Sunday, May 31, 2009

This one floated way above!

Edge of Table Victorious Over Toddler, says the headline at The Onion.

What's the joke there, can someone tell me? Both M and I broke our heads over it but could not figure it out and I assure you our collective IQ is over 60.

P.S. It takes an unusually secure person to admit to ignorance in such a public forum.

Gah, who am I kidding? I just can't bear to not know.

So what happened? Did the table swallow the toddler whole? Has it got something to do with the white objects resting at the edge? What what what? First one to solve the mystery gets an autographed copy of my book. When it comes out, that is. And that is going to be real, real soon. I hope.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Does your city own you?

I am reading The Comfort of Saturdays these days. Honest, it takes me as long to finish reading a novel as it does to write one, sometimes longer. Please note how effortlessly I sound all author-like. Also, there is no comfort in this Saturday as far as I am concerned. Mahesh has trooped off to Delhi for a friend's wedding. Also, given the pact, I cannot visit the house of Greg till he gets back and that as we all know is most upsetting a situation.

Anyway, so to get back to the book, I read a line there that struck home. Here, let me copy it down for you.
The city encourages actors, thought Isabel, as probably all iconic cities do; look at the Parisians; it must be such an effort being so Parisian.
Is that true? I mean, are we all really prisoners of the brands that our cities have become?

Following that line of thought, when in Mumbai, one must be smart and sassy and street-smart and also armed with that all-encompassing but not quite clear quality - bindaas. We must have a regard for time and a disregard for all things clean in general. We should consider Marine Drive to be the point after which the earth curves and one faces the peril of falling off the face of the planet. We must divide the city into two parts where the south is all things nice and the north is all things vice (well, not really but I do have a weakness for rhyme). We must be tolerant and spirited and brave. And overtly filmy.

And when in Delhi, the other city I know reasonably well, one must be prepared for fisticuffs over a scraped bumper, one must learn to look over one shoulder at all times if a woman, one must be a foodie and have political savvy. We must be boorish when we are not spouting class poetry and displaying obscene amounts of tehzeeb. When we are done doing that, we must bring on the obscene amounts of wealth and start to show it off in all earnestness. We should be bade-dil-wallahs and romantic and unpredictable and a tad dangerous. But the south must be posh and the north, not so much still. We must be gorgeous and dress well and appreciate art. And have fat weddings.

Gosh, no wonder then that I am neither here, not there. I love both cities and I hate them both too and now I really don't know where I belong. Maybe we just scatter pieces of ourselves wherever we live. I don't really know whether Isabel is right or wrong - do we really put a lot of fight in internalizing and then displaying the qualities that our city is supposed to define, a classic case of when in Rome...?

What about you though? What are the people of your city/town/village supposed to be like? Do you belong there?

Friday, May 29, 2009

The sleeping beauty

Story-time! But only for the ladies.

I think.

Imagine going to the parlour for a much-needed facial. You have slogged at office for days and you actually thought that you wouldn't make it, what with the bitchy boss trying to waylay you just as you were humming to yourself and collecting your things to leave. Anyway, you sidled out and now here you are, waiting to sink into the lap of luxury (and cliches but we will let that pass.)

You lie down. The beautician cleans up your face and steams it and creams it and then applies a facepack. I will check on you in ten or fifteen minutes once the pack dries off, she says and switching off the lights leaves the room. You relax, the pressures of the day ease off and you fall asleep.

All is quiet. For a long time. You are fast asleep.

Suddenly you wake up with a start. Gosh, where am I, you wonder for a minute and then remember that you are at the parlour. Look how time has flown, you say to yourself and reach for the watch.

Ten thirty?

How is that possible, you wonder frantically and go outside the room.

The parlour is pitch-dark, there's no one to be seen anywhere.

Panic is rising in your throat but you know now what has happened.

They forgot about you and left for the day.

Seething with rage, you call your family. Come and get me, the morons have locked me inside. The family turns up, someone manages to call the owner who rushes back with the keys. A certain degree of violence, both verbal and otherwise follows between the family of the injured party and the business folk. Shaken up but safe, you are taken home after the brouhaha has died down.

Moral of the story - sleep in your own bedroom.

On second thoughts, it's for the menfolk as well.

Edited: Alright, alright, it did not happen to me. It's just a story that I heard and thought was interesting. Now back to House.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

For the love of the man

Women show their love for their men in different ways. They set up their homes, accept their families, give them children, buy them things and put up with the snoring. But me, I have done all this and more.

It's ten thirty at night. Adi is fast asleep. I am wide awake. M is in Hyderabad.

And I am not watching House, honouring the pact that we had to watch it together. Yes, other people have pacts to live and die together, we have pacts to watch nerdy shows. Can you imagine the frustration? My hand is itching to get to the remote and press play.

No, I resist.

Tonight, he must really know how much he matters to me.

And for the time being, we have established that it is M over Greg.

Only for the time being though.

Have you done any crazy things for love?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Waiting for the sun

Do you remember the time in school when we would desperately wait for the summer holidays? One would be full of plans. I would imagine my holidays unfolding in the tradition of my favourite Enid Blyton characters. I would of course discover a secret island (or mountain, or castle, it did not matter) with my cronies (none of whom would be the moronic or bitchy or both kids from real life) and then we would have many adventures and eat tongue sandwiches and homemade cakes. Naturally I had no idea what tongue sandwiches were.

