Sunday, September 20, 2009

Just catching up

You haven't noticed but I have been a little irregular in blogging lately. Some of you did ask though and here is what has been happening at my end.

Adi fell ill again. The same old cough and fever and flu that has been hounding him for the last couple of months has chased us to the new house as well. I had really thought we had left it behind but well, that was not to be. So we have been ferrying him to the doctor, cajoling him into taking medicines and watching him lose weight every day and feeling despondent. Like most Indian parents, we believe that children need to be passably plump if not downright fat. All this skinny business is not really nice. Adi's illness meant that I am missing things like Rohini's surprise baby shower and lagging on many things including shopping for our Singapore trip.

The Singapore trip is ostensibly for M's F1 race. He went for it alone last year and cribbed endlessly so this time we are tagging along. M's family stays there so we will be staying with them. I am hoping to catch up with friends while we are there so please holler now if you are there and are willing to buy me dumplings, which I really, really love. Must be all that Kung Fu Panda that Adi has been watching. Some gems from the movie include:

"There is no charge for awesomeness. Or attactiveness."
"I am not a big, fat panda. I am THE big, fat panda."
"The Wooshi finger hold.....the hardest part is cleaning up afterwards."
Much as I love the movie, I think it got a bit much after the 170th viewing but I am nothing if not tenacious.

I have two nephews in Singapore, half-Chinese and cute enough to be eaten. M sees them almost every month given that he travels that side a fair bit but I haven't, ever and am very upset about that. Adi and I will make that good soon, smothering them with some Indian style lovin'. Be prepared, babies.

I had a celebrity moment recently.

We took Adi to the hospital and when we were returning, a lady walked up to me in the aisle and says, Parul? I started smiling furiously, all the while trying to place her (ex-office? gym? club?) when she bowled a complete googly my way. I read your blog, she said, and it's really nice. M says my expression turned remarkably intelligent as I gawped at her and blurted something that sounded much like gwahbah. She walked away and I didn't even, well, say hello. So hola there, if you are reading this and thank you. Please forgive the marked lack of articulation.

When I come back from Singapore, I take off for Delhi for a few days, chilling out with family and friends who are moving from Australia to South Asia but quickly dropping in to Delhi before doing so. Delhi junta, I love hot imartis and I don't get them here in Mumbai. Please feed a starving waif. Or something.

Yesterday, my picture appeared in Deccan Herald as part of a story on blogging and people who are in Bangalore were kind enough to point it out. You can see the link here. The picture is one that was taken in London on our last trip and I quite like it. I look unhurried in it, which is actually quite far from the truth because I was actually racing towards Oxford Street in this one, howling at the Sale signs, like a mad werewolf that well, likes shopping.

Roop wrote a sweet post this morning, saying that her husband surprised her with a copy of BUV. I sure hope she likes it after he has been to such trouble to get it for her. No pressure, Roop but you better love the book.

I watched Kaminey on Tata Sky's Showcase. I thought it was great and that Priyanka Chopra can act. How unfair, skinny and successful and talented and reminiscent of the gorgeous Parveen Babi. How will I run her down now? Recently I also watched a disturbing movie called Perfume, which was very sensual and all that but left me with nightmares. Seen it?

The resolution to read more since reading On Writing has been rather successful, I am happy to report. Now, I was reading The Frenchman's Creek by Daphne Du Maurier when we were in the process of moving. I looked away for a single moment and I found that the book had been packed away with the rest of the things in that room. All very well except that I have not been able to find it even though we have unpacked everything. An unfinished book rattles me like a thorn in the side. After wailing about it for several days, I ended up starting and then completing Murakami's brilliant The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles. He is so headed for the Noble. I have since then for completely inexplicable reasons started a book called Eat Pray Love which I am not connecting with at all. M keeps telling me to dump it and start on Monkey Business, his personal recommendation but he doesn't understand how much trouble I have not finishing a book that I have started. It's a character flaw.

Diwali is not too far away but instead of the mild nip in the air and the misty mornings and the festive smell, we have unrelenting heat in Mumbai. Like every year, it depresses me no end. Maybe the Delhi trip will do me good.

So yes, that's my news. What has been happening with you? Movies? Books? Travel? Festival plans? Tell all.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Five things I love to do on vacations

My darling friend Purplehomes decided that she wanted me to describe the things I love doing on vacations. Here goes.

I love travelling almost as much as I love hot aloo ka paranthas with butter melting on top, which if you know me is saying that I love it a lot. The esteemed M has true wanderlust and is the sort of person who has the right nakshatra arrangement in his birth-chart to ensure travels far and wide. That and his innate love of planning mean that I am able to sit back, point at the globe and say, there, that is where I want to go for my next holiday. He pretty much takes care of the rest, scheduling the trip, booking the tickets, figuring out hotels (I help here because I absolutely love browsing through TripAdvisor) and then carting the family to the airport. Well, his supremely efficient secretary helps, of course but even so, it is rather convenient to be married to a planning/control freak. Most of the times, that is. I saunter in every now and then and proclaim - Ah, but there is a wonderful cafe on that street that we must try out, one of my blog friends said so. He normally ignores me when I have such pretensions of being the dreamy, creative sort.

