Kripya order karein!

Kripya order karein!
Kripya order karein!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The third birthday party

There was a time when having a party at home meant hopping down to the nearby booze shop and stocking on enough alcohol. Food was ordered from outside and everyone focused very diligently on getting as drunk as possible in as short a span as one could muster. Ah, those were the days, I think to myself as I wipe away a silent tear borne of reminiscence.

I dithered over whether to throw a party for Adi's third birthday. It's in May but something tells me this May inviting a bunch of pre-schoolers for an evening of boisterous fun and object-flinging will be the last thing on my mind. But then, he has been seeing a lot of parties lately as his classmates turn three and have parties and mothering is nothing but free guilt-trips. So that is how, full-term pregnant, I decided to brave the heat of Mumbai and throw a party anyway.

Unknown to us, a quiet revolution has been taking place. These small kids, the ones who cannot chew their food and cannot dress themselves and have trouble controlling their bladders, they are serious party animals. What else would explain that there are professionals waiting to take everything from gubbare phulana to cake bake karna off one's hands? The party supplies shop on Hill Road has a roaring side business in party organization. He can arrange magicians and tattoo artists and jugglers and can doubtless conjure Disneyland on one's building terrace at the right price. When we went there to buy balloons, he told us he could organize all the balloons we wanted without anybody's cheeks needing to ache.

Tempting offer but we declined.

We bought a hand-held pump instead.

I did not want to hire a venue either, having seen the tiny space that is given out in the name of party venues in Bandra. So I decided to expose my house to the three-year old elements.

Once we had decided to hold the party in our apartment, trusty Pramod was enlisted to help with the balloons and streamers. We went with the highly innovative theme of red and white. It looked rather pretty, I thought.

How will we entertain the kids, asked the husband. Uh, I was hoping they will sort of just play or something, I offered. Oh no, he countered, you need to give them something to do. Ok, let's call a puppeteer, I volunteered. Adi's class had recently been taken to a puppet show and he could not contain his excitement later on so I thought it would be nice to have this special treat for him in his party. Well, that was before I found out that in this season puppeteers in Bombay have busier schedules than Priyanka Chopra. One after the other turned me down and anyway the rates they charge made me immediately want to shift professions and learn to handle the ropes.

Call a magician, said Mahesh. One of M's lasting loves from childhood is magic shows. It's not your birthday party, it's the child's, I reminded him. He looked quite crestfallen. Oh ok, I will call a magician then, I gave in. Fortunately, magicians are lower in the party value chain and I was able to get hold of one that agreed to turn up and pull rabbits out of his hat.

Then we pulled out an inflatable kiddy pool and filled it up with balloons. The original plan was to fill it up with balls of all sizes but the prices of stupid, colourful, China-made plastic balls made me feel a little dizzy. We threw in some gifts too, so the kids could have something of a treasure hunt once they were in there.

The kids turned up and seemed to have a ball. Much noisy fun was had in the inflatable pool and the tattoo lady and the balloon sculptor fellow both felt quite neglected and after some time retired to the master bedroom to watch the IPL match. No, I am serious.

My mom is in town so food was not a problem because while you would not be able to tell it looking at me, my mom is one of those Supermoms who whip up delicacies for 40-odd people, make party favours with their own hands and look ravishing just before the guests arrive. Very high standards, if you ask me and I have done well by never, ever trying to match them. There were all sorts of starters and chhole and poori and sookhe aloo and dahi bade and pasta and custard and jelly and a cake with a little Ferrari car on top. The last seemed to delight Adi and the other kids no end and it was worth the bundle it cost, I think. They all wanted to 'eat the car' and the wheels specially were very much in demand, for some reason.



Much fun was also had with the khoi bag with squeals accompanying the burst of confetti and gifts on the kids. Adi got quite startled by it though given that he was standing right underneath and had a meltdown soon after.

We gave Tulika books and wooden toys as return presents and bought them from Comet Media Foundation, a Mumbai-based non-profit organization that produces educational resources. I am still to get feedback on that but I rather hope that they will be appreciated in the sea of Fisher-Price and Disney products that our kids are drowning in. I bought some other toys for Adi from there too, a taraazu (balance) complete with little baats (weights) and a Kutch doll and a wooden engine.