I still don't.

Of course the reality would turn out to be very different. Other than the visits to Nani's place (somehow significantly less glamorous than secret castles and whatnot), there was nothing much to do in the small mofussil towns where Dad was invariably posted. One could cycle a few kilometers to the only half-way decent bookshop/rental library in town or follow the single-minded pursuit of waiting for the load-shedding to end and blessed electricity to visit our humble homes so that we could all look at a light-bulb and whisper reverently - ''bijli!' There were no swimming pools and there were no clubs and there were no multiplexes and no malls to shop at. There was only Doordarshan and everyone knows what riotous entertainment that provided.

And therefore, I swear that once Padma comes back from bloody bahargaon as it is now called, I am going to run amok like even Adi doesn't. I am going to watch a movie every single day. I will shop till the credit card company starts sending thank you notes home. I will swim and dance the mambo and kick-box. I will join level two of Spanish. And Japanese. And Swahili too while I am at it. I will re-do the home. Hell, I will buy a new home and re-do it. I will write another book. Or a series of novels. In eighteen parts. I will go to the parlour to get beautified. The works. Maybe get pink highlights. And nail-art. I always wanted nail-art. I will get a pet. A black labrador. Or an anaconda. I will dust the pile of books that have collected and read. I will watch The West Wing and M*A*S*H all over again.

Something tells me that reality will be very different again.

Because summer holidays are a myth.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Root canal takes shorter than Suez canal, he said

The root canal is done and I think the good doctor was worth the wait because I honestly did not feel a thing. Well, of course I did not feel a thing, he had basically given my whole mouth a bath with xylocaine but still, when someone takes various forms of drills and needles and other vicious-looking objects into your mouth, you cannot help but think - I ain't getting no sleep tonight once the anesthesia wears off. Also while I was not feeling anything, the visual evidence of the mayhem going on in the mouth was reasonably evident every time the doctor stopped to catch his breath, leaned back and commanded me to SPIT! That's my blood, I thought morosely to myself and tried to take my attention away from the scene of crime by thinking up of how this would make for a good blog post. A little later, we were done. My mouth felt swollen up but otherwise there was no way to tell. Bye, bye, the doctor waved. Wait, wait, I screamed, where is the prescription for the pain killer? Ah, pop a Brufen, he said airily, you might need it tonight since I did a lot of work. Well, ok, I complied but the voice in my head was a little more doubtful. That's it? Just one Brufen?

And you know what, one Brufen really was all that it took. Of course this post may completely put nazar on the tooth and I may be in screaming agony by the time I hit publish but honestly, this doctor knows his root canals. I can't feel a thing. I even ate a good dinner, just steered clear of crunching peanuts, iron shavings and large rocks etc with the treated tooth. That I am going to start next week.

So my verdict is a root canal is not a big deal. I wouldn't say that you should schedule one on the weekend just because there is nothing else to do but if you need to do it, you need my doctor, ha!

Doctors are the current theme anyway what with Dr House currently visiting my house of crush, tee hee.

Completely unrelated but have you seen this?

Edited: And this?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Updates, updates

I really want to go for this. It's such a nice concept. They do not disclose the artist's name in advance, just the show time and venue. Imagine, landing up thinking that you will get to hear the neighborhood boys' garage band play and instead U2 comes on stage. Not a bad idea,what, specially if the colony boys don't play as well as U2. But I guess it would also be ironical given that the idea is to promote all sorts of bands. Anyway, if any of you guys get to go, do let me know how it was. I will be tending to my boy instead.

That Padma really takes her vacation at the wrong time, not that any time can be the right time for her to be away.

And not that anyone is asking hmph but I have cleared Level One of my Spanish course, yay. I threw a wild cheer and forced myself to not think about how I could have done better if I had a little more time to study. No sir, that I am reserving that for when I actually see my exam papers. It was fun, it was even though I managed to create a lot of stress around it. Next stop, swimming lessons and also revisiting squash with a new coach. Hope my game hasn't gone down the drain in the time that I have been slacking off. Us professional athletes have to worry thus.

At Marks and Spencer today, the piped music of choice was 'Ibiza'. Marks and Spencer is very classically-minded that way. Later M told me that as a youngster, he used to think that 'Oh, we are going to Ibiza' is actually 'Oh, we are going to eat pizza'. Coming from an era where going out for pizza was a decidedly expensive proposition, M thought a celebratory song to mark the event was very much in order.

I find it so tough to get shoes that I like and are available in my size that once I get a pair - normally success is to be found in an Aldo store - I wear it irrespective of the outfit, till it wears out completely. It helps that a disregard for fashion is fashionable these days otherwise where would the non-glam of the world go?

M and I have found a new love in Dr Gregory House, MD. I adore him, I do and have been watching Season One. Readers in the US, opinions, though you guys must be watching the sixtieth season, what?

And now I go to get the troublesome tooth fixed. Root canal is not fun, I am told. Very soon I will be able to tell you firsthand. Gah but icecream sounds like a lot of fun right about now. Depending on levels of agony involved, posting may be slow. Rajnigandha and Lindt are preferred.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hmm, what's brewing?

