Kripya order karein!

Kripya order karein!
Kripya order karein!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yeh desh hai mera....swades hai mera

Its been a sad and quiet four days in this house. Sleepless and exhausted, I have been trying to find a way to express myself these last few days but just when I need words the most, they have deserted me. Finally, today I held a small havan in my house. Havans are a way to mark significant days in our family - births, birthdays, anniversaries and losses. Some solace has come out of this small ritual, though I know that I can never feel the same again.

I did try to put pen to paper these last few days but what came out was a flurry of raw pain, rage and outrage - emotions that are best kept to myself and explored only when I know what to do with them.

If one of the purposes of this blog is to preserve important memories for a child, let him never forget the names of Vijay Salaskar, Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and NSG Constable Gajendra Singh.

We went to Taj Land's End yesterday for coffee, like we do on most weekends. I wanted to kiss the hand of the smiling staff that served me coffee and tell them that 'above and beyond the call of duty' is such a weak way to describe the infallible grace that their colleagues exhibited in the face of such terror, such peril.

I realized that there are many of you out there who really care enough to write in and check on me, that despite coming across to you only through these words that I write, my family and I have somewhere become 'real' to you. Thank you very much for doing that. I hope and pray that you and your friends and family are safe.

Is there a way that ordinary people like us can contribute to making this nation what we want it to be? What can I do to help this process? Where do I begin? If you have a way in mind, please do share it with me.

Let us talk today. I need to do it. What a way to bring in my 200th post.

***
UPDATED: Here's a useful link - http://stopterrorism.in/
Thanks to Cynic for this one.
M4 has her own list here.
If you know of any links such as these, please let me know and I will share them here. Thanks and I hope you are having a good day.

***

UPDATED FURTHER: Please check out Kiran's effort at this site. I would also request you to link this blog at your space or just spread the word via sms/mail if you do not have a blog. Thanks again.

***

UPDATED on December 3rd, 2008: Here is another site that lists some helpful details for trauma victims. Thanks to The Nomad for this.

***

UPDATED on December 4th, 2008: Kalindi thinks jaagore.com maybe a good place to start...I am inclined to agree.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Of work and play

I normally take up work that allows me to work at my own pace. But this last week has been very stressful. I took up a project that had a tight deadline. This meant that I needed to work all the time and also till very late at nights. Well, I have realized that I should keep pushing myself like this every once in a while because it helps me revise some lessons.
  • I love my work. For those of you who don't know me that well, I am a qualitative market researcher. Yes, focus groups is part of what we do.
  • I am good at my work. This causes an occasional moment of regret, thinking of the ladder that I was climbing somewhat well while working full-time. But wait.
  • I get stressed by deadlines. Well, that is me. I don't do stress very well. It makes me give good quality at work but makes me quite unbearable as a person, irritable and snappy. Sort of like being a no-carbs diet. And I don't like that. Others don't like that either. Naturally.
Therefore, what I had decided two years back was the right thing to do. I should continue with the same work but in smaller quantities. Freelancing rocks!

***

Our driver Pramod was a spry young man when he came to work for us. Things have been good for him and thanks to all the free hours that he spends sleeping (we are currently doing zero to one on our social life) and the domestic bliss that has come to him in the form of a wife who very apparently cooks really well, he has moved from fifty to ninety kilos in the last couple of years. When my mother came to visit us and saw that there was so much more of Pramod to love and like she very kindly instructed him to start running from the train station to our home every morning. Pramod laughed loudly before looking at Mom's face and realizing that she was perfectly serious.

Mahesh has also been complaining of how Pramod is a lazy ass. Recently, the following conversation took place between the two on the phone.

M: Pramod, zara mere office aa jaana.
Pramod: Sir, car lekar aaoon?
M: Nahin. car ki kya zaroorat hai? Main toh date ke liye bula raha hoon.

***

We watched Dostana over the weekend. It is a testament to the complete lack of entertainment in our lives that we like every movie we watch. I mean, as the movie finishes and people start filtering out of the theater, they are talking about the tightness of the script, the effortlessness of the direction, the timelessness of the cinematography and us, we go - BABY, WE DID IT! WE WATCHED A MOVIE! WOO HOO!