Throwing a party for even a small child is full of time-consuming shopping trips and what seems like unnecessary expense and a host of decisions regarding just about everything. It's the morning after and I feel hung-over.

Looks like some things don't change after all.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I wonder if the same thing is true for Bandstand

M and I were driving to town and were near the Bandra-Worli sea-link. Both sides of the road were dotted as always with couples, on bikes and in cars, standing close together and canoodling. (Incidentally, Suketu Mehta very neatly attributes this phenomenon of the lovers of our city having to do private things in public places to the Bombay Rent Act)

M pipes up.

M: Do you know what most people are doing out here?
Me: (uncertainly): Making out, obviously?
M: Nopes.
Me: Then?
M: It is roothna-manana.
Me: I am sorry?
M: Yes, it's true. I go this way twice everyday and I am willing to bet good money that most of the junta here is involved in a lovers' tiff.
Me: Really?
M: Yes, the girl is always crying and the lad is always trying to make up.


Like most of M's pet theories, this one too needs to be tested out but if it is indeed true then perhaps there is some truth to people liking make-up sex, eh?
 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Conversations with the husband

Last night I lay in our bed, at the absolute pinnacle of sex-kitten-ness, with my big belly and my faded pajamas and my glasses, reading the wonderful and depressing Maximum City. M sidled up to me, looking bored and possibly wanting to gossip.

M: What are you reading?
Me: Maximum City.
M takes a look at the page.
M: Hey Prabhu, look at the font size.
Me: Yuss, tiny print.
M: How can you read so much?
Me: It's part of my job description. No, it's nice. You should read it.
M: Are you mad? Such a thick book and in that tiny font size? I only read you.
Me: Aw, baby, that's sweet but not everyone likes to make books out of trivial jokes.
M: Well, they should.
Me: Err....
M: In fact, you should read all these important books and then write a precis for me in your style, make it light and make it funny.
Me: I see. Any requests?
M: Start with War and Peace, I always wanted to know what happens in there. Remember, make it funny.


In sickness and health, in sickness and health.....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What do you say.....

....when your three year old greets you every morning with 'Wake up, Mama, let's go outside and get into trouble'?

Yes, tell me, what do you say?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Unlikely category to be nominated in, but please vote

Putting my natural brilliance to use, I have discovered that we have been nominated for an award. I dithered between doing an Aamir I-don't-do-awards Khan and Shahrukh Let's-Fix-This Khan and then plumped for just asking you to decide for yourself. You need to go here to vote. Wondering if I should pull out the make a pregnant woman happy card but then coming to the decision that that would be really cheap, even for me.

Life in a metro

My life as a woman who lives and works from her little flat in a Bombay building is rather odd. I spend my mornings like all mothers do, harried and just trying to hold my shit together in the moments when Adi takes five minutes per bite over his aloo-parantha, when he hears the doorbell in his bath and tears out of the bathroom, through the hall and into the lift lobby, sopping wet and completely naked to say hello to the koodewaali because that after all is the most rewarding and fulfilling relationship he has fostered, when my part-timer calls me to say that her husband is unwell yet again and yes, she will be taking the day off, bringing me this close to repeating my favourite lines from Dhoop Kinaare, kitna bimaar parhta hai tumhaara pati, maar-moor ke chhutti kyon nahin karti? and my young maid saunters in at nine, a full half hour after she is supposed to, her day-dream about her latest boyfriend still shining in her insolent eyes.

But all mothers do not spend their mornings like this, you say? So it is only me?

Gulp.

After the first round of mayhem has died down and Adi has been carted off to pre-school, I waddle over like a graceful kangaroo over to my desk and open my manuscript. Cliches, cliches and stilted writing from the previous day stare me in the face. I take a deep breath and stare longingly at the wine-rack, thinking wistfully of writers who must live in houses with character, not that I am casting aspersion on the morals of mine, mind you, and must drink some fine wine and smoke some finer cigars to invite the muse. All I have for company is the tissue that I have earlier used to clean Adi's snot. This, however is the bed I have made and I must now lie in it which if taken literally does sound like a fantastic idea but hark at the time, won't you, it's almost noon. Let's get some work done.

