Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Picnic Basket

My picnic basket that A insists is a 'handbag' :)

Taken from my phone camera. The resolution on my phone is much better...somehow it doesn't transfer well on to the computer :(

Thursday, May 28, 2009


It’s such a nice feeling when someone tells you that you make them happy, isn’t it?

Two people have said that to me this week and trust me I’ll take that over any other compliment any day!

Come to think of it, happiness is such a basic emotion, yet it’s universal. Everyone wants to be happy! You’ll hear people say that they don’t want to fall in love, they are sick of being a nice person, they’re done being honest in life etc. But you will never hear someone say that she/he doesn’t want to be happy! Every single one of us craves happiness and would go to great lengths to ensure we’re happy.

Happiness is one of the most positive emotions. It’s infectious. It has the power to change people’s lives. It brings with it so many other positive emotions….such as hope, satisfaction, assuredness, peace, cheer etc. I think if I had to pick my favorite emotion, ‘happiness’ would be it.

What’s yours?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

There Are Some Lessons I Never Learn

Like getting as much work out of the way as possible when I know there will be a barrage of work heading my way soon. Instead I procrastinate :)

It happens with me all the time. When I have very little work - but work that needs to be done nonetheless - I just cannot motivate myself to complete it. Even when I know that there will be an onslaught soon.

I work better under pressure. That’s when I have the motivation to complete work as fast as I can. Or is it that I have no choice? I don’t know. Does it happen with you too?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Calcutta Calling

I completed a year in Kolkata this month, and I'm still asking myself this question - why the hell did I leave Bombay for Kolkata???

This only answer I can give myself is that that was the plan destiny had for me!

Well, I'm not one to credit all of life's successes or blame all failures on destiny. I'm very much the 'your-life-is-a-result-of-the-choices-you-make' kind of person. But I can't, from personal experience, deny that destiny does chart the course of your life to a great extent by putting you in a situation and presenting you with options that you must choose between. I too had a choice - to stay on in Bombay or move to Kolkata, and I chose the latter.

I did have my reasons at that point in time. I had been living really far from home (by 'home' I mean my family and not so much my hometown) for 10 years. I was actively looking for a job change and it just so happened that I got an offer from Kolkata that was both lucrative as well as offered a great scope for learning. And I figured that moving to Kolkata would give me a good opportunity to be closer to my family (my parents are in Patna & my sister was in Kolkata) as well as the person I was seeing then.

BUT life is full of ironies. My sister moved to the UK a few months after I moved to Kolkata and I broke up with the person I was seeing subsequently. I'd seen the break-up coming for a while and I've never regretted it for a bit. As they say, life always has something better in store. My sister has moved back to India and is currently in Kolkata, and I have A in my life.

I won't write much about A except say that there must be very few people in this world who are able to put others before themselves. A is one of them. Thanks to him, I now understand the meaning of 'unconditional love'. And if someone ever wants to know how to be a good human being, they need only take a page out of his book.

So yeah, Kolkata hasn't been all that bad. The city doesn't have as much to offer as Bombay did. Much to my dislike, life has slowed down a lot after moving here. I find the people too interfering & close-minded. To make things worse, I don't like my job anymore. But I have gained some things that I wouldn't have had I not moved to this city. Things, good or bad, seek you out, and that is why I think destiny has played a big role. However, I think it will soon be time to move on, though not leaving the things I have gained here behind. is what??

Friday, May 22, 2009

Show Me The Money

One of my cousins has just completed her first year of MBA and is about to start the second.

She’s been doing consistently badly in her exams to the extent that her Cumulative Grade Point Average at the end of the first year is below that required to advance into the second year. So she was asked to take 2 exams all over again so she could better her grades in those subjects and reach the required CGPA. But here’s the catch – students had to pay Rs 7,500 for each paper!

Her parents are already paying 11 lacs for her MBA. To make things worse, the institute she's studying at has very little equity in the market and has told all students of her batch that they cannot guarantee campus placements to anyone and that students are pretty much on their own!!