The rains! The rains! They are here. M drily pointed out that these are only the pre-monsoon showers but what is that, I say, just a minor technical detail. What matters is that the air smells divine. There is nothing like the aroma of wet earth, parched for months and then drinking up all that rain-water. No wait, there are some smells almost as good.
  • The smell of fresh coffee brewing in a European cafe, enough to make you want to shell out 3.5 Euros for a cuppa.
  • The smells that reside in old book-stores and libraries, of yellowing pages and all sorts of tales, pure bliss.
  • A vase full of rajnigandha, the smell lingers in the house and it really is the best fragrance to come home to.
  • I am a rice person but the aroma that wafts out of a fresh phulka (and this is big considering rice and roti people stand as firmly divided as cat and dog ones), mouth-watering goodness just about describes it. With the aid of a cliche, that is.
  • The smell that Delhi has in winters. I can't describe it and I suspect neither can he though he would obviously get a lot closer. Cities all smell different, don't they? Or I am just going crazy?
  • The way a freshly bathed baby smells, enough to make the uterus skip a beat, really. Johnson & Johnson make their billions off this very imagery, I would imagine.
  • The all-mixed-up fragrance of moisturizer and soap and make-up and perfume that my Mom has.
  • And the mix of hospitals and after-shave and tobacco (yes, yes, I know) that my Dad did.
Got a list? Share?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Saying goodbye to mommy-blogging

Right, so I am done mommy-blogging. I had a vague idea when I started the blog that I would stop when Adi turned two and I don't know if you noticed but Adi-centric posts have sort of ceased since his birthday. If my vague idea has stuck around for two years and I still think it is the right thing to do, well, then it is the right thing to do.

I will change the name of the blog at sometime and may or may not stay at the same URL but I thought I'd let everyone who comes by to read about the little boy know.

It's been fun sharing all this with you all but hey, the child has a life of his own and he is not really a baby anymore. Kids grow up really fast these days and before he turns around and questions me, I'd much rather stop myself.

A question that faces me whether I would continue blogging about him had I used a pseudonym. The answer is no. My experience with blogging has shown me that blogging with my own name is overall a good idea because then the ticker is always on and I keeps details to a level where I am comfortable. Also, finding real names takes precisely two minutes of focussed googling. I am fond of saying that eventually everyone will be outed, why not start being so?

So, yes, no more Adi posts. I will of course continue to write. What else is there for me to do really? The focus will be on my other interests - the search for wit and wisdom, steering clear of controversy and angst, looking for humour and laughter, cinema, books and music. Oh and Pierce Brosnan too. Enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Nice day,eh?

Why can't the darned clouds make up their mind?

When people run short of conversation, they resort to talking about the weather. I want to know if the corollary is equally true, that is, if I talk about the weather, does that mean I have run out of other things to discuss? And now that I have prepared the bhumika, I want to tell you that the weather in Mumbai today really is neither here, nor there. The skies are overcast, people are looking up with a mix of hope and dread, a sentiment us Mumbaiites always reserve for the rains (and can you blame us after 26/7?) and wondering if it is already time. Of course it's not but the clouds suggest otherwise. What about you, dear reader, are you having good weather where you are? Share a picture maybe?

P.S. Aneela took me up on my offer and shows us her side of the world and it's weather here.


The playground makes a fantastic place for observing human behavior and an even better one for blog fodder collection. Last evening as a little girl waited for her turn on the swing, another child jumped the queue and went in instead. An unfair if regular occurance.

'It is your turn, you fool, why aren't you telling him?' shouted the mother from the sidelines, her brow knitted and smoke emanating from the ears.

I immediately gathered the offspring under the proverbial pallu and beat a hasty retreat before I could fall under the radar of this preying mantis. Not that I am scared, I thought to myself and took a furtive look at the biceps, fast disappearing due to absence at the gym but it never hurts to be careful.

We watched from a safe distance as the lady in question went to the swing and after letting her cowering daughter know exactly what she thought of her non-aggression took up the matter with everyone standing by at the coveted swing.

The toddler for whom I am chief lackey these days had enough of watching this saga of human behaviour unfold and took off to do some bhaga-bhagi. I had to reluctantly relinquish my post at the watch-tower and follow suit.

Someone tell parents that the ability to stand up for yourself and to stop wrong-doing are both qualities that are most deadly when delivered quietly.


A lizard in my bathroom

I was giving Adi a bath the other day when I looked up and saw a lizard strolling around on the bathroom wall. It saw me looking up at it, fixed its beady eyes on me and seemed to nod slightly with a 'nice day, what?' before disappearing into one of the numerous cracks and crevices that lizard-folk seem to know of. I did not mind it very much but then I am the sort of person who genuinely feels bad spraying Mortein on cockroaches. Taking ahimsa to a whole new level, that's the Sharma Ramanathan household.

It was a good thing my sister Isha was not in the vicinity though. For want of a stronger word, let us just say that Isha is genuinely petrified of lizards and always has been. She gets shivers up her spine just thinking about them, she says (not that thinking about lizards is a recommended passtime for anyone). When we were all younger, my Mom would often be seen chasing lizards with a broom and decorating the tops of cupboards with mor-pankh (that's peacock feather for you, my dear angrez) and egg-shells. Then in the years that our beloved, beautiful Jeannie was with us, she was responsible for going inside a room and doing a quick recce of all the walls for lizards before Isha would deign to set a foot in. Now Jinnu Singh (as Jeannie came to be called eventually) was a lovable labrador but she had an idea of fun all her own. Once when Isha asked her to go check for lizards, she did it and found one. She quickly chased the poor creature that naturally died of fright (no, really died) and then grabbing its corpse in her mouth ran to show Isha what a good Jinnu she had been. Isha shrieked when she saw a dead lizard hanging out of Jinnu's mouth and ran for her life. Jinnu thought this was a shout of appreciation and got very excited and followed Isha at double speed. I contributed to this scene by laughing till my sides ached. I think the maali or driver had come to Isha's rescue finally.