Adi comes home and after trying unsuccessfully to get him to pee in the toilet because we have the longest running potty training program in the history of susu-potty (very, very old history, you will agree) and feeding him lunch and thwarting his attempts to thwart the nap by running like a fat duck after him, all the while waving at him the deadly three way threat of no birthday party-no Santa Claus-no park in the evening and finally putting him to bed, it is time to write again.

The evening rolls along and I brave the mugginess of March in Bombay and cart the boy to Joggers Park where I feel like the only pregnant woman on the whole planet, my belly sticking out a mile while an array of beauties jog effortlessly past, their shiny hair swinging in their pony-tails, gaining speed as they cross me and soon becoming mere specks in my line of vision. I huff and puff as I curse them for being such infernal show-offs and trudge back home, one sweaty and hyperactive child in tow and the other one, in utero demanding food, food, food for making up for the fifty calories that we may have burnt during the walk.

By the time night rolls along, I am ready to collect my assortment of pillows for back, belly, back of knees, toe-nails and so on and crash and snore till the morning lark has given way to the afternoon pigeon, or whichever bird in in charge of the post noon music.

I think it could even be said that I am quite exhausted living my life these days.

I don't know the people in the building I live in. I don't do social so well. I smile and greet and promise to meet but then I inevitably forget all about them. I rather think everyone in Bombay is much the same way. We lived in our previous building for five years and I shamefacedly admit that I never got to see the inside of anyone's house, did not get to see the mess in their kitchens or the colour of the towels in their bathrooms. But that was a rented house and we knew that our time there was limited. But here, in this new building we are here for the long run, aren't we, and we should try to get to know thy neighbour, shouldn't we? My intentions have been quite noble really and I had promised myself that I would bound upto whoever came a-visitin', in the manner of a particularly friendly Labrador, probably bake some pies and take them along too.

No one came. The short window where we could be called the new arrivals came by and exhausted itself. There are no kids in the building so one would not bump into anyone with signs of suffering written clearly upon their faces, and one could not pat them gently on their arms and commiserate saying there, there, I know how you feel.

I sort of resigned myself to the social drought that had been the bane of the previous apartment. Perhaps this is the way urban suburban life is, to each his own and none of the community feeling, you know.

So it came as a big surprise when an elderly lady took it upon herself to enlighten me in the ways of the world - we don't see you around too much, she observed.

I was almost apologetic. Yes, I said, I don't seem to get too much time.

No housewarming party, eh, she whispered conspiratorially.

Err, no, I said, none that I had planned.

Then no one will come see you, she declared.

Really, I said, how is that? I mean, shouldn't people welcome the new folks into their fold? Send casseroles over? I was sort of hoping for that.

How can they? You might not like it.

I like food, I said mournfully.

Hmmm, no, people won't come to welcome you or anything. You should call everyone over. A housewarming party! Samosa! Dhokla! Pepsi! If you don't want to cook, that is.

I don't, I said.

Neighbours are far more important than family, she said. I nodded furiously, appearing to agree with every word.

And I hope you are planning to distribute sweets when the baby comes, she murmured. I concurred meekly, making a mental note to order dabbas of laddoos at the appropriate time.

So it came to pass that I have been scouring the internet for tips on how to throw the perfect housewarming party complete with samosas, dhoklas and Pepsi.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Blimp

Completely hypothetical situation between a hypothetical ob-gyn and his hypothetical heavily pregnant patient

Doc: So let's see. You have put on 12 kilos in the last 34 weeks.
Patient (smirking): I know, ain't I fabulous?
Doc: Huh? Fabulous? This is insane. You shouldn't have gained more than a kilo per week month .
Patient: Err, I tried. I exercised and ate well....
Doc: Ate well? I should think so. You must have brought your family to the brink of starvation, you beached whale. Did you stop when you realized the frig was empty or did you eat that up as well?
Patient: Gosh no, I ate fibre and tried to limit my sweet intake. I walked and I swam.
Doc: You walked and swam to food, I'd imagine.
Patient: I say, that's unfair. How can every single woman, irrespective of race, colour, creed and dessert preference gain exactly nine kilos in the course of carrying a baby?
Doc: I'm the doctor. I ask questions.
Patient: Well, I have no answers so I thought I'd try the alternative.
Doc: Only one of us is allowed to get cross and that happens to be me.
Patient (to self): Maybe I should sit on him.
Patient (to doc): Look, I was not overweight to begin with. I was at a good weight when I conceived.
Doc: You are not, now.
Patient: I am pregnant, for chrissake, I am not just fat.
Doc: That's no excuse.
Patient: I gained much more last time.
Doc: That's because your doctor was not strict enough with you.
Patient: Oh, but he was which is why I came to you this time around.
Doc: Wrong reason. You are not planning to give birth to an elephant, are you?
Patient: I almost wish I were. Then both of us would sit on you, twerp.