When I asked my cousin whether she felt bad that her parents would have to cough up another 15K for these two papers alone, just because she wasn't responsible enough, her response was “What’s there to feel bad about? They’re my parents, it’s their job to pay!”

I personally find this kind of attitude disgusting. I, for one, would never be able to say or even think something like this. Having been to college in a country where people are completely on their own the moment they graduate from college – and I mean the moment they have a Bachelor’s degree - and even during college, they help their parents out by working on/off-campus so their miscellaneous expenses are taken care of, I simply cannot identify with such an attitude. But I also know that she’s not to blame for it.

Her father has pampered her throughout her life. She was never refused anything she asked for as long as it wasn’t outrageously expensive. She was never held accountable for her actions. Quite simply put, responsibility and value for money were not some of the values inculcated in her, and it’s her parents alone who’re paying a price for it.

This is another example that fosters my belief that parenting is indeed a very difficult task. Most people become parents biologically but they don’t know how to be one.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Missing Bandra

I have been in love with Bandra since I moved to Bombay. For 4 of my 5 years in Bombay, I lived in Bandra. I lived in Dadar for a year in between and I hated every minute of it.

That was more out of compulsion as my Bandra apartment was being brought down by builders to make way for a spanking new apartment, and after months of uncertainty, we were finally given 15 days notice to move out. In such a short span of time, I couldn’t find a house I liked enough in Bandra and which was within my budget.

The only two things that I liked about Dadar were my house, which was on the 7th floor of the building with no tall buildings around and had gargantuan windows that would let plenty of air & sunlight in. I am a complete ventilation person. I can’t live in a house that is not well-ventilated or does not get plenty of sunlight. The other thing I liked about Dadar was it’s convenient location. It took much less time to get from Dadar to town – my favorite weekend hangout apart from Bandra – than it did from Bandra.

My Dadar house was very close to the Dadar train station but ironically, I never took the train to work! Not even once. God, I hated Dadar station!!

My first house in Bandra was near Almeida Park, in one of the lanes between Globus and Turner Road. That was a dream location! Not very congested, a hop away from Hill Road and Linking Road, walking distance to Bandstand, Globus, Suburbia, Gaiety-Galaxy & the Bandra Crossword!!

We loved that house, my roommate & I. The building looked like it would crumble anytime but we had a pretty little 2-bedroom house inside, complete with 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and a living room. The living room had been extended to include the balcony, and we had a row of tiny lights right above the seating area that gave a mellow glow to our living room.

The only flip side of this house was that our landlord insisted on getting 3 months’ rent at one go. That is A LOT of money if you live in Bandra. Unlike good financial planners, my roommate & I never saved up the rent from our monthly salaries, so we would end up terribly broke the month we had to pay our rent! We would get depressed handing over a bundle of our hard-earned money to our greedy landlord (who had a plush sea view apartment near Mount Mary, owned six apartments in Bombay and therefore, didn’t have to work for a living), curse him to our hearts’ content and go eat brownies at Bandstand!

My second Bandra house was at Reclamation, behind Lilavati Hospital. It was above Barista and very close to Candies as well as Cottons, one of my favorite stores. It was a small, cute, cozy house, perfect for two people. We could hop down to the Barista anytime (as long as it was open, of course) and a trip to Candies was a must ever weekend.

I miss Bandra terribly – for the thriving cosmopolitan suburb that it is, for its people, for the things it has to offer its residents ranging from the sea (Bandstand, Carter Road) to great restaurants to theaters to plays to shopping to coffee shops by the sea!

I’ll go back to Bombay only if I can afford to live in Bandra once again – because honestly speaking, other place is worth it.

Monday, May 18, 2009


There’s this thing that happens with me that I truly hate myself for. I usually stumble out of cars.