Talking of movies, lately a lot of the movie channels have been showing some real winners. The Talented Mr Ripley was showing the other day and Match Point and The Namesake were on over the weekend. The problem is that the average movie takes close to four hours to watch, thanks to the ad breaks. If you have babies, you know that you are not getting four hours to yourself ever again. Never, you hear? Well, maybe after they go to college but even then it is suspect. And hey, anyway we will be too old to enjoy movies then. What was I saying before I started to paint this encouraging, happy picture? Yes, so we are never able to watch a film in its entirety. So, if you ask me if I have seen a particular movie, I can nearly always tell you in perfect honesty - yes, about seventy five per cent. Do me a favour - never discuss the end of a movie with me. One of these days, I am going to rent the DVDs of all these movies and finally figure - who did it.

World Movies shows some good films. Obviously I don't know how they turn out at the end but the other day I caught a scene on a movie called The Groomsmen that really struck a chord. Its not very fancy sounding. Just true. So, this guy is going to get married and on the night before the wedding, he gets drunk with his buddies and asks his best man (married, has kids) about how one does 'the kids thing' because naturally he is freaking out at the thought of becoming a father. And the best man says that when you have one child you give up a little bit of your life and your freedom and your free time. When you have a second kid, its all over! The bridegroom-to-be is not very encouraged at this and he asks why his friend and his wife has a second baby then. The best man says that its just that he gets to go back home and tuck in the kids and that is a good feeling (or something like that). I thought it was quite nice though I have a feeling that I have not told this story too well.

What about you though? Seen any movies lately? Is your social life rocking? Tell me, I am all for vicarious pleasure.

***

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How do you manage?

Hello all, very happy to put here a guest post by another one of my favourite bloggers - Rohini of mamasaysso. If you have read Ro's blog and of course you have, you already know that when she says something, you better listen in. She speaks a lot of sense and each one of her posts is a lesson in effective parenting. Here however she tells us about people who do not seem to appreciate her fantastic sense of balance. Read on....and don't forget to share your thoughts.

***

If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me that question in the last three years since I went back to work post maternity leave, no one would need to ask that question any more. Because I would have been rich enough to quit this working mom gig and live off said money. However, such windfall being unlikely to come my way, it’s likely I will have to suffer this question many times over till the day I retire or the child becomes a self-sufficient adult.

Just in case that introduction didn’t make it clear enough, I am less than thrilled when these words are addressed to me. Because these seemingly innocuous words are loaded with judgment (mostly of the negative sort) on my choice to be a working mother.

Let’s start with figuring out what might be a valid, genuine reason for asking this question. It could be that the person asking the question really wants to get some advice on how to balance motherhood with a career. But then how does one explain the fact that this question almost always comes from a SAHM, usually one with no intention of getting back to work anywhere in the near future…

Or could it be an indirect way to express admiration for my excellent management skills. Now I might buy this but for the fact that this question is typically followed by one, more or all of the following questions:

  • Does your mother-in-law stay with you?
  • No? How about your mom?
  • So you son is with the maid the whole day?
  • And then, it is very often followed up by a heart-breaking (not!) story of how the question asker could not bring herself to go back to work after her child was born or how she did go back to work but felt that the child was not ‘developing well’ with the maid and so quit her job.

Or maybe it’s their attempt at polite conversation… but then wouldn’t a little more tact and diplomacy be called for so that the conversation can actually be classified as polite? I can say for sure that if it is intended as an ice-breaker, it has the exact opposite effect as far as I am concerned. I know I shouldn’t care but this question always gets my goat and puts me at my irritable and defensive best. Am I over-reacting? Quite possibly so…

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The unforeseen benefit of having a child

I might have mentioned before that we don't really know the people in our building too well. When I say too well, I mean I could not tell them apart from Adam. Or Eve. Also, there is the slight problem in that I have made a total ass of myself on more occasions than one. Now predictably earlier people (ostensibly from the building) would try to edge away from me on the unlikely occasion when I would run into them in my usual blathering fashion. If this happened in the parking lot, they would look hither and thither till they assumed all was clear (Parul has left the building). Things would get a tad more inconvenient if I happened to share the lift with them. A lift is not a very conducive place to looking hither and thither. Some of them would burst into needless humming, a sure sign of discomfort or even worse, they would give me a tight, little smile that forbade any conversation. All in all, all was normall (he, he).

Enter baby named Aditya into the picture. Now he goes down every evening to play with the other kids in the building. Of course, play here means that he kidnaps their balls and bats and tries to run off with them, hoping to demand ransom later on. Or tries to ride their cycles, risking his pudgy limbs in the process. These are the times that I try to chase him with a camera, hoping to use the natural light to get some wonderful shots (none of the shots have been wonderful so far but thanks for asking) or I let him go off with Padma, using this rare burst of free time to do all the wonderfully fulfilling things that I used to enjoy in pre-baby days such as flopping down on the couch and switching on the television without bothering about what all the sex and violence might do to untrained minds or taking out a fashion magazine without having to clamber up on the top shelf of our almirah in order to keep it out of curious baby hands or putting on some trashy music on the computer without having to provide guidance about the nature of the lyrics (I like Eminem).