How much weight gain is good weight gain during pregnancy? How much did you gain? Did you lose it all? How long did it take? Does it matter? All questions and stupid ones at that, I think. One would think I was responsible for global warming, world poverty and am impending break-up between Saif and Kareena, the way they keep at it. 

Sigh, I better go for a walk. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We are in Time Out, yo

Oho, what fun, we have been covered in this month's Time Out, Mumbai. Please read - http://www.timeoutmumbai.net/kids/kids_preview_details.asp?code=108

Makes me sound like some sort of authority on parenting, or Mumbai, or parenting in Mumbai, no? Hehe, better this than the truth.

***

M went to see the first DLF IPL match at DY Patil stadium, which is like saying that I flew to Lebanon to eat some pita bread and hummus.

Later that night, I asked him how the match was.

"Well, the opening ceremony had some people dressed as chefs. The chefs were holding some lights and were running all over the stadium and kept bumping into each other. Then there was Lionel Ritchie who I thought was dead except that he clearly wasn't. Maybe I confused him with Stevie Wonder. Is he dead, do you think? Anyway, he sang songs from Lalit Modi's puberty. UB 40 was there. I can't stop falling in love with you, it seems. Then some people held tubelights and twirled them about. And Deepika Padukone came and was bored, very bored. I had to stifle a yawn just looking at how bored she was."

Sounds like a fun, raucous evening.

***

M does this thing when he is paying for things with his credit card. He checks the date and then he seems to do some furious mental calculation and selects a card from his wallet, an object that bulges at the corners and tears at its seams with all the crap that is crammed inside. While the cashier (creditor?) is swiping his card, he proceeds to look around, looking very happy with himself. Of course I make fun of him but it's also vaguely and dorkily endearing, this obsession with credit cycles. I wouldn't recognize one if it came to me dressed in a pin-striped suit. One card, all days of the month, all festivals and fasts, all stores, all amounts - that's simplification for you.

***

Monday, March 15, 2010

Today...

I am less consumed by the thought of turning thirty three years old than I am by the thought of being thirty three weeks into the pregnancy. A few short weeks...and s/he will be here and the cycle will begin all over again. But don't worry, I won't write a book about it this time.

Birthdays have to be rung in with plenty of alcohol in the bloodstream but for obvious reasons, abstinence is the name of the game this time around. I have therefore made do with grabbing with both hands at the presents that the kind family has bought me. The loot is looking good, if I may say so. I may be huge but I am a rich huge this birthday. I will soon let you know my personal reviews of the Kindle, ahem.

Since there are no Apple Martinis in the offing for me, I have been making do with good food instead and have marked the weekend by eating (for some strange reason) at Jiggs Kalra's Punjab Grill at the Palladium and Kebabs and Curries at ITC. The former lousy, the latter as good as it gets. My personal review of Tote on the Turf to follow soon, I am off now to eat there. I believe Tote gets the hottest people on the planet thronging its good self though I suppose Monday afternoons don't lend themselves to too much thronging. Anyway, I will ogle endlessly and collect nuggets of wisdom wherever I can, I promise you that.

So yes, thirty three today, an age where one ought to be consumed with deep thoughts that bear, well, much thinking. For example, should there be a hyphen between the thirty and the three. What I meant was that no age-group in a form ever says - 33-35. Basically once you have taken a big gulp and ticked in the 30-35 bracket, you can sort of rest easy till the 35-40 ambles along (or zooms at you with supersonic speed, as the case may be) and then of course one is too busy contemplating the benefits of Botox and whathaveyous to actually pay any attention to the same.

There are really no substitutes for Apple Martinis. Have one for me today. Not if you are pregnant though.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More on fairy tales



Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter in Disney's Alice In Wonderland or 'MOMMMMMMMY'!