Strangely, it doesn’t happen when I’m getting out of my parents' car when it wouldn’t really matter whether I make a graceful exit or not. It happens only when I'm getting out of a friend's/acquaintance's car and I want to make a graceful exit. It’s absolutely horrifying!!

I would either be carrying a million bags & it would be raining…which means I have to get the umbrella to open and get out with the bags while holding the umbrella in one hand…or my shoe will get stuck in some part of the car and I will just about manage to stumble out, gracefulness can go to the dogs. And I hate it.

Does it happen with you too?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bengal Votes!

The verdict is out – Bengalis are not passionate only when it comes to discussing politics, they vote passionately as well.

West Bengal registered close to 70% turn-out during this election, one of the highest in the country. Though the choice they had was pretty limited – basically a call between the Communist Party & Mamata Banerjee, and no ‘No Voting’ option on the EVM - they still went out & voted.

I was SHOCKED to hear that Mumbai registered only 46% voter turnout. For all that anger against politicians following 26/11, the fervent appeals by public personalities to the people, especially the youth, to go out & vote, the candlelight vigils at the Gateway, the marches on Marine Drive, the public outcry against citizens who do not vote – Mumbai registered one of the lowest voter turnouts. So what was all that noise about?

I agree our options were dismal. The list of competing candidates was bad across constituencies, not to mention most have criminal cases pending against them. Parties have been fielding the same candidates for the past hundred years! There is a severe dearth of young, dynamic, clean politicians to lead a youthful & vibrant India.

BUT we have got to choose the best from amongst what is available to us – the one who is likely to be the least regressive, the one who is likely to bring the least harm to society & our country. Expecting a positive change would be too hopeful and optimistic at this point of time. We aren't there yet. Therefore, we've got to choose someone who will do the least damage.

OR we should join the fray. South Mumbai did have some atypical candidates like Meera Sanyal who asked themselves the question "If not me, then who??". That's the same question that we need to ask ourselves when it comes to voting. "If not us, then who??"

For all the promises that Mumbai made post 26/11, they blew their chance! Let’s wait and see what India did.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

They're Here!!!

Rains!!!!! They are back!!!!!

We've been getting steamed like momos for the past month & a half or so. There was a thunderstorm the weekend before last, that I wrote about here. Since then the temperature soared once again, hovering around the 41-42 Celsuis mark. Until yesterday evening.

There was lashing rain accompanied by thunder & lightning. I got soaked to the bone. There's a thrill in getting drenched in the rain which is unparalleled. It makes you jump, sing, smile, laugh, happy!!

It's been raining again since morning. The American Embassy right behind my office has a very well tended to lawn (obviously) with lots of trees. Everything is so lush green, having absorbed all the rain.

I love the rain. Only I wish it rained when I'm ensconced inside my home and not when I have to negotiate puddles of rain water on my way to/back from work.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

We Love Chinese

Yesterday I had the strangest dining experience of my life ever. Four of us went to a very popular Chinese restaurant on Park Street called Bar-B-Q (If that isn't a strange name for a Chinese restaurant I don't know what is!)

Going to a popular restaurant on Saturday night at 9pm in a city that loves to eat out isn't a good idea in the first place. But they're one of the few restaurants that serve good "Indian Chinese", so had to go!

When we reached we were given a waiting time of about half an hour. After waiting for about 45 minutes we got a table right near the entrance of the seating area! There were at least 50 people waiting to be seated right next to us! Each glaring at us, possibly b/c we were the only ones completely exposed to them. While we were eating, the crowd of people waiting just got larger & larger, until finally this one guy was standing right next to us!!

Despite repeated requests from the restaurant staff manning the entrance, he wouldn't move. And then suddenly he was yelling at us, "Can't you guys eat faster? Don't you see there are so many people waiting?"

We were shocked, we didn't know what to say! We had been seated not more than 20 mins...our starters had just arrived. And not that our getting done would've made way for the more than 50 people who were waiting!! There were about 396 other people eating at the restaurant!! I'm not exaggerating...the restaurant has three sections, each with their own kitchen and can accomodate upto 400 people, I think.

