you do? Would you still wager your lost wars and trudge alone for the endless quests? Which end of the bargain would you go for?

Me?? I think my choices were made for me, I'm wired in a certain way and that takes care of stuff like this. I don't have to wonder too much about them. Its always the heart. The head may know all that's there to know, but its always the heart, the instinct that I go by. Isn't that what the question is?

Give me the wings, and I will not hesitate to break them against every possible faultiness. No doubt life may be easier , for now, if I could digest the compromises. But, Youth I must have, as its the flow of life itself! (And I do hope you don't confuse youth with age here.)

Wisdom ... I don't worry about much, they say I was born with an older soul ;)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Midnight Munching

It has to be crazy, wanting to know (every five mins.) how many people have visited your blog in the 6 hours and some minutes since it opened its wonder-filled,innocent eyes in this blogosphere and stretched :)
The excuse for starting this post at 12:30 AM is to write about these midnight cravings I've had my entire life. Its like an unwritten law ... if you are awake beyond 12:25 AM, you HAVE TO have a snack. Even if you had dinner at 11:55 PM. But the good part is that I'm not the only one in on this, at least three of my favourite people - J, S and B also have it and i have the fondest memories of yummy snacks of bhujia and pickle, bhujia and curd, bhujia with sauce on a toast being had amongst wonderfully crazy conversation and hysterical laughter. Now since S is the one around me these days and he also (mercifully) has this affliction, we have these nice, fun conversations over much midnight munching.
So if you are not into it, and have wasted beautiful nights of your life with no munching whatsoever, the time has come to rectify things!! Take charge of your life ... er, night and grab that snack! All you need now is few crazy mates, some solumates and a bowl of dates (bhujia doesnt rhyme, you see). And you have a soulful of midnight munchies. Must have, its the law!
I think i forgot to mention two important things here -
1. J, B and me have this ... condition, its this horrible disease which leaves you crazy and hysterical after midnight strikes so that every thing makes you laugh till you are choking and there are tears running down your face. B is the worst case on this.
2. Bhujia here refers to bikaneri bhujia, aka bhujia sev in Maharashtra but that is just dummy stuff; bikaneri bhujiya is the queen of all bhujias. My love for it is legendary, I could make breakfast, lunch, dinner and any other untimely snack enjoyable for myself if only I had some bhujia. When I don't getto meet my mom-dad for some time and mystock runs out, they send me couriers filled with the packets of the delightful thing! I would name a country after it, if i could.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Forever Nomad

This is not the typical 'first post' stuff but considering that it says so much about me and explains why I call myself 'the nomad'; it'll have to do! Works fine for me.
Here goes ...
This world has changed so much, hasn’t it? When I was a child people did not move about so much, they looked for stability, settling down. Now a days everyone is looking for a change, people look out for experiences, better jobs, more money or just … experiences. Its just ok to take a decision to pick up your life and go to another city, country and start afresh.

Which is why I got thinking and was a little surprised when this person asked this friend who was leaving for another country for work … do you have family there, do you know people, why did you want to move out?! Some people still live with that need for stability, the questions innocently implied that why would you want to uproot unless it’s a matter of life and death. And I thought, how can you not move? And it suddenly put me on the opposite end of the spectrum.
By some cosmic design and sometimes by choice I grew up and stayed in many places, enjoyed each one and has such fond memories of each one. Broke my heart each time we moved to leave friends, places behind but I think you learn much more easily when you are young. I learnt it early enough. And I also learnt that the ache in the heart is replaced quickly with the excitement of the new. You do not forget things you leave behind or don’t stop missing them but each place has a different life of its own and without knowing that you are giving in – you give in to that and become a part of its colossal rhythm. Explore new, meet new people, enjoy it, get scared, get lost, start finding your comfort corners (and fav eateries!) … find your bearings, give it some time and lo! You have a new life in a new place.

I never realized how much it became a part of me until I called myself a nomad in a job interview, I remember a few snippets from what I said … I grew up in so many places that I adapt easily. I have seen different kinds of lives and have taken each one of them inside me. I have come to know that surprises are the norm. I have life experiences. I am at ease in sleepy small town, a campus away from civilization, the fast growing cities, the metropolitan cities … I am a citizen of them all! And it’s a nice feeling … suddenly I realized that the world belonged to me because I belonged to it! I would never be an outsider or a stranger in any place!
(I must have been convincing because I got the job, and even with my nomadic schemas I’m still with the place after almost 4 years.)

When I talk about it some people look at me with dismay and even pity … to begin with I could never agree with people’s sense of superiority about having lived in a particular city all their lives and not having experienced anything else. I mean, I can understand them feeling attached and at home but feeling good about not knowing anything else? Sorry, something I can never understand. And this phenomenon is not just about places, its about everything … languages, music etc. … "I don’t know anything about Hindi music so I’m cool?" Sorry again. Basic research funda : if you test it in Solus you will know how good it is ON ITS OWN, only a comparative evaluation tells you if its better or worse than the other ones … so people, compare ONLY if you have experienced anything else. I digressed like I mostly do, uninformed, opinionated people are a touchy topic with me.

Picking up the thread … pity would be required if you lost everything you gained when you left a place, and I believe it is in one’s control to choose that. In any place, people are the one thing that make it what it is, and if you can take them with you … keep in touch and keep them in your life, it can be worthwhile. This has worked fine for me with all places except Delhi - but that is another post.

I think its an experience which changes something very basic in you, almost like impacting your DNA. Even when you are settled and comfortable in a place you get these pangs and heartaches when someone else gets the chance to go and live a different, new life. It’s a curse in a way that no place is perfect anymore, you have lived and soaked-in so many things that no one place can sate your desire for more, for all of it. So even if you decide to live and settle in one place the heart remains the forever nomad.

Its glorious and its painful, knowing you are one.