What I hadn't realized so far is that the son and heir has been influencing people and making friends during his playtime. The slightly older kids are fond of this tiny thing who follows them around and indulge him no end. They also carry stories of their new friend back to their own homes. What is truly wonderful about this heartwarming tale of humanity is that some of this overall sunshine is now being reflected on to us. Ha! People are running into us and not turning away. They are asking after us and complimenting us on weight loss (definitely a sign of goodwill) and generally being very neighbourly. Inevitably the conversation turns to how Adi is doing and how the kids really like playing with him and how we should come over some time and bring him along. This is so cool, I think, I would have never imagined having a baby would actually cause me to improve on my social life (skills).

Maybe I should increase his playtime?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Remembering Punditji or happy anniversary to us

Its been exactly four years since the day at least ten people shouted in chorus - NO KANYADAAN!

Let us expand. I mean, elucidate, elaborate, expound.

I told M pretty much on our first date that if he was making any long-term plans featuring me, he should know that I would not be willing to change my name and that I did not believe in the custom of Kanyadaan, preferring not to be treated as one man's possession being given off to another (I am a little finicky like that). He gave me a look that seemed to say - long-term plans? with you? are you nuts?

Clearly, he changed his mind somewhere along the way because there we were, planning to get married and doing the thousands of things that people who walk that way need to do. One of the prime items in the things-to-do list was - Brief Punditji about kanyadaan. This item featured on everyone's lists, my mom's, M's and naturally mine. Meetings were organized with the designated Punditji and he was told repeatedly, just, you know, skip the kanyadaan part altogether. Punditji nodded his head furiously at whoever was doing the briefing at the moment and seemed to have understood the gravity of the situation.

Well, Pundits are a stressed out lot. So many rituals to perform, weddings to attend, food to be eaten etc. Our Punditji performed a brilliant ceremony. Being an Arya Samaj wedding, he took time to explain the shlokas that were being chanted and everyone nodded along/ nodded off, depending on how much they had had to drink. I played the coy bride to perfection, which is to say I arrived late (not my fault but different story), giggled hysterically and got hungry. Then arrived the all-important moment of Kanyadaan and Punditji blanked out about the instructions given to him.

Ab aap kanyadaan karenge, declared Punditji loudly to my mother.

It was then that my family, M's family and a couple of other well-wishers shouted in chorus - NO KANYADAAN!

To his credit, Punditji shrugged and proceeded to the next step - appropriately the saptapadi if I remember correctly - and a major crisis was averted.

Its four years to the day today and it seems like yesterday. I must have had a lot of fun!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Houses, magazines, cars, husbands, babies

I haven't written in the longest time about Adi's sleep habits. That does not mean that he has started sleeping through the night. Maybe it means that I have got used to being woken up I-don't-really-know-how-many-times each night. Sometimes it is demands for TANNI-WATER-WANT, sometimes its the leaked diaper due to the several gallons of tanni consumed, at others it is the sudden and not to be ignored need/desire/craving to climb atop a parent and stay perched there till the said parent's bladder is about to burst. I have given up. Time is the only answer. I only hope time means less than ten years in this case.

***

Mahesh and I were driving through town today and as usual I was looking at the lovely, old buildings that you only see that side of Bombay.

Me (accusingly): Look, there are those two lovely buildings. I told you last time I love them and you haven't done a thing about it.

M (glances at the buildings): darling, they are called Kotak Kunj and Wadia Mansion. For a reason.

Humph. I told him with great dignity that my grandfather was called Kunj Bihari Lal and that meant that I had contributed my half to getting access to Kotak Kunj.

***

I am like a pot of honey to the bees of roadside booksellers. They spot me in a sea of cars and brave life and limb to come rushing to display books and magazines. I sometimes buy the magazines but still they come. Always. After I refuse, they just go back to the pavement or wherever, visibly disappointed that their only customer did not buy. What is it? Do I look like I am in urgent need of fashion advice from latesht Indian Vogue, madam? Do I look like I am a bride to be when I am holding a baby in my arms and am being asked to succumb to the charms of Wedding Affair? Can they sense the mayhem that reigns in this house and how it can be set right through Elle Decor and Good Homes and Gardens? What, what, what?