I rest my case.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Being forgetful and absent-minded

I have a strange relationship with books. It would be too simple to liken them to an irritating relative, one that you can't do without, cannot fathom throwing out of your house even when he disrupts the delicate balance of your hormones. Well, yes, it would be simple but said like that, it would also be true. And so day after day, I pick up the chosen book of the day/week/month (depending on how slow we are going) and pray to the patron saint of readers that it's a good one because I am emotionally incapable of putting it down till I have finished it. I don't know what ails me. Is it the middle-class values and do I hear my father's voice in my head - finish your food warna bhagwan ji naraaz ho jayenge and does it apply to everything in my life? I mean, I do feel guilty about opening a fresh tube of toothpaste or a new shower-gel without having finished the previous ones.

Or is it what I told M when he asked what drives me to look miserable but plod on with a bad read anyway - someone's put so much fight and written these 300-3000 pages, we must acknowledge that. Goodness, sure hope some of that good karma is making its way back when readers sit down with my own tomes. Or is it precisely that - I am looking after my own, in the tradition of doctors who do not charge other doctors and their families? It can't be, this habit has been with me long before I became a writer myself.

(I still feel like a fraud when I call myself an writer. My second book will be released in September. Some of you had asked. It is not a sequel to BUV.)

I saw Daniyal Mueenuddin's In Other Rooms, Other Wonders in my shelf and picked it up guiltily, not remembering the last time I had made contact with it. I flipped through the pages, trying to locate the exact point where I had left off. Pages turned and turned and there I was at the end of the book. I had read it all! I had finished the whole thing and had quite enjoyed it too. I stared at the book for sometime and then put it back, a little stunned. This is weird. Not only am I feeling guilty for books that I have not finished but also for the ones that I have. This doesn't bode well at all. Maybe I just need memory boosters.

Back to Superfreakonomics which I am sorry to report is just not doing it for me this time. I think I have paid my respects to Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt and Malcolm Gladwell and their ilk and will take a break from the see-economics-can-be-fun-too genre for some time. My initial hypothesis, established after three years of painful economics at college was that economics is no fun and that is where I shall revert and take solace.

Adi on the other hand seems to be having fun. Lots of birthday parties as his respectable group of peers starts crossing the grand old age of three. We go to parties, me tagging along with him as Chief Aide and find that most parents send their maids to these events while they themselves pursue the ever-elusive roji-roti. What does it feel like to be cooped in an office while your child goes to a party with someone else, I asked of Mahesh. Is that a trick question, he replied, of course it feels horrible. Then he thought for sometime and decided that I was looking very smug. Maybe it is time for a role reversal, he said, you earn the bread and I will look after the kid/s. I spluttered at this. You know I am only a lowly writer, I can't support this house for one week on the money I make. But the glint is there in his eye still.

Maybe I will stop asking him rhetorical questions.

These parties though are great fun. We have sure come a long way since the days of home-baked cakes and home-blown balloons and someone from the family being in charge of the party games. These days there are rides and swings and hired horses and toy trains and khoi bags/pinatas and clowns and puppeteers and magicians and lots of good food and drinks. If only I did not have to run after Adi balancing my big belly and handbag and presents and could carry my hip-flask, I am sure I could have a darn good time. Some of the moms are pretty cool too. They have been all sorts of things in their previous avatars - art collectors and shoe-store owners and copy-writers and they look quite happy being just moms too. More power to them, I say, though I know not what that phrase means.

I am happy to report that Adi seems to have selected a name for the baby. Rohini had come over with her baby Tarana a few days ago. Later I asked Adi - so, punter, what will you call your baby sister? Talana, he answers. Oh ok, and what will you call it if it is a baby brother? Talana, he says. Talana is sometimes being replaced by Lola though, again irrespective of gender. It has been some time since Arhaan was the chosen handle for the baby but clearly not long enough.

We watched both Karthik Calling Karthik and Road, Movie over the weekend.

Now I like Farhan Akhtar and I really, really like Abhay Deol. This means that when we have a weekend when both of them have movies coming out, I need to wear my best impartial expression and make them both feel loved. Play no favourites, book no extra-special seats, eat no more popcorn - that sort of thing. I watched both movies over the weekend and I must say Karthik Calling Karthik seemed to be coming up tops. It is engaging, quick-paced and the music is nice, the people are all good-looking and Akhtar himself acts really well.I felt quite a surge of empathy in the scenes where the evil boss bullies our hero around. I have been around some of those and they can quite take the sunshine away, as we know, directing it into their posteriors instead. Unlike most people, I couldn't even guess what was coming at the end and so enjoyed myself thoroughly. It was also quite evident that Deepika Padukone has never smoked a cigarette in her life.