Yes, I think I don't mind lizards too much. If nothing, they make for funny stories. What about you? What do you really fear? Phobic of anything?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I married a funny man. My husband married a funny woman.

Parents often have delusional ideas about their kids' intelligence. On one evening when there was nothing to do except watching endless hours of Cbeebies (I have Macker Packer and Upsy Daisy coming out of my ears, if you don't know what I am talking about, please quit while you are ahead) I asked M.

Me: What will we do if Adi turns out to be gifted? How will we hone his genius?
M (sighing): Then I will just have to school him myself.

M and I are playing cricket with Adi while there are toys strewn all over the carpet. M steps over a ball and as is the normal consequence of such events, twists his ankle.

Me: Did you twist your ankle?
M: Yes. But since I am going to the orthopedic surgeon anyway for my knee, I might as well leverage my fixed costs.

Just a while back as I sit blogging,

Me: I wanted to blog about something that you had said. What was that? I seem to have forgotten.
M: You should keep a pen and paper handy, baby. I am like a river of funniness.

And while watching a health food drink ad that claims that children gain height at supersonic speed if they drink it,

M: Saale jhooth bolte hain.
Me (world-early generally and brand-weary specifically) : Don't take it personally, baby, we won't buy it for Adi.
M (after a minute): But what if it is true?
Me: Then you drink it first. If it works, we will get it for him.


Oh yes, since we watched The Thomas Crown Affair this evening, here is Sinnerman by Nina Simone. Art and music and Pierce Brosnan, baby, doesn't get hotter than this. That reminds me, anyone love Cezanne out there?

All about books

My friend Sue, currently posing as a wallflower tagged me to list a few things about books.

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Alexander McCall Smith. This answer surprised me. I had no idea. I thought it'd be Stephen King.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
Long answer to a short question coming up. My mother and her own grandmother were very fond of reading Shivani. Her grandmother, Amma was often found crying if one of the characters died. They passed on the love of this outstanding author (and perhaps the love for reading in Hindi as well) to all three of us. All three of us have finally starting bidding adieu to those dog-eared copies that brought us countless hours of pure joy and have started buying our own copies.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
I am currently struggling with Spanish prepositions so no.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Atticus Finch. Rhett Butler. Michael Corleone. Maybe even Heathcliff.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
The Godfather, perhaps. Gone with the wind, maybe. The Malory Towers? Surangama, Krishnakali, Chaudah Phere. One used to have the time to read books over and over again once.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
The Malory Towers, I think. Everything by Enid Blyton went down real easy at that time, even with the inherent gender bias evident in her work.

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?
Ah, the unintended tragedy called 'Lose your weight, not your mind' by Rujuta Diwekar.

8) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
What I talk about when I talk about running by Murakami.

9) If you could force everyone to read one book, what would it be?
The Godfather because all of life's answers are to be found there. Hehe, I know.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?
Haruki Murakami.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
It's coming out soon by an unknown but brilliant writer called Parul Sharma.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Leave my Shivani books alone. I have made them into movies in my mind and that is where they should be.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I need to get some sleep to dream. But I do remember dreaming of Michael Corleone fairly often. Standard adolescent dreams, really that were embarrassingly basic.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?
Mills and Boon.

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
Mother. I have read many difficult books in my time because I fervently believe that what has been started must be finished. Goes for food as well, hence the extra kilos.

16) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Shakespeare. I don't know much about Milton and Chaucer except the second-hand knowledge I garnered from Literature-wallahs during college. I studies Economics, unfortunately.

17) Austen or Eliot?

18) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Salman Rushdie, I'd imagine. His work's just passed me by though I did read the Satanic Verses.

19) What is your favorite novel?

20) Play?
The monkey's paw

21) Short story?
The monkey's paw by W.W. Jacobs. I know a fair bit about ghost stories too. I had a real passion for them.

22) Work of non-fiction?
Everything by Bill Bryson, really. One day, I will write a funny travel book. I will, too.

23) Who is your favorite writer?
Getting repetitive but Gaura Pant Shivani it is.

I have a two-year old pulling on my elbow and insisting that he needs to show me something of earth-shattering importance (probably a dead insect) so I have no time to link to anyone. Please, someone take this up. Ta!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The sibling thing

Someone asked my mom recently how her three kids were similar and dissimilar.

Now my sisters and I have been known to walk into stores in different cities at different times (without each other) and still pick out the same garment or pair of shoes out of the hundreds, thousands of dresses and shoes on display. Resultant conversations would run thus:

Sis: I bought an amazing parrot green kurta with silver print on it.
Me: Gah! So did I!
Sis: How many people would buy parrot green kurtas with silver print on them?
Me: Apparently, at least two. Unless Isha has bought one too.

But we are different in many ways too. My older sister is an artist, a blessed, brilliant artist. I, on the other hand have been known to paint five leaves of a lotus in different colours. Isha too has been known to get borderline flunk grades in art and craft. Art teachers in school who would have bid my older sister adieu with tears pouring down their cheeks once she passed out of their class would look at first me and a few years later Isha in expectant awe. We would of course find ourselves incapable of delivering.