Guess the hotel staff had had enough by then. They got the man escorted out of the restaurant. Which brings me to the question...why let such a situation arise in the first place? If you know there are 50 people waiting to be seated in one section of the restaurant alone (I'm sure there were people waiting in other sections as well), why keep letting people in?

Why can't restaurants tell patrons that they're stretched over the limit? Is it greed or hospitality? Given that we're in India, my deductive abilities tell me it's the former. Pure greed to mint money. Which I'm sure the restaurant is doing enough of given it's capacity. So why ruin your equity among your customers by letting such unpleasant incidents occur?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Truth About Adoption

I have been meaning to write this post for quite some time but work hardly gave me any time to breathe, and I didn’t want to put a rushed post on this.

Two of my friends have recently adopted babies. While one already has a child of his own, he & his wife still wanted to adopt. The other friend & her husband have made a conscious decision not to have a child of their own and adopt two babies instead. Indian authorities made the adoption process quite cumbersome for them. They had to come down to India from England, where they live & work now, for six months and stay here before they were cleared to become adoptive parents. Obviously, it involved quitting their jobs. A couple less committed wouldn’t have stood the test.

Which brings me to the question...why are people so closed to the idea of adopting a child?

Most people, on being asked whether they would like to adopt a child, will say 'no'. I find their reason for not adopting extremely ridiculous...that they will not be able to do justice to the adopted kid, they’re not sure whether they’ll be able to love her/him as their own (if they have a child of their own too). But the sad truth is, most people want to have their own children so their lineage can continue, and not many people have a heart that’s big enough to love an adopted child as their own. That is the bare naked truth about adoption.

My question is that if everyone starts thinking that way, no children without biological parents or those who have been abandoned will get a home, love of parents and an emotionally & financially sound upbringing – which are as much their right as that of other more privileged kids. And if some people can do it, why can't others?

We might have come a long way in the evolutionary cycle, but we’re still quite petty as human beings.

Is It Really That Bad?

Our company has hired a bunch of people from IIM. Are things really that bad??

Thursday, May 7, 2009


There's a reason Calcutta has little to offer by means of 'hanging out' except restaurants & movie theaters. It's called 'adda culture'. Adda essentially means a bunch of people sitting somewhere smoking, drinking (if indoors), discussing politics or football and philosophizing. Bengalis aren't infamous for these without a reason! :)

Unfortunately the group of friends I have in Cal are big fans of 'adda'. Hanging out at home is their idea of entertainment. It's so not mine! A few months after moving to Cal, I got so sick of this I stopped being a part of it and would hang out only if we were going out. Well, mostly....

But now that my sister is back from the UK for good, I'm determined to reclaim my life :) Sounds dramatic, doesn't it? But for a person like me whose idea of a weekend/holidays is spending as much time out of the house as possible doing stuff - movies, lunch/dinner, shopping, coffee, whatever - it was nothing short of losing my life. With my sister back, life will come back to normal.

We enjoy the same things, my sister & I. And no, we don't get bored. It's the 'Sister Pact'! Good to have you back, honey :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Help Buchanan Solve the Puzzle

Are we in the IPL or a Bollywood movie??

This is the puzzle inside John Buchanan's head that he hasn't been able to resolve since the day IPL 2 started.

KKR will need to play out their remaining league matches but they are out of contention for the semis. Given the way they played their last two games, is that even surprising? Seemed as if the team was made up not of players who play at the international level but of little boys who have just picked up the bat & ball – so ridiculous was their performance!!

I lost count of the number of catches they dropped over the last two games. Most were sitters. The ball would fall nicely in their hands yet they would drop it! Especially in last night’s game against Delhi, they dropped two catches which if they hadn’t, they could have won. One was dropped when Delhi needed 31 off 25 balls (or something like that), the other when they needed 2 off 5 balls. Had those catches been taken, KKR might have been able to snatch the game away from Delhi.