***

We have got the tyres of our car changed. M went to do the needful and was met with the most effective salesperson ever.

M (listens to the sales spiel for a particular brand of tyres): Right, so this sounds good. Tell me, is there any downside to this?

Salesman (with a perfectly straight face and hopefully otherwise straight all around too): The only downside is that I will not get to see you for five years.

I am totally fida on such glib talkers.

***

I was playing myself down today, hoping to fish out some compliments.

Me: I don't really think I am particular funny, you know.

M: That is because you are constantly comparing yourself to me.

I am telling you, in this household, humility doesn't pay.

***

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All about my boy

*Blatantly mommy-centric post ahead

We have taken the plunge, sometimes literally into baby pee. Yes, the tempting diaper-free world of toilet-training beckons. This essentially means that between the time Adi wakes up to the time he goes for his afternoon nap, I transmogrify into a hawk. A hawk that is constantly watching either the clock ("Last I took him to the loo at 12:13, next at 12:42") or his face ("Is that a squirm? A squirm is not good, we should go NOW"). Adi has largely been co-operative but if you do visit us and find a strange sort of smell pervading the atmosphere, be kind enough not to bring it up.

I always knew that I was hugely attached to him (D-U-H) but these days I find myself greedier than ever before for his time and attention. This has probably been brought about by the realization that he, like other kids is just growing so fast.

This newfound reluctance to let go of him for even a second has other outcomes. Now, I have always been pretty strict about my exercise regimen. I am not effortlessly athletic but I am athletic and even after I had Adi, I started working out as soon as the stitches healed. Of course this did not come about without its share of guilt but a couple of raps from well-meaning in-laws, sisters, mom, husband and anorexic friends were enough for me to see things for what they were. I had to leave Adi alone with Padma (or his grandparents when they are visiting) everyday to go to the gym but I tried to make myself believe that this would not kill me. (I even succeeded. Somewhat.)

These days however, the motivation to leave him at home to go sweat in an uninspiring gym (where the music absolutely sucks by the way and I did mention my iPod is broken) is at an all time low. Add to this the fact that I need to prepare for the Dream Run and the obvious solution is a walk in the park. I mean literally, a walk in the park. The park has a circular jogging track at a slightly raised level and all around it are playing areas and swings and small lawns and rides. Padma supervises him while he plays on the swings and rides and I run around in circles looking at both of them. This is what I call an elegant solution. Of course I would much rather run holding him in my arms but you could never call me over-possessive. Ahem. Plus he is getting quite heavy.

I see him from behind my haze of tiredness, sweat and dirt as I jog and I cannot decide what I see. Is this really my baby, this toddler who is running after the other kids? Or hey, that is my baby, look at him, he is so tiny, I should take him back home where he would be safe.

I have a feeling that I will be feeling the same way even a few years down the line. Ah, the joy!

Am I alone in feeling this way? Am I crazy? Be nice, tell me I am not.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Generally bonding

"You bustard," Kangana Ranaut screams at her boyfriend (all the time) in Fashion. Last I checked, a bustard was a bird. Maybe things have changed since. Or dear KR is in need of a diction tutor starting right about a couple of years ago. But she is so thin. Bhagwan sabko sab kucch nahin deta (and thank you Bhagwan for that), declares the ever-charitable Sage Parul.

***

Adi repeats everything we say these days. So I have taught him to say OBAMA when we ask him who the president of America is. Its very fortunate that there is no L in the Prez's name because we are still substituting R or K or whatever we feel like in place of that. He (Adi, not Obama) doesn't and cannot differentiate Obama from Tata Issky or Bye Bye but its still enough to make us puff up like a couple of toads and declare - Chalo, Rhodes scholarship toh aa hi jayegi.

***

Did I tell you I have gone off my diet with a vengeance? Do you care? Yes? Alright, so let us proceed. I have been consuming whatever I feel like for the last two, no three, no five, gasp, ten days. I am blaming Diwali completely. You hear, Diwali? Your fault, YOU get on the scales. The only blessing is that I am still exercising and hopefully sort of still staying at the same weight. Of course I need to whisper this in your ear because if my body realizes what is happening it will process this information thus - oh, I have been consuming chocolates. Cakes. Cookies. That means I need to multiply the grams of fat consumed by ten and the deposit it below the waist.

I hereby declare discussing body weight, as in the actual numbers as rude (or ruder) as asking for a person's salary or age. What are you saying - that is already the case? Well, then clearly I have been hanging out with the wrong people.