I love hard rock and metal, neither of them do.

Both of them like non-vegetarian food. I denounced meat at an age when I could not spell denounce. Before M asks, yes, I can spell denounce now.

Coming back to Mom, she tells me that she told the person who asked her this question that the one thing that was similar in all her kids was that they loved to read. It's true. Despite our different lifestyles and lifestages, we still seem to gravitate towards books with the same hunger. We still need to spend money in bookstores at every given opportunity. We still buy more books than we will ever read. We call each other when we are in bookstores to check the others' recommendations. More often than not, we seem to know what the other person will like.

Looks like Mom knows her kids really well. Of course if she heard this, she would probably deliver retribution right away for being patronizing. Or matronizing, in this case.

What about you though? What do you share with your bro/sis? Alike as peas in a pod or noone could trace you back to the same gene pool? And if you are an only kid, just enjoy maadi.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I am going to copyright Delurk Divus

I am feeling as smug as a bug in a rug and who can blame me? All this attention has gone to my head and am currently floating around with a swollen version of what used to be the old noggin. Suddenly the readers are more real and now I know at least a sample of the population whose nerves I am grating on. In fact, Delurk Divus comes highly recommended and I will be accepting royalties by cash and cheque from bloggers who wish to use the name, thank you.

M was most impressed when things first went into double digits (by itself a commendable feat) and then into three figures. I informed him that some readers were of the view that I had used his unblemished name to further my own motives at which he opined that my readers gave me too much credit. At this point we were interrupted by an unwelcome visitor currently residing in our household and going by the rather apt name of Terrible Twos. A truce has since been declared and Delurk Divus will henceforth be an annual event, marked on whichever date the blogger deems fit. Incidentally, my dear friend Aneela said that this was like an isabgol of a post. It is no surprise that I like Aneela so much.

But thank you, you have made a small-timer very happy.

Some of you wanted to know if I would be replying individually to everyone who wrote in. What can I say? Check the comments space of the last post. It doesn't matter how many, some things don't change.

On that pompous note, my lovelies, till tomorrow or as we Spaniards say, hasta la vista, mis bonitas (I think).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Delurk Divus!

I have a stats counter on my blog that records clicks and tells me where readers come in from. It could do a lot more, I am told if I were willing to pay but that is where they lost me. I take a good look at the data every now and then and feel really thrilled about two things - 1. the numbers have been steadily clocking up in the last two years that I have been blogging (people don't hate me, yay....such self-esteem) and 2. my dear readers (some author, I think it was Stephen King once said that readers can be nothing but dear to an writer and I am inclined to agree!) come in from such diverse parts of the globe. Ireland! Portugal! Unknown! This is great!

Seriously, I regularly puff up and attain mammoth proportions just looking at all these countries and places....of course most of these readers pass into nothingness the moment they are done reading. In my razor-sharp analytical style I have to think of explanations for this no-show and as happens whenever I push the old cranium a little hard, all sorts of ideas emanate. Of course I could go all angsty and traumatised on you for this no-show but that particular mood does not agree with the colour that I am wearing today.

Don't get me wrong, I am good with lurking and lurkers! But I also think that delurking can be fun.

So why do you lurk, dear reader? Let me count the reasons.

Is it because I have already said it all and you don't want to add nothing to the conversation?

Is it because being the intellectual giant that I am, I intimidate you with the sheer depth of my posts?

Is it because you are just waiting for the right moment when a particularly inspiring comment will strike you?

Is it because I write such shit, you don't even know why I have a blog, let alone let the world know you visit it...a little like watching Bigg Boss?

Is it because you are having trouble keeping up with the four thousand blogs that rest in your Google Reader so I should just shut up about comments already? Is it because you are an ex-boyfriend and are still pissed off? (In which case, continue lurking. Please).

Is it because you don't know how? (Oh come on!!)

Is it because you are here for the very first time today, landed here via Google's warped results and have no idea what the hell I am talking which case, hi there, welcome to my world.

Whatever be your reason, I officially declare this the Delurk Divus at Parul's. If your reason is not in the list above, don't you think that's reason enough to show yourself? (Err, Divus = 'Day' in Hindi). Come on, it doesn't need to be much - just a nick if you don't want to tell your real name, where you come by from and a little bit about whatever you'd like to share - family, work, pets, peeves, wishes, dreams whatever. Oh and if you do blog, please share the link.

Furtive is not fun, shy not sexy. Woo, that sounded like a haiku. I don't know much about haikus. Can you tell?

There is only one way to shut me up and that is by showing yourself. It really is not so bad, you know. If you know me from real life, this may be a good way to keep in touch and if you are just the shy, retiring types and don't know me from Eve, well, say hello, tell me a word or thousand about yourself and we will take it from there.


P.S. I made M read this and he said it won't make any difference to anyone. For once, can we gang up against him and prove him wrong? Gracias!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I have a dream....a song to sing....blech!

Last night I got the wonderful news that my dear friend PG's husband's team won the Brand Equity quiz 2009 . He won a Scorpio Mahindra and tons of other prizes. PG is understandably over the moon. What makes it truly special is that it happened at the perfect time. Early this year PG and hubby became parents and they have a gorgeous little baby girl to share the happiness (and more importantly the goodies) with. One of the prizes is Bombay-London tickets so I am trying to get them to come with us to London in August. Yes, I always have my own agenda in mind. Here's to Baby S who brought her parents so much luck. You rock already, little girl!