Road, Movie seemed to start off well, with some interesting characters making an appearance but somewhere down the line, I got the feeling that the makers were smoking some potent stuff (much like Deol at one point in the movie, which incidentally I thought was the redeeming scene of the film). I mean I am all for unexpected turns and unpredictable humour but still, I'd rather not have people suddenly replace sanity with symbolism, if it was indeed that. Like M said, it was reasonably self-indulgent.

And so it came to pass - FA - 1, AD - 0.

What can we do? It is a competitive world.

Then last evening I happened to watch some programme on the making of Road, Movie. At some point, Dev Benegal was describing a situation where the storyboards got caught in a wind and flew away all over the place. He then went on to say with a straight face that he thought that is the way he should make the movie, with no script. Just go and play around with the landscapes and the characters. I looked at him to see if he were joking. No. Perfectly serious. Ah, I think I can even tell the exact point at which the script made its escape.

I have since decided that it is not AD's fault after all and wait for his next. True love demands forgiveness and mine for Mr Deol stands unsullied. We will just forgive him this as a misstep and move on like mature people in mature relationships do.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Happy Birthday, M



The good man and husband celebrates his thirty first today. A special day has been planned, involving much pampering and much wiping out of bank accounts. I don't think he will remember any of it. What he will remember is how his first-born ran up to him as soon as he arrived from work and jumping into his arms, shouted, 'Happy Birthday, Daddy, I made a card for you!' Naturally, everything else, including the decadent black forest cake in the picture paled into insignificance post that little remark. I don't want anything, he declared as he carried the boy around, I just want to spend the day with him. Gulp, I was rather hoping to catch KCK today.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The one about Abhay Deol etc

We had optimistically booked tickets for Karthik Calling Karthik over the weekend, hoping to leave Adi behind with Ghajini as we enjoyed what will doubtlessly be one of the last few movies for many, many months to come. However, Ghajini had a googly lined up. They are throwing balloons filled with acid at women in the local trains, she said, successfully horrifying us into silence with this instance of Holiganism. Pramod was a bit more skeptical. How can a balloon be filled with acid, wouldn't it dissolve, he wanted to know of her. Impeccable logic of course but we did not want her to risk life and limb and gave her two days off for Holi. That meant that we were now faced with two options -
  • Solution #1 : Take Adi with us. Problem with solution #1: Even assuming that the seat next to ours was empty and could be bought, one sort of got the feeling that the boy may not share his mother's enthusiasm for Mr Akhtar (Junior) and would not consider watching her make puddles of drool entertainment.
  • Solution #2: Let the tickets go waste (bye-bye INR 330). Problem with solution #2 - no problem at all. We are parents. We are supposed to make sacrifices. And the fact that I threw myself face down on the carpet and bawled uncontrollably, well, we will just ignore that, won't we?
That also means that I now need to watch three movies on the upcoming weekend - KCK, Teen Patti and Road - Movie, the last because it stars one of my biggest crushes of 2009, Mr Abhay Deol (cue Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye as background music) himself. In fact, as crushes - just another way of saying deep, abiding and strictly academic admiration for a person's work - go, Abhay Deol ranks up there with Dr Gregory House, who I am happy to report continues to be as delectable in Season 6 as in the previous five. A thinking woman's pin-up boy, some rag had called AD. Hmmm.

I will now look modest. Why, you ask. Because that is the acceptable way to look when one has been conferred with an award. Usha thinks I am doing a good job with this blog. All disagreements to be directed at her, please.




Thank you very much, Usha.
I need to pass it on to seven other bloggers. Here you go, some new people this time.
Normally, I admire their blogs from afar so this is my way of delurking, folks. Please accept and look happy about it, thank you.

Dipali had asked me to write a post on an International Women's Day contest. In a vaguely related sort of way, I'd like to link to this website. Not safe for work, btw. Vejazzling? Really? I need to ask the ever-pertinent question - what next?