My exercising so regularly has had a strange sort of side-effect. This morning I missed my workout and by the afternoon, my joints were aching and my bones were creaking. What the hell, I asked politely and then figured that after years of exercise controlling me, I have finally turned the tables - exercise now needs ME. How is that for retribution, baby?

***
I am hoping to watch the new James Bond flick over the weekend. Daniel Craig is very nice (read, DELICIOUS. Remember, I have gone off my diet). However, my favourite James Bond remains this piece of all-around gorgeousness.



Will you just look at him? Alright, don't. I will do it on my own. Sighh. But tell me - Who is your favourite James Bond?

Image courtesy




Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Maggie goes a-samba

I am amazed that nearly every blogger I've asked to contribute a guest-post on my blog has agreed, some of them mothers to newborn Munches as well as demanding Moppets, like Maggie of the lovely Moppettales, one of the first blogs I ever read and still do. Here she establishes without a doubt what I personally have always believed - if burning off chocolate was half as much fun as consuming it, the world would be nearly perfect. (In order to be completely perfect, burning would be more fun.) Looking forward to your comments.

***

My aversion to exercise of any sort is almost on par with my love of chocolate, which, as anyone who has seen me demolish a supersized chocolate parfait will know, is disgustingly extreme.

That is not to say I haven't tried. I've spent money that could've bought me eons of chocolate parfait bliss on joining fancy gyms in every city I have lived in. The fact that I never went to any of them for even a single day is irrelevant. (Don't argue with me on this, ok? My story, my rules.)

So when I encountered my neighbour in workout gear, just short of crawling up our stairs on her hands and knees, I asked her that most inane of questions (Good workout?) with a smirk, knowing I would never be putting my own body to such unnecessary strain.

Panting, puffing, and hanging onto the banister for dear life, she managed to inform me that she had joined a Samba exercise class.
Samba? The brazillian Samba? As in tall, curvy women in high heels and little else, shaking their booty to fast paced music?

The very same, she said. Intrigued, I surprised myself by asking if I could join. Conveniently, her class had had a dropout and so the next Tuesday I found myself joining 4 other aunty types, facing a plump, petite Brazillian woman and thinking how hard can this be? If she can do it, well then, so can I.

Oh boy! Apparently, Samba,and Brazillian dance in general, can only be performed by those whose bones are made of jelly (It also helps to have titanium knee joints, I think). The jiggling and the bumping and bootyshaking look far easier than it actually is. At the end of the first class, I could feel my posterior still jiggling of its own accord to an entirely different rhythm as I slowly dragged myself home.

Over the last few weeks I believed I was getting better. Today, however we learned a new song - literally translated it means 'The Bum Song'. A song in praise of a young woman's butt, it involved the shaking of one's hindquarters at F1 speeds. At the end, I flopped down on the floor, feeling sure that my butt was still drilling a hole through it, and the instructor showed us the video that made this song a hit in Brazil.

It showed a woman with thighs that should be classified as WMD, and the most enormous behind, shaking it at varying speeds with such precision and control, I'm guessing it could be an Olympic sport. She is now a celebrity in Brazil, known fondly as the Watermelon Lady.

Obviously, I have a long way to go. I'm aiming for Mashmelon Lady. Someday, perhaps.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Eighteen month letter

Dear Mom,

This one is important - my one and a half yearly letter and so I am taking letters into my own hand. See, the jokes are getting better already.

I have become such a handful these day. You have no idea where and how I left behind that shy baby and became a friendly toddler, the one who has so many adoring fans in the building. One little school-going girl in particular is my new best friend. She worships me and I respond by stealing her bicycle every evening and refusing to give it back. The same little girl was running a temperature a few days back and when her mom refused to let her out to play, her wails could be heard all over the building.

My other love is neither you nor Daddy. It is Tata Sky. I have already been heard saying, "Mahishh, Tata Issky chalao" and "Pamma, Tata Issky off?" - the latter with some amount of horror evident in my face. Rest assured, mom that weaning me from tv will be tougher than weaning me from breast milk. Oh, the joy.

I used to love spending time under the dining table. Now I like climbing on top of it and seek to destroy - the Blackberry, your Macbook compeeyah. dasses (glasses) and if you forcibly pick me up and put me down, I immediately open the crockery cabinet and take out the first wine glass that I can lay my hands on.