Raising toasts reminds me that I must dive head-first into the bottle of Blossom Hill White Zinfandel tonight while we watch JFK. I get so tired by the time Adi sleeps off that watching a film seems to be the perfect way to unwind. Of course I'd much rather have six LITs in a row at Toto's or the Shack but those days are long since gone.

Last night M and I watched Mama Mia! and though I am known to describe ABBA as 'two gorgeous Swedish blondes and two losers', I must shamefacedly admit that I could sing along to every single one of the songs in the movie. That's the thing about ABBA, one cannot help but sing along. Back in college I used to share a flat with a bunch of friends. Some of them used to like ABBA and were given to playing their songs over and over again. I didn't know till yesterday that the songs that I had heard all those years back were resting in my brain, right there next to Radiohead and CCR. Mama-Mia of course stars Pierce Brosnan. M pointed out last night, 'Parul is known to like PB somewhat'. That's like saying that U2 can sing in tune but I let it pass and proceeded to wipe the puddle of drool that had collected near my shoes. And Meryl Streep...what does one say about her. She is a miracle, she is.

And one of my favourite blogs, Blues Over Troubled Waters celebrates it's sixth year today. I stumbled upon it only recently but like I said in my comment on his blog, I really wish I had the time to pore over all six years of his writing. If you like Salt Water Blues and haven't been commenting, now is the time to delurk. (much like me). And if you haven't been reading him, now would be the perfect time to start.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Barcelona on my brain

Mother's Day has rolled by again and this time my mother is with me for a change. I decided to take her to Anokhi to buy her some clothes but Anokhi is really consumer friendly in that it shuts shop on Sundays. Mom had to make do with clothes from another place which was not as nice. But Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

It's really cool to have Mom here, I have someone to complain to about everything under the sun (and the sun too) and I also have a companion for the most critical activity of my life - eating chaat. Of course Mom sighs loudly about the chaat back in Meerut, obviously the best in the world but that doesn't deter us from polishing off plates of pani-puri and dahi-puri with gay abandon. Mahesh disapproves of all this chaat business, having nightmares about me falling prey to jaundice or cholera or maybe jaundice and cholera (I don't know whether one can occur with the other but I can always check and tell, oops, bit the tongue that was in the cheek) and he keeps discouraging me from stopping at random chaatwallahs and demanding that they start serving me the good stuff. Having Mom here is a good excuse to do so, I am sure I can tell him that the levels of chaat in Mama's bloodstream cannot fall below a certain level.

A little time back, M and I were feeding Adi and as is usual, he was accepting food only when ads were playing on the TV. Let me assure that there is not an ad to be found on the 100 channels on Tata Sky when we need them. In fact, we are contemplating taking Tata Sky Plus so that we can record the ads. Gosh but that sounds bizarre even to my own ears.

M (contemplatively): If we were a Tam household, the ratings would be so skewed.
Me: Huh? But we are a Tam household. Half, that is.
M: ??
Me: ??
M: Oh, I mean Tam as in TAM*.
Me: Ah! Hehehe!

*Television Audience Measurement
**Err, if this does not sound funny to you, you're not to blame. Trust me.

The race is on as I type this. This time it's in Circuit de Catalunya, in Barcelona. Before the race started, as always M discussed different strategies, when to pit, how much fuel there should be in the car etc with his buddy SK. Both of them threw impressive-sounding words at each other. When I am feeling charitable, I can almost believe they know what they are talking about. Anyone who knows M (or SK for that matter) knows that his secret ambition is actually to be a strategist for a Formula One team and he takes these pre-race conversations very seriously. I always contribute to these conversation by telling them what children they are and they always tell me to keep off their turf. Track. Whatever.

Barcelona is quite the theme of the month in this household. I chose Barcelona as the topic of choice for my oral exam in my Spanish course. Ah, Spanish! It's over and done with and although the teacher did tell me (and everyone else) to come back for level two, I have serious doubts about doing so. Anyway, that bridge can be crossed only when Padma returns from bahargaon which cannot be a day too soon if you ask me. I sort of miss her, the grump that she is. So yes, back to Barcelona. Last night we watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona and it was really nice. My movie reviews on this blog normally skim the wide chasm between Avoid and Watch. VCB is definitely a watch. Penelope Cruz and Woody Allen, can't go bad with that one. Seen it, liked it?

I leave you now with a lovely song from the same movie. M and I went to Barcelona for our honeymoon, can't help having a soft spot for the city. We had no money then but we still scraped together everything we had plus the wedding-gift money (thank you again, generous family members) and went to Spain and France. I am glad we did. I have never had so much fun in my life. Enjoy!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Maid in Mumbai

Posting has been and will be slow from this end till things come back to normal (read: Padma finishes vacationing in 'bahargaon', a word alien to me till I moved to this city and although it does for some reason conjure alpine images, it actually mean a village near Chennai). After the initial struggle with snooty ladies who politely declined offers of employment from me, I have finally found a temperary solution in New Girl. New Girl is tall and lanky and has a perpetual grin on her face. This grin does not shake in the face of the deepest peril, much to my consternation. Since New Girl and I seem to disagree on what actually defines 8:30 am, we have already had some differences of opinion. These differences saw me gesturing widly at the clock and insisting that the hour that it showed was 9:15. In response, New Girl grinned manically. This was Day One and was a very apt prelude to what was to come.