But the brilliant KKR players, led by a mind-blowingly brilliant captain & an even more brilliant coach did not disappoint. The bowlers got thrashed around for boundaries & sixes…fielders tried to stop the ball from running into the boundary after it already had…simple shots were misfielded (the ball would roll by the side of the player & he wouldn’t even know!)…even when they did manage to stop the ball, it would roll away like it has a mind of its own! It was comical. Is that how international players are expected to play??

And then you had the field placements. The worst field setting I have ever seen! Batsmen were always able to find the gap for boundaries. And what have they acquired Mashrafe Mortaza & Ajantha Mendis for? Hatching eggs sitting on the bench? Mortaza is a very talented bowler. Also KKR’s most expensive acquisition this year, I think. Yet a bowler like Ajit Agarkar, who is capable of giving 36 an over, is picked to play over him.

The problem is that only 4 foreign players can be chosen for any game. The rest have to be Indian. So drop McCullum! What has he contributed till now anyway?

Looking at the strategies/decisions Buchanan makes, it seems he has completely forgotten how to play cricket.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Weekend to Remember...for a Long Long Time :)

Life rarely disappoints. An awesome weekend is, more often than not, followed by a killer Monday. Sometimes I wonder if I wouldn't be much happier if I quit working for good. Afterall, what can give more happiness than not having Monday morning blues?!!

I had a nice long weekend. Friday was off due to International Labor Day, or May Day in some countries. We had plans to go to the beach for the weekend, which we cancelled due to the searing's been 41-42 Celsius for a couple of weeks now! So we stayed put in Calcutta with our respective air conditioners and a bunch of DVDs for company. And of course, with KKR's hilarious performances in the IPL, there was enough entertainment around!

Did A LOT of eating out this weekend! By A LOT, I do mean A LOT....lunch & dinner on Friday & Saturday, and lunch on Sunday!

Sunday lunch was the best of it all. I caught up with a friend from college who I hadn't met in a year...was meeting her for the first time after she got married, to a very cool guy may I add. But apparently, marrying cool men isn't enough to ensure you'll have a fun life after marriage. As my friend kept saying, "It's all nice, you know, with the whole stability thing...but it's also very boring. You spend all your time dealing with domestic issues...something or the other keeps breaking down, or the maid fails to show up, or there's no running water...and all your time goes in calling up people who will come and fix these things a million times before they actually turn up, waiting for them to show up, arguments with the maid etc. Trust me, you're much better off unmarried, if you're not too hung up on the stability thing that is!"

Words of wisdom? Well, words of experience definitely.

Anyway, coming back to the story of my marvellous Sunday lunch. We went to a deli for lunch. Ordered pasta, and while we were eating there was a thunderstorm followed by a downpour! It was completely dark outside. The cafe had glass walls on either sides, and we could see the rain lashing against the glass.

We obviously were not going to be able to go anywhere for quite some time, so we ordered dessert! Any prizes for guessing what we ordered? For those who aren't clued in, cheesecake has been giving brownies very tough competition as my 'Dessert of Choice' for more than a year now. So cheesecake it was! Baked creamy cheesecake, mind you. Not the mousse-like fluffy cheesecake you get at most restaurants. I can't even begin to tell you how badly I miss the Baked Strawberry Cheesecake at 5 Spice in Bombay!! :(

And then....we ordered coffee!! Nothing beats a hot cappuccino when you're watching it pour while you're dry, warm and fuzzy inside.

The other highlight of the weekend was the acquisition of 2 hand bags. Yes, not one but two!! One is olive green & brown while the other is purple. And I loved them both so so much, just HAD TO buy them. 2 bags in a single weekend...what more does a girl want? :P

A lazy lunch of pasta, followed by cheecake and coffee while it pours outside...if that doesn't sound like a perfect Sunday afternoon, I don't know what would. It was enough to make up for the horrid Monday I had :)