To get to the things I love to do on vacation:

Catch a show/event: I have learnt that it's amazing fun to plan an entire trip around a rock show or an event. It is very exciting to go ALL THE WAY (I am only a villager at heart, see?) to see one's favourite rock act in action. In fact, I'd love to do a whole trip doing nothing but listening to music, like Bonnaroo for example. My best trip so far has been the birthday gift trip to Bologna to see my Metallica.

Visit the local shops: I think it's great fun to be able to look through the local shops. In Bruges, we got to see some amazing wooden toys in the shops and bought some for Adi (only a couple though, the Euro is forbidding). But I like to go through the supermarkets too, seeing the foreign sounding brand names, reading the labels in foreign languages and trying to figure what they contain and oh my absolute favourite - buying the cheapest still water in the store. I am not a fan of sparkling water. And I am cheap.

Try the local cuisine: Only if it is vegetarian of course but it's fun to go out and drink and eat as the locals do. When in Rome, eat pasta. That reminds me, when we first went to Italy, we ate so much and drank so much that we came back looking like a pair of absolute blimps. Seriously, nobody makes food like them. Give me a plate of zuppa de verdura, pasta and and a glass of Chianti and I am happy. Who wouldn't be?

Walk through the streets: I like ambling aimlessly through the streets of foreign cities, just looking at things and absorbing the feel of the place. M likes to DO things and all this wandering about and not getting anywhere is not such a great idea for him. Still, he puts aside slots in his meticulously planned schedule - 10 am - 10:45 am - Walk aimlessly through the streets and absorb culture/humour wife.

Sample the art : I like museums and galleries a lot. I can't draw or paint, my sister took the entire lot of artistic talent that had come my family's way but still, it's incredibly nice to look at paintings and to be amazed at people's talent. Later, I like to buy prints and take them home, frame them and put them up in my house and look at them and be reminded of how we were in the presence of greatness once.

I think it's a lovely tag. I am surprised at how I don't particularly like to take pictures on trips. Hmm, something to be said about that. Tell me what you like to do on vacations in the comment space or take this up as a tag.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Darna mana hai etc

I am now qualified to be called a swimmer, as in I am not Michael Phelps yet (giving myself another week) but I can go into the deep end without the fear of drowning. Much as I had suspected, I love swimming. The coach (figuratively) patted me on the back and said that I had done well and had learnt the ropes in less than ten sessions. At this praise, I proceeded to look like a bullfrog calling to its mate and looked around for people that I could crow at, a difficult thing for bullfrogs to do at the best of times. Next to me, a woman was being trained by a lady coach. Trained as in, she was holding on to the wall for all she was worth and was shaking her head violently as the coach tried to tell her to just let go and try to float or paddle or whatever the newbies do, ahem. Now I am not a pro at this but one thing I do know - if someone is scared, it serves very little purpose to tell them not to be. I mean, if they could, they wouldn't be in the first place. I felt sorry for the poor woman. I haven't seen her since but if I do run into her, I plan to give her a pep talk and also to tell her to ditch the lady coach in favour of my vastly superior one. Yeah, I am very kind like that.

The thing about moving into a new house is that one doesn't know the people very well. Random people come to my door and expect me to know who they are and what they want and greet them warmly. Yesterday I mistook my maali for my carpenter. I don't think he was amused when I considered him for a moment before decisively asking of him - Mere mirror ke frame ka kya hua? Main gardener, he told me sourly. Oh well, go to the green, I vaguely pointed at the pots.

A really, really fat lady came to the door and demanded chai of the maid. Not wanting to clash with a person that size, the maid meekly agreed to ask of didi, namely me if chai could indeed be dispensed to people because they seemed to like and need it. It turned out that the fat lady is our kachrewaali and it the norm to give her tea (according to her). Well, it's not over till the fat lady sings. More when she does.

I had said that I would put up pictures but the house still looks a little undone (pipes where the ACs should be in the living room, for one) and I'd much rather you see it in it's finished form and send forth lavish compliments for my impeccable taste and whathaveyou. But then I figured that my favourite things in the house are already in place and I could share pictures of them.

My bookshelf, it rests in a corner of the living room for now but I will put it in my study when it's done.

You remember Ghanta Singh, the bell I carried from Jaisalmer? It now hangs just outside the dining room window, my absolute favourite view in this house.

The yellow wall. I wanted it for the longest time and now I have it.