On Day two, impossible as that sounds, New Girl bettered herself. She rang the doorbell at 2:30 pm, something that immediately shot her to the Red&White Bravery Awards shortlist. Yes, she disturbed the nap of the only person whose sleep matters in this household. What is it, what, what, what, I demanded of her over the din as I saw her standing at my doorstep, why do you have a death-wish? Oh, I came by to tell you that I won't come in tomorrow, she said. Gah, said I, you have barely started work, how can you take leave. She grinned some more and informed me that all kaam-waali-bais are entitled to two days leave in a month. Well, all that is fine, I said, showing remarkable amounts of patience for someone who actually wanted to shoot herself, but this is like taking a coffee break first thing in the morning. My logic did not deter her and she availed herself of the first of what she warned me will be at least two days off. That was Day Three.

I thought about her behaviour and worked myself up into quite a rage while she was away. A combination of factors has ensured that I am not my usual angelic self these days. I am going to tell her off when she comes in tomorrow, I told myself, let her see my dark, evil side too. Well, New Girl came in to work on Day Four and I put my plan into action. Look, this won't work, I said sternly, all this leave-taking business will leave me in a fix, I said, what is so urgent that you can't wait for a bit. In response, New Girl looked at me and informed me that her husband has cancer and TB and is currently at the hospital. She needed to take a day off because she needed to shift him.

I shrank to about half of my 5'7" frame at that point. I guess if she can literally grin and bear her misfortune, I guess I can put up with a bit of impunctuality and inefficiency too. New Girl is not so bad after all, I have decided. If nothing else, she will teach me a few lessons in humanity and kindness.

Edited to add:

To be honest, it never occurred to me that she may be lying. After I read the comments I did google a bit. Apparently, TB can very well precede or follow cancer. I reproduce here some bits I found on the net. The doctors/experts among us, please feel free to elaborate. Well, what can I say? It can be our GK for the day!

"Fact: Lung diseases that cause scarring of the lung tissues, such as tuberculosis, can increase the risk of developing lung cancer."

"TB can develop more easily if the immune system weakens, as happens with malnutrition, AIDS, diabetes, cancer, or treatment with immunosuppressant drugs..."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ads this summer

I love ads. Always have. I went to ad-school but even studying about advertising did not get the love of the game out of the system. I can and do still watch ads to be entertained.

So far my favourite this year has got to the Vodaphone zoozoos. What's not to love? Of course everyone knows by now that the zoozoos are actually small-bodied women. Very cool, I say, even if the IPL is passing me by completely. Apparently, there are 30 of these ads in all but I think the best ones are the Beauty Alerts and the Star of the Match ones. (Also, my heart-felt sympathies to the client servicing team!)

And, the worst, the simpering pair of Vidya Balan and Madhavan in the Airtel ads. Deep breath-don't throw a brick at the tv-deep breath is the way to watch this one. Am I just getting old and jaded or this kind of romance is unpalatable (at least to watch)?

When it all started. I couldn't find the latest one. Perhaps for a reason?

Strange, how the two extremes are touched by telecom companies.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Two year letter

Dear Adi,

I guess this is the last monthly letter I am writing and it says something about my state of mind that I am ready to burst into tears and bawl uncontrollably at passers-by at the thought. Maybe part of this is the tooth-ache but am fairly certain at least some of it can also be attributed to the mom thing. Your father tried to make me feel better by offering to have letters written to him instead. Violence is not a good thing, sweetheart and I did not box his ears.

I am going to throw some wisdom at you. Duck! No, child, I am not. Children are born wise. They just lose it somewhere along the path to adulthood. In any case, I find you at least as bright as your dad and me put together and no pressure or anything but make sure the folks at Stockholm have the landline number handy. Just in case, you know.

As I write this, you have one numbers grandmother fawning all over you. I think she has completely forgotten that she has a daughter who would also like some attention and more importantly the gossip but we will have to wait till she has finished telling you that you are the most gorgeous baby in the whole world.

So, two years, huh? You have been busy, turning, crawling, walking, babbling, talking and turning at least two lives on their heads and changing the people that they were forever. It's a funny thing but my own dad used to say that he wanted to have nothing from life except to spend time with his children. Your daddy's dad, the much-adored Tatha also says that the only worthwhile thing he did in his life was to raise kids. And I have heard your own father tell me on several occasions that his only ambition in life is to bring you up. Something tells me that I might need to get a full-time corporate-type job to fund his desire.

Some people say that raising twins is not twice as tough, it's two hundred times as difficult. So I guess it speaks of my love that I often think that if I had the option, I would have ordered two or even three of the same.

For the past month or so, you say that your birthday is on the fourth of May, that there will be a party and a cake and candles that you will do phoo! to and balloons at which point you lose focus and go into something of a trance, so overjoyed are you at the thought of balloons. Bayoons, bayoons, bayoons, you tell me, dimpling and grinning. One thing is for certain, this house is going to be filled with balloons today! And we are all going to follow suit as you take the dance floor and do the unique dance that has come to be known as the Tribal Chief Dance.