I have been making up with some other developments though - for one, I can drink out of a cup on my own. This normally ruins my tees and I need to be changed but you look so happy at my newfound independence that I oblige anyway. I want to sample all the good stuff that you and Mahisssh are stuffing faces with and I have decided that Mangi is in fact the perfect answer to all my nutritional needs. You have been making some noises about instant noodles being complete junk food but hey, if Mahisssh has been eating it everyday for the last hundred years and he turned out fine. Sort of.

Thanks to you guys playing Guitar Heroes all the time, the first song that I officially picked up is Dream Police, na na na na na. I hope Aerosmith is a cool band. Not for me Chanda Mama Door Ke, Pue Pakayein Boor Ke.

If I have not made it clear so far, allow me to say it once again - I want a meow or bow wow or baaaaaa as soon as possible. Either you get me one on your own or I will grow up a little more and pick one up from the street and get it home, much like you did as a child. In the meanwhile though, I just run after the cats that live in the building's parking lot.

I am getting so much better at telling you what I need. I can take your hand and lead you to the kitchen and declare Want Bissit when I need a snack. Much better than having to cry for everything, if you ask me. Nahai nahai has also taken a different colour because I now sit outside the tub and pluck out the bath splats from it.

All this doesn't mean that I need you any less though. Whenever you try to get some work done, I try to clamber up your chair and press all sorts of buttons on your machine. Tantrums are more common now than ever before as I display my bullish side to you in full glory. At least someone is bullish, with the market being what it is.

Till the next time, then.

Love,

Adi

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Doing that thing I do

Yesterday was a day packed with activity. There was plenty of gaming in the first half, then we took Adi to Crossword where he ran riot. I am hoping to pass on the bookworm gene to him. Then we took him to the park, M and I jogged but we had forgotten to eat so fuel was running low. Plans were made to immediately replenish the fuel and dinner was consumed at Noodle Bar. We decided that Adi would like World's Best Nachos which is essentially nachos covered with A LOT of melted cheese. Adi did take a few minute bites but since waste not, waist not is our driving motto, we polished off the rest. And when I say polished off, I mean that there was no need for the restaurant to wash the dish after we were done. We got back late last night after a night out pub-hopping. Henry Tham's, Hard Rock Cafe and a very young and upbeat place called Shiro. Hard Rock Cafe played Iron Maiden's Fear of the Dark (allow me to show off by reminding you that I saw Metallica perform the cover of this song in Bologna and it b-l-e-w m-y m-i-n-d) and Blood Brothers. What more does a girl want?

A highly fattening mezze platter.

***

Its official, I am a game addict. If I am not playing Guitar Heroes, I am playing Resistance: Fall of Man. I feel like there was this magical world out there all this while that was denied to me and now that the hallowed gates have opened, there is no letting me out. M plays with me. He says that he has wasted his youth only playing video games so for him it is only logical that he encourage his wife in this endeavor. Also, without him there is no way I can crack even the easiest level. But I promise, within no time, I will get better and beat him at his own game. Of course both of us also need to spend some time bringing up Adi but we will see about that, won't we?

***

My friend J has been applying to universities abroad. Given that I was her last boss, I need to write some recommendation letters. One must touch upon the weaknesses of the applicant but apparently too much honesty is a bad thing. Resultantly, we have trying to find weaknesses that are actually strengths hiding as weaknesses. For example, I just can't lie. Or I just don't know when to say no to more work. Or I am so good-looking that people find it difficult to take me seriously. I just made up the last one. Could you tell?

***

I really need to start preparing for the Dream Run seriously. I am going to be a massive disaster if I don't practice, not to mention just massive. I know what is the impediment in the way of my success. My ipod is broken. No one runs without their ipod. Well, maybe children do. And professional athletes. And anyone who cannot afford an ipod. Ok, fine, I see what you mean.

***

My sister has got a second tattoo on her ankle. Its a pixie girl, she explained patiently when we shouted, "What a lovely butterfly!" though to me, the size of that thing was hardly pixie-like. Apparently it did not hurt at all. We will take your word for it, we said. I asked her if she had had a bottle of vodka to tide her through but she only smiled. I wonder what that meant. Anyway, I felt that the tattoo was lacking a certain something. I stared at it for a few minutes and then finally cracked the code. "You need some words surrounding it. You know, like script. Chinese. Or Arabic. Arabic is really popular these days. Or Latin. You know, like your motto for life. Like Culpa est Mea or something (how appropriate)." It is evidence of our common gene pool that she thought my idea was really cool and is already aspiring for her next tattoo. Ah, to be young again.

***