Yesterday, I heard you having this conversation with M:

Adi: Are you singing, Daddy? (!)
M: Yes baby, I am singing? Will you also sing, Adi?
Adi: Yes, Daddy
M: What will you sing Adi?
Adi: Desi Girl.
M: Alright baby, sing!
Adi: Desi girl, my desi girl girl girl girl......

I don't believe this, when did you get old enough to remember a song and then sing it? When did you get old enough to have full conversations like these? On an aside, I am trying to balance out the Bollywood that you get in your genes by playing you classical music. Let's see if one or both or neither wins.

And that is why, today the song that is playing in my mind over and over again is this. It's one of your father's favourite songs and he has sung it to you pretty much from the day you were born.




Hey there, reader, sing along to this lovely song and wish my child well, won't you? Mazeltov!

(Tevye) Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?

I don't remember growing older
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?

(Golde) Wasn't it yesterday
When they were small?

(Men) Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly flow the days

Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

What words of wisdom can I give them?
How can I help to ease their way?

Now they must learn from one another
Day by day

(Perchik) They look so natural together

(Hodel) Just like two newlyweds should be

(Perchik & Hodel) Is there a canopy in store for me?

(All) Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

What I love about me

Sometime back, I read an article in Marie Claire where they had asked a bunch of women to articulate what they loved about themselves. I thought it was a great thing to ask people, specially women who are constantly dissing themselves for being less than perfect. Of course when I thought about what I would say if I was asked the same question, I was completely stumped. I mean, I am a bundle of adorableless, how does one pick out just one thing, but we strive anyway.

What I love about me? I love the fact that I have the ability to not take myself too seriously and that I am able to laugh at myself. It provides me with opportunities to guffaw all the time. I also love the fact that I love to laugh and that I am constantly on the look-out for the funny side of things and people. It's amazing how it reduces people and things that piss you off to just things that are well, absurd.

I love the fact that I can write and that I can tell stories. As I was telling someone the other day, the older I get, the more reclusive I become. At this rate, very soon, all channels of communications with new people will be closed down and the only way I will get to say something will be through what I write.

I love the fact that I have an imagination and that I can escape into a world that is not real but infinitely more pleasant whenever I want to. In this world, it's a great skill to have, I have learnt.

I love the fact that I have an overactive conscience. It keeps me honest.

I love the fact that I am kind to animals and I am very proud of the fact that I am a vegetarian by choice and that that choice was made when I was five.

Yeah, I think these really would be the top five things that I love about myself. M says his top five are his sense of humour, his ability to read people correctly, kindness, generosity and lack of aggression. The conversation then quickly deteriorated into him trying to slip in his taste in clothes (horrendous) and the lap-times he is doing these days on his Formula One game on PS but we will ignore that.

What about you though? What do you absolutely love about yourself?

Friday, May 1, 2009

I was not always a domestic goddess, she said

The subject of domestic disasters came up in the blog world and bloggers were seen running towards the same destination - Parul at Orange Ice Candy. If she will not tell us of domestic disasters, no one will, the teeming millions shouted to each other. The lovely Dipali of Of This and That was the first one to reach the finish line and we all know there can be only one winner. All that is left after that is the bitching about the winner. One round of deafening applause for Dipali then and now everyone settle down for the first of what can actually be a long series of stories about events that will forever be remembered with a wince and a shudder.

When we first saw this house, both M and I immediately liked it. It was small but had a good vibe to it. As it turned out, a good vibe is not always the best selection criterion for a house. Sometimes it also helps to check if the windows have grills outside, if the plumbing works and whether the drains are in good working order. Well, as it turned out, we had been so taken in by the good vibe that we had to get a lot of work done within the house. All on our own money of course. Oh and incidentally we were also pretty broke at the time, having blown all our wedding gift money and collective savings on the honeymoon in Europe.

A day or so after we moved in, I decided to wash the dishes. M was at work (and I was yet to find a job). Humming a merry tune, I poured Pril onto a sponge and started creating a bubble bath for dishes. This went on for a few minutes and then, I felt that the ground beneath my feet was getting a tad wet. Looking down I realized that the initial hypothesis was in fact quite correct. There was water collecting on the floor. It did not take my astute mind to quickly arrive at the conclusion that something was in fact wrong somewhere. There was only one drain on the kitchen floor and that was oozing water. I fetched a mop, honestly quite surprised that something like that existed in the house at the point and attacked the water. Go back, go back I told it sternly. No way, it said and continued to swivel about merrily on the kitchen floor. There was just water, water everywhere. At this point, I did what all women with a highly developed presence of mind do. I called Mahesh and started bawling loudly. Since technically we were still in the honeymoon period, he did not tell me to get a hold on myself and murmuring gentle soothing words, came back home to help me find a plumber.

The plumber cleaned out the drain and that is how the water finally found it's way out of our kitchen. He later told us that the drain had never been used and had actually collected vast amounts of rubbish in it's down-time. This turned out to be true because we were the first occupants of the house. That was a long time back of course. Since then I have assumed a new name. It's Martha Stewart.

I love this house to bits though. For all the hard times I give it, it's been rather nice to me.

Of course you already know about the house flooding over while we were away holidaying in Delhi and about how Kalpana tried to poison us with rotten paneer.

Have you told your stories - Aneela, Cynic, Rohini, Roop, Mona? I am not sure what the rules are, I think you just tell tales of domestic disasters and then ensure you are not the only one doing it . Also, whenever I tag people, I always think that I need to read some new blogs too, have you got any suggestions for wildly funny ones?